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Bike trainers can be a valuable tool for people who may want to maintain a regular riding schedule from home. They vary in price and dimensions and may come with different accessories to help people follow various workout programs.
This article will discuss what to look for in bike trainers and their potential health benefits. It will also look at some safety considerations and bike trainers to consider purchasing.
Indoor bike trainers are a type of workout equipment that allows individuals to ride their bicycles indoors. They have a motor that attaches to or replaces the bike’s rear tire.
A person can connect a bike trainer to third-party software that offers preprogrammed workout classes and realistic terrains. As a result, indoor bike trainers may suit those wanting to participate in classes from home or outdoor and competitive cyclists who wish to train.
Some bike trainers also have built-in technology that offers real-time feedback and allows people to control their equipment.
There are different types of exercises that a person can do with a bike trainer, such as:
- Climbing bursts: When cycling indoors, they may raise the bike’s front wheel or add resistance.
- Single leg drills: Using only one leg to pedal may help in strengthening the muscles.
- Heart-rate training: A person can use their bike trainer with a heart-rate monitor to hit different heart rates at various points during their workout.
There are two main types of indoor cycling trainers:
- Wheel-on trainers: These attach to the bike’s rear wheel, are lightweight, and often cost-effective. They require calibration before each session, and long-term use may cause wheel damage.
- Direct-drive trainers: A person will usually remove the rear wheel and attach the bike to a direct-drive trainer’s frame, preventing tire damage. They typically require less calibration.
The bike trainers create resistance in different ways, such as:
- Wind trainers determine a person’s resistance by how hard they pedal.
- Magnetic trainers use opposing magnets to provide resistance.
- Fluid trainers use a hydraulic substance to provide resistance.
- Roller trainers use original indoor training technology. They have three rollers that turn as the individual pedals and creates resistance.
- Smart trainers can connect and communicate with third-party software that gives feedback and can manage and adjust resistance automatically.
Those looking for an indoor bike trainer may wish to consider the following features:
- Noise level: Some bike trainers are loud and may not be suitable for all homes.
- Portability: People may consider buying bike trainers with wheels so they can move their equipment to different rooms.
- Potential resistance: This refers to the resistance levels that the bike trainer can produce.
- Digital connectivity: Some bike trainers connect to a smart device or third-party applications, offering workout programs and feedback.
Cadencerefers to the number of pedal rotations in one minute, according to one study. Some bike trainers have cadence sensors built-in.
Some of the best bike trainers available for purchase include the following:
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Wahoo’s Kickr smart trainer is a direct-drive indoor bike trainer. It weighs 40 pounds (lb), and its dimensions are 20 x 28 x 17 inches (in).
Some of its features include:
- automatic calibration
- virtually silent operation
- connection to a smartphone, tablet, or computer to set resistance
- access to Wahoo’s fitness application
- LED indicator lights
- measures speed, distance, power, and cadence
- can connect to a third-party power meter
- maximum user weight of 250 lb
According to the company, it can take some time until people get used to this roller bike trainer, as they will need to stabilize the controls.
Individuals can fold the rollers in three sections, which may be useful when moving to another room.
Some of this bike trainer’s features include:
- ANT+ and Bluetooth wireless communication, sending training data to programs, applications, and software
- two flywheels in the rear rollers
- abrupt movement absorption to help beginners
- road and mountain bike wheel compatible
The rollers allow a maximum combined weight of 115 kilograms (kg) for bike and athlete. This is equivalent to approximately 250 lbs.
This smart trainer has a wheel-on design, and it has dimensions of 24 x 20 x 6 in.
Some of the features of this bike trainer include:
- compatibility with smartwatches and third-party apps for customization
- cadence, speed, and power measurement
- simulation of up to a 7% climbing gradient
- weight of 23 lbs
This trainer does not come with a heart rate monitor, so a person may wish to purchase one separately. The equipment can also connect to any bike, such as mountain bikes, road bikes, and tri-bikes.
The company does not list the maximum user weight.
Those that do not exercise regularly may consider starting slowly, especially if they have an injury. If a person is concerned that cycling may aggravate an existing medical condition, they should consult a doctor before working out.
When dismounting from a bike trainer, a person may feel unbalanced, and they should take extra care to avoid falling.
A person may wish to consider the pros and cons of a bike trainer before purchase.
Some pros include:
- They allow an individual to use a bike they already own.
- They mimic outdoor terrain when connected to third-party software.
- They are easy to transport.
- They do not require much floor space.
Some of the cons may be:
- Setup and calibration before each use.
- Loud noise levels.
- Some bike trainers may require perseverance when a person is learning to use the equipment.
Regular exercise can help prevent serious medical conditions.
A 2017 study found that 6% of all deaths in the United States are related to physical inactivity and suggests that being active may reduce the number of people who develop cardiovascular disease and diabetes by more than 10%.
The American Cancer Society recommends 150–300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week to help achieve and maintain a healthy body.
Using an indoor bike trainer may improve cycling technique and stamina and strengthen and develop muscles.
There are different types of indoor bike trainers available that vary in price, size, or technological capability.
Individuals should consult a doctor before making a purchase. If they have a medical condition that could interfere with exercise, a doctor may suggest a different type of workout.