Get Ready For Summer Bicycling Even In Poor Weather


I find bicycling to be an excellent form of exercise. That is, when the weather’s cooperating which, in my neck of the woods, certainly isn’t year-round. That’s why I have a bike trainer to keep my legs in reasonable shape throughout the year. With an indoor bike trainer attached to the back wheel of my bike, I can maintain a conditioning program even before the summer weather starts to cooperate.

Bike trainers are categorized by the way in which they provide the resistance a rider needs in order to be in shape for the summer.

Wind trainers push air around, magnetic (mag) trainers use the attractive powers of magnets, and fluid trainers spin an impeller through a liquid…all to simulate the workload of a bike ride.

Each type has its advantages, as well as its disadvantages.

Wind Trainers Feature Simplicity

Wind trainers aren’t able to provide the highest levels of resistance, but they do have simplicity going for them. There’s only so much that a small impeller spinning through air can do. But if a steady-state, light- to medium-intensity workout is what you’re looking for, a wind trainer will fit the bill.

Be aware that wind trainers are the noisiest style of trainer, making listening to music or watching TV difficult when the trainer is being pushed to its upper limits.

So what’s the advantage of simplicity? Two words…cost and reliability.

Wind trainers are the least costly of the three types, and because they’re so simple, the likelihood of them failing is low.

Mag Trainers Aren’t As Smooth

Mag trainers generate resistance by spinning magnets which are embedded in the flywheel. Because the resistance is created each time the magnet passes metal, there is a slight pulsing sensation. In this way the ride isn’t as realistic as a ride in the great outdoors.

The CycleOps company recently introduced their CycleOps Magneto model. In this unit they make use of centrifugal force to alter the position of the magnets in the flywheel. The faster the flywheel spins, the further out from the center the magnets migrate. The trainer is engineered to create the most resistance when the magnets are spinning at the outer limits of the flywheel.

CycleOps calls this ‘progressive resistance’ because, unlike other mag trainers on the market, resistance in the Magneto increases seamlessly.

Although quieter and more powerful than wind trainers, mag trainers are noisier than fluid trainers and are unable to generate enough resistance to satisfy serious cyclists who are doing intense, interval-style workouts.

Quiet And Strong… Fluid Trainers

Fluid trainers provide the most realistic ride and are the quietest as well. This style of trainer is the most expensive, with good fluid trainers selling for $300 and higher.

If your workout style necessitates short intervals of high intensity, this is most likely the style of trainer for your needs.

Until Kurt Kinetic came onto the scene with their Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, the problem of fluid leakage was very real. Kurt Kinetic designed their fluid chambers to be completely sealed from the rest of the trainer. The impeller spins through silicone in one chamber and it ‘couples’ with the outside flywheel by six matching magnets on both the impeller and the flywheel.

It’s all in the magnetic bonding.

An interesting twist to the Road Machine is the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll. This unit allows the rider’s bike to rock back and forth just like riding out on the road. Just to be clear… you don’t want to rock back and forth if you’re perfecting smooth pedaling strokes, so if that’s what’s happening you have some work to do.

So the Rock and Roll allows you to perfect your cycling skills.

A Bike Trainer Now For Pain-free Cycling Later

I don’t know about where you’re living, but where I am here in Northern California it doesn’t look like I’ll be consistently riding outside anytime soon. Shoot, I just returned from snowshoeing in 6 feet of snow only five miles from my house.

But because I have a Kinetic Road machine, my fitness level is at a rather decent level and once summer gets here I’ll have a good head start on the cycling season.

How about you? Are you ready to let an indoor bike trainer boost you into summer?

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