Best Bike Trainers: Stay in Shape Without Going Outdoors

Turn your bicycle into a piece of indoor exercise equipment with these bike trainers

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Foul weather can force you to stay indoors instead of enjoying a nice ride outside. You can maintain your fitness routine by using a bike trainer, which lets you cycle indoors by keeping your bike stationary as you pedal. It helps you get more effective workouts that are less tedious. Our buying guide provides an in-depth review of some of the best bike trainers on the market.

  • Best Overall
    Sportneer Bike Trainer
    Summary
    Summary
    A well-constructed bike trainer with six resistance settings that help you test your limits and stimulate your cycling conditions
    Pros
    Pros
    Compatible with tires of 26 to 28 inches. Made of a heavy-duty steel frame. It has a rubber base that maintains stability on uneven floors. Noise-free operation. Easy bike-release feature for when you are ready to take the bike outdoor
    Cons
    Cons
    It doesn’t come with a front-wheel riser as with most high-end models. The assembly instructions could be better.
  • Best Value
    Bike Lane Bicycle Trainer 
    Summary
    Summary
    A robust and sturdy bike trainer that best works on bikes with a quick-release rear axle. It can accommodate 26- to 28-inch wheels.
    Pros
    Pros
    It has a portable design that can be folded for storage. Made of durable all-steel material. It offers a natural pedal feel.  Extra-wide legs provide maximum stability for high-speed training. Easy to assemble. 
    Cons
    Cons
    The resistance could be better. It can get really loud. May create a lot of vibration on a wooden floor. 
  • Honorable Mention
    Kinetic Road Machine Smart Bike Trainer
    Summary
    Summary
    A smart bike trainer that can pair with your favorite devices via ABT+ technology or Bluetooth.
    Pros
    Pros
    Provides a realistic road feel. Can accommodate 22- to 29-inch wheels. It can offer app-based training with apps such as Kinetic Fit and Zwift. It can automatically adjust the resistance level depending on the wheel speed.
    Cons
    Cons
    Expensive. A bit challenging to set up. May experience occasional connectivity issues.

Tips

  • Install trainer tires on your bike before mounting it. The treads are smoother and the rubber is grippier than standard bike tires. They are also brightly colored to remind you not to ride them outside. 
  • If you don't want to wear down your rear wheel, use a dedicated spare wheel for the bike trainer. Ensure that the spare wheel is steady and strong enough for your safety. 
  • It's almost impossible to avoid sweating when riding indoors. Sweat corrodes the exposed metal parts and may lead to broken handlebars. Wear gloves when riding, and clean off the sweat from the bike with a wet cloth after you're done. Also, consider installing an air conditioner in the training room. 

FAQs

Q: Can a bike trainer damage your bike?

A: Yes, it can if you use your stock rear skewer and make side-to-side movements when the bike is stationary. Your rear skewer is the part that holds the bike to the trainer and handles all the force. Replace your stock skewer with a steel skewer, which is more resistant to bending or breaking. Also, make up and down movements when cycling as opposed to side-to-side movements, which can put too much strain on the wheel. 

Q: Do I get a better bike workout outdoors or indoors?

A: When you are cycling outdoors, it may feel like you are getting more from the workout since you engage your body and mind. But you actually get a better workout indoors if you avoid distractions. A 60-minute dedicated indoor workout is akin to a 90-minute outdoor workout since you make more stops when outdoors. 

Q: How long should I cycle on a bike trainer?

A: You should do a maximum of 90 minutes on the trainer to avoid putting too much stress on the structure. Most bike trainers are designed to offer a temporary substitute when the weather is not conducive for an outdoor ride. It may not withstand daily use. Consider buying a stationary bike for that purpose. 

Final Thoughts

Our top pick for the best bike trainer is the Sportneer Bike Trainer. It gives you a realistic feel and can sit firmly even on a rough surface. 

If you are looking for a more affordable option, consider the Bike Lane Bicycle Trainer.