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Bicycling: Choosing the Best Indoor Bike Trainer

Bicycling is best done outdoors, but there are times when riding outside is not always an option especially during winter season, so an indoor bike trainer can be a valuable tool for you. There are several types of bike trainers, and we will talk about some of them to help you in deciding the best bike trainer suited for you. Bicycling has many health benefits such as increasing cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, improving joint mobility, decreasing stress levels, improving posture and coordination, strengthening bones, decreasing body fat levels and preventing or managing diseases.

The five basic types of bike trainers include the wind, magnetic, fluid, rollers and indoor bikes. Wind is one of the original trainer styles wherein the pedaling powers a fan providing a good resistance that increases the rear wheel spins more quickly, either due to pedaling faster or using a bigger gear. Wind trainers are the cheapest trainers available, and they are simple yet durable. Magnetic or mag trainer uses a magnetic flywheel for providing a good resistance, and there are existing electronic mag trainers which can be controlled via remote or automatically based on a software application. Magnetic trainers’ resistance are adjustable, and they are much quieter than wind trainers, with wide variety of options for new featured models marketed today. Fluid trainers are based on magnetic flywheel that has chambers of viscous fluid to further tune resistance options. Fluid trainers provide the best “road feel”, offering a wide range of resistance adjustments, and are very quiet. Rollers are considered the oldest style or model of bike trainers, sitting freely on three precision drums inside a frame, and these smaller-diameter drums provide more resistance for you to achieve a great form. Indoor bikes are full featured machines similar to what you see in a high-end spin class studio, and many of them have integrated electronic dashboards and wireless connectivity, interfacing with training programs and apps. Indoor bikes are the most stable set up for indoor bicycling riding, reduce wear and tear on your bike and are the quietest option.

Many trainers can add power tracking as one of their options, and this is dedicated to the trainer as part of “smart trainer” or its own head unit. “Smart” trainer means having the capability to communicate to other devices such as downloading a training program in a phone-based app to automatically adjusts resistance or has the ability to sync to various online training platforms. A few trainers pivot on an articulating base where you can stand up and pedal while leaning the bike side to side similar when you do it on the road.