11 Best Bike Trainers: Which Is Right for You?

bike trainer

Instead of letting your fitness suffer when the weather gets bad, you can ride indoors on a trainer or bike rollers to get in a good workout. Whether you’re looking for the latest smart trainer that’s compatible with Zwift and other interactive programs or a budget-friendly trainer, here are our picks for this year’s best indoor bike trainers.

Looking for a more interactive indoor riding experience? Browse the best indoor cycling bikes for more options.

What Are the Best Bike Trainers Available in 2020?

bike trainer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Front wheel riser included
  • Compatible with road and mountain bikes
  • Six resistance levels
Price: $129.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best smart bike trainer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Direct connection eliminates tire wear
  • Quiet operation won't disturb others
  • Bluetooth, ANT+ and FE-C connectivity
Price: $999.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
smart bike trainers
  • Bluetooth, ANT+ and FE-C connectivity
  • Compatible with most bikes
  • Fits 22- to 29-inch wheels
Price: $549.00 Shop now at Competitive Cyclist Shop now Read our review
best stationary bike stand Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Works with road and mountain bikes
  • Eight magnetic resistance levels
  • Sets up on any surface
Price: $99.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
stationary bike stand Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports up to 370 pounds
  • Works with most road and mountain bikes
  • Fluid increases with pedaling
Price: $186.94 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
tacx neo
  • Quiet ride
  • Compatible with many axles
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
Price: $1,399.99 Shop now at Competitive Cyclist Shop now Read our review
saris m2 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Integrated sensors
  • PowerTap technology
  • Compatible with Zwift
Price: $499.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
elite bike trainer
  • ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Sets up in just five minutes
  • Arrives pre-assembled
Price: $799.99 Shop now at Competitive Cyclist Shop now Read our review
cycleops fluid 2 trainer
  • Hydraulic fluid for road-like feel
  • Stable frame
  • Adjustable foot pads
Price: $349.95 Shop now at Competitive Cyclist Shop now Read our review
best bike trainer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Road-like feel
  • Interactive electronic resistance
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth technology
Price: $949.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
stationary bike stand Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Five resistance levels
  • Carbon steel construction
Price: $359.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Sportneer Bike Trainer Stand

    Pros:
    • Works with 26 to 28-inch and 700c wheels
    • Dual locking system holds bikes in place
    • Quick-release mechanism lets you easily remove the bike from the trainer
    Cons:
    • Some more experienced riders wish there was more resistance
    • Quite loud without road tires
    • Sparse instruction manual

    You don’t have to break the bank to get a dependable fluid bike trainer for your indoor workouts, as this bike trainer stand shows. Resistance increases along with your pedaling, allowing you to stay in full control of your workouts. There are six resistance levels to choose from, whether you’re in the mood to spin your legs out or dig deep for interval training and hill climbs.

    This bike trainer works with a wide range of bikes, including those with 26 to 28-inch wheels and 700c wheels. It also quickly releases your bike when you’re ready to remove it for outdoor riding.

    Once the bike is in place, a dual locking system firmly holds the frame so that you can enjoy a stable ride. The frame itself is made with durable stainless steel, ensuring it will hold up over time. Not only can you set this trainer up in minutes, it also folds down enough to be easily carried around when necessary.

    The trainer comes with a front wheel riser and a quick-release lever for the rear.

  2. 2. Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer

    Pros:
    • Produces a maximum of 59 decibels at 20 miles per hour
    • Works with Shimano 8-11 speed cassettes
    • Compatible with Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy and other popular cycling apps
    Cons:
    • Trainer is a bit heavy for moving
    • May periodically lose connections
    • Not compatible with the Wahoo Fitness app

    Not all indoor cycling trainers are quiet, but the H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer produces a maximum of 59 decibels at 20 miles per hour, which means you can suffer through even the most grueling training sessions without waking up others in your household. If you’ve used a previous generation H Series trainer, the H3 will be noticeably quieter. An improved drive system increases efficiency while minimizing trainer noise.

    There’s more to like about the H3 than just its quiet operation, as it’s a fully equipped smart trainer that will make any indoor session much more manageable. For starters, you’ll find Bluetooth, ANT+ and FE-C connectivity, which means that the trainer will work with virtually any cycling device, including your favorite GPS bike computer. LED lights let you know when your device is connected.

    If you’re looking for a bit of stimulation for your indoor training sessions, the H3 comes with a one-month subscription to the Rouvy training app. It’s also compatible with popular apps such as Zwift and TrainerRoad. If you prefer to train without apps, a headless mode provides a progressive resistance curve to stimulate tough outdoor sessions.

    With features such as a 2,000-watt maximum power output at 20 miles per hour and a 20 percent climbing grade simulation, you may emerge from your winter training block feeling fitter and stronger than ever before. A power accuracy measurement of +/- 2 percent provides a realistic training experience, even if you’re a pro. Whether you’re training for your next race or you’re simply looking to stay fit, the trainer measures your speed, cadence and power without any external sensors. A 20-pound precision-balanced flywheel provides maximum resistance for your most hardcore workouts.

    This direct drive smart trainer works with Shimano 8-11 speed cassettes and eliminates the risk of wear and tear on the rear tire by connecting your bike directly to the trainer. It also has an integrated front wheel block to hold your bike steady. Folding legs make it easier to move and transport the trainer, yet give it a wide and supportive footprint during use. The maximum combined rider and bike weight for this trainer is 300 pounds.

    The CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Smart Trainer is a slightly less expensive alternative. This smart trainer features Bluetooth Low Energy and ANT+ connectivity, so you can use it with your favorite virtual training apps.

  3. 3. Kinetic Rock And Roll Smart 2

    Pros:
    • Innovative inRide sensor calculates power and transmits data to your favorite apps
    • Works with with popular apps such as Rouvy, Zwift, TrainerRoad and The Sufferfest
    • Doesn't require additional sensors
    Cons:
    • Doesn't come with a front wheel riser
    • Average noise output
    • Moving frame can take awhile to get used to

    If you’re obsessed with popular apps such as Rouvy, Zwift, TrainerRoad, The Sufferfest and more, the Kinetic Rock And Roll Smart 2 seamlessly calculates power with its inRide sensor then sends data to your apps via Bluetooth, ANT+ and FE-C connectivity. You don’t need to purchase additional sensors to connect with your apps, as the trainer takes care of virtually all of that. As long as you have a compatible device, you can view data on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

    Whether you’re booking it against fellow Zwift users or opting for an app-less ride, the 6.25-pound flywheel provides plenty of resistance to meet your goals. As with Kinetic’s other Rock and Roll trainers, the Smart 2 keeps your core engaged for more of a full-body workout session. The trainer also moves with you to more closely mimic your favorite outdoor sessions.

    This trainer works with most bikes, although bikes with a rear thru-axle will need the Kinetic Traxle adapter to work with this trainer. It also fits most 22- to 29-inch wheels and can be used with mountain and hybrid bikes. A lifetime frame warranty gives you extra peace of mind.

  4. 4. BalanceFrom Bike Trainer Stand

    Pros:
    • Compatible with road and mountain bikes with 26 to 28-inch wheels or bikes with 700c wheels
    • Noise reduction technology with road tires
    • Resistance controller is mounted on the handlebars for convenient shifting
    Cons:
    • Loud with mountain bike tires
    • Resistance may feel limited for experienced cyclists
    • Won't work with 29-inch tires

    You can easily install and release your rear wheel on the BalanceFrom Bike Trainer Stand, which creates a more user-friendly experience. Quick-release clamps secure your rear wheel into place and hold the bike steady as you ride.

    Whether you’re cruising or gearing up to crush those interval training sessions, you’ll have a choice between eight magnetic resistance levels. The resistance controller is mounted on the handlebars for convenient shifting. You can set up this bike stand on virtually any surface, as its rubber feet keep the stand in place and prevent it from scratching your floors.

    The stationary bike stand works best for road and mountain bikes with 26 to 28-inch wheels or bikes with 700c wheels. The noise reduction technology is designed for road bike tires. You can also purchase a trainer tire to minimize noise during training sessions. This bike trainer stand has a maximum load capacity of 330 pounds.

  5. 5. Health Line Product Fluid Bike Trainer Stand

    Pros:
    • Compatible with most 26 to 29-inch tires and 700c wheels
    • Works with tires with and without quick release
    • Wide frame and base provides stability
    Cons:
    • Provided skewer is cheap
    • Assembly instructions aren't very clear
    • Some find it a bit noisier than expected

    With its wide frame and base, this stationary bike stand not only remains stable during workouts, but it also supports up to 370 pounds. You can use the trainer with most road and mountain bikes, with 26 to 29-inch and 700c wheels, with and without quick release.

    As with most other fluid trainers, the resistance on this bike trainer increases the harder you pedal. There’s also a fluid chamber for additional resistance. Its relatively quiet operation means you can use the fluid bike trainer in an apartment or other close living quarters without disturbing your neighbors.

  6. 6. TACX Neo 2T Smart Trainer

    Pros:
    • Stimulates climbs up to 25 percent
    • Maximum 2,200 power watts
    • Works with Zwift, TrainerRoad and other apps
    Cons:
    • Quite heavy
    • Cassette isn't included
    • Loses downhill drive capability when used unplugged

    The TACX Neo 2T Smart Trainer is equally quiet and powerful and has a redesigned motor with stronger magnets for more torque compared with the popular Neo 2 trainer. This design change also reduces vibrations and overall noise during workouts. The trainer is compatible with many axles and fits a wide range of bikes, including road and mountain bikes. Adapters are included for several axles for a better fit.

    If you’re looking to generate some serious power, the trainer has a maximum 2,200 watts of power. Watts are measured within 1 percent accuracy for more rewarding results. You can also get a head start on the competition by practicing your hill climbs, as this Tacx smart trainer stimulates climbs up to 25 percent.

    In terms of connectivity, the Neo 2T is ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible. You can also pair it with your smartphone or GPS-enabled device, including bike computers. This trainer works with your favorite workout apps such as TrainerRoad, Zwift, Sufferfest and more.

  7. 7. Saris M2 Smart Trainer

    Pros:
    • Fits most standard road and mountain bikes
    • Integrated speed, cadence and power sensors
    • Simulates up to a 15 percent climbing gradient
    Cons:
    • Average noise level
    • Doesn't fit 650C wheels
    • Separate Zwift subscription required

    Integrated speed, cadence and power data means you don’t need to spend extra on external sensors to keep tabs on your training.

    The M2 Smart Trainer is compatible with several tires, including 26, 27 and some 29 inches. It’s also designed for 650b and 700c wheels. An included quick-release skewer, along with multiple rear dropout settings, ensures this indoor bike trainer fits most standard road and mountain bike frames. While it’s a popular trainer for road bike enthusiasts, many mountain bike riders find that this trainer is a good fit for their bikes as well.

    Whether your bike is designed for the road or trails, you’ll find yourself getting a meaningful workout once setup is complete. PowerTap technology provides accurate power readings within five percent. There’s also integrated ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth technology for fast and easy data transmission.

    Noise level is a concern many cyclists share when it comes to indoor workouts. This trainer is fairly quiet, reaching a decibel level of 69 at 20 miles per hour. Another common concern is that riding on a bike trainer feels nothing like your favorite riding routes. With climbing grade simulation up to 15 percent and progressive fluid resistance, your rides will feel a bit more realistic with this indoor bike trainer. The trainer can also handle a maximum of 1500 watts at 20 miles per hour.

    Another way to beat indoor training boredom is to participate in a virtual workout. The M2 Smart Trainer is compatible with Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy and other popular virtual training apps. Bluetooth firmware updates keep the trainer updated as needed.

  8. 8. Elite Suito Interactive Trainer

    Pros:
    • Records real-time power, speed and cadence
    • Simulates slopes up to 15 percent
    • Comes with a pre-installed Shimano 11-speed cassette
    Cons:
    • Some complaints of software glitches
    • Not the quietest trainer
    • Doesn't come with a riser block

    Comprehensive data tracking lets you stay on top of your training with this bike trainer, which provides consistent power, speed and cadence data as you ride.

    If you’re the type who tracks every number, you’ll be in for one confident training ride after the next with this smart trainer. Instead of battling the elements, you can hop on the trainer in the comfort of your home and instantly connect with others via the included free one-month Zwift subscription and a free 12-month subscription to Elite’s e-training program. The trainer is also compatible with popular cycling programs such as The Sufferfest, Rouvy, TrainerRoad and more.

    ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth connectivity makes it easy to connect with other training programs and store data on iOS and Android devices. Once you select your workout, all you need to do is begin pedaling and the Suito will automatically adjust its resistance.

    Smart features aside, this bike trainer will put you on top of the competition with features such as slopes up to 15 percent and over 1900 watts of resistance at speeds up to nearly 25 miles per hour. The Suito has a pre-installed Shimano 11-speed cassette.

    If you dread the thought of setting up your trainer once it’s arrived, you’ll appreciate how this bike trainer comes fully assembled and takes just five minutes to set up.

  9. 9. Saris Fluid 2

    Pros:
    • Relatively quiet
    • Power-tuned technology
    • Durable steel frame
    Cons:
    • Doesn't come with a front wheel riser
    • Setup instructions could be better
    • A bit loud

    This popular fluid bike trainer is a solid mid-range option that caters to cyclists of all levels. One unique feature of the Fluid2 trainer is that it uses hydraulic fluid instead of magnetic or mechanical resistance, which creates a more realistic road-like feel.

    On the road, resistance naturally increases along with your pedal speed. Hydraulic fluid mimics this process and offers a more realistic road feel. You’ll also enjoy a consistent ride and progressive resistance with a minimal amount of noise regardless of how intense your workout gets.

    A precision-based flywheel lets you choose your ride intensity by shifting gears just as you would during an outdoor ride. The durable steel frame stands up well over time and keeps the bike from wobbling or tipping. Adjustable foot pads promote a safe and stable ride on a variety of surfaces.

     

     

     

  10. 10. Kinetic R1

    Pros:
    • Maximum slope of 20 percent
    • Fully interactive with two-way communication
    • Realistic side-to-side movement
    Cons:
    • Pricey
    • A few complaints of connectivity issues
    • Side-to-side movement can take some getting used to

    The Kinetic R1 features the brand’s innovative Rock and Roll technology, which leaves you with a realistic riding experience. This smart trainer connects to your favorite training apps via ANT+, ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS technology. A free six-month subscription to the accompanying Kinetic power training app is included.

    This bike trainer works with virtually every type of bike with a thru-axle. A skewer is included. With a maximum slope of 20 percent and a maximum resistance of 2,000 watts, even the most serious cyclists will finish each workout feeling satisfied. Interactive electronic resistance allows you to control your workouts according to your fitness level. The automatic resistance control makes it easy to follow along with your favorite virtual courses.

  11. 11. FDW Bike Trainer Stand

    Pros:
    • Supports up to 300 pounds of bike and rider weight
    • Weighs just under 20 pounds for easy portability
    • Folds up for traveling or storage
    Cons:
    • Doesn't come with a quick-release skewer
    • Plastic components aren't very durable
    • Some mountain bike users have trouble getting their bikes to fit

    Your performance doesn’t have to take a hit even if you’re shopping on a budget, as this affordable stationary bike stand with five resistance levels demonstrates. Whether you’re warming up or tackling interval training sessions, you can adjust the resistance accordingly to get the most out of your indoor training sessions.

    This sturdy stand is also made with carbon steel and can support up to 300 pounds. When you’re done working out, simply fold up the bike trainer for storage. At just under 20 pounds, the trainer is also light enough to carry with you. It’s also easily collapsible and won’t take up much space. To keep the noise level down as much as possible, this trainer works best with road bike tires.

How do bike trainers work?

You don't have to be a serious cyclist to invest in a stationary bike stand, also known as a bike trainer or a cycle trainer. As its name suggests, a stationary bike stand simply holds the bike in place while you generate resistance and power to meet your specific workout goals.

Generally speaking, once your bike is properly in place, you're ready to begin your workout. Some trainers automatically increase resistance the harder you pedal, while others require you to twist a knob or use included controls to adjust the resistance levels according to your current fitness.

What bike trainer should I buy?

While there are different variations of stationary bike stands, all are designed to accommodate a typical road bike. Many also fit hybrids and mountain bikes.

Resistance trainers are popular for their simplicity, affordability, and durability. Resistance levels increase the harder or faster you pedal. With this type of trainer, your own pedaling powers a fan for resistance.

A magnetic trainer offers fixed resistance using magnetic force. Unlike a wind trainer, you can't change the resistance level by pedaling harder or faster. This type of trainer is ideal for longer, steadier rides. A fluid trainer offers progressive resistance, and the levels will increase the harder and faster you pedal.

A direct drive trainer is a sound choice if you're looking for that ultimate road-like riding experience paired with quiet operation. You'll need to remove the rear wheel of your bike and connect it with the trainer. Some direct-drive trainers come with their own standard cassette, although you'll need to purchase one separately if it's not included.

Regardless of which type of indoor cycling trainer you choose, you'll want one that's sturdy and durable enough to withstand the demands of your indoor training sessions.

Which bike trainers work with Zwift?

Smart bike trainers are an increasingly popular option among cyclists who don't mind spending a bit more for a more technology-filled training session. Whether you want continuous feedback during a ride or are just intrigued by the technology, this type of indoor cycling trainer typically keeps track of your speed, cadence, power, and more.

An increasing number of trainers on the market today work with Zwift, TrainerRoad, Sufferfest and other popular apps.  Some of our top picks include the Saris M2, Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2, TACX Neo 2T and the Kinetic Rock and Roll Control.

Are Smart Bike Trainers worth It?

Many of the best bike trainers are either ANT+ compatible, meaning they need a separate dongle to work properly. However, some trainers are Bluetooth-ready. Either way, once your smart trainer is properly set up you can start on a virtual ride to inject a bit more variety and excitement into a typical indoor training ride.

How do I set my bike up on the trainer?

Some indoor cycling trainers let you directly attach the rear axle and cassette, which replaces the rear wheel of the bike. This option can help save your bike's tire while providing a smoother connection.

However, not every axle or drivetrain is compatible with this type of trainer. Bike trainers with a traditional wheel drive operate by pressing against the rear tire. While this option is typically less expensive than direct mount trainers it can also produce more noise and wear out tires relatively quickly.

If you could use some extra guidance, check out How To Set Up A Turbo Trainer on YouTube.

Are Trainers Bad for Your Bike?

Unless your bike isn't installed properly (you'll most likely notice right away if this is the case), a trainer won't harm your bike. However, it's important to keep in mind that trainers can cause your rear tire to wear out faster. A trainer tire is another solid investment, as even the best bike trainers can put a lot of stress on a rear tire. It's important to find the right tire size for your bike. In addition to saving you the stress of having to replace your rear tire after a season on the trainer (or even halfway through depending on how much you ride). Trainer tires can also help dampen trainer-related noise.

Frequent sweat-inducing sessions can also potentially harm your bike if it's not properly protected. Aside from cleaning the bike after each workout on your indoor cycling trainer, you may want to invest in a sweat net. Most sweat nets take up a minimal amount of space and won't intrude much on your handlebar space. Several nets also come with waterproof phone pouches for your smartphone.

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