Trainers: Mag vs Fluid Vs Rollers

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Brothrmark, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Brothrmark

    Brothrmark New Member

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    I'm in the market for a [sigh] winter season trainer. The choices are confusing and often contradictory. I could't really find the answer I was looking for in other areas of the forum, so I'm asking: which do you prefer, and more importantly-why?:confused:

    Also, I hate to ask it like this, but how cheap can I go and not be really dissapointed by my purchase? Supergo has mag and fluid trainers from $65 to $265, and rollers from 99 bucks and up. I'm not a cheapskate, but I am on a budget. [Plus I need to pay for a new furnace too]:eek:

    Thanks in advance-

    Mark
     
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  2. park

    park New Member

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    Rollers are archaic and potentially very unsafe. Do you really need to work on your balance? The other trainers will allow you to apply some resistance and you can work on your spin, whereas the rollers are limited only to working on your spin. Yawn. If you've never tried rollers they are fun, but as a training tool kind of limited. Don't forget to give riding in the cold a try. I've ridden a Cyclops trainer and liked it fine, but I've got a Computrainer that I love (if it's possible to love an indoor trainer).
     
  3. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    Both. Rollers and a fluid trainer. Alternate. Keeps you from working too hard over the winter.
     
  4. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    My Cycle-Ops Mag trainer has served me faithfully for 3 winters now. I would gladly recommend it to any recreational or club rider who was looking to purchase a trainer.

    I can't comment on how much you need to spend, because I've only ever used this one. I chose it because it looked nice and stable/sturdy, and I can get out of the saddle on hard intervals without any fear of toppling. I've seen posts that some people don't like to get out of the saddle on their trainers, so maybe that's an issue with some of the smaller ones.(?)

    This winter I'm looking to upgrade to a fluid trainer. I'm kinda out-growing the linear power-curve on my mag trainer, and would like a little better road feel as well. If you are a racer or a really big, powerful rider then you might take a look at the power curves and ratings on the trainers that you are considering. The Cycle-Ops fluid trainer requires >600w @25mph, whereas my mag requires ~400w @30mph. Having to ride 30+mph for short, hard intervals may cause gearing/cadence issues for some riders, so keep that in mind.

    Hope this helps. :)
     
  5. Squint

    Squint New Member

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    The un-road-like feel of trainers is due to lack of momentum, not the resistance "curve" of the trainer. Of course, the less resistance, the less you'll notice it.

    Nice trainers like Velodynes have huge flywheels and they will feel like riding on the road.
     
  6. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I don't have to spend a lot of time on my trainer (because I can ride outside year-round). But, when I do ride on a trainer I have found my Tacx Cycleforce Swing to be quite capable for an inexpensive trainer. It's only ~$180 here http://www.trisports.com/taccycswintr.html It is relatively quiet, folds up for storage, has 7 resistance settings (I only need the middle setting for my usual rides, including L6 intervals), appears to be repeatable (same resistance setting results in same power from day to day) and resistance doesn't appear to vary as a function of ride time (due to overheating). I really like the ease with which I can fold it up and throw it in my car for warmups at races. The resistance lever can be attached to your handlebar, but I don't bother because the middle setting gives me road-like resistance and I can run through the full range of power levels all the way from warm-up to L6 intervals. It's very important to note that I have a PM and thus I am not dependent on my trainer for this data. If you don't have a PM, I think this becomes a central issue.
     
  7. Hookyrider

    Hookyrider New Member

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    Ride rollers to become a safer, more efficient, and a better rider!



    Use a resistance trainer to get sick interval workouts under your belt!



    Buy them both, just maybe not the same year, unless you have deep pockets. I can only recommend purchasing “higher” end equipment, since it becomes cheaper over time because it lasts, and you don’t have that nagging feeling “ I should have bought the good one” for the next three years.



    Resistance:

    Fluid: Kurt Kinetic http://www.kurtkinetic.com/ then one of the Cycle-Ops units. For a non-fluid option check out the 1upUSA http://www.1upusa.com/I have two. They work like gangbusters, and the guys at the company are great.



    Buying less expensive models often ends in heart break; leaks, easy to overpower (maybe not this year, but next!) and so on.



    Rollers:

    Just layout the cash and go Kreitler http://www.kreitler.com/ . Mine are 12 years old and still are running as nicely as when new! I have the Dyno-Lite model, for some resistance. You know you are getting somewhere when you can comfortably ride without hands on your rollers! I can’t recommend that trick for the beginner though. A tile floor, and or a door way will go a long way towards getting you started.



    Indoor Workouts:

    I have a library of Spinervals http://www.spinervals.com/ – beats the H, E, double toothpicks out of magazine workouts, watching tour stages, and what ever cock-a-mamy workout ideas there are out there. They are prefect for rainy days, winter training, and some early season “closet training” sessions. You will need a strong and stable trainer (like the units mentioned above) or forget about it.

    ride on

    H
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    When talking about a mag trainer with constant resistance vs. a trainer that has a 'resistance curve' to it, then the progressive resistance actually contributes to the road feel as well.

    However, I wasn't trying to attribute the road feel to the resistance of the trainer in my previous comments -- just mentioning that I wanted more of *both* (resistance and feel). Edit: oops, my earlier post should have said linear 'power' not linear resistance. Corrected. :eek:
     
  9. Brothrmark

    Brothrmark New Member

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    Thanks to all for your advice. It has helped greatly. I'll ride the cold as long as I can, but for when the snow flies I'm leaning toward the best fluid trainer I can afford. I guess I can ride that and watch Dennis Christopher as Dave Stoller in "Breaking Away" riding his roller in the rain for a more complete experience.

    One last question. A colleague of mine owns a Minoura HyperRim magnetic rim drive roller. He loves it. Any experience with this model? it's something our LBS stocks, but it sounds a bit risky to me. Do I really want so much pressure and friction on my rim? And why won't they tell you what THEY ride?
     
  10. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    LOL! Have a buddy or your significant other rev the car, honk, and throw things out the window at you, too. Makes you a 'tough' rider! :D

    FWIW, I've pretty much decided on a Kinetic fluid trainer. You might take a look depending on your budget at the time. Good luck.
     
  11. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I still feel as though this discussion of which trainer to get for extensive indoor training (as opposed to occasional use for race warmups and the like) is not adequately considering the power meter issue. If one has a PT or SRM, it is a non-issue. But, if one doesn't have a PT or SRM, I think it should be a very big issue because it's an opportunity to train with power at a relatively small incremental cost. Increasingly, trainers are being offered with power data. Unfortunately, many of them are highly inaccurate as other threads on this subject have pointed out. If I still lived in a climate that forced me indoors for several months a year and if I did not have a PM, I would only consider trainers with accurate PMs.
     
  12. brandyleigh35

    brandyleigh35 New Member

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    My husband and I recently purchased two of the Cycle ops fluid II trainers. We have not had to use them a bunch yet, but they are definitely a good workout. I have noticed a big difference in my hill climbing strength from using it, and the resistance is great. I did quite a bit of research before purchasing these, and have been very pleased with their quality and performance. We bought them off of EBAY for $180.00 plus shipping. Great price, and very easy to assemble too.

    Brandy
     
  13. Hookyrider

    Hookyrider New Member

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    Rpdad

    I think the discussion was simply about what to use when the weather got bad, and cold. While I agree SRMs and P-taps are fantastic pieces of equipment, and could be very helpful with fine tuning any workout. I’ve had a P-Tap on my wish list for three years now!







    BrotherMark

    Ultimately a resistance trainer will help get you fitter than a set of rollers, however a set of rollers will get you fit, and you’ll look like a pro when the roads clear, the only problem is you simply cannot do the ultra high intensity work on a set of rollers without risking injury like you can on a quality resistance trainer. (When I was living in Alaska several years ago I put 1800 miles on my rollers one winter, aerobically I was a machine, but truth be told I was very easy to drop!)



    As far as resistance trainers that use the braking surface of the rim to create resistance, I don’t have much experience with them. I do have two friends that own their own bike shops, and they will not sell them. That was enough for me to pass on that type of unit. You may want something more scientific than that.



    Mag units resistance is linear and are not progressive and riding in the real world loads are progressive. So if you are looking for a more realistic load feel Fluid or a 1up is the only way to go. Super cheap fluid trainers are cheap for a reason, avoid them.





    Hope this helps a bit



    H
     
  14. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    For this reason, I use rollers!
     
  15. Hookyrider

    Hookyrider New Member

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    ??You specifically use rollers to get or avoid high intensity training??



    Once when I was sick in the mind I did a 7 mile TT on my rollers, not really a "great idea" but I did it and will not do it again. I know it was tough, since I basically collapsed off the rollers and bike onto the floor when I was finished, which was the real problem. A beginner would have more than likely zipped off the drums…



    Pulling off intensity on rollers can be done; it's just not really safe or smart. Now comparing to the intensity that can be achieved on a quality resistance trainer, there is no call for such ridiculous behavior.



    Using only rollers will make you super smooth, and you can develop some nice aerobic capacity, but without being able to crank up the heat (intervals/and high workloads) you will be dropped like a hot rock when your so called buddies light it up, you need to go up a hill, or a nasty headwind takes you on. To really get somewhere you need to explore your LT once in a while and rollers ain’t the place. There is a ton of great books out there, Joe Friel, Chris C., etc they all have a lot in common with what they are saying.



    Now a-days I’ll do a kicking resistance/interval (45-70 minutes) workout, then move over to my rollers and spin for 20-60 additional minutes depending on my goals. This maximizes my time for training since I can control every portion of my workout, which is important with the lack of time I’ve been facing here of late.



    Ride on broham



    HR - out
     
  16. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    I think PM's are important, but the only trainer gives accurate power output is the computrainer, right? You can get a powertap and a cheap trainer for less $$ than a computrainer.
     
  17. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I don't know which trainers have accurate power. I haven't researched them in detail because my bike has a PM and all I need is a simple, cheap trainer. I only know that some of them with power are apparently not accurate and consistent throughout the power range. This will be a rapidly evolving area, due to the increasing popularity and recognition of the training value of PMs. I don't know which mfgrs. will introduce trainers with accurate power, but I would anticipate a multitude of choices in the near future and there may be good choices today. I'm basically saying that if one doesn't have a PM on their bike, a trainer with power should be considered for winter training.
     
  18. 3_days

    3_days New Member

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    I've been using my Cycle-Ops Mag for over a year now. I put in around 6000 miles last year and over half of them went on the trainer.

    I'm looking to upgrade and I want something that offers a setting with high resistance. Any opinions on certain brands/models?
     
  19. Flatscan

    Flatscan New Member

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    If you only get one indoor unit, go with a good trainer. I have a 1Up and like it, and the Kurt Kinetic Fluid looks nice. I also have Kreitler Rollers (large drum, very little resistance) that I haven't ridden recently. They'll probably come out for "epic" weekend rides paired with DVD marathons, but any short workouts will be done on the trainer.

    I believe only the most expensive trainers, e.g. Computrainer or Velodyne, have accurate power. I've read reviews from which I've inferred that the Tacx i-Magic does not have accurate power. Kurt Kinetic offers a "power" computer that merely does the conversion from wheel speed to power using an assumed speed/power curve for their trainers. I assume that this method is definitely used on any trainer less than $500 due to its inexpensive execution. It would work fine, except that informal studies using on-bike PMs have shown that resistance varies widely between different units of the same make and model as well as the existence of heat-related fade, where resistance decreases as the unit heats up. Resistance also depends on tire pressure and how tightly the roller is pressed against the tire. I plan on recording my own speed/power graphs using my PT, and doing it for my friends' trainers if they're interested.
     
  20. e-doc

    e-doc New Member

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    Have Tacx rollers for 17 years. They didn't get used much early but alot last 4-5 years. I have mag resistance but use seldom.(I need to look into fluid resistance.) I tend to watch Spinerval videos or else spin for an hour. My time is limited with work and family so I tend to use them in the winter or at night when everyone asleep or when weather bad outside. I used to race but now I ride for enjoyment (though I may start track riding.) I can get good leg speed and a pretty hard workout with the videos. They keep me in aerobic shape over the winter ( I have climbed Mts Rainier, Hood, etc and they kept me in shape for those.) My jump and sprint are as good as they were 10 years ago. Just my 2 cents.
     
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