Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

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Photo of a cyclist training in a green Kinetic Road Machine Control Bike trainer. Best Bike Trainers.

Hitting the open road and getting a good workout on your bike is a fantastic way to spend your day. However, when the weather darkens or you find yourself unable to get to your preferred routes, you may turn your attention to a turbo trainer, also known as a bike trainer.

While they used to be rolling pressings that you could just balance on as you cycle, there are all sorts of modern versions now that offer you no end of comfort, workout planning, and other bells and whistles to help you see that the world is your oyster. If you have done research on what are the best bike trainers and you find yourself a little overwhelmed with the options, fear not.

Here we have the best bike trainers to consider for a great indoor quality workout, laid out, and focused on all of the different features that you need to know for the right pick.

Key Takeaways:

  • Variety of Bike Trainers: There are different types of bike trainers available, including magnetic trainers, fluid trainers, direct-drive trainers, and smart trainers, each offering distinct features and benefits.
  • Magnetic Trainers: Magnetic trainers use a magnetic flywheel to create resistance on the back wheel of your bicycle. They are basic but effective for cyclists looking to work on resistance training.
  • Fluid Trainers: Fluid trainers use fluid instead of a magnet for resistance, providing a smoother and more realistic road-cycling experience. They are quieter and offer a comfortable ride.
  • Direct Drive Trainers: Direct drive trainers integrate your bike into the stand, eliminating tire wear and offering a professional experience. They are more expensive but require less maintenance.
  • Smart Trainers: Smart trainers are designed to work with Bluetooth-enabled devices and apps, offering a virtual cycling experience and customizable workouts. They are suitable for those wanting a more interactive training session.
  • Factors to Consider When Choosing: Consider factors like durability, professionalism, noise level, resistance type, and integration with apps when selecting a bike trainer that suits your individual needs and preferences. Price may also reflect the quality and features of the trainer.
Table of Contents show
Best for Road and MTBs
Saris CycleOps H3 Direct Drive Bike Trainer
Saris CycleOps H3 Direct Drive Bike Trainer
Cutting-edge direct drive trainer perfect for road and off-road enthusiasts. Experience consistent electromagnetic resistance for a precise workout. Enhances comfort, posture, endurance, and offers smooth resistance adjustments. See Product
Best Budget
Saris CycleOps Basic Mag Smart Bike Trainer
Saris CycleOps Basic Mag Smart Bike Trainer
Affordable and reliable bike trainer with adjustable linear resistance. Perfect for budget-conscious riders seeking a quality workout experience. Compatible with Zwift for added tech engagement. Offers 5 resistance levels and speed/cadence tracking. See Product
Best Value
Kinetic Road Machine Control Bike Trainer
Kinetic Road Machine Control Bike Trainer
This model is an excellent investment for budget-conscious buyers seeking a top-notch bike trainer. Its comfortable and natural rocking motion enhances the experience, while versatile app connectivity offers interactive and smooth workouts. See Product
Best Budget-Friendly
Kinetic Road Machine 2 Smart Bike Trainer
Kinetic Road Machine 2 Smart Bike Trainer
This smart bike trainer combines affordability and comfort. Lightweight and easy to set up, it’s ideal for virtual biking communities like Zwift, offering a realistic experience with fluid resistance and controlled progression. See Product
Best For Storage
Tacx Booster Bike Trainer
Tacx Booster Bike Trainer
The Tacx Booster stationary model offers convenient, space-saving training. It simulates road cycling while fitting into limited areas. It provides easy resistance adjustment and quick setup, making it suitable for beginners and pros alike. See Product
Best Direct-Drive
Flair Espresso Maker Pro 2 Best Manual
Wahoo Kickr Bike Trainer
This direct-drive bike trainer stands out for its powerful indoor cycling experience. Highly customizable resistance, software integrations, and consistent power make it a motivating choice for true workouts. Bluetooth-enabled for personalized sessions. See Product

What are the best bike trainers for 2020?

The kind of bike trainer that you choose is going to be based a lot on what you think will give you the best ride and workout. The first step to figuring that out is understanding the different kinds of trainers that are out there.

Firstly, the trainers that you are about to learn about are very different from a stationary bike. These are designed to help further training that classic cyclists are used to feeling out on the road. They offer different features and details, sure, but they are geared toward the classic cyclist rather than someone who is just looking to cycle and sweat. Without further ado: 

  • Magnetic trainers: This particular kind of turbo trainer uses a magnetic flywheel that will create resistance on the back wheel of your bicycle. As far as bike trainers go, it’s considered to be one of the more basic levels. For cyclists that really want to work specifically with resistance, this is a great trainer to consider. It will keep it set and fixed throughout the ride and is wonderful for those that just want to hook up and go.
  • Fluid trainers: These also use a flywheel, but they use fluid instead of a magnet. This creates smoother and hydraulic-based rotation that many cyclists find feels a bit more realistic to road-cycling than the magnetic trainers. When you want a bike stand that is quiet, smooth, and accurate to cycling on the road for the best experience and comfort, a fluid trainer could be the best match for your needs.
  • Direct drive trainers: For those that don’t want to have to put wear and tear on their tires or have to buy special tires to use turbo trainer, direct-drive trainers are designed to integrate your bike easily into the bike stand itself. This ensures no slips or other common issues that can happen with other trainers if you don’t set them up properly.  As far as professionalism is concerned, direct-drive trainers are the go-to for those that are hard-working cyclists and want to become elite and professional. They often are more expensive than the other kind of trainers, but often require less maintenance or replacement parts over time.
  • Smart trainers: One of the new additions to the world of professional turbo trainers is smart trainers! As you can probably guess, these are designed to work with Bluetooth-enabled devices. Some of these work with devices and apps such as Ant+ or Zwift. There is quite a range of full software options and apps that can design workouts for you and help you join the virtual world of professional cycling. If you are someone that really enjoys the idea of taking their workout to the next level, a smart trainer is certainly a great option.

Best Bike Trainers – Reviews

1. Saris CycleOps H3 Direct Drive Bike Trainer (Best stationary for road and mtbs)

Saris CycleOps H3 Direct Drive Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

This direct drive trainer is going to be a huge seller to those who love biking both on and off the road. You won’t need to worry about integrating external sensors or keeping yourself consistent, this uses electromagnetic resistance to give you a consistent and measured workout from start to finish every single time. Offering precise training with a 2% power accuracy and precision, it’s a great model to consider when looking at really fine-tuning your workout on a bike trainer.

Successfully helping riders feel as though they really are biking uphill with its control over resistance, it’s well appreciated for its smooth ride even when switching resistance levels throughout the workout. It is loved specifically for keeping cyclists in shape between seasons and also help improve their overall comfort with their posture and endurance.

Key features

  • Very quiet to operate even when using a lot of resistance. The loudest part of this is the sheer sound of the drivetrain and/or your music.
  • This trainer offers a smooth ride and really promotes the realism of the whole experience. Many users feel like they are really out in the world on their bikes.
  • The flywheel is precision-balanced for an accurate and safe ride every single time to perfect the rider experience and prevent a need for maintenance.


✔️ Resistance changes are fast and effortless
✔️ Quieter than a lot of the direct-drive models
✔️ Works with your favorite apps
✔️ Fast to just “plug in and go”


⛔ Companion app known for crashes
⛔ Can be inaccurate registering cadence and resistance levels
⛔ A bit high in price when compared to other bike trainers

Working with both mountain bikes and road bikes, this is a quiet direct-drive bike trainer that is designed to give athletes a home-based way to stay in shape between biking seasons. While it has a few glitches mostly thanks to modern technology, it’s a great trainer when the smooth ride is the key detail you want to focus on.


2. Saris CycleOps Basic Mag Smart Bike Trainer (Best budget stationary trainer)

Saris Basic Mag Bike Trainer Review 1 - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

When budget is the main feature that you want to keep in mind, you’ll find this bike trainer to be the trustworthy option for a quality ride. While it may not have as many bells and whistles as the higher-end models, it works by connecting and controlling the rear wheel of your bike and offering you an adjustable ride with linear resistance. This tends to be a great selection for those that want to enjoy a bike-bound workout but don’t need to have the elite, high-end intense workouts that a lot of the more professional bike trainers offer.

Working with Zwift, when you set the resistance to the level of 5, this will give those tech tracking riders a little something without having to set everything up with mobile apps, either. It’s a nice combination when enjoying a workout at your own speed. This is popular amongst those riders who are forced to stay in the lower ranges for budget but still want to enjoy a quality ride in their home. 

Key features

  • This trainer offers you 5 adjustable levels of linear resistance so that you can really feel the burn as you see fit
  • Includes a speed or cadence sensor so that you can make sure that you are keeping consistent throughout the workout
  • Easy to connect to the rear wheel of your bike and set up for a workout


✔️ Budget friendly
✔️ Resistance is magnetic for more consistency
✔️ Quiet to ride
✔️ Great for enjoying a casual ride with a workout component


⛔ Relatively low tech compared to other friction bike trainers
⛔ Must choose to monitor speed or cadence, can’t monitor both at the same time
⛔ Less resistance compared to other trainers
⛔ Can be challenging for beginners to use

Overall, the focus with the Saris Basic Mag Smart Bike Trainer stays more on the ride and less on the plug-ins and tracking. It will be your budget-friendly option for enjoying a workout and won’t overwhelm the rider that prefers keeping them straight-forward with just the basic app technology.


3. Kinetic Road Machine Control Bike Trainer (Best value bike trainer)

Kinetic Road Machine Control Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

Since you need to make sure that you’re spending your cash on the best bike trainer that you can afford, this model is going to be a helpful option to seriously consider. One of the best details about this trainer is that it is well-loved even by those who are experienced, professional bikers. The motion of the trainer is comfortable and natural in its rocking, and it is relatively easy to set up and use.

It also is enjoyed for its versatile connectivity with all of the best and preferred apps. This is especially so with those who really enjoy the idea of designing a workout with changing resistance and even accurate biking rides to certain popular biking areas. You can create, control, and enjoy a workout entirely designed on an app. The ride itself will be smooth and comfortable even by the pro’s standards. 

Key features

  • Focuses on providing an interactive experience for those cyclists that really enjoy app-controlled rides in both planning, execution, and control. Also works with major apps and other add-ons for tracking 
  • Offers natural rocking back and forth to give you more options for core training as well as a natural feeling like you are on the road. This is a lot more natural in comparison to other models.
  • Provides automatic resistance that is controlled with an app as well as a magnetically powered resistance for better fluidity throughout the workout. Helps develop a rhythm and get a handle on cadence too.


✔️ Works with virtually any and all bikes for versatility
✔️ Compatible with Ant+, Zwift, and more
✔️ Easy to use and set up
✔️ Quiet and offers a smooth ride even for experienced bikers


⛔ Can disconnect from apps while in motion and be hard to reconnect
⛔ The rocking motion can be jarring for beginner riders
⛔ Accuracy for readings not always accurate

While the Kinetic Road Machine Control Bike Trainer has a few bugs to work out when it comes to the software and communication between apps and the device, the trainer itself is going to offer you the best ride and control along with a few of the high tech advantages that the lower quality ones don’t have, for a great price. When you want to balance quality for cost-effectiveness, this is a great leading option.


4. Kinetic Road Machine 2 Smart Bike Trainer (Best budget-friendly smart trainer)

Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

Since it can be hard to look at one of the smart bike trainers and its price tag, this one is going to help you see that you don’t have to have one or the other. This has a very respectable price tag and it’s still going to give you the comfort that you’re looking for in terms of smart functions. One of the best well-loved options for its integration with all kinds of virtual biking communities including the widely used Zwift.

This smart bike trainer is lightweight and easy to set up. It can also be stored when you are ready to put your bike to the pavement for the start of the next season. Offering a comfortable swing and sway so that you feel like you’re out and about, this can be helpful for those who need the authentic feel. 

Key features

  • Uses fluid resistance to help riders enjoy a quiet and consistent ride every time they use this trainer.
  • It offers an easily controlled and progressive resistance so that you can adapt your workout to be more realistic in its feel.
  • Priced competitively, this focuses on offering a smooth and smart-compatible ride for those who aren’t able to look at the higher budget items
  • Offers an easy-grip clutch knob to help with connecting your bike to the trainer. This can be helpful for those with smaller or weaker hands


✔️ Offers consistent rides
✔️ Quiet to operate compared to many friction trainers
✔️ App-friendly and one of the best-priced options with true smart functionality
✔️ Easy to set up and adjust with resistances
✔️ Speed sensor has no magnet


⛔ Doesn’t fit the larger sized bikes easily
⛔ Can be difficult to manage the connection between bike and trainer at first

Simple and sweet but not at the expense of giving the smart functions you’re looking for, this app-friendly bike trainer is thought to be one of the leaders as far as minimal glitches with Zwift and Ant+ while still making sure that the biker gets a comfortable feel that they’re looking for when they train.


5. Tacx Booster Bike Trainer (Best trainer for storage)

Tacx Booster Bike Training - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

Creating space to train during the stormy days or off-season isn’t always possible when that designated space has to change from use to use. That’s why a conveniently stationary model like this one is so useful. The Tacx Booster will help give you a great workout that is going to feel similar to riding the road itself but won’t compromise your floor space or time spent in setting it up.

With all of the controls that you need available with minimal adjustments or adaptations needed, this will give you great resistance training whether you are just starting out or you are experienced in the world of high-end cycling. Moving smoothly and ideal for those with little floor space, it will help you train and refine your biking skill with ease. 

Key features

  • Great for the beginner and professional cyclists who are looking for an easy to set-up and use trainer for off-season.
  • Conveniently located resistance lever on the handlebar to help you monitor and change the resistance with no need to adjust your stance.
  • Designed to set up quickly and to store away easily when not in use. Great for those who like to travel with it or have little space and need to set up and put away daily


✔️ Good value for money given its performance and comfort
✔️ Offers great training especially when it comes to uphill cycling
✔️ Great choice for resistance unit to really give you a workout
✔️ Comes with a quick-release skewer


⛔ Difficult to set up due to the components separating
⛔ Resistance unit can be hard to adjust as you’re riding
⛔ Can vibrate if you use this on a basement or elsewhere with no mat

It seems strange to think about a bike trainer in terms of storage, but it is really reassuring to know that you can find an easy set-up modern trainer and still make sure that it is going to be worth your money as far as the overall quality of the workout itself. When you need to walk that fine line between a quality ride and set up and tear down, this protects both for you.


6. Kinetic Road Machine Fluid Bike Trainer (Best resistance bike trainer)

Kinetic Road Machine Fluid Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

If you’ve got some time in and you know that you enjoy a unit that is known and enjoyed specifically for its resistance, you’ll find this model to be your best bet. It gives you automatically controlled resistance changes and it uses a leak-proof magnetic drive system as well for a smooth session.

Another unique touch to this trainer is that it takes wheels from 22”-29” and it is among the best as far as versatility between models. Those who have used a few trainers before are quick to say that it’s one of the smoothest options as far as overall comfort of use and realistic biking feel. This is enjoyed by various kinds of riders, and many of them explain that this is an impressive trainer because it focuses on a realistic biking experience that, if you close your eyes, it’s like you are back on the road and enjoying the fresh air. 

Key features

  • Road-like feel for those that love hitting the pavement and want to replicate the feeling when they are inside and off-season.
  • Lightweight frame and design that makes it easy to set up and use as needed and then store. It can even be used in a second home or cabin if you need more than one set up. 
  • Realistic, automatic resistance and has plenty of controls and customizations to make sure that you can tailor the training to your needs.


✔️ Bike connects nicely into the model for a secure, stress-free ride
✔️ Great for those who like to coast without interrupting the wheel
✔️ Offers a smooth ride


⛔ Noisier than some units
⛔ Can take you some time and practice to mount your bike into the unit properly

As far as positive impressions go, this bike trainer seems to be well-enjoyed by those who care about the smoothness of the ride as well as the ease of use. While tricky to get used to at first, it offers a vibration-free and smooth, adjustable ride, Its top perk is the coasting cycle and it is unique compared to many trainers that will immediately stop the cycle when you stop pedaling.


7. Wahoo Kickr Bike Trainer (Best direct-drive trainer)

Wahoo KICKR Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

Some like direct-drive bike trainers and some don’t. As far as reviews for direct-drive trainers go, they tend to be well-loved by those who want the powerful cycling experience inside. This one is definitely no exception to the rule. It has a serious amount of power available with its totally customizable resistance, and its ability to create and execute multiple workouts using its still-developing software integrations. For those that want a true workout, this trainer is up to the task.

Providing persistent and dependable direct power, this is a great way to motivate yourself to do your workout. You’ll be able to really feel the power as the resistance automatically adjusts and/adapts to your needs. As far as power is concerned, there’s a lot more than meets the eye to this model. 

Key features

  • Designed to work through Bluetooth for a customizable training session right from your favorite computer or smartphone app.
  • It offers consistent and reliable power that you won’t find from other kinds of trainers or even other direct-drive trainers.
  • If you decide not to use your phone while training, the computer in the trainer will store the data for you so that you can access it later.
  • Fits many kinds and sizes of bikes so that you can use the equipment that you love and still get a quality workout. 
  • It offers a realistic road feel which is helpful for those who are getting cabin fever and want to hit the road. 


✔️ Easy to set up and control
✔️ Quiet and responsive to both the training program and the rider
✔️ Easy to control and adapt resistance


⛔ Heavy and awkward to store when not in use
⛔ Pricy when not all apps work with it
⛔ No quick-release skewer

If direct-drive training is your preferred method, this bike trainer will give you the realistic, powerful, and customizable experience that those higher-end cyclists will crave. While pricy, particularly with its lack of integrated apps to date, it is really effective in its overall operation. As time passes and new software becomes available to work directly with this trainer, the cost may be easier to justify when you need raw power.


8. Wahoo Kickr Snap Bike Trainer (Best wheel-on cycling trainer)

Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Smart Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

Wheel-on bike trainers are really great for those that want to switch regularly between outside and inside cycling. This particular model is going to be helpful for making that as comfortable as possible. Not only does it boast simplicity for setting it up and getting your workout going, it’s also going to fit most sizes of bikes (including 29” wheels, which can be kept from some simpler models). The switch is simple and fast.

The bike trainer itself also focuses on making sure that you feel secure in your ride. Using top quality materials to help secure the bike in place, there s no slicking or tilting or anything that would make you worry about going at full speed just in case the bike comes loose. This holds the bike tightly and securely for a vibration-free training session. While working with the basic apps that you’d expect, this trainer focuses most of its attention on the fact that it is going to put the emphasis on cycling and keep the fiddling with the computers to a minimum. 

Key features

  • Made from lightweight but high-end materials so that it will stay firmly in place on the floor even during an intense workout.
  • Provides consistent power measurement with a 5% accuracy difference to help you track your stats in real-time.
  • Works with your favorite app or other software so that you can adjust your resistance and create a true workout that will make you feel the burn
  • Keeps the communications simple between smartphones and computers which means that you’ll spend less time fiddling and troubleshooting, and more time working out


✔️ Easy to switch between inside and outside training
✔️ Great value for money
✔️ Offers impressive performance amongst wheel-on models
✔️ Minimal effort to set up


⛔ Power measurement can be inaccurate and require calibration
⛔ Relies on power to operate even at base function

When you are the cyclist that wants to switch from inside to outside training and you want a trainer that can give you that comfort, hard-core workout for your time, this is a great wheel-on trainer to consider. It will offer power, control, a sense of stability that you don’t find for the lower price tags, normally, and all with the bells and whistles when it comes to app functionalities that you rely on and look for to make your workout better and stronger.


9. Saris Cycleops Fluid2 Bike Trainer (Best for fluid training)

Saris CycleOps Fluid2 Smart Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

If a smooth ride is your priority detail in a professional bike trainer, you’ll find this model to offer a lot of comfort and professionalism, even in the small details. Simple and sweet — in a good way — this promotes a smooth ride that only a fluid trainer can offer you, and it is well-loved by novices as well as those who are experienced cyclists.

The main selling feature to this trainer is that the flywheel uses a relatively revolutionary fan to help you ride as hard as you want, for as long as you want. Unlike other models that would need time to cool off between hard pedaling, such as uphill training, this one is designed to match your pace until you’ve decided you’ve had enough. It is also easy to set up and adjust between workouts. 

Key features

  • Smooth road-like sense of power can help you feel as though you are on the road even when you are training inside.
  • The flywheel features a fan that will help you work harder for longer with no wear and tear to your trainer.
  • Provides a consistent, carefully monitored resistance so that you can keep it the same throughout the workout and then change it for the next one, etc.
  • Great way to further your training inside so that you can hit the pavement stronger than ever when better weather comes.


✔️ Solid feel for better trust
✔️ Well-built with minimal adjustments needed
✔️ Easy to set up
✔️ Quiet to operate and smooth


⛔ Maximum resistance may not be strong enough for professional cyclists

While experts may find that this is a little below their needs specifically when it comes to the resistance, these who are simply looking to further their training will find this to be especially effective. Many users find that both the smooth overall feel of the trainer, as well as the impressive control over the resistance — which stays consistent through an entire workout — give them a better overall control for their training. When used regularly during off-season, many cyclists feel that they can notice a positive difference both during their machine-bound training as well as hitting the pavement again. For those that like the idea of training especially, this is a good machine for that.


10. Tacx Neo 2T Bike Trainer (Quietest smart trainer for Zwift)

Tacx Neo 2T Smart Bike Trainer - Best Bike Trainers: Comprehensive Reviews

There are a lot of “smart” trainers out there, but when you’re looking one that works seamlessly with Zwift — as well as other popular apps — this is a great trainer to consider. You get all sorts of fancy features to play with, including a controllable road feel that switches road types and accurate cadence measurement.

As far as the trainer itself, its made with the newest technologies that keep it impressively minimalistic and also make sure that you aren’t shifting or vibrating when working on hard cycling. This is still, vibration-free, and a great option for those that find most models to be too noisy. For a ride that is going to feel so real, and still be completely within your control, this smart bike trainer will amaze even the expert rider that knows the feel of the road. 

Key features

  • Silent design means that those who are particularly worried about neighbor complaints or schedule disruptions can workout with no one the wiser.
  • Unique option of changing the road feel so that you can get experience with asphalt, bottle stone and even gravel.
  • Impressive difference of only 1% accuracy in measuring the cadence during your workout.
  • Adjusts for weight and other factors when you are looking for a realistic, inertia-bound ride that mimics the road feel and ride experience.


✔️ Virtually silent
✔️ Minimalistic set up for easy storage
✔️ Many perks for those who like a smart trainer
✔️ Helps measure and analyze pedal use


⛔ Expensive for those who are looking just for a simple bike training machine
⛔ Lots of bells and whistles can be overwhelming for new users 

When you need a smart trainer that is going to give you all sorts of features to enjoy and customize to your heart’s content, this is it. This is also a great trainer to consider when you are looking for volume and disturbance (as far as housemates or neighbors). While the price tag can make some shy away, and it may be “overdoing it” for those that just want to be able to cycle inside, it is worth the investment when you know that those special features will make it worthwhile for your cycling health.


Buying guide – How to choose the best trainer for you

When looking at making the decision on what makes a trainer good for you (or not the right fit), here are the key details to keep in mind when making your decision. These will all differ in worth when it comes to your needs as an individual. What’s best for you may not be best for another cyclist, and vice versa. 

Durability and professionalism

The higher in price, the better the materials and professionalism are going to be, of course. However, you don’t need to pay top dollar in order to enjoy your choice. Take a look at the reviews of the best bike trainers below and see that quite a few of them focus on minimizing vibration and keeping the bike locked in place. This helps you have the confidence to workout without having a top-priced trainer. You can enjoy safety and professionalism at a lower price point, you just need to shop in the right place. 

  • Ease of use and storage: Some trainers require more fiddling than others. If you want to just set up and go, you’ll probably find yourself more interested in direct drive trainers. However, if you like changing between on-road cycling and trainer-bound cycling, something like a fluid trainer may be a serious contender. Then there’s the whole storage component when not in use. If you hate the idea of taking things apart to store your trainer, you’ll want to go with a more simple design rather than the advanced ones that should more or less be left out. 
  • Its focus: Another aspect is that trainers tend to focus on different details. Some like to simulate the realism of the road such as the smart trainers. Some bike stands imitate the sway of the bike well. Others will focus on keeping the bike as stable as possible. What matters most to you? What do you want from your trainer? The way that you prefer to ride will determine what is going to be the best for you.
  • Its app integration: As the years go on, more and more trainers will be ready to work with your favorite biking apps. If this is something that you really rely on for quality training, you’ll find the smart bike trainers to be the best ones for you right off the bat. There are quite a few that will focus on the quality of ride and smart functionality, though, so don’t knock the simpler options. 

Features to consider

So, now that you know all about the different top 10 bike trainers for cyclists, it’s time to figure out what details you should consider when making your choice. Across all the options on the up there, here are the key things you are going to want to focus on.

  • Ease of set up and use and maintenance: When choosing a bike trainer for your home, take a moment to consider the energy that you want to put into it. Some of them are easier to set up and use than others. For instance, direct-drive machines take more effort to set up than wheel-on bike trainers. Some models also need more maintenance than others, from the hardware to the software. Keep that in mind. 
  • Noise and vibration levels: If you’re looking to train and you have neighbors prone to complaining and/or other noise-related issues, you’ll want to take a look at the models in noise and vibration, both.  Make sure you get a mat to limit and muffle vibrations, Also, take the time to really consider the fluid trainers or the direct drive trainers, as both of those tend to be quieter overall. 
  • Portability and storage: Some are easy to tuck away and store, or travel with on a moment’s notice, and others just aren’t. If storage and space are going to be contributing factors, you’ll need to use that as a picking criterion. Remember too that different versions of some trainers can vary in their portability, too, so make sure that you are getting the exact model you’ve seen online and not the next generation!
  • The realism of being on the road: Lastly, the road feel. If you want the true feel of cycling on the road, some trainers use that as a focus point, and others are just more geared toward a quality workout under more general exertion. Take some time to see what customers are saying specifically about the road-like feel as well as the movement of the bike itself on the trainer. 

Additional features

Also take some time to take a look at the different smart functions. While quite a few of these actually work with popular apps such as Zwift, there are some trainers that are smarter than others. Make sure that you are ok with the level of smart integration of your trainer, or you may be disappointed! Conversely, if you just want a simple and sweet trainer, make sure you aren’t getting something too focused on smart features!

FAQ: Best Bike Trainers

What is a smart trainer?

A smart trainer is an indoor bike trainer that can connect to your smartphone, tablet, or computer to provide a more interactive and immersive cycling experience. It can adjust resistance and simulate real-world conditions while you train.

How do smart trainers work?

Smart trainers use various technologies such as Bluetooth and ANT+ to communicate with cycling apps or software. These apps control the resistance and provide data feedback, allowing you to track your performance and ride virtual routes.

Are smart trainers better than traditional trainers?

Smart trainers offer a more engaging and realistic training experience compared to traditional trainers. They allow you to simulate outdoor rides, compete with other cyclists, and track your progress more accurately.

What is the best smart trainer for indoor cycling?

The Tacx Neo 2T Smart Trainer and Wahoo KICKR are two top-rated smart trainers for indoor cycling. They offer advanced features, accurate power measurement, and a realistic road feel.

Can I use a regular bike on a smart trainer?

Yes, you can use your regular road or mountain bike on a smart trainer. Most smart trainers are compatible with standard bike frames and can accommodate various wheel sizes.

How do I connect my smart trainer to Zwift?

To connect your smart trainer to Zwift, you need to use a compatible device (smartphone, tablet, or computer) and connect it to your trainer using Bluetooth or ANT+. Zwift will detect your trainer, and you can start using it within the app.

What is the Zwift Hub Smart Trainer?

The Zwift Hub Smart Trainer is a feature in Zwift that allows you to control your smart trainer’s resistance and adjust cycling difficulty levels. It enhances the overall Zwift experience and makes your indoor rides more challenging and interactive.

Are there any affordable options for smart trainers?

Yes, the Saris H3 and Sportneer Bike Trainer Stand are affordable smart trainers that offer good value for money. They provide accurate power measurement and adjustable resistance for an effective indoor cycling workout.

What are the different types of bike trainers available?

There are three main types of bike trainers: direct-drive trainers, wheel-on trainers, and roller trainers. Direct-drive trainers offer a more realistic ride feel, while wheel-on trainers are easier to set up and use. Roller trainers require balance and are suitable for more experienced riders.

What is the best bang for your buck smart trainer?

The Tacx Flow Smart and Saris H3 are considered great value-for-money options in the smart trainer market. They offer reliable performance, accurate power measurement, and compatibility with popular cycling apps.

Can you change gears on a bike trainer?

As far as whether you can actually change gears on a bike trainer, yes. As far as whether you can control them during a workout, it depends on your trainer and your workout itself. If you are going with a training app or program that has designed your workout and is executing it for you, you will not be able to — or need — to shift gears when cycling. The app knows what level of resistance you need and what gear you should be in as far as your workout goals.

Can you use a mountain bike on a turbo trainer?

Yes, you can definitely use a mountain bike on a turbo trainer, which is good news. Since the wheel sizes match the requirements of the trainer (most bike trainers will accept up to 29” wheels), you can easily use your mountain bike on an indoor bike trainer. The beings aid, it might be helpful to consider switching to another tire with a smaller tread than you’re used to with your mountain bike. This will keep you from prematurely wearing out the tire tread and needing to replace it. Plus, it helps keep the noise down too!

Should you have a riser block to use on a bike trainer?

This often comes down to deciding what you want to spend your money on. While the best rule of thumb is always to have all of the recommended accessories for safety and comfort in your workouts, there are many users that say you can get the same benefit from using an outdated phonebook. If you are a beginner and you prioritize safety, it’s a good idea to get the riser that matches your bike trainer and allows you to keep your bike leveled while training.

Is there a maximum weight capacity for a bike trainer?

As with a lot of different pieces of workout gear out there, you’ll want to check with the particular unit that you’re considering. As a general rule, most can hold up to 250 lbs to 300 lbs (113 kg to 136 kg) per use. If you are near that amount or you want to be extra sure, consider the idea of talking to someone who works at customer service for the model that you want. They’ll be able to give you the most accurate specs and they may even be able to suggest a similar model if you need something a little more adequate for you. 

Is a direct drive trainer worth it?

A lot of this comes down to understanding what you want to get out of your training. If you are someone that wants the best of the best in workouts, smart features, the comfort of use, and the least amount of wear on your bike, a direct drive trainer is certainly a great idea to consider.

However, they also require the biggest investment because they are very fine-tuned machines. Many professionals find that they are just as happy on professional fluid trainers as they are on direct drive, and others say that direct-drive trainers will be the way of the future.

Do you need a special tire for a bike trainer?

If you are going with a direct drive trainer, you don’t need a special tire because, well, you don’t need a tire! If you are going with a wheel-on trainer, however, your current tire size will determine whether you need to have a training tire or not. As mentioned above, you can use tires that are right up to 29”, but the tread is going to be one of the important features to consider.

The more you use your trainer, the more rubbing and wear there is on your tire. Some riders decide to buy cheaper tires for riding inside because they aren’t as big of an investment. Since tire wear is a common part of the training, you will go through tires a bit faster than if you were going with a direct drive trainer.

So getting a special tire is recommended for those who use a mountain bike (or a traditional bike with a deep tread), but what kind of tire you decide to switch out is going to be your call.

The Final Word

If you’re really interested in cycling and you want to continue your workouts even off-season, a bike trainer is going to be the best call. Whether you go for a smart bike trainer or something more classic like a magnetic trainer, the options and training potential are endless. The best bike trainers for indoor cycling are all designed to give you the comfort and professionalism that you’re going for, it’s up to you to determine which of these is going to be the best ride for you in particular.