I can’t describe how much I love indoor trainers. They allow me to carry on with my training year-round, even during winter. You don’t have to push yourself into going out in the freezing temperatures where you can’t even cycle properly.
Nevertheless, when you go shopping for a trainer, the number of products can be confusing. And honestly, many of them are more than perfect.
Today, I’ll take you a step forward by introducing one of my favorite trainers, Saris Basic Mag Bike Trainer. We’ll see how it performs, what could be better, and what are the alternatives.
This is where I’ll review the Saris Mag trainer from a technical point of view. We’ll take a look at its technology and how it might affect your performance.
It Works via Magnets
If you haven’t already figured it out, Saris Mag is short for Saris Magnetic. As the name implies, it depends on magnetic repulsion to provide resistance.
As you can see in the product image, it has a small circular compartment on one of its sides. When your bike wheel moves, it rotates the resistance roller, which rotates a metal disc inside the compartment.
To resist the disc movement, Saris put a bunch of magnets to create a magnetic field. This way, you can pedal on your bike for a long time without worrying about overheating your trainer.
You Can Increase the Resistance
What happens when you move two similar magnetic poles toward each other? They repel stronger, don’t they? You can increase the Saris Mag resistance in a similar way.
Opposite to the magnetic container, you should find a rotating knob numbered from 1 to 5. When you turn this knob, the trainer’s magnets move in a way that intensifies the field. This way, it’ll feel harder to cycle.
Size & Weight
When folded, the Saris Mag trainer measures 22 inches in length, 20 inches in width, and 7 inches in height. You can basically take it anywhere you want since it only weighs 17 pounds.
After you finish training, it’s possible to store it upright to cut down on the footprint. However, it won’t be stable that way.
What I Like
Reviewing the technical features isn’t enough. In this section, I’ll explain what I liked about Saris Mag on a personal level, especially after reviewing its alternatives.
It’s Quieter Than Wind Trainers
Testing the noise of bike trainers can be somewhat tricky. Clearly, you can’t have 0% noise since the bike itself is contributing to the sound. Something as little as the tire pattern can also produce a large part of that annoying noise.
Nevertheless, if we used the same bike for testing multiple trainers, the difference will start to unfold. In action, the Saris Mag is a lot quieter than any wind trainer. And it actually makes sense. Because wind trainers actively disturb the air, they should be the loudest.
However, the Saris Mag would probably lose against any fluid trainer. The CycleOps Fluid 2, for example, is much less annoying. This is quite expectable since the fluid dampens the sound waves to a large extent.
So all in all, Saris Mag offers a pretty acceptable noise. Not the quietest, but it won’t annoy your neighbors.
It’s More Affordable
Without a doubt, magnetic trainers are the ultimate choice for cyclists tight on budget.
Typically, fluid trainers come at nearly double the cost of Saris Mag. This can be justified by the special fluid they have to enclose in order to give resistance.
Wind trainers are undoubtedly the most expensive. They have to be meticulously designed in order to properly resist the air.
Since Saris Mag doesn’t have a flywheel, handlebar-mounted switch, or resistance fluid, it’s definitely the most affordable option.
What I Don’t Like
I hate it when reviewers keep praising a certain product like it has nothing wrong. In this section, I’ll unbiasedly explain what might be bad about Saris Mag and how this can affect your experience.
The Resistance Adjustment Method Is a Bit Outdated
As I said earlier, the Saris Mag trainer has a small knob on the side to control the resistance. If you do a quick google search, you’ll realize that the market is full of more convenient options.
We don’t even have to search for other brands. For instance, the Saris Mag+ trainer is equipped with a wired shifter that can be mounted on the bike’s handlebar.
By effortlessly flipping this shifter back and forth, the resistance changes. Best of all, the price difference between these two models isn’t that large.
Don’t want to bother with switches at all? Saris also produces a model called SuperMagneto Pro for a slightly higher price. Although it has a resistance knob, you won’t have to use it since the trainer automatically regulates the resistance.
Therefore, if you can afford to pay more, it would be better to reconsider your options.
It Doesn’t Have a Flywheel
If you want to experience the same feeling of road cycling, Saris Mag won’t be the best product. To know why, we have to compare it against another Saris trainer, CycleOps Fluid 2. By taking a look at this trainer, you should notice a large fan opposite to the fluid reservoir.
This fan is actually called “flywheel”. Without getting into technical engineering, the flywheel is designed in a way that permits it to preserve momentum. In simpler words, it’ll keep rotating the wheel of the bike for a while after you stop pedaling.
Since Saris Mag lacks this part, the bike’s wheel stops relatively faster. As a result, the coasting and pedaling won’t have the same natural sense of the actual road cycling.
What Do the Customers Say?
Generally speaking, the Saris Mag reviews are pretty positive. One customer says that it worked just fine after 2 years of intensive use. He complained about how it can wear a bike tire quite fast, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you used a training tire.
On the downside, one customer was unsatisfied by the amount of resistance it provides. He said that even the biggest setting felt a bit weak. As an alternative, he tried the CycleOps Fluid 2 and it worked perfectly.
In another review, a customer was happy by how easy the installation was. She said the instruction manual was clear enough to guide her into every step.
The Final Word
To be honest, you can probably find better options with more advanced technology if you’re willing to pay a bit more.
If you’re restricted on budget, however, Saris Basic Mag Bike Trainer would be hands down the best option. With its magnetic technology, you’ll get acceptable performance with little heat and noise. Best of all, it can suit more than one cyclist since you can adjust the resistance.
In the long run, many reviews praised its durability. This is absolutely good news since affordable products usually break before the first year.
All in all, it all comes down to your current budget vs. goal. Keep in mind you can also evaluate other possibilities through the guide I put together; different options might shed a light on the right product for your needs. Sometimes a little more effort money wise makes all the difference in your experience, I’m an advocate for that.