Best Bike Trainers
Although year-round outdoor cycling is the ideal situation, for many of us it isn’t possible. Cold winter conditions, heavy rain, snow, and ice have stopped us from using our bikes in the past, so having a backup plan is important.
With the help of a bike trainer, you can continue riding throughout the year, maintaining or even improving your fitness during that time.
Other key benefits of a good bike trainer are they provide a realistic ride experience (using your own bike), they allow you to exercise in the comfort of your home, and they can also be used to warm up and cool down for a race or a regular workout.
Quick Buying Guide
The best bike trainers have:
- Integrate with training software like Zwift
- Work quietly and smoothly
- Are stable and durable
- Record all of your metrics like power and cadence
- Simulate gradients to give you a realistic feel
Bike Trainer vs Bike Roller
The main difference between trainers and rollers is the bike is connected to the bike trainer, whereas the bike is balancing on the rollers. This means that it is much easier to ride on a bike trainer, rollers require more balance and concentration.
Bike trainers are better for interval or sprint workouts, rollers are better for long, steady rides.
What is a Fluid Trainer
Fluid trainers combine a flywheel with an outer shell containing liquid, to provide an increasing level of resistance from pedaling, and maintain momentum, giving this type of trainer a very realistic road feel.
The faster you pedal, the quicker the water turns within the roller, which generates heat, making the liquid more viscous. This in turn increases the pedaling resistance.
What is a Turbo Trainer
Turbo trainers is another name for the whole category of bike trainers that you use to cycle indoors, or wireless turbo trainers can also be used outside to warm up or cool down for a ride. They include wind, fluid, magnetic, and smart trainers.
Best Bike Rollers
Like a treadmill for your bike
Bike rollers are an excellent way to keep fit and practice your technique while staying indoors. Rollers are highly compatible as your bike rolls on top of the bars instead of being fixed to the device.
Because it isn’t attached, you must focus on balancing, helping you improve your handling, balancing ability, and practice your pedaling stroke while also giving a realistic road feel.
Cheap rollers don’t create any riding resistance, whereas new or premium rollers sometimes use magnets to create resistance. This means, in general, they are better suited to developing techniques than strength.
The best rollers are quiet, lightweight, compact and foldable, and durable.
Saris Aluminum Rollers
The Saris aluminum rollers are a durable and quiet option that doesn’t break the bank.
These rollers have no moving parts and use magnetic resistance, making them very quiet. These rollers also fold up flat or can stand on end making them easy to store or transport when needed.
This set is highly adjustable, fitting wheelbases measuring between 37.5″ to 44.5″ axle to axle. Finally, rubber foot pads ensure the only moving part is the drums, providing a highly secure and sturdy ride.
- High cadence, low resistance 🏆
- Great for improving your pedaling technique for a smoother and more efficient stroke
- A great tool to train for group rides
- Resistance type: Magnetic
- Weight: 19lbs
TacX Antares Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers
MSRP: Check on Amazon
TacX’s Antares bike roller is the perfect compact indoor training companion at a very affordable price.
The standout feature of this piece of equipment is the durable, tapered rollers the ensure your wheels stay centered throughout your session.
TacX built the front roller to spin at the same speed as the back so you carry more momentum, improving the stability, meaning you can stand up while on these rollers.
Finally, the Antares fits a wide range of bikes with wheel diameters between 26″ and 29″.
- Weight: 17lbs
- Distance between axles 980 mm and 1100 mm
- Folds down to 31.5” x 18.5” x 5.31”, the maximum footprint of 53” x 18.5”
- Features roller diameter of 3.93”- 4.33” (100mm to 110mm)
ROCKBROS Bike Rollers
MSRP: Check on Amazon
Rockbros bike roller is the best budget-friendly model we found, weighing just over 14lbs but delivering a stable ride experience.
Rockbros uses a conical aluminum alloy drum which enhances stability while riding. Additionally, riders can change the resistance on the roller, however, it requires some effort to do so. This drum is also strong and durable, using sealed bearings which allow it to run smoothly.
Finally, as well as being lightweight, the roller folds in three places into a compact, transportable package.
- Weight: 14.3 lbs / 6.5kg
- Adjustable resistance
- Fits wheelbase: 970mm to 1090mm
- 700c road bike, sizes of 16″ – 29″ available
Portable Stationary Roller
Feedback Sports Omnium
Feedback Sports’ premium foldable exercise bike roller uses the company’s LIVE RIDE Technology to deliver a dynamic and realistic ride feel.
The Omnium portable exercise bike creates resistance using a frictionless internal progressive resistance mechanism. This replicates outdoor cycling resistance experienced by hills and wind.
This roller needs to be attached to the front fork, making it very stable compared to traditional rollers, also adding to the setup time, unfortunately.
Finally, the Omnium is highly adjustable to any bike geometry and compatible with thru-axle or quick-release skewers. Additionally, it is very quiet, foldable, maintenance-free, and compatible with popular cycling apps.
- Accepts standard QR, 12×100, 15×100 & 15×110 (boost) thru-axles
- Resistance type: Magnetic, Fluid
- Weight Limit: 225lbs
- Includes travel bag for transport and storage
Deuter Roller Trainer Indoor Cycling Bike Stand
MSRP: Check on Amazon
This trainer is a cheap stationary roller option that uses conical rollers to provide a secure, stable ride experience.
It folds up easily so you can transport or store it, and is simple to set up when you are ready to use it again. It also uses a convenient step-on platform on the left side.
Additionally, it is compatible with wheel diameters between 26 and 29 inches, including 700c wheels. Reviewers note that the durability isn’t great.
- 26″ – 29″, 700C
- Folded length: 32.2″
- Extended length: 53.1″
DEUTER Bike Trainer Stand w/ Adjustable Resistance
MSRP: Check on Amazon
Deuter’s adjustable resistance bike trainer is a great affordable fork mount roller with a fully adjustable design that provides five levels of magnetic ride resistance.
This trainer is built to last with durable aluminum alloy and a solid triangle design resulting in a high payload capacity.
Installation is relatively simple and can be done in just a few minutes. When you are done using it, you can fold it up into the provided tote bag for easy transportation and storage. The manufacturer notes that there is some movement in the front mount while riding.
- Weight: 19.6lbs
- Height-adjustable fork mount
- Compatible with 24″-29″ wheels, Thru-axle, and Quick-release
- 5 Levels of Magnetic Resistance
- Made of aircraft-grade aluminum with high strength and toughness
- Includes a heavy-duty tote bag
2. Smart Trainers
Best Fluid Trainers
Elite Tuo Interactive Smart Trainer
Made by using high-quality aluminum, steel, and beech wood
Elite’s Tuo smart trainer is a compact and elegant unit that delivers a shock-absorbent, stable ride quality.
When you’re done using it, the device can fold down to a tidy 22 x 17 x 12.5 inches, allowing for easy transport or storage. The primary build material is Elastogel, which helps to limit friction, thus reducing noise and tire wear.
While riding, the Tuo can simulate gradients of up to 10%, measuring all of your key metrics including power and speed with an accuracy of within 5%.
This trainer has full connectivity and is compatible with all of the popular training programs including Zwift and TrainerRoad. Additionally, the Tuo comes with a one-year membership to Elite’s training software.
- Fast Fixing locking system for easy connection
- Weight: 23 lbs
- Compatible with 130 and 135 mm quick-release hubs. Includes an adapter for 142 x 12 mm thru-axles
- Wheel size compatibility: 26″ to 29″,700c
Wahoo Fitness KICKR SNAP Smart Trainer
The Wahoo Fitness Kickr Snap smart stationary bike trainer is one of the most versatile wheel-on smart trainers available.
The Kickr Snap is a powerful yet small exercise bike trainer that can simulate gradients up to an impressive 12%. Riders can also connect any device or training software using Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+, allowing you to monitor all the important ride stats for more accurate training.
Wahoo has built their trainer to be super durable and stable, using high-strength steel and a wide stance. Additionally, because it is a wheel-on style, you can very quickly mount and dismount your bike. Once riding, the trainer replicates the road feel closely using a high inertia flywheel.
- Weight: 38lbs
- Compatible with 130mm and 135mm quick-release hubs + 12mm x 142mm thru-axle hubs with adapter
- Type of resistance: Flywheel
- Wheel block included
- Supports power meters
Tacx Flow Trainer
The Tacx Flow is a slightly more affordable wheel-on trainer with plenty of features and a quiet flywheel design.
This device allows you to connect your bike quickly with just two clicks and while riding, hardly makes a sound. The Flow measures metrics such as power and speed and is compatible with third-party software for training such as Zwift.
The Tacx can simulate gradients of 7%, which is quite a bit lower than its competitors but still enough to get a great workout. Finally, some REI users do note some issues with quality on arrival, but once operating, it delivers a great ride quality.
- Weight: 21 lbs
- Software controlled
- Dimensions: 26.6″ x 25.6″ x 16.1″
- Resistance type: Flywheel
Saris Fluid2 Trainer
Road-like feel, 64–68 dB at 20mp/h
Saris is a USA bike tech company that designs and manufactures its devices on home soil and their Fluid2 trainer is a high-quality product sold at a very competitive price.
Using fluid and a flywheel, this device creates a wide-ranging consistent resistance that is very quiet during use. To customize the resistance, all you have to do is shift your gears.
The unit itself is highly compatible with common road and mountain bike frames and can be adapted for thru-axle bikes with an extra adaptor. The roller is built with precision to reduce tire wear and slippage but works best with the addition of a trainer tire.
Unfortunately, this trainer doesn’t come with a speed sensor, which must be added additionally. This is needed for compatibility with third-party training software.
- Weight: 21 lbs
- Dimensions: 21.5″ x 19.9″ x 7.3″
- 64–68 decibels at 20 mph
- Fits dropouts:120mm, 130mm, and 135mm
Buy on REI.com Buy the Smart Model
Best Direct Drive Bike Trainers
Elite Suito Bike Trainer
Elite’s Suito bike trainer is a premium direct drive trainer with excellent compatibility and connectivity that provides convenient and accurate (measured within 2.5%) indoor bike training.
The Suito comes ready to ride on arrival with an 11-speed Shimano cassette which is needed to tackle the 15% gradients that the device can replicate.
Its robust folding steel design makes the device stable under load and quick to fold up and transport when needed. Users note that it is very easy to set up and use this device.
Users can connect their devices using ANT+, FE-C, or Bluetooth, to take advantage of the common training platforms like Zwift or TrainerRoad. Finally,
- Weight: 32 lbs
- Includes:1-month Zwift membership/12-month My E-Training subscription
- Front-wheel riser block included
- Resistance type: Flywheel
- Dimensions: Open – 30 x 22 x 20; folded – 26 x 22 x 20 inches
- Compatible with
QR – 130–135x5mm QR
Thru-axle: 142x12mm thru (130×10/12mm thru-axle and Boost 148x12mm adaptors not included)
- Compatible with standard Shimano and SRAM 9/10/11-speed cassettes (*Campagnolo-compatible freehub body not included.
Wahoo Fitness KICKR Smart Trainer
REI Score: 4.8/5 out of 400+ ratings!
Dimensions: 28 x 20 x 17 inches | Weight: 47 lbs | Software controllable
The Wahoo Fitness Kickr smart trainer provides the most realistic ride feel of any direct drive smart trainer, with a smooth and silent belt drivetrain.
The AXIS feet replicate the outdoor ride experience giving up to 5° of lateral movement. This allows the device to shift naturally with your effort and movement by mimicking the side-to-side motion of outdoor riding. These feet have three levels of fitness so you can match them with your riding style.
Finally, the Kickr records all of your ride metrics with an exceptional 1% of accuracy, allowing you to tailor your training perfectly. While riding, you can simulate gradients of up to 20%, adjusting automatically when connected to your training software.
- Thru-axle 12 x 142 mm and 12 x 148 mm + Quick-release 130/135 mm
- Wheels 24 in., 650C, 650B, 700C, 26 in. 27.5 in. or 29 in. wheels
- Includes a pre-installed 11-speed Shimano/SRAM-compatible cassette, and a 10-speed spacer
Tacx NEO 2T Smart Trainer
Nearly silent indoor trainer
The Tacx NEO 2T direct drive trainer creates a fun and realistic ride feel, mimicking details like sprinting inertia and virtual road surfaces like cobblestones.
This stationary cycling bike device uses a virtual flywheel to create a realistic feel by balancing weight, speed, and incline. Tacx’s innovative motor helps to keep noise and vibration very low while being able to replicate gradients up to 20%.
The NEO 2T is highly accurate (within 1%) when measuring ride power and cadence, giving you accurate and reliable training metrics. One notable feature is the leg position sensor that allows you to do a pedal stroke analysis with compatible third-party software, a highly useful technique training tool.
- Foldable frame
- Cassette not included
- Resistance type: Flywheel
- Dimensions: 22.6 x 29.5 x 21.7 inches
- Weight: 47 lbs. 4.8 oz.
- Directly compatible with 10×135, 12×142 and 12x148mm axles
Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer
Noise level of 59 dB at 20 mp/h is quieter than any past Saris smart trainer
Saris’ H3 is the US-based company’s direct-drive smart trainer option. It showcases their keen attention to detail using premium components at a very competitive price.
The H3 accurately measures power, speed, and cadence within 2% with built-in sensors, allowing riders to perfectly tailor their training sessions for quick improvements. Additionally, the device has all of the usual connectivity capabilities and works well with indoor training software like Rouvy, Zwift, and more.
With the H3, Saris focused on reducing noise as much as possible while maintaining a highly functional system. As such, it can generate 2,000 watts to simulate gradients of 20%, while only giving off 59 decibels of noise.
Finally, the folding legs and wide base of the H3 make it super stable and easy to store when you’re done riding.
- Resistance: Flywheel
- Weight: 47 lbs
- Folds up
- Dimension: 31″ x 19.5″ x 18.5″ (Closed: 19.5″ x 18.5″ x 8.5″)
- Internal cooling system
- Compatible with 8–11 speed Shimano cassettes (not included)
- 130mm and 135mm QR wheels
- 142 and 148mm thru-axles
Bike Trainers Blocks
Elite Sterzo Smart Steering Block
Take your indoor virtual training to the next level with Elite’s Sterzo Smart steering block. This innovative block allows you to replicate front-wheel steering, transmitting it to your training software in real-time.
With this device you can take part in virtual races and rides using apps like Zwift, giving you the most realistic experience and adding an extra dimension of fun to the ride. The block connects to your device of choice using ANT+ or Bluetooth.
While using the Sterzo, riders can rotate the block 34° in each direction, allowing you to closely replicate the experience of steering. Finally, the block itself only weighs 3lbs, making it very easy to transport.
- Weight: 3 lbs
- Fits tires up to 56mm wide
- Anti-slip rubber feet keep Sterzo Smart in place
Saris Climbing Riser Block
Saris’ Climbing Riser Block is the perfect addition to your rear wheel-mounted indoor training setup. It allows riders to change between three distinct elevation levels to add an extra challenge to the workout.
The block itself is very stable, durable and can be stacked with another block to increase the difficulty even more.
- Fits: 2.1″, 2.7″. or 3.1″.
Elite Travel Block
Elite’s Travel Block is designed to make your indoor cycling workouts more comfortable and enjoyable. It does so by keeping your front wheel level with the rear and in the same place, ensuring better balance and a more stable position.
This block is lightweight and convenient to travel with. Additionally, it clips onto the handle of your trainer for easy storage.
- Accommodates both road and MTB tires
- Lightweight and compact, it’s easy to take with you when traveling