A stationary bike trainer cannot replace actually being on the road and learning to corner and navigate terrain. However, many triathletes do find them to be helpful during long months of training. If you live in an area where winter weather abounds, trainers are a great way to build endurance through the snowy months. Rainy days or late evenings also provide a great opportunity to put a stationary trainer to use. Trainers allow you to complete other activities for a change of pace; reading, listening to music, or catching up on television. Parents might also benefit from a trainer for times they can’t get away from the house to train.
Bike trainers build aerobic endurance, help build riding confidence, and allow flexibility in your training schedule. When choosing a bicycle trainer there are three main types; roller, mechanical resistance, and virtual. Prices vary extensively, depending on the type and model, you can pay anywhere from $60 usd to $1,000 or more.
Roller Bike Trainer
Roller bike trainers are considered the most challenging trainer. The bike rests on a frame with metal rollers, one roller for each wheel. No supports are existent with this model, so the biker has to balance themselves. While this is realistic to biking, it takes time to perfect. A popular roller trainer is the CycleOps PVC Roller at $188usd.
Mechanical Resistance Bike Trainers
In this trainer, the biker’s legs power the fan to provide resistance; this simulates a realistic road feel and is balanced. This type of trainer is also one of the least expensive options. While the fan/wind trainer is a great option, it’s important to know it is quite noisy. The CycleOps Wind fan trainer is a popular model at $143usd.
A magnet flywheel creates the resistance in this type of trainer. The faster a cyclist pedals the faster the resistance will be. This type of trainer is quieter than the fan trainer and there is added resistance for those hoping for a more challenging ride. Many models allow you to control climb, sprinting, and road conditions. The Schwinn magnet trainer at $106usd is a great price and popular model.
A magnet flywheel combines with fluid resistance chambers for the fluid bike trainer. This type of trainer is quiet and has the most resistance of the mechanical resistance trainers. This trainer is more prone to seal leaks than the other types of trainers. A popular fluid model is the CycleOps Fluid 2 at $329usd.
Virtual Reality Bike Trainer
A virtual reality bike trainer is a simulator type of device. The trainer can be linked up to a computer ‘virtual world’. This offers specialized data and sustains interest with different location and terrain options. A virtual bike trainer is also very pricey. One of the most popular models is the Elite Real Axiom CT at $899.
A bike trainer will provide better triathlon training than a regular stationary bike. The most popular brands of bike trainers in general are CycleOps, Bell, Kinetic, Minoura, and Elite. To ensure you complete all your bike workouts before your race, a stationary bike trainer may be a great option for you.