Riding your outdoor mountain bike is a great exercise if you want to work on your core and your legs. You can easily integrate riding a mountain bike into your daily exercise routine. But if you love to exercise and want to spend hours getting on your bike just sweating off your energy, you might not always like the conditions that you have to do it in. It does not matter if you like to go off-road biking for fun, sport, or professionally, bad weather is not going to make the ride more enjoyable.
Moreover, you are not going to get on your mountain bike if the road is covered by snow either. If the weather is not cooperating with you, how you can still get the exercise that you want? The simplest answer to that question would be to get a mountain bike indoor trainer. This allows you to exercise on your mountain bike: without having to leave your home.
Mountain Bike Indoor Trainers FAQs
What are these mountain bike indoor trainers?
For the uninitiated, a bike trainer is a small piece of equipment that you can use on your mountain bike. This allows you to use your bike indoors in a stationary position. By using fixed legs with rubber grips, the indoor trainer can easily support your weight while you move. Better yet, the newer versions of the indoor trainers only take a few minutes to set up. How are you going to find the right mountain bike indoor trainer to suit your needs?
Are there different types of indoor bike trainers?
Yes, there are different types that just use different ways to add resistance. Here are the main types:
Fluid – Trainer uses fluid to create resistance, usually silicone
Magnetic – Resistance is created using a magnetic flywheel
Rollers – Here the bike balances onm rollers which offer resistence
Wind – Fan assisted
Do these indoor trainers work with road bikes and mountain bikes?
Yes they will, but double check the size size of your bike. Some do not fit 29ers and most will not work with fat bikes.
Can you change the resistance?
Yes you can and most have the tension changer gadget that fits onto your handlebars so you can change while you are training.
We have narrowed down a list of five great options.
CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer (Editors Choice)
- WORKS WITH ZWIFT: Hop on and ride with others on Zwift, Rouvy, and other online training apps
- BEST SELLING TRAINER: The CycleOps Fluid2 is the best selling trainer in the USA. Made in the USA with 100% recyclable, non-rusting materials
- FLUID RESISTANCE IS QUIET AND CONSISTENT: CycleOps Fluid2 powertuned technology makes for a quiet, consistent, ride every time you get on your bike indoors. Noise level at 20 mph is 64-68 decibels
- RUGGED 2-INCH ROUND 16-GAUGE STEEL FRAME: Tested to the combined weight (rider and bike) of 300 pounds
- STABLE WIDE FRAME: Adjustable footpads for a stable ride on most surfaces; Compatible with virtual training apps.
While the CycleOps Fluid2 certainly does not look flashy, it offers some tremendous performance. You get a broad, solid base with the tubular legs with adjustable hooves. This means that you are able to give it your all without having to worry that you will end up on the floor.
Make it real
One of the most important things that an indoor trainer needs to have is that ‘real road feel’ . Otherwise you are not getting aa realistic workout, nor are you able to prepare for the real thing later. By using an improved and updated 1.24 flywheel, the CycleOps Fluid2 offers great stability and momentum on the rear wheel.
You can easily move the cassette of your CycleOps Fluid2 up and down to increase or decrease the resistance that you are cycling it. That is going to be much like riding outdoors and gives you a great ‘true to life’ experience. Because of the resistance, the CycleOps Fluid2 actually feels like it offers a workout.
If you are someone who likes to do their biking in peace, it is good to know that in making the CycleOps Fluid2, the manufacturer optimized the position of the sealed–cartridge bearings. This is going to offer a very quiet ride. Even at 20 mph you should hear nothing more than 64-68 decibel. Especially when we compare that to some of the other alternatives on the market, that means the CycleOps Fluid2 is super quiet.
The CycleOps Fluid2 is made from durable and strong 16-gauge steel and comes with adjustable footpads. You will find that the indoor trainer is stable on just about any surface in your home. It is also great to note that you get a lifetime warranty when you buy the CycleOps Fluid2. This really suggests that the manufacturer is confident in the robust design.
Fluid Trainer Software
Cycleops also has its own training software for IOS and Android
If you want a great turbo trainer, the CycleOps Fluid2 certainly offers that. Even though it is going to be more expensive than other options on the list, the lifetime warranty and the sturdiness of the unit certainly can justify the high price tag.
- State of the art technology: As soon as you begin to pedal, the ultra QUIET internal magnet creates resistance
- Extremely Portable: The MAG Trainer is extremely light and it can be folded down like an ironing board for travel and storage
- Maximum Stability, one of the most robust and sturdy stands on the market; extra wide legs and a sturdy frame makes this the trainer the pros choose
- Extra Durable, features the finest materials and proven reliability
- New design features separated legs for added stability.Fits 700c (Road) or 26 in. (Mountain) wheels with different tire sizes
RAD Cycling is proud to call itself one of the innovators in the cycling trainers and accessories world. And with the MAG Trainer they have an indoor trainer with magnetic resistance and seven different settings. With just the click of a button you are able to change these settings from the handlebars. The MAG Trainer weighs around 18 pounds and you can easily store it because it is foldable.
Easy to assemble
If your indoor trainer is not going to be easy to assemble, chances are that you will not get much use of it. If you have to go through countless steps to get it set up, you might actually tell yourself “forget it”. Fortunately the MAG Trainer is easy to set up
Despite the fact that the manufacturer claims that the MAG Trainer is one of the more quiet units on the market, other customers tend to disagree. Depending on the tires that you have, there is a good chance that the MAG Trainer is going to produce a relatively loud humming noise. This is not something that is going to wake up the neighbors, but loud enough to where you cannot ignore it.
If you are on a relatively tight budget but still want a stable bike indoor trainer that is easy to use and set up, you cannot go wrong with the MAG Trainer. It offers great functionality and performance while remaining an affordable product. There is not much more that you can ask.
- Heavy duty construction w/ extra wide frame for stability - folds quickly
- Sturdy mounting cups reduce slippage (quick release included)
- Single adjustment, progressive magnetic resistance
- Compatible with 26 in., 27 in. and 700c bikes
- Front wheel Riser Block Included, requires a bike with a rear quick release wheel
Not everyone has aspirations to be a professional mountain biker one day, and for those who prefer to just get in shape the mid-range bicycle exercise stands are more than enough. That is exactly what you get with the Conquer Indoor Trainer. It is made from heavy-duty steel and makes the trainer quite heavy but also offers sturdiness and stability. You are not going to have to worry about this trainer wobbling or tipping over.
Easy to assemble
One thing that is great about the Conquer Indoor Trainer is that it is quick to assemble. You can easily flatten it and do not need any tools for assembly. Give yourself a few minutes and your exercise stand is ready to use. If you have people coming over or you have limited space, you are also able to get rid of the Conquer Indoor Trainer very quickly by folding it again.
If you are just trying to stay in shape, the Conquer Indoor Trainer certainly offers enough resistance to give you a decent workout. However, if you are trying to push yourself you might be disappointed in the amount of resistance that the Conquer Indoor Trainer offers. If you want to truly test yourself during a workout, there are other, better options available.
One thing to note, especially for those who live in noisy apartments or who do not live alone, is that the Conquer Indoor Trainer can produce a tremendous amount of noise once you engage the resistance. Especially at the price it is hard to fault the Conquer Indoor Trainer for not having the same smooth design as some of the other options, but it is certainly something that you are going to want to take into consideration.
If you do not want to spend an arm and a leg on your indoor trainer and do not mind a bit of noise, the Conquer Indoor Trainer are going to be a good choice. This is an excellent solution for those who want a starter set or those who are just looking to use it sparingly.
- Fluid resistance produces progressive resistance for a smooth, quiet, road-like feel
- External flywheel facilitates smooth and efficient pedaling action
- Wide, stable base provides solid performance during hard efforts
- Easy setup -- no assembly required
- Frame folds compactly for storage or transport
One of the key features of the Travel Trac Fluid is the fact that it is a progressive resistance trainer. This means that you face more resistance the harder you decide to go. It is good to see that the Travel Trac Fluid comes mostly assembled right out of the box. A few minor adjustments later (where you reposition the resistance unit) and you are on your way to a workout.
The Travel Trac Fluid unit weighs 15.4 pounds, which means that the system is sturdy enough to keep your bike stable and upright throughout your workout. When not in use you can easily fold it flat. Even though the resistance unit is going to appear relatively small when compared to others on the market, it does the job.
Mimic real word riding
The reason that the Travel Trac Fluid is a great substitute for real life road situations is because of the aluminum roller. Rather than being complete smooth, it is actually fairly coarse. This is going to increase the resistance by offering a better grip on the tires. The progressive unit is just like real life – if you bike harder it is going to be more difficult to maintain that level.
Not for interval workouts
Even though the Travel Trac Fluid is great for basic riding, it is not going to do the job if you want higher intensity levels and higher thresholds during interval training. You run out of resistance levels when you run out of gears to shift.
If you are looking for value in your indoor trainer, the Travel Trac Fluid might be the right choice for you. It is relatively quiet when compared to some of the other cheaper options on the market and the progressive resistance is something that you should check it.
- STATE OF THE ART - As soon as you begin to pedal, the ultra QUIET internal magnet creates resistance. You can easily increase the resistance by shifting the gears on your bike!
- EXTREMELY PORTABLE - The PRO Trainer is extremely light and it can be folded down like an ironing board for travel and storage
- MAXIMUM STABILITY - One of the most robust and sturdy stands on the market. Extra wide legs and a sturdy frame makes this the trainer the pros choose
- EXTRA DURABLE - features the finest materials and proven reliability. We stand behind every product we sell and back it up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee
- VERSATILITY - Turn your bike into an indoor exercise bike, easy set-up and quiet operation, riser block included.
There are five levels of adjustable magnetic resistance to choose from with the Bike Lane Pro. A simple push on your handlebar-mounted control will make the transition easily. If you want great value in your indoor trainer, the Bike Lane Pro is certainly worth looking into.
The noise level
It should be common knowledge by now that magnetic trainers are less expensive than fluid trainers, but also a bit noisier. Having said that, the Bike Lane Pro is certainly not super intrusive. You can easily listen to music or watch your favorite shows as you ride your bike.
Sturdy – but heavy
When compared to a few of the other options on our list, the Bike Lane Pro is relatively heavy. It weighs 22.55 pounds, which means that this is not something that you are going to keep moving around to store easily. The Bike Lane Pro does come with a rise block, meaning you do not have to buy one separately. It has a one-year warranty out of the box.
If you want an inexpensive but sturdy bike trainer, the Bike Lane Pro is certainly great for that. You can steady your bike as you exercise with the front wheel riser and offers great value in a magnetic bicycle trainer.
Making the right choice
Again, these mountain bike trainers are not just for hobbyists either. Professional mountain bikers can use them to make posture corrections or use them for pre-event warmups. If you want to be able to use your own bike while you exercise but refuse to go outside during nasty weather, we highly recommend that you opt for one of these options as mentioned here.
Image sources: Amazon.com, Cycleops