Whether you are an avid cyclist, training for a race, or just want to pick up cycling and feel safer in the comfort of your own home, an indoor bike trainer is a valuable piece of equipment. In-door cycling has exploded in popularity, leaving many riders wondering what option to get?
If you already have a road or outdoor bike, you don’t need an indoor cycling bike. Simply get a bike trainer stand to quickly turn your outdoor bike into a stationary exercise bike for indoor uses.
Bike trainers range from basic entry-level to smart trainers, and both allow connecting with others through several different online choices. To make a choice a bit easier, we took the time to search out our best go-to options for all budgets.
Budget Bike Trainer Stands
We understand that not everyone is training for a century bike ride or an Ironman. Some cyclists may enjoy a nice bike ride as low-impact cardio and still want get on their bike even in poor weather. These first options are for the latter. Below are our top, budget-friendly picks that are worth a look!
1. Sportneer Bike Trainer Stand
Our number 1 budget choice for beginners is the Sportneer Bike Trainer Stand. It comes in at a great price point of around a hundred and offers free shipping and returns on Amazon. One of this bike trainer stand’s best features is the noise reduction wheel that it comes equipped with, making this one of the quietest budget in-door trainers on the market. The trainer also has 6 resistance settings and a resistance meter that easily attaches to your handlebars. It also uses quick release holder to quickly attach and remove your bicycle’s rear wheel while a front wheel riser block is included. The entire frame also folds flat for easy transport and storage. This bike trainer is suitable for road or mountain bikes with 26-28-inch wheels. Apart from the red one above, a black model is also available.
- Quiet ride
- 6 resistance settings
- Resistance meter easily attaches to handlebars
- Folds flat for ease of storage and transport
- The flywheel works best with road bikes and wheels 26-28”. If you have mountain bike tires, this is not the trainer for you.
ALSO: Sportneer Fluid Bike Trainer Stand, a fluid driven option is available for those who prefer fluid over magnetic resistance. Fluid option does not offer resistance control but the fluid gets progressively thicker with heat offering increased resistance with use.
2. Yaheetech Turbo Trainer
The second on our budget-friendly options also is the cheapest option we have at under a hundred Just like the Sportneer, you can get free delivery of the Yaheetech Bike Trainer off Amazon! While this trainer maybe a little cheaper, it still packs a punch! Unlike the Sportneer, the Yaheetech uses your bike’s cassette to provide resistance, increasing the resistance levels to as many as 11. There are a few variations of the Yaheetech Turbo Trainer, some driver by magnetic while others, fluid. There are also those without speed adjustments and those with speed adjustment using wire controls. For the latter, all you need to do to increase the resistance is to rotate the adjusted which you can mount to your bike’s handlebar to increase the magnetic resistance.
- Resistance utilizes your bike’s cassette, so the user determines resistance by shifting gears.
- Durable, this trainer will not overheat.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Since this does use your bike’s cassette, this can be significantly louder than the Sportneer.
- You can find ones with 6-speed adjustment to control its magnetic resistance
- This bike trainer stand is not compatible with disc brakes.
3. Blackburn Tech Mag Bike Trainer
While Blackburn Tech does offer a cheaper version of the Mag Bike trainer, we chose to feature the Blackburn Tech Mag 5 Bike Trainer. The Mag 1 is the most basic that Blackburn offers and comes in at less than $100; however, the Mag 5 provides more features and increased durability for only $237. The Mag 5 comes with a resistance remote that is easy to install and changes resistance while you ride.
- Lightweight and folds flat for easy storage.
- No assembly or tools required.
- Quiet ride for a budget-friendly trainer.
- Five position remote
- Rubber mat bundle available
- Some users have complained of the build being a little loose upon delivery and manually tightening the screws before their first ride.
- Some users have found it challenging to work with the remote, while others find it extremely easy to use. We recommend choosing what method works best for you when deciding on the right bike trainer stand!
4. Alpcour Bike Trainer Stand
Like the Mag 5, the Alpcour Bike trainer is slightly more expensive than the other budget options at $220; however, it features a convenient handlebar-mounted cable controller to quickly shift between its 6 resistance settings and a tranquil ride!
- Quick-release feature makes mounting your bike a breeze!
- The trainer folds and can be easier stored in the included bag.
- It can also be used as a portable race day warm-up tool.
- Only provides 6 resistance levels but you can increase this with bike’s own gears
5. Deuter Bike Trainer
The Deuter is a magnetic bike trainer that first caught our eyes not because it is one of the cheapest ones around but is available in four vibrant colours, black, red, blue or yellow. Compatible with both mountain and road bike, the bike trainer uses magnetic resistance with option to switch to one of six different resistance settings using handle mounted controls. It is both smooth and almost completely silent during operation and can be folded quickly to take with you on your travels. Another big plus is the huge handles for the quick release clamp. This allows you to attach and remove your rear axle quickly with little effort.
- built-in level adjuster for resistance, for further resistance and control, shift the gears on the bike itself.
- easy to setup and sufficiently quiet
- quick to put bike on and to take it off
- very sturdy and good value
- can be noisy on wooden flooring so those who stay in apartment, think about getting rubber mat liner to dampen the vibration and absorb the noise
- wire control can be flimsy.
Top Smart Trainer Options
Now that we’ve covered the budget-friendly options, we will transition to the more expensive smart trainers that will elevate your in-door cycling to the next level! Smart trainers provide valuable metrics that can help you understand what direction to take your training program. Some features include Functional Threshold Power (FTP), cadence, heart rate, and watts, to name a few.
For those who want these metrics but a smart trainer may not be in the cards, the same equipment that we discussed in our article on building your own Peloton Bike for less can be used to make your own smart trainer! For those that have the budget for a smart trainer, here are our top three picks!
1. The Wahoo Kickr Smart Bike Trainer
It is tough to make any list of “best cycling equipment” and not include Wahoo products. Wahoo has been dominating cycling with its quality line of indoor bike trainers, cycling computers, wearables, and cycling speed and cadence sensors. The Wahoo Kickr is probably the quietest and easiest smart indoor trainer you can find for just under $1200. The Kickr provides extremely accurate metrics and power data collection, a smooth ride, and offers limited movement from side to side as you begin to simulate sprinting uphill. It also comes with a pre-installed cassette that allows up to 11 different resistance settings.
- Extremely quiet and smooth ride.
- Easy to connect to any of the wahoo lines or any other smart computers, wearables, or virtual platforms.
- Pre-installed cassette offering 11 levels of resistance.
- To simulate climbs, you have to purchase another expensive add-on.
- The Kickr does not allow as much movement back and forth as some users would like.
2. Tacx NEO 2T Smart Trainer
Next on our list is the Tacx NEO 2T. The NEO 2T offers another quality smooth and quiet ride at a slightly higher price point of $1399. The NEO 2T also provides similar power and watt measurements to the Kickr. The NEO 2T differs because it is the only smart trainer that generates its own electricity! While we recommend that you plug it in for the trainer to work at its best, having the ability to generate your own power if needed is a game changer!
- Incredibly quiet ride.
- Ability to work without an external power source.
- The trainer vibrates to simulate a natural road feel.
- This does not include a pre-installed cassette like the Wahoo Kickr.
- It is an awfully expensive smart trainer.
3. Saris H3 Direct Drive Indoor Bike Trainer
The next on our list is the Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer. The H3 is a great bike trainer stand that will not break the budget at $999. It offers a quality, quiet and durable ride that comes in very closely behind the Kickr and NEO 2T. While it is not as quiet as the Kickr, it is still an excellent option for the price! Another awesome feature that the H3 is currently offering is a free month subscription to Zwift!
- Easy to switch bikes.
- The platform allows you to sway from front to back and side to side.
- Not as quiet as the Kickr.
- Does not come with an attached cassette.
- Longer set-up time than other options on this list.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A BIKE TRAINER STAND?
This list has only scratched the surface of the number of options available for purchasing a new bike trainer. What we recommend when making your decision is asking yourself these three questions? What are you going to be using this trainer for? What is your current budget for a bike trainer stand? What are the features essential to reach your goals? If you can answer those three questions, this list should be able to steer you in the right direction!