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  1. #1
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    What's the biggest difference between mag an fluid trainer?

    hello to all,

    I'm considering buying a home trainer in the near future. I wonder if the fluid trainer is really worth the extra $$. I understand the principle that there is an exponential increase in resistance which resembles to a "real" ride and that the mag trainer doesn't have that caracteristic but would I get the same effects by just fliping to a bigger speed?

    Is there anything else I'm missing here, or are there other differences I should be taking into account before my purchase? I want something to have a good durability and quality product but I guess there aren't any significant difference between the two.

    thanks,

    youngster

  2. #2
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    I use the cycle ops fluid trainer... I tested the mag as well, and it just did not feel nearly as "real" as the fluid trainer. I spend an entire day shopping around, testing all of the different trainers. The fluid trainers were by far the closest to actually being on the road. The research I did showed me that traditionally the magnetic ones don't last as long either... The only bad thing about the fluid trainers that my research found is that some say they have experienced problems with them leaking..... I have never had that problem, and a few people I know that have similar models have not had leaks either.

    Be careful, once you have a trainer, you will NEVER AGAIN have an excuse not to ride!!!!!!

    Once you do get it, try listening to some good music through an ipod or walkman with the lights out... sounds weird, but is the best form of relaxation that I know of!!!!

    Just like a new bike purchase, go to a LBS that will allow you to test them both. I am 100% confident you will buy the fluid if you do that.


    Mike
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  3. #3
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    I went with fluid also. Seems more natural just to switch gears to increase resistance. Make sure you elevate the front tire though to make certain the bike is at least level. You needn't buy a separate device for this, althoug I did. A block of wood or a book works.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  4. #4
    Senior Member Fastfwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cavanaugh
    Be careful, once you have a trainer, you will NEVER AGAIN have an excuse not to ride!!!!!!
    You obviously do not have a 9 month old kid at home. He finds the bike really interesting but I would hate for him to get his hands in the wheel while it's spinning!

    I need one of two things to ride. Good weather outside or a bike bodyguard mom inside

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cavanaugh
    Be careful, once you have a trainer, you will NEVER AGAIN have an excuse not to ride!!!!!!
    Yeah that's my biggest fear I don't know whether I'll be sick of it after just 5 minutes or if I'll keep going for an our 3 times a week (which is what I planned untill the snow melts).

    I'm going later this week to leave my bike at my LBS so I just might look while I'm there, but I don't think they have a lot of choice. I was intending to go to a bigger bike shop for the trainer. I figured they would have more in stock and the prices would be lower.

    This might sound foolish but I don't know if I should bring my bike with me. Did you guys try the trainer with your own bike or did they already have a bike that was set on the trainer?

  6. #6
    NO FEAR!!! rusty_2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastfwd
    You obviously do not have a 9 month old kid at home. He finds the bike really interesting but I would hate for him to get his hands in the wheel while it's spinning!

    I need one of two things to ride. Good weather outside or a bike bodyguard mom inside
    +1

    I have considered a trainer, but with a curious 1 year old, and a very curious 4 year old, it would have to sit outside in the carport - then, where would the car go????????

    However, I am only 6 months into riding seriously and only started racing before Christmas, so I think that maybe I am getting ahead of myself - especially when we still have half the season to go!!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe as I am looking out at the rain during Winter, the desire will become greater
    NO FEAR!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member bransom's Avatar
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    +1 on the Cyclops Fluid. Excellent unit and, man, does it kick my butt!

    Understand about the worries with the kids. Mine are older now but I've got a dog that's curious. Hopefully his instincts will help him keep his nose out of the spokes.

  8. #8
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    I have a fluid trainer. I *hate* it. Nothing wrong with it, but if I am going to put in the effort to ride a bicycle, I am going to do it outdoors, rain or shine, hot or cold in preference to sitting there on that trainer with an unchanging view. Riding on the trainer feels like punishment to me, not at all like riding a bicycle outdoors (which is FUN).

    Trainers are also really hard on rear tires. I'd say if you're gonna use a trainer much, you should get yourself a cheap rear tire to use while on the trainer.
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mahoolihan's Avatar
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    I found that the mag trainer is jerky at first, while my fluid trainer is smooth from the start. Also, the fluid trainer I bought gives me the option of increasing resistance both by shifting gears and by increasing resistance within the trainer itself, so I can better simulate climbs (it's still not the same).

    I didn't bring my bike along ... good idea though.

  10. #10
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastfwd
    You obviously do not have a 9 month old kid at home. He finds the bike really interesting but I would hate for him to get his hands in the wheel while it's spinning!

    I need one of two things to ride. Good weather outside or a bike bodyguard mom inside

    actually i have two children. 9 month olds take lots of naps! if you want to, you can always find time to ride with a trainer!
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  11. #11
    Senior Member Fastfwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cavanaugh
    actually i have two children. 9 month olds take lots of naps! if you want to, you can always find time to ride with a trainer!
    I did that last night. He went to sleep at 19:30 and I did 45 minutes on the trainer. Mine sleeps 12 hours nights so there's only two little 45 minutes naps in the day. Not long enough to put the bike on the trainer, train and take a shower.

    At what age can I expect him to understand the concept of "don't come near the bike"?

  12. #12
    Senior Member rule's Avatar
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    Talking to some of the industry folks, kids and pets are definitely issues with trainers. Just FYI. Mine was 4 before he really started to understand to stay away from my bikes, period. The cat and dog chasing each other around the house are an entirely different matter.

    The only problem that I have had with fluid trainers is that most of them have a lot lower max watts rating, meaning if you are trying to do any kind of intervals or strength workouts it is a whole lot easier to blow a seal. Just look at the max watt rating and know what you are getting. Not all fluid trainers are rated the same. In my experience, that is the main reason that a lot of the good fluid trainers end up with leaks. They were just pushed beyond their intended power limit in one of those 'hey, I wonder how fast I can go' moments.

  13. #13
    lillypad
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    If you have a separate room to put your trainer in, just put it there and close the door and you won't have children problems. I began riding indoor trainers back in the days when they had fans on the back. There really was no problem with that set-up. The faster you went, the greater the resistance. The only "problem" people had with those was the noise they made. When mags came out, I simply bought a mag unit, took off the fans, and placed the unit on the trainer that I already had. They made them especially to replace the older units.

    There is really no need to sink the money into a fluid trainer unless, for some reason, you want to. Mag units may not be as smooth as a fluid unit to begin with, but this only forces you to spin more smoothly on your own (I have never had any real problem with this). Just remember to think circles rather than up-and-down.

    The mag units are quiet, and you can adjust the amount of effort you want by simply using the gears on your bike even if the mag unit has no way to adjust the resistance built into the unit. I guarantee that you will not spin out your top gear. You can even gear up and stand up and "climb" with the same effort necessary to do real climbing out on the road.

    I would suggest that you get a mag unit made by a reputable manufacturer without all of the frills. You might even want to look into getting one mail-order, there is generally a lot more different types to choose from. Most local dealers are more into selling bikes than they are trainers.

    Surprisingly, trainers do tend to eat your rear tire, even worse than riding on the pavement. I wouldn't suggest riding your best road tires. Get a cheapo and use that one just during the bad weather season, unless you ride the same bike both indoors and outdoors.
    Last edited by lillypad; 01-18-06 at 08:26 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lillypad
    If you have a separate room to put your trainer in, just put it there and close the door and you won't have children problems. I began riding indoor trainers back in the days when they had fans on the back. There really was no problem with that set-up. The faster you went, the greater the resistance. The only "problem" people had with those was the noise they made.
    I have one of those at home but never used it. I have an aluminum frame and I am worried about the tension that it has to absorb since it's not transfered to the ground compared to a trainer where the BB and front wheel are free. That is mainly why I want to buy an other trainer. The noise isn't really a concern since I would ride in the garage. It's colder over there and because the room is so big and the ceiling so much higher I don't think I'll have that "clostrophobic" feeling as much.

    Quote Originally Posted by lillypad
    I would suggest that you get a mag unit made by a reputable manufacturer without all of the frills. You might even want to look into getting one mail-order, there is generally a lot more different types to choose from. Most local dealers are more into selling bikes than they are trainers.
    I looked online but if I the trainer brakes apart because of my incredible leg strength ( ) it will be a pain in the *ss to return it and get a new one. I've heard some stories on the forum about people whose trainer broke so I don't want to take any chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by lillypad
    Surprisingly, trainers do tend to eat your rear tire, even worse than riding on the pavement. I wouldn't suggest riding your best road tires. Get a cheapo and use that one just during the bad weather season, unless you ride the same bike both indoors and outdoors.
    Yeah I thought about that this summer so I kept a tire that was I didn't trust anymore (it was cut and I patched it) so I replaced it but kept it.

    I'll take a look at the max power ratings, thanks a lot for that info, I would have never thought about that otherwise. It also seems to me like a good reason that explains the leaking problems.

    Also, what about the longevity of a mag trainer? What's gonna brake if it will and is it current? We had a stationnary bike last winter but I broke it after a month, it was my parents' and wasn't really built ruff... (we returned it and bought a better one instead, but it doesn't fit my body AT ALL) The resistance was created by mags, so I wonder if it has the same feeling as a mag trainer?

    I still haven't made up my mind, I always take forever before deciding between option A and option B!!! I hate it!!! Your comments are really helping me though.

  15. #15
    lillypad
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    The forces appled to the frame are exactly the same on a trainer as they are on the road. If you have either the type where the front wheel is removed or not to set it on the trainer then the force is still absorbed through the forks. The force on the rear is still absorbed through the rear axle and the rest of the frame whether the rear wheel is on a trainer or on the road.

    If you already have what is referred to as a "wind trainer" then I would definitely start out riding that before I bought anything to make sure that you like riding on a trainer. With some people, they can't stand it while with others it is simply "riding as usual".

    One hint that will help on that aspect: Get yourself some good music that you enjoy, find the beat, and go. Different beats can let you go at different cadences which is good for you too.

    I can't imagine breaking a mag trainer made by a reputable manufacturer. I have been riding mine for almost ten years now and that doesn't include all of the time that I rode it as a "wind trainer" (close to another ten years). This, however, would just be another good reason to start out on the trainer that you already have.

    Stick your old tire on your wheel and ride. I have yet to have a flat while on a trainer.

    The only part that I can imagine breaking would be the supports around the unit, however it may be designed rather than the unit itself. Mag units convert the energy that you are putting into them to heat and this heat is then released through the "fins". These are made to increase the surface area over which the heat can be released.

    All trainers come with some kind of warranty (at least 90 days). If you do go mail order ask them if you would need to return it to them or to the manufacturer for a refund.

    One good thing about a trainer is that you put your own bike on it and if the bike fits you well, then so will your trainer.
    Last edited by lillypad; 01-18-06 at 10:41 PM.

  16. #16
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    Perhaps my experience with a CyclOps Fluid Trainer is of interest to some of you.
    I am seriously training for a big bike tour in April. That means trainer in this area.

    While I am doing this, I noticed an annoying mechanical clicking sound coming from somewhere. Of course I blame the Trainer. It cannot be my fancy bike. I hear no such sound if biking on the road.
    Well, after much search and aggravation and trying this and that, it was the crank bearings being just a little too loose. That is now fixed by an LBS. Now there is a subtle sound coming from the Deraileur. I need to learn how to adjust that without screwing up the whole gear shifting set up.

    The point I am trying to make is that a trainer such as above is a great tool to fine tune the bike and yourselves. A Mag trainer does not give me the same feedback. The experience is not as close to the road
    I pay a lot of attention to cadence vs heart rate vs speed vs fatigue vs nutrition.

  17. #17
    lillypad
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    The rear derailleur should have a screw adjustment on the cable leading into it. The cable gradually stretches making the gears become misaligned. Turn CCW to increase the tension and realign. Even if it seems as though the noise is only coming from one gear, the entire cassette is still misaligned with the derailleur.
    Last edited by lillypad; 01-19-06 at 03:26 PM.

  18. #18
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    so I took a look at the old wind trainer I have but I won't use it. The reason is that underneath the BB there's a piece of plastic that holds the cables in place. The thing is that the piece for one cable is bigger than the other one so all the weight of the bike+me is all concentrated on that very little plastic thing... I guiess I'll really have to shop this weekend.

  19. #19
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    The cycleops fluid 2 is one of the most popular ones, but not the best. The Kurt Kinetic is only a little more money, but is absolutely guaranteed not to leak, plus you can get a wattage meter with it.

  20. #20
    lillypad
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngster
    so I took a look at the old wind trainer I have but I won't use it. The reason is that underneath the BB there's a piece of plastic that holds the cables in place. The thing is that the piece for one cable is bigger than the other one so all the weight of the bike+me is all concentrated on that very little plastic thing... I guiess I'll really have to shop this weekend.
    I take it that your trainer has a support under the BB as well as the front and/or rear. Mine is just the rear wheel and the forks.

  21. #21
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    yeah it's a realy old wind trainer my grandpa gave me unfortunately I won't be able to use it I love to use/keep stuff that has a history!

  22. #22
    lillypad
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngster
    yeah it's a realy old wind trainer my grandpa gave me unfortunately I won't be able to use it I love to use/keep stuff that has a history!
    Yeah, just keep it then and get yourself something new - I still wouldn't sink a fortune into it though, especially since it is just your first time spending any serious time on a trainer. You may or may not find that you like it. Remember the music accompaniment tip - it sure helps me a lot.

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