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are indoor trainers under $200 worth getting? also cheap trainer recs

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are indoor trainers under $200 worth getting? also cheap trainer recs

Old 11-16-20, 09:10 PM
  #1  
thesongs
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are indoor trainers under $200 worth getting? also cheap trainer recs

Looking at riding from three years ago (when I was still in my 30s), I noticed I used to be a lot faster in one of my commutes. For example, I was riding today at full speed and thought I surely had a decent time (but found out I'd ride 10 mins faster before for 37 km). To build myself up again, I thought it'd be smart to get an indoor trainer. Saw some that were in the 100s and was wondering if these were even worth getting. What are the pros and cons between a trainer in the 100s and maybe one in the 200s? Any thoughts? An recs for trainers in the 100s and 200s? I'm not gonna start racing or anything. I just want to put in a few more hours on the bike to counter the effects of aging on my ability to bike as a form of transport. Thought a trainer might be cool, so that I can ride while watching a show or the news.
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Old 11-17-20, 12:47 AM
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There is an Indoor & Stationary Cycling forum where this question would be better directed. Hopefully a mod will see this thread and move it.

For the price range you're looking at, the best trainers are going to be used wheel-on fluid trainers off of Craigslist and the like. Despite this being COVID times, people are still selling dumb trainers for around $50-$100 (pre-pandemic times, prices would be down to half that), either because they realize they hate using them even when stuck indoors or because they upgraded to fancier (smart) trainers or exercise bikes. These trainers are built solidly and more often than not, hardly used, so you save a lot over buying one new for twice the price.

Just riding a trainer is better than not riding at all, but most people will not be getting the most out of "just riding" without structure. It's too easy to get into a routine and not actually tax the body enough to produce a positive training response. Instead, people get good at riding at the same speed they've always ridden at. To avoid that pitfall, I would highly recommend following an actual training plan (plenty of resources out there) and getting a trainer that supports objectively tracking your efforts. Choices for the latter: 1) use a training platform that has a virtual power curve for whatever trainer you get when combined with a speed sensor (most require paid subscription though), 2) a Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer model that you can add an InRide sensor to collect actual power readings, or 3) spend a little more to get the Tacx Flow, which is the least expensive smart trainer on the market today.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:18 AM
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you are comparing two completely different aspects of riding , you could get faster by simply wearing more aero kit or tucking in and getting low , maybe you just got bored over time and stopped caring about going fast in that way , training on an indoor trainer wont make you any faster at all , if you ride the same way often you will face so many variables over time , maybe that ride you re looking at was on a tail wind day , and maybe the wind has shifted to more head winds , it happens , the weather is never constant , an indoor trainer cant train you to pace yourself in head winds or allow you try different tire pressures , hell even changing your tires will effect the ride , are you riding the exact same set up , is your drive train refreshed and running as close to max efficiency as possible , an indoor will not be able to check off every box and tune your bike , even friction from worn bearing can set you back minutes .

if you do need a trainer the issue i would look out for is the lack of natural sway , it can really kill the experience , so maybe you could look for rollers , there is so many used trainers for under 200 , i think i have a magnetic one with a selector and virtual power readout , so its a semi smart trainer , not very accurate but its kinda of cheap , its a tacx , dunno what models they sell now a days , but it does seem to slipp a bit until its warmed up
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Old 11-17-20, 05:12 PM
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If I were, I would absolutely pay to get a "smart" trainer and play Zwift, because not doing that is boring as f.

Might be doing it pretty soon here given commuting is at a standstill and doing daddy daycare for pretty much all kid waking hours
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Old 11-19-20, 09:36 AM
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Thread moved from Commuting to Indoor Cycling
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Old 11-19-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
If I were, I would absolutely pay to get a "smart" trainer and play Zwift, because not doing that is boring as f.

......................
This is of course the crux of the matter.

I know there are a few hearty souls that watch duh TV or listen to the Doobie Brothers at high volume but I couldn't put in the sheer amount of time I do on my trainer without some kind of program to make it a little interesting, in my case Zwift.
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Old 11-23-20, 07:56 AM
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I just picked up used a Kurt Kinetic trainer with the inride bluetooth sensor last night as my first indoor trainer. I have been watching Facebook Marketplace (hate it) and Craiglist for several weeks. As other's have mentioned, demand is high and often the used trainers are about as much as new. If you have patience, you can still find some good deals. I picked mine up for $100 and is practically new. If you can find the KK for ~$150 give or take I would jump on it. I rode it last night and it is pretty nice.
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Old 11-23-20, 04:10 PM
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I have a cheap "dumb" trainer which is fine for me. I download lots of bike races and watch them. I get bored quickly with just music. Sometimes I play quick tempo music with bike racing.
But I can see the appeal of the various "smart" trainers.
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Old 11-23-20, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr_Stop View Post
I just picked up used a Kurt Kinetic trainer with the inride bluetooth sensor last night as my first indoor trainer. I have been watching Facebook Marketplace (hate it) and Craiglist for several weeks. As other's have mentioned, demand is high and often the used trainers are about as much as new. If you have patience, you can still find some good deals. I picked mine up for $100 and is practically new. If you can find the KK for ~$150 give or take I would jump on it. I rode it last night and it is pretty nice.
I have a KK with the InRide and can vouch for it. It's a really well made trainer and the InRide sensor is very close to my Quarq PM. It allows you to get on Zwift or any of the other training platforms for a minimal cost and hassle. You won't get the interactivity of a smart trainer, but it's still pretty immersive.
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Old 11-24-20, 03:17 PM
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When I first started riding an indoor trainer about 4 seasons ago I wasn't convinced I would like it so a friend lent me his CyclOps fluid trainer with no connectivity. I rode to the GCN workout videos and had to admit it was a good W/O and some what amusing. Friend then said I had to try Zwift so I bought a pair of sensors on Amazon (speed and cadence) and the ANT dongle and was able to ride without the resistance but still really enjoyed. Got lucky and picked up a 2nd hand smart trainer (thankfully before the crazy bike boom) and have been doing it ever since.
Some guys prefer Rouvy or Trainer road but I think Zwift offers a ton of training options and different rides to keep me interested. Here are my recommendations to keep enthused:
  • join races or group rides - they are intimidating at first but you get used to them and a heck of a workout
  • use all the training programs they offer to work on something specific
  • find a friend/friends to join in on a hook up and then its almost like your regular group ride
  • always push yourself when your previous P/R comes up to try and beat it
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Old 11-25-20, 08:47 AM
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If I may add to this discussion. I have been using Zwift of a full year now and have by my newbie standards put in more miles and climbed more feet than I ever imagined in a million years. Most of my trainer riding has been in social/group rides, the personal quest for the Tron bike or to complete route badges or challenges. A few races but I'm no racer.

In my year of Zwift I had not done a single one of the canned workouts or enrolled in any workout programs. I had been getting regular ftp increases but that stopped about 4 months ago. So to relieve the log jam I 'm finally in week two of a 12 week workout plan using intervals. I'ts too soon to say but I think this will help move things along as most of the group rides I normally participate in have become less challenging to me. If nothing else the plan is making me work hard. There are of course more challenging group rides available but I wanted to see if a workout program would help.
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Old 11-26-20, 09:29 PM
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I am one who bought a dumb fluid trainer (Cycleops Fluid 2) on craigslist with a riser block for $100, then added the Wahoo RPM cadence and speed sensors for $70. Have been having a blast using the Peloton App (12.99/mo) for the group rides as well as some of the outdoor running audio. Changing gears to create the resistance called out by the instructors has become pretty natural after about 30 rides. I connect the Peloton app on my iphone to my apple watch and cadence sensor (with the Peloton app displaying the HR from the watch and the cadence ), and then use an ipad with the Wahoo Fitness app to simultaneously display my speed sensor (speed is not displayed on the Peloton app). I also have the Powercal HRM which computes virtual power which can display on the Wahoo Fitness App and by report also works in Zwift even with an unsupported trainer.
I looking forward to trying out Zwift (which supports my dumb trainer). Never realized that indoor cycling could be so much fun!
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Old 11-27-20, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ncyue View Post
I am one who bought a dumb fluid trainer (Cycleops Fluid 2) on craigslist with a riser block for $100, then added the Wahoo RPM cadence and speed sensors for $70. Have been having a blast using the Peloton App (12.99/mo) for the group rides as well as some of the outdoor running audio. Changing gears to create the resistance called out by the instructors has become pretty natural after about 30 rides. I connect the Peloton app on my iphone to my apple watch and cadence sensor (with the Peloton app displaying the HR from the watch and the cadence ), and then use an ipad with the Wahoo Fitness app to simultaneously display my speed sensor (speed is not displayed on the Peloton app). I also have the Powercal HRM which computes virtual power which can display on the Wahoo Fitness App and by report also works in Zwift even with an unsupported trainer.
I looking forward to trying out Zwift (which supports my dumb trainer). Never realized that indoor cycling could be so much fun!
Yeah, it's amazing what you can do without having to spend a bundle. Before I got a smart trainer, I used to use my gears in Zwift to emulate the changes in gradients, so as I would go up hills I would gear down to make it tougher to pedal. I remember explaining this to someone and they thought I was crazy ha ha.
Yesterday, I created a hook up with a buddy of mine who is new to Zwift so we could ride together. Rode 25km's in 45 minutes with an average of 250 watts and burned 560 calories. He loved it.
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Old 11-27-20, 01:49 PM
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I spent 2.5 winters on my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine that I paid $100 for off craigslist (+ another $50 for the inride pod.) I wasn't sure I was insane enough to actually put time into the thing so figured it was a cheap bet. I put in 5-6k miles on it. Every single ride I'd warm up for 15 minutes, then calibrate, the do the workout. Sometimes the calibration was out of range and I'd need to mess with tire pressure on my freezing porch while covered in sweat. What was most frustrating was short high power stuff where the tire would slip. I'd be dying, ragged breath, and the screen would tell me I wasn't hitting the power numbers. Hated that so much there was nothing I could do about it.

Finally I bought an original wahoo kickr, refurbished, for $550 and haven't looked back. Such a terrific machine. I didn't realize how much agony was involved in trying to match workout power numbers, the kickr just demands the power and my job is to ride hard. Is much less stress.

Now I spend more time doing virtual rides the kickr is good up to about 15% grade, I'm out of saddle riding up some climb, is terrific.

Recently someone gave me a computrainer. It looks like an old school piece of junk but its actually a really nice machine. Mine came with a usb connector and it works just great with windows 10 and golden cheetah. Its power adapts very quickly and feels very stable. They are available quite often for < $200. I would much rather have the computrainer than a kurt road machine but... because it is wheel on it is susceptible to tire slippage. It really can't be used for a simulated grade above about 5%.

I think for starting out a used computrainer is the best deal, but be sure you get one with the usb connector. Later if you use it enough to justify it you should spend more to get a direct drive smart trainer.

Also : I do all my virtual rides and workouts using golden cheetah. Free and no subscription.
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