Spin City

Cycling Trainers for All Budgets

December 19, 2013 Buying Guides By
Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

We’re reluctant to admit it, but colorful fall rides are a thing of the past. The end of everyday outdoor cycling weather creates a fork in the road: some choose to move to a winter regimen that builds on the past year; others veer off to partake in holiday cheer and return to riding when the snow melts. While we’re no strangers to mulled wine and a sweater with reindeer on it, we know from experience that breaking for winter makes having a strong race season much more difficult. Rather than risking disaster on icy roads, consider one of these indoor trainers to keep pedaling through the off-season.

MORE CYCLING: The Best Road Bikes for Any Rider | Interview with Cannondale’s Henning Schroeder | The Best American Mountain Bike Trails

CycleOps Mag+ Trainer


Best Entry-Level Trainer: The CycleOps Mag+ Trainer with Adjuster is a perfect entry-level trainer, with five resistance levels that can be adjusted from the handlebar-mounted shifter. It’s quick to set up, easy to level the legs, and it’s foldable for storage or travel. Shell out another $24 for the CycleOps Climbing Riser Block and you’ll be able to add four levels of difficulty into your indoor workout.

Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll


Best Value Trainer: Not being able to move your bike side to side when doing interval work completely strips away the feeling of being on a bike at all. The Rock and Roll helps you break free from the statue-like ride of many trainers: vertical and horizontal movements make it feel as if you’re actually outside, climbing hills and sprinting down straightaways. Resistance is managed fluidly and ranges from 5 to 3000 watts; those wishing to keep track of power output can add Kinetic’s inRide watt meter, which uses a Bluetooth Smart communication protocol found in the iPhone 4S and 5.



Editor’s Pick: We love innovation in gear, and the Wahoo KICKR has plenty of it. There’s a wheel-off design — you remove the back wheel and mount the drivetrain directly to the trainer — for highly accurate power measurement, a flywheel engineered to replicate the feel of the road, and an adjustable swing arm that fits any size bike. If you’re training during the winter, chances are you’re crunching numbers, and the KICKR broadcasts data over Bluetooth and ANT+ so you can train with a bike computer or man the controls directly from your iPhone.

Kreitler Kompact 3.0


Bonus: Best Rollers Trainers allow you to lock in and mindlessly pedal with no worries of crashing; rollers require skill and improve balance, handling and pedal stroke. Once you’ve mastered what it’s like riding on ice, they can become a tool for high cadence work and recovery spins. The Kreitler Kompact 3.0 Roller is a great set of rollers with a smaller, lighter frame that folds up neatly for easy travel and storage.

Dirk Shaw

More by Dirk Shaw | Follow on Contact via Email
Sign Up for Gear Patrol Newsletters
Useful product reviews, work-from-home tips
and expert advice in your inbox daily.

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy and to receive email correspondence from us.