I'm on the 'hunt' for a turbo trainer. One thing I know is that old man winter is not too far away and here in the Ottawa Valley, there will not be many chances left to ride on the roads. I just want to maintain my fitness over the unbearable cold, wet and dark winter months and it's time for my first turbo trainer. Having lived in Alberta and Quebec, I'm no stranger to winter. But, which one? Over the weekend, I was in Ottawa for errands and needed some degreaser at MEC Ottawa and to check the turbo trainers.
A very helpful staff member gave me some good advice on turbo trainers: namely magnetic and fluid. Basically, Fluid trainers use fluid to gradually increase the resistance as you pick up speed. The resistance of the unit can be adjusted by simply going through the gears on your bike as you would on the road. Better mimics a road-like feel than do magnetic trainers (flats, hills, sprints, etc.) They tend to be quieter during use than magnetic units costing much more.
The less costly is the Magnetic trainer. Using a magnetic flywheel to adjust the resistance. You need to either shift gears on your bike or use the adjustment settings on the trainer. Relatively quiet and inexpensive, resistance can be adjusted to simulate easy roads, hills or intervals; some use a remote control mounted on the handlebar.
Also another consideration for a space challenged area is some units fold up for storage. A front tire riser is used to level your bike for a more natural riding position. And, trainers contribute to rear tire wear, so a trainer tire is the perfect solution because it has 3-times the strength of a regular tire.
The staff member uses a fluid trainer and I asked him how long his training sessions were and how to combat boredom on the trainer. He goes 2 days on 2 days off at about 45mins per session and usually has on a cycling video to keep motivated. I also asked him does he go stir crazy during the winter? No, he also enjoys the season by going cross country skiing in the Gatineau hills. I'm one step closer to buying my first turbo trainer and I'm leaning towards an entry level Magnetic unit. I'll have a review upcoming.