Biking in the Basement
December 19, 2003 6:54 AM   Subscribe

I'll soon have a basement, and be able to bring at least one bike inside for the winter, so I'm wondering: do I want a trainer? If so, do I want rollers, a fan-trainer, a fluid-trainer, a mag-trainer, what? I'm not a racer, I'm just looking for an alternative to spinning classes to keep my lungs in shape.
posted by bonehead to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fluid trainers would be the quietest, on average.

Rollers are preferred by some racing types, as they provide a balancing challenge similar to rough road conditions.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:42 AM on December 19, 2003

Serious indoor workouts are really hard on a bike. If you can swing it, here's what I did:

Got a used road-bike beater. I got mine on rec.bicycles.marketplace. In fact, what I got was a bare frame with a few parts. I bought a single-speed rear wheel from Sheldon Brown, and pillaged my favorite bike shop's used-parts bin to make it usable.

Got a Cateye trainer--this is a big, chunky thing that takes the place of the front wheel and clamps over the rear dropouts. Kinda spendy. Obviously there are other options, but this one's pretty nice. It's a combo of wind and mag resistance.

The pounding this setup has taken has made me glad I didn't expose my real bike to it.

Rollers are cool, but a completely different experience: unless you get special rollers (or hook up an external fan unit), they provide very little resistance. You also need to be more focused to stay up on them.
posted by adamrice at 10:16 AM on December 19, 2003

Adam, what do you mean by hard on a bike? Wheel/tire damage is ok, or, at least, manageable, but are you talking frame damage too? This was one of the reasons I asked about rollers.
posted by bonehead at 10:36 AM on December 19, 2003

Actually, I haven't had a problem with tire damage: I'm talking about the frame and parts.

Sweat is very corrosive, and you shed a lot of it when working out indoors. My stationary is rusty as hell. I suspect that even assiduous cleanings after each workout would leave the frame somewhat the worse for wear.

I also suspect (but can't back this up) that the flexing a frame undergoes when locked on a trainer isn't good for it either.

Basically, I wanted to make my setup as easy as possible: just get on, ride, and shower. Knowing myself, I knew that if I had to move the bike, set it up, clean it off, etc after each workout that I wouldn't use it much.
posted by adamrice at 12:34 PM on December 19, 2003

FWIW, my beater was assembled for a total price of about $250--the most expensive part was the rear wheel, which I bought new.
posted by adamrice at 12:35 PM on December 19, 2003

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