10 Best Mountain Bike Indoor Trainers to Beat The Weather

No more excuses about the weather, make way for indoor bike trainers! You might be skeptical about getting one, but this post is going to change your mind. Gathering the best mountain bike indoor trainers was a monumental task as there are tons of options in the market. There are very differences that can make or break the indoor trainer.

For someone who is just getting into indoor bike trainers, here is a brief overview of what they are. You all might’ve used a stationary cycle while you’re working out. An indoor bike trainer consists of a small base onto which you place your bicycle.

There are three types of mountain bike indoor trainers – magnetic resistance trainers, fluid resistance trainers and interactive trainers.

Just like the name suggests, magnetic resistance trainers use opposing magnetics to create resistance. They offer a constant linear resistance while pedaling.

Fluid resistance trainers consist of a liquid with a high coefficient of viscosity. What this means is that, as you increase the intensity of your pedaling, the resistance provided by the liquid increases. So, the faster you pedal, the more difficult it becomes.

Lastly, we have the interactive trainers, which are the best in terms of user experience. They can be connected to a PC, laptop or smartphone and provides live details and suggestions.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the best mountain bike indoor trainers.

 

Conquer Mountain Bike Indoor Trainer


 

“conquer

The Conquer mountain bike indoor trainer comes neatly packaged in a sturdy box with the riser block for the front tire included. Let me tell you straight away that this one is strictly for the budget conscious. So, you shouldn’t be expecting a lot of fancy features.

It uses a folding mechanism like most of the other indoor trainers and is very easy to set up. The stand that comes with the trainer is sturdy enough and stays in place while training. I love the fact that this trainer folds up to a really small footprint which allows it be stowed away easily.

You should make sure that your bike has a quick release mechanism for the rear tire, otherwise, this one might not be the perfect option for you. Without any resistance, the wheels will move smoothly. As you shift gears, you’ll start feeling the burn.

There is also one other thing that you’ll start noticing and that is the noise. Mountain bikes are compatible with this one but it tends to get a little noisy. But there isn’t much to complain about this one considering its price and I don’t mind the noise. This is definitely the best model if you’re on a tight budget.

Pros:

  • Cheap cost
  • Easy to set up
  • Small when folded

Cons:

  • Slightly noisy
  • Resistance range is not very wide
  • Very lightweight

Akonza Magnetic Indoor Bike Trainer – Maximum Resistance at a Budget

“akonza

First of all, I love the blue color on the Akonza magnetic indoor bike trainer. It looks better than most of the trainers that come in the usual black but it is a subjective opinion. This one is also a budget oriented mountain bike trainer, but it has a few bells and whistles up its sleeve.

It has 7 levels of resistance that can be adjusted to simulate any road condition. The resistance controller mounts to the handle bar and this is very convenient. It can be used alongside the gears on your bicycle for a wider range of resistance levels and is one of the best mountain bike indoor trainers for more resistance.

Obviously, with a low price tag, there are bound to be a few negatives. But none of them are deal breakers. The Akonza indoor bike trainer comes with an instruction manual that is as good as a piece of plain paper.

The instructions are skewed and is pretty difficult to understand most of it. Another thing that I found annoying is the noise, but just like the Conquer indoor bike trainer, it can be compensated for its price tag.

Pros:

  • Wide range of resistance levels
  • Blue color looks gorgeous
  • Easy to set up
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Instructions are literally of no use
  • Slightly noisy

Bike Lane Pro Indoor Bicycle Trainer – Sturdy as an Oak

“bike lane pro

Bike Lane Pro is yet another mountain bike indoor trainer that comes with a set of skewed instructions. I didn’t find it difficult to set up but for first-time users, there might be some initial hiccups. With that aside, let’s get to what comes with the trainer.

You get the ‘instruction manual’ (which is of no use), the front riser block and the axle for the rear wheel apart from the trainer itself. All you need to do is remove the rear wheel of your bike and replace the axle with the one that comes with the trainer. Then, make sure the bike is properly centered before you bolt the screws.

The trick with this indoor trainer is to find the right resistance between the tire and trainer unit. The resistance can be controlled using the gears on your bicycle as well as the resistance unit that comes with it. This one also offers 7 levels of resistance on the resistance unit which is just great.

Noise is at par with the trainers that we’ve seen so far. All in all, this one is a great mountain bike indoor trainer with enough resistance levels to challenge you.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Wide range of resistance levels
  • Sturdy and easy to set up

Cons:

  • Slightly noisy
  • Useless instruction manual

Soozier Magnetic Resistance Indoor Bike Trainer – Average Joe’s Indoor Trainer

“soozier

One thing that you’ll notice straight out of the box is that the instruction manual and almost everything written in English is flawed. This turned out to be difficult while setting the trainer up, but thankfully there were pictures to help me along the way.

It doesn’t have a handle-mounted resistance adjuster, so you will have to get up each time you want to increase the resistance. I also don’t prefer to use this trainer early in the morning, as it produces a considerable amount of noise.

If your bicycle has large wheels, then you may have to raise the frame to avoid the tire hitting the floor and the frame. Even with all these negatives, this mountain bike indoor trainer from Soozier is great for the price. While riding my bicycle for a very long time, the trainer didn’t wobble or squeak. The rear resistance screw is easy to adjust despite having to get up each time for it.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Great build quality

Cons:

  • The instructions are not helpful
  • Slightly noisy
  • Large tires might collide with the rear frame

Gavin Indoor Bike Trainer – Best Sub-$100 Indoor Trainer

“gavin

The all-orange construction of the Gavin indoor bike trainer is definitely a yes for me. Some people may not like flashy colors, but this one is just too cool to dislike. This is one of the best mountain bike indoor trainers in terms of build quality.

The frame is extremely sturdy and I never felt like I was going to tip over. The front riser block and skewer are included which is nice. Sadly, the resistance cannot be adjusted while you’re riding the bike.

This has to be done by turning the screw next to the resistance unit. Even though some of the other trainers in this price bracket employ a resistance adjuster, Gavin decided not to. But they didn’t compromise on the build quality.

Since it is a single adjustment resistance trainer, I had to get up and adjust it more than a few times to get the right amount of resistance. This is where a handle mounted resistance adjuster would come in handy. Maybe Gavin will come up with an upgraded version of this trainer in the near future.

Pros:

  • Front riser block included
  • Heavy duty construction with an extra wide frame
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • No handle mounted resistance adjuster

CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer – For The Precision Seekers
“cycleops review

This is one of the best-selling mountain bike indoor trainers and for good reason too. It comes from the house of CycleOps and they have a great reputation when it comes to customer service and after sales support. The CycleOps Fluid2 can be bought in three configurations – Fluid2 Trainer, Fluid2 Training Kit (includes a sweat guard, two climbing blocks and a training mat) and Fluid2 Power Training Kit (includes a Joule cycling computer to read data as well as a power meter). This fluid trainer is for serious enthusiasts and not for beginners. It has a comparatively large fluid resistance unit among all the other fluid resistance trainers. This allows for a steeper power curve and a wide range of resistance levels while cycling.

CycleOps is a brand that loves its customers and unlike a lot of companies, they make sure to go above and beyond for them. My unit had a slight noise issue and their customer care executive was nice enough to hear me out and help me. Turns out I didn’t install my bicycle properly and they even asked me whether I wanted a new motor unit. It was unbelievable service from their part.

Pros:

  • Fluid resistance unit is one of the best in the market
  • Well-built and sturdy
  • Amazing customer support and after sales service

Cons:

  • The weld marks look messy but nothing to worry about

Travel Trac Comp Fluid Bicycle Trainer – Beginner’s Fluid Trainer

“travel trac review

This is another great looking indoor trainer and one of my personal favorites. It combines black and white colors along with red graphic lines which look beautiful. For a person who is coming from magnetic resistance units, I noticed a world of difference with this one.

The first and most important change was the way the resistance started building up. It felt a lot more natural than the magnetic resistance unit. People might be skeptical about getting this one due to its price. There aren’t a lot of fluid resistance trainers in this price bracket.

But nonetheless, it is one of the best mountain bike indoor trainers implementing the fluid resistance unit. The trainer comes pre-assembled, so there isn’t much to do. Mounting the bike is easy as pie.

Noise is not an issue but the plastic caps on the base tend to come out easily. If you’re riding the bike on a carpet like me, this won’t cause any trouble. But it might become wobbly on hard surfaces.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and sturdy build
  • Most affordable fluid trainer
  • Very quiet
  • Resistance build up is great

Cons:

  • Plastic caps on the base tend to come out
  • Heavier than most of the other indoor trainers

CycleOps Mag+ Cycling Trainer – Quiet as a Mouse

“CycleOps

This is the second indoor trainer from CycleOps and just as the title suggests, it is one of the most silent mountain bike indoor trainers out there. It looks very similar to the Fluid2 and the only difference is that the fluid resistance unit is replaced by a magnetic resistance unit.

Using a magnetic resistance unit has its flaws, but the Mag+ from CycleOps is sturdy and extremely silent. There is a handle-mounted resistance adjuster which a lot of indoor trainer units don’t have.

I really like this because it lets me change the resistance without actually getting up. But I would have really liked a bit more resistance from the magnet. It is definitely one of the best mountain bike indoor trainers, but for someone who is looking to be challenged, the Mag+ is just not enough.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Very sturdy build
  • Extremely quiet
  • Great option for beginners

Cons:

  • No riser block included
  • Resistance range is not very wide

Blackburn Tech Mag 6 Magnetic Resistance Trainer – Best Magnetic Trainer

“blackburn

I’ve been waiting to tell you guys about this one. This is by far the best mountain bike indoor trainer that I’ve used. It has all the bells and whistles of a great indoor trainer and it delivers without any hiccups. The unit comes semi assembled and it’ll take less than 15 minutes to set it up. Once that is done, you’ve to remove the skewer on your bicycle and replace it with the one that came with the trainer unit. After adjusting the distance from the wheel and the resistance unit and the height of the handle and seat, I was set.

There is a handle-mounted resistance unit with 6 different levels of resistance. Level 6 is pretty hard while Level 1 is very smooth. I would recommend starting the ride on Level 1 and then slowly move your way up to Level 6. Once you reach 6 go back down to 1. This will provide you with a wholesome workout. The build quality of the frame is excellent and the only thing that concerns me is the plastic housing of the resistance unit which gets considerably warm.

Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • 6 levels of resistance
  • Handle-mounted resistance adjuster
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Plastic housing for the resistance unit
  • Instruction manual is not very helpful

Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer – The Ultimate Smart Trainer

“road

This is the last product on our list and this one is a cut above the rest. This is the only smart trainer on this list and there are quite a few reasons to love it. First and foremost, the color is just gorgeous. It has a toxic green color with white writings and black standoffs.

You can find the Kinetic brand name all over the trainer unit. This one uses a patented fluid resistance system along with their inRide sensor technology.

With the inRide sensor, you don’t require any other additional sensors on your bicycle. All you need is a smartphone or tablet that supports Bluetooth and you’re good to go. I loved the Kinetic Fit app that I installed on my smartphone. It syncs up with the sensor and gives me access to over 100 built-in workouts along with other personalized workouts.

Coming to the performance of the indoor trainer, it is just fabulous. It is compatible with almost all kinds of bicycles and I didn’t have any trouble hooking up my mountain bike to it. The frame is extremely sturdy and Kinetic offers a lifetime warranty on it.

The amount of noise is negligible and the trainer offers a real road like feel. But there is one huge disappointment with this trainer unit and that is the Kinetic Fit app. It is virtually unusable with a number of freezes and crashes that occur time to time. I would recommend using Zwift for a better experience.

Pros:

  • Great looks
  • Easy to set up
  • inRide sensor gives access to hundreds of workouts
  • Fluid resistance is top-notch

Cons:

  • Kinetic Fit app crashes and freezes all the time

Best Mountain Bike Indoor Trainer Buying Guide

So, with all those reviews, pros and cons, you’re basically set on buying an indoor trainer for yourself. But it is not that easy. The ones given above are the best indoor trainers in the market right now and there is very little separating each of them. It all boils down to your requirements. Here are some of the basic things that you need to keep in mind.

  • Weight

For making your life easier, I’ve mentioned the weight of all the indoor trainers above. If you’re a slightly heavy person, it is best to go for a trainer that is heavy and sturdy. This will reduce the chances of wobbling while in use. But heavier trainers will make it difficult if you plan on moving them all the time.

  • Assembly

It is pretty evident from my review that most of the trainers come with skewed instructions. If you’re a person who gets easily frustrated with bad instructions, go for a trainer with well-detailed instructions like the ones from CycleOps or the Travel Trac Fluid trainer.

  • Noise

This is one aspect that can make or break an indoor trainer. The whole point of an indoor trainer is to be non-obtrusive. Your friends or parents shouldn’t complain about the noise from the trainer while they are watching TV. Luckily, most of the trainers on this list produce negligible noise. Be careful when opting for cheap trainers, as they tend to produce a lot of noise.

  • Resistance

Budget mountain bike indoor trainers don’t use handle-mounted resistance adjusters. If that is not a deal breaker for you, then you can happily go for it. But for some people, having to get up each time to get the right amount of resistance might seem too much of a task. They should opt for an indoor trainer with the handle-mounted resistance adjuster.

  • Fluid vs Magnetic

It is pretty obvious that indoor trainers with fluid resistance units are far better than their magnetic counterparts. Magnetic trainers produce more noise and the resistance is not very progressive. Fluid trainers, on the other hand, produce very little noise and offer a great buildup of resistance. The downside is that fluid trainers cost a bit more than magnetic trainers. So, if you have the extra money to splurge, go for a fluid resistance trainer.

Final Verdict

Cycling is a great way to lose calories as it engages large muscle groups in your body. But what if it is too sunny outside or there is a heavy downpour? What if you don’t want to get out of your house, but still want to stay fit? That is where indoor bike trainers come in.

Allow me to share to you my personal favorites: the CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer, Blackburn Tech Mag 6 Magnetic Resistance Trainer, and the Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer.

There are no surprises when it comes to the CycleOps Fluid2 Indoor Trainer. It is one of the best-selling fluid resistance trainers on the market at REI and has everything going right for it. I should also mention the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Bicycle Trainer as it is our pick for the best bang for buck option when it comes to fluid resistance trainers. It is a great starting point for those migrating from magnetic resistance trainers.

The Blackburn Tech Mag 6 Magnetic Resistance Trainer is my second favorite. It is extremely well built, is easy to set up, and has 6 levels of resistance that can be adjusted from the handle. What more can I ask for?

Lastly, my obvious recommendation is the Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer. That one is the only interactive trainer on our list and it combines the goodness of an interactive trainer with that of a fluid trainer. You can get live statistics on your smartphone through their app and start working out with certain goals in mind. Their in-house app is super buggy, but you can go for better apps like Zwift or TrainerRoad.

Before getting an indoor trainer, you should also get a sweat guard and a gym mat. The sweat guard is a small but worthy equipment that will catch all those tiny beads of sweat. The gym mat is helpful in more than one way. It reduces the noise, makes sure that the trainer doesn’t move and also keeps the floor clean. With all that in mind, go got yourself one of the best mountain bike indoor trainers from our list.

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