As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We also earn commissions from other affiliate programs through our links at no extra cost to you.
For when the weather outside isn’t conducive to cycling but you want to keep up your fitness or training biking routine, an indoor bike trainer is a must. While stationary exercise bikes are great, it is an unnecessary extra piece of equipment to have at home when a trainer let’s you use your outdoor bike indoors. In addition, you get a real biking feel this way. For beginners that don’t want to spend a lot of money on a cycle trainer, there’s the CycleOps Wind Indoor Bicycle Trainer to consider and our review will explain to you what kind of trainer it is and why it could be a good choice for you.
While many cycling enthusiasts are familiar with fluid and magnetic trainers, fewer people have heard of a wind bike trainer. The CycleOps Wind is an innovative and cost-effective design made for those who want a road-like feel but who may not have the funds for a higher-end fluid trainer. Here, we’ll take a look at this trainer’s specifications, as well as what sets it apart from the more traditional and commonly found fluid and magnetic trainers.
- Ride feel
Bike trainer for beginners
What is a Wind Trainer?
Because the defining feature of this CycleOps model of trainers is the fact that it is a wind trainer, it’s necessary to ensure you know what a wind trainer is and how it works. This type of trainer works differently from a magnetic or fluid trainer. A magnetic trainer makes use of magnetic resistance. Sometimes, the rider can adjust resistance via a handle-attached remote. Magnetic trainers are sometimes less smooth than fluid trainers, although they are generally more affordable.
Fluid trainers are generally seen as the best trainers available, as they provide smoother, progressive resistance. This resistance is provided by an encased container of hydraulic fluid. While it may take a few minutes to warm up, a fluid trainer will typically provide resistance that feels more like riding on an actual road. While fluid trainers are realistic and a good choice for the serious rider, their cost may be a deterrent.
We have a guide on bike trainers that goes into more detail about the types available.
The CycleOps Wind Trainer offers an alternative to both magnetic and fluid trainers. This trainer works by using wind resistance. This resistance is created using a fan that doubles as a flywheel. The fan is made using a vortex blade design, which helps it to create progressive resistance. As with many magnetic and fluid trainers, a rider using this wind trainer can also adjust resistance using the manual gears.
While a bicycle wind trainer has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive and of having a smooth progression of resistance, it does have some disadvantages. Namely, the resistance on a wind trainer is often easier to max out. If you are someone who regularly rides very fast, you may find yourself unable to get a satisfactory challenge. And while some trainers allow for multiple adjustment points so you can fine-tune your ride, many wind trainers do not have many ways to adjust. This also can make it more likely that you will max out the resistance.
One other possible disadvantage is sound. In the user reviews of any type of trainer, you’ll find users commenting on noise levels. While a good fluid or magnetic trainer is likely to be pretty quiet, wind trainers, because they have a fan, are often very loud. While you may be able to tune out the sound using headphones, some users still strongly prefer a quieter trainer, especially if they live with other people or in an apartment.
Features of the CycleOps Wind Trainer
Now that we’ve reviewed what makes a wind trainer (and what sets it apart from magnetic and fluid trainers), we can look at the specifications of the CycleOps Wind trainer.
Construction and Frame
The Wind Trainer has the same trapezoidal frame as many CycleOps trainers do. This frame provides added stability, even when riding vigorously. One innovative feature of the frame is the ability to adjust individual feet. This allows users to find stability even when riding on an uneven surface. While many indoor surfaces are flat, this feature is useful if you live somewhere with slanted or otherwise uneven floors.
While tyre wear is a concern with any trainer and a trainer tyre is recommended in most cases, the roller on this trainer (the part that will come in contact with your rear tyre) is precision-machined alloy for maximal smoothness. This can reduce the rate of tyre wear and provide smooth resistance. The trainer has an included easy-to-adjust knob that allows you to make sure the roller fits correctly against your rear tire.
The resistance-generating fan is made of diecast zinc, and it is somewhat heavy. This heaviness helps to replicate the feel of riding on the road, as it provides more realistic starts and stops.
Bike and Rider Compatibility
This trainer is designed to be used with most road bike and mountain bike frames. The resistance roller is 2″ and accommodates most common wheel sizes as well. According to the manufacturer, the following wheel sizes are compatible with this trainer:
CycleOps weight-tests its trainers, including the Wind trainer, for a combined bike and rider weight of 300 pounds. While it may be able to withstand more weight, it has not been tested to hold over 300 pounds.
Included Software Compatibility
For users with an ANT+ speed/cadence device on their bikes (as well as an ANT+ USB stick for a computer), it is possible to use CycleOps’ virtual training software with this trainer. This software allows you to ride virtual routes, and it creates a picture of a route and scenery that moves in response to your pedaling cadence. This feature is good for those who need to train or exercise indoors but who find indoor cycling to be dull.
This trainer comes with a lifetime “fix or replace” warranty, so buyers can rest assured they will always have a Wind trainer available for use once they buy one.
The CycleOps Wind trainer has several advantages for the casual and serious cyclist alike. One advantage is price. This is a very affordable trainer. However, the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty sets it apart from many other relatively inexpensive trainers, and this warranty also may help reassure those who are worried a less expensive trainer might not be long-lasting.
Another benefit of this trainer is the road-like feel. While it is not an expensive trainer, it is designed to feel like actual road riding. For those who choose to use the CycleOps training software, that road-like feel can be further amplified with a visual, which can help make training more engaging.
Lastly, the adjustability of the roller combined with the fact that riders can use the gears on the bike for resistance means that most riders will be able to easily set the right resistance level for their ride or experience realistic resistance changes.
While the CycleOps Wind is generally good value for money and is made to last, it is not without its disadvantages. Perhaps the most commonly-cited disadvantage among CycleOps bike wind trainer reviews is the fact that it is somewhat loud. Many user reviews comment on the sound of the fan, and CycleOps notes that this is the loudest trainer they have. They estimate that at a speed of 20mph, the noise from the fan is about 84 to 86 decibels.
Another potential disadvantage is the fact that many individuals who train using intervals or otherwise train at high speeds may end up maxing out resistance levels. If this is a concern for you, it may help to test out the trainer before buying it so you can better evaluate whether you need something with more resistance.
Who is This Best For?
While it has some high-end features and is designed to last a lifetime, it is an especially good bike trainer for beginners, those only using it for exercise, or for those who prefer easy rides as opposed to fast-paced training. It also is good for those who are on a budget and don’t want to spend large amounts of money on a trainer. It’s also best suited to those who don’t mind a bit of extra noise from the fan. In short, while this is a well-constructed and effective trainer, advanced cyclists will need something with a bit more resistance in order to get an effective workout.