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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started cycling about 6 weeks ago, and judging by how much easier it was to push mow my lawn last night, I think I've made some gains in the muscle strength of my legs.

Looking to the winter time (which thankfully doesn't last really long in NC) I want to make sure I have an indoor option when the weather doesn't allow me to get out on the road.

Is the better option a stationary bike or a indoor bike trainer?

As far as cost, it looks like you can get an indoor bike trainer that gets better than average reviews for as little as $70: Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer Portable Exercise Bicycle Magnetic Stand

Where a similar (similar meaning it's magnetic as well) stationary bike may run around $130: https://www.amazon.com/Exerpeutic-F...85:2470955011,p_72:1248957011,p_36:5000-20000

As far as being most like the ride I get out on the road, is the bike trainer or the stationary bike the most* similar?

* I realize nothing will be exact due to hills, wind, temperature, exertion effort, etc. But I'd like something that's as close as I can get without spending a great deal of money

Thanks for your help!

TripleB
 

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As far as being most like the ride I get out on the road, is the bike trainer or the stationary bike the most* similar?
Riding your own bike will always be the most similar.

But in regards to trainers, you kinda get what you pay for. Neither of the devices you linked are going to provide much of a realistic feel or resistance. If you just want to spin your legs, sure it'll work. But don't expect a lot more. My GF had that trainer. It provides very little resistance. And mag trainers have never been good at providing a real feel.

I'd suggest raising your budget a bit and go with a fluid trainer. They're quieter, offer more resistance, and a more realistic feeling.
Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer
 

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I agree that the one you can put your own bike on is best. The important thing is to buy the one that you will be most likely to use. If it's boring, you won't use it. I have the Kinetic Road Machine:

https://www.rei.com/product/862619/kinetic-road-machine-20-bike-trainer

It is a good quality trainer, but I find indoor cycling in place very boring. I have used it 3 times in 2 years.

Last year, I actually rode outdoors through January and February due to the unusually warm winter we had in NJ. Unless you are in the mountains, I doubt there aren't days in NC you can ride outside during the winter. As long as it's above 32 degrees, I'll ride!
 

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Trainer or rollers are by far better than a stationary bike for many reasons.
The down side is, potentially, wimpy weight weenie chain stays might not be suited for trainer use on certain trainers and salt from sweat can take a tool on metal bike parts. I have a bike that I use only on the trainer and the front brake and headset are trash from salt. But I never took any care to avoid that because I knew I was done riding that bike on the road ever again. Lots of people ride bikes and trainers and never had that problem. But you do need to take care to avoid it.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is that you can put a trainer or rollers away a lot easier than a dedicated stationary bike. If you realize you are not cut out for indoor training or when the weather invites you outdoors, the trainer can be boxed up and stashed in a closet or rollers under a bed. But a dedicated stationary bike could just get in the way.
For me, I would suggest a good fluid trainer or rollers. But that is another debate and if interested, you can do a quick search on the differences for tons of views.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'd suggest raising your budget a bit and go with a fluid trainer. They're quieter, offer more resistance, and a more realistic feeling.
Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer
Thanks for your suggestion...I'll definitely take a closer look at the fluid trainers as they seem, at least according to the few reviews I've read, to offer a bit more realistic feel!

It is a good quality trainer, but I find indoor cycling in place very boring. I have used it 3 times in 2 years.

Last year, I actually rode outdoors through January and February due to the unusually warm winter we had in NJ. Unless you are in the mountains, I doubt there aren't days in NC you can ride outside during the winter. As long as it's above 32 degrees, I'll ride!
I'm sure it is...when I used to be a runner I dreaded days that I had to spend on the treadmill. It's more convenient because I loved getting up early in the mornings before work and getting my workout done (too dark to be safe outdoors)...but the fun just wasn't there!

I'll definitely be out there 30 degree weather...used to play tennis in it...although I will admit riding in 30 degree weather going 30+ mph already gives me chills :D

Thanks for everyone's advice so far!

TripleB
 

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.....and salt from sweat can take a tool on metal bike parts. I have a bike that I use only on the trainer and the front brake and headset are trash from salt.

This one is easy. Wear your skull cap or any sweat band. And have a fan running on you.
 

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I started with a turbo fluid trainer but was bored out of my mind. When I got a set of rollers it totally changed the way I viewed indoor training and its had a huge impact on my pedaling technique.

You have to be super smooth with your pedal stroke which helps train you to put out power without as much strain or effort. You also need to stay focused the whole time so its great just having music, a fan keeping you cool and actually riding the bike. It takes quite a bit of practice to use without falling and can be a bit scary to learn but its well worth it. I bought mine at a Performance bike for about $120.
 

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I'm in the extreme minority, but I prefer a stationary bike over a bike trainer for the winter months. I bought a mid-grade Proform stationary bike last year. It's great for cardio exercise when I can't ride my bike outdoors, plus it has plenty of resistance and a wide variety of preset programs. Stationary bikes are more expensive than trainers, but well worth the extra money, IMO.
 

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I think it has to do with what your goals are. If you are just trying to get in some cardio and spin the wheels, maybe get in some intervals, then I think either will work. If you are planning on time trials then putting your TT bike on a trainer will let you work out and practice your position.

I have a magnetic stationary bike I found on Craigslist. I slide it out from the wall and put it in front of the TV when I use it. It is quiet enough that it doesn't bother me or anyone else when watching the TV (with the treadmill, it was practically impossible to watch TV because of the noise). I can let it run a program or just adjust resistance manually through the workout. I routinely do 70-80 minute rides on the stationary bike.

One thing though, I don't think you can coast down hill and maintain or increase your speed on either a stationary or trainer ;-)
 

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I thought about posting this in 'Hot Deals', but this seems like as good a place as any.

Wahoo currently has the Wahoo Kickr SNAP on sale for $599

Also, performance and nashbar are good places to shop for trainers, as they often have discount promotions that apply to them (25% off anything in the cart sort of things). you might have to sign up for their email spam to know about them.

FWIW, my opinion is to put your bike on a trainer (rather than the stationary bike) for the reasons others have posted above. My personal preference is a smart trainer. The SNAP, and other similar trainers can be controlled via smartphone apps, or via software on a tablet or PC. This can really make a difference if you are prone to boredom on the trainer.

I live where it's cold, dark and wet for six months out of the year, and spend a lot of time on the trainer. I actually look forward to it. I use Zwift mostly, but occasionally go through some specific workouts on Trainer Road (lately I've been demo'ing the new Sufferfest app on my IPad).

Since you're in NC, and your off season is relatively short, it may not be worth investing a lot of time, money, or space into indoor training. If that is a case, a good foldable trainer like the Kurt Kinetic mentioned above might be all you need.
 

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Definitely not a stationary bike. If you have to, a trainer, but I find them so boring that I don't own one. Rollers are the best indoor device because you have to keep alert. The best way to start out is in a hallway where you can touch both walls.

Frankly, I have a bunch of cold weather clothes and just ride in the winter. There's sometimes a couple months where I don't ride at all. I go to the gym here at work, or take a walk at lunch. It's good to get a little break from riding. I live in the DC area, a bit north of you, so you should be able to ride more in the winter than I can. Can you commute to work on a bike? It's a good way to get some miles in.

The bike sitting on the trainer will likely become a clothes hanging rack in about six weeks.
 

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Last winter I bought a Stages indoor bike with power meter. I put it in the attic, and I keep the temps in the low 60s up there in the winter. I love it. Power increased 15% over the winter, cold months. It will never need any maintenance. It is extremely quiet. I just watch an old 13 inch tube TV when I train. I don't have to bring a bike indoors and up steps. My wife and teenage kids use it. It has drop road bars. I have it set up just like my road bike. (Very easy to change from one family member to another.) I bought it last year online on Black Friday. Stages will allow you to buy online with big discounts, free shipping, and no sales tax, so long as it is their fitness equipment and not the bike power meters, which must be sold by a dealer in your state if you look online. Think I will go for a spin now....
 

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I favor the trainer over stationary bikes. Partly, because my road bike fits. I find it takes me a while to get a fit dialed in just right, so the road bike is easier. But I'm sensitive (knees) to very small differences in fit.

Frankly, TipleB, I'd ride outside as much as you can, enjoy some time off the bike when it gets too nasty, and stash the cash for your road bike purchase. I think that's where your best bang to buck ratio will be. PU a decent trainer next year on Craig's List for 50-100.
 
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