Sunday, January 20th, 2019

CycleOps Fluid 2 Turbo Trainer Review

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Fluid2_thumb Training outside in the winter stinks. It’s cold, dark, windy, and cars don’t see you until they are too close for comfort. This leaves you with either the option of doing other sports, or training indoors in spinning class or on a turbo trainer.

Turbos have come a long way from when they were just simple rollers. Now, on the high end you have stuff like virtual reality turbo trainers where you can pretend you are on a real course and the turbo will adapt the difficulty depending if you are going down a hill or up one… I actually tried one out not too long ago that let me climb up the Tourmalet and would speed up the video depending on what speed I was going up. It was cool and spooky. However, these virtual reality (VR) systems don’t come cheap (sometimes in the 900 pound range), they need quite a bit of kit to connect, and they still run the risk of boring you at some point. Slightly below the VR systems, there are others that are particularly useful if you want to train with a coach. These models include all sorts of data readouts from the turbo itself, including power, but they can still cost quite a bit of money (in the 200-600 pound range).

So if you can’t beat the winter blues with that amount of cash.. what are you options?

Below 200 Pounds, you start entering the range of turbo trainers that just give you resistance.. plain and simple. All you have to decide on is what kind of resistance you want and how noisy do you mind it being..

There are air, magnetic, and fluid resistance turbos, in order of noise generated. Air ones are the cheapest, but noisiest. Magnetic are the most common, are somewhat noisy, but you need to manually ‘shift’ the resistance. The last, the fluid, have a resistance that varies with how hard you are pedaling (feels like you are on a road) and is the most quiet. The only downside to fluid is that for some people, they may not have ‘enough’ resistance and sometimes they can leak (earlier generations from what I hear).

Based on the fact that I live in an apartment, I didn’t want to get a noisy turbo.. so I got the Fluid 2 from CycleOps.

Setup was easy enough although the build quality, whilst solid (doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart), jiggles and makes noise (loose fittings even if fully tightened)… Also, mine is not quite ‘even’ in that without weight on it, it rocks a bit (once i’m on it, though, it flattens out). When the bike is on, it doesn’t quite move but isn’t ‘locked’ fully (it has some minor play to allow you to flex, I suppose).

While riding, I must say it is very easy to deal with. I don’t need to do anything other than shift my bike like I would on the road and the resistance changes automatically. Excellent. I’m Happy. I can’t max out the resistance either. For the record I put out about 250 watts (average) at my lactate threshold, So, I can put out in excess of 350 watts average for a bit, but still the turbo feels fine for all of my base building exercises.

Noise wise, it is quiet. It is no louder than my Xbox 360. Lot less louder than a vacuum cleaner. I should have bought it a long time ago, for this concern was totally not as drastic as I thought it would be.

I do recommend the Fluid 2. I also recommend you get yourself a sweat cover for your bike and for the floor as well as a stand to lift the front tyre to the same level as your rear.

Happy winter cycling!

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