Best Mountain Bike Trainer

Best Mountain Bike Trainer

by Dustin Pennington - Last Updated: November 21, 2020

In a rush to find the best mountain bike trainer? Check out the Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer. It is easy to set up and most closely approximates outdoor riding. You can even use it to simulate turns with it. Plus, it also has an app that tracks every measurement you could think of.

Mountain biking is by far one of my favorite activities, but it takes more than just hopping on your bike and taking on mother nature in all of her mountainous glory. Sure you COULD just grab your bike and maneuver up those hills, but your legs will be upset at you for it. Instead, why not start training yourself to attack the most difficult terrain, with a mountain bike trainer?

In all my time of riding I’ve never once said to myself, “I can’t wait to get up and ride my bike inside tomorrow”. Unfortunately for me, the weather doesn’t always permit me to go on an outdoor adventure. So finding the best indoor mountain bike trainer is a must if I want to keep a consistent riding schedule.

Best Overall Mountain Bike Trainer: Kinetic Fluid Trainer Rock ‘N Roll Smart

This is a wonderful fluid trainer that not only allows you to increase the tension while you are riding. But it also lets you act as though you are taking on sharp curves, just like you’re actually out there on the trails.

Like most fluid trainers, this machine is smooth and quiet, with an excellent progressive resistance system. Just change your gears and start pedaling for easy adjustments.

You’ll probably love the smart feature of this mountain bike trainer. It connects to the Kinetic Fit, Zwift, and TrainerRoad apps to track your progress, speed, and calories burned. What could be better? Oh yeah, the free 1-month subscription to the highly acclaimed Kinetic Fit Power-Training app. That’s the cherry on top.

If you want the best, then you are sure to love the Kinetic Rock ‘N Roll Smart Trainer. By far this is the best mountain bike trainer.

Best Budget Mountain Bike Trainer: Travel Trac Comp Mag + Trainer 

The Travel Trac Comp Mag + Trainer is a magnetic stand that will allow riders to get in a classic stationary bike workout. It has sturdy mounting cups (something that not all budget bike trainers can manage), so there’s no need to worry about your bike wobbling or slipping off the stand.

Its flywheel promotes smooth pedaling action with three levels of magnetic resistance to build up those leg muscles, and even your core. Who doesn’t want some washboard abs? Lightweight, easy to assemble and even easier to break down, the Travel Trac Comp Mag + is perfect for travelers.

Best Roller Mountain Bike Trainer: Tacx Parabolic Rollers 

Looking for a challenge? Do you want to be forced to keep your balance as though you were riding outdoors? If you do, then you’ll love roller trainers.

Rollers are the best way to get your pedaling cadence down to a science (outside of being on the trails of course). They force you to be engaged while riding and strong pedaling rhythm. These things are simply amazing.

The Tacx Roller trainer uses parabolic bars making it easier to keep your tires in the middle of it. A nice touch if I say so myself. This machine is wonderfully lightweight and easy to break down, so you’ll have zero problems taking it with you on trips or even just to warm up for competitions.

Utilizing a set of sealed bearings on each of the rollers, this machine is quiet and smooth. And thank god for it too. Rollers are the best way to get your pedaling cadence down to a science (outside of being on the trails of course). They force you to be engaged while riding and strong pedaling rhythm. These things are simply amazing.

Types of Mountain Bike Trainers

There are a few different types of mountain bike trainers to choose from. They all provide you with an excellent workout, but the more expensive models offer more precision and even a wider range of options. The types of trainers are; rollers, wind, magnetic, fluid, and flywheels.

Rollers

Probably the most difficult mountain bike to use (including the dedicated stationary bikes). Roller bike trainers require the rider to balance the bike on the three-cylinders while you are pedaling the bike. It is perfect for men and women who love cycling to the point that they want to challenge themselves every time they sit on the saddle. In fact, these are typically only used by cycling pros and enthusiasts.

The best aspect of these types of mountain bike trainers is also the most daunting thing about them. They offer the most realistic stationary riding option and duplicate your actual riding experiences. But this also means that you will be required to have an excellent balance and a near-perfect pedaling rhythm.

If you aren’t an experienced rider, we would highly recommend not using these. But once you do get used to them, you can expect your rides in the wilderness to significantly easier than you remembered them.

Wind

Wind trainers use the back wheel of your bike to power a fan that increases its resistance the faster you pedal. These are typically less expensive, lightweight, and portable. Be warned though; they can get fairly loud. Also, you won’t be able to make any adjustments to it, the only way to get more resistance is to pedal faster.

Magnetic

Magnetic mountain bike trainers use magnetic flywheels to create the resistance that you are looking for. Instead, you need to shift the gears of your bike, or you could opt to use the adjustment settings that are already on the device.

The magnetic bike trainers are still relatively inexpensive, so they are a good entry-level bike trainer. You’ll love the ability to adjust the resistance levels, allowing you to simulate climbing up hills. The downside is that the cheaper models require the rider to dismount and change the settings.

Fluid

Fluid trainers have a silicon base within the unit that increases resistance the faster you pedal (much like wind trainers. These types of bike trainers are starting to gain some traction in the cycling world too. Because they are more sophisticated than a wind trainer is, they offer a more accurate simulation of mountain biking.

These run more quietly (another leg up on the wind trainers), and they almost perfectly mimic the sprints, hills, and even flat surfaces. However, they do cost much more than wind trainers, and they tend to heat up when under constant use. This is liable to decrease the life of these trainers.

Tips on Choosing the Right Mountain Bike Trainer

Choosing anything can be overwhelming when you make your first purchase, but this is especially so when purchasing a mountain bike trainer. This is mostly because there are several options available, and they each are used for different reasons.

But you’ll be happy to learn that there aren’t too many things to keep in mind when you are searching for a mountain bike trainer. Let’s take a look.

Challenge

Are you a beginning to an intermediate rider? Maybe you just want something that will allow you to burn some calories without having to take your exercise outdoors. How about those of you that want to be challenged every time you start pedaling. Make sure you find a mountain bike trainer that best fits the type of challenge you are looking for.

Adjustability

Again, if you are a beginning rider, you may not want to deal with too much resistance. In these cases, you could opt for wind trainers. But for those riders who are looking for a challenge, you’ll probably want a mountain bike trainer that can let you vary your workouts. Look for trainers that can adjust on the fly, like this fluid trainer from Kinetic

Noise

Cycling indoors means there are probably people in the house with you, so how loud these machines can get will likely become an issue. Whether you’re a stay at home parent who wants to get their exercise in while the baby is napping, or you just don’t want to hear a bunch of ruckuses while using your trainer, there are plenty of quieter options available.

If noise isn’t an issue for you, then you should think about opting for a wind trainer. They are loud, but for you, that doesn’t matter so much. Besides, they are supremely budget-friendly.

How easy is it to use

There is something to be said for being able to get on your trainer while watching t.v. and get a good calorie-burning exercise in. We don’t always want to pay extra attention to what we are doing while exercising.

If you want something you can hop and ride without having to devote a bunch of attention to your workout, then this is a big point of concern for you. You certainly wouldn’t want to go and get a roller mountain bike trainer. Maybe opt for a fluid or wind trainer instead.

Price

Well, DUH! This should be something we all care about. Don’t go spending too much money on your mountain bike trainer. We all have visions of grandeur when we purchase a mountain bike, and the same goes for a mountain bike trainer. If you aren’t going to actually use your trainer on a daily basis, then you don’t need to spend a fortune on it.

FAQ

What is a Mountain Bike Trainer

A mountain bike trainer is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It trains your legs (and the rest of your body) helping you get used to the stress that mountain biking will put on your body.

These are terrific, for winter months, rainy months, or any other time of the year that you probably don’t want to be taking your bike outdoors. Essentially, bike trainers allow you to get the same mountain biking exercise for the entire year.

Wrap Up – Best Mountain Bike Trainer

There you have it, these are my three favorite mountain bike trainers. While the Rock ‘N Roll from Kinetic is easily my favorite, you really can’t go wrong with either three of these wonderful pieces of machinery. Do you already have a mountain bike trainer and need an alternative for road or other biking styles? Then check out this guide for the Best Bike Trainer.

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