There are fundamentally four different types of trainers nowadays; a wind trainer, a magnetic trainer, a fluid trainer and a smart trainer.
|CycleOps Wind Trainer|
A wind trainer is the most basic type of trainer you can buy. The resistance comes from a built-in fan. They feature a single resistance, are easy to setup and simple to use. If you want a trainer that has little to no setup required this will be great for you.
|Tacx Booster Trainer|
A magnetic trainer is similar to the wind trainer in the way that it creates resistance, but features adjustable tension. Some trainers feature tension that can be adjusted on the unit itself and others are adjusted via a remote on your handlebars. This adjustable resistance allows you to switch up the intensity based on warm-up, intervals, or cool-down segments. If you want a trainer that allows you to train more effectively, a magnetic trainer will be perfect for you.
|CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer|
Fluid trainers have been the preference of serious cyclist for several years. This trainer works together with silicone inside the trainer unit to offer increased resistance based on the effort you put into the pedals. This can be a little confusing at first, but think of it this way: when you pedal harder, the resistance increases. This type of trainer takes some getting used to at first, but once you learn how to control your effort in conjunction with the trainer's resistance, it works great.
|Tacx Vortex Smart Trainer|
Smart trainers have been around for a few years and have drawn a lot of excitement lately. What makes them smart? They connect to your computer in one way or another and have some pretty amazing features. There has been an increase in the number of people using a smart trainer in parallel with programs like Zwift.
Zwift is like an online gaming platform, but without all the animated fantasy characters and violence. You simply connect your trainer via Ant+ (bike communication like Bluetooth) and start riding with other people from around the world. You can go on group rides, climb mountains and draft behind other riders. And remember the resistance changes I mentioned before? This type of trainer will change the resistance based on what kind of terrain you find yourself riding in the program! Riding up a hill? The resistance will be harder. Riding behind another rider? The resistance will be easier.
Now it may seem that this would be for a really serious rider, but I would argue that this type of trainer ought to be the choice for everyone. It's fun enough that it keeps you interested if your a recreational, novice or even expert rider!
Want a chance to try out one of the Smart Trainers? Idaho Mountain Touring downtown now has an trainer experience station set up!