BicycleCheap vs expensive bike trainer: What you get for your money at...

Cheap vs expensive bike trainer: What you get for your money at each level

At one-point indoor riding was like some kind of torture. It was a terrible experience that typically involved staring off into the distance trying to imagine beyond the wall of a dimly lit garage or basement and praying for the end to come soon. Some would use a stopwatch and heart rate monitor to do intervals and many would put on a movie and try to transport their minds somewhere else. Thankfully, that experience is long gone. 

Today, indoor riding is an important part of the wider cycling experience. There are still some that see it as a necessary evil for winter training but that’s more of a choice now. For most modern cyclists it’s one piece of the riding they do. In fact, when doing highly specific training it’s become the standard. There are also a lot of riders who use it to find community and as a competitive outlet. 

The one thing that everyone who rides indoors will share in common is the need for an indoor trainer of some kind. We have a list of the best smart trainers to help you make a choice but we also get a lot of questions from people trying to decide how much makes sense to spend. The price options on our list are incredibly vast and no brand wants to tell you one of their products isn’t worth buying. That means it’s tough to know what the difference is. If you are looking to upgrade your trainer, or get one for the first time, keep reading to learn about what more money buys and if that makes sense for you. 

Kurt Kinetic Wheel on Trainer

At one point the Kurt Kinetic wheel-on trainer was state of the art but these days it’s an option you don’t see around much (Image credit: Josh Ross)

The least expensive option

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