Saturday, February 13, 2010

Product Review 15 and 16 - CycleOps Pro Series SuperMagneto Trainer and Kurt Kinetic Trainer

I have been using the same trainer for the last 8+ years and it is pretty junky. So, I welcomed the opportunity to try out a new trainer, especially the opportunity to try two trainers. There is one picture of the Kurt Kinetic trainer, from the Kurt Kinetic website, and three pictures of the CycleOps Pro Series SuperMagneto trainer with my bike on it.

As one might guess from the name of the CycleOps Pro Series SuperMagneto it utilizes magnets for the resistance. The magnets move outward a certain distance from the center of the flywheel depending upon one of four settings. Resistance increases the further out the magnets move. The trainer has four different settings, easy, road, interval, and mountain. As one might assume, each of the settings increases the resistance. The Kurt Kinetic trainer is a basic fluid resistance flywheel trainer. One nice thing about the CycleOps is that the magnets start at the center no matter what resistance setting you choose. So, when you start from stop it is easy to get going and resistance builds with speed. Basically, the Kurt Kinetic trainer has a constant resistance so it requires an initial hard effort to get the flywheel moving. Both trainers are fairly easy to setup. A quick look at the instructions for the CycleOps trainer and I figured it out. The bike locks securely and easily into both trainers. The CycleOps mechanism for locking the bike in at the rear is a little nicer that the Kurt Kinetic. One advantage of the CycleOps trainer is quick release on the roller. When taking the bike off the CycleOps and returning it to the trainer it does not require the user to screw the roller into position and determine the correct position of the roller each time. On the Kurt Kinetic the user needs to screw and unscrew the roller into position each time the bike is removed.

When riding the bike there was never any instability issues with either trainer. They are both very solid and sturdy. I have hardwood floors in my apartment and the floors are old and uneven. There were no issues with either trainer wobbling or slipping. I rode the trainers anywhere from about half an hour to an hour and a half at a time and there were no issues.

I tried all four settings on the CycleOps trainer. I used easy and road the most, interval and mountain the least. There is a difference between each setting. Easy is easy, barely any resistance, and road has a nice amount of resistance for just about any workout. Probably the only thing I don't like about the CycleOps trainer is that you have to stop and get off the bike to change the settings. It would be nice to be able to change the settings while still on the bike, even if you need to stop the motion of the trainer. I assume adding this capability would add quite a few dollars to the price tag.

The CycleOps trainer came with a DVD. I would not call it instructional or a workout DVD. I did not watch the entire DVD, I watched the first two parts and the final part. The first part is a "warm-up", the second part is a ride through of the course during a race, the third part is a race, and the fourth part is a cool-down.

There is a 60-80 dollar price difference between the two trainers, depending upon where you look up prices. I think the Kurt Kinetic trainer runs about $320 and the CycleOps about $400. I am going to purchase the CycleOps trainer. The biggest reason I am purchasing the CycleOps trainer is the adjustable resistance feature. I think this is a great feature and it works. I have an old Tacx with adjustable resistance and it never worked right. I also think the usability of the CycleOps, the ability to get the bike in and out of the trainer and the quick release on the roller, are added features that are not critical, but nice to have

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