Getting Started with Indoor Bike Trainers

No two athletes are the same. Neither are their trainers.
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Trainers & Rollers

Whether it's too cold (or too hot!) to ride outside, there's too much traffic or you're simply short on time, indoor cycling can be a great way to achieve your fitness goals.

From our best-selling Fluid² to our line of smart trainers, we've got your indoor training needs covered. But let's face it, there's not much glitz or glamour in picking the perfect trainer. So before you spend your hard-earned money, let's get to know each other a bit better so you find the ideal CycleOps training partner.

The Science of CycleOps Trainers

What is an indoor bicycle trainer?

An indoor bicycle trainer is a training accessory that turns your bike into a stationary bicycle.

Shopping for a trainer isn't easy to begin with — especially if you don't even know what a trainer is in the first place. We get it and we're here to help.

Often times when someone hears the word "trainer" they may picture someone who sits in a gym counting repetitions of dumbbell curls or perhaps a pair of running shoes. And while these are certainly accurate descriptions, our trainers are a device that turns your bike into a year-round exercise machine.

By attaching to your rear wheel's skewer, our trainers let you ride your favorite bike without going anywhere. You're literally spinning your wheels — in a very good way. If you're looking for a full-on, all wheels in motion type of experience then perhaps consider our bike rollers instead.

So if you are looking for a way to train indoors — without paying the monthly fee of a gym, being able to work out in the privacy of your own home, while you watch TV shows or listen to whatever music you want — there's a good chance we've got something for you.

A clarifying point: indoor trainers may also be referred to as a turbo or a turbo trainer. So if you're in the market for a turbo trainer, you're in the right place. Welcome.

Getting started with a CycleOps indoor bicycle trainer

Which bike trainer is right for me?

This is a question we get asked a lot. And there's a reason for that — it is a genuinely good question.

When in the market for a new indoor bike trainer the most important question to ask yourself is: what are my goals? If you don't have any specific goals in mind, then perhaps ask yourself what you're looking for in a trainer. Maybe it's the ability to sit, spin and catch up on Netflix. Maybe you're training for a race or have specific workouts in mind. Below is a quick rundown of our trainer profiles and their best uses.

h2 smart trainer

H2 and Hammer

  • Direct drive and 20 lb. flywheel create a ride performance that's as realistic as it is fun to ride.
  • Unparalleled bicycle compatibility means the Hammer can be used with nearly every bike around, and is the perfect mate to any training software.
  • PowerTuned using PowerTap technology for power feedback within +/-3% accuracy.
  • Seamlessly connects and responds to virtual training apps, including Zwift and Rouvy.
m2 smart trainer

M2 and Magnus

  • For the bicyclist using a wheel-on trainer looking to ride with a wide variety of training apps.
  • Training software capabilities are endless with dual ANT+ and Bluetooth smart compatibility.
  • PowerTuned using PowerTap technology for power feedback within +/-5% accuracy.
  • Seamlessly connects and responds to virtual training apps, including Zwift and Rouvy.
magneto smart trainer


  • Ideal for the bike enthusiast on a budget.
  • Offers a quiet and consistent ride.
  • It was the first trainer to feature progressive magnetic resistance.

Wind, Mag+ and Mag

  • Ideal for those who want to sit and spin.
  • The perfect substitute for the giant, front-fanned stationary bikes of past.
  • Mag+ and Mag come with five adjustable difficulty levels.

Fluid and Fluid²

  • The faster you pedal the harder it gets — just like real life.
  • The Fluid² is our most popular indoor bike trainer.
  • Is tough enough to handle any workout you throw at it.


  • Quintessential for the track athlete — or any cyclist looking to improve stability.
  • Help riders of all kinds better their body dynamics.
  • Ideal for high cadence workouts and pre-race warm-ups.

Still can't decide? Compare these trainers side-by-side with our indoor trainer comparison guide.

Of course you can always contact us or visit your local CycleOps dealer to find the trainer that's right for you.

Related: Bike Trainer vs. Rollers: What's the Difference?

Cyclist on CycleOps indoor trainer

Wait, what do you mean by power?

So when we talk about a power meter, or measuring power output in the realm of cycling, we're talking about the amount of energy being used to power your ride. And just like the light bulbs in your house, cyclists use watts to measure power too. The higher the watts, the more power you're pumping through your pedals.

This measurement is a key training tool for many serious and amateur cyclists alike because you can compare apples to apples (or watts to watts) when you look at the numbers, unlike looking at your speed on a windy day compared to a calm day. Our line of smart trainers, Phantom 3 Indoor Cycle and Phantom 5 Indoor Cycle all feature power meter technology created by our friends over at PowerTap.

Cyclist riding an indoor trainer

Will my bike fit my indoor trainer?

Before we can answer that question, let's first start by figuring out the size of your wheel.

Perhaps you've heard those bike guru's rattle off numbers that sound more like battleship coordinates than something that goes on your bike. Things like 700c, 650b, 29er, or 26" — all of which are wheel sizes and can be found on the outside of the tire itself.

Here's a quick shortcut of what your wheel size would likely be based on the type of bike you've got:

  • Road, Triathlon, TT, Cyclocross, Gravel, or Hybrid: 27" or 700c
  • BMX or Recumbent: 20" or 24"
  • Mountain: 26", 27.5", 29" or 650b — confirm the size by looking at your outside tire wall.
  • Unlike our trainers, our rollers are a one-size-fits-all when it comes to wheel size.

Now going back to our first question of "will my bike fit my indoor trainer," the short answer is: probably. All of our trainers fit 26" mountain bike tires and 700c. For 20" or 24" wheels, you'll need to look specifically at our Classic Series plus our wheel adapter. For bikes with dropouts up to 142mm, you'll need to look specifically at our Classic Series plus our 142x12mm thru axle adapter. And for 29" wheels, most will fit — it just depends on the tire tread.

If you're unsure about wheel to trainer compatibility, feel free to contact us or call our customer service team at 1-800-783-7257.

What do I need to make it work?

There are four things you'll need before you can start your indoor training regimen:

Want to learn more?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions watch our Instructional Videos or learn some jargon at our Cyclo-ssary.

When it's all said and done our 20 plus years in the industry has taught us that no cyclist is the same. Some prefer traditional wheel-on trainers, others only ride rollers, some exclusively train on direct drive trainers, and many deeply appreciate the convenience of an indoor-only bike. So whatever your style, goals or cycling experience, our full line of CycleOps indoor training products will help bring the road to you.

To get a good picture of how to use indoor trainers, check out this video produced by Bike Radar in conjunction with

Virtual Training Applications

No matter the time,weather or traffic, you can still get a great ride in with a virtual training application. Using an indoor trainer paired with training software, you can reap the benefits of a full workout and ride routes from all over the world, all while tracking your training data.

Looking to ride with virtual training software?

Our indoor trainers are compatible with Zwift, Rouvy, TrainerRoad, and many more.

Head over to our Setup Guide to get started with the platform of your choice.