View Full Version : Excercise Bike v. Trainer?

08-23-2005, 05:06 AM
I stuck this question in another thread but thought it might get a better response all by it's lonely.

Has anyone used an exercise bike instead of a trainer? Any pros/cons? I'm sure it's not the same as a bike but I like the thought of sitting upright while trying to keep in shape this winter.

This whole cycling thing is putting me in such a great place both physically and emotionally that I don't want to lose it over the winter. Anyone tried both who can offer up any thoughts??? :)

Adventure Girl
08-23-2005, 06:29 AM
I've used spin bikes, lifecycles and my bike on my trainer. I think there are advantages to each.

Good -- Group atmosphere is very inspiring. If I am almost ready to drop, but I've got 5 more seconds to sprint, and the class is sprinting and the music is screaming, I keep sprinting for those 5 more seconds.
Bad -- The bikes do not fit me well. I have seen people bring their own saddles and pedals, but I'm just not into that. Also, some spin instructors are better than others. The concept of pedaling with the music and your foot should be at 6:00 on the down beat encourages mashing, not spinning circles.

Good -- Preset program makes you ride a certain resistance until that segment is over. You can't cheat (unless you push some buttons).
Bad -- Bikes have VERY little adjustments. Saddle up and down, forward and back. Most do not have foot straps, so you will NEVER be able to ride one with good pedaling form.

My bike on my trainer:
Good -- Exact fit! Convenient for me (don't have to go to the gym or be on time for a class). I use Spinervals DVDs with my own music for motivation.
Bad -- Expense. Cost of the trainer, Spinervals DVDs, tire use. My trainer EATS through tires fast! The tire gets a big flat spot in just a month or so. So I bought an extra rear wheel and I leave an old, dead tire on it.

08-23-2005, 07:45 AM
Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply AG!! Your responses match up with my limited experience, my partner used to have a Vision Fitness semi-recumbent here at the house that I tried a few times. The only plus over a trainer that I can think of is the motivation of pre-set programs (gottafinish, gottafinish...). :p

08-23-2005, 09:01 AM
A quick thought to add to Adventure Girl's post. I use my hybrid rather than my road bike on the trainer. As a matter of fact, I just put it on in anticipation of less light to ride in after school and those cold winter winds. That allows me to ride my rode bike when the opportunity and weather allow but the trainer is always ready. One the time issue, I bought a rim trainer (rubber wheels for resistance roll on the rim rather than the tire) so that I wouldn't have tire wear problems. I got mine off of e-bay for a pretty good price - which I can't exactly remember now - old age sucks!! I have also ridden the exercise bike at school and have hated it. 1) it doesn't fit, the saddle is tooooooo wide and 2) I keep forgetting that it is a weighted wheel that won't free wheel - ouch on the knees. Just my 2 cents worth.

08-23-2005, 10:50 AM
great answer adventure girl!

Group spin classes are a great way to stay motivated. the bikes arent always terribly comfortable.

i would recommend you try each. can you picture yourself spending HOURS in the winter on one of the choices? i know someone who was all set up at home to with her bike and wind trainer, and poof she ended up going to spin classes because she hated spinning alone.

me - i have specific workouts i want to do, so i try a combination. Spinning alone can be pretty boring and can burn you out pretty quick.

anyway just a couple of thoughts...

08-23-2005, 12:11 PM
Thanks to all for the input! I'm leaning towards a home solution since my SO runs on a treadmill incessantly, maybe we could pedal and run together to try and stay motivated? Then again, I could always spend the winter cooking and eating like usual. :rolleyes:

09-16-2005, 09:07 AM
I tend to bike alone & I'm not near a spin class, however I already own a couple spinervals from a year ago when I planned to purchase a Johnny G Spin Bike off tv (hee hee) but never did.....

Now that I have Lucy (I LOVE Lucy!!!) a trainer is sounding more my speed.

Can someone advise me as to which type/brand wears the tires out & which doesn't? I am clueless at this point....the only product I know anything about is the trainer offered at spinervals.com....is that a good price?

Thanks in advance for any advice/recommendations!


09-16-2005, 02:26 PM
Ditto everything that Problem Child #1 (AG) said though I haven't taken spin classes. I personally HATE Lifecyles etc becaue the Q-factor (width of the crankset) gives me horrible knee and hip pain and I like to use my shoes and pedals.

I like the trainer at home (Bubba and I have dueling trainers, but his is very slow :p). I like the Spinervals DVDS. I have a tape from Trainright (CTS) but the Spinverals seem to work best for me mentally. I certainly have gotten good results using Spinervals.

09-16-2005, 02:34 PM
uh oh, we're talking about trainers, can it be that summer's almost over? :(

trainers eat your quick release, most come with a spare QR to just pop in so your fancy schmany Shimano/Campy/whatever QR does not get torn up.

09-16-2005, 06:59 PM
Now I am just a newbie cyclist but this past winter I tried out rollers. I think the rollers offer so much more that a trainer. It took me forever to get over the fear of getting "thrown off", but I was able to really improve my bike handling skills. On a trainer you can kind of "zone out"; on the rollers you have to focus or I hope you're wearing your helmet!!! :eek:

09-18-2005, 02:38 AM
Never tried rollers before...
They scare me but would be keen to have a go
As you say, they must be much closer to "normal" biking than "trainer" biking

09-18-2005, 03:16 AM
I just had to chime in - I am in total denial. Summer will not end! :mad: I'm buying a snowsuit and a 25watt headlight and the trainer can have me when it pries my frozen fingers from the grips!!! :mad: :mad:

But thanks for the tips - the rim trainer sounds interesting. :rolleyes:

10-22-2005, 11:31 AM
I LOVE spinning classes- they keep me going hard, i leave tired and sweaty, and its a great solution for me since I am at school and my bike is at home (I live in a city and theres really nowhere for me to ride).
Luckily, they are free at my YMCA with my membership, because I will do 4+ classes a week. Two nights a week the class, which is 45 min long, switches to an hour and they have a professional cyclist come in and teach it- they call it "Road Race Training" and we watch the Tour (its kinda like being in a big theatre- the entire back wall is a movie screen).

However, given the choices, I'd rather be a home in New Hampshire, biking long loops w/my mom outside!

01-13-2006, 05:22 AM

Like I'd planned, I started out spending this winter cooking and eating. :D AND I look like this trying to go outside most days.


Soooooo...Now that I'm getting all healed up from my oral surgery (fractured a molar over the holidays), I just ordered this:


Details/specs here (http://www.visionfitness.com/home/fitnessbikes/prod.php?id=2).

It should be here next week and then I can start getting back into the groove. http://QB.smugmug.com/photos/49063420-Ti.gif

01-13-2006, 01:24 PM
I'm with the rest of you, rollers...scary :D I don't need to fall in the living room now do I? No, to each his own. I know someone who put rollers between to pillars to hold on when needed. Or maybe next to a wall.

Most people I know also plan that they will change their tires out once the season on the trainer ends...I like my trainer though (CycleOps) -- but I agree, I need the spinervals DVD to keep it going, and spinning with a buddy (my HB) helps ALOT. I put his bike slightly ahead of mine and I get a nice view then too ....teeeeeheeeee :p

As far as spinners, I am JG certified but I must confess, my fave is not the JG spinner it's the Lemond. Nice smooth ride...and now Coach Troy (spinervals) uses them interspersed and equates tension to the spinner as well.

01-16-2006, 03:26 PM
I had been spinning at home on a hand-me-down wind trainer...really loud! I just got some Spinervals DVDs and had to crank the volume all the way up to hear them. So as I was coming home from my BF's in New Hampshire, I stopped at the LL Bean outlet and goll-ee! There was a Minoura rim trainer, returned, unopened for only $75. I set it up last night and did a Spinerval today...So much quieter. And smoother. It has variable tension on the Mag flywheel, but even on the lowest tension there is more resistance than I was using on the wind trainer.

So with Coach Troy, heart rate monitor and cadence monitor there SHOULD be enough to keep my mind occupied so I stay on the bike for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. I love the spinning classes because of the energy of working out with a group, but they are always too early for me to get there after work. I have the bike set up on the trainer right next to the computer, so there really is no excuse not to hop on!


02-05-2006, 04:15 PM
The only thing that gets me on the trainer is my MP3 player. I loaded it up with all my favorite old hard rock tunes and I pedaling my a$$ off while I rock out every morning. :D

I also have a Minoura rim trainer and LOVE it. It's fairly quiet, and does not wear down my tire. BikerHen