Kinetic Cyclone Wind Trainer Review…No Bull

It’s hard to think of something unique to write for a Kinetic Cyclone wind trainer review.  After all, the Cyclone’s a pretty simple machine.  Maybe starting with what the Kinetic Cyclone isn’t would be a good idea.

About the reviewer: Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for ‘all things cycling’. A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.
Product Quality 05 Noise Level 03
Realistic Feel 03 Bells and Whistles 03
Overall Value 04

The Humble Beginnings Of Bike Wind Trainers

Kinetic wind trainer

Before the Kinetic Cyclone: Squirrel cage or wind trainer?

When you look at the Cyclone or the CycleOps wind trainer you see a very solidly built unit without bells and whistles.  It’s easy to forget the early model wind trainers; and not fully appreciate these modern bike wind trainers.  Early wind trainers were flimsy affairs, susceptible to breakage…not only in use, but even more so when being transported from place to place.

Sometimes that transport was back to the storage room after a sweat-fest in the living room, and sometimes it was in the trunk of a car when going to a local race.

Whatever the circumstance, the little fins on the squirrel cage could easily get bent (making riding on the early wind trainers as pleasant as driving your car with a front tire out of balance).

Kinetic Cyclone wind trainer review

Kinetic Cyclone Wind Trainer Frame Is Same As Road Machine Frame

Another source of grief in early trainers was the small diameter roller.  The little rascal spun like a deafening whirlwind…and just as disturbing was the fact that the small amount of surface area between the tire and roller led to increased tire wear.  The roller on the Kinetic Cyclone wind trainer is the same 2.5 inches diameter as is on the $329.00 Road Machine, and the $499.00 Rock and Roll.

In case you didn’t know, all of the Kinetic products are made by a larger company called Kurt Manufacturing which machines a multitude of products for the automotive industry and  the aerospace industry.  In short, you can trust these folks to accurately machine something as basic as a 2.5 inch roller.  That’s also why you’ll often see the bike trainers called the Kurt Kinetic bike trainers.

Let’s Start With The Kinetic Wind Trainer Frame

You can bet that the 2 inch steel tubing of the frame isn’t going anywhere.

The frame on the Kinetic Cyclone is the same frame that’s been used for years on the Kinetic Road Machine…a bomb-proof monster about as similar to the frames of early wind trainers as a Bradley tank is to a Toyota Prius.

The 16″ legs on the frame fold up, creating a ‘sorta’ portable package that’s 19″ by 22″ by 6″ tall.  When the legs are unfolded, the base is 32# wide…plenty of width for stability.

I use the word ‘sorta’ because it’s certainly not as easy to carry the Cyclone wind trainer  around as a laptop in a case…but it’s not like you’re going to pack the thing with you when you impersonate a pseudo-intellectual at the coffee bar, for Pete’s sake.

So I take that back, it’s plenty portable in light of lugging the 9.6 pound unit from living room to spare bedroom, to car trunk, to attic (once the New Year’s resolution fades into the background).

As a point of reference, the Road Machine weighs over 30 pounds, so lifting the Cyclone is something even a spaghetti-armed cyclist can do.

Just kidding about the attic remark…don’t you dare quit exercising.

The bike is attached to the Cyclone by two threaded shafts, cupping the quick release that comes with the Cyclone in ‘machined gizmos shaped for cupping’ (Huh? My words, not theirs).  Anyway, I can’t think of how to describe the simple mechanism.

Let me just say, the attaching of a bike to the CycleOps Wind trainer or the Kinetic Rock and Roll is a bit easier than attaching a bike to the Kinetic Cyclone or the Road Machine.

Dem Fans, Dem Fans, Dem Noisy Fans

At the start of the review, I wrote about early generation fans being light and flimsy.

Kinetic cyclone fans

Double the fans, double the fun!

Not so with the twin cast iron fans on the Kinetic Cyclone.  The fans are 6 inches in diameter and each one weighs 2.2 pounds.  Because they have a decent amount of inertia, the spin-down and spin-up of Cyclone is much more realistic than wind trainers with fans as light as a geisha girls’s paper hand-held accouterments.

If you’re new to bike trainers, you may not know that one of the valued features of a trainer is it’s ‘spin-down’ time…the time it takes the trainer to slow to a stop after the rider quits pedaling (the Cyclone has a spin-down time of five seconds).  There is an implication that the rider benefits from a long spin-down time (like a bit of ‘free distance’?).

That’s not the issue at all.  The issue is really ‘spin-up’ resistance.  Just think about it, to simulate realistic riding there has to be some resistance to acceleration.  When you accelerate on your bike outdoors, you have to overcome the inertia of your lard-butt weight.  It takes effort to transform yourself from a dawdling bicycle rider traveling at 11 mph to a cyclist tearing down the trail at 23 mph.  I know…I have to do it every time I see someone coming toward me on the bike trail.

On the road you can’t just ‘spin those cranks’ and go from 11 mph to 23mph in the blink of an eye.  But you can if you’re on a trainer with an extremely light resistance unit…and thus the issue of ‘realistic’ riding on a trainer involves a relatively heavy flywheel.

The heavy flywheel concept can be taken to the extreme…witness the eighteen pounds of flywheel on the Kinetic Pro trainer.

Room for Improvement:  Which leads me to resume banging the drums for improvement regarding the tightening of the roller to the tire on the Kurt Kinetic products.  A simple star shaped knob does the job.

Problem is…there’s no indicator on the knob, so it’s hard to know how many of the prescribed three to five tightening turns you’ve accomplished.  A simple solution would be to mold the plastic star knob with an indicator bump on it.

Who Should Ride The Cyclone?:  The Kinetic wind trainer is recommended for riders who average under 18 mph, at which the trainer is resisting at a level of just under 150 watts.  That’s not a whole lot of watts…as a point of reference, riding outdoors or riding on the Kinetic Road machine at 18 mph is at an effort level of 200 watts.

The folks over at Competitive Cyclist thought that the noise level only became unbearable at 25 mph, at which time the watts were 349 watts.

So why not just pedal the Cyclone faster?  Well, that’s when the noise level gets substantial, and for a lot of people the loud roar is too much.  One guy thought that a vacuum cleaner was chasing him down.

Who are we to believe?  The highly trained professionals at Competitive Cyclist…or a man burdened by a phobia of vacuum cleaner noise?  :mrgreen:

Cyclone Warranties

The Kinetic Cyclone wind trainer is covered by an unconditional lifetime warranty.  That kind of speaks for itself, except for the fact that it also includes a lifetime crash replacement policy.  Now I become confused…why a crash replacement policy when it’s already covered by an unconditional lifetime warranty?

Not to worry, I guess.  It’ll be covered one way or another.

The Good
  1. Kinetic Cyclone uses the same ‘industrial strength’ frame used on the popular Kinetic Road Machine.
  2. Twin cast iron fans are bomb-proof.
  3. Relatively lightweight for easy transport (ten pounds instead of thirty pounds).
  4. Folds up to a convenient size for storage.
  5. Largest roller in the industry (2.5″) reduces tire wear.
  6. Multi-position legs allow trainer to get closer to the floor. May reduce need for a front riser block.
  7. Spin-up and spin-down is very good for a wind trainer
  8. Kurt Kinetic’s unconditional guarantee demonstrates their dedication to quality.
  9. Simple design of a wind trainer precludes most problems that other types of trainers are prone to (ie. fluid trainers that leak, or poorly constructed mag trainers that fall apart).
The Bad
  1. May not provide enough resistance for uber-serious cyclists intent on hammering out some intense intervals.
  2. Lacks a system to consistently tighten the roller against the tire.

The Kinetic Cyclone Wind Trainer Is For:

  1. Cyclists who appreciate high quality and reliability.
  2. Cyclists who aren’t the most hard-core on the block.
 –>The Lowest Price You’ll Find For The Kinetic Cyclone Is At Amazon <–
Kinetic Cyclone Wind Trainer
Kinetic by Kurt has addressed the weaknesses of traditional wind resistance units with the Cyclone Wind Trainer, one that rides well, travels well, and comes in at a great price.

Save: $47.42 (20%)

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