Bike Trainer Reviews Filled With Myths?

‘Reader Rick’ from Ohio alerted me to an interesting paper entitled the ‘Blackburn Trainers White Papers Abstract’. Be thou not intimidated by the title…the two scientists who did the paper dumbed it down for readers who aren’t well-endowed with engineering skills.

It seems that there is a lot of bike trainer talk about the ‘realist’ nature of the ride on various trainers. In the Blackburn paper, it’s pointed out that defining a ‘realist resistance curve’ may be a myth.

The engineers acknowledge that there are different resistance curves associated with mag trainers vs. fluid trainers, but they point out that the idea of attaining a  curve that simulates all conditions on the road may not be realistic to begin with.

Here’s a summary of their ‘myths vs reality’



1. Trainers realistically simulate resistance forces. They don’t. And the whole of a “realistic” resistance curve idea isn’t very realistic to begin with.
2. Some trainer brands are more “realistic” than others. No trainer tested came within 100W of a theoretically “ideal” resistance curve.
3. Fluid resistance trainers provide a more realistic and accurate road feel overall. Fluid and magnetic trainers each display distinctively different resistance curve qualities suited to different training style.


Emphasis On Bike Trainer Frame Stiffness

The Blackburn trainers shine in the area of frame stiffness.  These engineers point out that for powerful and/or large riders, frame stiffness may be more important than is commonly considered by bike trainer evaluators.

Blackburn bike trainerBecause a realistic resistance curve is open to interpretation (see the abstract to get a complete understanding of their point of view), they argue that stability and stiffness may be the most important issues to be considered when considering which trainer to purchase.

On a personal note…for a long time I’ve noticed that the frame on my Kinetic Road Machine ‘spreads’ when I tighten my bike into the the trainer.  At first I thought I was compressing the skewer, but a close inspection of the whimpy nature of my forearms revealed the improbability that happening!

If you look at the configuration of the Blackburn trainer frames, you can see that there isn’t likely to be very much horizontal spread when you screw down the tightening knob.  All of the ‘beef’ in the frame is wider than it is long.

And those welds look pretty stout.

Just how important this frame stiffness and stability issue is will almost certainly be the centerpiece of many a Christmas dinner conversation tomorrow 😉

And if that Christmas money’s burning a whole in your bib shorts, you can get a good deal on a Blackburn trainer at Amazon Here.

I’ve also written articles on the three types of bike trainers as well as a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine review.

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