CycleOps Fluid2 Bike Trainer Review

by Athlete Seth

CycleOps Fluid2 Assembly PiecesThe end of November brings cooler temperatures, and is usually time of year that people head indoors to begin training for the next outdoor season. Indoor training benefits all those who take on the challenge, even if you’re lucky enough to live in a year round outdoor training environment. I’m going to focus on an important piece of training equipment for when we choose to head indoors, the indoor cycling trainer.

Today we’re taking a look at CycleOps’ take on indoor training with the Fluid2 trainer. With eight trainers in their stable, the Fluid2 falls directly in the middle of their line up. Some of CycleOps baseline trainers use wind or magnets to generate resistance. Sometimes, these models can have your neighbors wonder if you're trying to power your house on your bike. The Fluid2 has the advantage of using, you guessed it, fluid to generate resistance. This makes it very quiet and gives you a consistent feel while riding, with limited slips, if any. Not only should it keep your neighbors and family oblivious to your power generating activities, it will ensure that you don’t have to crank the stereo to eleven to hear your motivational jams when you hop on each morning.

[caption id="attachment_354" align="alignnone" width="275"] Opening the box[/caption]

When un-boxing this product, a few things caught me off guard. The first was how light it was. This is comparing it to my old piece of junk, but still! The second was the lifetime warranty. Now I'm no Fabian Cacellara, but these take a beating from all types of riders. I looked into what this covers, if anything happens to the frame through the life of the product, CycleOps will repair it. The components, including the resistance mechanism are covered for just three years. Keep track of your receipt and you can be rest assured to always have a high quality trainer. [caption id="attachment_355" align="alignnone" width="300"] The warranty is on the box! That was easy to find[/caption]

The term "some assembly required" can be off putting, especially if you're a parent used to hearing commercials for your child's toys. Never fear, assembling this thing won't give you a bruised thumb, sore back, or even a headache. It takes about ten minutes to put together, max, and tools are barely necessary. So if you go out and buy one today you'll be ready to go before you know it. [caption id="attachment_356" align="alignnone" width="300"] Pieces used for assembling the Fluid2[/caption]

The simplicity doesn't stop at assembly, setup is quick and painless with the Fluid2. There are two things that need adjusting when hooking up your bike. The first is locking the wheel into place. CycleOps provides you with a skewer so you don't have to muff yours up, but also so that it locks into the trainer well. Once the trainer skewer is in place and tight the adjustment all takes place with the slider and screw. Unscrew the threaded side to fit the wheelbase of your bike, and then tighten the washer to lock it in. Be sure to have the end of the threaded side aligned with how your skewer is positioned for a solid mate between the two. Pull the lever on the opposite side down so that it locks everything in place.  It is very important to have this very tight. I mean tight to the point of being pretty difficult to tighten and impossible to release! People have been known to fall off in the middle of a ride because it was not tight enough. [caption id="attachment_357" align="alignnone" width="300"] Make sure the skewer lever matches with the opening in the trainer[/caption]

The last step is to adjust the tension of the resistance component via yellow lever on the rear of the trainer. Luckily this is a something that you only have to do once, and the lever is as simple as on and off. Flip it down when you want to remove your bike, and flip it up when you want to ride through the great indoors. You might have to do some adjusting if you’re sharing the trainer with another bike, but it shouldn’t be much of a concern. [caption id="attachment_358" align="alignnone" width="225"] Use the yellow lever to adjust tension. Get it just tight enough so the wheel does not slip[/caption]

A few things to consider before purchasing the Fluid 2:

  • Do you have a riser block for the front tire? If not, they are a nice addition because they hold your front wheel and handlebars in place. Sure, a few old books can work the same, but your handlebars tend to slide side to side if they don’t have the groove to keep the wheel from turning. Make sure to not get a small crappy one because it will fail after a few rides. The CycleOps Riser Block is awesome. Also see the trainer mat to reduce vibration and Bike Thong to keep sweat off your frame.
  • Do you have a computer sensor mounted on your fork? You guessed it, it's not going to work. If you want some sort of data (speed or cadence) to track progress it has to be mounted on the rear. CycleOps offers a few options, including a heart rate strap and speed/cadence sensor pack that estimates power, which is a nice addition to any indoor training regimen. That said, any rear mounted speed sensor will allow you to track your workouts throughout the winter. Powercal: $139.99 CycleOps Joule: $169.99
  • If you’re switching between bikes remember that the tension you put on the rear tire via the yellow lever does affect the resistance. This means you might get different distances, power readings, and heart rate numbers in the same gear and cadence from ride to ride if the tension has changed. If you’re the only one using the Fluid2, you probably won’t have to worry about this, but tire pressure is another thing that can affect the resistance, which may apply to you.

After a few weeks with the new Fluid2, I’ve noticed that the resistance stays consistent even through multiple hour rides. Previous models seemed to warm up after about 5 minutes or so and you had to adjust the tension on the resistance component. Attaching the bike has definitely gotten easier over the last few models. If you’re finding it a pain with an older model you might lower your blood pressure a few points with an upgrade. When comparing my old Fluid2 with the new, it seems to have gotten a tad lighter.  If you travel with your trainer a lot, this has some appeal. All in all, this is a simple and functional training tool that anyone who lives in cold climate areas can benefit from.  While lower end CycleOps models function similarly, the sheer benefit of the consistent resistance fluid offers is a great selling point. Along with resistance benefits, the quieter sound and lower vibration from the Fluid 2 gives you the most bang for your buck when trainer shopping. [caption id="attachment_359" align="alignnone" width="291"] All ready to rock and roll![/caption]

When you're ready to upgrade, Discount Tri Supply has the CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer in stock for you.
2012-12-03 18:00:00
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