Top 10 Best Bike Trainers 2018: Which Is Right for You? Better велосипед
Top 10 Best Affordable Mountain Bikes 2018
Whether your budget is under $1,000 or less than $300, it’s possible to find an affordable mountain bike for your lifestyle and riding demands. Aside from price and brand, one of the top considerations when looking for a mountain bike is whether to choose a hardtail or full suspension bike.
Unlike full suspension mountain bikes, hardtails are mechanically simpler as they don’t have pivots or rear shocks. Hardtails generally don’t wear out as fast as full suspension bikes, and they are typically cheaper as there aren’t as many parts. Hardtail mountain bikes tend to be lighter and fun to ride on the trails. Full suspension mountain bikes have many positive features, including better handling thanks to their rear suspension and enhanced absorption on trails.
Wheel size is also important. Some of the most popular wheel sizes include 26 and 29 inches, although you may also see bikes with 27.5-inch wheels. The 26-inch tires have long been the most popular on mountain bikes due to their overall stability and agility. It’s also easier to find replacements when you need them. The 29-inch tire is becoming increasingly prominent for its increased stability and control, especially on rougher terrain, along with sustained momentum once the bike is moving. However, because this tire is a bit larger, some riders find it tougher to maneuver the bike in tighter spaces or when it’s time to make a sharp turn. If you’re looking for a tire that can roll over obstacles as effortlessly as the 29-inch but don’t want to compromise maneuverability, consider a bike with 27.5-inch wheels.
Factors such as riding style, the type of terrain you typically ride, personal preference, and budget can also help determine which mountain bike is best for you. Amazon’s bike buying guide can help you locate the best size and type of bike for your budget.
You can find a wider selection of mountain bikes on Amazon if this list doesn’t have what you need. If you’re searching for riding gear and accessories, be sure to check out the best bike helmets, best cycling shorts, and best bike lights.
If you’re not sure whether a mountain bike is right for you, consider the Top 10 Best Affordable Fixed Gear Bikes, Top 10 Best Affordable Fat Tire Bikes, or Top 10 Best Affordable Hybrid Bikes.
1. 2018 Diamondback Overdrive 1 Complete Mountain Bike
The 2018 Diamondback Overdrive 1 Complete Mountain Bike comes with a hand-crafted hydroformed aluminum frameset and 27.5-inch wheels. It’s also equipped with a Suntour XCT suspension fork for extra control and stability on the trails. Mechanical disc brakes provide even better stopping power when you need it. Whether you’re conquering a steep hill or cruising along a flatter surface, you’ll find the appropriate gear with the 24 available speeds. Available frame sizes include small (16 inches), medium (18 inches), large (20 inches) and extra-large.
If you don’t need the latest model, consider the Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike.
This mountain bike is best for entry-level cyclists seeking affordable yet reliable performance.
Price: $529.99 – $549.99
Buy the 2018 Diamondback Overdrive 1 Complete Mountain Bike here.
- Entry-level bike
- Comes in several different sizes
- Shimano components
- Only available in one color
- Uncomfortable seat
- Assembly instructions could be better
Find more 2018 Diamondback Overdrive 1 Complete Mountain Bike information and reviews here.
2. Mongoose Impasse 29-inch Dual Full Suspension Bicycle
An aluminum suspension frame ensures optimal comfort and performance, even when you’re riding on rougher surfaces. This mountain bike also comes with an Element suspension fork to help keep you in control while keeping bumps and jostles to a minimum. Another feature is a 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur that won’t hesitate when changing gears. This Mongoose bike is outfitted with alloy front and rear disc brakes and alloy wheels with a quick release front for added convenience.
This mountain bike is best for budget-conscious shoppers who want a solid 29-inch mountain bike particularly for downhill riding, light to moderate trail rides, and commuting.
Buy the Mongoose Impasse 29-inch Dual Full Suspension Bicycle here.
- Aluminum frame
- Shimano rear derailleur
- Element suspension fork
- Short kickstand
- Shocks could be better
- Uncomfortable seat
Find more Mongoose Impasse 29-inch Dual Full Suspension Bicycle information and reviews here.
3. Schwinn Men’s High Timber 27.5-inch Mountain Bicycle
This multi-purpose mountain bike is ideal for rides on a variety of surfaces. You can take it on your local bike path and trails or simply use it for running errands around town. The Schwinn bike features Shimano components such as twist shifters and a 21-speed rear derailleur for fast and efficient gear changes. It also comes with a Schwinn suspension for extra stability and control, even on tough trails. Alloy linear pull brakes in the front and rear allow you to stop quickly when necessary. All-terrain 27.5-inch tires add stability for off-road adventures.
If you’re looking for a bike with 29-inch wheels, consider the Schwinn S29 Men’s 29″ Wheel Full Suspension Mountain Bike. A women’s version, the Schwinn Women’s High Timber Mountain Bike, is also available.
This mountain bike is best for men who want a budget-friendly bike for trails, bike paths, and more.
Buy the Schwinn Men’s High Timber 27.5-inch Mountain Bicycle here.
- Durable Schwinn suspension fork
- Shimano components
- Improved mountain bike frame
- Assembly can be tricky
- Several mention the seat is uncomfortable
- Not the lightest frame
Find more Schwinn Men’s High Timber 27.5-inch Mountain Bicycle information and reviews here.
4. Huffy Men’s Torch 3.0 Mountain Bike
The Huffy Men’s Torch 3.0 Mountain Bike is a solid all-around bike that particularly caters to beginners. Highlights include plus-size 29-inch tires for enhanced control and stability along with a durable steel frame. The frame is designed to fit a wide range of riders. The bike has a 21-speed Shimano derailleur for smooth results.
This mountain bike is best for beginner cyclists seeking an affordable mountain bike with wider tires for better stability and control on the trails.
Price: $151.99 (24 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Huffy Men’s Torch 3.0 Mountain Bike here.
- Frame designed to fit a wide range of riders
- Smooth suspension fork
- Plus-size 29-inch tires
- Seat is uncomfortable
- Not ideal for serious mountain bike riding
- Only comes in one color
Find more Huffy Men’s Torch 3.0 Mountain Bike information and reviews here.
5. BEIOU Carbon Fiber 650B Mountain Bike 27.5-Inch T800 Ultralight Frame
You’ll get your money’s worth with this mountain bike if you don’t mind paying a bit more up front. One of the main features that sets this mountain bike apart from the rest is its carbon fiber frame. Although it’s pricier than the aluminum or steel frames found on less expensive bikes, the carbon fiber frame makes up for the initial cost with its lightweight construction and superior durability. The frame is made from T800 carbon fiber, a material that holds up well even on the most demanding trails. It also has Shimano components such as fast-responding hydraulic disc brakes and a speed control system. A carbon fiber frame, handle bars, and seat post absorbs shocks and ensures a smooth ride.
This mountain bike is best for experienced mountain bikers who don’t mind spending a bit more for a lightweight yet durable ride.
Price: $1,259.00 – $1,339.00
Buy the BEIOU Carbon Fiber 650B Mountain Bike 27.5-Inch T800 Ultralight Frame here.
- Ideal for serious mountain biking
- Durable carbon fiber frame
- No torque specs
- Hard seat
Find more BEIOU Carbon Fiber 650B Mountain Bike 27.5-Inch T800 Ultralight Frame information and reviews here.
6. Merax 26-Inch Hardtail Mountain Bike
A mountain bike suspension fork ensures a smooth ride, even over rough terrain. This bike also comes with dual disc brakes for more control and stopping power, especially on downhills. Dual aluminum rims provide a durable ride without sacrificing performance. This Merax bike is available in several colors and features a 330 pound weight capacity.
This mountain bike is best for riders who want a practical and budget-friendly beginner hardtail bike.
Buy the Merax 26-Inch Hardtail Mountain Bike here.
- Mountain bike suspension fork
- Dual disc brakes
- Dual aluminum rims
- More serious riders may want to replace some of the stock components
- Requires some assembly and tuning
- Uncomfortable seat
Find more Merax 26-Inch Hardtail Mountain Bike information and reviews here.
7. Kent Thruster KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
The Kent Thruster KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike features 26-inch wheels and a durable aluminum frame that can withstand off-road demands. The bike also comes with front and rear disc brakes for enhanced stopping power. Other highlights include a 21-speed Shimano shifter and rear derailleur. There’s also alloy rims and an aluminum wheelset.
This mountain bike is best for riders seeking an affordable 26-inch mountain bike.
Buy the Kent Thruster KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike here.
- Designed for men
- 26-inch wheels
- Shimano components
- A bit heavy
- Some plastic components seem cheap
- Lacks breakaway hangers
Find more Kent Thruster KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike information and reviews here.
8. Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
This men’s mountain bike features a dual suspension frame and 26-inch wheels. It’s specifically designed for riding single track and occasional downhills. Other highlights include specific mountain bike handlebars for faster shifting and enhanced comfort along with high profile alloy rims with black bladed spokes. The bike has 24 speeds and Shimano trigger shifters. Front disc brakes enable quick stops when necessary.
This mountain bike is best for riders who want a bike for riding single track and occasionally downhills.
Buy the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike here.
- 26-inch wheels
- Dual suspension frame
- Mountain bike handlebars
- No place to put a water bottle cage
- Best for casual trail riding
- Setup instructions aren’t very helpful
Find more Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike information and reviews here.
9. 2018 Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Compared to the 2017 model, this bike has a new, lighter aluminum frame along with higher-performance hydroformed tubing for more stability and control on the trails. The bike has 24 speeds, which is a bit more than the 21 speeds you’ll find on most bikes in this price range. It’s also equipped with front and rear disc brakes for added stopping power. Sizes range from 15 to 21 inches to comfortably fit most riders from 5’6 to 6’1 and over. Other highlights include a Shimano rear derailleur, adjustable rear coil and an adjustable front shock.
This mountain bike is best for riders who want an entry-level mountain bike with more available speeds and adjustable components than most bikes in this price range offer.
Buy the 2018 Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike here.
- Alloy frame
- 24 speeds
- Fits a wide range of sizes
- Only comes in one color
- Components aren’t built to withstand lots of jumping or downhills
- Subpar suspension
Find more 2018 Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike information and reviews here.
10. Nashbar Women’s 26-Inch Disc Mountain Bike
The Nashbar Women’s 26-Inch Disc Mountain Bike comes in 15-inch and 17-inch frame sizes. Highlights include a Suntour SF13 suspension fork and an aluminum frame with 80mm of travel for extra durability and control on the trails. Tektro disc brakes provide prompt stopping power when necessary. A step-through frame design makes it easy to get on and off the bike. Shimano 3×8-speed shifters and derailleurs ensure smooth gear changes on any terrain.
This mountain bike is best for female riders seeking an inexpensive yet well-equipped affordable mountain bike.
Price: $259.99 (48 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Nashbar Women’s 26-Inch Disc Mountain Bike here.
- Designed to fit most female riders from 5’0 to 5’7
- 26-inch wheels
- Adjustable saddle and handlebars
- Assembly can be tricky
- Uncomfortable stock seat
- Not ideal for more demanding trail rides
Find more Nashbar Women’s 26-Inch Disc Mountain Bike information and reviews here.Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
18 of the best 2018 gravel & adventure bikes — super-versatile bikes that are at home on lanes, potholed streets and dirt roads
[This article was last updated on December 1, 2017]
Descended from touring bikes, endurance bikes and cyclo-cross bikes, gravel/adventure bikes are go-almost-anywhere machines for riders who want to explore and race on dirt roads, and ride Tarmac to get there.
Disc brakes allow frame clearances for fatter tyres, making for a bike that can cope with a very wide range of surfaces and that points & laughs at potholes.
With even the tiniest lanes infested with motor traffic, gravel bikes get you properly away from dangerous drivers.
At the adventure end of the spectrum, these are the rugged successors to traditional long-distance touring bikes.
Some manufacturers are exploring short-travel suspension and 650B wheels to improve comfort and traction.
Gravel/adventure bikes have gone very quickly from the latest craze to a significant part of most bike companies' ranges. These bikes are tailored for long-distance comfort, with disc brakes, big tyre clearance and geometry honed to excel both on the road and off, whether it's a gravel, forest or dirt track.
Why you might want a gravel or adventure bike
Their adaptability, versatility and ruggedness makes them the perfect commuter bike, an ideal light touring or audax bike, a great winter training bike, or simply one bike that can tackle any sort of terrain you care to take it along. If ever there was a case for the one perfect bike for the British non-racing cyclist, then an adventure bike is probably it.
The US gravel racing scene hasn’t been much emulated in the UK yet, but the style of bike has piqued the interest of British cyclists. The idea of the bigger tyres and relaxed geometry that promotes extra comfort when the going gets rough and bumpy is very attractive given the generally poor state of repair of UK roads. Let's be honest, in many places they're almost gravel anyway.
Mavic Ksyrium Pro Allroad 1st ride 1
They can be ridden anywhere, these bikes, on the road and off it. The idea of adventure (or allroad, roadplus and enduroad as some people are calling this style of bike) is also finding fans, with the ability to dart down a bridleway or over the plain or along a fireroad to mix up a regular road ride appealing to cyclists keen to get away from the congested streets and into the wide open countryside.
Of course, the idea of riding a road bike across any sort of terrain, be it smoothly paved roads or rough and bumpy gravel tracks, woodland trails laced with roots or edge-of-field bridleways, is nothing new really. Road cyclists have been doing it since the dawn of the bicycle. How do you think cyclo-cross was invented? Gravel and adventure bikes, though, are better suited to the demands of on and off-road riding. They split the difference between an endurance road bike and a cyclo-cross bike, with space for bigger tyres than an endurance bike and geometry better suited to road riding than a cyclo-cross bike.
Don't confuse a gravel and adventure bike with an endurance road bike like the Cannondale Synapse or Saracen Avro. While they do look similar, the key difference is in the bigger tyres the former accepts and the modified geometry. It's worth taking a look at our roundup of endurance road bikes for examples of bikes that come close to a gravel and adventure bike.
Jamis Renegade Elite - riding 1
Call them what you want, these bikes are all about having fun and exploring the beautiful countryside we’re fortunate to be surrounded by. You could be riding along smooth tarmac one minute, then hurtling down a tree-lined bridleway the next, then trucking along a fireroad in deepest Wales the next. And that really appeals to a growing number of British cyclists.
What to look for in a gravel and adventure bike
For a start, gravel and adventure bikes aren’t simply rebranded cyclo-cross bikes. While there’s no single blueprint that adventure bikes follow, they generally sit between an endurance road bike and a cyclo-cross race bike, if anything leaning more towards the former. They’re designed with longer wheelbases, so they’re stable on the road and when riding over an unpredictable surface like gravel, and provide comfort over long distances. The geometry is more relaxed than a race bike, the head angle slacker and the head tube often taller. The bottom bracket will usually be a little lower than a cyclo-cross bike.
Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon10
They all feature disc brakes. By removing the rim brake caliper you can easily design a frame and fork able to accommodate bigger tyres. Disc brakes, especially hydraulic discs, offer more power which provides more confidence when riding off-road and are useful in mixed conditions.
Gravel and adventure bikes will have space for bigger tyres, but how big varies from brand to brand. Endurance road bikes go up to about 32mm as a general rule, but gravel and adventure road bikes increase the clearance up to as much as 55mm. That provides a vast range of tyre choice options, including many rugged touring and cyclocross tyres, as well as road slicks, so you've got plenty of options for setting the bike up for your riding demands. In some cases you can even fit 29er mountain bike tyres.
Jamis Renegade Elite - seat stays
Tyre choice very much depends on the riding you want to do and the terrain in your local riding spot. There’s nothing to stop you fitting light 25mm or 28mm tyres if you want it to be fast on the road. Or you could use a 35mm treaded tyre if you want to include some gravel and dirt paths in your rides. We’re seeing more tyre choice as well to go with the bikes, such as the Panaracer Gravel King, to name one example of the growing selection aimed at gravel and adventure riding.
While this new breed of bike has stemmed from the gravel racing scene, manufacturers have been wise to cotton on to the do-it-all appeal, and many equip the bikes with eyelets for fitting racks and mudguards. That means you could build up the perfect winter or commuting bike, or add a rack for some light touring and explore further afield. With events like the Transcontinental Race proving popular it’s this sort of bike that is becoming the go-to choice for long distance bikepacking or lightweight touring, where you want a rugged bike able to tackle any sort of terrain you might encounter, the comfortable riding position a bonus when going the distance.
See the sidebar to the right for more reviews of gravel and adventure bikes
>>Read more: all reviews of gravel and adventure bikes
Some bikes for your consideration
Merida Silex — £1,000-£3,500
The Silex is a completely new platform for Merida, driven by some intriguing ideas. Taking a cue from current mountain bike thinking, Silexes (Silices?) are long out front compared to almost all other gravel bikes and at 71° have a shallower head angle. The idea is to make the bike more stable over rough surfaces, and our first impression from the Silex 9000 (above) that we currently have on test is that it works very well indeed.
Read more about the Merida Silex range
Reilly Gradient — £2,799
South Coast-based Reilly Cycleworks has produced the Gradient as a do-everything adventure and gravel bike, with a lovingly finished titanium frame and smart specification in this £2,799 complete bike. It provides a ride that is as lovely as the bike is to look at, with space for wide tyres for heading off into the wilderness or adding dirt and gravel roads to your route, and a high level of refinement.
The Gradient provides a lovely ride. It's composed and comfortable, the titanium frame providing a sublime balance of stiffness and comfort. The carbon fork and oversized head tube gives the handling a crispness and it changes direction quickly when you want it to.
Read our review of the Reilly Gradient
Ribble CGR — from £999
Cross, Gravel, Road, that's what the CGR initials stand for on Ribble's all-rounder. A disc brake-equipped, mudguard-shod 'do a bit of everything' machine that makes a lot of sense for the rider who doesn't always want to stick to the tarmac. Thankfully, this jack of all trades is no master of none.
The CGR is a very easy bike to ride thanks to some neutral and balanced handling. This might make it sound dull but it's far from it, especially when you go off-road.
With a long wheelbase, mounts for mudguards and racks plus being designed for disc brakes, the Ribble is likely to see a lot of use in the wet and cold of winter where the road surface is often less than ideal. It's a bike that's dependable and trustworthy when it comes to the handling.
Read our review of the Ribble CGR
Giant ToughRoad SLR GX — from £989.99
2018 Giant ToughRoad SLR 1 DB.jpg
Giant bills its new-for-2018 ToughRoad SLR GX range as "the perfect machine for tackling imperfect roads". With an aluminium frame that can accommodate up to 50mm tyres (and actually comes with tyres that size) it can certainly take bigger tyres than most. That's a big difference from the Contend and Defy bikes that only take up to 28mm tyres, so it don't fall into the gravel and adventure bike category . The ToughRoad SLR GX has a carbon fibre fork with disc brakes, a wide ergo-shaped handlebar and full-length cable housing to keep crud out. There’s even an integrated down tube mudguard to keep splatter out of your face.
Find a Giant dealer
Genesis Croix de Fer, CdA & Vagabond— from £850
2018 Genesis Croix de Fer 30.jpg
British brand Genesis was doing adventure road bikes long before it became the latest trend, and the most recent changes to the Croix de Fer - a lower bottom bracket and taller head tube - took it further away from its cyclo-cross roots and closer to an adventure bike. And is there any adventure bigger than riding around the world? That's something that Vin Cox did in 2010, setting a new record in the process, aboard a Croix de Fer. Steel frames feature across the range with a choice of steel or carbon forks, plus disc brakes, external cable routing and eyelets for racks and mudguards.
Find a Genesis dealerRead our review of the Genesis Croix de Fer
Specialized Diverge — from £798.99
2018 Specialized Diverge Comp.jpeg
Introduced in 2015, the Specialized Diverge is a series of adventure and gravel bikes with space for up to 35mm tyres. Production bikes are specced with 25mm and 28mm tyres, though, as Specialized apparently — and probably rightly — believes they'll get most of their use on the road. Carbon or aluminium framed, depending on price, the top-end models have thru-axle dropouts for extra stiffness, but all models get mudguard and rack mounts so they’ll double up as a touring or commuting bikes.
Find a Specialized dealer
Raleigh Mustang — from £650
2018 Raleigh Mustang Elite
We really liked the Raleigh Mustang Elite when we tested it. It does everything a regular road bike does, but it does it with the added comfort of the big tyres. It's part of Raleigh's three-bike range of gravel/adventure bikes and a great example of the booming category. Its 6061 double butted aluminium frame is designed for both on and off road riding so if you're getting tempted by your local dirt roads and trails, or a canal towpath commute, it'll take it in its stride.
Along with a carbon fork with through-axle and TRP Spyre disc brakes, the 2018 version, above has SRAM's Apex 1X transmission with a single 40-tooth chainring and wide-range 11-42 11-speed cassette. It's the ultimate Keep It Simple, Stupid derailleur gear system and just the thing for a do-it-all bike.
Read our review of the Raleigh Mustang EliteFind a Raleigh dealer
GT Grade — from £640
2018 GT Grade Cabon Expert.jpg
The GT Grade is available with an aluminium or carbon frame (which features a frame design and carbon layup designed to provide comfort in the rough) with disc brakes and space for up to 35mm tyres. You could fit a slick tyre in there or a treaded cyclo-cross tyre if you want to inject more dirt and gravel into your riding. The Grade has versatility too, with mudguard and rack mounts neatly incorporated into the frame and fork. The top models have a carbon thru-axle fork for added stiffness.
We like the 105-equipped model for its combination of Shimano's excellent gears with TRP's cable-actuated hydraulic brakes. If you're looking at the Cycle to Work Scheme sub-£1,000 level, check out its Tiagra-equipped stablemate.
Read our review of the 2015 GT Grade Alloy TiagraFind a GT dealer
Kinesis Tripster ATR £1,850 (frame only)
Kinesis Tripster ATR - full bike (2).jpg
ATR stands for Adventure-Tour-Race and it's a bike built for adventure riding, cyclo-cross, touring and sportives. Kinesis build the frame from custom drawn 3AL/2.5V titanium tubing, with geometry featuring a low bottom bracket, long head tube and relaxed head angle, something that all these adventure bikes have in common. There’s space between the rear stays and carbon fork for up to 40mm tyres (but we’ve comfortably fitted wider) along with full-length 45mm mudguards, and there are rack mounts too.
Read our review of the Kinesis Tripster ATR hereFind a Kinesis dealer
Surly Straggler — £1,500
Surly’s Straggler is a sturdily built and eminently adaptable steel all-rounder. It boasts a handful of interesting design touches, an unusual amount of tyre room, plentiful luggage rack mounts and a very comfy ride. It has a strong bias towards rough roads and trail use, but weight-weenies should look away now.
Read our review of the Surly StragglerFind a Surly dealer
The Light Blue Robinson Rival 1x — £1,700
The Light Blue Robinson Rival 1X.jpg
The Robinson, from British company The Light Blue, offers a really smooth ride, with steady handling and tyres that provide a good balance of fast road riding pace and off-road grip. In this SRAM Rival 1x build with cyclo-cross tyres it's an ideal all-terrain bike, at home on the road or tackling more challenging countryside terrain, or for just tackling rough roads in comfort. The Light Blue also offer a Shimano 105 build of the Robinson which they describe as an audax/light tourer.
The Robinson has very assured handling, not darting or flicking about the road. It's more measured than a race bike, with a long wheelbase producing the sort of stability that makes it a very easy bike to ride along back roads and over more challenging trails.
There's a lot to like about a good steel frame with a steel fork, and the Robinson doesn't disappoint. There's a suppleness you just don't get from stiffer carbon and aluminium rivals. The skinny steel tubes go a long way to isolating you from the small vibrations that can intrude into the ride quality, and, combined with the 30mm tyres, result in an ideal bike for making you feel at ease on many of the poorly maintained roads around the UK.
Read our review of the The Light Blue Robinson Rival 1x
Find a The Light Blue dealer
Norco Search — from £650
2018 Norco Search Alloy 105.jpg
Canadian firm Norco is best known for its mountain bikes, and its Search bikes have been designed as adventure bikes able to tackle a multitude of paved or unpaved surfaces. Combining an aluminium frame and ‘endurance’ geometry with disc brakes and thru-axles at both wheels, it’s a bike ticking a lot of boxes. Comfort has been factored in with a 27.2mm seatpost and bowed seatstays, arcing chainstays and a tapered seat tube.
The four-model 2018 range kicks off at £650 with the Search Alloy Claris and peaks with the £1,150 Search Alloy 105 above.
Find a Norco dealer
Shand Stoater — from £2,550
The British made Shand Stoater offers a steel frame and fork that has been designed for “the pure enjoyment of go-anywhere riding… refined enough to be your main road bike but rugged enough for off road trails and singletrack, it could be the only bike you ever need,” according to the company. It’s available in several builds, we tested one with a Rohloff hub and Gates Belt drive costing £3,595, but other builds are available. Tyre clearance is good enough for 45mm tyres and the frame is decked out with rack and mudguard eyelets and three sets of bottle cage mounts.
Read our review of the Shand Stoater
Jamis Renegade Elite 2018 — £2,900
2018 jamis renegade elite.jpg
The Renegade Elite packs a carbon fibre frame with space for up to 40mm tyres, and with disc brakes and rack and mudguard mounts it’s got the versatility box well and truly ticked. A carbon fibre frame and fork keep the weight low and, as we’d expect from an adventure bike, the head angle is slacker than that of a road bike. There’s a 15mm through-axle fork as well.
Available exclusively from Evans Cycles, the Renegade is available in three versions, starting at £975 with the Renegade Expat. If you have deep pockets, the Elite offers stunning value for money and a great ride.
Read our review of the 2015 Jamis Renegade Elite
Mason Bokeh Force — £3,100
The new Mason Bokeh is a highly capable adventure bike with a feature-packed aluminium frame, splendid aesthetics, and handling that ensures it's as at home on the road as it is on the trail.
The Bokeh combines an aluminium frame and carbon fork with all the key ingredients of an adventure bike, including wide tyres, disc brakes, thru-axles, relaxed geometry and mounts for mudguards and racks. The Bokeh goes the extra mile with a front dynamo mount, third bottle cage mount, 700C and 650B wheel size compatibility and fully internal cable routing.
As lovely as the Bokeh undoubtedly looks, its appearance is pointless if it's not backed by a high-quality ride. Fortunately, a high-quality ride the Bokeh most certainly does deliver. In a nutshell, it's a lovely bike to ride, whether on tarmac or gravel roads, or woodland byways.
Read our review of the Mason Bokeh Force
Genesis Datum 30 2018 — £2,700
2018 Genesis Datum 30.jpg
The Genesis Datum joins a class occupied by the brilliant Cannondale Synapse and Giant Defy, but while both those bikes limit tyre size to 28mm the Datum accommodates 33mm tyres and has mounts for full-length mudguards. Add a beautifully finished carbon fibre frame and fork, a slick shifting Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes, Clement Strada tyres, and you have a hugely capable bike that is loads of fun over all sorts of terrain.
This is a bike that has a very sure-footed approach, whether cruising along a smooth road or exploring gravel paths and singletrack.
If you don’t race and you like a slightly taller front end, you’ll be right at home on the Datum. Long rides are dispatched with ease. We were impressed with how comfortable it was during a 190km ride during which the Datum revealed a quick turn of pace with lively handling that makes it a fun bike to ride.
Read our review of the Genesis Datum 30Read our review of the Genesis Datum 10
Find a Genesis dealer
What is the best folding bike on the market? | Technology
One of Britain’s most successful Olympians, Jonathan Edwards still holds the world triple-jump record 12 years after retiring in 2003. In the years since, he has become a familiar presence as a sports commentator, and fell deeply in love with cycling – in step with the rest of the nation – at the 2008 Olympic games, where Britain’s cyclists won 14 medals. “I remember being in the stadium in Beijing, commentating, and BBC1 cutting away from the athletics to go to the cycling, which was almost unheard of then,” he says. “Maybe it did have an effect, subconsciously.”
Cycling quickly became a passion for Edwards, and has provided a return to the rigours of athletic life. “My wife would say I’m obsessed , I would say I’m borderline obsessed,” he says, “I like the training and the numbers, I like to measure my heart rate, watts, time; it takes me back to what I knew and loved as an athlete – that simplicity of training, goals to aim for. I like that, I like feeling fit.”
Edwards has an enviable collection of road bikes, including one given to him by Sir Chris Hoy. In the city, however, he finds riding a standard bicycle a nuisance, especially in London, where he spends much of his time. As a newcomer to folding bikes, he assesses the six candidates – folding and unfolding each one again and again with suspicious incredulity. After spending the best part of a morning riding around on them, however, he seems positively invigorated. “There’s a kind of ethereal, spiritual aspect to cycling,” he says, “being out in the open, under your own steam. You’re doing it yourself, you’re not being driven in a bus – it gives you a very different perspective.”
Specialist German model, aluminium, with SRAM dual-drive gears and disc brakes. Designed for longer distances.The Birdy Touring Disc. Photograph: Karen Robinson/Observer
“With a folder that you’ll be packing and unpacking a lot; travelling around with it; getting knocks – the less that can go wrong the better. This has disc brakes and two sets of gears – 24-speed in all – which is impressive, and it rides quite nicely, but it’s a high level of complexity, and it feels almost over-engineered. The rear derailleur, for instance, hangs very low to the ground, which seems vulnerable. It’s expensive and it’s not light, which isn’t surprising considering how much they’ve thrown at it; for my liking there’s just too much going on.”
DAHON JIFO9.2KG, RALEIGH.CO.UK, £609
Biggest brand internationally, US design. Single-speed, aluminium frame; numerous alternative models available.The Dahon Jifo. Photograph: Karen Robinson/Observer
“This is the one I wanted to ride the most, it looks great and it’s almost unbelievably small. It’s also very easy to put up and I like the way it folds; it’s not that dissimilar to the Brompton in that the back wheel swings out under it, but it’s easier to assemble and it’s more sleek and modern. It doesn’t have quite so nice a riding position as the Brompton – it feels a bit more perched, but the quick-release handlebars are a nice touch, and it wins on weight.”
STRIDA SX13kg, VELORUTION.COM, £599 (curved handlebars and Brooks saddle not standard)
Unusual A-frame design, aimed at commuters, with carbon drive and disc brakes.The Strida SX. Photograph: Karen Robinson/Observer
“This is a design piece. It looks lovely and it feels very well made – I would almost have expected it to be more expensive. But it’s also very odd. The riding position is highly unusual and feels slightly unstable; you’re very close to the handlebars and I was worried that, if I hit a bump, I might slip forward and impale my groin. It’s like a penny-farthing without the big front wheel; in fact it’s less of a folding bike and more of a collapsible bike, but it’s the best-looking of the bunch and it’s a clever design. Perhaps it’s less about getting you from A to B and more about making a statement.”
BICYCLES4U MILAN EXPLORER13.5kg, BICYCLES4U.COM, £169
Inexpensive Chinese import, aluminium frame, three gears; propstand and bell thrown in.The Milan Explorer. Photograph: Karen Robinson/Observer
“It’s heavy, it’s awkward and it’s easy to unfold in the sense that it sort of falls apart when you pick it up. All the bits and pieces did feel noticeably cheaper than everything else – the joints, the saddle, the tyres – which you would expect given how little it costs. Is it a false economy? You’d only know over time. But it’s not lacking anything; it’s got gears, folding pedals, a kickstand and once you’re riding along, it’s fine. You’re not going to tackle huge hills on it, I wouldn’t think. So if it’s all you can afford, it’s great.”
Familiar, British-built steel model. Upgradeable frame. Compact when folded.The Brompton S2L. Photograph: Karen Robinson/Observer
“The Brompton, in comparison with some others, was slightly more fiddly to put up, but it does pack down really nicely. It also had an excellent, streamlined riding position, although the seatpost was slightly short. Riding a folding bike, though, is a different activity to riding a road bike, so niggling over 2cm of seat-height is probably a bit ridiculous. With these bikes, you’ve really got to take pleasure in the folding itself, and for that I think the Brompton wins. It’s so symmetrical, so tidy, and the others seem to have little bits that don’t fit so neatly. That said, the little twiddly knobs feel a bit old-school; I preferred the fast-release joints on the Tern.”
Recently-founded Taiwanese brand, Dahon rival; aluminium, laterally-folding frame.The Tern Link D8. Photograph: Karen Robinson/Observer
“There’s no beauty to the folded object – it just looks like a crumpled bike – but there is a beauty to how it unfolds: it’s very, very simple and intuitive. Intuitive doesn’t necessarily matter, because you’d learn how to use all of them over time, but it really is one, two, three and you’re ready to go. The saddle was high enough – I’m nearly six foot – and I liked the riding position. It loses out slightly on bulk, but it’s very functional, and remains high up in my affections.”
Best gravel and adventure road bikes
Gravel and all-road are terms used for this rapidly growing segment of the road bike market. These bikes have generous tire clearance and geometry that is more stable and forgiving than traditional road bikes.
Gravel bikes were born out of the American Midwest, where racing on gravel roads took hold a decade ago and has steadily gained popularity. In the early days, riders tackled these endurance events on cyclocross bikes with the largest tires that would fit between the stays. Today, there are numerous purpose-built machines gravel-curious riders can choose from.
Key elements of a gravel bike
Four key features can usually be used to distinguish a gravel bike from a traditional road bike.
High volume tires are par for the course on gravel rigs
First and foremost, gravel bikes have wider tires. Since these bicycles are designed to traverse miles of unpaved roads, their tires are substantially larger. Likewise, mud clearance is also a concern in these conditions.
Tire widths range anywhere from 30mm to 48mm. In addition to 700c wheels, it is also common to see smaller diameter 650b wheels used with higher volume tires. Most gravel tires feature a fast-rolling center tread with knurling or side knobs to improve cornering ability on mixed surfaces. Tubeless tires are also commonly found on gravel bikes, as the latex sealant provides a degree of insurance against punctures.
Given the terrain gravel bikes are expected to cover, frame geometry often rests somewhere between road and cross-country mountain bikes
In addition to wider tires, gravel bikes have geometry that favors stability and comfort. The wheelbase of a gravel bike is longer than most road bikes, thanks to longer chainstays and slacker head tube angles. Head tubes are generally taller as well, placing the rider in a more relaxed, upright position. Bottom brackets are often lower, which gives the rider the sensation of riding in, rather than on the bicycle.
The end result of these geometry differences is a more comfortable, confidence-inspiring and forgiving ride than one would find in a typical road bike.
Wide range 1x drivetrains are common for gravel grinding
Gearing is another area where these bikes diverge from the pack. Given the terrain, many gravel bikes feature compact or smaller gearing and wide-range cassettes. Cranksets with 50/34 or 48/32t are common. Likewise, many gravel bikes come with 1x gearing with ultra-wide 10-42t cassette.
A growing number of gravel bikes feature suspension systems, such as this Lauf Grit suspension fork
In addition to wide tires, relaxed geometry and low gearing, many gravel bikes have active or passive suspension systems built into them.
Much like bikes in the endurance road category, these features could take the form of slender chainstays, a bowed top tube, or a skinny seatpost, all of which are designed to flex in order to absorb road chatter.
Some gravel bikes take things one step further by using short-travel suspension forks such the Lefty Oliver or aesthetically odd but very effective Lauf Grit fork.
How much do I have to spend on a gravel bike?
Well, that depends on what you define as a gravel bike. A used cyclocross bike, for example, could work perfectly well as a gravel bike and cost you a fraction of the cost of even the most basic 'true' gravel machine.
If you'll looking at a purpose-built gravel / all-road bike, then expect to pay around $1,200 / £800 for an alloy frame example with entry-level components from a big brand.
A mid-range build from a major brand will likely cost in excess of $2,800 / £2,000 but should feature a carbon frame and hydraulic disc brakes. As is normally the case in the cycling world, it’s possible to spend a small (or not so small) fortune on a custom-build bike should you wish to.
GT Grade Carbon Ultegra
The GT Grade Carbon Ultegra
Price: £2,599 / US$3,580 / AU$TBC
- Mechanical Shimano Ultegra drivetrain
- Lightweight carbon frame
- Comfort and performance in one package
The Grade is designed for versatility and long-distance, all-day comfort. GT believes the term ‘gravel racer’ is too niche, claiming the bike can tackle gran fondos, pavement and gravel with equal aplomb.
Its slightly slackened head angle and heightened head tube are there for comfort, and the frame is designed to accommodate wheels shod in rubber up to 35mm wide to increase its go-anywhere potential. The fork has a 15mm thru-axle for steering precision and to cope with the extra forces generated by hydraulic disc braking.
You could cyclocross on the Grade, and even if its 52/36 chainset and 11-32 cassette might offend ’cross purists, the wide gear range makes it more versatile.
We rode the Grade on gravel tracks and singletrack and found that GT’s ambitions for the bike have been realised. It could have handled pretty much anything we threw it at, which is no surprise from a company with so much off-road heritage.
GT Grade Carbon Ultegra review
Cannondale Slate Ultegra
The Cannondale Slate Ultegra
Price: £2,799 / US$3,520 / AU$4,999
- Lefty suspension fork
- 650b wheels and tyres
- Agile handling
Out tester noted that the Cannondale Slate is essentially a bit of a hybrid — think music mash-ups or fusion food.
If those examples are making you shudder, let's break it down: Cannondale has taken aggressive road bike geometry (for quick, responsive handling), 650b mountain bike wheels, massive 42mm-wide tyres and a road-specific version of its Lefty single-sided suspension fork, with extra low-speed compression damping and virtually no sag when you sit on the bike.
The fork may have ‘only’ 30mm travel — not much compared with a modern mountain bike — but this proved sufficient to deal with large ruts and washboard descents. The rear matches the front well, helped by features like Fabric’s comfortable Scoop saddle.
Cannondale Slate Ultegra Review
Raleigh Roker Pro
The Raleigh Roker Pro
Price: £2,000 / US$TBC / AU$TBC
- 1x drivetrain
- Front and rear thru-axles
- Comfortable frame
All our testers appreciated the simplicity of purely sequential gearing offered by a single ring, so you never have to work out which ring and sprocket combination delivers the next ratio.
It also results in a clean look — albeit one with uncommonly large sprockets for a drop-bar bike — and reduces the chance of grass or other off-road debris clogging the frame, while there’s no chance of anything getting caught in the front derailleur as there isn’t one.
On the road the Roker Pro is comfortable, with a lively ride and a slightly racy riding position. The result is a versatile ride if you don’t want to be restricted by a pure road bike.
Raleigh Roker Pro review
Raleigh Roker Race at the Dirty Reiver — Horse for the Course
Norco Search Ultegra/105
The Norco Search Ultegra/105
Price: £2,100 / US$3,450 / AU$TBC
- Stable handling
- Road compact gearing
- Best suited to mixed-surface rides
The Norco may be best known for its mountain bikes, although this Canadian-based company produces very capable road bikes as well. The Search fits somewhere in the middle, as an adventure road bike that can handle a bit of off-road excursion.
Our tester found the Norco excelled on mixed surface rides, where it has the pace as a regular road bike but its off-road capability is enough for you to take shortcuts and lines you wouldn't normally on a bike dedicated only to tarmac. If your favourite loops involve road as well as a bit of dirt or gravel this is one to consider.
Norco Search Ultegra/105 review
Devinci Hatchet Carbon
The Devinci Hatchet Carbon
Price: £TBC / $5,749 / AU$ TBC
- Good tire clearance
- Relaxed, endurance-focused handling
- Compliant frame
Devinci’s Hatchet Carbon ticks off many of the boxes of what a modern gravel bike should be. It can clear 700x40c tires with ease, has geometry suited to endurance riding and a carbon frame with enough engineered flex to take the edge off rough roads.
Hidden fender mounts and internal routing also make this bike a good choice for a performance-oriented all-weather road riding. It could also be used for light-duty touring with frame bags.
Our test time aboard the Hatchet included a 60-mile mixed surface race called the Grinduro that included plenty of gravel as well as some surprisingly rugged singletrack. The Hatchet proved its worth as an efficient, comfortable and forgiving ride.
Devinci Hatchet Carbon review
Why Cycles R+
BikeRadar score4.5/5The Why Cycles R+ is fast and forgiving
Price: $2,549 /£2,036 /AU$3,341
- Durable and comfortable titanium frame
- Impeccable build details
- Good tire clearance
The Why Cycles R+ may rely on a time-tested frame material, but this Ti frame is loaded with modern frame features including internal cable routing for a clean look, thru-axles and even the option to run an internally-routed dropper seatpost.
Titanium's plague of a wallowy or noodley bottom bracket area didn't impact the R+. Even if it did, the prodigious rear tire/chainstay clearance would likely eliminate any rubbing.
On gravel roads, especially hardpack dirt roads, the R+ absolutely sailed. It was very composed, easy to ride fast, and never did anything unexpected. Being fully rigid at both ends, sure it was bumpy, but also perplexingly smooth at the same time. It was kind of magic.
Have a go-to gravel bike? Reckon we've missed one out? Let us know in the comments below…
Top 10 Best Bike Trainers 2018: Which Is Right for You?
You don’t have to be a serious cyclist to invest in a bike trainer. This piece of equipment simply holds the bike in place while you generate resistance and power to meet your specific workout goals. While there are different variations of trainers, all are designed to accommodate a typical road bike. Many can also fit hybrids and mountain bikes. If you’re buying a bike trainer for the first time or you already own one and are considering upgrading, knowing the different types of bike trainers and how they function can help narrow down the options.
Resistance trainers are popular for their simplicity, affordability, and durability. Resistance levels increase the harder or faster you pedal. With this type of trainer, your own pedaling powers a fan for resistance. A magnetic trainer offers fixed resistance using magnetic force. Unlike a wind trainer, you can’t change the resistance level by pedaling harder or faster. This type of trainer is ideal for longer, steadier rides. A fluid trainer offers progressive resistance, and the levels will increase the harder and faster you pedal.
Roller bike trainers can be deceptive, as they look quite simple. Despite its basic design, this type of roller is challenging as it requires you to stay balanced and upright on your bike. Unlike a typical bike trainer, there is no stand to hold your bike in place. Regardless of which type of bike trainer you choose, you’ll want one that’s sturdy and durable enough to withstand the demands of your indoor training sessions. If you’re up for the challenge, consider these top best bike rollers.
Smart bike trainers are an increasingly popular option among cyclists who don’t mind spending a bit more for a more technology-filled training session. Whether you want continuous feedback during a ride or are just intrigued by the technology, this type of trainer typically keeps track of your speed, cadence, power, and more. Many of these trainers are either ANT+ compatible, meaning they need a separate dongle to work properly, or Bluetooth-ready. Once your smart trainer is properly set up you can start on a virtual ride to inject a bit more variety and excitement into a typical indoor training ride.
There are many tips to consider when shopping for the right bike trainer. For many cyclists, the method of attachment is a primary concern. Some trainers let you directly attach the rear axle and cassette, which replaces the rear wheel of the bike. This option can help save your bike’s tire while providing a smoother connection. However, not every axle or drivetrain is compatible with this type of trainer. Bike trainers with a traditional wheel drive operate by pressing against the rear tire. While this option is typically less expensive than direct mount trainers it can also produce more noise and wear out tires relatively quickly.
If you’re going to spend money on a new trainer, you’ll probably also want to invest in some common bike trainer accessories. A front tire block allows you to keep your bike at a steady height to mimic a natural riding position. Some cyclists stack the blocks to mimic a hill climb. A trainer tire is another solid investment, as trainers can put a lot of stress on a rear tire. It’s important to find the right tire size for your bike. A sweat net can keep sweat from corroding crucial bike components, including the frame. A trainer mat can dampen noise and make cleanup easier after a workout. You can also consider a power meter to track your workouts.
Browse a wider selection of bike trainers, bike roller trainers, and bike trainer accessories for additional choices. For more tips and tricks on buying a bike trainer, check out Indoor Bike Trainers: How to Choose, How to Choose an Indoor Bike Trainer, and Bicycle Trainers: The Complete Guide.
Looking for Cyber Week deals on bike trainers? Check out the Top 10 Best Cyber Week Fitness & Gym Deals on Amazon.
1. CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer
This popular fluid bike trainer is a solid mid-range option that caters to cyclists of all levels. One unique feature of this CycleOps trainer is that it uses hydraulic fluid instead of magnetic or mechanical resistance. On the road, resistance naturally increases along with your pedal speed. Hydraulic fluid mimics this process and offers a more realistic road feel. You’ll also enjoy a consistent ride and progressive resistance with a minimal amount of noise regardless of how intense your workout gets.
A precision-based flywheel lets you choose your ride intensity by shifting gears just as you would during an outdoor ride. The durable steel frame stands up well over time and keeps the bike from wobbling or tipping. Adjustable foot pads promote a safe and stable ride on a variety of surfaces.
The CycleOps Fluid 2 Winter Training Kit is ideal for extended indoor training as it comes with two climbing blocks, a training mat, and sweat guard. The pricier Cycleops Magnus Trainer features an electromagnetic resistance up to 1500 watts for a more realistic road feel on the trainer. If you’re looking for a smart trainer, the CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Smart Trainer is also available.
This bike trainer is best for beginner to experienced cyclists seeking a well-built and reliable trainer with a realistic road feel that mimics outdoor rides. It may not come with some of the bells and whistles you’d find in pricier trainers, including smart connectivity, but the CycleOps Fluid 2 is a solid choice for an affordable trainer that can withstand the demands of frequent indoor rides and training sessions.
Buy the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer here.
- Road-like feel
- Durable frame
- Hydraulic fluid automatically increases speed
- Subpar assembly instructions
- A small number of consumers complain that the fluid began to leak out after awhile
- Some users wish it had more resistance
Find more CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer information and reviews here.
2. Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer
If boredom is an issue during your indoor rides, consider the Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer. An included Bluetooth sensor communicates with Kinetic inRide app to provide vital information during your training sessions such as power, speed, calories burned, and cadence. Not only can this information boost your training and make each session more meaningful, it also means that you won’t need to spend extra money on a power meter to keep track of your training.
This bike resistance trainer is geared towards avid cyclists who need a bike trainer that can stand up to their serious indoor training demands, as is evident by its smooth operation and leak-proof design. Each training ride generates a large amount of heat, which can take a toll on the components over time. However, this innovative fluid resistance and cooling system minimizes heat buildup and subsequent damage over time, resulting in a long-lasting trainer that can withstand the demands of heavy use.
Cyclists particularly like the large diameter tire roller, which helps reduce tire wear. This Kinetic trainer fits most types of bikes with wheels ranging from 24 to 29 inches. It also comes with its own skewer to ensure a secure bike fit.
Unlike the Kinetic Rock n Roll 2.0 Trainer, which moves to better simulate real rides outdoors, this trainer stand stays firmly in place as you ride.
This trainer is best for cyclists looking for an affordable and reliable smart trainer. With its smart integration and a design that reduces heat buildup, this bike trainer is a practical choice for serious cyclists who need a trainer that will hold up to long and intense sessions.
Buy the Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer here.
- Ideal for serious indoor training
- Bluetooth integration for real-time feedback and results
- Larger roller reduces tire wear
- Assembly can be tricky
- Some wish the cadence measurements were more reliable
- Slightly bulky
Find more Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer information and reviews here.
3. Elite Drivo Interactive Trainer
Transitioning from the roads to the trainer for a prolonged period of time can be tough, especially if you’re used to fast rides on challenging terrain. This trainer features a multi-point power measuring system with highly accurate results per pedal stroke. Its 6 kg internal flywheel system closely mimics your favorite road rides. You can also get some hill training in with slope simulation up to 24 percent.
Along with its realistic road feel, this bike trainer also stands out for its technology. High-level cyclists and racers will appreciate the pedaling analysis feature, which measures your power output with every pedal stroke. The trainer is also compatible with the most popular apps and software, as well as many third party apps. You can connect it to your smartphone, tablet, or computer at any time. The trainer is suitable for most road and mountain bikes.
This bike trainer is best for advanced cyclists seeking highly accurate power output measurements and a very realistic road feel complete with slope simulation.
Buy the Elite Drivo Interactive Trainer here.
- Caters to advanced cyclists
- Slope simulation up to 24 percent
- Pedaling analysis
- A bit heavy
- Instructions could be better
- Some find the fit and finish subpar
Find more Elite Drivo Interactive Trainer information and reviews here.
4. Kinetic Rock and Roll 2.0 Trainer
If you find the thought of being stuck indoors on a stationary trainer unbearable, consider the Rock and Roll 2.0. This Kinetic trainer features a unique frame design for a more realistic feel, as your bike will move in a similar manner to your favorite road rides. The bike trainer also forces you to maintain proper form as you ride, making it a cycling-specific workout trainer. The result is that you’ll need to continuously stabilize yourself using your core muscles without using excessive upper body movement.
A specially designed fluid resistance mechanism mimics road feel for a more realistic ride, even when you’re stuck indoors. A smart version, Kinetic Rock ‘N Roll Smart, is also available. This version features pre-installed sensor technology that lets riders connect to the Kinetic inRide app to keep track of each training session.
This bike trainer is best for any cyclist who dreads the thought of being stuck on a stationary bike trainer. Riding on a moving trainer can ease the transition back to the roads for the outdoor riding season.
Buy the Kinetic Rock and Roll 2.0 Trainer here.
- Realistic road movement
- Promotes proper cycling form
- Minimizes excessive upper body movement
- Doesn’t include a riser ring for the front wheel
- Could be quieter
- Initial learning curve for some riders
Find more Kinetic Rock and Roll 2.0 Trainer information and reviews here.
5. Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer
Lack of noise is what sets this bike trainer apart from the rest. Whether you live in an apartment building or just want a trainer that won’t produce much noise, this one is worth a close look. There aren’t any physical transmissions, which in turn means no noisy parts or components. Although it’s designed to be connected to a smartphone, tablet, or similar device, this trainer works equally well as a fluid trainer. Resistance increases along with your speed, leaving you in full control over your workout. Unique road surface simulation allows you to feel as though you’re riding outdoors on various surfaces, including gravel and cobblestone.
If this bike trainer is too much of a budget stretch, consider the lower priced Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer and Tacx Satori Smart Trainer.
This trainer is best for the serious cyclist looking for a performance-oriented trainer that can withstand intense winter training sessions and that offers smart connectivity. It’s also a good choice for anyone seeking a more realistic road feel. Unlike most resistance trainers, this one is used without a rear wheel. The result is that you won’t need to spend extra money on a trainer tire or worry about wear and tear on the rear tire during indoor training sessions.
Buy the Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer here.
- Quiet operation
- Works as a stand-alone fluid trainer
- Designed to provide true road-like feel
- Doesn’t include a cassette
- A bit heavy
- Some riders complain of an initial grinding noise
Find more Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer information and reviews here.
6. CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer
This smart trainer features ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 technology so that riders can use popular virtual training programs and apps such as Zwift and CycleOps Virtual Training. The CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer is a newer addition to the CycleOps family, but fans of previous models will find several similarities. Some examples include the clutch knob that controls tension between the bike’s rear tire and roller, along with a hand-constructed durable frame. Electromagnetic resistance from 0 to 1500 watts gives you that road feel you crave when riding indoors. The controlled resistance is activated by the rear tire. This bike trainer can accommodate 650b and 700c sizes along with 26, 27, and 29-inch tires.
The CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Smart Trainer is also available. It’s pricier, but this trainer offers electromagnetic resistant for nearly instant resistance and maximum power. A direct drive design means increased compatibility with most bikes.
This bike trainer is best for dedicated cyclists who want a versatile trainer with fast and realistic resistance along with smart connectivity with ANT+ and Bluetooth technology.
Buy the CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer here.
- Clutch knob for optimal tension control
- Fast electromagnetic resistance
- Resistance activated by rear tire
- Not compatible with 650c wheels
- A bit loud
Find more CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer information and reviews here.
7. Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer
This bike trainer is easy to set up and works just as well in your garage as it does in a dedicated exercise room. You can also fold it easily for effortless portability thanks to its wide frame. Don’t be fooled by the lower price tag, as this trainer features a reliable heavy duty construction. Unlike most trainers on the market, a front wheel riser block is included.
Cyclists appreciate the included quick release and sturdy mounting clips, which holds the bike securely in place while reducing slippage. The trainer is also quiet, making it easy to use in a smaller living space without waking others up. This bike trainer is compatible with 26-inch, 27-inch, and 700c bikes. A similar option is the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Bicycle Trainer.
This bike trainer is best for beginner to intermediate cyclists looking for a heavy duty and budget-friendly bike trainer. It’s also easy to fold and carry, making it a popular choice for those who can’t have a permanent setup or who want to bring their trainer along when traveling.
Buy the Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer here.
- Easy to set up
- Heavy duty construction
- Includes a front wheel riser block
- Magnetic resistance could be better
- A bit loud with larger/thicker tires
- Requires manual resistance adjustment
Find more Conquer Indoor Bike Trainer information and reviews here.
8. FDW Magnet Steel Bike Trainer
Magnetic resistance combined with five internal resistance settings keeps you in control of the power you need for every workout. The trainer is compatible with most road and mountain bikes with 26-inch, 27-inch, and 700c tires. An adjustable knob ensures a more specific fit while ensuring that you can effortlessly control the bike’s resistance from your handlebars. Despite its heavy frame, this bike trainer can be easily transported and stored when necessary.
This bike trainer is best for beginner and casual riders who want an affordable trainer that’s easy to set up and use. It’s ideal for the occasional ride that doesn’t require too much standing or heavy sprinting.
Price: $54.99 (8 percent off MSRP)
Buy the FDW Magnet Steel Bike Trainer here.
- Entry-level stand
- Five resistance settings
- Adjustable knob for precise fit
- A bit noisy
- Doesn’t come with a climbing block
- May wobble when standing
Find more FDW Magnet Steel Bike Trainer information and reviews here.
9. CycleOps Mag Trainer
CycleOps is know for its reliable and popular mid-range models, but the CycleOps Mag Trainer has a lot to offer for cyclists seeking an entry-level magnetic resistance unit. For starters, it’s compatible with Zwift and other popular virtual training apps. You can choose between five adjustable resistance levels to find the right one for each workout. Linear resistance provides a smooth pedal stroke, while the magnetic resistance keeps noise and friction to a minimum.
This bike trainer is best for cyclists seeking a no-frills magnetic trainer that offers a smooth ride and reliable performance.
Buy the CycleOps Mag Trainer here.
- Entry-level magnetic resistance unit
- Five adjustable resistance levels
- Fits most road and mountain bike frames
- Combined bike and rider weight limit of 300 pounds
- Not the cheapest magnetic trainer
- Resistance knobs feel a bit flimsy
Find more CycleOps Mag Trainer information and reviews here.
10. RAD Cycle Indoor Bicycle Trainer
If you’re looking for an easily portable bike trainer that can be folded up and stored away when not in use, this one is a good bet. It also stands out for its durability, which includes a sturdy frame, robust material, and extra-wide legs. The legs are also separated for even better stability. As soon as you begin to pedal, an internal magnet starts to generate resistance. You can hook up just about any road or mountain bike with 26-inch, 27-inch, or 700c wheels. To increase or decrease resistance, simply shift the gears on your bike up or down. Another budget-friendly option is the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Bicycle Trainer.
This bike trainer is best for the beginner to intermediate cyclist who needs a budget-friendly lightweight and easily portable trainer.
Price: $54.77 (76 percent off MSRP)
Buy the RAD Cycle Indoor Bicycle Trainer here.
- Extra-wide separated legs for added stability
- Compatible with 26-inch, 27-inch, and 700c wheels
- Easy to change resistance level
- Noisy, especially with mountain bike tires
- Best for bikes with quick-release tires
- Resistance isn’t too variable
Find more RAD Cycle Products Indoor Portable Magnetic Work Out Bicycle Trainer information and reviews here.
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