The newest member of RCUK’s turbo club is the CycleOps Fluid 2.
It’s close to the entry point of the vast array of trainers on offer from the Wisconsin-based brand, one that ranges from £150 to £1250. The Fluid 2 costs £265, and, in-keeping with our experience of their previous offerings, is a solidly built device.
Its fluid resistance unit works progressively, increasing and decreasing resistance in response to changing wheel speed; a simple and fairly effective solution to the challenge of replicating the feel of the road.
It has a fluid rather than magnet-based resistance unit. Also in the box is a base frame, the usual quick release, and a training DVD with an eight-week programme to follow, or the option to create your own workouts.
Its most impressive aspect is the degree to which CycleOps’ engineers have tuned the resistance, locating precisely the point at which 400 watts and 25mph intersect. Hit this spinning at 90rpm, and, bingo, you’re doing some great training.
It’s also very easy to set up. The simple cam lever clamped the wheel in place, and with a quick twiddle of the adjuster on the back of the roller unit, I was up and running (or, more accurately, pedaling).
Changing through the gears ramped up the resistance quickly as I tried to maintain a steady 90rpm in each one of the cogs. At the top end, you are simply pedaling up a gentle incline, in the middle you can raise and lower your tempo and feel the resistance rise and fall. At the bottom of the block, you can try and unleash all sorts hell on your poor pins.
One of our test pilots (a multiple national cross country mountain bike champion, and organiser of our local ‘turbo club’) said he was lulled into a leg spin searching for resistance, but quickly found it when he started to work, and had to watch his heart rate to prevent it creeping up, such was its subtlety.
The fan unit keeps everything pretty cool, and the old “turbo training upstairs and Eastenders downstairs test” was passed with ease. This is a quiet trainer and does mean that it fits into a busy life easily.
The sturdiness of the unit does means the bike is held very rigidly, prohibiting any later movement, even under hard efforts. This can be a bonus or a hindrance depending on your personal preference. We’re still undecided.
There’s no front wheel riser block included. CycleOps offer one separately for a penny under £18. It is a handy unit which offers you three different height grooves to create a totally flat setup for your bike. At the rear, however, we’d make the legs/feet threaded to overcome the problem of using the trainer on surfaces that aren’t perfectly horizontal.