Best Indoor Minoura Bicycle Trainer Models for 2013
Indoor Bike Trainers Keep You Going Strong
There are a lot of trainers on the market these days. If you're searching for solid piece of exercise equipment, then you should know that Minoura Bicycle Trainer models have been around since 1988 and are made in Japan.
Minoura has been a technological leader with indoor bike trainers for decades and still continues to lead the pack with Rim-Drive models that protect your tires and LiveRide models that integrate smart phone apps that track your workout details.
But the best part about owning a Minoura trainer is getting control. If it rains or snows outside, it doesn't matter. If you come home late at night or need to stay inside to watch the kids, it doesn't matter. Just pop out the trainer and take a ride.
Popular Minoura Bicycle Trainer Models
A Good Choice for Beginners
For Both Road and Mountain Bikes
No Tire Wear
Only Old Stock or Used Available
Main Types of Minoura Bike Trainers
Tire-Drive, Rim-Drive and Rollers
The options for indoor bicycle trainers come down to 3 types: Tire-Drive, Rim-Drive and Rollers. Each of these trainers has different advantages in regard to costs, tire wear and maintenance and skill levels.
You need to know the differences of each bike trainer to make the proper decision that fits your lifestyle and your budget. Here's a quick rundown:
Tire-Drive -- The most common type with the best selection of models. These bike trainers use magnetic resistance to power the different settings as the back tire rides over the flywheel. Minoura models using tire-drive include the MagTurbo and LiveRide Series.
Rim-Drive -- To tackle the problem of tire wear, Minoura developed a new style of trainer that uses two rubber rollers on the wheel rim instead of contact with the tire. These Rim-Drive models have the advantage of being suitable for both road and mountain bikes without any tire damage.
Rollers -- Roller trainers are totally different and might be too difficult for many to maintain their balance. These trainers use both tires to simulate actual ride conditions. These flat style trainers use rollers with natural resistance based on gear changes.
2013 Minoura Bicycle Trainer Line Up - Tire Drive and Rim Drive Models
Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Minoura Bike Trainer
My Personal List
I prefer the outdoors over doing exercise indoors, but that's always possible. So let me give you my personal reasons why I chose to buy a Minoura trainer over 10 years ago.
1. Bad Weather -- Even the tropics has rainy days that wash out your scheduled ride outside. If you have to fight the elements for a workout, might as well opt for being inside to avoid more sick days and a loss of exercise attitude.
2. Bad Traffic -- Some cities actually treat bike riders with respect with proper bike lanes and a keen awareness of riders by the community. Other cities are hazardous to your health. Riding in traffic with careless car drivers is a recipe for disaster.
3. Baby & Kids -- Raising a family means sacrificing your routine to take care of the kids. An indoor trainer allows you to keep to your cycling workouts without waking up the kids or leaving them alone too long.
4. No Gym Needed -- Spinning courses are fun, but that drive to the gym is a pain. If you combine a bike trainer workout with other home gym equipment, like dumbbells and kettlebells, then you can save time and money and shower at home.
5. Stationary Bikes Suck -- Besides disliking the extra cost, stationary bikes are a big eyesore in the house and lack the feel of a good cycle ride that a bike trainer provides. And when can you take your stationary bike outside? Never.
Minoura MagTurbo B60R Trainer - A Tire-Drive Trainer for Beginners ($150 to $200)
This video is in Japanese, but it gives you a nice overview of the set up and sound of the MagTurbo B60R model. Minoura is made in Japan, not China, so the quality is top-notch.
Fixed Axle vs. Quick Release Skewer
Minoura Trainers Fit Both
Not all bikes have quick release skewers that make it extra easy to switch out and use the Minoura trainer skewer that's included in the kit. And sometimes the kids might want to take a practice ride on the trainer with their own bike.
If your bike has a fixed axle, then you can't use the quick release skewer. But the trainer can fit any fixed axle with up to a 3/8" nut. If your bike has a larger nut, then just buy a 3/8" nut at the local hardware store. A real cheap solution.
Once you fit the trainer to your bike, test it out by lifting the bike to check the attachment. The unit should move as one without any play or looseness. And of course if it slips out of the mechanism, then tighten and readjust. And remember that the Minoura trainer adjusts on both sides of the unit.
Make sure the legs of the trainer are all the way out and secure and that the rubber end caps fit tight to stabilize and level the bike when riding.
My Minoura Trainer Experience
Over 10 Years of Indoor Cycling
I bought a Minoura bike trainer in 2000 as a way to exercise in the house while staying home with the baby. I couldn't go for a quick ride outdoors anymore.
Over the years my Minoura Mag500 (now out of production) sat outside on the balcony in the tropical sun and rain. I'd bring it inside to ride and watch TV while doing workouts. Sometimes I enjoyed the outdoor air on the balcony.
It's never failed me. I still use it today. The only problem I've had is the remote switch giving out. But on the older models, the remote really isn't that necessary since you can change your bike gears to get more resistance. My old Specialized mountain bike keeps cranking and I can stand in the saddle to perform hill climbs.
At first, the MagTurbo trainer ate my knobby mountain bike tires, so I just bought a cheap wheel and slick tire to use instead. When I wanted to ride outside (not on the balcony), I just switched tires with the quick release skewer. Fast and easy every time.
Minoura tire-drive trainers are built to last. My own experience confirms that.
Update on Minoura Bike Trainer Models
Out of Production and Discontinued Models
Searching for a particular Minoura trainer model can be confusing. There are a lot of models on the market that are now out of production. Old stock still remains for many of the discontinued models.
Minoura seems to be decreasing the total number of models on offer in 2013. So be aware of service and part replacement problems if you purchase any trainer out of production.
If you want one of the older models, some are available on Amazon while stock remains. And of course eBay is always a good place to look for old stock and used bike trainers.
Here's the latest list from the Minoura USA website:
Older and Discontinued Models
M20, M50, M60, M70, M80, Mag500, Mag850
HyperMag, HyperMag-ALU, HyperMag 1200
VFS, VFS150, VFS-150G, VFS-G, VFS-3