11 Best Mountain Bike Trainers (Updated 2021)

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We all know that indoor bike trainers are the perfect solution for cyclists to keep up with their training during winter. However, when it comes to mountain bikes, people are often unsure about which trainers will suit them best. Not all trainers can be used with mountain bikes because of excessive noise and a high amount of wear and tear on tires.

To put your minds at ease and answer your questions, we have decided to prepare a list of mountain bike trainers that would suit you best. Now, remember, there aren’t really any bike trainers that have been specifically designed for mountain bikes. That’s why so many mountain bikers find it difficult to shop for trainers. You’ll also find a detailed discussion about trainers in general and what factors should you consider before buying.

Buying Guide: Mountain bike compatible trainers

Categories of Trainers

  • Direct Drive Trainers: These are generally the most expensive ones and there’s a good reason for it. Direct drive trainers provide the best experience out of all the trainer types. They are usually compatible with interactive apps and most have automatic resistance control to simulate inclines or to maintain certain power output. They are called direct-drive because you have to remove your bike’s rear-wheel and attach the dropouts to the trainer. You have to attach a cassette to wrap your chain around. This will drive an internal flywheel. Direct drive trainers are heavier and have a larger footprint, so they are also more stable during high speed pedaling. Hence, you can push yourself as far as you can.

Direct drive trainer
Image: Direct drive trainer

  • Wheel-on Trainers: On this type of trainer, you don’t have to remove the rear wheel. Instead, the trainer clamps onto the wheel’s quick-release skewer or thru-axle. Then you have to tighten a small roller against the wheel. This roller is connected to a resistance unit. Wheel-on trainers are compact and usually foldable, meaning that they are portable and can be stored anywhere. They are also more cost-effective. On the downside, they do not feel as realistic and cause a significant amount of tire wear and tear.

Wheel on trainer
Image: Wheel-on trainer

  • Roller Trainers: Sometimes known as just rollers, these are the original indoor trainer type. Rollers can be thought of as essential treadmills for bikes. You don’t have to attach your bike. Rather, you place the bike on the unit and pedal to keep the tires rolling. There are three rollers or drums, two of which are for the rear wheel. Consequently, resistance is comparatively low. You have to balance properly on these or else you’ll fall over, just like on a real bike. They are still used by a lot of people to improve balance, core strength, and pedaling efficiency.

Roller trainer
Image: Roller trainer

1. Resistance Types

There are three types of resistance in bike trainers. Direct drive trainers mostly have magnetic resistance, while wheel-on trainers can have either magnetic, fluid, or wind resistance.

  • Fluid Resistance: A fluid bike trainer has a shell/casing containing a fluid such as oil or liquid silicone. The roller, which is rotated by the bike’s rear wheel, is linked to an impeller. This impeller rotates inside the fluid-filled casing and resistance is generated due to drag against the fluid. Fluid trainers are popular because of how similar it feels to riding outdoors and because of the low noise levels. The resistance is progressive, meaning that pedaling faster will increase the difficulty. The downside of fluid resistance is that they can start to leak after long-term use.

Fluid resistance
Image: Fluid resistance

  • Magnetic Resistance: This is used in both direct-drive and wheel-on trainers. As you can tell from the name, instead of a fluid and impeller system, there are opposing magnets that move closer or further from each other to vary the resistance. Unlike fluid resistance, magnetic resistance levels can be adjusted manually. On whee-on trainers, magnetic resistance does not have the road-like feel and is pretty noisy. However, this is not the case for direct drive trainers. Since the tension is controlled electronically and the tire is not attached, there is a smooth and noise-free motion.

Magnetic resistance
Image: Magnetic resistance

  • Wind Resistance: These work in a similar way to fluid resistance. There is a spinning fan that generates tension using air resistance as you pedal. The faster you pedal the higher the resistance. Wind trainers are durable, low cost, and have a simplistic design. The biggest disadvantages are that excessive noise is generated and they lack a road-like feel.

Wind resistance
Image: Wind resistance

2. Compatibility

It is important to think about whether your bike can be used with the trainer you have in mind. Some bike trainers, especially ones with a direct drive, are universally compatible, while others can accommodate only specific types and sizes. The size of the wheel, the spacing between rear dropouts, and even whether your bike has a thru-axle or a skewer matters. Although, you shouldn’t have a problem with the most common road and mountain bikes. Simply check the manufacturer’s list of compatible sizes. Most wheel-on trainers require you to replace your bike’s skewer with a provided quick-release skewer which is designed to fit into the clamping system. Once replaced, you can just leave it on for your regular outdoor rides as well. This does not apply to rollers, instead, you have to check whether it’s the right length for the bike’s frame.

I. Size and Portability

The sizes of trainers are an important factor when deciding which one to purchase. Fluid and magnetic trainers are typically quite compact, measuring not more than 30 inches in length and width. The majority of them also have foldable frames that become completely flat. Due to this, they are very easy to store or carry with you anywhere. Direct drive trainers have bigger dimensions and are heavier, but are still portable. On the other hand, rollers require the most room, measuring between 4 and 5 feet in length, but some models can be folded. Direct drive trainers actually weigh the most because of all the machinery inside.

II. Noise Level

Depending on your current living situation, the amount of sound produced may be an important consideration. No trainer is completely silent. Whether it’s from the wheel, the chain, or the resistance unit, some sound will always be there. Many trainers indicate loudness by a decibel level mentioned for a certain speed or cadence. Look for low numbers if you don’t want to annoy the neighbors or those living with you. For reference, fluid trainers are typically the quietest, while wind trainers are the loudest.

III. Smart Features

Nowadays, smart trainers are becoming the norm. With improvements in software and internet speed, indoor training is no longer boring. In fact, it can be quite entertaining. Interactive apps such as Zwift and Rouvy allow you to explore various routes, track activity, and connect with other riders around the world. Trainers make use of either Bluetooth or ANT+ to sync with computers or tablets. Devices like power meters and speed/cadence sensors measure data. Smart trainers can vary the resistance automatically to simulate slopes or to help you maintain a certain power output level. If you buy a ‘non-smart’ trainer, you could choose to buy sensors and attach them to your setup to be able to use cycling apps.

IV. Accessories

Certain items can be bought with the trainer to add some extra convenience. These trainer accessories are described below:-

  • Riser Block: All wheel-on trainers raise the rear wheel from the ground a bit. This creates a downward lean on the bike. Hence, a riser block is used to prop up the front wheel and level out the bike. Many trainers provide a free riser block.

Riser block
Image: Riser block

  • Sweat Guard: To prevent sweat from slowly corroding your bike’s paint, you’ll need a sweat guard. In indoor training, your sweat falls straight down instead of getting blown backward by the wind. A sweat guard attaches to the top tube and covers it from the sweat drops.

Sweat guard
Image: Sweat guard

  • Trainer Mat: A mat placed under the trainer helps to protect the floor from damage and sweat. As a bonus, it can also dampen some of the vibrations that would have produced some noise.
  • Trainer Tire: A major problem with many trainers is the wear caused on the rear wheel. This will lead to problems when you want to go riding outdoors. Trainer-specific tires are smooth, wear-resistant, and pretty cheap. They will greatly reduce noise and save your good tires for use outside.

Trainer tire
Image: Trainer tire

  • Fan: A fan is essential to help keep you from overheating. Unlike in real cycling, there is no wind to cool you down. Some fans can be synced with a smart trainer and vary the wind speed according to your bike’s measured speed.

Our Top Pick(s)

We tested a whole bunch of trainers. They were scored based on their compatibility with mountain bikes, and overall quality and performance. Finally, we came up with a list of the 11 best units. Among them, the Elite Direto XR Interactive had the best score. Therefore, it has been named as our ‘Overall Best Choice’.

Sale
Elite Direto XR Interactive Trainer

Realistic cycling experience, premium quality, highly interactive | Overall Best Choice

The Elite Direto XR  is a bike trainer that offers it all. You get smooth and quiet pedaling, seamless connectivity with apps and devices, automatic resistance adjustment and slope simulation, and data measurement all in one machine. It also comes with its own cassette which can be replaced. Almost all mountain and road bikes can be used with this direct drive trainer. Moreover, it is delivered fully assembled. So, you can just mount your bike, plug it in and you’re good to go. The price may be high, but the features and premium quality make the Direto XR truly worth it.

  • Type: Direct drive trainer
  • Dimensions: 25.6” × 34” × 21.6” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 35.7 lbs
  • Flywheel: 11.2 lbs
  • Compatibility: Both road and mountain bikes including 142×12 for thru-axle
  • Resistance: Electronically controlled magnetic brake
  • Attachment to Bike: 11-speed Shimano 11-28 or equivalent cassette
  • Frame Type: Hard plastic frame with folding steel legs
  • Data Measurement: Speed, cadence, power
  • App Connectivity: My E-Training, Zwift, TrainerRoad, and more

 

A quick view of our list of the best mountain bike trainers: 

TrainerWeight (lbs.)Our Ratings
Elite Direto35.795
Alpcour magnetic trainer20.290
Hulkwheels direct-drive trainer46.389
Saris Fluid21888
Unisky magnetic bike trainer15.486
Sportneer Magnetic bike trainer24.285
Alpcour25.982
Yaheetech17.481
Rockbros14.1578
Unisky22.0577
Yaheetech bike trainer20.0675

11 best mountain bike trainers you can buy today

TrainerPreviewTypeDimensions
(L × W × H)
Weight
(lbs)
CompatibilityResistanceScore
Elite Direto XR Elite Direto XR interactive direct drive smart trainer with 11sp cassetteDirect drive trainer25.6” × 34” × 21.6”35.7Road and mountain bikes including 142x12 for thru-axleElectronically controlled magnetic brake95
Alpcour Alpcour Bike Trainer Stand – Portable Stainless Steel Indoor Trainer w/ Magnetic Flywheel, Noise Reduction, 6 Resistance Settings, Quick-Release & Bag – Stationary Exercise for Road & Mountain BikesMagnetic trainer21.5” × 19” × 16.5”20.226 to 28 inch and 700c wheels6-level magnetic resistance90
HulkwheelsHULKWHEELS Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer, Indoor Bicycle Exercise Stand Mountain & Road Bike Portable Foldable Cycling Training/ Magnetic Flywheel Stand, Quick-Release,with PowerFun Zwift PerfProDirect drive trainer35.8” × 23.2” × 18.9”46.320 to 29 inch and 700c wheelsElectronically controlled resistance89
Saris CycleOps Saris Fluid2 Indoor Bike Trainer, Fits Road and Mountain Bikes, Compatible with Zwift AppFluid trainer28” × 21.5” × 15.7”18650b, 700c, 26", 27", 29"Progressive fluid resistance88
UniskyUnisky Bike Trainer Stand Indoor Riding Steel Bicycle Exercise Stand with Noise Reduction Wheel Magnetic Stationary Stand fits for 26-28inch, 700C WheelMagnetic trainer21.65” × 20.08” × 14.96”15.426 to 28 inch and 700c wheelsMagnetic resistance86
SportneerSportneer Bike Trainer Stand Steel Bicycle Exercise Magnetic Stand with Noise Reduction Wheel for Road Bike, RedMagnetic trainer22” × 22” × 15.5”24.226 to 28 inch and 700c wheels6-level magnetic resistance85
AlpcourAlpcour Fluid Bike Trainer Stand – Portable Stainless Steel Indoor Trainer w/ Fluid Flywheel, Noise Reduction, Progressive Resistance, Dual-Lock System – Stationary Exercise for Road & Mountain BikesFluid trainer19” × 19” × 18”25.926 to 29 inch and 700c wheelsProgressive fluid resistance82
YaheetechYaheetech Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand w/ 6 Speed Level Wire Control Adjuster,Noise Reduction,Quick-Release & Front Wheel Riser Resistance Foldable Bicycle Exercise Stand for Mountain & Road BikesMagnetic trainer21.5” × 19.7” × 15.9”17.426 to 29 inch and 700c wheels6-level magnetic resistance81
Rockbros RollerROCKBROS Bike Rollers Adjustable Bike Trainer Stand Foldable Indoor Cycling Bicycle Roller with Resistance for MTB Road Bike ExerciseRoller trainer50.98” × 19.69”14.15Wheelbase 970-1090 mm, 16 to 29 inch and 700c wheelsRoller resistance78
UniskyUnisky Fluid Bike Trainer Stand Indoor Riding with Noise Reduction Wheel Steel Bicycle Exercise Training Stand Stationary Bike StandFluid trainer25.39” × 20.87” × 7.09”22.0526 to 29 inch and 700c wheelsProgressive fluid resistance77
YaheetechYaheetech Fluid Bike Trainer Stand-Indoor Bicycle Training Stand for Mountain & Road Bike-Portable Foldable Cycling Training Stand w/Fluid Flywheel,Quick-Release,Riser Block & Noise ReductionFluid trainer24.5” × 21.5” × 16”20.0626 to 28 inch and 700c wheelsProgressive fluid resistance75

1. Elite Direto XR: Realistic cycling experience, premium quality, highly interactive | Overall Best Choice

Sale
Elite Direto XR Interactive Trainer
  • Type: Direct drive trainer
  • Dimensions: 25.6” × 34” × 21.6” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 35.7 lbs
  • Flywheel: 11.2 lbs
  • Compatibility: Both road and mountain bikes including 142×12 for thru-axle
  • Resistance: Electronically controlled magnetic brake
  • Attachment to Bike: 11-speed Shimano 11-28 or equivalent cassette
  • Frame Type: Hard plastic frame with folding steel legs
  • Data Measurement: Speed, cadence, power
  • App Connectivity: My E-Training, Zwift, TrainerRoad, and more

Features & Considerations
  • Super Compatibility: This trainer comes with an 11-speed Shimano cassette, but you can attach various other cassettes as well. It is also compatible with just about any road or MTB bike.
  • Power Meter: The Optical Torque Sensor (OTS) is an integrated power meter that can measure power output with a ±1.5% accuracy.
  • Sensorless Technology: Instead of sensors attached to the bike’s frame, this trainer makes use of power analysis from the OTS to measure cadence and speed.
  • Total Interactivity: It has both ANT+ and Bluetooth capability, making it compatible with any app (My E-Training, Zwift, TrainerRoad, etc.), computer (Mac OS, Windows), or device (phone/tablet).
  • Automatic Resistance: The resistance is electronically controlled, meaning it adjusts automatically according to the route or program selected.
  • Excellent ERG Mode: The ERG mode allows you to set a certain power level and stay at that output, no matter your pedaling speed.
  • Incline Simulation: Thanks to the heavy flywheel and automatic resistance adjustment, a slope of up to 24% can be simulated on this trainer.
  • Silent Running: Since this is a direct drive trainer, the noise levels are very low. The sounds you’ll hear are mostly from the bike’s chain.
  • No Assembly: The unit is delivered fully assembled. You can simply take it out of the box, attach it to your bike, plug it in, and start using it.

Some Weaknesses
  • It has a very high price.
  • You need to be near a power source to make it work.

The Elite Direto is simply one of the best direct-drive trainers out there. First of all, it is quite easy to use because there is no assembly required. It has an 11-speed Shimano cassette included. However, we were able to attach various other cassettes and from what we can tell, almost any bike can be used with this trainer. The frame has a solid build quality. 3 legs are foldable and have adjustable levelers at the bottom, so you can set it up on uneven surfaces.

Not only is it compatible with all kinds of bikes, but it is also compatible with any app/software and computer/device. As a bonus, you’ll get a free 12-month subscription to My E-Training software. The riding experience on the Direto XR is unmatched in terms of how realistic it is. The electronic resistance adjustment and slope simulation do very well to imitate the real thing. The price reflects the premium quality and features of this trainer. If you are a serious athlete, then this machine is the right choice.

Elite Direto XR Interactive Trainer

Elite Direto XR Interactive Trainer

2. Alpcour: 6-level magnetic resistance, safe and sturdy construction, Included carry bag

Sale
Alpcour Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand
  • Type: Magnetic trainer
  • Dimensions: 21.5” × 19” × 16.5” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 20.2 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 220 lbs
  • Compatibility: 26 to 28 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: 6-level magnetic resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Quick-release lever clamping
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Compact Design: The dimensions are small and the frame can fold flat. This makes it highly portable and easy to store.
  • Easy Bike Attachment: Attaching and detaching to the bike is made quick and easy by the quick-release lever.
  • Remote Shifter: The resistance controller has a long cable that allows you to mount it on the handlebars and adjust the resistance from there.
  • Great Compatibility: It can accommodate pretty much any wheel size, except for 29-ers, found in most common bikes.
  • Included Accessories: The free riser block will come in handy if you don’t have one and the free carry bag lets you easily carry the trainer with you.
  • Adjustable Feet: The circular rubber feet have teeth of varying thickness. You can rotate the feet to adjust on uneven floors.

Some Weaknesses
  • It produces a significant amount of noise.

The Alpcour Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand is one of the few low-end trainers with a high-end level performance. Being a magnetic trainer, it is quite noisy. However, you can fix that by getting a trainer-specific tire at a low price. The handlebar-mounted resistance shifter allows you to conveniently adjust to your desired tension level. You better be careful about the cable though. If not placed strategically, it could get in the way of pedaling. Despite being compact, the trainer is very sturdy and stable.

To attach your bike, first, you’ll have to replace your bike’s skewer with the quick-release skewer provided. Then line up the wheel correctly and simply pull down the lever to secure it in. Unfortunately, 29-inch wheels do not fit, but any other wheel size is fine. The cycling feel is pretty great considering that this is a magnetic trainer. We would recommend this trainer as an amazing choice for beginner or intermediate level cyclists.

Alpcour Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand

Alpcour Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand

3. Hulkwheels: Stable frame, smooth silent operation, long-lasting, Zwift compatible

Hulkwheels Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer
  • Type: Direct drive trainer
  • Dimensions: 35.8” × 23.2” × 18.9” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 46.3 lbs
  • Compatibility: 20 to 29 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: Electronically controlled resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Shimano or Sram 9/10/11/12 speed freewheel
  • Frame Type: Y-shaped metal and plastic frame
  • Data Measurement: Speed, cadence, power
  • App Connectivity: PowerFun, Zwift, PerfPro, etc.

Features & Considerations
  • Solid, Stable Build: The wide Y-shaped frame makes the trainer very stable, while the heavy-duty metal and plastic frame makes it strong and durable.
  • Elastic Shaking: The frame can shake elastically about 5mm up and down and left to right. This means it can withstand high-intensity workouts and absorb impacts.
  • Data Measurement: A dynamic electromagnetic torque power meter is built-in which can accurately measure the power output and also the speed and cadence.
  • Software Interactivity: With ANT+ and Bluetooth capability, you can connect to apps such as Zwift, PowerFun, etc. It is also compatible with any computer or smart device.
  • Automatic Resistance: The resistance is controlled electronically and adjusts automatically according to the selected workout program or virtual route.
  • Fully Compatible: Any road or mountain can be used with this trainer. It can fit almost all wheel sizes and various cassettes. A quick-release skewer is also included.
  • Silent Spinning: As with any direct drive trainer, this one also operates almost noise-free. Most of the noise is from the bike itself.

Some Weaknesses
  • No cassette or freewheel is included.
  • The price is quite steep.

The Hulkwheels Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer is another direct drive trainer with loads of features. The first thing we noticed was the weight. It is pretty heavy and seems to have a sturdy frame. The Y-shaped feet are placed wide apart making it very stable and won’t damage the floor, even during high-intensity workouts. Assembly was simple enough. You’ll need to use your own cassette since there is none included. The trainer works with most quick-release skewers, but it would be better to use the one provided. This is to prevent damage, and you can use the same skewer for outdoor riding as well.

In terms of performance, the pedaling feels smooth and road-like. You can easily use Zwift or other apps to make your sessions more interactive. The resistance is automatically controlled to simulate inclines and give a realistic experience. Not to mention, you can keep track of your activity thanks to the power meter. Overall, this is a great indoor trainer and the solid build will probably ensure that it lasts for years to come.

Hulkwheels Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer

Hulkwheels Direct Drive Smart Bike Trainer

4. Saris CycleOps: Enhanced cooling system, compatible with apps like Zwift

Sale
Saris CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer
  • Type: Fluid trainer
  • Dimensions: 28” × 21.5” × 15.7” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Compatibility: 650b, 700c, 26″, 27″, 29″
  • Resistance: Progressive fluid resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Spring loaded bolt-action lever
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: Sensors required
  • App Connectivity: Compatible with Zwift or other apps

Features & Considerations
  • Fluid Resistance: The pedaling experience on this trainer is very smooth and gives a road-like feel thanks to the flywheel and fluid resistance.
  • Self Cooling System: The flywheel also doubles as a fan. It creates airflow over the resistance unit and enhances the cooling process.
  • High Compatibility: Almost all common bikes with wheel sizes 650b, 700c, 26″, 27″ and 29″ can be used with this bike trainer.
  • Easy Attachment: Attaching and detaching your bike to the trainer takes only seconds with the easy-to-use spring-loaded bolt-action lever.
  • Portable Unit: Storage and transportability of this trainer are very easy due to two reasons; the compact dimensions and the foldable frame.
  • Less Tire Wear: The roller is made out of a precision-machined alloy that helps to decrease tire wear and also reduce the amount of slippage.
  • No Assembly: Since the product is delivered to you fully assembled, there won’t be any hassle or time wasted fiddling with instructions and screws.
  • Connectivity: If you buy speed and cadence sensors, you can connect to apps such as Zwift or Rouvy to take your indoor cycling experience to the next level.

Some Weaknesses
  • Not totally stable on uneven surfaces.
  • The price is a little high.

The Saris Fluid2  is a newer and upgraded version of the original CycleOps Fluid2 trainer. It does come at a bit of a high price, but you get a sturdy well-built machine that simulates road cycling pretty well. We think this deal is well worth it. Not to mention the self-cooling design which will help to make it last longer. You’ll need to replace your rear wheel’s skewer with the quick release skewer provided, and it can be left on for outdoor use as well. Mounting the bike was easy and it stayed firmly in place.

There is some sound produced that can be eliminated with a smooth trainer wheel. The best feature of this trainer is that it is compatible with various sensors. With these sensors, we were able to connect to Zwift, Rouvy, TrainerRoad, etc. These apps will really motivate you and make your workouts more enjoyable. The tester for this product hooked up his smartwatch. You’ll need a USB cord and an ANT+ dongle to use with a computer. However, these devices won’t cost you much at all.

Saris CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer

Saris CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer

5. Unisky: Affordable, foldable, compact, double locking system, smooth-spinning

Unisky Magnetic Bike Trainer
  • Type: Magnetic trainer
  • Dimensions: 21.65” × 20.08” × 14.96” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 15.4 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 264.6 lbs
  • Compatibility: 26 to 28 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: Magnetic resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Dual-sided adjustable knobs
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Portable Design: On top of having small dimensions, the steel frame folds flat for ease of portability and storage.
  • Dual Side Locking: The trainer locks from both sides of the bike wheel using knobs, providing a more secure and stable fit.
  • Highly Affordable: This is one of the lowest-priced magnetic trainers that are available, so anyone can afford to purchase it.
  • Free Riser Block: You get a free front wheel riser block which helps to keep the two wheels of the bike at the same level.
  • Good Compatibility: Almost all common road and mountain bikes can be used with this trainer, except for 29-inch wheels.
  • Adjustable Feet: The four rubber tips of the base have teeth of varying thickness which you can rotate to keep the trainer upright on uneven ground.

Some Weaknesses
  • It is quite noisy unless you use a trainer wheel.
  • It also causes a slightly high amount of tire wear.
  • There is no resistance adjustment.

The Unisky Trainer is a very well made indoor trainer considering its price. It costs less than $100, making it one of the most affordable trainers that you can get. The frame is quite sturdy and able to take a lot of punishment. Most common bikes can easily fit onto this frame. However, you’ll need a tire that has quick-release, otherwise, it won’t fit. You will also have to assemble it when you take it out of the box.

It performs pretty well too. The magnetic resistance and external flywheel work well to provide a smooth pedaling experience. On the downside, there is no adjustment for the resistance and the noise levels are a bit high. There is also a good amount of tire wear. But this can be fixed by using a trainer-specific wheel. To conclude, if you are a beginner or are on a low budget, then this trainer is the way to go.

Unisky Magnetic Bike Trainer

Unisky Magnetic Bike Trainer

6. Sportneer: Low noise, versatile, 6-level magnetic resistance, and easy bike attachment

Sportneer Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand
  • Type: Magnetic trainer
  • Dimensions: 22” × 22” × 15.5” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 24.2 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 250 lbs
  • Compatibility: 26 to 28 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: 6-level magnetic resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Quick-release lever clamping
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Good Compatibility: Other than 29-inch wheels, this trainer can be used with almost all commonly used bikes and wheel sizes.
  • Remote Shifter: Changing the resistance level is made very easy thanks to the handlebar-mounted controller.
  • Compact Design: Since the dimensions are small and the frame is foldable, you can store it anywhere and carry it with you easily.
  • Quick Release Mechanism: The attachment mechanism to the bike features a quick-release lever that allows for mounting/dismounting within seconds.
  • Affordable: Even those who are on a low budget can continue their training indoors with this trainer since the price is so low.
  • Included Riser Block: A free riser block comes with the trainer which ensures that your bike isn’t leaning downwards.
  • No Assembly: Because the trainer comes fully assembled, there is no struggle and you can just attach to your bike and start pedaling right away.

Some Weaknesses
  • There is significant tire wear at high speeds.
  • Resistance is not high enough for advanced riders.

The Sportneer Trainer was delivered pre-assembled, so no time wasted there. There was also a free riser block included. Setting up and mounting your bike takes only a few minutes. Just replace the bikes quick-release skewer with the one provided, line up the rear wheel, and tighten the clamp with the lever. Additionally, the trainer also works with bikes that have a thru-axle instead of a skewer. However, it is a bit too small for 29-ers. The resistance is conveniently controlled by a shifter that can be attached to the handlebars.

There is quite a high degree of tire wear, but only at high speeds. Resistance might be too easy for veteran cyclists, but overall the trainer works great. It feels quite smooth and is not as loud as other magnetic trainers. Moreover, the frame is sturdy and stable enough at high intensities. What makes this machine truly worth it is the highly affordable price. The Sportneer trainer is a great choice, especially for novice cyclists.

Sportneer Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand

Sportneer Magnetic Bike Trainer Stand

7. Alpcour: Progressive fluid resistance, safe and sturdy construction, Included carry bag

Sale
Alpcour Fluid Bike Trainer Stand
  • Type: Fluid trainer
  • Dimensions: 19” × 19” × 18” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 25.9 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 220 lbs
  • Compatibility: 26 to 29 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: Progressive fluid resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Dual-sided dial adjustment
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Fluid Resistance: The impeller spinning in a fluid creates higher resistance as you pedal faster. The flywheel ensures smooth motion.
  • Dual-sided Locking: You have to lock in your bike with the trainer using adjustment knobs on both sides. This allows for a more secure fit.
  • Compact Design: The small size and folding capability of the frame allows you to store and carry the trainer anywhere you want.
  • Smooth Roller: The metal roller has a smooth finish that does not cause too much tire wear and also ensures low slippage.
  • Good Compatibility: Various road and mountain bikes with commonly used 26”-29” or 700c wheels can attach to this trainer.
  • Free Accessories: A riser block is included for the front wheel. You also get a sturdy carry bag for convenience of transport.

Some Weaknesses
  • Produces some noise, especially with a mountain bike.
  • Some of you may find assembly difficult due to the poor instructions.

The Alpcour Trainer Stand is a decent indoor trainer that will serve you well during the winter months. Many of the negative reviews that we’ve seen are about the bad instructions. True, it will take some time for first-timers to figure out the assembly, but it should take less than 10 minutes if you have some experience. In terms of resistance and motion, it performs very well thanks to the flywheel and fluid resistance. Nearly all commonly used road or mountain bikes are compatible with the trainer.

The frame is pretty robust and reliable. Also, the locking knobs on both sides provide enhanced security and stability. With the purchase, you’ll get a convenient carrying bag for the unit and a front wheel riser block. The riser is a bit small but sufficient. On the downside, the trainer is a tad bit noisier than what would be preferable. This was especially true when we used it with a mountain bike. Nonetheless, it is a great fluid bike trainer.

Alpcour Fluid Bike Trainer Stand

Alpcour Fluid Bike Trainer Stand

8. Yaheetech: Functional indoor magnetic trainer, road/mountain bike compatible

Yaheetech Magnetic Bike Trainer
  • Type: Magnetic trainer
  • Dimensions: 21.5” × 19.7” × 15.9” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 17.4 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 264.6 lbs
  • Compatibility: 26 to 29 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: 6-level magnetic resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Quick-release lever clamping
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Portable Design: This trainer is very easy to store and carry anywhere. This is made possible by its compact dimensions and foldable frame.
  • Remote Shifter: A cable attached resistance adjuster is provided, which can be mounted on the handlebars for convenience.
  • Easy Clamping: A quick-release lever instead of threaded knobs makes attachment/detachment of a bike fast and simple.
  • Low Cost: Considering the overall quality, the price of this trainer is pretty low and almost anyone can afford to buy it for home training sessions.
  • Great Compatibility: Just about any common bike and wheel size, including 29-inch wheels, can be accommodated by this trainer.
  • Riser Block Included: The free riser block keeps your bike parallel to the ground and saves you the money from having to buy one.

Some Weaknesses
  • The unit is pretty loud unless used with a trainer wheel.
  • Assembly might be tricky for some, due to poor instructions.

The Yaheetech is a very well built indoor trainer considering the affordable price. High-intensity workouts are handled pretty well. The rubber feet can also be adjusted for uneven surfaces. There are 6 resistance levels and the maximum feels like a 5% slope, which is decent for indoor cycling. The magnetic tension is controlled by a ratchet type knob attached to the handlebars. The unit gets pretty loud as with other magnetic trainers, but the motion is smooth.

If you are worried about the noise, then it can be fixed with a trainer-specific wheel. They are pretty cheap. You will have to assemble it out of the box. This can prove a bit difficult for those who are bad with tools since the instructions are not well written. But after that is done, mounting the bike is quite simple thanks to the quick-release lever clamping. All in all, this trainer is an excellent low-cost option for indoor bike training.

Yaheetech Magnetic Bike Trainer

Yaheetech Magnetic Bike Trainer

9. Rockbros Roller: Foldable, durable, lightweight, and highly compatible roller trainer

Rockbros Bicycle Roller Trainer
  • Type: Roller trainer
  • Dimensions: 50.98” × 19.69” (L × W)
  • Weight: 14.15 lbs
  • Flywheel: No
  • Maximum Capacity: 298 lbs
  • Compatibility: Wheelbase 970-1090 mm, 16 to 29 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: Roller resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: No
  • Frame Type: Folding aluminum frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Folding Design: The frame folds at two hinges and reduces to a third of the actual length which greatly helps with storage.
  • Highly Compatible: The position of the rollers can be changed to accommodate different bike frames and wheel sizes. No need to worry about a skewer or thru-axle.
  • Lightweight: The entire unit weighs less than 15 pounds. The lightweight and foldable frame makes this trainer highly portable.
  • Affordable: Anyone who wishes to get some indoor exercise but does not have the budget can get this trainer, due to its low cost.
  • Sturdy Build Quality: Even though it is lightweight, the frame is strong enough to support almost 300 lbs thanks to the aluminum alloy.

Some Weaknesses
  • Requires a good balance to use.
  • Since it is a roller, resistance is not that great.

The Rockbros is the only roller trainer that we have included in this article. Generally, wheel-on or direct-drive trainers are better than rollers. However, this roller in particular is excellent. The solid build quality, smooth spinning, and affordable price are the main reasons. The aluminum alloy makes it both strong and lightweight. Not to mention, the frame folds up, which is great since rollers take up a lot of floor space. This also means that you can move it around easily.

You can detach the rollers and attach them in different slots to make sure that it properly fits your bike. You have to be careful about keeping the front roller directly below the center of the wheel. Being able to ride on this trainer takes some getting used to, just like all other rollers. But after a little practice, you’ll really start enjoying the experience. There may not be a high level of resistance, but it does bring in the element of balance that is familiar to regular cyclists.

Rockbros Bicycle Roller Trainer

Rockbros Bicycle Roller Trainer

10. Unisky: Firm and stable frame, smooth spinning, double locking system

Unisky Fluid Bike Trainer Stand
  • Type: Fluid trainer
  • Dimensions: 25.39” × 20.87” × 7.09” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 22.05 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 264 lbs
  • Compatibility: 26 to 29 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: Progressive fluid resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Dual-sided dial adjustment
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Road-like Resistance: The impeller rotating in fluid and the flywheel provide resistance which is both smooth and progressive, much like a road bike.
  • Dual-sided Locking: The trainer can be fixed to the rear wheel by adjustment dials on both sides. This ensures better security and stability.
  • Smooth Roller: The smooth finish of the metallic roller’s surface helps to keep tire damage to a minimum and also slightly reduce noise.
  • Folding Design: The steel frame folds completely flat. Since the dimensions are already small, to begin with, storage and portability are not an issue at all.
  • Good Compatibility: Various road and mountain bikes with commonly used 26”-29” or 700c wheels can attach to this trainer.
  • Accessories Included: When purchasing this trainer, you will get a free riser block. You will need it to keep the front wheel at the same level as the rear wheel.

Some Weaknesses
  • More noise is produced by this trainer than the other fluid trainers.
  • The resistance may not be challenging enough for high-level bikers.

The Unisky Trainer is a solid indoor trainer for home workouts. The person who tested this trainer is 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 200 lbs. The sturdy steel frame was strong and stable enough to support him cycling at high intensities. The wide base and double locking helped to achieve this. It might not fit a few bikes that have thru-axles, but it is compatible with the most commonly used road and mountain bikes. Assembling the trainer is a bit of a task due to a poorly designed manual, but the setup is as easy as with other fluid trainers.

The performance of this trainer was pretty good. It has the smooth, gradually increasing resistance that a fluid bike trainer should have. The only two complaints with this unit are the noise and resistance level. Although not super noisy, it generates the most sound out of all our chosen products. As for the resistance, it isn’t at a level where it would challenge advanced riders or simulate steep climbs. But overall it’s great for beginner and intermediate level cyclists.

Unisky Fluid Bike Trainer Stand

Unisky Fluid Bike Trainer Stand

11. Yaheetech: Functional indoor training equipment, road/mountain bike compatible

Yaheetech Fluid Bike Trainer Stand
  • Type: Fluid trainer
  • Dimensions: 24.5” × 21.5” × 16” (L × W × H)
  • Weight: 20.06 lbs
  • Flywheel:
  • Maximum Capacity: 265 lbs
  • Compatibility: 26 to 28 inch and 700c wheels
  • Resistance: Progressive fluid resistance
  • Attachment to Bike: Quick-release lever clamping
  • Frame Type: Folding steel frame
  • Data Measurement: No
  • App Connectivity: No

Features & Considerations
  • Realistic Resistance: The fluid resistance unit and the flywheel provide motion with a progressive resistance that feels very similar to road cycling.
  • Easy Clamping: Locking in your bike to the trainer is very easy. While other trainers have an adjustable knob system, this one can be done with the simple push of a lever.
  • Silent Running: This fluid bike trainer surprisingly generated the least amount of noise out of all the trainers tested.
  • Good Compatibility: You can use nearly all common bikes and wheel sizes with this trainer. However, it is a little small for 29-inch wheels.
  • Affordable: Just about anyone who can afford this unit. Even though it is so cheap, it is still good enough to handle some heavy use.
  • Compact Unit: Not only is the size conveniently small, but the frame can also fold flat for ease of storage and portability.

Some Weaknesses
  • The bike tilts very slightly to one side, which can be fixed with a mat.
  • The maximum resistance is not high enough for advanced riders.

The Yaheetech is one of the most affordable indoor trainers that you can purchase without regretting your decision later on. It definitely has a simple design, but the build quality is good enough for heavy use. You’ll have to assemble it when it arrives. The instructions are okay, but putting it together is fairly intuitive and most of you should not face any problems. We were able to fit many different bikes onto this trainer. The frame size is a bit small and hence, not suitable for 29-ers.

The quick-release lever in place of a tension dial makes mounting/dismounting a bike much faster. We were surprised by how quiet this unit is, even while pedaling at high speeds. Safe to say you can use it without ever annoying others around you. The feel of pedaling motion was great as well. However, the bike did not attach in a perfectly upright position. It was barely noticeable, but there was a slight tilt which was fixed by placing a mat under one side. Overall, this trainer is simply great value for money.

Yaheetech Fluid Bike Trainer Stand

Yaheetech Fluid Bike Trainer Stand


Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1. Can you put your mountain bike on a trainer?

Ans.: You definitely can use a mountain bike on a trainer. You will only face a problem on rollers or wheel-on trainers if the bike has aggressive tread patterns. This will cause a lot of noise and tire wear. However, an easy solution is to swap out the wheel for a smoother road tire or, best of all, a trainer tire. Direct drive trainers pose no such issues.

Q.2. Can you get a trainer for your 29er MTB?

Ans: Yes, you can. Many trainers can accommodate 29-inch wheels. Just check the specs of a specific trainer to see the range of compatible wheel sizes. You only have to do this for wheel-on trainers. Rollers and direct drive trainers can fit pretty much any size.

Q.3. Do turbo trainers damage your bike?

Ans.: Previously, many people were hesitant to use trainers because of possible damage to the bike. But now, trainers have improved a lot and such cases are very rare. Even composite and carbon-fiber frames do not usually break on a trainer. Although, there is a lot of stress placed on the skewer or axle of the rear wheel. This is why most manufacturers recommend replacing it with a provided quick-release skewer, which is compatible with the specific trainer.

Conclusion

All you mountain bikers don’t have to give up training during the winter months. Hopefully, after going through this article, you no longer have any doubts regarding indoor trainers for mountain bikes. Now that you know that mountain bikes can be used with trainers, you can simply scroll back up to the list of products and choose one according to your preferences. We guarantee that each of these trainers will serve you well.

My name is Dion Lewis. I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions. In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally. Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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