ProForm Tour de France Training Bike
BEST FOR: VIRTUAL-RIDING AFICIONADOS
If you can get past the ridiculous marketing and steep price tag, ProForm’s wonky Tour de France bike is a serious piece of engineering. The magnetic-resistance spin bike comes bundled with software that lets you create cycling routes using Google Maps and then wirelessly upload them to the bike. Not only can you watch where you’re riding in Google’s street view, but the hydraulic system pitches you forward and back (up to 40 degrees) to match the grade and adjusts resistance accordingly. The built-in algorithm-based power meter is imprecise, but the second generation (coming later this winter) will have a strain-gauge system, drop bars, and other cycling-specific details. EPO not included.
Wahoo Fitness Kickr Training Bike
BEST FOR: PERFORMANCE-TRACKING JUNKIES
Wahoo Fitness kicks it up a gear with this premium indoor trainer. The Kickr’s wheel-off system connects directly to your bike’s drivetrain for more realistic road feel—the best of the three here. Unlike similar setups, resistance is electromagnetic (quieter than noisy fan-based units) and wirelessly controlled (via Bluetooth) from an iPhone. The Kickr is compatible with numerous third-party apps, including our favorite, Kinomap Trainer, which weds GPS and Google Maps data with crowdsourced video for total training immersion.
Kinetic by Kurt Road Machine Training Bike
BEST FOR: APARTMENT DWELLERS
The ideal choice for the space constrained, this rear-wheel-mount trainer is quick to set up, sturdy and stable to ride, and easy to collapse and stow. And though the unit is small, the heavy-duty flywheel and fluid-resistance system create a smooth, realistic ride that’s quieter than with fan or magnetic trainers. Silicone fluid ramps up pressure based on your output, so the harder you push, the more resistance you get. Our only gripe: because of the incremental force, pedaling in the biggest rings can feel like mashing, not spinning. For the money, though, you won’t find a better, more reliable trainer.