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Magnetic vs Fluid Bike Trainer

magnetic vs fluid bike trainer

Indoor bike trainers are essential for bikers who still want to do biking activities indoors during the winter season. Magnetic and fluid bike trainers are two of today’s most popular and widely used indoor bike trainers. But what is the difference between the two? This article will show you the difference between a magnetic vs fluid bike trainer.

Features Magnetic Bike Trainer Fluid Bike Trainer
Main Component Magnetic Flywheel Flywheel with Impeller Spinning Fluid Inside
Price Affordable Expensive
Sound Noisy Quiet
Ride Quality Provides Good Workout Provides Realistic Outdoor Feel
Dependability Reliable Tendency to Leak

Magnetic Bike Trainer

Also known as the “Mag” trainer, this indoor bike trainer is using magnetic forces in creating resistance against the wheel of the bike. The drive mechanism is generally composed of the flywheel and the rotating magnets, which is responsible for changing the amount of resistance placed on the flywheel.

But when increasing or decreasing the resistance, there are two ways to do it with this bike trainer. The first method is simply getting off the bike trainer and dismounting the bike to select the new level of resistance. Another way is to increase or decrease the resistance using a cable connected to the bike trainer.

The Upside and Downside of Magnetic Bike Trainer

In terms of usage, this indoor bike trainer is easy to use. There is no complicated setup during installation, which is suitable for first-time users. The adjustment of the magnetic bike trainer is constant during the workout, which is the reason why there are two methods that you can use to change the level of resistance, as I mentioned earlier.

Meanwhile, the riding experience of this indoor bike trainer is comparable to doing a good workout. It will provide excellent exercise to the cardiovascular system and the other muscles, which are always affected when doing biking activities outdoors.

However, its downside is the overall sensation or the feeling, which is very different from biking outdoors. The experience is entirely different when biking outside and not as realistic as it should be.

Noise is also an issue with the magnetic bike trainer as it is significantly louder during the workout. Sometimes, I feel the difficulty of focusing on the workout even if I am using my exercise music. This issue is the reason why this indoor bike trainer is less desirable to places that are small or shared.

But overall, the magnetic bike trainer is reliable in every sense of the word. And it is affordable too, making it suitable for people on a tight budget. The longevity of this bike trainer is also impressive as it tends to last longer compared to the fluid bike trainer.

Fluid Bike Trainer

magnetic bike trainer

The fluid bike trainer is arguably the most popular than the magnetic bike trainer. Its driving mechanism consists of a flywheel, a roller, and a fluid that is enclosed in an outer shell. Adjusting the resistance level with this indoor bike trainer is entirely different from the magnetic bike trainer.

When a biker pedals his way into this bike trainer, the fluid in the outer shell will then be pushed by the paddles inside the outer shell, which result in the fluid heating up. Once the user pedals hard and increases the pedal stroke, the resistance of the wheel also grows quickly.

With how this fluid bike trainer works, I feel that it is more efficient compared to the magnetic bike trainer. The adjustment of resistance increases automatically the moment you increase your pedaling, which is pretty impressive.

The Upsides and Downsides of a Fluid Bike Trainer

Fluid bike trainers are very comfortable to use during the exercise. The resistance level adjustment is automatic and will not need you to stop your workout or do other things to increase or decrease the resistance level. All you have to do is increase the intensity of your pedaling which will, in turn, increase the level of resistance on the wheel.

This feature is the reason why I feel that the fluid bike trainer is perfect for experienced rides looking for a very tough and advanced workout. In fact, it is impossible to overpower this indoor bike trainer or even spin out, which makes it perfect for advanced riders.

I also like the overall experience when working out with the fluid bike trainer. The sensation and the feeling are somewhat similar when biking on the outside. It is actually more realistic when it comes to the resistance as it is completely identical when biking on the road.

The fluid bike trainer is also quieter than the magnetic bike trainer, making it perfect for small, compact, or shared spaces. I can guarantee that you will not disturb other people when doing your workout with this indoor bike trainer.

Meanwhile, this indoor bike trainer is perfect, except that a possible leakage may happen because of the fluid being used. Also, this bike trainer’s longevity is shorter than the magnetic bike trainer. It is also more expensive in terms of price point. However, I must admit that I prefer this more because of its more realistic biking experience.


Comparing magnetic vs fluid bike trainer will give you the idea of the best one to use during the colder months. Both of these indoor bike trainers come with their respective upsides and downsides. It is all about finding the right one which suits your biking exercise needs and your overall preference.

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