When I was asked to review the CycleOps Magneto I was a little apprehensive. My only previous experience with any kind of ride at home training equipment ended up with me falling off the bike within 30 seconds.
Apparently though, what I was riding on was a set of rollers and not a turbo trainer and it would be impossible for me to fall off this one. Reassured by this I agreed to do the test and write the review. The turbo I was testing was a CycleOps Magneto, a mid-range machine that boasts progressive resistance depending on the power you put in.
As soon as I got the box home I decided to give it a go right away and this brought me to my first obstacle: assembly! I stared slightly confused at the myriad of parts in the box and then did something very out of character – I read the instructions! Initially they were a little confusing but after spending a minute or 2 reading through and examining the diagrams I felt ready to attempt assembly. It was surprisingly easy to assemble and only took me about 5 minutes to have it all put together and my bike mounted. Definitely a positive start for the Magneto!
As the Magneto raises the back wheel off the ground, I also got a front wheel riser which levelled the bike off. The riser is a very simple piece of plastic with an indentation for the front wheel to sit in and seems to work very well so far. Due to the Magneto’s clever design, it is very easy to put away after a session – thanks to the folding legs no disassembly or reassembly is required for each ride.
Now for the ride! I decided to get the headphones on and go for it for half an hour at full tilt, thinking: it’s only a turbo trainer so it should be much easier than normal riding as there’s no hills or bumpy ground…. Right?? Wrong! The resistance that come from the Magneto resistor is immense! Within 5 minutes I was really feeling the burn and starting to sweat so decided to slow down to a more natural speed and quickly found the right pace for me (mid cassette, big chain ring). It felt like I was powering along on a flat, but smooth, road at a decent speed. I settled into the ride and was pleasantly surprised at how similar to actual road riding it felt – except it took me a while to get used to the way the bike stays completely rigid as you’re riding and doesn’t move as you pedal.
Before I knew it, my alarm went off and that was half an hour done. That didn’t feel like enough so I decided to go for another half an hour to give it a proper test and see if I could break it by really varying my riding speed between very hard and very soft. I settled into increasing speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute then dropping down for 2 minutes before speeding up again, and the fast spinning to give my legs a real work out. I finished with a full race style sprint, and the Magneto handled it all tremendously well.
Wobbly legged, out of breath and dripping with sweat, I decided to call it a day on that session, quietly impressed with my first go on a turbo trainer.
One key point is the noise made by the trainer. While it’s not very noisy, it is definitely something that is best suited to a garage or ground floor and not, as I discovered, if you live in a top floor flat as the vibrations apparently do carry through to the flats below, especially if, like me, you have a wooden floor with no carpet!
In summary, while I will always prefer getting out on the road and riding for real, I will definitely be using the turbo if I don’t have enough time to get out for a long ride or the next time it snows! Verdict:
Assembly: 4/5 (While it was easy to assemble the instructions take a bit of reading to understand what you need to do)
Ride: 5/5 (The closest thing to riding whilst indoors that I’ve used)
Value for money: 4/5 (while a lot cheaper than many of the rival brands and excellent quality for your money, £200 is still a reasonable expense and if it’s only going to be used once in a blue moon then maybe the CycleOps Mag Trainer would be a better bet at £134.99)