Review: CycleOps Fluid 2

After moving to Cornwall, winters seem windier and wetter than ever. With that in mind, I ordered a CycleOps Fluid 2 turbo trainer to help me keep condition during bad weather. After weeks of research and attempts to come to a decision, I bought the Fluid 2. The cited advantages of smoothness and fluid resistance were just what I was looking for.

Unboxing was fun. It’s a heavy beast and seemingly well made. The steel is reassuringly thick, the plastic robust and everything has an air quality to it. It’s simple to set up, although it’s too easy to put the motor on the wrong way round. It was only when double checking the setup on YouTube that I saw the mistake. Good job I hadn’t tried it at that point!

CycleOps Fluid 2 setup

Setting the bike up is as simple as it gets. On one side of the trainer there is a three position bolt. This matches the locking slider on the opposite side with the width of your skewer. Align the provided skewer in the wheel and select the width that gives a tight fit. Lock it in place and then you can slide your wheel in and out quickly and easily while holding it firmly in place.

Adjust the yellow dial at the back so the roller meets the tyre, add a quarter turn and you’re ready to go. You can increase resistance if you so desire and in conjunction with a turbo tyre, you can give it as much as you want. I coupled the CycleOps Fluid 2 with a climbing block that not only supports the front wheel but also keeps everything level.

The combination of the two made for a very stable platform from which to train. Set up properly, with a laptop, some YouTube turbo training videos (thanks GCN!), a towel, an open window and some energy, the CycleOps Fluid 2 was quickly set to work.

If you haven’t used a turbo trainer before, getting started is a little wobbly. The usual motion of cycling is replaced with being static and if you’re watching a video at the same time, that’s even more interesting. Once you and the turbo is warmed up though, it becomes second nature. By the time I had finished a quick 40 minute HIIT session, the turbo and I were in sync.

One of the reasons I bought the Fluid 2 was the variable resistance provided by the liquid. I’m in marketing, so am well aware of hype, but reviews bore this out. I must say I agree. Spin in a low gear and everything is fine. Go up a few gears though and resistance builds steadily. It is a very natural-feeling movement that really works.

Opinion on the CycleOps Fluid 2

As mentioned, the CycleOps Fluid 2 is my first turbo so I don’t have much to compare it to apart from the one used by my LBS for bike fit. In my opinion, the CycleOps Fluid 2 is a solid, well-made piece of kit that offers decent value for money. When used with a turbo tyre, it is quiet, offers good resistance and can provide a punishing workout.

The fluid resistance feels fairly natural, even when freewheeling. It’s a gradual resistance that seems to push back when you push on and it is ideal for building or maintaining fitness. While I’m certainly no Wiggo, I made real fitness gains within three or four weeks of using it.

Used in conjunction with structured workout videos I was able to get ready for spring even when it was pouring outside. For me, that’s well worth the £220 I paid for it.

About the CycleOps Fluid 2

A word of caution here learned from my own mistake. I ordered both the trainer and a training tyre at the same time but the trainer arrived a couple of weeks before the tyre. My impatience got the better of me and I got on the trainer using my road tyre.

Two things. One, the trainer is MUCH noisier with a road tyre. I was initially surprised when it began running and even more so once it had warmed up and didn’t quieten down. Two, it burns through road tires like butter. With no wind or fresh tarmac to cool the tire down, it just gets hotter and hotter. Flakes of Rubino Pro soon began appearing all over the back of the bike and the smell of burning was overwhelming!

Don’t use the CycleOps Fluid 2 or any turbo trainer that hooks up to your wheel without using a trainer tyre. It may be an extra expense, but it’s well worth it. As soon as the trainer tyre arrived, the turbo became much quieter and a lot less smelly.

An interesting side effect of not using a turbo tyre was the fluid resistance. There was none with the road tyre. I initially thought the trainer itself was faulty as I was spinning in top gear at 100 RPM for 30-40 minutes at a time with no real effect. I naturally thought it was great to be pushing out 67kph for ages, but that’s not training.

It was only when I got the training tyre and set up the roller properly that the fluid resistance came into play. Don’t get a trainer without a tyre!

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