Review: Cycletek Momentum1 Indoor Bicycle Trainer

Cycletek Momentum1 indoor bicycle trainer review

Sure, there’s a whole crop of fancy new trainers hitting the market with power and other electronics built in, but sometimes it’s nice to just fire up a Sufferfest video and hammer away. And then there’s always the onsite warmups that are made easier with a portable, folding trainer. For that, might I recommend the Cycletek Momentum1.

They contacted us this past winter, a bit late in the season for a timely review then, so this unit’s seen almost a full year of use. And abuse, as you’ll soon see. Actually, the trainer shown above is the second one we received. But that shouldn’t scare you off, there’s a good (well, interesting, at least) reason they replaced the original, and since then it’s been absolutely solid. Road feel is good, resistance is plentiful and, perhaps best of all, it’s comparatively quiet. And those aren’t its only high points.

Spin on for the full review…

Cycletek Momentum1 indoor bicycle trainer review

The basics: The Cycletek Momentum1 uses an oversized, extremely stout powder coated alloy frame with six points of contact on the floor. Each rubber foot twists with different faces to accommodate uneven flooring, too. There are three pivot positions for the front legs to set the height for wheels as small as 20″ up to 700c.

The flywheel is a massive seven pound unit, and the roller is 60mm wide, the widest we’ve seen. Its diameter is also bigger than some other trainers, which provides a solid contact patch for your tire. There’s enough fore/aft adjustment of the resistance unit to fit everything from 29er mountain bike tires to skinnies on a 20″ bike.

Cycletek Momentum1 indoor bicycle trainer review

Beyond the additional points of floor contact, the footprint is simply massive. Granted, the Lemond Revolution trainer has one of the smaller footprints, but the Cycletek is huge. The sprawl, combined with the rigid frame, makes for a very stable platform to make your legs hurt. Bad.

Cycletek Momentum1 indoor bicycle trainer review

Here’s how it looks with the bike in it.

Cycletek Momentum1 indoor bicycle trainer review

Inside the resistance piece is a silicone fluid that provides (IMO) just the right amount of resistance. Everything from low cadence mashing to high speed sprints could easily summon enough resistance to give a good workout. When just spinning, it felt about right, too, making for easy warmups. The range is good.

The black mark on the roller appeared on the last ride before writing this review thanks to some brand new IRC tires that were shedding their powdery factory coating. Until then, it’s been spotless, and it rubbed clean after the ride.

Cycletek Momentum1 indoor bicycle trainer review

The knob was broken out of the box, but I didn’t have the heart to tell them since I broke the first trainer. Keep reading.

To hold the bike, it uses twin adjustable mounts with lock rings and, despite appearances, twists to lock onto the frame rather than using the lever to clamp down on the axle. And that difference is what sent the first unit back. The original didn’t have instructions in the box, and since we (or at least I) tend to initially try to set basic items up for test without looking at instructions to replicate worst-case real world situations, I assumed the lever was there to put the finishing hold on the bike.

With most trainers, as you clamp down the lever, the frame yields slightly as it grabs the bike before slotting back into the catch groove. Well, the Cycletek’s frame is so stiff, it doesn’t yield. So, after threading in the mounts to what looked like an appropriate distance, I tried to clamp it down. And tried. And tried. Finally, I used my foot lever. As in, I kicked it to try to force the lever into the closed position. And subsequently sheered the lever off, leaving the threaded part stuck in the cylinder. Just like that, the trainer was ruined.

I asked them to simply send the replacement parts after we discussed the issue on the phone, but they insisted on sending an entirely new unit. Good customer service, and the units include a complete lifetime warranty. Perhaps not against stupidity, but against defects, leaks and such.

Cycletek Momentum1 indoor bicycle trainer review

New trainer in hand -with instructions- I set the bike in it correctly. That means threading the mounts evenly inward to center the bike, setting the axle into the right side and closing the lever, then threading in the left side until it’s firm. Then thread in the silver lock rings to secure everything in place. It’s a bit more time intensive (a minute or two) than other trainers, but the result is rock solid. It comes with a basic trainer skewer and two adapters to fit smaller stock skewers, too.

Despite the broken knob (which I assume they would replace if I asked), the trainer’s been wonderful to use. Hardy construction will really showcase any flex in your frame, the massive footprint inspires confident out of the saddle efforts – particularly for bigger/taller riders like myself. The resistance will deal out as much punishment as you’re willing to put into it.

The bonus is that it does all this without noise. Compared to other fluid trainers, it’s on par if not a bit quieter, so watching TV or training while others are sleeping is no problem. The other bonus is the massive flywheel. It coasts down slowly, just like you would on a real bike, and it adds a bit more realism to accelerations. All in all, I’d recommend this trainer highly.

Retail is $379, and they offer brand-matching mats and wheel blocks, too. Check ‘em out at Cycletek.com.

Comments

Bruce - 11/01/13 - 10:37am

Looks like an almost exact copy of Kurt Kinetic liquid resistance trainers? Any relationship to Kurt? Is this a copy based on patent expiration? Any comparison on performance between Kurt and this unit?

dude - 11/01/13 - 10:53am

wow this looks really similar to the Kurt kinetic line. Especially the axle mounting system. Any relation?

Stickybottle - 11/01/13 - 11:43am

Even the roller has the little hole for the magnet like the kinetic

Mr. Kinetic - 11/01/13 - 12:21pm

There is no relationship between Kinetic and Cycletek, nor have any patents expired.

DG - 11/01/13 - 5:01pm

So they buy Kurt Kinetic road machines, paint them black then charge you $50 more for it? Yeahno.
I’ll stick with my non-ripped off turbo thanks, looks better in green anyway.

Big woods Rider - 11/01/13 - 5:09pm

I replaced my Kinetic with a CycleTek last season. My road machine was nice, but I like the CT better. The base is a bit more stable and the fluid unit seems smoother. I’m 247 pounds and I can stand up and hammer with no movement in the base. I would rock my road machine off of the floor. I’m happy with my Cycletek. A nice trainer for the money.

Tyler Benedict - 11/02/13 - 12:44pm

All – I have not tried the Kurt Kinetic trainers, but a quick visual inspection shows a few immediate differences between this and the KT Road Machine:
- full welds on the CT versus spot welding on the KT
- additional rear foot for two more points of contact
- quick release lever on the CT
- different fluid resistance unit
- slightly heavier flywheel on the CT (based on listed specs)
- different rubber feet
I’m not saying one’s better than the other since I haven’t tested both, but it’s pretty obvious they’re different in some key functional and structural ways.

Mr. Cycletek - 11/02/13 - 6:44pm

Big differences between the CycleTEK M1 and a kinetic rm.
1. Flywheel is almost a full pound larger at 7lbs , which translates into more realistic(longer) coast down and more angular momentum (smoother ride) hence the model name
2. Contact Roller is larger, which also makes for a smoother ride with less tire wear. this also provides lower operating temp. down b/c it generates less RPM for any given speed.
3. Frame is visibly different with 6 contact points, this does one big thing besides provide the obvious more stable platform. It allows the install of a 12lb Flywheel and the unit does not tip backwards after install. Only the New M1-002 will accept a Flywheel, but that is coming out soon and we originally designed our frame with this in mind.
there are more differences including a totally different bike fixing system, but this is enough to set the record straight. Its not a Kinetic trainer painted black , but thanks for the compliment.

Mr. Cycletek - 11/02/13 - 6:53pm

Oh a side note , all the new stock we have has a redesigned knob that required changing our molds and improved packaging , which would prevent the broken knob you see it the pic above , Also the lever that Tyler kicked and broke during assembly , we increased the diameter of this piece substantially and went with a hardened steel. Sorry Tyler if you kick the new one it will break your foot in stead ..LOL
So Improved Knobs and Packaging as well as a stronger locking lever are standard on the latest production run. Please know We are always trying to improve and offer a no hassle lifetime warranty.

Psi Squared - 11/02/13 - 7:30pm

Thanks for bringing a bit of objectivity and fact to counter the baseless “copy” claims.

Larry - 11/02/13 - 8:16pm

I decided to use this trainer for indoor cycling classes this year because my initial test was so solid. Particularly the flywheel – it’s truly machined and balanced, not cast – and therefore there is no vibration. Super smooth. I’m very impressed with this fluid trainer and believe you will be too.

steve - 11/02/13 - 10:30pm

I got one of these CycleTek M1s and have been really impressed with it. Its by far the smoothest most quiet and seemed to have the most realistic road like feel of any trainer I have tried. I like that its a more neutral color , like its not orange or green or yellow so it sorta blends in with my surroundings and doesnt stick out like a sore thumb.

Paula - 11/02/13 - 11:46pm

I bought this trainer at the advice of my local bike shop. Absolutely love it. I had a KK from a few years back, but it vibrated, as if the roller “bounced” on my tire. Called KK and they said my wheel was not true.
This new CycleTek is so smooth, no bouncing. It really feels great. Yes, the trainer takes up a bit more space, but it’s stable and does not ” creep forward” like some trainers do.
I’ve trained indoors for a long time and really appreciate a good trainer. This one is.

Psi Squared - 11/03/13 - 3:05pm

Mr. CycleTEK can you explain what the CycleTEK Watt computer is used for and what is yielded from a calibration generated with it? Is it a computer that is or will be available, or is it an inhouse computer that is used to produce a power vs. speed curve for CycleTEK trainers? Is it something altogether different?

Mr. CycleTek - 11/06/13 - 4:31pm

Psi Squared, sorry for delay , Yes The Watt computer is a way to measure virtual Watts (Power). This is based on a formula that converts speed to watts. Since we have a measurable and repeatable workload, we know the watts for any given speed and it is always the same because there is no wind , hills or other variables to consider. So based on the formula the computer converts your speed to watts with consistency and accuracy.
The benefit is that you can train with power to more precisely measure efforts while training. The CycleTek watt computer is in the testing phase and will be released early 2014. This will be a much less expensive way to train with power than many of the expensive option on the market today. On a side note the power curve genrated in extensive testing on the M1 has shown to more closely replicate the power curve of outdoor riding than any other trainer on the market. Hope this helps

Michael Askins - 11/09/13 - 5:36am

I just purchased one of these based on this review. You will find the best price on these through an eBay distributor, well below MSRP. I received this today and spent an hour on it. Very smooth, rock steady. My friend, who has a Kurt Kinetic unit, checked it out and was duly impressed. Quite frankly, this performs like an upgraded KKRM, bigger roller, bigger flywheel, more robust frame. And at the same eBay pricepoint, the better features on the CycleTek made it an easy choice to buy. Can’t pass judgment on reliability after only having had this for a day but initial impressions are its a quality, well built unit. Will definitely give it a workout this winter.

Wayne Deppen - 12/31/13 - 11:55am

Very helpful information… was thinking of purchasing Minoura live ride magnetic 340 or 760 because it is so easy to use with the iphone app to monitor watts ,speed and other options.. Impressed with Cycletek customer service and would like to know more about the watt computer..

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