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