Enter the Jet Black Mag 2 trainer. I’ve bought some gear from Jet Black before and have a good impression of it as a budget label that produces good gear for the money.
|Jet Black Mag 2 magnetic indoor bicycle trainer|
The Jet Black Mag 2 has a dial on the side that increases resistance and a reasonably heavy flywheel to help you get that real world feel happening. The frame is nice and solid as are the large bolts that hold your wheel in place. The kit comes with a quick release skewer that is Jet Black compatible but if you’re running a fixie on the trainer like I am then you’ll be hard placed to find a use for it. Kebab skewer anyone?
One of the reasons I bought it was for the dial on the side. Having only one gear I need to be able to increase and decrease resistance as I train. A handlebar mounted lever would be better in some (okay most) ways but I don’t really mind getting off the bike to change resistance. It also means I don’t have to hook up the cable each time I set up the indoor trainer. The blurb on box said it had something like 6 resistance settings but I can only ever find two or three. More worryingly, the range isn’t great. I find that pretty soon after my initial warm up I’ve got it jammed into the hardest setting and am spinning away quite nicely. It’ll do for now, so long as my fitness doesn’t increase, which is unlikely to happen in the short term anyway. I doubt the manufacturers were expecting a single speed bike on the trainer so I’m prepared to accept the range as suitable for its intended use.
The unit is quiet in action (and especially during inaction) so long as you get it level. If you haven’t got it quite level enough you can bet the Jet Black Mag 2 will tell you all about it. I find a couple of old cycling magazines under one side compensate for the wonky concrete floor of my workshop and the unit hums along quite nicely after that.
The resistance feels as natural as any other magnetic trainer I’ve ever used. Magnetic trainers never really give a real world feel but they do allow you to spin away for hours on end while it rains outside (or at least as long as your sanity can cope). Resistance actually reduces as you increase speed, which is a feeling common to all mag trainers I’ve tried. I also get the impression that resistance reduces as the unit heats up. It could just be my awesome legs but I’m pretty sure that once the flywheel heats up the resistance decreases. This isn’t so great for training. Especially when you’re on a fixie and you’ve got no more resistance to dial in.
The Jet Black Mag 2 trainer isn’t a high end unit so I’m prepared to put up with the few foibles I’ve mentioned. I suppose I’ll inevitably replace it one day with a unit of (only slightly) better construction and the cycle of purchase and replacement will continue until I actually pony up for a proper high-end trainer. I paid about $130 for this one at Anaconda and for that sort of coin I’m a pretty happy customer. Cue the Breaking Away music.
Resistance decreasing as the trainer heats up? That makes sense. The hotter a magnet gets, the more strength it loses.
Squirt liquid nitrogen on it while you’re riding to see how truely awesome your awesome legs are?