CycleOps has overhauled its trainer line with all-new frames and resistance units. The SuperMagneto Pro is expensive but packed with excellent design and a surprisingly flexible resistance unit.
Riding indoors is still among our most hated activities but the SuperMagneto Pro at least makes it time well spent so you can hit the early season fitter than if you just sat around watching Oprah all day.
The frame is among the most stable we’ve encountered, the resistance unit offers a fantastically broad range of usability and setup is brutally easy. Add in the high quality construction and CycleOps’ reassuring lifetime warranty and its expensive asking price becomes a little easier to swallow.
The SuperMagneto Pro trainer does CycleOps' unique Magneto model one – or rather three – steps better with four user-selectable settings to suit the task at hand, all of which boast nominally progressive resistance curves thanks to the way the internal magnets move outward as rotational speeds increase.
The ‘easy’ setting offers the lowest resistance and is intended for low power, high cadence warmups (think pre-race at the car) or riders just getting back in the saddle after an injury. Only about 40W is required to maintain 16km/h (10mph), 32km/h (20mph) is achieved at about 120W and a leg-churning 48km/h (30mph) is easily hit at approximately 230W. Reasonably fit riders will most likely run out of gears before running out of energy here, but given the intended usage that’s fine.
The ‘road’ position feels nearly identical to ‘easy’ at 16km/h but the power requirements jump up to about 190W and 390W at 32km/h and 48km/h, respectively, to more closely mimic real-world riding. Though still no lung buster, we found it a comfortable setting for just churning out some time on the bike.
As expected, the ‘interval’ and ‘mountain’ settings juice up the resistance significantly. Things still don’t feel much different at 16km/h but 32km/h requires a much more vigorous 350W or so. At 48km/h you’d better bring your A-game: we had to put out over 500W on ‘interval’ and a painful 600W+ on ‘mountain’ so most serious riders shouldn’t have much of an issue getting enough resistance out of the SuperMagneto unit.
Numerically gifted readers will note that all of the curves are progressive, though not quite as much as fluid-type trainers, which still offer a more realistic feel (in that case, CycleOps also offers the JetFluid Pro). Riders seeking a trainer for specific workouts probably won’t care, however, and those concerned about fluid leakage - however unlikely - on expensive flooring will find comfort in its oil-free design. Though the SuperMagneto unit isn’t the quietest we’ve encountered, it’s still subdued enough to hear a television set at a reasonable volume.
The new Pro frame is superb in its simple, stable and compact design. The locking legs angle outwards to yield a generous 70cm-wide (27in) footprint that remains rock solid during even the most frenetic sprints, while the grippy soft rubber feet and adjustable-length leg protects floors and keeps the trainer from moving around much.
There is also a new resistance unit clamp that sets up far more quickly than before (say goodbye to endless knob twisting) and provides more consistent tyre contact on wheel sizes ranging from 650c road to 29er mountain. In addition, the whole thing folds much more compactly – down to just 17cm (7in) thick – than before and the resistance unit now locks in the folded position for easier storage and transport. Total weight is an easily carried 8.5kg (18.7lb).
CycleOps has fitted the new frame with an easier-to-use mounting system that comprises just a single rotating knob. Our unit held well enough for us but apparently the design is prone to loosening and prompted a voluntary recall. Replacement models and all current units are now fitted with a supplemental locking pin.