The Fluid 2 is the first fluid resistance traininer in the current CycleOps line-up above it is the Pro Range and below various magnetic and wind resistance trainers. It costs quite a bit more than a other resistance methods so is it worth it and what do you get for your extra cash? Read on...
Having had a Fluid for a number of years I can vouch for the build quality of the Fluid series. Not much seems to have changed aesthetically or internally (CycleOps mention adjusting the fluids levels for better power curves) but to be honest, not much needed to. Mine has been used and abused in mud and rain but is still going strong. The frame is extremely sturdy with well seated fold out legs and plenty of ballast to ensure you remain stationary. Out of the saddle efforts would present no problem if fluid resistance were more suited to it.
With fluid resistance there is no adjustment, the idea is that the fluid increases resistance with power such that the resistance is, in theory, infinite. Simple drag theory presents the power required increasing as the cube of velocity. CycleOps have tailored this curve such that it follows a similar one to that of road riding and a steady 25mph TT pace overlaps at the correct power point. It does feel very natural and smooth thanks to the oil and a nice big flywheel which reduces any vibrations and sudden changes in speed, providing a, well, fluid feel.
Science aside, out of the saddle sprinting just doesn't feel right, but then again, not many trainers do. It is the only downfall of fluid however and to be fair, CycleOps do sell it as more of a steady state, TT and seated interval tool. You can certainly make yourself hurt in seated intervals >30s and less intense out of the saddle work. Having no adjustment has benefits too: no cable to get tangled or broken when transporting and the ability to use what you're already used to using to adjust the resistance, gears. Other advantages of fluid include the quiet operation and as mentioned, the feel.
Included with the turbo is a training DVD which apparently retails for £25. My old one came with a DVD too but it was a rather monotonous affair filmed in a studio. This time they have taken a leaf from The Sufferfest and created a virtual interval session. Rather than include lots of clips from various races, CycleOps have focused on one, 40min crit.
It opens with a warm-up and we are introduced to our leader and camera wearer, Robbie. It has some, shall we say, America charm which I couldn't help but snigger at a few times, but this helped break up the otherwise dull warm-up. The whole 40min race is filmed from body cam with a HUD featuring effort meters: heart rate, perceived effort, watts and cadence. The beauty of having all three variables for effort is one can adapt the DVD to their want. I started by following the perceived effort but I found this to not react to the race as it should and was more steady intervals. I then started following Robbie's power and found this much more enjoyable. Towards the end I didn't need to look at the data and was racing the race having become used to the course. I was in a unique state of mind, I was enjoying being on the turbo and seemed to be having fun! I think the DVD is a winner, like I say, those who want some steady intervals with inspiration are catered for with the perceived effort but those how are racers and know how a race rides can have a whole difference experience.
In all, the Fluid 2 is a great turbo trainer. I wouldn't suggest it to Cav to improve his power sprints but then he can nip down to a Tesco's car park for that. For steady indoor miles it is ideal. The price is hard to swallow but my original Fluid is four years old and still seems to have plenty of life in it so you should get years of use out of it.
road.cc test report
Make and model: CycleOps Fluid 2 indoor trainer
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Fluid 2 aims to provide a 'road like feel' for indoor training, including shifting with gears to adjust resistance. The oil has been engineered to provide a similar power/speed relation to the road and I must say, it does feel good.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sturdy design, fold out legs, lots of weight to keep it down, easy to use but well held clamping.
The construction is one of the strong points compared to other turbos. It is very well seated and should last a long time.
A good road-like feel, only let down during out of the saddle efforts.
My original Fluid is four years old and still going strong...
It is very heavy, something to consider if you are going to be transporting it around a lot. Of course, this is a plus when you are using it.
Fluid resistance provides a very natural and smooth feel.
It is expensive but I think fluid is worth it and it should be the last turbo you buy in a while. The added DVD is great too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For steady intervals and TT efforts it works as designed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The natural feel of fluid resistance. The DVD! Not just a throw in extra, you can get a lot of use out of this.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The out of the saddle feel, but it isn't that bad.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,