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It's not often you get a product to test that's touted as being the same size as a chihuahua. But the Raceday Portable Trainer from Blackburn is, and it's a super-portable way to get your pre-race warm-up sorted. It's not cheap but it is nicely made, and works well. If you're a committed racer, it might be just the ticket.
First things first: it would be a fairly big chihuahua. But the Raceday trainer does pack up super-small, into its own carry bag. I had my worries that this would make it a fiddle to open out into a full-length trainer, but they were unfounded: just pull the legs out (they automatically click into place), fold the resistance unit out, fit the fork to the stand and tighten up the pinch bolt when you've got the rollers under the rear wheel. The whole process takes about half a minute.
Once the bike is in place (make sure you do the front quick release up nice and tight), the trainer is impressively stable. The tripod stand at the front keeps you upright for out of the saddle efforts, so long as you don't throw your weight around too much. The Raceday trainer can be set up to cope with any wheel size from a 24in junior tyre to a 29x3in plus-sized mountain bike tyre, and it can accept 12mm and 15mm front thru-axles too. So it's pretty versatile.
Blackburn uses a fluid resistance system in the rollers, which tops out at about 650 watts: not enough for a full-bore sprint but plenty for pre-race warm-ups. The rollers are pretty quiet (not that that's a major consideration in a car park), but there's not a lot of mass in them, which can make the trainer feel a bit choppy unless you really concentrate on smoothing out your pedal stroke. To be fair, that's probably something you should be doing anyway.
I found that for a 15-20-minute warm-up before a crit race it was easy enough to set up and get going, and the fact that you can't fall off the rollers makes it a more relaxing way to warm up. Once you're done, it's just a case of re-fitting your front wheel and heading off. I didn't really notice the rollers causing any meaningful wear on my race tyre.
The Raceday is designed for race day – it's not just a clever name – but that's not the only use you could put it to. If you're pressed for space at home but you still want to get some indoor miles in then the trainer will fit in the bottom of the cupboard and you can set it up in under a minute. You could also use it if your club organises a regular turbo night: it's small enough that you could sling it in a rucksack and ride there for some extra exercise.
At £349, though, the Raceday trainer is a premium product, and realistically you're going to need to be fairly committed to racing (or another of the use cases mentioned above) in order to make it worthwhile. But if you are, it's a well-made piece of equipment that performs well.
My only worry about the design is the pinch bolt that you use to set the wheelbase of the trainer: it feels a little flimsy compared to the rest of the build and constantly tightening and releasing a bolt tends to wear the threads over time. Having said that, if it ever did fail then the Raceday is covered by Blackburn's lifetime warranty, so you can have a new one on them. As such, I'm not going to mark it down at all for that.
Overall, it's good: the road feel is okay and the progressive resistance works pretty well. It's more stable than I expected too. If your cycling season includes lots of opportunities to use the Raceday then it's certainly worth looking at.
Nicely built and super-portable trainer with progressive resistance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Blackburn Raceday Portable Trainer
Size tested: Compatible with most road and and mountain bike wheel sizes.
Tell us what the product is for
Blackburn says, "This race ready fluid trainer folds up and packs into a carrying case about the size of large Chihuahua. Weighing in at under 15 pounds, this might be the most portable fluid trainer in the market and is perfect for race warm ups, training & interval classes or if you haven't yet put a down payment on that mansion and need the space in your apartment."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Dual Fluid Resistance
Each of the two rollers on this trainer have built in fluid technology, that add up to 650 watts of smooth and quiet resistance, making sure your workout is a tough as you want it to be.
Small Is Smart
Designed to be able to take it with you, we've put a lot of though in how to minimize the size. Not only is this easier for travel, but it stays out of the way when you aren't using it.
The legs and wheel base have telescoping adjustments to fit all sorts or sizes and breeds of bikes.
This trainer works with standard 9mm front QR axles, and includes adapters for 12 and 15mm through axles, accommodating 100 and 110mm widths.
Compatible with most road and mountain bike wheels sizes. This includes the diameters", 24", 26", 650b, 700c, 27.5" and 29" and widths from 23c up to 2.3".
We've designed this product to not wake up sleeping babies or anyone else in the house.
Feels quite sturdy even though it's fairly skeletal in design.
Progressive resistance is good, a bit choppy unless your pedal stroke is smooth.
No issues during testing; the pinch bolt for the wheelbase adjustment feels like the weak point of the design.
Light enough to stick in a rucksack and take to the race, just about.
You're going to need to be committed to a season of racing to make it worth the £349.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well, great for warm-ups and super-portable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can feel choppy, expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not for the amount of racing I do.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, depending on their needs.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good unit that does what it sets out to do. You're paying for the privilege though.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.