Exercise bike, roller trainer, home trainer, trim bike, bike trainer, bike roller, exercise bike, scooter - all the same? No, not quite. But the transitions are fluid. To make the confusion complete, there are also smart trainers and their evolution: virtual reality trainers.
So let's first clarify the capabilities of the different exercise equipment:
an exercise bike can be many things, not only bike trainers count among them. Rowing machines and treadmills are also exercise bikes.
a bicycle trainer or ergometer is an exercise bike that can be used to train cycling indoors and on the spot. You don't need a bike for it; seat, pedals and handle are provided
on a roller trainer your bike rides on one to three rollers instead of on the road
on a fixed roller trainer a bicycle is attached. on a free roller trainer rolls an unattached bike
roller trainer is also called bicycle roller
roller is the English name for a roller trainer, it is also used in German from time to time
a trim bike was a bike trainer before everything had to have an English name
a hometrainer is a home trainer in English
a bike trainer is the somewhat inaccurate name for anything that combines bike and living room training
a smart trainer enriches your workout with different programs and functions or can be networked with workout apps
a virtual reality trainer is like training "for real", only better. Videos of bike routes are combined with a realistic riding experience, because the route and surface are simulated.
Don't get confused by the different terms, they are often just used interchangeably. If you look at the product pictures, you will immediately know what kind of exercise bike you are dealing with.
Which is the best exercise bike for my bike workout?
The simplest option is, of course, the two-track. Your bike stays outside, inside there is a bike trainer. Such an exercise bike has everything you need. You can buy it with a heart rate monitor, comfortable seat and storage space for a laptop or tablet. What's more, you don't have to change or install your bike. It just won't feel as good as your bike.
To use your bike for indoor training, you need a roller trainer or a smart trainer. Once you've chosen a roller trainer, you're a lot closer to your goal, but there are still a few decisions to be made: firstly, there are big price differences, and secondly, there are different systems that combine a bike and a trainer.
You have the choice between versions that work with a rear wheel (or roller trainer with a thru axle, "wheel-on trainer" or "tire drive trainer") and training devices in which you install your bike without a rear wheel (also called "direct drive" or "direct drive trainer").
If your trainer replaces the rear wheel, this of course saves your wheel and cassette, but you also have to find a roller trainer that fits your bike (but there are adapters that will fit almost anything). In addition, you have more or less extensive tinkering in the house.
A trainer in which your bike rolls on the rear wheel clamps the rear thru axle, so your bike is stable. The wheel runs on a roller that regulates the resistance. Here you ride just like on the road, even the wear and tear on the bike and components continues. However, you can get a cheap training tire, this will save your good road tire.
The simplest variant: a REAL roller trainer
Bike on it and Rock'N'ROLL. Simple roller trainers or "free" roller trainers need nothing more than two to three rollers in a metal frame, because they work purely mechanically. No power, no frills. And they're cheap, too! Since your bike isn't held sideways, these trainers train your balance at the same time. They are suitable for relaxed endurance training and cadence training.
Train smart with the Smart Trainer
As with a cell phone or watch, exercise equipment is said to be "smart" when it has lots of nifty technology and can be networked with other devices. For example, a simple smart trainer can read your cadence and distance traveled and share them with training programs. This way, your performance is closely monitored and you can let the app help you improve your fitness.