In the wheel-on indoor bike trainer market, the options are endless. Wahoo changed that with the introduction of the KICKR Snap smart trainer, followed by Tacx Vortex and CycleOps wanted a piece of that market.
After spending sometime in the design lab in Madison, WI, CycleOps came out with a smart, interactive, wheel-on design that is just as good as any other wheel-on design smart trainer, if not even better.
I had a chance to spend time using the Magnus the past few weeks and I was very impressed.
IN THE BOX
The CycleOps Magnus is priced around $600, in line with the KICKR Snap.
- Checkout our Price Tracker for the best deal on the Magnus.
The Magnus comes unassembled. A skewer is included. The assembly is quick and easy and the manual was very clear and easy to follow. You should be up and running in less than 5 minutes.
FRAME & DESIGN
CycleOps used the same sturdy Classic series frame for the Magnus. This will give you years and years of use without having to worry about any issues and comes with their lifetime warranty. It also features clutch knob for perfect roller to tire tension to make sure you get a consistent and reliable ride every single time. This is really important to give you accurate power numbers and you no longer have to guess and wonder how tight the roller to tire tensions should be. The clutch knob functions similar to a gas cap as it clicks until it has reached the perfect tension between your rear wheel and resistance unit roller.
The trainer was designed to fit common road and mountain bike frames with included steel quick release skewer and has three settings for rear dropout spacing: 120mm, 130mm and 135mm. Optional thru-axle adapter available for 142x12mm and 148x12mm. The 2″ resistance unit roller allows for 650b, 700c, 26″, 27″, and 29″ and up to a 2.0 tire.
Need to mention here that the Magnus does not fit 650c wheel sizes, nor all 29er tires.
The Magnus comes with integrated dual ANT+ FE-C and Smart Bluetooth 4.0 technologies. It’s compatible with a wide variety of devices and virtual training application, including CycleOps VirtualTraining, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Bkool and many more.
Once you connect the trainer to a power outlet, you will see a blinking blue light indicating the trainer is ready to pair. You can easily pair the trainer to your Garmin device, iOS, Android tablet or phone.
To use the ERG or interactive mode, generally with most apps, you will need to use the ANT+ FE-C connection protocol. However if you decide to use CycleOps VirtualTraining app or PC software. Then a Bluetooth connection is all you need.
The Magnus transmits power data and speed. However, it doesn’t transmit cadence so you will need to have your own cadence sensor if you want to see that data.
THE MAGNUS IN ACTION
Had a chance to use the Magnus for many rides using Zwift, Trainer Road, and CycleOps Virtual Training.
First thing you want to do is download and setup the CycleOpsVirtual training app to pair and calibrate the trainer. The trainer shipped to me with the latest firmware update so no update was needed. However, CycleOps will eventually push new updates as needed and you should be able to run the firmware update wirelessly through your iPhone or Android phone.
The next thing you need to do is calibrate the trainer. That is also done in the CycleOps Virtual Training app. I tried to run the calibration through Trainer Road but the power numbers went way up high and was way off. So I went back to the Virtual Training app and ran the calibration there.
Generally you want to start pedaling for about 10 minutes to warm up the tire and trainer. After that, in the CVT app, go to Setting, Virtual Bike, and look for your trainer under “Trainer Settings”. If you haven’t paired your trainer yet, then click on “Select Trainer” button and look for “CycleOps Magnus” and it will attempt to pair to your trainer. Once paired, then select your trainer, and click on “Calibrate Trainer” under “Special Functionality”
It takes about 2 minutes to calibrate, pedaling at speed between 18-22mph. After that, you will stop pedaling and coast until the speed drop to 0 and you will get a confirmation message.
Now you are all set and ready to ride.
ACCURACY AND ROAD FEEL
The Magnus was a pleasure to use and ride. Real road feel was actually very good and just as good as any other wheel-on design trainers. Some of the biggest complaints I used to hear about wheel-on trainers was the lack of real road feel. Not this one. The Magnus will give you a very smooth pedal and ride feel.
CycleOps claims the Magnus is “PowerTuned using PowerTap technology for +/- 5% accurate power readings.” During all my rides with running the calibration once so far, they all came in between 4-6%. Some intervals came as close as 3% to my powermeter. All my rides using Zwift, Trainer Road and VirtualTraining were off by about 10-15 watts for my AP and NP. That’s a lot of watts if you currently trainer with a power meter so you will probably end up using the data from your powermeter. If you’ve never trainer with power, then you should be fine. The trainer will give yo consistent power data if used right.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN USING A WHEEL-ON TRAINER
To keep the trainer power accuracy consistent, I recommend the following:
- Calibrate the trainer before first use, then once a week or if you move the trainer.
- Use the same recommended tire pressure every ride.
- Check the tire to roller tension. This is easy to do with the clutch knob in the Magnus.
- Release the roller tension after every ride.
CycleOps rate the trainer at 69 decibels at 20 mph.It’s actually not too noisy according to my own ears but it can get a little loud when you are hammering at higher speeds and the noise level quickly picks up. It is quiet enough to use early morning without having to worry about waking up the wife or kids and that’s a pass in my book. According to my iPhone decibels app, the numbers came around 60 decibels at around 20mph and around 69+ decibels when hammering at 30mph+.
Wheel-on trainers have a lot of advantages, easy to mount your bike, easy to use, and come at a cheaper price. However, you do compromise on accuracy and noise level. However, if you are in the market for a wheel-on smart indoor bike trainer, then I have no problem recommending the CycleOps Magnus. CycleOps been in the industry for many years and stand behind their products. The Magnus was easy to setup, and pleasure to ride and performed very well during all my rides.
The trainer is currently available and ready to ship from most U.S. online retailers.
Amazon also carries the trainer and ships free as well.
If you purchase the trainer from Amazon you will support this site and we highly appreciate it!
TABLE COMPARISON BETWEEN WAHOO SNAP VS CYCLEOPS MAGNUS
CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer
2 used from $ 519.29
- Rear tire activated indoor cycling trainer with controlled resistance based upon virtual ride experience
- 2" electromagnetic resistance unit allows for 650B, 700C, 26", and 27" wheel sizes
- Integrated dual ANT+ few-c and Bluetooth 4.0 technologies
- Compatible with CycleOps virtual training, Zwift, trainer road, and others
- Features clutch knob technology for perfect roller to tire tension each ride