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Living in the Great White North I get very cold weather and snow during the winter months so staying motivated and in shape for mountain biking can be a challenge. When the weather is too bad to ride I often get bored and look for other things to do. I figure I could drink or just play MTB video games but that’s counter-productive and catches up to me when the trails finally do thaw out. Lifting weights is a good idea but it doesn’t give me the cardio I’m looking for so I had to come up with a better solution. Fortunately I found the CycleOps Super Magneto Pro from Saris. From full-on pro-level indoor exer-cycles that would fit in at any serious gym all the way down to rear-wheel trainers like the Super Magneto Pro, Saris has your indoor bike training needs covered.

The CycleOps Super Magneto Pro ($399 MSRP) is second from the top level Saris rear-wheel trainer and it converts your mountain or road bike into a stationary exer-cycle. Just in case you’re wondering, the top performer Power Beam Pro ($1,199 MSRP) is the wireless, customizable unit with all the bells and whistles. Now if I were training to race Geoff Kabush I might be worthy of the Power Beam Pro, but seeing I am not the Super Magneto Pro is more than enough for my training needs.

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The Super Magneto Pro comes almost fully assembled and ready to go – all you have to do is change over your quick release to the one that is provided by Saris. Out of the box you get the Super Magneto Pro fully assembled, the special QR, a training video called Race Day, and the warranty card. When unpacking the unit, fold out the legs and make sure each one clicks into place before leveling the trainer using the adjustable leg. Turning the thumb-wheel clockwise or counterclockwise will extend or retract the leg. Next, set the bike on the trainer using the Pro’s secure skewer clamp and make sure you engage the lock pin. The lock pin will prevent the skewer clamp from backing away – just follow the well written user guide and you’ll be ready to sweat in no time!

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Once the bike is situated on the trainer it’s time engage the resistance unit with your rear wheel. The Super Magneto Pro will work even for those folks who have 29ers – just adjust the trainer to accommodate your wheel.

NOTE: I HIGHLY recommend getting a slick MTB tire which will spare your knobbies. Using a knobby mountain bike tire will also generate excessive noise and vibration.

With the Super Magneto Pro you get four levels of resistance which offer up to 680 watts of power at 30 mph which is pretty good considering that most people will have a very hard time maintaining that level of power output. Using the Super Magneto I found I was using the top two settings the most (Mountain and Interval). Seeing that I have little time at home to spend on the trainer those two settings were the most suitable for my style of training (more on that at a later date). The Easy and Road settings are better for those who are just getting started with cycling or for those who want a lower impact session.

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I have to say, after trying out a few trainers the Super Magneto Pro is one of the smoothest and quietest units I have used in a long time. This allows me to spin late at night while my son is asleep without waking him up with the noise that can be generated by some other units. This trainer provides good resistance and has a fairly realistic pavement feel to it. With my 26″ inch wheels I got the best results in my 44 tooth ring (big gear).

For those who really want to take indoor training to the next level, be sure to also get yourself a bike computer that can measure wheel speed and cadence. Without a way to measure speed and cadence you will only be able to judge how well you’re doing by sweat and perception of feel which for me, wasn’t enough.

When working out you may want to place your trainer in front of the TV and watch the video that comes with it. I found the video helped burn the time and gave me some great ideas about how to train on my own. I would love to see an MTB version of this video but hey, maybe next year. 🙂

Overall I am very happy with the performance and ease of use of the Super Magneto Pro. It’s ultra stable with just enough flex so that when you’re hammering on the pedals the bike moves well on the unit. I only wish there was a trainer in between the Super Magneto Pro and the full-blown Power beam Pro to measure performance indicators like heart rate, cadence or speed.

In the coming months I will set up a training log and post some more tips and tricks on using a trainer like the Super Magneto Pro. Resolve with me to get in your best biking shape this winter!

Thanks to the folks at Saris for providing the Super Magneto Pro for review.

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