We are pretty lucky in Australia when it comes to cycling and the weather. Even our winters (unless you’re living in our High Country regions or copping a torrential downpour in our tropical regions) are mild enough to not think twice about heading out on a training ride. But, there are still plenty of occasions where jumping on the bike and hitting the road just isn’t possible, meaning for those who must get their hour or more of cycling in most days, a stationary trainer is a great training tool.
JetBlack is an Australian-based company that offers, in its stable of trainers, the JetBlack Z1 Pro Fluid Trainer. As its name suggests, this is a fluid-resistance based trainer. These are promoted as offering a more road-like “feel” in use compared to the alternative in this price range: the magnetic-based trainer.
The Z1 Pro Fluid has, according to JetBlack, one of the heaviest flywheels on the market and, as a result, “the longest rundown time in its class”. What this means is the extra weight of the flywheel assist in offering a more realistic “feel” for a rider who is used to riding on the road. The fluid inside the trainer (a proprietary fluid from JetBlack) is claimed to help increase resistance as you pedal harder – again with the idea of keeping your stationary riding as realistic as possible. I found myself firing through the gears quite often to give my legs a break – just as you would on-road – as the flywheel definitely adds a heft to pedal resistance.
- Ride feel
- Lifetime warranty
- Easy of use
Not only is the flywheel hefty and solid, but the whole unit resonates a heavy-duty feel; even though it packs up nice and compact for storage, when you set it up you know – thanks to its large rubber stops and solid construction – that it won’t be moving around underneath you as you ride. I have been using this trainer quite heavily over the past six months and have never noticed any movement.
Fitting your bike (it can fit everything from road bikes to 29er MTBs) to the trainer is easy: the JetBlack SQR quick-release system allows you to adjust the two side brackets specifically to your bike's wheel/width. Once you’ve got them tweaked to fit, it is set-and-forget – I have felt no movement once the two clamps have been secured to my bike’s quick-release hub.
Overall, I have been very impressed with the Z1 Pro Fluid. It is simple to set up, and very easy to use. Add JetBlack's sensors (available separately) in combination with the free JetBlack app (iOS and Android compatible), and you can keep track of the usual speed, heart rate, power, calories burnt and cadence, as well as gear recommendations, set a goal cadence and more.
For those looking for a bike trainer for those inclement training days – or for when you just want to walk into the next room or verandah for a ride – then the JetBlack Z1 Pro Fluid trainer is a great option. With its lifetime warranty, excellent build quality and comprehensive (and free) training apps, it's great value.