If you’re in the market for an indoor bike trainer, CycleOps Fluid 2 by Saris is something to consider. It is a solidly-built wheel-on fluid trainer that gives you a smooth and relatively quiet ride. Keep reading this CycleOps Fluid review to learn more about the product’s features and benefits and how it will take your indoor cycling to the next level.
The CycleOps Fluid 2
The product was rebranded as Saris Fluid 2 or simply Fluid 2. Except for the name, everything about the product remains the same.
Key Features of The Fluid 2
It’s a good thing to be picky when it comes to choosing the indoor trainer that’s right for you. Below are some of the top features of Fluid 2.
Fluid 2 has a precision-balanced flywheel design to create a road-like feel when riding. It will keep spinning if you briefly stop pedaling–simulating a coast. It is also designed like a fan to serve another purpose which I will explain later.
As its name suggests, CycleOps Fluid 2 uses a fluid resistance unit. This type of resistance unit consists of an outer shell that encases a fluid silicone compound, and an impeller inside the shell that is connected to the roller and the flywheel.
As you pedal, the wheel of your bike turns the roller which turns a drive shaft that transfers the rotation to the flywheel and the impeller that sits inside the fluid chamber. When the impeller is spinning, it pushes around the viscous liquid creating resistance as you ride.
CycleOps Fluid 2 has progressive resistance. This means the faster you pedal the more resistance you will feel.
A quiet piece of equipment, the Fluid generates around 65 decibels when pedaling around 20 miles per hour–that’s quieter than a vacuum cleaner. This means you can play your favorite music or watch a movie on an average volume while you are working out with your trainer.
Although there may be situations when the noise may bother housemates or neighbors, the Fluid 2 is still a very quiet machine and is acceptable in most living environments, including apartments and condominiums.
As part of its cooling system, the patented fan-shaped flywheel of CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer blows air to the resistance unit while you are training.
Aside from that, the outer shell of the fluid resistance unit has many fins to increase the surface area. This design is meant to dissipate the heat generated by the impeller moving through the liquid inside the chamber.
The cooling system is a step up from the earlier model CycleOps Fluid 1 trainer.
Compatibility with Indoor Cycling Apps
CylcleOps Fluid 2 is compatible with indoor cycling apps such as Zwift and Rouvy. However, it doesn’t come with a speed sensor so you have to buy that separately to be able to use it with cycling training apps. To learn more about using indoor cycling apps, read our previous post.
Below are the other features of the Fluid 2 listed on the Saris Website.
- With a classic foldable frame with a spring-loaded bolt-action lever
- Clutch resistance knob that clicks like a gas cap indicating correct roller-to-tire tension
- Alloy resistance roller that reduces tire wear and slippage.
- Leveling feet to adjust on uneven surfaces.
- A steel quick-release skewer is provided, great for standard and mountain bike frames.
- The trainer offers three settings for rear dropout spacing: 120mm, 130mm, and 135mm.
What’s Not Included?
You might need some more accessories for your CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer. The following are sold separately.
Thru-axle adapters – These are for bikes that use thru-axles instead of the quick-release skewers.
Speed sensor – If you want to use turbo cycling apps like Zwift or Rouvy you need a speed sensor at the minimum. You can also add a cadence sensor for more accuracy.
Leveling block – A leveling block keeps your bike level with the trainer and adds stability to your setup.
Trainer tire – Saris recommends using a trainer tire so you will not wear out your bike’s tire and also minimize the noise from the trainer.
CycleOps Fluid 2 Limitations
There is a weight limit for the Fluid 2 at 300 pounds, a reasonable range for the unit’s usability for a variety of people. With the amount of exercise this machine can provide, you likely will not have to worry about being close to that weight limit.
The Fluid is not compatible with specific wheel diameters and tire widths. 650c, 29 inches with tread, a tire wider than 1.5 inches, and 26 inches are all sizes incompatible with the Fluid. Best to keep this in mind whenever looking to purchase this unit.
Why You Should Consider The Fluid 2
CycleOps Fluid 2 resistance trainer is a piece of exercise equipment that most people can use. Using certain drills, you can increase your endurance and improve your cycling speed and skill.
CycleOps Fluid 2 is a piece of solidly-built equipment. You can expect to get many years with this trainer.
Its frame is made with non-rusting 2-inch round 16-gauge steel that can withstand the combined weight of the rider and the bike at a maximum of 300 lbs.
The self-cooling capabilities probably help prolong the life of this bike trainer since overheating is one of the possible causes of the breakdown of your equipment.
Likewise, Saris mentions in the specs about the precision-machined alloy resistance roller which supposedly reduces tire wear and slippage. I guess that would also translate to the durability of the roller itself.
Though it has now been rebranded, Fluid 2 has been around long before indoor cycling has become a fad. Its reputation for being a durable bike trainer is likely the reason why Fluid 2 is still one of the top-selling turbo trainers around.
Easy Set-Up and Compact Storage
The unit doesn’t come fully assembled but it is really easy to set up. You just need to attach the resistance unit to the trainer frame and insert the bolt action lever into the frame. Saris has a video that shows how to assemble the unit so that helps a lot.
The Fluid 2 is also a breeze to transport and put in storage. It can fold flat to fit in places like tight closets or the back of a car, allowing the Fluid 2 to be even more of an accessible machine than it already was. Perfect for the user on the go, helping them keep their exercise routine without the hassle.
The Fluid also truly encapsulates that feeling of being on the road that many other units struggle with, largely thanks to its impressive flywheel and its progressive resistance. Nothing may beat being on the actual road, but the Fluid comes close.
The vast majority of customers who purchase this product can rest assured knowing that they will not fall off or get injured on this product. Even on unstable surfaces, this product helps keep its user safe.
Clutch Resistance Knob is a Plus
The clutch resistance knob saves you the trouble of guessing whether you’ve turned it tight enough since it clicks once the roller-to-tire tension is right.
CycleOps Fluid 2 Drawbacks
Despite the impressive nature of CycleOps Fluid 2 Indoor Trainer, it is not without its flaws. While none of these downsides ultimately detract too much from the quality of the machine, it is good to bear this information in mind.
There are a couple of products that do not come with this unit but that you will want to buy, such as a leveling block and magnetless speed sensor. These must be purchased separately or in a bundle.
Some people have found that Fluid 2 comes with poorly-written instructions. Although the machine is intuitive to put together, if you need extra instruction, the instructions may not be much help. It is a good thing however that they have video instructions for assembly but the buyer may not be aware of that and rely on what came in the box.
Despite the manufacturer’s claims, some users have complained that the Fluid 2 is a bit louder than advertised. It is still a quiet machine, but that does not mean it will be perfect for every living situation. If you are worried about noise, you may need to look into direct drive trainers and also take measures to minimize vibrations from your trainer.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of Fluid 2 is the cost. The latest iteration of Fluid 2 is priced at over 300 dollars although you can find older models for a little under 300 dollars. For some people, that’s a lot of money for a machine, even one as nice as the Fluid 2.
This price doesn’t include any necessary add-ons, such as a leveling block, magnetless speed sensor, and thru-axle adaptors. Although Saris does offer a bundle that can include these features, that only increases the cost of the unit. For some people, the price may put Fluid 2 out of reach.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, you might want to consider a magnetic trainer instead. I’ve got to say though that it has a different feel compared to a fluid trainer. CycleOps Mag trainer reviews on Amazon are generally positive and it is something you can add to your list of options.
The Reviews Are In: How is the Fluid 2 In Real Life?
Scouring through tons of CycleOps Fluid 2 reviews, I have found out that in general CycleOps Fluid 2 has overwhelmingly positive scores on sites like Saris and Amazon.
The Fluid 2 is loved for its quiet nature, allowing anyone living in apartments to get in their indoor cycling workout without disturbing their neighbors. The noise is low enough for the user to enjoy music or TV while exercising on their Fluid 2.
Some reviewers on the Saris store page praised the Fluid 2 for its near-perfect replication of actual trail riding. Other reviewers mentioned how important the unit is to their training plan, as it allows them to get their exercise in even after dark or if there is bad weather outside.
Some customers on Amazon were impressed by the unit’s easy set-up and its compatibility with various indoor cycling apps. Other customers noted Fluid’s space-saving capabilities and how easy it is to move around.
Stability is a reoccurring theme with many reviews of the Fluid 2. It has earned praise for its easy access to all types of customers. Injured and older customers require safety for these machines, and the Fluid 2 provides the stability needed to keep all users safe.
Finally, the efficiency of the unit seems to impress riders the most. This machine has allowed users to enhance their indoor bike riding experience. The Fluid 2 can make you feel like you are on a trail, battling rough terrain, or going uphill.
Now that we’ve examined all aspects of the CycleOps Fluid 2, what’s the final verdict?
The Fluid 2 is solidly built, easy to set up and store, and provides adequate resistance for most users. Though it cannot fully replicate the road feel, it comes close compared to other indoor trainers out there. With Fluid 2, you can expect a smooth and consistent ride during your indoor cycling sessions.
The self-cooling system and the clutch resistance knob of the Fluid 2 are nice touches that add appeal to the product.
Overall, the CycleOps Fluid 2 Indoor Trainer is a durable piece of equipment that has withstood the test of time. This product definitely makes it to my list of recommended indoor cycling trainers. That said, I would say that advanced cyclists are better off with direct drive trainers but they have to be willing to spend a lot more.