The Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer is one of the highest-rated indoor bike trainers available for purchase. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer setup, including how to use it properly, troubleshooting common problems, and disassembling it.
Whether you are a professional triathlete or recreational cyclist, investing in a quality indoor bike trainer is one of the most crucial equipment upgrades you can make. A trainer simulates the feeling of riding on a road while allowing you to fit workouts in from your own home in all seasons and all weather conditions.
Unlike some brands of indoor spin bikes you might find at your local gym, bike trainers don’t take the hard work out of cycling. It is possible to achieve the same quality workout inside that you would get on the road.
The Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer is a popular model within the cycling community, and for good reasons. It is relatively quiet, affordable, easy to use, and built to last for years.
Compared to many other trainers on the market, the Travel Trac Fluid Trainer comes in as one of the more affordable options, including the Travel Trac Fluid Smart B+ Trainer. Even though you save dollars with this Travel Trac, you still get unique features and don’t miss out on any quality.
Unlike its magnetic or wind counterparts, this model provides resistance through an oil-based fluid contained in the flywheel. This design makes it one of the quietest options for an indoor trainer, a significant bonus if you share walls or a floor with concerned neighbors.
The fluid model also has another significant advantage: it’s highly durable. Friction is the enemy of rubber tires on a bike trainer and can cause them to take a lot more wear and tear than they would endure traveling on the road. The fluid in this model keeps heated friction at a minimum, meaning you’ll be riding smoothly for years to come.
Fluid trainers have progressive resistance. Although you cannot adjust the resistance in a fluid trainer, you can still get your leg muscles burning. The harder you pedal, the more effort you will need to push the fluid inside the chamber.
The Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer is compatible with both mountain and road bikes with 24-inch, 26-inch, 27-inch, and 700-centimeter wheels. This range encompasses most size bicycles today, making it one of the most versatile trainers money can buy.
This trainer also folds for storage and transport which is great if you have a tight space in your home or you like to bring your trainer on your travels.
Additionally, in my research and reviews of indoor bike trainers, the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer is one of the simplest to set up. This feature is a significant bonus, as an overly complicated installation process will only cause frustration and take away from your time on the bike! To make it as painless as possible for you, I’ve broken down the set-up into a simple, step-by-step process.
The Setup Process
One of the aspects of this model I love the most is the simple, intuitive setup process. The manufacturer has done the most challenging parts for you and delivers the product to you entirely assembled! This aspect makes it the perfect trainer for individuals with minimal indoor cycling experience.
There are just a few simple steps to take before mounting your bike on the trainer. Please use the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer manual for further reference.
Before you mount your bike to the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer, replace the skewer on your bike’s rear-wheel with the one included with the trainer. Travel Trac provides a steel skewer that is more durable for long rides on the trainer. Your typical skewer may bend or break when you use it in a trainer you might end up destroying your bike.
You don’t need any special tools to replace the skewer. Use your hand to put pressure on the quick-release lever and unlock it. Then, loosen the cap on the other end of the skewer by turning it counterclockwise.
Once you have loosened it, pull the skewer straight out and replace it with the included steel axle. Turn the cap clockwise to tighten it, and then press down on the lever to lock it into place. If the lever does not go down, try loosening the cap by a quarter-turn or half-turn.
Don’t get rid of your bike’s original skewer. The steel one is perfectly acceptable to use when riding outdoors, but if you are competing in a road race and want to minimize the weight of your bike to maximize your efficiency, you’ll want to make sure to switch the steel one out.
Before we get to the setup process, let’s familiarize ourselves first with the parts of the trainer.
Now you’re ready to mount your bike.
Line up your bike so that the resistance unit is behind the rear wheel of your bike. Align and insert the end of the skewer (non-drive side first) into the support cup. Adjust the knob on the other side to fit the other cup into the other end of the skewer. Tighten the knob to set your bike into place and tighten up the lock ring to make the setup stable.
There’s also a black knob located near the bottom of the resistance unit of the machine. Tighten it by turning it clockwise until your rear tire is resting on the roller. The side walls of the tire should be slightly depressed. Don’t forget to tighten up the lock ring under the knob to keep everything in place.
Give your bike a little shake to make sure everything is stable, and you’re good to go.
To dismount your bike from the trainer, loosen the lock ring and the knob in the resistance unit. Then loosen the lock ring and knob in the support cup and then lift the bike right out.
Using Your Trainer
The Travel Trac Trainer offers resistance that simulates what it feels like to ride on a road based on the speed of your wheel. In other words, the harder and faster you pedal, the harder it will feel. In addition, downshifting will give less resistance, while upshifting will increase resistance.
This model is compatible with some indoor training apps including TrainerRoad, and Rouvy. Because the Travel Trac Fluid doesn’t have its own sensors unlike the Travel Trac Fluid Smart B+ Trainer, you have to get either a power meter or a speed and cadence sensors combo to make it work with your chosen indoor cycling app.
Whether you only use it for a few miles of steady-state a week or you’re doing multiple sets of flat-out sprints per session, the Travel Trac is versatile and durable enough to accommodate any type of workout.
One accessory I strongly endorse including in your trainer set-up is a fan. While riding indoors on the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer is just as challenging as cycling on the road, one of the most significant differences you will notice is the lack of wind. The still air surrounding your bike can make you start to sweat more quickly, and a fan can help keep you feeling cool and comfortable for the duration of your training session.
During the first mile or so of your ride, it is normal to notice some bumpiness as the fluid inside the trainer warms up. Start off in a lower gear to minimize this choppy feeling while the resistance unit warms up. If the choppiness does not go away after the first five minutes of riding, there is one main way you can troubleshoot.
I recommend checking the point of contact between your tire and the roller. The bike resting too heavily on the roller can cause a bumpy ride. Adjust this by loosening the resistance unit located right below the roller. Consult the manufacturer if your bike is appropriately positioned and the ride still feels excessively choppy.
What Kind of Tire to Use
Any brand and model of indoor bike trainer will cause your rear tire to wear more quickly than riding on the road will. So when setting up your trainer, a vital consideration is whether you want to change out the tire on your bike.
I would recommend changing out your back tire if:
- you are going indoors for the season to stay off of icy roads
- you will be using the trainer more frequently as a part of an injury recovery plan
- you have major concerns about the longevity of your tires
On the other hand, if you use the trainer infrequently as a part of your regular routine, it may not be worth the additional time it takes to change between an indoor and a tire. If you do decide to switch between wheels, here’s what you need to know.
For those with a larger budget for equipment, we recommend buying a dedicated trainer tire. These are made out of more durable rubber to sustain more wear and have a smoother tread that grips the metal roller part of your trainer. Plus, they produce less noise and vibration on the trainer compared to regular tires.
Trainer-specific tires are not recommended for outdoor use. Most trainer tires are brightly colored so it is easy to tell them apart from regular tires.
If a completely new tire is not within your means, using an old road tire is another excellent solution to avoid putting the extra wear and tear on your current tire.
Whichever tire you are using with your indoor trainer, I recommend keeping it inflated to the maximum recommended pressure to help reduce friction and increase longevity.
How to Reduce Vibrations
If you live in an apartment, reducing the noise and vibrations your trainer makes while riding is critical for maintaining friendly relations with your downstairs neighbors. If possible, try to set up your trainer in a carpeted area. Placing an exercise mat, yoga mat, or cork board underneath the trainer is also an effective method to minimize the kind of noise that travels through walls.
One of the benefits of the Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer is that it is naturally quieter than many other models of trainers on the market. Especially if you are using a designated noise-reducing trainer tire, you may not need to worry about what kind of surface you are using when you set it up.
However, I am a strong proponent of being a considerate neighbor, so do take noise-reduction techniques into account when setting up your trainer, unless you’re working out in a completely secluded location.
Just like being respectful of other cyclists and drivers when you’re traveling on the roads, it’s necessary to take your housemates and neighbors into account even when you’re in a solo indoor training session.
Breaking It Down
The Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer is not particularly large or cumbersome, but there may be times when you will need to put it away or transport it. Luckily, deconstructing it is just as painless as setting it up.
Once you remove your bike, simply hold the trainer by the center adjustment knob and lift it up. Fold the legs together, and voila! Your trainer is ready to be tucked away or carried along with you. Users love how compact and portable this model is, and you have no reason to let concerns about a problematic deconstruction process get in the way of taking full advantage of this feature!
If you’ve changed out the rear tire to accommodate the time spent on the trainer, don’t forget to switch back to your regular tire before hitting the pavement. Again, it is perfectly acceptable to keep the steel skewer on your bike when you take it on the road. You’ll reduce the risk of misplacing it and not being able to find it when you need to use it on the trainer again.
However, there’s also no harm in taking the extra few minutes to switch it out for a slightly lighter ride. Like most other aspects of cycling gear, this comes down to personal preference.
Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer Setup – Final Thoughts
If you’re in the market for a quality bike fluid trainer, you can trust Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer to carry you through the most grueling training sessions and the most leisurely recovery rides.
It is a popular choice because it meets most requirements that people like me look for in indoor bike trainers: portable, low-noise, and solidly built. It is also relatively more affordable than other trainers with similar features, so for me, that’s a bonus.
I also think that setting up your equipment shouldn’t be the hardest part of your ride! It’s a great thing that Travel Comp Fluid Trainer comes assembled and is easy to set up. Mounting and dismounting the bike takes only a few steps and any beginner can do it.