I was wondering if anyone has advice on buying a trainer? Any recommended kinds or brands? Should I buy accessories, like a mat or bike computer?
Our own (well, formerly our own) DCRainmaker has great recommendations and purchase advice: 2012 Trainer Recommendations
I was looking at the Cycleops fluid 2 and the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. Got the Cycleops and have no real complaints, but now wish I got the Kurt Kinetic for better integration with TrainerRoad and power accessories.
Another consideration when reading reviews for trainers is whether or not you have neighbors downstairs that may be upset at the noise level from your trainer.
Cycleops and the Kurt Kinetic Road seem to be the most popular that I've seen. I have the Kurt Kinetic Road which has been a good strong, stable experience -- especially when you need to mock climbing a mountain on your bike while stationary.
Other basic accessories are a mat (an old yoga mat will do) and a riser block. Some people will just use a book -- but really, what's another $10-20 for some additional stability.
Have the Kurt Kinetic fluid. Very happy with it. The DCRainmaker reviews are top notch.
Yes, you should get a mat of some kind (carpet remnants do well). And a strong fan and towels.
I'd generally recommend a simple bike computer (w/ sensor on the back wheel), trainer or no. You don't *need* anything fancy.
I'd recommend the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine as well. I just got one not too long ago and have no complaints. It's backed by an unconditional lifetime warranty on both the frame and the parts so it's a guaranteed one time buy. Gotta love that!
As far as the mat goes, I bought a cheap wide yoga mat for it. No point spending double the money to have a company's logo printed on it.
I used a couple pieces of wood to lift the front tire up for a while but finally gave in and bought the cycleops riser because I found a cheap one. It's not essential but it's nice not having to play around with different objects to achieve a neutral elevation.