a Weekend Warrior
from Jacksonville, FL, USA
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2011
Strengths: Appears to be solidly built. Holds Schwinn Avenue Aluminum Hybrid securely. Makes weight room look better having a real bicycle in it to spin.
25 Years ago I was an avid MTN biker. Now it is back and forth to work. Around the neighborhood and on the streets of jax. Found this item in the local thrift shop for 10 bucks. Haven't checked the heat from the fluid drive yet but will now that I've read these posts. I'm hoping that everyone is talking about replacing the fluid drive unit and not the stand. Is the fluid unit optional due to different models and how do I tell which unit I have. I do have the thumb shifter but agree that using the bike's gears does the job.
Average chili's due to not owning it long enough.
Bike Setup: Going to put a 79 Schwinn Spitfire 5 (Google it!) on it this coming winter. Thanks to the reviewer who suggested putting a mat down to keep chain grit off carpet.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 15, 2006
Strengths: Price Surprisingly durable, at least for me
Weaknesses: Loud, heavy, useless handlebar mounted shift lever
I have used this product now for six years during winter training and pre race warm ups at MTB events. It always seems to be on sale making it a good value. Newer models may be lighter than mine which is a struggle to carry around. I agree with other reviewers that the handlebar mounted shift lever is useless. I also toss it on the ground and just shift the bike for resistance changes. No doubt there are better fluid units out there but for the money I was pleased to get six years out of it. While my resistance unit never leaked, just the other day it died. The power drill description used in previous reviews is an accurate one. I will toss it and research new ones from several makers.
Strengths: Inexpensive and seems to get the job done.
Weaknesses: None noted so far.
Needed a trainer to get me through the cold, wet, winter season here in northern Virginia. Bought the Performance Traval Trak Fluid Century model from the local Performance Bike storefront. After several weeks of daily workout rides I have noted no problems. There are probably more expensive and better trainers out there but this one works for me. But I did have to swap out my rear tire for a slick because even with my semislick the tire-roller noise was unbearable!
a Cross Country Rider
from OC, California
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2004
Strengths: I had the adjustable unit, and it produced acceptable power for even pretty difficult intervals - something I didn't get when I demoed a Cycleops. - quiet...at first
Weaknesses: - No product support from Performace. There's no way they are able (or willing rather) to do even a minor repair on the unit. - bike tended to wobble from side to side and lean to the right. - plastic feet tended to slide, so in the course of a hard interval, I'd actually be gradually moving around the garage floor as I hammered. Needs a rubber matt. - scuffs up quick releases - not built to last - locking mechanism clumsy when trying attach bike
Expect to get about two years worth of use out of the Performance units. As it stands now, I have a unit with bad bearings in the roller mechanism that make it sound like a power drill. That, and for some reason the resistance has become noticeably more difficult - like the fluid somehow got contaminated and is a lot more viscous.
You'd think just swapping out the bearing would be easy to fix or that Performance would just swap out the resistance unit - you'd be thinking wrong! I first explained the problem to the manager at my local Performance shop (Tustin, CA) and was told that if they couldn't repair the unit, they'd replace it. However, when I actually brought the unit in, Performance was unwilling to do anything about it. I was told that they'd changed their models slightly and offer no spares for the older units, and apparently the bearings in the roller are sealed (not well enough apparently) and can't be replaced. So basically I've gotta buy a new unit. I thought it was rather lame that I was told one thing and they did (or didn't do) another.
I don't know, am I being unreasonable in expecting a relatively high dollar piece of equipment to last more than a couple of years - or at least be repairable? I keep reading testimonials by 1upUSA users who have no problems, and when the do in a couple years or so, 1Up repairs them. To me, having to replace an entire trainer because the bearings in the roller are shot is like tossing out an entire bike because the bottom bracket went bad. Next time, I'm gonna buy a 1up trainer. It seems better designed, better made, and most importantly, they stand behind their product. The Performance model might be a hundred bucks cheaper, but it's not worth it.
a Cross Country Rider
from Boise, ID, USA
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2002
Strengths: quiet (for a trainer), stable, consistent resistance, holds onto bike (haven't pedaled through the wall yet)
Weaknesses: adjustment lever, scratches quick releases (suppose they all do)
Haven't had any problems with leaking or noises. I have the AF-500 with the little adjustment switch. My advice if you are getting one is to get the non-adjustable. I just turn it up to hardest and toss the switch on the floor, when you want different resistance just shift gears. I don't think the little switch does much anyway and it is hard to move. I also thought I would have to get a different skewer to use it but it seems like it will fit almost any quick release, scratches em up pretty bad though but what can you expect. Four for value cause I think Performance is becoming the LL Bean (overpriced yuppie crap) of the biking world and 4 for overall cause the adjustment switch is worthless but otherwise no problems.
a Weekend Warrior
from York, Pa.
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2002
Strengths: Looks nice, fair price, easy to set up.
Weaknesses: The AF-500 adjustable unit is a piece of crap! I returned the first defective unit and was disappointed to find that my second unit was defective just as the first unit was. As for the adjustment lever, I agree with the previous reviews saying that it has a narrow adustment range...then again, I don't think it even adjusts the resistance whatsoever.
When I spoke with the Tech Dept they said that there "was a bad batch of units." Not very comforting to say the least. Unfortunately I have to give this trainer (more less the AF-500 unit) a bad rating. What a hassle it is to return something of this nature! Make it easy on yourself and buy a trainer from a shop so you don't have to go thru the mail-order return crap.
a Cross Country Rider
from Atlanta, GA, US
Date Reviewed: January 7, 2002
Strengths: sturdy, good resistance, easy to use, good customer service
Weaknesses: resistance adjuster either doesn't stay put on handlebar or breaks, rubber grippers on adjuster are easy to loose, noise from fluid unit and tire, a little wobbly when really cranking
Regarding kids near the unit when it is in use, I'd be more worried about the rotating wheel than the warm resistance unit. I had a friend in school that lost the tip of his finger to his mom's exercise bike.
I had to really tighten the resistance adjuster to keep it from slipping on my handlebar (yes, I have the two rubber grippers on.) Soon after I got the trainer I tightened the adjuster too much and the plastic broke. Metal would be better. Performance was very good about sending me a replacement adjuster. Using a rubber spacer would help reduce the slipping (a cut old bike tube).
The fluid unit started making noise at resistances above the lowest. It isn't too bad, and I plan on seeing if it can be fixed.
I have a cheap Performance slick tire that still makes a fair amount of noise. After the unit sat for the summer the tire made a lot of noise when I put it back to use. Scuffing the tire with sandpaper fixed this.
The front tire block is a good idea. Without it I felt like I was tilted too far forward.
Strengths: Quiet, smooth, easy to assemble, easy to mount bike, adjustability, resistance.
Weaknesses: Locking mechanism has too much plastic, I would feel more confident with something a little more tough looking.
I ordered the AF500 adjustable unit because of some of the reviews here about the 300 being a little light. The 500 is plenty for me. The adjustability is nice and seems to work well. The unit is very stable and I haven't had any problems with the legs being uneven like others. The fins get very hot, I would recommend pointing a fan at it directly to help cool. Overall it has been a great purchase, it works well and I have been able to get more workouts in after work. Not going to give it 5 chilis just because I haven't had it long enough to give it credit for reliability yet.
from Chino Hills, CA ,USA
Date Reviewed: July 27, 2001
Strengths: Quiet and smooth.
Weaknesses: Unit gets very hot and has poor reliability.
Since I have had my TravelTrac 3 with the adjustable fluid for over two years now, I can offer a little different perspective than the other postings. I was thrilled with the unit the first year or so, but have noticef that the fluid seems to be "thickening" over time. I can't even use my big ring in the easiest of resistance levels without my heart rate going sky high. I have had no breaks in training, and my fitness on the road is at a much higher level than when I first used the trainer. I can only conclude that something is going wrong with the unit. For those with small children, I would be very concerned about them being anywhere near the TravelTrac after recent use; the chamber that holds the fluid get super hot. I can only give two chilis. Too bad, because it worked so well in the beginning.