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Hands-on Gear Review
CycleOps JetFluid Pro Review
Cons: Relatively expensive, poor road feel
Bottom line: A basic fluid trainer with some unique user friendly features.
The JetFluid Pro is a basic fluid trainer, that provides reliable resistance without the need for an electrical connection. The overall construction is less robust than other models tested, but some unique features like a clutch knob for tire tension adjustment make the JetFluid Pro a very user-friendly device. If simplicity and affordability are top priorities then the JetFluid Pro is worth a look.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
CycleOps has an extensive line of bike trainers available and the JetFluid Pro falls in the lower end of the price spectrum, with the Hammer Direct Drive winner of our Editors Choice Award sitting right at the top. The simple and reliable fluid resistance unit provides a nice progressive resistance curve based on wheel speed. It lacks the advanced features of the smart trainers in our review, but it is a solid product and a good option for those on a budget. It scores lower than the Kinetic Road Machine mainly due to poor road feel and less robust construction, but it does have advantages, and scores highly in some of our comparison criteria categories. Read on for all the details and to see how it stacks up against the competition.
The chart below shows how the Hammer Direct Drive (shown in blue) ranked overall when compared to the competition.
You can see its overall score relative to competing products above, and in the following sections, we detail why it scored as well as it did, by describing its performance point by point in the key performance metrics we tested.
Connectivity and Power Accuracy
The JetFluid Pro does not measure power, nor does it connect to external devices. It can not be used with programs like Zwift or Trainer Road. The Road Machine is also a basic fluid trainer, and as tested it is not compatible with applications, but Kinetic does offer an aftermarket sensor that measures drum speed and calculates power based on assumed requirements to reach a given speed. So if you are thinking about trying out virtual applications then the Road Machine may be a better choice in this price range.
This is a simple fluid trainer and does not require electricity to provide resistance, like the more expensive Kickr Snap and other smart trainers. This makes it a good option for travel and pre-event warmups. The JetFluid Pro also boasts a relatively low weight of 24.3lbs, the Tacx Vortex is the only trainer we tested that is lighter with a weight of 22lbs. Our testers found the JetFluid Pro to be slightly less awkward to carry than the Kinetic Road Machine due to its more balanced weight distribution. Overall, the JetFluid Pro is tied with Tacx Vortex with both products receiving a perfect 10 in the category.
The JetFluid Pro scores lower here than the Road Machine, primarily due to it's less robust frame and more widespread use of plastic parts. In its defense, though it does have some unique features such as a clutch knob that does not allow the user to over or under tension the resistance drum, which our testers found to be convenient and reliable. The quick release clamping mechanism is less adjustable than the Road Machine, but it is a bit easier to use. The JetFluid Pro also has one support leg that features an adjustable height mechanism to level out the trainer for use on an uneven floor. The only other trainers we tested with this feature are the Kickr and the Hammer Direct Drive.
Accessories and Compatibility
The JetFluid Pro comes with a steel quick release skewer and will work with bikes that have 130mm or 135mm rear hub spacing. It will also work with bikes that have 142mm thru axles by purchasing an adaptor from CycleOps. We tested the Pro Training Kit version that comes with two climbing blocks for the front wheel as well as a rubber training mat.
CycleOps only uses a 4.1lb flywheel on the JetFluid Pro, but they claim that the road feel of the trainer has more to do with the "unique power curve matched with a specific flywheel weight''. The Road Machine uses a 6.25lb flywheel and our testers universally preferred the feel of the Road Machine to the JetFluid Pro. During testing we found flywheel weight to be a big factor in the quality of the road feel and noticed that trainers with a heavier flywheel felt less sluggish and had a better feeling of inertia.
The resistance is dependent on speed or more accurately the speed that the tire drum is moving. The faster the speed the greater the resistance. So shifting into a harder gear will increase resistance while shifting into an easier gear will decrease resistance. The Road Machine works in the same manner.
The JetFluid Pro comes out of the box ready for use, with no assembly required.
The rear quick release on your bike must be removed and replaced with the steel quick release lever that comes with the trainer. The legs on the trainer fold out, by pushing the release pins on the legs, and leveling is accomplished by turning the dial on the non-drive side leg of the trainer. Clamping the bike in the trainer is easy, the drive side cup is fixed and the non-drive side is tightened using the large yellow knob which secures the bike to the trainer. Our favorite feature is the clutch knob that automatically stops turning when the correct tire pressure on the rear tire is achieved.
This is a nice feature and makes this adjustment much easier and more foolproof than the infinitely adjustable knobs found on the Road Machine and the Kickr Snap. It is also worth noting that the position of the clutch knob is easy to access, compared to the knob on the Tacx Vortex which we found difficult to get a hand on as it is positioned very close to the floor. There is no ongoing setup required the smart trainers we tested all require frequent calibration to maintain power accuracy but fluid trainers do not require calibration.
For riders who want an affordable, easy-to-use trainer. Its tire drive design is best suited to road bikes as knobby tires do not work well with tire drive units.
This is a good trainer, but not necessarily a good value. The Kinetic Road Machine is $50 cheaper and scored higher overall in our comparative testing.
The Jet Fluid Pro is a simple fluid trainer with some nice user-friendly features like a clutch knob for rear tire tension adjustment. While it performed well during testing we would recommend the higher scoring Kinetic Road Machine which has a better performance to value ratio.
— Curtis Smith
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