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Saris Mag+ Review

This is a utilitarian mag trainer that provides more reliability than others in the low-end price range
Saris Mag+
Photo: Amazon
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Price:  $230 List | $229.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, affordable, durable design
Cons:  Loud, mag resistance has limitations, assembly takes some effort, requires speed sensor purchased separately to connect to third-party apps
Manufacturer:   Saris
By Ryan Baham ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 12, 2021
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 11
  • Connectivity and Power Accuracy - 25% 3
  • Road Feel - 25% 5
  • Design - 20% 5
  • Setup - 20% 6
  • Portability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Saris Mag+ is a lower-tier trainer that will get you up and running without much hassle or cost. It's not going to compete with top-end smart trainers, so don't expect to get the best, most immersive experience out there, but do expect to be able to get in some good workouts when the weather's no bueno or your schedule doesn't allow you to ride at ideal times. It's durable enough, and Saris has robust customer service if you need it.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Saris Mag+
This Product
Saris Mag+
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $229.99 at Amazon$1,400 List$1,200 List$999.99 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare at 2 sellers
$550 List
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Pros Lightweight, affordable, durable designDoes not require calibration, realistic road-feel, broad compatibility, wider support for 3rd party appsGood road feel, accurate power, easy to carryLower price range for a premium trainer, good responsiveness, smooth, high power accuracyAffordable, simple to set up, easy to take on the road, great control for a tire drive trainer
Cons Loud, mag resistance has limitations, assembly takes some effort, requires speed sensor purchased separately to connect to third-party appsPower output/response can lag, pricey, heavy, somewhat of a pain to move around and set upHeavy, expensiveRequires calibration, heavy, slightly aggressive in ERG modeResistance unit is just a bit bulky and heavy, manual drum adjustment, lower responsiveness
Bottom Line A solid trainer to get you spinning without the concern of buying a low-cost lemonYou’ll be hard-pressed to find a better bike trainerA top of the line direct drive smart trainer that narrowly missed out on our Editors' Choice AwardEverything you want in a premium trainer for way lessOne of the easiest smart control trainers to set up and get rolling without sacrificing performance
Rating Categories Saris Mag+ Tacx Neo 2T Smart Wahoo Fitness Kickr Saris H3 Direct Drive Kinetic Road Machine Control
Connectivity And Power Accuracy (25%)
3
9
9
8
6
Road Feel (25%)
5
9
8
8
6
Design (20%)
5
9
9
9
7
Setup (20%)
6
8
8
6
8
Portability (10%)
7
6
6
8
8
Specs Saris Mag+ Tacx Neo 2T Smart Wahoo Fitness Kickr Saris H3 Direct... Kinetic Road...
Type Tire drive Direct drive Direct drive Direct drive Tire drive
Weight (lbs) 20 lbs 47 lbs 45 lbs 47 lbs 28 lbs
Compatible Platforms-TrainerRoad, Zwift Zwift, TrainerRoad Yes, both. Also Tacx Films, Rouvy, Sufferfest, Kinomap, FulGaz, BKool, and Road Grand Tours. Yes, both. Also Wahoo Smartphone App, Rouvy, and The Sufferfest. Yes, both. Also Rouvy. Yes, both. Also Kinetic Fit, Rouvy, Kinomap, The Sufferfest and FulGaz.
Communication Protocol ANT+ FE-C or Bluetooth FTMS ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth FTMS ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth Smart ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth FTMS ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth FTMS
Dimensions L-H-W (inches) 28" x 21.5" x 15.7" 22.6" x 29.5" x 21.7" 20.25" x 18" x 28.25" 31” x 18.5” x 19.5” 32"x22.4"x16"
Storage Dimensions LxHxW (inches) 20.5" x 9" x 20.75" 24.4" × 10.2" × 17.3" 20.5" x 18.25" x 8.75" 8.5” x 18.5” x 19.5” 20.75"x8.25"x21.5"
Power Comparison N/A 1-3 watts, 1% 3 watts, 1% 1-3 watts, 1% 10 watts, 5%
Decibel @ 230 Watts 66.5 dB 57.8 dB 64.6 dB 55.3 dB 55.9 dB
Roll Out Time @ 200 watts 4 seconds 26 seconds 53 seconds 58 seconds 17 seconds
Flywheel Magnetic Virtual 12.5 lbs 20 lbs 12 lbs
Additonal Skewer No Cassette included Cassette Sram 11spd included, Campy freehub option available No Cassette included Skewer included
Axel compatibility 142x12mm and 148x12mm bikes 130mm, 135mm || Adaptors for 142mm and 148mm available through Tacx. 130mm and 135mm compatible only. 130mm, 135mm compatible || Thru-axle available for 142mm and 148mm through CycleOps. 130mm, 135mm || 142mm and 148mm adaptors available through Kinetic.

Our Analysis and Test Results

To get the low-down on the Mag+, we spent hours in the saddle and just as long behind the computer researching materials, design, and claims to validate or debunk. We tested both individually and alongside other top trainers to bring you the details that matter.

Performance Comparison


The Mag+ is a dependable trainer to get you spinning.
The Mag+ is a dependable trainer to get you spinning.
Photo: Ryan Baham

Connectivity and Power Accuracy


The Saris isn't going to get a lot of points under this measure because it's not a smart trainer. Where it does get credit is that you can find good power curve charts on the Saris site. We were able to validate that against our power meter. We also easily found it on Zwift and were able to sync for a slightly more accurate ride, but it's still not true connectivity because the training programs were running off of our speed sensor (not included with this trainer), not the trainer. If you purchase and install a speed sensor separately, you can connect to popular third-party apps, but you'll still have to control the resistance.

Road Feel


Magnetic trainers don't do an excellent job of simulating the road (until you get to the high-end of direct-drive trainers). The Mag+ is no exception. The drum is way too smooth and the inertia you get from the small flywheel just isn't there. This is why we suggest that this trainer is ideal for getting the legs spinning, but maybe less suited to serious workouts. You get a small degree of flexibility or workout versatility with the five levels of resistance adjustment, which helps, but you're going to struggle with workouts requiring lots of standing, sprinting, or quick changes in output.

Design


For what it is (a low-cost magnetic trainer), we think the design is pretty good. It's durable, made with tough materials, and gets the job done. We've heard complaints about the drum on the resistance unit wearing out over time, but we couldn't validate that or find good evidence for it after a few months of use. We notice that it is actually quite loud, which is something Saris explicitly says is not the case. Perhaps they can work on that.

As simple as it seems, you can't overestimate the importance of a...
As simple as it seems, you can't overestimate the importance of a good locking bolt.
Photo: Ryan Baham

The only other areas that really stood out were the shifter cable and the small flywheel. The flywheel is so important for these trainers to deliver adequate road feel. The Saris' flywheel is probably only 5 or 6 pounds. Future iterations might up that a bit. The shifter cable is also an area that could see improvement. Getting the cable set into the resistance unit was kind of a pain, but getting it attached to the handlebars and using it was…silly. It's not the most stable mount, and there were a few times where we were in the middle of a workout segment, and we lost the shifter mid-shift. We think this is an obvious area for easy improvement by Saris.

The shifter isn't the most sturdy design. It can probably stand to...
The shifter isn't the most sturdy design. It can probably stand to go through a little more workshopping.
Photo: Ryan Baham

Setup


This is an area we wish Saris would put just a little more effort into. That's not to say that they don't make an effort, only that they could improve the setup process. The thing that was most annoying to us was the assembly of the resistance unit. Affixing it to the stand was easy enough, but getting the resistance cable aligned with the internal components and keep the tension on while stretching it out was a pain. Not impossible, but a few minutes of unexpected tweaking and tedium.

Sure, it looks simple now that it's here in the picture, but it...
Sure, it looks simple now that it's here in the picture, but it takes a little too much screwing around with cables and holes to figure it out. Hopefully this is...how it's supposed to be assembled...
Photo: Ryan Baham

Portability


This Saris is a fairly lean model that breaks down neatly, so stowing it is pretty easy. You can even remove the resistance unit and stuff it all back into the compact box Saris ships to keep everything together and bound up. The only annoying thing is the resistance cable, which you'll have fun folding and keeping stowed up. It's excellent for any OCD or Type A people.

The Mag+ packs up in a lightweight and tidy package.
The Mag+ packs up in a lightweight and tidy package.
Photo: Ryan Baham

Value


If you have the room in your budget and you're after an entry-level trainer to get yourself spinning, it's worth the difference between the other competing mag trainers.

Conclusion


The Saris Mag+ is a bare-bones trainer with the added capability of adjustable resistance. Its primary advantage over other mag trainers is that it's sturdy and comes from Saris, which has excellent customer support. That means that if you have any issues, you'll get good treatment. That can't be said for a lot of the competing low-end trainers.

Ryan Baham