Reviews You Can Rely On

Saris Mag+ Review

This is a utilitarian mag trainer that provides more reliability than others in the low-end price range
Saris Mag+
Credit: Amazon
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Price:  $260 List | $149.77 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 13, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Connectivity and Power Accuracy - 25% 3.0
  • Road Feel - 25% 5.0
  • Design - 20% 5.0
  • Setup - 20% 6.0
  • Portability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Saris Mag+ is a lower-tier bike trainer that will get you up and pedaling 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 not great 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.

Editor's Note: This gear review was updated on January 15, 2022, to include details on our favorite selections.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, affordable, durable designLower price range for a premium trainer, good responsiveness, smooth, high power accuracyQuick setup, easy operation, durable, stable, communicates with training apps, low noiseQuick setup, easy to move around, light, simple designVery affordable, light, easy to carry, store, and move around
Cons Loud, mag resistance has limitations, assembly takes some effort, requires speed sensor purchased separately to connect to third-party appsStill relatively expensive, requires calibration, heavy, slightly aggressive in ERG modeLimited max resistance, roller can heat up and accelerate tire wear, no power data, no controlLouder, unrealistic road feel, low max power, no controllable features, not supported by many popular training appsLimited resistance, cable shifter, durability and quality issues
Bottom Line This is a utilitarian mag trainer that provides more reliability than others in the low-end price rangeA more affordable premium direct drive trainer to get you through winter, rain, and turbo-charged training sessionsA simple, affordable, and highly functional tire drive trainer with the option to use it with training appsThis is the trainer you get when you’re just trying to get your legs spinning without paying a tonIf you can't possibly spend more, this trainer works to get the legs spinning
Rating Categories Saris Mag+ Saris H3 Direct Drive Saris Fluid 2 BalanceFrom Bike Tr... FDW Bike Trainer
Connectivity and Power Accuracy (25%)
3.0
8.0
5.0
1
1
Road Feel (25%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
2.0
2.0
Design (20%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Setup (20%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Portability (10%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Specs Saris Mag+ Saris H3 Direct Drive Saris Fluid 2 BalanceFrom Bike Tr... FDW Bike Trainer
Type Tire drive Direct drive Tire drive Tire drive Tire drive
Weight (lbs) 20 lbs 47 lbs 21 lbs 19 lbs 19 lbs
Compatible Platforms Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, and more (with speed sensor) TrainerRoad, Zwift, Rouvy, BKOOL, Kinomap, RGT, and more TrainerRoad, Zwift, Rouvy, Wahoo SYSTM None. None.
Communication Protocol ANT+ FE-C or Bluetooth FTMS ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth FTMS ANT+ BlueGiga USB None None
Dimensions L-H-W (inches) 28" x 21.5" x 15.7" 31” x 18.5” x 19.5” 28" x 21.5" x 15.7" 23.9 x 20.1 x 7.6 23.9 x 20.1 x 7.6
Storage Dimensions LxHxW (inches) 20.5" x 9" x 20.75" 8.5” x 18.5” x 19.5” 20.5" x 9" x 20.75" 23.9 x 20.1 x 7.6 23.9 x 20.1 x 7.6
Power Comparison N/A 1-3 watts, 1% 10 watts, 5% N/A N/A
Decibel @ 230 Watts 66.5 dB 55.3 dB 64.7 dB 65.2 dB 65.2 dB
Roll Out Time @ 200 watts 4 seconds 58 seconds 15 seconds 5 seconds 5 seconds
Flywheel Magnetic 20 lbs 3 lbs 5 lbs 5 lbs
Additonal Skewer No Cassette included Skewer Skewer Skewer
Axle compatibility 142x12mm and 148x12mm bikes 130mm, 135mm compatible || Thru-axle available for 142mm and 148mm through CycleOps. 120mm, 130mm, 135mm compatible || Thru-axle available for 142mm and 148mm through CycleOps. 130mm and 135mm || May need 3rd party adaptors for 142mm and 148mm 130mm and 135mm || May need 3rd party adaptors for 142mm and 148mm

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


Saris Mag+ bike trainer - the mag+ is a dependable trainer to get you spinning.
The Mag+ is a dependable trainer to get you spinning.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Connectivity and Power Accuracy


The Mag+ isn't going to get many points under this measure because it's not a smart trainer. It does get credit because you can find good power curve charts on the Saris site. We were able to validate that against our power meter. Using an aftermarket speed sensor, we also easily found it on Zwift and could 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 also connect to other 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 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 may be less suited to serious training workouts. You get a small degree of flexibility or workout versatility with the five levels of resistance adjustment, which helps. Still, you're going to struggle with workouts requiring lots of standing, sprinting, or quick changes in output.

Design


We think the design is pretty good for what it is (a low-cost magnetic trainer). 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 quite loud, which Saris explicitly says is not the case. Perhaps they can work on that.

Saris Mag+ bike trainer - 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.
Credit: Ryan Baham

The only other areas that stood out were the shifter cable and the small flywheel. The flywheel is so essential for these trainers to deliver an adequate road feel. The Mag+ 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 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.

Saris Mag+ bike trainer - 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.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Setup


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

Saris Mag+ bike trainer - 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...
Credit: Ryan Baham

Portability


The Mag+ 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.

Saris Mag+ bike trainer - the mag+ packs up in a lightweight and tidy package.
The Mag+ packs up in a lightweight and tidy package.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Should You Buy the Saris Mag+?


While not a perfect bike trainer, we think this little gem is enough to get you moving for inside training without the frustration of buying a lemon or something you won't want to use. While we understand the draw of a budget-friendly option and that some are looking for wallet-friendly options, there is no point in spending any money on a product you'll never use. We think most of the really inexpensive options are likely to end up gathering dust in the corner for years before finding their way to the local Salvation Army. The Mag+, however, has potentially hit a sweet spot of being reasonably priced and not frustrating. So depending on your needs and how much you have to spend, this could be the one for you. It is the best of the basic models with a price reasonable compared to the more advanced competition.

What Other Bike Trainer Should You Consider?


If you want the absolute best trainer and money isn't a huge factor, then the Tacx Neo 2T Smart is the one you want. It earned the highest overall score and the best road feel and connectivity results. If you like Saris or want something a little less expensive, the Saris H3 Direct Drive offers everything you want without the high, high price tag. If you have a tight budget and aren't sure you need all the bells and whistles, you should consider the Saris Fluid 2, a top pick with a fair price and higher performance than the Mag+.

Ryan Baham
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