Blackburn's Tech Fluid Trainer uses fluid to sculpt a resistance curve that ramps up as your rear wheel speed increases. And just as you'd shift into a higher gear out on the road to get a greater workout, you'll do the same here. The beauty of the Tech Fluid Trainer is its simplicity. Unlike the Tech Mag Trainer, this one is free from remote cables that can complicate easy-in-or-out trunk storage when you pack it up to take it to the races for your warm-ups.
One thing we like about Blackburn Trainers is that they place the bike a bit lower to the ground than some other trainers we've used. Think about it like this—the lower your bike, the easier it is to get on and off. Plus, stability is improved with the lower center of gravity. Blackburn combines this with a wide footprint to make them stable enough to withstand all-out sprint workouts without fear of rocking the trainer off kilter.
The Tech Fluid Trainer has swing-out legs that are truly adjustable, like overbuilt versions of the leg adjusters on your nice camera tripod. So even if you set it up on an uneven sidewalk at the local criterium, you can level the trainer and your bike in a matter of seconds. The interface with the rear skewer is also improved over other trainers. Blackburn machines a taper on their cones so they'll fit more easily into cavity-style dropouts, ensuring a solid purchase on the ends of the skewer assembly.
Rather than a lever throw to tighten the trainer against the rear skewer, Blackburn uses their FastCrank system. Both sides use threaded rods that run through the trainer frame, allowing you to center the rear wheel easily. However, the right side uses a short crankarm to facilitate a quick setup when you place the bike on the trainer. Once your left side is set, the bike can be held in place and the FastCrank snugs the skewer in place. Its advantage is that it lets you tighten the rear wheel into the trainer with a better feel for the compression against the hub, without overtightening it.
The Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer is quieter than fan units, with its smooth fluid resistance, yet it is uncomplicated. Simply get on and ride. It has a frame that's made of sculpted steel, and it's tough enough to stand up to season after season of hard work and abuse. It works for road and mountain bikes.
The CycleOps Fluid 2 and Blackburn Tech Fluid are both very quiet (the CycleOps a bit more quiet, perhaps). However, the Tech Fluid holds the bike more securely. In contrast, the CycleOps allows the bike wheel to move side-to-side, increasing tire wear. The Tech Fluid's feet are both individually adjustable. The CycleOps are not.
But in performance, The CycleOps wins hands down. The roller runs smoothly all the time. But the Tech Fluid's resistance and smoothness changes as it warms up. For the first six minutes, the resistance is low, and I use the highest gear, but it runs smoothly, similar to the Cycleops. Then suddenly the resistance increases and the vibration starts. It's not as bad as other reviewers have said, it's just a little rough, and the trainer remains quiet. I shift down three gears and continue riding. Then, between six and nine minutes later, the vibration stops and the ride becomes smooth again. The resistance stays the same and there are no changes for the rest of the time you ride, unless you stop and the unit cools down. The roller unit gets very hot to the touch, unlike the Cycleops, which only gets slightly warm. It's a great design with a built-in fan/flywheel to cool it off. With the CycleOps, the resistance stays the same throughout the ride.
Bottom line: I like the stability (and lower price) of the Blackburn, but I prefer the smoothness of the Cycleops. I wish someone could combine the base of the Tech Fluid with the resistance unit of the CycleOps.
Note: The Blackburn Trainer is covered by a lifetime warranty. My Tech Fluid was a replacement for an older fluid trainer whose bearings broke down. Blackburn (a Bell Sport subsidiary) didn't even ask for a receipt - they just sent me a whole new unit at no cost!
I bought the blackburn tech fluid trainer recently and I'm very impressed ! It's stable , tough , consistent resistance , no need for a block , and very adjustable - I have a 15 year old steel Colnago road bike . I would buy the trainer again and recommend it to all my friends .