CycleOps Magnus Review Part 1: The Build

Hello Everyone,

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The Flat black looks really nice on the drive side flywheel.

The CycleOps Magnus is one of the newer trainers to come to the Market.  If fulfills the role as a Mid-Range trainer for the company.  All of the Mid-Range trainers I am reviewing have a wheel-on design and sit at a middle price point of $549 to $699.  These trainers control your resistance when using indoor cycling training applications like The Sufferfest, Zwift, or TrainerRoad.   The main competitors to the CycleOps Magnus is the Wahoo KICKR Snap ($599),  Elite Rampa ($549), TACX Bushido Smart ($699), and  BKool Smart Pro ($699).   If I really like a trainer, I’ll keep it. If not, I’ll be selling it at a discount.  So, anyone looking for a Mid-Range smart trainer this winter, you might find one at a discount here at kidsandcowbells.com.  In general, this first part of the review looks at the Market ComparisonsWhat You GetDesign and StyleLooking Under The Hood, and Supporting Products.  To skip all the reading, I made a quick video here CycleOps Magnus Review Part 1: The Build.  On part 2 of my review, I will use The Sufferfest App to run it through some 1500 watt sprints, do some low cadence climbing, and if I can get my scheduling right, take a trip up Radio Tower Road in Zwift to see how it handles a virtual 15% grade.    For me, this is probably the most important part of our review; the real world feel of the trainer.  

Alright, if you want to skip all the reading, then you can watch the video below.

Market Comparisons

Let’s look at how the CycleOps Magnus compares on paper to it’s competitors.  I will only be highlighting the areas of importance.  If all of the trainers have the same capability, it is really pointless to talk about it.  Matter of fact, all of these trainers have Fitness Equipment Control (FE-C) installed.  Any trainer that doesn’t have FE-C installed is not going to be reviewed by me, because it would be a waste of my time.  That’s how important FE-C is for 3rd Party app integration.

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When looking at the Magnus, we see it boasts the highest max slope rating and ties the KICKR Snap at a 1500 watt max.

Looking at the chart above, two main things stand out.  The Magnus boasts a 1500 max wattage that matches the KICKR Snap. However, the CycleOps Magnus advertises a 15% max virtual slope.  That ties the TACX Bushido Smart which runs $100 more than the Magnus.  Lastly, you can see at the bottom, the advertised 69 decibel rating at 20mph which is pretty good.  To understand 69 decibels, it is at the top of a normal conversational discussion between two ordinary people (drunken family members excluded).

What You Get

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Everything unpacked and on the floor.

When we open up the box, we get a bunch of other boxes with parts and pieces and the trainer frame itself.  There is some construction required.  I consider this a hit on the build.  When we require people to put things together, we introduce error.  I think CycleOps could do a better job here.  Many of these pieces could come already installed.  There is no reason I need to assemble most of these pieces.  For instance, the bolting mechanism used to clamp down on the drive side skewer could have already been installed.  Furthermore, the smart training piece could have also been installed and packed up in the box.  I only see the user needing to install the bracket arm to adjust the smart piece of the trainer with the corresponding knob (image below).

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This adjustment Knob to move the roller against your tire and the corresponding bracket is probably the only thing I could see installing.  Everything else could have been done already.

Design and Style

It is a solid design with a few exceptions.  The exceptions I am about to list are also in my video.  I will admit, that I am being very picky here.  What I am listing below is not a deal breaker in buying this trainer.  These are things that could be changed to improve the overall look and design of this trainer.

img_53971st Ding.  I want a sturdier power cord.  With a trainer that costs this much money, I like seeing a thicker cable with a ground instead of the 2-wire without the ground.  You can see my image of a 2-wire and a plug with a ground.  The much thicker cable is the one with the ground.  Even if the Magnus doesn’t need the ground, I feel better seeing that.

2nd Ding.  I want smoother action with the legs on the trainer frame.  If I am paying $599 for a trainer, I want to feel like the frame is also upgraded.  The legs don’t smoothly pop in and they have some wiggle when full extended.  There is an opportunity there to add something to smooth out this action. Again, it does not affect the function of the trainer in any way.  The legs are very sturdy and will not buckle or break.  However, I just want some smoother action when I open them up.

3rd Ding. There are some drill holes on the drive side flywheel.  They are small and somewhat inconspicuous.  However, the flywheel is painted in a really nice flat black.  The flow of that paint is disrupted when we just tap holes into it at the end of the build process.  Now I can see some shiny metal from the holes that is a bit distracting to the eye.  The holes need to be tapped and filled before the painting process or they need a quick shot of flat back just so it is more appeasing to the eye.

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Yep, I’m being super picky here.  However, it just throws off the flow of the paint job unless these holes serve a future purpose.

 

There are some design features I am interested in trying out.  In my video you can see when I tighten the knob to push the trainer into contact with my tire, it pops when it is tightened enough.  I was very curious about how much contact there would be after the pop, and on inspection it looks really good.  I am curious to see if this is enough contact when I start laying down some watts in part 2 of my review.  You cannot tighten the knob anymore once it makes that popping sound.  I don’t see this as a problem though.  The roller was making more contact with my tire than I would normally set.

In the image above is the connection to your skewer.  CycleOps does provide a solid skewer for you to use with your bicycle.  I always recommend using the manufacturers skewer.  Some of the skewers we get when we purchase our bicycles are not sturdy enough to withstand the forces we are going to be putting on them.  I did critique the lever action of the drive side clamp for not being smooth enough.  However, when I did move the lever forward to clamp down on the bike, the action was much smoother under some tension.

Looking under the Hood

Next, I’m going to take some of the covers off and actually look inside.  I don’t recommend anyone do this.  You have to be very careful with the wire placement when you are putting everything back together.  The picture shows the metal plate on the opposite end of the main flywheel.  You see one Electromagnet that will be providing your smart resistance.  I didn’t want to take anything else apart further than that, but I was able to shine a flashlight and look at the control board.  There is one main board in a single piece and what looks like an additional sensor sitting just off that flat metal circle.  I am sure that is measuring something when the metal plate is rotating.  I figured it was best to leave that stuff alone, as one slip and I’m bending or breaking something.

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I am very curious if this one Electromagnet is going to be enough to handle the demands.  I will find out in Part 2 of my review.

The CycleOps Magnus also comes with a blue status light.  It was at a good level of brightness and made me feel good.  I say that because I love having status lights.  It lets me know the device is working on some sort of connection and not just dead.

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I do like status lights!

Overall construction and design?  Room for improvement.  I would like to see more of the trainer put together for the customers, smoothing out the leg action, upgrade the plug just so I feel better, and put some flat black on those taps on the side of the flywheel.  Those may or may not be easy fixes.  I don’t know the logistics or manufacturing process with this trainer; if it is an easy fix, then it should be done.  I want more for a $599 trainer.  The way the legs extend, it feels like we just put a smart device on a non-smart trainer frame.  It has to feel different than that.  However, the frame is very sturdy and I have no doubts it will hold up when looking at the welds.  The welds are all very solid.

The jury is still in session on a few things.  I want to know if the 2.6lb flywheel is enough to provide a decent road feel when cruising at higher or lower speeds.  Compared to the KICKR Snap and the Elite Rampa, it comes in on the lower side of flywheel weight.  I am also very curious if one Electromagnet is enough.  I was thinking they would have at least two in there to offset some of the pull on the plate.  However, there is just one electromagnet.  I’m no Engineer, but you can probably push enough power through an electromagnet where it isn’t an issue.

Supporting Products

The CycleOps Magnus is going to work with anything out there.  They have the ANT+ FE-C software installed.  This is the first round of trainers where CycleOps has finally attached FE-C to their trainers.  Again, I always tell people, you don’t buy smart trainers that are missing the FE-C software.

Cycleops also has their own training app.  I am not doing a review on the CycleOps training App here.  However, you have the opportunity to pay $6 dollars a month or $60 dollars annually to use their training software.  There are some pretty cool things there I am interested in, but I don’t know if I will ever have the time to get in and look at their Training App.  There is very stiff competition in the market place with The Sufferfest, Zwift, and TrainerRoad.  So, I’m curious to see what happens with some of these company’s training applications.

Summary

This is Part One of a Two Part series. In Part 2 we are going to spend some time riding the CycleOps Magnus and see how it feels.  I want to feel intervals in The Sufferfest App doing the video “Violator” or the video “Half is Easy”.  That will really test out the sprinting capabilities of this trainer.  I should be able to just test out that 1500 watt max that is advertised since I hit that testing the KICKR Snap last week.  I want to see how loud this trainer is compared to other wheel on trainers that I have ridden.  I also purchased a tool to measure sound, so I’ll play around with that also.  However, I have a feeling my drivetrain may be the loudest operating piece.  Besides the bearings, this trainer is not making contact with anything else to create extra noise. I also want to take the CycleOps Magnus up Radio Tower Road on Zwift.  I missed doing that with the KICKR Snap review because of the ride schedule on Zwift (Watopia wasn’t available until the weekend).  However, testing that virtual incline of 15% would be cool to do.  Will I be able to overcome the resistance on this trainer with slower climbing speeds?  Will I be able to power over the top of this single electromagnet?  These are all things we are going to look at in Part 2 coming soon.  I will embed the link when I have Part 2 complete.  If you want to get a sneak peek at the video before I blog about it, I always post the videos to my youtube channel a few days before I finish writing the blog article.  So, just go in there and subscribe.  Talk to you soon.

I purchase all of these trainers myself and then sell them at a slight loss.  If I helped you make the decision to buy this trainer, then you can purchase this trainer though this link CycleOps Magnus.

 

 

 

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson

Aaron served in the military for 20 years. Multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired from the military after 20 years of service to take care of our three small children in 2013 as a Stay At Home Dad.

athletictechreview has 55 posts and counting.See all posts by athletictechreview

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