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Techs-Mechs: Portable Trainer Nirvana

Today we take a quick look at the Feedback Sports Portable Omnium Trainer, a machine sleek and sexy enough to redefine the market for warming up in the parking lot. How awesome is it?


[nərˈvänə, nir-] NOUN (in Buddhism) a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.

Can a portable trainer be compared to the final goal of Buddhism? Some would say it can't be done, but I say, they just haven't tried.

[I'm not a big believer in dragging religion into the Techs-Mechs section, but my experience is that all the great Buddhist leaders have excellent senses of humor. So let's do this.]

Is the subject in a state free of suffering, desire and sense of self?

Hm, I'll say yes. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Isn't every aspect of cycling, particularly riding the trainer, all about suffering?" Sure, but suffering is universal, and the key is how you react to it. In the case of suffering on your bike, if you're even doing that it's because you love it.

The kind of suffering you don't love regarding portable trainers is about a few things: noise, weight, clunkiness, and wear on your bike. These are potential forms of needless suffering that everyone, Buddhist or no, has difficulty accepting. That has led Feedback Sports to partner with Indiana-based Sportcrafters, Inc., to bring their innovative ideas and designs to the broader market. Does the Feedback Sports Portable Omnium free you from them? Let's go through this.

Noise: I can't attest to noise, but it's a magnetic resistance trainer, so that means there's more than none but less than this:

So you're probably OK here.

Weight: A mere 13.2 pounds. Most of the portables out there are 17 pounds and up. Mind you, that weight can translate into stability, if you aren't worried about lugging it any further than in and out of your trunk. But for the wide-ranging traveler, who might even get on a plane with their bike and associated equipment, the weight places it in line with TSA standards for carry-on luggage. That's light.

Clunkiness: Can your trainer do this?

Feedback Omnium folded

This is a Feedback Sports specialty, being able to collapse heavy-duty gear into portable shapes. And a bag. Their workstands do the same. But it's not just for the traveling cyclist; this kind of portability is great for people who have minimal dedicated indoor workout space. Live in a studio apartment? You can work out in your living room and stash the Omnium in a closet when you're done, no problem.

Wear on your bike: Foldability is cool enough, and weight isn't a major factor for me. But here's something that matters -- not locking your rear wheel into a position and condemning your tire to a patch of wear. Basically, it's like a set of rollers in that regard, minus the full-on balancing experience, and way cuter.

Feedback Omnium drums

Here's another way this rocks -- cyclocross, which I would definitely use them for. At CX races, unless you go in the first race, you need to stay warm while someone else's race happens. Locking in your CX wheel isn't that great -- a regular turbotrainer does enough wearing of a slick tire -- and riding rollers is... well, if you can do that, respect. The Omnium seems like the ideal solution for an easy workout, free of complications for your tires, and ready to clean up afterward.

Has the subject been released from the endless cycle of death and rebirth?

This one's a closer call. Will the Omnium absorb wear and tear and outlast your worldly concerns? I suppose we won't know for a while. But! The Omnium has been tested and used by Sportcrafters customers, including the Drapac Cycling Team, and Sportcrafters has been making trainers and parts for 20 years. So don't confuse "innovative" with "untested". The Omnium is built to stand the test of time.


Ultimately it's up to each individual to break the cycle of suffering to achieve Nirvana, and a single cycling trainer cannot deliver you there by itself. At most, it can avoid complicating your journey, and that's where the Omnium stands out above the crowd. And hey, if instead of Nirvana your journey is taking you to a local crit or cross race, the Omnium will definitely make that trip as free of needless suffering as possible.

MSRP: $449.00

Check it out at Interbike! Apparently they'll be formally introducing the Omnium to the world in Vegas.

Omnium 4