The new CycleOps Silencer magnetic trainer is a direct-drive design comparable to the LeMond Revolution (wind resistance) or Wahoo Kickr (magnetic). The$650/£550 Silencer is certainly heavy at 39lbs (17.6kg), but the construction is surefooted. In initial testing we found that it doesn't wiggle or walk at all, even on hardwood floors, and the trainer-to-bike connection is rock solid.
Initial setup and regular-use setup are both quite simple. After bolting the unit to the base, it's just a matter of popping off your rear wheel, and putting the bike on the Silencer's cassette in much the same way as you'd put on a new wheel. Washers round out the fit, and hefty clamps secure the rear dropouts on the wide-thread axle (and then pivot back out of the way of your heels).
The bike frame is held firmly in place via easy-to-operate levers at either dropout
The Silencer holds the bike at an effective rear-hub height of 35.5cm, slightly higher than a 700c wheel with a 23c tire (24mm, ground to center). So while you don't need a front-wheel block, you may notice a slight downhill orientation. We put a small book under the front wheel and called it good.
In addition to controlling resistance by shifting gears, there are five resistance levels on the Silencer, adjusted via a handlebar mount. The end result is resistance from barely there to more than we could reasonably push.
Five resistance levels are available via an indexed lever
So, about the name: note that it is 'Silencer,' not 'Silent.' With the rub of a tire and the swish of a fan removed from the equation, the Silencer is noticeably quieter than a standard trainer — especially at higher RPMs or higher power. And it is certainly less noisy than the LeMond Revolution. But it is not silent. Riding the thing in the living room in front of the television, we were able to hear the TV and conversation in the room at normal levels — but we still annoyed the other people in the room.
The Silencer can be purchased with or without a 10-speed cassette, and it can be used with 11-speed cassettes as well. Purchasing the Silencer with a Shimano cassette brings the price to $729/£600.
As CycleOps is the sister brand for power-meter company PowerTap, we wonder whether there will soon be a Silencer with a power-meter option, similar to the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer.
Check back soon for a complete review.