The SportCrafters Omnium's unique form factor makes it a great companion for race warm-ups. It fits easily in any vehicle, is easy to set up, offers a reasonable amount of resistance, and is sufficiently stable to get the blood flowing. It's not our ideal choice for serious indoor training, but that's not its intent, either.
The Omnium's standout feature is its clever folding frame design. While it's about 150cm (59in) long with a 67cm (26in)-wide footprint when set up, it quickly breaks down to a package measuring just 60x18x15cm (22x7x6in)and weighing a scant 6.66kg (14.68lb). This allows it to easily fit in any vehicle – or even on your back – and accompany you on race day. Should you be so inclined, SportCrafters says the Omnium meets most airlines' guidelines for carry-on baggage, too.
Once on site, the Omnium is brilliantly quick and easy to set up: simply undo the quick-release skewer, unfold the frame, unthread the dual legs from their nest inside the frame, and then reattach them on the sides of the frame to create a stable tripod. The bike attaches by the fork with the same quick-release skewer (thru-axles can be used with a third-party adapter such as from RockyMounts or Hurricane Components) and then the wheelbase adjusts with but a single thumbscrew up to about 1,220mm (48in).
We brought the Omnium to several cyclocross races this past season and were generally quite happy with the setup. The controlled setting made for more consistent pre-race preparation – especially for races held in inclement weather or with limited on-road warm-up options – and the dual rear rollers admirably quiet and easy on delicate race tires.
Despite appearances, it's virtually impossible for the rear wheel to wander off-track. SportCrafters even manages to tuck its 'ARC' progressive magnetic resistance unit into one of the drums to help generate some burn.
We also appreciated the Omnium's high-quality construction, particularly given that it's essentially intended for outdoor use in all weather conditions. The frame features a durable anodized finish, the lathe-turned aluminum drums are sandwiched between polycarbonate caps, the tripod legs are chromed steel, and stainless hardware is used throughout. It's doubtful that the magnetic bits in the ARC resistance unit are quite as corrosion resistant as the rest of the unit but in fairness, it's relatively well protected inside the drum so we're not terribly concerned about it.
This all being said, we find the Omnium to be a niche product as it isn't very well suited for serious indoor workouts.
Unfortunately, the clever design that gives the Omnium such incredibly portability also doesn't do wonders for it in terms of stability. We found it stable enough for race warm-ups but nowhere near as rock-solid as a proper indoor trainer. Part of the problem is with the relatively narrow footprint but the flexy frame and front wheel-centric tripod don't help. And while the Omnium keeps road and cyclocross bikes perfectly level, there's no height adjustment up front to ensure the same on other bike types.
Moreover, the built-in magnetic resistance unit offers progressive resistance but the curve starts to flatten out at around 250W and peaks at about 500W – not enough for seriously grueling workouts. There isn't much inertia built into the system, either, so the overall feel isn't very realistic.
Overall, the Omnium is an excellent tool for on-site warm-ups but given its high price tag, it would have been nice to also get a little indoor versatility since its compact size would surely appeal to apartment dwellers, too.