Blackburn Raceday Fluid vs. Feedback Sports Omnium

Portable roller-based trainers tested head-to-head

Blackburn’s forthcoming Raceday Fluid is very similar to Feedback Sports’ Omnium portable rollers trainer, which has been around for a few years. But which is better? I tested the two back-to-back, and here is what I found.

The similarities

Both trainers use a tripod fork mount to stabilize the bike and a narrow set of rollers for resistance at the back.

Both are adjustable for wheelbase length via a sliding set of metal pieces, which are secured with a big screw.

The Raceday Fluid uses the basic design from the Omnium — folding tripod connecting to narrow rollers via an adjustable bar — but with some subtle differences
The Raceday Fluid uses the basic design from the Omnium — folding tripod connecting to narrow rollers via an adjustable bar — but with some subtle differences

Both fold down for storage and transport and both come with a travel bag.

Both are also adjustable for height and for axle type (quick release and 12x100, 15x100, 15x110mm thru-axles), so they work with road, cyclocross and mountain bikes.

The specs

 Blackburn Raceday Fluid Feedback Sports Omnium 
 Weight 6.3kg6.4kg 
Folded dimen.  19x18x52cm  20x18x66cm
 Resistance Fluid Magnetic
 Price $399$429 
 Available August 2017 Now 

The differences

The Blackburn weighs about 100g less and packs down a little smaller lengthwise.

The two trainers vary primarily by type and amount of resistance, stability and ease of height adjustment.

Fluid resistance in each roller provides up to a claimed 650w, but you have to be doing 40mph to achieve that. In my testing, I was spinning a 52/11 out at over 100rpm to get 300w
Fluid resistance in each roller provides up to a claimed 650w, but you have to be doing 40mph to achieve that. In my testing, I was spinning a 52/11 out at over 100rpm to get 300w

In my testing, the Ominum’s progressive magnetic units inside the 4-inch aluminum rollers provided more resistance than the Raceday. On paper, Blackburn claims its two fluid units offer a combined 650 watts at 40mph. And the Omnium's resistance at 40mph is a claimed 600w. But my experience was different.

On the Raceday I had to spin at my bike’s biggest gear (52x11) at 110rpm to hold 300w. By contrast, I could hold 300w on the Omnium at 100rpm in a smaller, 52x13 gear. 

After this article originally published, Blackburn contacted me to say I had a pre-production unit, and that subsequent models will have more resistance. 

Both trainers do have smooth, progressive and relatively quiet resistance.

The Omnium is also height adjustable, but you have to unbolt and rebolt the fork mount to do so
The Omnium is also height adjustable, but you have to unbolt and rebolt the fork mount to do so

The Raceday Fluid’s telescoping front legs are a blessing and a curse.

On the positive side, they are easy to adjust for height; press in the spring-loaded button on each leg and slide into the desired position.

Contrast that to the Omnium’s design of two Allen bolts, which have to be unscrewed and re-screwed to adjust the fork mount’s position.

However, the lower portions of the Raceday’s telescoping legs are a bit flimsy and I noticed them flexing under harder efforts.

For regular use that doesn’t involve adjusting the height, the Omnium is slightly faster to set up, as the solid legs just pivot out on guided hinges, while the Raceday Fluid uses pivots plus those spring-loaded buttons on each leg. That is a very small time difference, though.

However, since the Omnium's legs are solid, its tripod is sturdier than the Raceday Fluid's
However, since the Omnium's legs are solid, its tripod is sturdier than the Raceday Fluid's

The bottom line

The Raceday Fluid is a blatant knock-off of the Omnium, but it is tidier when packed down and $30 cheaper.

Blackburn’s product might be better for riders who want to use it for multiple types of bikes without a lot of fuss because of the snap height adjustment.

The Omnium would be my choice, though, because there is more top-end resistance and the front end is sturdier.

If the primary use of these trainers is for pre-event warm-ups and cool-downs, then the Raceday has the right name but the Omnium has better function.

The $399 Raceday Fluid will be available in August. The $429 Omnium is availble now. UK and AU pricing is not yet available
The $399 Raceday Fluid will be available in August. The $429 Omnium is availble now. UK and AU pricing is not yet available

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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