The JetBlack Z2 Fluid Trainer is a good trainer that is easy to set up, folds flat, provides a smooth ride and is pretty quiet. It's a good investment if you want to introduce some specific interval sessions to your cycle training without spending a fortune.
Arriving assembled, the Z2 Fluid is easy to set up: pull it out of the box, unfold the frame, use the supplied quick release skewer to replace the one on your bike, fit the frame and adjust the roller onto the tyre. It's really that easy to get going, and the handle that adjusts the roller onto the tyre helpfully indicates the required turns (1.5) that are needed to press the roller against the tyre for consistent resistance from one session to another.
The frame looks a bit spindly and it's not that heavy, but it's very sturdy when you're pedalling away – even during high-intensity efforts and sprints – and the weight means it's easy to move around the house, or carry out to the car if taking to the start of a race or time trial. Because it folds flat it takes up little space in the cupboard under the stairs or in the shed.
As the name suggests, the resistance unit is a fluid one, which offers a much more realistic ride feel than the magnetic units used on cheaper trainers. It's quieter too; this trainer won't annoy your housemates or neighbours when you're thrashing out an interval session. Because the unit basically comprises an impeller revolving in oil, it can feel lumpy when you first start pedalling, but give it 5-10 minutes to warm up and it becomes smooth and reasonably realistic to riding on the actual road. It's not the smoothest trainer – there's a big difference between this and something like the Wahoo Kickr, for example – but it's passable.
There are no resistance levels. Instead, you adjust the resistance by using the gears on your bike. It's simple, but it works well, and JetBlack has given the trainer a resistance curve that ramps up progressively to 900 watts, which is enough for most people and most interval sessions.
You can download a free Lite Training app which offers coaching features and lets you train with cadence, speed, heart rate and virtual power, but since the trainer doesn't come bundled with any of the ANT+ accessories you need to make use of the app's features, I didn't use it. You can read about Dave's not-very-good impressions of the app in his review of a cheaper JetBlack trainer here.
To test the trainer's consistency, I used a PowerTap rear wheel and a heart rate chest strap synced to a Garmin Edge power unit. Riding the trainer on multiple occasions, it's clear the Z2 provides consistent results, with predictable resistance from one session to another.
For not a huge amount of money, the JetBlack Z2 Fluid is ideal for the occasional indoor training cyclist. It has a smooth and quiet performance, it's easy to use and set up, and is capable of providing enough resistance for hard threshold and interval sessions or warm-up rides before a race.
Smooth and reasonably quiet turbo that makes a good introduction to indoor training
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road.cc test report
Make and model: JetBlack Z2 Fluid Trainer
Size tested: N/A
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
JetBlack says: "The JetBlack Z2 Fluid Trainer is a high quality, smooth and quiet bicycle trainer that provides a more realistic ride feel than other trainers. The proprietary fluid in the JetBlack Z2 Fluid increases resistance exponentially up to 900 watts. The faster you spin the harder it gets!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Free Lite Training App with coaching features for iOS or Android
Train with virtual power, heart rate, speed and cadence, with optional accessories.
Ready to ride, right out of the box
Lifetime warranty included
Realistic ride feel
Get the most out of each and every ride with JetBlacks Z2 Fluid Trainer. The Z2 design offers a wide range of resistance, allowing you to tune your session by adjusting your gears the same as you would on the road. The Z2 is the best value trainer regardless of whether you're spinning out a recovery ride or undertaking an intense threshold workout.
If you want a decent trainer that is smooth and quiet but don't want to spend a fortune, this is a good step up from a cheaper and noisier trainer with a magnetic resistance unit.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Easy to use and you can get training within two minutes of taking it out of the box.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comes assembled, folds very flat, easy to use, smooth feel once warmed up, and acceptably quiet.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much to dislike at this price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your score
It's a good trainer that's easy to set up and provides a smooth ride and progressive resistance curve.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.