TILT INDUSTRIES 3-IN-1 BALANCE TRAINER REVIEW
PORTABLE, EASY TO SET UP. BEST OF ALL WORLDS
Review by Cole Gregg
When thinking about items to buy for my newly acquired garage, a new bike stand, and a wall mount were high on the list. A bike balance trainer was always something I tried whenever the chance came up, but I never thought I would have one of my own. The stars aligned though, and I got connected with Tilt Industries who set me up with their lightweight, mobile 3-in-1 balance trainer, maintenance stand and wall mount to put to the test.
The Balance trainer comes neatly packaged in one box, if you add the additional repair stand attachment this will ship separately. There is next to no install to go from in the box to practicing manuals – Tilt really thought through the user process to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. There are four base feet which un-pin from the vertical position (how you travel with it) to the horizontal position (in use position). You then hook up the safety strap and you are ready to go.
The safety strap for the front wheel clips onto the stand with a supplied hook and has more than enough room for adjustment. There’s a ratcheting strap to lock the rear wheel in place and ensure the bike doesn’t run away. Another cool accessory that they included for me to use was the patent pending Chain Clutch. This tool decouples the chain from the chainring without having to fully remove the chain allowing you to get the most out of the trainer with minimal set up, since you get the best training from having no chain on the bike when you practice the manual balance.
Included with the balance trainer are two wall mount screws allowing you to easily add some floor space to your garage or storage area. Install was easy with the supplied directions. Putting the stand on the wall and transitioning to the floor was super easy as the entire system is made from aluminum. With the trainer mounted on the wall you can also still use the repair stand, getting you even more floor space back! The balance trainer is built to support tires 20”x2.2” through to 29”x2.8. Tilt Industries recommends the rider to be at least 4 feet tall, and not to exceed a body weight of 215 pounds.
Tilt Industries has a web store which sells the balance trainer/wall mount alone for an RRP $319.99, with the repair stand attachment running a further $159.99. They offer a slightly discounted bundle for the pair at $469.99. At the time of writing, Tilt has a bundle deal with the pair coming in at $369.98.
Getting the Tilt Industries balance trainer set up was a simple process as it comes essentially good-to-go out the box. I ended up cutting a fair amount of material off the front wheel strap to make it easier to clean up and transport, but you could just as easily tie it up to keep it in check. The ratcheting safety strap for the back wheel is set up and ready out of the box, and once unlocked you can run this through the rear wheel and snug it up. I never had to re-tighten this during the many practice sessions I had. Once you’ve got the bike tied in to both straps, it’s time to get training.
How did the balance trainer work for me you ask? Well, I can 100% see the results on the trail after just a few weeks messing around with the trainer in the garage. We had a snowstorm followed by 2 weeks of sub-freezing temperatures, so the trails were not ideal to ride. Having this in the garage was a fun way to still get my hands on the bars and gain some skills. Not to mention letting non-biker friends try it out, that was hilarious.
It is hard to quantify the percentage gain I saw from using this, but I can really feel a difference when lifting my wheel up on the trail. Manuals have never been my strong suit, so the trainer was welcomed with open arms. I started out with the safety strap short and quickly moved it to a “no coming back” length, which proved more of a real-world test when transitioning back on the trail. The chain clutch proved to be super helpful since I was using the same bike for daily rides as I was using for the trainer, meaning I didn’t have to pop my chain off every time I used the trainer.
Before every ride I would spend at least 5 minutes playing around on the trainer, this not only helped with a quick warm up but also gave me the balance point feeling I would be looking for out on the trail. I have a nice hill to ride down on the way to the trail head that I can now manual down the entire way. I still have some practice to go before I can channel my inner Nico Vink lanuals but they will come eventually!
The repair stand is a must have with this product in my opinion, I left the trainer on the ground with the stand installed most of the time. It was very straight forward to put together and has been a breeze to use. I have never had a tool tray with a stand before and there is no way I can ever go back! The locking mechanism is fully manual so you will need to hold onto the bike while tightening it down, for me this was not a setback, but I could see this being more challenging if you were lifting an ebike often. It takes maybe 30 seconds at most to remove the repair stand add on. I screwed a hook into my wall that can hold the stand portion with the tool tray still on for easy storage when using the trainer.
The wall mount option is a cool bonus, I was initially very excited about this but ended up rarely using it. One of the main reasons I committed to leaving it on the ground was the large mud fender I use was pinched under the tire when in the wall mounted position. I could see the fender getting permanently bent from being stored in that position. I am lucky enough to have more than enough space on the floor for it, so it wasn’t a big issue, but should be noted for other fender users out there.
I am excited to see where my manual skills will be by the end of summer. I am nearly confident enough to remove the safety strap from the trainer and fully commit. Even though I was not using the brake to assist the end point, I was always covering it as if I were on the trail. I think not covering the brake could lead to some bad on-trail habits resulting in a bit of a dirt nap.
The RRP is a decent chunk of cash, but considering the multi-use functionality on offer and the sturdy construction, It’s a price tag that seems about right. If you’re quick you can snag $100 off the combo, improving the value proposition considerably.
The Wolf’s Last Word
This is a perfect gift to yourself to keep you on the bike during snowstorms or days you only have a few minutes free. The added accessories make it a joy to have around and I for sure will be bringing this to the bike parks with me this summer as repairs are inevitable. Overall, I saw my balance and on-rail reaction times increase and I believe they will only continue to get better. The build construction is top notch and Tilt thought through everything to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Getting non-bike-riding friends on this is also highly encouraged for some entertainment!
Price: $319.99 (Trainer Only) | $469.99 (Trainer and Stand)
Noticeable increase of manual time
Versatility and ease of set up
Repair stand was perfect
Wall mount not compatible with a front fender
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The post Review:
Tilt Industries 3-in-1 Balance Trainer appeared first on The Loam Wolf.