First-look review: Feedback Sports Omnium portable trainer
Doug Hudson established Feedback Sports in 2004 and the company’s first product was a digital scale for weighing bikes. The U.S. company has expanded its catalogue in recent years, and is perhaps best known for its distinctive red anodised workstands, which have become a common sight at races.
The Omnium portable trainer is one of the Feedback’s newest products. Comprising a tripod with an adjustable fork mount and a pair of aluminium drums on a sliding foldable arm, this trainer collapses to fit under the arm while accommodating a wide range of bikes (26-29 inch MTB, 600-700c road/CX). The adjustability of the Omnium extends to the fork mount, which can accept standard quick-release as well as 12mm and 15mm thru-axles.
Feedback sees the Omnium as the ideal trainer for racers that like to warm up before their event, hence its portability. The drums utilise magnets to provide progressive resistance while remaining relatively silent, and Feedback promises they are maintenance-free.
Owners have the option of converting the Omnium into a traditional set of rollers that operate without any resistance. All that is required is to unbolt the drums so they can be reversed in the frame.
The Omnium portable trainer is available in one colour (red, as shown) and is supplied with a padded bag for storage and travel.
The Omnium is expensive for a portable trainer but it is highly portable (weight ~6.5kg), really easy to set up, and provides a lot of adjustability. That the fork mount accepts a variety of axle-types is also a nice touch, but it’s only relevant to riders/families with a variety of bikes.
The most impressive aspect is the stability of the Omnium. The fork mount is robust while the broad tripod is very sturdy and should resist fierce sprint efforts. The drums are virtually silent, so the only noise that is generated comes from the air flow generated by the rear wheel. Outside, it seems silent, but I suspect it will be difficult to watch TV indoors without headphones.
The drums look reasonably small but I immediately noticed the extra height as I climbed onto the bike. The first few moments were a little disorienting as I looked down on my surroundings but that sensation quickly passed as I put the trainer to use.
The progressive resistance of the drums is smooth however the small drums don’t maintain much momentum, so the legs have to keep working to maintain a consistent pedalling action. As such, the Omnium will provide a good workout but buyers hoping for a more realistic riding experience should look elsewhere.
All told, the Omnium does a lot to justify its asking price. I couldn’t identify any shortcomings in the construction or the finish, and indeed, the whole unit has a very high-quality feel to it. I didn’t spend enough time on the Omnium to judge its durability, but there is every indication that it will have a long life. Perhaps the only maintenance that will be required is to wipe the sweat off it at the end of every session.