Indoor Trainer Guide - GPLama

📆 Last Update: December 5th 2017.

Which indoor trainer should you buy? There's no easy answer. They're all a little different. Here's a brief overview of all the trainers I've ridden, stress tested, broken, loved, and hated over many years of training indoors.

If the trainer you're looking into isn't listed below, I have not ridden/tested/reviewed it. Will it be added in the future? If I can get a hold of it, yes! Please contact me if you can help me grow this guide.

These reviews and ratings can and will be changed on a regular basis as firmware update releases can have a major impact on the function/features of most of these trainers.

Shane - GPLama


Direct Drive 'Smart Trainers'


Wahoo Kickr (Gen 1)



Great road feel. A little noisey at high revs. Get yourself some noise cancelling headphones and it's all good. Power reporting accuracy can be variable, however I've found regular spindowns keep the numbers inline with my Quarq and PowerTap P1 pedals. I own four Kickrs (original units) and hire them out to people wanting to try before they buy, or who've broken bones and need to keep training. The feedback has always been positive. Excellent support from Wahoo for ongoing firmware updates for functionality. The build and looks is a little industrial but provides adjustable feet solid stability.

Pricing: 
US$1,199 (Sale ~US$1,079)
AU$1,599 (Sale ~AU$1300)
€999.99 (Sale ~€709.99)
£749.99 (Sale £649.99)

GPLama Rating: 7.5/10

Rating Comment: The original game-changer for indoor cyclists. ANT+, Bluetooth Smart, interactivity. It's an old unit now but has stood the test of time. Belts known to wear out after ~10,000km (replaceable). Some reports of gear indexing issues, usually resolved with shims/spacers.

Links:
WAHOO KICKR SETUP FOR BEGINNERS
WAHOO KICKR: Basic Maintenance
Wahoo Kickr - Sticky / Grabbing Freewheel Fix
Wahoo KICKR & KICKR SNAP Thru Axle Adapter Kits - How To




Wahoo Kickr16/Kickr2 & Kickr17



Same road feel/inertia as the original Kickr (see above). A little quieter than the original. The new handle position is a great addition if you're setting up your training space each session. Power accuracy and resistance responsiveness were excellent with my testing so far. Support and updates have been good (like the original Kickr). Wahoo have been responsive to feedback and with providing updates for this unit to date. Not so much a Kickr v2.0, but a refined release taking it to Kickr v1.5.

The Kickr17 revision released in September 2017 has more clearance for disc brakes and a redesigned axle to allow a range of thru-axle support (adaptors now included!) and pivoting support for the Kickr CLIMB Grade Simulator. Everything else remains the same as the Kickr16/2.

Pricing:
US$1,199
AU$1,599
€999.99
£999.99

GPLama Rating: 8/10

Rating Comment: 1/2 a point up on the original for the lower noise, handle, LED lights, and improved rear derailleur clearance.

Links:
Wahoo Kickr16 / Kickr 2: Unboxing, Building, First Ride
Wahoo Kickr16 / Kickr 2: Unboxing, Building, First Ride (Presented by Von, my wife)
Wahoo KICKR & KICKR SNAP Thru Axle Adapter Kits - How To
Wahoo Kickr17 and Kickr CLIMB: Details and First Look



Tacx Neo



Quiet. Really quiet. The #1 pick if you need the least noise for your indoor sessions. The simulated flywheel is noticeably different if you've got a keen eye (leg?) for detail. Road feel is pretty nifty, they can do a lot more with it when/if your software supports it. Ice mode is, or could be, a great training tool to smooth out peddling. Power accuracy is excellent. Anyone saying otherwise is usually comparing it to an old Stages that has drifted, or a pair of Vector pedals that haven't been torqued up correctly. Regular firmware updates from Tacx have seen a number of issues addressed, most recently an update to ERG mode which has been praised in a number of training forums. I still experience 'Virtual Tyre Slip' on simulated steep gradients and the occasional smell of fish after 1000W+ sprints. See my blog post below discussing both of these phenomena. Neither show-stoppers. There's an army of happy Neo owners out there, so it's a good buy.

I've recently encountered a grinding/knocking noise after transporting the unit (in original box). Resolution was a support ticket with TACX who supplied a flywheel extraction tool. Removing and reseating everything resolved the issue.

Pricing:
US$1599 (Amazon)
AU$1,700-$2,199
€1259-1399
£1,299

GPLama Rating: 7.0/10

Rating Comment: A good unit, even better with the new firmware.... but that virtual tyre slip still gets me down when it occurs. Unable to level the unit with the feet. Slightly more right side flex on the original Neo I have. Original unit had chain-stay clearance issues with some bikes, this has been resolved in the 2017 model Neo.

Links: 
Tacx Neo Smart T2800 User Review
TACX NEO ROAD FEEL - The Game Changer!
Tacx Neo - Sound Check and LED Light Show



Tacx Flux



A budget focused direct drive trainer with acceptable power accuracy (~5%, but closer to ~3% when warmed up and calibrated/zero'ed) and good resistance responsiveness. This unit is quieter than the Kickr1/2 direct drive trainers due to the vertical belt grooves. The 'ride feel' is a little laboured compared to a higher end direct drive trainer, somewhat like what a fluid trainer feels like. I've had two early production units fail, my third unit is performing as expected. 10% maximum gradient simulation is a limiter if you're looking for super hard strength efforts on steep virtual grades. Power reporting responsiveness was adjusted in recent firmware updates and is on par with my PowerTap P1 pedal power meter (excellent!). Tacx have responded well to failed units either direct or via their supply channels. Note: FLUX is not suitable for a long cage rear derailleur.

Wattage Floor - You may need to change from your big ring to your little ring to hit your wattage targets in ERG mode. If your power target is below the wattage at which your trainer can apply resistance, you hit the "resistance floor" (also referred to as the “wattage" or "power" floor) and you won't feel resistance changes. Slowing the flywheel down by changing to an easier gear is sometimes required on the FLUX when in ERG mode. 20-25km/h flywheel speed is the optimal range for ERG on the FLUX.

Pricing:
USD$899 (Amazon)
AUD$1,099 (Now seen for AU$999)
€799

GPLama Rating: 6/10

Rating Comment: My third FLUX unit has been reliable to date and preforms well in regard to power response. ERG mode needs to be performed at flywheel speed ~20-25km/h to hold you in the correct zones.

Links:
TACX FLUX Smart Trainer: Unboxing. Building. First Ride.
Tacx FLUX: Test Flight Aborted! 
Tacx FLUX Redux: ROUND 2 
Tacx Flux Smart Trainer: Back to the Future (My latest Flux review video. June 2017)
Tacx FLUX - Follow up and Firmware Updates




Elite Drivo



The trainer that looks like a vacuum cleaner. A really quiet trainer, just not as quiet as the Neo. Great inertia/road feel like the Kickr. Best power accuracy of any trainer out there (although the Neo is really good too). As mentioned, it's not the best looking unit... but you can't see it when you're riding, so it doesn't matter. Resistance changes are responsive and strong within Zwift, I'll need to quantify this soon... but it'll kick you in the butt quickly when the road heads upwards! I haven't had any luck with the pedal scan analysis working on my iOS devices, but the unit has potential to provide some interesting analysis once that's sorted. The Drivo and Kickr16 are very comparable. With the Drivo taking the lead in the power accuracy/reporting and sound department, and the Kickr16 in the connectivity and proven track record department.

Pricing:
US$1,279 (Amazon)
AU$1,862
€1,390
£1099.99

GPLama Rating: 7/10

Rating Comment: The questionable looks of the unit are balanced out by the superior power accuracy. Points deducted as the ANT+ / BLE connectivity is one or the other, not both at the same time. This limits how I can use the unit (control over BLE, collect data over ANT+ not possible). ERG mode can be varied when trying to hold target watts and resistance change response I've found to be a little delayed, particularly high wattage to low intervals.

Quick Tip: Calibration Procedure Of The Internal Power Sensor On Drivo-Direto-Kura: Elite Link.

Links:
ELITE DRIVO SMART TRAINER: Unboxing. Building. First Ride.
ELITE DRIVO SMART TRAINER: 90min Ride and Sprint Test.
Elite Direto / Drivo / Kura Thru Axle Conversion - How To




CycleOps Hammer



Built like an army tank, as you'd expect being from #MERICA! Massive flywheel making the ride feel on par with, if not a little nicer than the Kickr and Drivo. Solid unit that is stable while sprinting. It has a humming noise to it at a lower pitch than the Kickr1/2. Steady state power numbers were a few watts lower than my PowerTap pedals in a number if instances. Hoping this is something that they can iron out in firmware if the readings are similar on other units (I only tested a demo unit). A small lag in resistance changes when riding Zwift. Will keep an eye out for future firmware updates to see if they address this too.

Pricing:
US$1,199 (Amazon)
AU$1,649
£999.99

GPLama Rating: 7.0/10

Rating Comment: I'll bump this to an 8 once I've got a unit (or there's a firmware update) that tracks closer to my other power meters. Still a really good unit if you're using a secondary power meter.

Links:
CycleOps Hammer Smart Trainer: Setup, Ride, First Impressions





Elite Direto



The first of the 2017 generation smart trainers. More of an evolution and refinement of features than anything else. Aimed a undercutting the top end models by a few hundred dollars across most markets, Elite has the jump on the competition. This unit performs very very well in power accuracy testing, has good road feel/inertia, and isn't all that loud. I've spent many weeks riding the pre-production test unit, and the production unit that was shipped last week is just as accurate (and even a little quieter for the internals as they change resistance settings). If Elite can keep up with supply, this has all the earmarkings of being a very popular unit.

Wattage Floor - You may need to change from your big ring to your little ring to hit your wattage targets in ERG mode. If your power target is below the wattage at which your trainer can apply resistance, you hit the "resistance floor" (also referred to as the “wattage" or "power" floor) and you won't feel resistance changes. Slowing the flywheel down by changing to an easier gear is sometimes required on the Direto when in ERG mode. See the Quick Tips below for the ERG Mode reference chart.

Pricing:
US $899.99 (Amazon)
Euro €849.99
UK £749.99
AUS $1,299.99

GPLama Rating: 7.0/10

Rating Comment: Very solid performer and surprisingly good power accuracy.

Quick Tips:
- The Elite Direto wheel circumference for head units is 173mm (Garmin Edge/Wahoo/etc).
- Calibration Procedure Of The Internal Power Sensor On Drivo-Direto-Kura: Elite Link.
- Direto Optimal ERG Mode operation reference chart.

Links:
ELITE DIRETO Smart Trainer: Unboxing. Building. Ride Data. All the details!
Elite DIRETO Smart Trainer: Preview
Elite Direto / Drivo / Kura Thru Axle Conversion - How To




Direct Drive 'Non-Smart Trainers'

These ratings can't really be compared one-to-one with smart trainers, they're different units with a different purpose. The general ratings I've given are based on them being non-smart trainers (no built-in tech).


LeMond Revolution 



LOUD. WHAT? YES! REALLY LOUD. Buttery smooth road feel with a excellent inertia and spindown. Noise cancelling headphones are a great addition must for this trainer. Adjustable feet make this the perfect race day companion for almost any surface. Do not touch the PowerPilot unit, it's a disaster. The WattBox add-on can also be bypassed with a speed sensor hack and the right software. My go-to indoor trainer for TT efforts. Also my go-to trainer to take to race warm-ups, there's no electronics to get fried by the elements (rain!). Not available for purchase anymore, or if you can find them they're priced though the roof... AU$800+.  Second hand / preowned marketplace is a good source of these. Original units had 10spd freehubs and required an upgrade kit. The LeMond Revolution v1.1 came with 11spd hubs. See YouTube link below for installing an 11spd cassette on an 10spd freehub.

Pricing:
N/A. 2nd Hand: AU$250-$400

GPLama Rating: 9/10

Rating Comment: The only point deducted is for that damn noise! :) Noise levels aside, people love these trainers for a reason.

Links:
LeMond Revolution Trainer: Speed Sensor Upgrade
LeMond Revolution zPower Data Analysis
LeMond Revolution Indoor Trainer: Resistance Hack
Fitting an 11 Speed Cassette on a 10 Speed Hub (Shimano Hack Tip)




RevBox


An almost immediate flywheel stop once you ease up on the pedals. It may have an application somewhere in the cycling/rehab space. Maybe it's a good machine for specific strength efforts. It's just so different to anything I've ever ridden it was really a chore to keep the power to the pedals. If you're after replicating outside riding indoors, this isn't the trainer to go with.

Pricing:
NZD$1,199

GPLama Rating: 2/10

Rating Comment: Really not my cup of tea. Points given because it's super light, and it exists. Other dramas with their software and restrictions on using their own Bluetooth Smart sensors.

Links:
RevBox Erg Review
RevBox Erg - Zwift Richmond Sprint






Elite KURA (Technically a non-interactive Smart-Trainer)




Borrowing the physical build from the Drivo, the KURA is the #1 premium direct drive 'fluid trainer'. The ride feel is very similar to that of a Fluid2 and Road Machine, but without the tyre/roller setup issues that can hamper the experience of those trainers. I found the speed/power resistance curve to be better training than using an interactive trainer in ERG mode, I've discussed this in the Unbox, Build, First Ride video below. The power calibration process needs a little refinement which could be ironed out with an app update / firmware / or extended calibration functionality (maybe against a known good power meter?). 


Pricing:
USD$909 (Amazon)
€850
£649

GPLama Rating: 6.0/10

Rating Comment: As with the Drivo, points deducted as the ANT+ / BLE connectivity is one or the other, not both at the same time. Although as this isn't a controllable trainer this was only a hassle when trying to calibrate the system over BLE. No on/off switch to reset the wireless protocol selection.

Quick Tip: Calibration Procedure Of The Internal Power Sensor On Drivo-Direto-Kura: Elite Link.

Links:
Elite KURA Indoor Trainer: Unboxing. Building. First Ride.
Elite Direto / Drivo / Kura Thru Axle Conversion - How To




Wheel-on Smart Trainers


Wahoo Kickr SNAP (Gen 1)



Released in 2015 this wheel-on smart trainer from Wahoo has been a popular buy. Now selling for well under the $1000 mark the SNAP has seen good follow up support in terms of firmware updates from Wahoo. I've finally got my hands on one and cover it from unboxing, building, riding, and data analysis. See the video link below for my YouTube video on the SNAP.

Pricing:
USD$599
AUD$749
£499.99

GPLama Rating: 7.0/10

Rating Comment: Rock solid unit. Good power numbers with my initial testing. Requires a spindown each ride if you're going to be using the power numbers from the SNAP itself.

Links:
Wahoo Kickr SNAP Smart Trainer: Unboxing. Building. First Ride.
Wahoo KICKR & KICKR SNAP Thru Axle Adapter Kits - How To



TACX Vortex Smart




Introduced in 2014, the Vortex was the first interactive smart trainer from TACX. The 1.6kg flywheel provides a mid-range inertia/road feel. Resistance changes in ERG mode were surprisingly snappy. Power accuracy is quoted within 10%. Lama Lab Tests showed the accuracy was well within this specification. Topping out at 950W in sprints and a sustained 750W for ~60 seconds, this might not suit some advanced powerhouses, but it's worthy of consideration for those looking for their first 'interactive' smart trainer for riding Zwift hills/terrain and/or ERG mode training using the software of their choosing.

Pricing:
USD$549 (Amazon US)
AUD$549
£375

GPLama Rating: 6.5/10

Rating Comment: This unit sits just below the Kickr SNAP, a little above the CycleOps Magnus and the QUBO DSB+. Watch for tyre wear.

Links:
TACX Vortex Smart Trainer - Unboxing, Building, Ride Review




TACX Flow Smart

Taking the crown of the 'cheapest smart trainer' today is the Tacx Flow. This unit is very similar to it's bigger brother, the Vortex with a 1.6kg flywheel that provides a mid-range inertia/road feel. ERG mode intervals needed a higher wheel speed to reach 300W-450W ranges, so there's a learning curve of how to ride ERG interval on the Flow. Power accuracy is quoted within 10%. Lama Lab Tests showed the accuracy was well within this specification. Similar to the Vortex this might not suit some advanced powerhouses, but it's worthy of consideration for those looking for their first 'interactive' smart trainer for riding Zwift hills/terrain and/or ERG mode training using the software of their choosing.

Pricing:
USD$449 (Amazon US)
£220
€264

GPLama Rating: 5.5/10

Rating Comment: The Vortex's little brother. If your budget can stretch a little further go the Vortex. Still a good unit to dip your toe into the water for interactive 'hills' on platforms such as Zwift.

Links:
TACX Flow Smart Trainer - Unboxing, Building, Ride Review




Wahoo Kickr SNAP17 (The New Kickr Snap for 2017)



Refinements from the original model from 2015 are -+3% power accuracy, more comprehensive support for third party power meters, and repositioned LED lights. There's also a change to the roller to a more textured surface. Other than that the SNAP17 is identical to the original unit as described above. Pivoting wheel clamp/connections means this unit is compatible with the Kickr CLIMB Grade Simulator.

Pricing:
USD$599
AUD$749
£499.99

GPLama Rating: 7.0/10

Rating Comment: Same rating as the SNAP. The refinements for 2017 are nice, though not anything to get too excited about. If you're on an original SNAP unit you're not missing much.

Links:
First Look: New Wahoo Kickr SNAP Smart Trainer (SNAP17)
Wahoo KICKR & KICKR SNAP Thru Axle Adapter Kits - How To



 CycleOps Magnus


Released in 2016 this wheel-on smart trainer from CycleOps is similar looking to their Fluid2 standard trainer unit. The lightweight flywheel means the 'just riding along' feeling is a little laboured, much like a fluid trainer. Switching to ERG mode with a lot of momentum in the rear wheel gives a better feel to the unit. The resistance unit packs a huge punch. Power accuracy shown to be within the advertised 5% range. Pairing this with an on-bike power meter would be advisable if you need more accuracy. Lots more information in my YouTube video link of the Magnus below.

Pricing:
USD$599 (Amazon)
AUD$749
£520

GPLama Rating: 5.5/10

Rating Comment:

Links:
CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer: Unboxing, Building, First Ride


 Elite QUBO Digital Smart B+



Previously the cheapest smart trainer around. This unit surprised me so much that I've made a few videos about it. Good road feel inertia for a wheel-on trainer with a small roller. Power accuracy can be questionable, as is the case with any power estimator (vs a real power meter) that has to take into account tyre pressure and the like. This unit can be calibrated against a power meter with the Elite MyETraining app. A good first smart trainer buy if you're not too sure on spending more than $1000 on the high end units. Like all wheel-on trainers, rear tyre wear will occur. Look at getting yourself a trainer specific tyre if you're cranking out more than a few hours a week on one of these puppies.

Pricing:
USD$349 (Amazon US)
AUD$649
£270

GPLama Rating: 5.5/10

Rating Comment: A budget option for automatic resistance changing with software like Zwift. The inevitable tyre wear is a hidden cost (as with all tyre-on trainers). Requires a power meter to calibrate against if you want the best power accuracy.

Links:
Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ Smart Trainer Review
Elite Qubo Smart Digital B+ Sprint Video
CHEAPEST SMART TRAINER BUNCH RIDE






Elite Rampa 



The Elite equivalent to the Wahoo Kickr SNAP. A good step up from the QUBO DSB+ unit with a rock solid frame. Sprints well, pretty good inertia for a wheel-on trainer. As with all these types of trainers, power accuracy depends on a number of factors. Once everything is lined up I found it well within ranges of what I'd expect.

Pricing:
USD$649 (Amazon)
AU$849
€457
£449.99

GPLama Rating: 6.0/10

Rating Comment: Again an Elite product with points deducted as the ANT+ / BLE connectivity is one or the other, not both at the same time. This limits how I can use the unit (control over BLE, collect data over ANT+ not possible). Requires a power meter to calibrate against if you want the best power accuracy.

Links:
ELITE RAMPA SMART TRAINER: Unboxing. Building. First Ride.
ELITE RAMPA SMART TRAINER: Sprint Testing
ELITE RAMPA SMART TRAINER: Power Accuracy and Calibration



Wheel-on 'Non-Smart Trainers'

CycleOps Fluid2



I've busted two of these over the years with leaking seals. These were replaced under warranty and I've been unable to break the third. zPower (virtual power reporting based on speed/power curve) can be close to accurate if you've got everything right such as tyre pressure and tension on the tyre correct. Resistance and virtual power will change as the unit heats up over the first 10-20 minutes of use. Current RRP of AU$459 is a little high. You can source an Elite QUBO smart trainer for this kind of coin.

Pricing:
US$299 (Amazon)
AU$459

GPLama Rating: 5/10

Rating Comment: Possible ok buy at AU$150 second hand, maybe. Save your pennies for a smart trainer.

Links:
ZWIFT ON A BUDGET
Zwift on a Budget - zPower Fury Road!





Kinetic Road Machine



A popular classic. Current RRP of AU$699... step away from the Road Machine. When comparing these to low end smart trainers and other wheel-on smart trainers such as the Rampa and SNAP, the Road Machine is way too expensive. The ride feel on the Road Machine is ok-ish. It provided me enough resistance and training stimulus for a few years prior to the LeMond Revolution coming along. Virtual power estimates from the Road Machine are again in the 'ok' ball-park assuming all the ducks are lined up with tyre pressure and roller tension.

Pricing:
US$327 (Amazon)
AU$699

GPLama Rating: 5.5/10

Rating Comment: It's a good workhorse that will outlast you. That's about it. Picking one up cheap second hand might be an option for low milage indoor riders.




Feedback Sports Omnium Portable



A relatively unique trainer that's not quite rollers, not quite a standard trainer, but still manages to pack a punch when it comes to providing 700W+ of resistance. I've finally put unit though the Lama Lab Test and it passed with flying colours. I was unable to 'fall off' the rear rollers as the bike is held straight by the mount/design, which was one question I always had about this unit. The claimed 600W of resistance is conservative and I've managed to level it out at 700W+! 6.8Kgs. Super portable. A really neat unit for the purpose of race day warm ups and/or a very space efficient indoor trainer. Super popular at CX races and being seen a lot at road and MTB events.

Pricing:
US$399 (Amazon)
AU$499
UK£349

GPLama Rating: 8.5/10

Rating Comment: For the purpose it serves, this is clearly a winner here. At the cost of weight it'd be nice to have heavier rollers for a little more inertia. Maybe a basic ANT+/BLE speed sensor built-in could be a v2 upgrade Feeback could look into. That'd make compatibility with training programs a breeze.

Links:
Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Trainer (Lama Lab Test / Review Video)



What about Rollers?


If you're looking at rollers and can ride them, you've got this covered. I use a set of Minura ActionMag Rollers for recovery days, leg speed work, and the occasional race day warm up. Indoors for me is about maximum power over a set duration (of any length). Rollers don't allow for these kind of efforts I'm seeking indoors on the road or TT bike. I want a hard workout, with road style inertia, without having to perform a balancing act.


Then what about......


There's a number of devices hitting the market like the Tacx Magnum above that are pushing boundaries of indoor cycling. I love the innovation, but there's a few limitations of these units which mean they're not suitable for all applications (ie. sprinting!).




GPLama Top Picks



Lowest Noise:
1st - Tacx Neo
2nd - Elite Drivo
3rd - CycleOps Hammer / Kickr17

Most accurate Power:
1st - Tacx Neo / Elite Drivo / Elite Direto
2nd - .... TBA
3rd - Kickr1/16/17 in Model Mode (correct spindown and verified against P1)

Best Wheel-On:
1st - Wahoo Kickr SNAP17
2nd - Wahoo Kickr SNAP (Original)
3rd - Elite RAMPA

Best Non-Smart Trainer:
1st - LeMond Revolution.
2nd - Elite KURA (Technically 'smart' but non-interactive)

Best Budget Smart Trainer(s):

Wheel-on
1st - Elite QUBO Digital Smart B+ / Tacx Vortex
2nd - Tacx Flow Smart

Direct Drive (Wheel off)
1st - Second hand (preowned) Kickr (Gen 1) with latest firmware for model mode power.
2nd - Elite Direto

Best All-Rounder:
1st - Wahoo Kickr (Original version with newest firmware installed. Cheap. Reliable. Responsive)
2nd - Wahoo Kickr2/16/17 (As above... but with a few small improvements)
3rd tied (aka the 'rest') - Elite Drivo, Tacx Neo, & CycleOps Hammer

Best Potable Solution:
1st - Feedback Sports Omnium
2nd - Tacx Neo (It doesn't need power, and it folds up pretty nicely)




Disclaimer: Why and what you choose to buy is entirely up to you. I'm just sharing my somewhat extensive experience with indoor trainers, with my background in technology, and a passion of combining the two.

51 comments:

Phil Ward said...

Really useful to see this all boiled down to a few key points for each Shane, thanks. Not many of us can get to extensivley try before buying so this helps identify any potential niggles before going to the shop and jumping on one with those key issues in mind already.

Steve Hodgkinson said...

Hi Shane - not sure if you have done a review on the Wahoo Kickr Snap but this model and the Elite Rampa seem to be priced about the same and have very similar features. If you had to make a choice which one would you pick out of these two.

Shane Miller said...

No SNAP in the collection, sorry.

Steve Hodgkinson said...

ok thanks for the reply.

Phil H said...

I wish I'd seen these reviews before I bought my first smart trainer, that dammed Bushido! My previous iFlow was more responsive and easier to get along with. The Bushido just made me not want to use the turbo and left me with a moody knee with all the slippage. The replacement Kura is ace. I've done the ergo stuff and it isn't for me. I'd sooner just ride to power and the Kura lets me do that. Initial issues getting it to give correct power readings on Zwift, but that was down to Garmin Express turning on i the background.

Daffy Phone said...

HI Shane, thanks for the write up. If we set aside the wheel on power level accuracy and rely on an alternative ie Quark, Stages...What advantages or disadvantages are there between the two types please? Is the wheel off smart trainer that much better for feel, usability and stability? Most reviews seem to focus on the power reporting. I am in need of a smart trainer due to a bike crash and need to move on from the magnetic one that I have. I can afford both but am trying to work out if the wheel off experience is worth it. I have no ability to test due to my location unfortunately. Each brand seems to have there issues. I am 195cm tall and just under 4w/kg. My concern with the wheel on is slippage and rocking. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Keep up the good work

Shane Miller said...

Direct drive is the better option. Less things to go wrong. (No tyre wear, not tyre pressure issues, no roller contact tightness issues...etc).

Daffy Phone said...

Thanks Shane for the zwift response and thoughts. Now to decide which one:)

Chris Mitchelmore said...

Great roundup! So many junk reviews of turbos out there it's really nice to see everything boiled down. Thanks

Unknown said...

Hi Shane, Do you have any plans to test the MyCycling by Technogym? (http://www.technogym.com/gb/mycycling.html)
I'd be interested to know if it justifies such a hefty price tag.
Cheers.

biker jk said...

Hi Shane. Any chance of testing the Magene Gravat direct drive smart trainer? It's reportedly half the price of a Wahoo Kickr. I've only seen one review to-date but would prefer your expertise.

https://youtu.be/IcmESWyA1oo

Thanks.

Shane Miller said...

I'll ride/test/review almost any trainer I can get my hands on. Availability is the biggest hurdle here in AU.

Paul R said...

So which one you choose Mate?

Shane Miller said...

All of them.

David Jones said...

Any comments / help for someone trying to decide between the Direto and the Hammer. Is the Hammer worth the extra $300. Thanks

DaveMac said...

Between the Kickr, Directo, and Neo...are all of these compatible if running a 11-32 cassette w/ Ultegra GS mid-cage derailleur?

Blake Antcliff said...

Only thing I'd point out about kickr 2017 is that it's currently the only one compatible with the new kickr climb, might be worth adding to the info.
Enjoy your reviews helps me put a lot,

Wayne said...

Hi Shane. The 1299 RRP for Aus on the Direto is the first price reference I have seen. Has distributor confirmed this price point. 300 dollars more than the Flux seems like it will canabilise the higher price trainers rather than compete with the Flux. Has flux overcome its high return rate yet?

Would you pay the additional 300 over a flux?

Shane Miller said...

$899US = AU1119.17 + GST + beer tax + etc... that's about what I'd expect. I'd pay this over the Flux. But for AU$1300 I'd be looking for a 2nd hand Kickr. I've picked up a few for a lot less than $1300.

Wayne said...

Thanks for the feedback Shane

Wayne said...

PS where did you find the Kickr's I am looking around on Gumtree and seen none so far.

Shane Miller said...

Buy/Swap/Sell Road Bike groups on Facebook.

Doug said...

Thanks Shane for all your reviews. I am new to trainers and shopping for one. Will my bike fit on the direct drive smart trainers like the Kickr? My bike has 7x3 = 21 gears.

Shane Miller said...

Doug - Best visit a local bike shop with your bike. 7 speed was a different rear hub spacing iirc, so it may take some creative engineering to get it working on any direct drive.

Unknown said...

Really be interested in this too 😁

Phil H said...

In your opinion, is it worth switching from the Elite Kura to the Direto? I like the feel of the fluid trainer, but is it more advantageous to use a trainer with auto resistance/ERG mode?

Not sure if the first message worked or not?

Shane Miller said...

IMO, yes. If you're looking for interactive rides on Zwift and to use ERG mode, it'd be a good switch.

john mannion said...

hi shane
this could have potential
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcmESWyA1oo

75Mayak said...

Can you test new Elite Turno? Seems it's a replacement of Turbo Muin

Phil H said...

Took your advice re switching from the Kura to the Direto, not so much for Zwift but for TrainerRoad.

75Mayak Turno is basically just the Kura without an inbuilt power meter or ready to go smart capabilities.

Ali Ziyaei said...

Hi Shane,
Thanks for your awesome video,write ups and information. I've been doing my research for pas month and i'm at the lost position now and the only one who can help me decide would be you as some one who i trust his knowledge and experience. I have watched almost all your YouTube videos :) but still more confused :D
I'm about to buy one smart trainer, My FTP at this time is about 250 Watts which i wish to increase and living in Canada with 8 month of winter i need a trainer.
My researches leaded me to Kickr Snap and flux, i could not convince my self to pay another 400CAD extra to get Tacx flux. or even shall i bump my budget even more.
I really appreciate if you help me decide and off course decision would be mine with no obligation on your side. at this point i'm not even sure any more if Snap is a good option or not.(zwift would be my main app)
appreciate any advice please.
Regards
Ali

Max said...

Hi, Shane. Thank you for all your videos and reviews. I've read in this thread above your comment that Turno is identical to Kura save for the power meter, but what I've found in the web that it has 5kg flywheel compared to Kura's 6 kg, and significantly less max power output. Kura's power output is almost equal to Turbo Muin. Thus I'm hesitating whether to buy new Turno or go with a Turbo Muin and get more powerfull trainer and save some money. The pros of Turno: its modern look and foldability for storage. Going to use trainer with powermeter so no need for the accurancy of inbuilt PMs of the trainers. Any piece of advice is highly apprecited :)

Shane Miller said...

G'day Max. I haven't had my hands (legs) on Turno, so no first hand info I can give there sorry.

Max said...

Thank you for your response. It seems noone has any experince with it))

Gav Wild said...

Hi Shane.
Great reviews. In fact it was your review of the Direto that made my mind right up!!! Just a little question if you don't mind?!It might sound daft but, when you rode on the Direto did you experience any beeping noises coming from the unit?? Mine beeps a lot and I was wondering if it's normal to do this.
Cheers keep up the helpful work.

Shane Miller said...

Likely the stepping motor. See my video "Elite Direto Smart Trainer: 8 Week Follow-Up" on YouTube.

Gav Wild said...

Cheers Shane.That explains it perfectly. Looks like I've got the louder hummer version then!! I'd prefer the quieter one but if you say there's no difference in performance, then I'll roll with that.
Thanks again.

CP Walsh said...

Any experience with Tacx Bushido?

Doug said...

Shane, Thanks for your review and input. I received the Direto this week and took it to the local bike shop and he was able to make it work with my 7 speed bike (Giant Cypress). Do you know if there is a way to update the firmware? The only app I see the Elite uses is "MY E-Training" and I don't see anywhere you can update the firmware. Elite may not have a means for updating it.

Shane Miller said...

The Direto does have a firmware update feature... it's just that there's no firmware updates for it.

ST said...

Hi,

Would appreciate your views on the "Elite Real Muin Fully Smart Turbo Trainer", can't find any reviews, on sale for £500 (alleged RRP of £1000). Trying to decide between this, a Tacx Flux or Elite Direto.

Cheers,

ST.

drashkum said...

That was real short and crisp Mr.Miller. Finally getting some clarity. Great write up.

Wayne said...

Thanks for great site and feedback Shane. On gumtree I found a Kickr 2 for 850 dollars including the mat. Only problem now is my spare room has a visitor for next 3 months and better half has vetoed the lounge.

drashkum said...

Is this "wattage/ power floor" specific for elite direto or it happens in all the trainers in ERG mode? If it is specific to a few trainers which were the ones apart from direto to suffer from wattage floor?

Shane Miller said...

It's easier to list those trainers that don't... Kickr, Neo, Drivo, Hammer. Off the top of my head.

Jan said...

Max, the Elite Kuro has a 5.1kg flywheel.

Jan said...

Regarding power output on Turno vs Kura vs Muin. See this answer from Elite here: http://forum.elite-it.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=310

"We've decreased the power output in Turno compared to Turbo Muin as many customers told us that the Turbo Muin was a little too heavy.
But still it is a good (and hard) power curve"

Hamish said...

I've got a Vortex Smart which has been good but I'm looking to upgrade to direct drive. Considering a Kickr 1 second hand if the price is right although the noise reduction in the 2 is tempting.

How does noise compare between wheel on and direct drive trainers? Is the reduction going to be huge anyway just going to a kickr 1?

Hamish said...

Does the Direto broadcast cadence (on Bluetooth) or would I need an external sensor?

Doug said...

Shane, I received the Direto trainer and took it to the local bike shop and they were able to get it working with my 7x3 speed bike. It costs about $35. Now I have used it for two weeks with Zwift but my pc (i7 8gb ram intel 3000 graphics card) is not performing as I hoped, sometimes the bikers disappear and the bikes ride without a bider. I've sent my logs to Zwift but haven't heard back. I was thinking of getting an ipad or ipad mini and getting an adapter to connect to a tv. What is the lowest in ipad that works well with zwift? I don't want to spend much more money. Do you have any links or reviews on this?

Shane Miller said...

Sounds like Internet connectivity issues Doug. I'll let the experts at Zwift Support provide the proper diagnosis though. As for an iPad, I would choose an AppleTV 4K over an iPad any day. See my review of that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KVkjmeW6AM