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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for smart trainer please

    I'm preparing for winter already so I can start looking for good deals on a used smart trainer. My purchasing habbits usually run a split personality between "bang for the buck" and "just get the best".

    I know I want a direct drive that will work with a through axle, and I want to use it with swift (although I've never tried swift, or had a trainer before other than a terrible stationary bike). I don't know if all smart trainers have power meters, but that's also on my list.

    I don't really want to spend $1000, but I could swing it of the consensus is that I'll wish I had.

    I'm trying to find one used to lower cost some. Any reason that's a bad idea, or maybe a "no problem, but check the wear on xxxxxxx", or don't get one with more than xxxxxxx miles or years on it.

    The bike I'll be hooking up is my 2015 stumpjumper fsr with 1x11. I've been really considering upgrading my bike to a more xc oriented bike since that's the racing I do, so I don't know if that matters, but that might be an epic or canondale scalple, or something in that category.

    Thanks all!

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  2. #2
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    Last year several people I know got Tacx Flux smart trainers. They're direct drive but a lot cheaper than the Tacx Neo and also support thru axles frames.

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/12/...th-review.html

    https://support.tacx.com/hc/en-us/ar...-on-my-trainer

    Initially they were really impressed with them for using with Zwift, the actual trainer itself is good, but they also had reliability issues and went through several replacements. That was last winter so that might all be fixed by now.

    If you get a good one I'd say that's a decent model to get, reliability being the potential concern.

  3. #3
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    Awesome info.. thanks!

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    If you want stay under a grand for a direct drive smart trainer I think your only real option at MSPR is the Tacx Flux at $900. At little more than that you can get a Cycleops Hammer which technically is $1200, but google shows it listed at $950-999 a few places. Wahoo KICKR 2 is also $1200 unlike the Hammer it generally goes for MSRP.

    All 3 will work with Zwift and all smart trainers have power meters (part of what makes it 'smart'). All 3 are thru-axle compatible but I think you'll need to buy adapters for all of them separately. The Tacx Flux and Cycleops Hammer do not come with cassettes, the Wahoo Kickr does however it's going to be either a 10 or 11spd road cassette so you will need to buy a second cassette for your trainer either way. That or you can just ride a road bike on your trainer which I think makes a lot more sense, but if you don't have one then you gotta do what you gotta do.

    Of the 3, I think the KICKR 2 is the nicer product and a small consideration is that both Wahoo and Cycleops are US based companies with good support if you're over here. Tacx is a european company which used to have a bad rap for US customer support but I think has mostly overcome that reputation.

    For buying used trainers you'll find a ton of old used CompuTrainers. They're not direct drive, they don't support thru axles, and the company that made them went out of business. You can get them for super cheap and they will get the job done if you had a road bike, but having had one for years and switched to a KICKR, I would definitely not go back. When looking at used KICKRs, be aware there is a previous model so ask if it's an original KICKR or a KICKR 2. Get the 2 if you can as the original model had accuracy issues for some. Other than that, the 3 models I've discussed have only been out for a year or two so unless you buy it from a studio or some ex pro or something they probably won't have all that much wear on them.

    edit: or just buy a fat bike and ride outside all winter instead.

  5. #5
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    I definitely like the idea of the far bike, but my wife wants to be able to use it too, which is one way I'm angling the purchase . I can't afford both

    Also, I don't have a road bike, but do have an old rockhopper. The ergos are whack though, and I definitely need to do work on that, that's another topic though.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Recommendations for smart trainer please

    I am very happy with my Cycleops Hammer. Works with through axles well. Avoided the tacx neo due to the problems it was having.

    Check out D.C. rainmaker for more details and reviews https://www.dcrainmaker.com/blog

    The hammer also supports boost 148 spacing so for future usefulness that's probably pretty good. I think the Neo is getting it but through axle bits are extra cost items on already the most expensive trainer out there...

  7. #7
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    Hands down Kickr2 or Cycleops Hammer for my recommendation. If you end up buying from a shop, just get whatever they sell more of/stock/recommend. That said, if you're exclusively going to be using a bike with through axles, I'd lean towards the Hammer, it has a little better setup than the kickr for that

    At the shop I work at, we've had too many issues with Tacx to get my recommendation, even if some of their newer stuff is 'better'. Wahoo and Cycleops are way easier to deal with if you have an issue.

    As for used, Kickr is pretty easy to get replacement wear parts. Typically either freehub or belt goes, and you can get the freehub for ~60usd, and the belt can be purchased pretty low cost ($10-20) from auto suppliers. Haven't had to deal with anything on the hammer yet, I'd say it's too new at this point.

  8. #8
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    I put my TT bike on my Kickr Snap which is a wheel on trainer. I'm not racing triathlon right now so the bike is staying parked on the trainer. But you can buy any beater road bike to put on a trainer, you don't even need a functional shift mechanism if you are just using it to follow a training plan since the trainer is controlled by Zwift.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    I put my TT bike on my Kickr Snap which is a wheel on trainer. I'm not racing triathlon right now so the bike is staying parked on the trainer. But you can buy any beater road bike to put on a trainer, you don't even need a functional shift mechanism if you are just using it to follow a training plan since the trainer is controlled by Zwift.
    The kickr snap is an excellent wheel on smart trainer. I've found the power accuracy within 1% of my quarq if you calibrate it correctly.

    It is 142mm thru axle compatible with an adaptor thru axle.

  10. #10
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    I think I see your point about the beater bike. Keeps from having to take the rear wheel on and off every time you want to use the trainer if your also using your bike during the summer. I'm not used to road bike ergos, but I guess I could get a beater hybrid instead so I'd have a bar style I'm used to, and can adjust it to feel like I'm used to height wise.

    Isn't wheel on trainer louder and hard on tires?

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumper33 View Post
    I'm not used to road bike ergos, but I guess I could get a beater hybrid instead so I'd have a bar style I'm used to, and can adjust it to feel like I'm used to height wise.
    Based on your other post, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a cheap roadie to add to your training. I pedal over 200 miles a week on my road bike, a 1985 steel bike that was given to me. A bike you can do CX on can be your roadie, your cross bike, and adventure bike all in one!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thumper33 View Post
    Isn't wheel on trainer louder and hard on tires?
    Supposedly, but road tires are cheap. I don't know about the noise since I haven't heard a wheel off trainer.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumper33 View Post

    Isn't wheel on trainer louder
    Yes, a lot louder. And the feel is much worse. Really, get a direct drive.

    Is noise a concern? Then there is no alternative to the Tacx Neo. There you only hear the chain but nothing else. Friends own one, I was quite impressed hearing nothing.

    I spend an awful lot of time in my basement. In winter I log a lot of 3-5 h rides down there. I don't have any trouble with that.

    A dedicated indoor trainer bike is a good idea. I have one, makes life so much easier. I've simply used my old 26 HT race bike for that.

    I own a Kickr gen 1 for 2 or 3 years now. Quite disappointed from Wahoo. The box said

    * quite
    * accurate

    Both claims are lies. On the accuracy issue I have spent a lot of time with Wahoo's support. They always claimed there are no accuracy issues. While all my three powermeters tracked wattage nicely the Kickr reported just nonsense.

    When Wahoo released Kickr gen 2 they admitted that they had accuracy issues with gen 1 and this got fixed with gen 2. Liars. Really one of the reasons why I wouldn't buy a Kickr anymore. Especially since there are so many alternatives out there these days.

    Despite all my rant above owning a smart trainer has been a game changer for me training wise which translated into race success. If you plan to spend more time on it get a good one. Worth the investment.

  13. #13
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    If you change your mind on direct drive, I have a like-new Wahoo Kickr Snap, used only a few times I'm looking to sell. Have all original packaging.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekraft84 View Post
    If you change your mind on direct drive, I have a like-new Wahoo Kickr Snap, used only a few times I'm looking to sell. Have all original packaging.
    Thanks... I will keep that in mind.

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  15. #15
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    For a lot of us, the big part of this decision making process comes down to money usually, right? Couple different points for you to consider also:

    1. The original Wahoo kickr is loud. I can't say how that compares to the Tacx, but the Kickr2 is supposedly much quieter. So consider where you'll use it in your home and if the noise is an issue.

    2. If you look at Wahoo as a serious option, they semi-regularly sell factory refurb units directly on their site at a discount from MSRP of course - if you contact them and pester them enough they might source one for you ahead of waiting for a sale. You won't save a ton, but you'll save a few dollars and get the support.

    3. If you're 100% sold on a smart trainer, ignore this - but if it comes down to a budget issue... don't be afraid of getting a 'dumb' trainer (Kurt Kinetic or something) and using virtual power with whatever software you use.
    Even if virtual power isn't a 1:1 match for what a power meter will tell you, you'll still have a metric you can train with and make gains.

  16. #16
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    I've been using a Wahoo KICKR V2 for about 9 months. It's turned my view upside down regarding indoor training; I now train indoors 3 x Week as my main source of conditioning all year(not just winter), and focus on skills and fun when I ride. It's taken the pressure off riding outdoors for conditioning and I now enjoy riding with friends/family of all abilities/speeds more, probably because I can slow down, tinker with skills and work on balance & flow and not worry about ensuring a good CV or strength workout. My bike speed and line choices improved and while I can't give all the credit to indoor training, it's been way more interesting than any other type of trainer I've used in past and my conditioning and strength does not porpoise like years past, it's improved considerably.

    I have a subscription to TrainerRoad, which provides outstanding, progressive training plans (and general fitness instruction/knowledge build) for just about any focus area you want: Road/MTB/Sprint/Marathon etc...I also use Zwift too once in a while as well.

    Sorry, not trying to sound like an evangelist or marketing director for the bike industry...I am neither; but I really like the higher-end electronic trainers if you're serious about long term cycling fitness and improvement. It was a kick in the nuts to purchase the KICKR, accessories(floor fan, etc...), and subscription to TrainerRoad & Zwift, but it's been so worth it. There are other great subscription-based programs too, but I had to choose one or two and am sticking with those as long as I'm enjoying them and seeing results.

    I purchased KICKR at REI because I figured if it sucked I could return it for a TACX NEO or CycleOps Hammer(which wasn't available at the time), But if you have a favorite LBS, I'd be more inclined to support them, no offense to REI but I like small shops with good owners making a living the old fashioned, independent way. If money is tight, the next models down (SNAP, etc..) work great too.

    So far, the KICKR's been excellent, although I haven't tried others to compare (with a floor fan blowing and music playing, trainer noise is a distant 3rd). I'm really bummed they don't support BOOST 148, which is what my MTB has...so I use my road bike on it. I will likely find an old used frame and build up a bike for trainer use only to reduce wear/tear on my good bikes. I would guess the top trainers from other companies (CycleOps, TACX, etc...) are all basically similar and you won't be let down. As for the above comment on KICKR V1 with accuracy issues...yeah, that sucks and not cool the company treated you that way.

    As for power accuracy...IMO those numbers are all relative. I don't have a PM on MTB (although there is merit to do so) so I only care about the trainers' numbers and follow those for my workouts. I guess as long as there is consistency in the delta between your trainer and PM on bike you can adjust expectations on the road/trail, but I have no experience there.

    If you're on the fence...suggest you go for it....I don't believe you'll regret it. Enjoy!

  17. #17
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    I was all set on a refurb Kickr1 but this thread turned me away even for the 1 yr warranty and nice price. I'm waiting on at least a 20% coupon with no smart trainer exclusion from REI (not activejunky participant) or Performance Bike which is the only way I'd buy a Flux; the local return option. Just too many reports of Flux reliability in the first few months, and the 1 year return option would be golden for me to avoid enormous shipping expense. So I wait, and wait....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    I was all set on a refurb Kickr1 but this thread turned me away even for the 1 yr warranty and nice price. I'm waiting on at least a 20% coupon with no smart trainer exclusion from REI (not activejunky participant) or Performance Bike which is the only way I'd buy a Flux; the local return option. Just too many reports of Flux reliability in the first few months, and the 1 year return option would be golden for me to avoid enormous shipping expense. So I wait, and wait....
    Send me a pm - might be able to help shorten that wait

  19. #19
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    Spent far too much time on a Kickr and can go so far as to say it was OK...
    I'm most at home while riding rocks
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  20. #20
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    I originally had a KICKR Snap. Upgraded to a KICKR and it's amazing.
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  21. #21
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    I found a local Craigslist ad for a kickr with 11 SPD cassette, through axle adapter, and ant+/bt dongle for $700. He says about 200 miles and hardly used. Note that it's the original kickr. I feel like it's a good deal, but should I avoid the old version? I heard power meter failures are the thing that could go and be expensive to fix. Is there an easy way to test it? I've not used one before so I don't know if I can just pair my Garmin 520 and read stats or what the quick test would be.

    Advice appreciated!

  22. #22
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    They changed the way power is registered from V1 to V2. Apparently (no experience here, I have V2) there were some issues with V1 optical power readings. I believe an issue was the V1 optical sensor was delicate. They just released V3 that now support Boost-148 and their upcoming fork-mounted dynamic inclination adjustment(not backwards compatible, grrrr). But, 700 is definitely cheaper than 1200...

  23. #23
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    I own a 1. gen Kickr pretty much since it came out. Power accuracy was/is a joke, I actually use a dedicated powermeter on the bike to control the Kickr.

    They've changed the firmware recently which improved accuracy. Still, dealing with Wahoo on the accuracy issue was a very frustrating experience. Supposedly all my fault. Just after that gen 2 came where they stated/admitted the accuracy issues with gen 1. Lying company. Just something to be aware since having to deal with customer service is not too rare with these bike electronics. This is at least my experience, sometimes I feel like a beta tester.

    $700 ist still a lot of money, I'd go with a newer gen Kickr (though I must admit I wouldn't buy another Wahoo smart trainer based on my experience). Or go with the best in class, the Tacx Neo.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    $700 ist still a lot of money, I'd go with a newer gen Kickr (though I must admit I wouldn't buy another Wahoo smart trainer based on my experience). Or go with the best in class, the Tacx Neo.
    Best in class, you mean Computrainer?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post

    $700 ist still a lot of money, I'd go with a newer gen Kickr (though I must admit I wouldn't buy another Wahoo smart trainer based on my experience). Or go with the best in class, the Tacx Neo.
    I'm pushing my budget already @ $700. If I don't get this one, I'll either be waiting for a gen 2 for the same price which might be hard to find for a while, or I might be able to talk my local shop Into 25% off a tacx flux which would be about $722 after tax, plus I still need a cassette and ant+ dongle. Im not sure about the flux though, as it doesn't have a flywheel for roadfeel like the other direct mount trainers, and accuracy is still only 5%. Can't have it all, and have it cheap I guess .

  26. #26
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    Bought the kickr gen 1. Guess we will see, but I'm stoked.

  27. #27
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    Nice...am confident by now wahoo has decent solutions for any issues you may have that's been brought up about Gen-1...so for 700 you're psyched!

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