Dumb Direct Drive vs. Smart Wheel-On Trainers

Hey all,

I’m using a dumb direct-drive trainer (CycleOps Silencer) but considering going smart with a Wahoo Kickr Snap (or the like).

Does anyone have any feedback on this? Wondering about road feel, weight, etc… The Silencer’s flywheel is slightly heavier, than the Snap’s but I’m thinking going from an old, high end direct drive to a newer, more affordable smart trainer will be somewhat of a lateral move.

Here’s a link to the [Silencer]( Review: Cyclops The Silencer direct drive magnetic trainer …https://road.cc › content › 139055-cyclops-silencer-dire…)

Thanks in advance!

@erfortunecabrera Two considerations:

(1) the Snap and other wheel on smart trainers need to be calibrated each time you ride - so you warm up the trainer and then calibrate. That might not be a big deal for you if you regularly do a warm-up prior to your workout.

(2) It is recommended that you install a trainer tire or at least don’t use the same tire on the wheel on trainer that you use outdoors. If you have a second wheel and maybe don’t mind swapping you cassette from your indoor to outdoor wheel or you don’t even use the same bike indoors and outdoors then this again might not be an issue.

I looked at the Snap but ultimately decided on the Kickr Core due to the above and have not regretted my decision.


Thanks! I guess my biggest debate is whether or not to upgrade from using a resistance toggle (on the dumb direct drive) to something that has some smarts. It is nice not having to calibrate, and honesty all the workouts I’ve done are totally doable but something like Norway might be an impossibility with my dumb trainer.

I’m already got a left-side power meter, so power readings aren’t a concern. The main priority would be the availability of ERG mode and a more portable form factor. Apt. living doesn’t allow me to keep the trainer out at all times, so I am moving the trainer and bike when I ride.

@erfortunecabrera Having ERG mode definitely saves a lot of brain damage on figuring out the gear changes. It also keeps you honest with respect to power - and that goes both ways meaning meeting the power targets and also not going well over them so that you extend yourself beyond what the workout is programmed to do.

Good luck with your decision - with either ERG or no ERG you can still meet your goals.

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I’m sure ERG mode is great, but in real life you have to change gear so level mode is training you to ride in real life. Unless your aspiration is E-racing I would stick with your direct drive dumb trainer and save up your pennies until you can afford to upgrade to a direct drive smart trainer.

Wheel-on trainers are a pain in the ass, calibrating, adjusting the tension knob, having to have a spare wheel with a trainer tyre on it (wheel, tyre, cassette, might add up to the difference between a Kickr Snap and a Core), punctures!


Two cents on the Snap - since that’s what I use.

All of the above is true, but I’ve found it neither a deal-breaker, nor particularly difficult. I drive my outdoor bike on it during the indoor season. I have an “indoor wheel” with a Vittoria slick tire and spare cassette. I do the warmup calibration before every ride, takes five minutes of spinning which I consider part of my warmup. I de-tension the trainer after every session then reset before my ride.

I feel like my bike is more “solid” with both wheels on, but that’s just feeling. I will probably get a direct-drive at some point - maybe when my Snap wears out, but I’m sure they have their own issues. Certainly for the amount of use I’ve gotten from my Snap, with no problems after I figured out initial setup and pairing, I would consider it a great value smart trainer, compared to the expense of the direct-drive options.


I really like my Kickr Snap. I’m not consistent as I should be about warming up and calibrating before the ride (hmmm, maybe I should be :thinking:) though I haven’t seen any adverse effects. I like the suggestion to train more often in Level mode to prepare for riding outside as it will be a tough transition to remember to brake and switch gears. I’m considering getting an inexpensive bike so that I can ride indoors all year around. Any suggestions for a dedicated trainer bike?

Dedicated indoor training bike?

A really cheap one, mine was only £250 new. It is heavy ( no worries about breaking it in an out of the saddle sprint), only has 2x8 gearing, I rode it outside a couple of times but the brakes were so awful it was dangerous, I took them off and threw them in the bin so I wasn’t tempted to try again. As long as you can match the position/fit of your outdoor bike it will be fine.


Thanks for the suggestions! I may go for an entry level road or fitness bike to keep the cost down.