So… Ye olde bkool pro had finally bitten the dust. It has succumbed after ~25k virtual Km, no idea how many virtual vertical m or watts.
But it is toast. Looks like I’ve literally burnt out the guts.
So… I need a new trainer. I have my old mtb on there with trainer tyres. So I could use a wheel on model, but I’d like to upgrade to something that doesn’t have me shredding mountains of rubber every ride.
The mtb has an 8 speed cassette.
What trainers are you using, do you like them? Are they reliable, responsive? How has it stood the test of time? Noise? What is the vendor support like? How easy would it be to adjust for multiple riders?(My wife also suffers).
I’m doing up to 400Km / week, Max around 14 hours.
I found bkool support terrible, which is one of the reasons I ceased my subscription, and won’t look at their trainers (I’m aware they sold the trainer business).
Bkool was noisy, I expect most on the market today should be much quieter.
I’d rather pay a bit more and get something a bit better - we use it a lot, I want it to work well and be good for a long time, with a lot of hard hours in there.
I’m in Australia if that makes a difference for models etc.
I’m using an Elite Direto X direct drive trainer. I’ve been using it daily for just over a year now, so it has clocked up thousands of virtual miles without any issues.
What I really like about this trainer is the accuracy and consistency of its power measurement. It uses an optical torque sensor to measure power directly, which is fairly unique in this field. It is certainly very consistent against the crank based power meter on my bike and every time I do a spin down (usually around once a month) it gives exactly the same calibration.
As for ride feel, it’s okay, nothing special. It is pretty quiet too and most of the noise comes from my bike’s drivetrain. It also works pretty well in both ERG mode and level mode.
I really have nothing to complain about with this trainer, so I would certainly recommend it. There is a newer even more powerful XR version now, but I don’t feel any need to upgrade mine.
The new Kickrs seem to have overcome the issues that beset the Kickr18s so would be well worth a look
My wife and I both have Kickr18s and they perform well, are reasonably quiet and you have the option to add a Kickr Climb for added realism/engagement
I’ve only had my Kickr Core since Oct of last year, but I love it. I will probably eventually change out the cassette for something that has a few more teeth for climbing, but otherwise it’s been great for me.
I have been using a Tacx Flux for years. I keep hoping it’ll die so I can upgrade to a Neo. But no, it continues to perform with quiet, responsive reliability.
I’ve been using Inside Ride E-motion Smart rollers for years now. Very happy with them.
I’ve had one electronics unit failure, and the support from Inside Ride was excellent. They shipped me a new unit pretty much straight away, and I returned the old one once I’d changed it over. No mechanical issues at all.
Changing for a different bike is instant if the bike wheelbases are the same, if not, it’s about a 20 second job to move the front roller so that it matches the bike wheelbase.
The ERG mode responsiveness is good. No mechanical issues. Not silent, but not too noisy either.
I’d strongly consider getting a trainer bike for as much as you’re using it. I love to spend other people’s money though, so if that’s out of the budget…
I have a first gen cycleops/Saris Hammer (H1) that has been doing well. My buddy got the H3, it is much quieter and seems to handle 15 sec sprints in ERG mode better than mine. I’ve had no complaints with my H1, other than the noise occasionally waking my wife up at 4am…
All that being said, if I were to get a direct drive, the trax Neo is the twinkle in my eye. Dual sided power, no calibration, rumbles on the cobbles in “other” training platforms… it seems like the winner to me!
Naturally, for all things tech, when in doubt, seek out dc rainmaker!
For direct-drive smart trainers, I’ve used a Saris H3 and a Kickr Core.
Responsiveness: The Kickr Core is a bit snappier in erg mode, but both are pretty quick - I’m talking 1-1.5 seconds for large power increases on the Kickr Core instead of 2-3 seconds on the H3 (which also translates to erg mode being a bit more unforgiving on the Kickr Core if you don’t stay on top of power increases). On large power and cadence DECREASES, the H3’s heavy flywheel spins freely for a long time in erg mode; going from sprinting at 110RPM to recovering at 85RPM might leave you freewheeling for a good 10-15 seconds before you can actually engage the drivetrain again.
Smoothness: I prefer the ride feel of the H3, though the Kickr Core is by no means bad on that front. The heavier H3 is just a bit more smooth and solid feeling.
Sound: Both are very quiet - the drivetrain sound and my grunting at the end of tough intervals are the loudest parts of using them.
Support: Wahoo support is great - when the first Kickr Core I ordered had a rhythmic ‘clunk’ sound to it right out of the box, they replaced it as soon as they saw the video. I had to send the old unit back before receiving the new one, which meant I was without it for a couple weeks, but that’s just a fact of international shipping. The other times I’ve had to deal with Wahoo support (unrelated to the Kickr Core) have all been handled quickly and helpfully as well. I haven’t had to deal with Saris support yet.
Durability: Can’t really say as I’ve had them for less than a year, but after that warranty replacement above, neither model has had any issues after months of regular use and I have no reason to believe either of them is going to pack it in anytime soon.
All things equal, given a choice I’d pick the H3 for the smooth ride feel and solid build, but would be perfectly happy riding either of them and the Kickr Core can often be found at a lower price.
One Australian model I came across while shopping is the JetBlack Volt. I’ve seen decent impressions of that one, though I stopped looking after getting the Kickr Core and can’t offer any personal experience. If you can find one locally it might be worth checking out - there’s something to be said for local dealers and manufacturer support.
Oddly enough I’m not convinced about dc rainmaker on this one, because I read a coupe of reviews that he did on the bkool platform - and his experience did not gel with mine at all. Tbh I think he got the "oh you’re a famous international influencer " treatment from the support team, whereas I took 9 months to get a vaguely sensible response that showed the person had actually read and understood my question. And a further month before the actual issue was addressed, “sorta”.
Wahoo support has been good in my experience, second only to the minions. But the minions are a breed unto themselves
Tacx flux (latest model - S?) has been a nice upgrade from Tacx Flow (not smart). Lots of horror stories on the internet but fingers crossed mine’s been fine. Quiet, steady bluetooth, response times for rapid changes in power good enough for me. Takes a 10 spd cassette set up. Hope you find something!
I’ve had my Kickr v5 for several months now. I also got the Ethernet adapter for direct connect. It’s worked out beautifully for me. What’s also really nice about the Kickr is the three BLE connections it supports.
So… A whacky development. I replaced the 5m usb cable just in case… Because it’s $30 and not over $1000 or several thousand… And… Everything is back to normal. Well almost. I can hear that “something” inside is wearing out. Sounds like bearings wearing out. So what I’m going to do is summarise what people have said so far, put it in a google sheet or similar and that way everyone can get a feel for what the community are using, happiness etc… Might be late next week depending on how crazy work is…
Don’t get a Elite Suito. Hardware is good, but software is hopeless. Firmware unstable, lots of bluetooth issues and customer support barely speaks english. I’d go for Taxc or Wahoo for next trainer