- Direct drive trainers, how much better?
Due to kids and time constraints most of my riding at the moment is indoors.
I’ve got a basic smart trainer at the moment that can adjust resistance through zwift / bkool but I find two problems with it – first I can’t get out of the saddle really especially if the resistance is ramped up, as the wheel contact relies on my weight on the roller so if I stand up I get slippage especially on steep climbs.
Secondly as I can’t ride out of the saddle much I find on longer sessions I get the old numbness down there. Don’t think it’s bike set up as I can ride ok for hours outdoors, I think it’s just not being able to stand up much indoors.
So what are direct drive trainers like compared to tyre / roller ones?
I know they are £££ more, but I quite enjoy indoor riding so it will get used.Posted 3 years ago
I don’t see what you mean about the standing up thing – surely your rear axle’s fixed and the roller is then pressed onto it ?
That said, I have a DD turbo and I like it a lot. I like the idea that there’s no error in the connection and that it’s consistently repeatable every time (zwift whinged at me a few times for slippage when I had a roller type). Can’t really compare though, as the new one is much posher and also is controllable – either/both of which might be what’s making the differencePosted 3 years ago
There’s no screw to pressure the roller onto the tyre, the contact relies on rider weight on the saddle. Basically the arms holding the quick release aren’t supported so if you remove the bike they just collapse down onto the floor. If I stand up and put a lot of power down, especially if resistance is cranked up then as I’m not weighting onto the roller I get slippage.
There’s a few trainers with this design that don’t actually force the roller afainst the tyre with screw adjusterPosted 3 years ago
How long do you spend on the turbo? I never feel the need to stand up- maybe I sit up after each interval but then I hardly ever spend more than 1 hour on the turbo at a time.
You don’t need a direct drive turbo to be able to stand up. As scardypants says even a basic one that holds the rear axle whilst the roller is pressed against the wheel with a screw will allow you to stand up.
Mind you if you have the finds for a direct drive trainer then go for it. My next turbo is going to be direct drive.Posted 3 years ago
I have a Neo which is direct drive & very solid & can handle 1kW+ out of the saddle no problem. It also has a bit of sideways give which helps a lot. Then again I could say exactly the same about my previous trainer, a KK rock n roll, perhaps the fact it’s a massive lump of iron helpedPosted 3 years ago
Take your hands off the handlebars and sit up straight, that should help relieve numbnessPosted 3 years ago
Tacx Vortex here and I can stand on mine. Zwift, Trainer Road, Sufferfest. Has small wheel which you adjust the resistance with a test on a ap to check spin down. 900w motor so way more than I can push. Never had a slipping wheel and Ive done 100km on Zwift 90km on Sufferfest Thin Air – mega climbs for 2.5 hours. No issues at 300w FTP.
Basically roller ones are good and cost @ a third of the price of direct drive. Some direct drives are a lot more accurate about 2%.
Are direct drive better? Yes but are they for you? Depends on how deep your pockets are and will you really use that extra bit of accuracy? I suspect for the vast majority of us the answers no.
Tacx vortex £300
What turbo you using?Posted 3 years ago
There is of course the benefit of not needing a spare wheel or faffing about changing tyres when using direct drive too.
I’m interested in this too and recomendations for a good dd one that doesn’t cost the earth. Moon on a stick?Posted 3 years ago
You don’t *need* a spare wheel or special tyre. I just use my normal wheel. In the context of the price difference between a direct drive and wheel-on turbo, a bit of extra tyre wear isn’t a big deal. Many (including me) have tried turbo-specific tyres and found no noticeable difference in noise level or slippage (though others seem to).
I’d consider a direct drive one because it takes some variability out of the equation – no warming up of tyre / roller to worry about, no variations in tyre pressure / clamping force. I’d consider it to be slightly *more* hassle though – would have to pop the wheel off and put the bike on rather than just wang the bike on. That’s only a few extra seconds though.Posted 3 years ago
Oh and if you want smart then the best value direct drive one seems to be the Tacx Flux. The Wahoo Kickr and Tacx Neo are quite a bit more money. Check out DC Rainmaker’s reviews (and comments below them)…Posted 3 years ago
I d avoid the Flux like the plague…its had alsorts of problems plague it since its launch. A well known Zwifter (amongst the Zwift community at least) GPLama has a YouTube channel…take a look at his issues and also check out the Tacx support forums. It makes grim reading for the Flux (at least so im told, I don’t have one so not really that bothered!)Posted 3 years ago
You’re right, I’ve now taken my own advice and read through the comments on DC Rainmaker’s review. I have to say I don’t have much confidence in Tacx. My Vortex Smart is a bit flakey (I couldn’t be arsed to send it back to Germany, so partly my fault that it’s not sorted). Tacx Neo has had QC problems, and now Flux seems to have a pretty high failure rate. Right now I’d be more inclined to go with a Kickr than a Neo or Flux simply in the hope that it’s more likely to actually work as intended. Bit mad on things that are so expensive.Posted 3 years ago
Always thought the BKool was an odd design and that when really going for it the back wheel would likely skip off the roller. Anyway, a non-direct drive turbo with a roller that pushes onto a fixed back wheel will sort this.
Direct drive generally does feel a bit better IMO but there are other factors in the construction of the turbo that have a greater influence over feel. Direct drive is nice though as I don’t have to worry about clamping force or tyre pressure.
If you want Smart and Controlled you do pay a bit of a premium for direct drive, your cheapest option seems to be the Flux (~700 quid). Heard the bad press but was talking to my LBS and they’re selling them as quickly as they can get them in and they’ve not had any back (yet!) Just buy it from somewhere you’re confident in being able to handle returns (it’s why I got my Neo from my LBS!)
If on a budget for a smart controlled turbo I’d just get a decent rear wheel driven one (e.g. the Kurt Kinetic or maybe a Bushido.) Seem to be a few happy Kickr Snap owners over on the Zwift thread too.Posted 3 years ago
Do direct drive trainers not drift, then? .Posted 3 years ago
Using a powermeter with the turbo now and having to steadily raise cadence over an interval, which is irritating on a hard effort. Not irritating enough to drop serious money on a new turbo, tbh, but would be good to know what the options are.
Do direct drive trainers not drift, then?
Mag turbos usually drift, doesn’t matter if they are rear wheel or direct drive. Resistance mechanism is independent of how it’s driven. Main difference for a direct drive is that instead of the flywheel and resistance unit being connected to a roller that gets clamped onto the rear wheel, it’s connected usually via a belt and a pulley from the rear axel (this often allows gearing so that the flywheel spins quicker for a given speed.) Other than the Neo, the Neo is very different.Posted 3 years ago
If you can stretch I would say go direct drive , I have the Kickr, having had tyre on turbos in the past. Its a whole new ball game, a huge improvement. Everything feels far more ‘planted’ if that makes sense. The response from software also seems a bit better – such as gradient changes in Zwift.Posted 3 years ago
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