Direct drive turbo

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  • Direct drive turbo
  • Premier Icon frankconway

    I’m thinking about getting one; not bothered about Zwift etc so is a smart one worth the money?
    Recommendations for and experience of both smart and ‘non-smart’ please.
    Budget not a consideration.

    Smart one only worth it if you are doing zwift or something similar. I got one earlier this year, only got it in Feb so not used it much. It is a Tacx Flux 2 and just using the Tacx software for now. The Smart functionality is good…it simulates real world roads, you can upload your local rides, or do pre-set trading sessions for whatever your training goals are. I’m not fussed with Zwift from a social/competitive perspective, but like the data and training benchmarking these things offer over normal dumb trainers. They aint cheap though.

    Are they worth the money? Is anything in this industry worth the money? If you use it and you get the fitness gains from it then yes, it’s worth it. If it sits in your garage or ‘pain cave’ unused, then no. For me the litmus test is how much I’ll use mine over the winter, I don’t plan to use it much over the summer. If I don’t use it much over the winter I’ll get rid…they go for nearly new money on the usual selling sites.

    The one thing that might put me off using it is the softwares seem to be subscription only. I used mine with the free month voucher that came with it. Not sure its worth the subscription. Zwift is expensive, you’ve got to love your turbo sessions to subscribe – without the software they’re just expensive dumb trainers. Now I think of it I’m not sure why I bought one really.


    Happy with my Kickr after switching from dumb trainer and PM.

    Long story short I never felt the need for a smart trainer as I preferred keeping my power steady using form drills etc. which I thought offered an extra dimension to my training.

    But the trainer was getting a bit ragged and the PM giving lots of dropouts so I made the switch when a second hand unit came up.

    Really happy with it, had it just over 6 months now so pretty much a full winter of 3 to 4 sessions a week. I almost exclusively use TrainerRoad and the ERG keeps me bang on power freeing me up to work on drills without worrying about drifting off target.

    I’ve used in on FulGaz for less structured ‘free rides’ and it simulated gradients perfectly.

    Bottom line I guess is that if you’re using it for intervals or anything software based then go for it. If you train regularly indoors then you’ll probably be able to justify the cost?

    I wouldn’t go back anyway.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    Elite Direto here.  Very useful for ERG mode on some training intervals, but adds a much better dimension of realism to racing and riding on Zwift.  I race (outdoors) and train so the extra dimension is worth it, only you can decide if it’s worth the money.


    I’ve got a Direto sitting here at work in a box ready to set up later. I’ve been using a very basic trainer for a few months and really seeing a difference but wanted to move on to more structured training. It’s a lot of money but my rationale is that it’ll make all my bikes faster and the same money spread across my bikes would never make as much of a difference. You see there is always a way to justify anything when it comes to buying bike bits.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    If you don’t have a powermeter of some sort on the bike then they are worth it. If you do then it’s nice to have a direct drive, but very much a luxury purchase given the cost, and if you’re not interested in zwift.

    Erg mode that the others have mentioned is pretty good [although it can give me a bit of knee stress at times]. It simplifies the interval so you just have to pedal without concentrating on putting out the right power output, which makes it easier to train hard. It also enables precise power ramps at the top of an interval (in an over under, say) that are hard to do accurately (IME) if you’re on a normal turbo.

    The heavier flywheel (I have a kickr core) is meant to simulate the feel of road riding more, but can honestly say I’ve never noticed this once.

    Premier Icon Alex

    I switched from a Tacx Flow to a Flux. I was doing one of the Zwift 12 week programmes so ERG was pretty important. Mine tho has a whine (not it’s not me) so it’s going back which is a PITA, especially after the first one went back as well!

    I use mine exclusively on Zwift. It does make a great experience although I don’t ride on the road so no idea how it compares!


    I have a Direto and it’s excellent. There’s no way I’d be able to do turbo sessions without a smart turbo and Zwift (or similar) to control the session and keep my mind engaged.

    But, if you’re not using a training app to control the turbo trainer it doesn’t really make much sense to me.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog

    I’m thinking about getting one; not bothered about Zwift etc so is a smart one worth the money?

    We have a Kickr. It’s been great used with Sufferfest and Zwift where being able to control the power targets in ERG mode / change resistance automatically to make riding feel more realistic make it pretty much indispensable.

    You could use it with the Wahoo smartphone app to create your own power-based training sessions, I guess, but it feels a bit like investing in a super-swanky kitchen then just using it to re-heat takeaways. If you’re going to get a smart turbo, then you might as well use it to its potential.

    Have you tried Zwift or similar or are you just dismissing them out of hand?

    Bought a Direto ~16 months ago, for the pretty accurate integrated power meter, constant bike position when bike attached and the up to 14% gradient simulation. For the money, I couldn’t be happier in terms of a turbo purchase at ~£640 back then and you can get them for significantly less now in promotions.

    So much more interactive than my old basic Elite Volaire Mag, which maybe got used 20 times tops, the Direto has been used typically 3-5 times per week over the last two winters. The Direto was a big purchase for me, I was worried about spending that much on something that might become a clothes horse, but when I’m not ill it has helped me to keep ticking over during the cold/wet season.

    Don’t forget you get 25Km free trial on Zwift per month, which potentially could get you two FTP ramp tests up the Mountain8 course.

    Premier Icon frankconway

    BadlyWired – no, I haven’t tried Zwift or others so have probably dismissed them for no good reason.
    Thanks to you and the other posters for your comments – all helpful and informative.

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