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  • Smart trainer questions – how cheap before not worth having?
  • Premier Icon ferrals
    Free Member

    Idly thinking about smart trainers. My turbo is getting a bit rattly and I’s like to get a bit more motivated to work more structured going forward. I’d be looking at getting something to use in erg mode with trainerroad.

    First of all – how cheap before they get to be too poor quality to be any better than a dumb turbo? Any recommendations?

    Secondly – will any device that works with TR be able to control the trainer? I use my ipad 4 or iphone SE with TR, guess as they can both transmit via bluetooth should be OK?

    Ideally it would be nice to have a direct drive but they are likely out of my price range. Are they that much better than wheel on turbos? If I did find one within price range, one thing I’m unsure about is whether they would take a 9 speed cassette, typically they say comaptible with all cassettes but I thought 8/9/10 and 11s cassettes were different lengths? Any idea?

    Premier Icon downhillfast
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    Tacx Flow 2240 was under £200 at Halfords, has served me well for 2 winters of Zwift.

    Tacx Flux is a cheaper direct drive trainer, has an Edco free hub body so takes sram /shimano/Campag cassettes, also has spacers for 9/10/11 speed use (most direct drive trainers also have these features).

    Main difference is that the more expensive the trainer the higher wattage it’ll measure, most are more than adequate for us mere mortals though. I notice the wheel-on trainers can be fractionally slow to respond to inclines on zwift, a direct drive should be quicker to adjust to gradient. Direct drives will also be quieter to use.

    I’m happy with my tacx Flow, its only used in the winter months. If it broke tomorrow, and I had money to spend, I’d be looking at a direct drive trainer I reckon…  But as a first step into smart trainers I think £2-300 is about right.

    Oh, and most smart trainers are now Bluetooth BLE and Ant+ compatible. I use an ipad with my tacx. So yes TR/Zwift etc will control the resistance for you.

    Premier Icon thecaptain
    Free Member

    Big thing about direct drive is (lack of) noise, plus it doesn’t knacker your tyre which may or may not be an issue for you. We got a kickr core recently and love it. A bit more money than you’re thinking of though. That was an upgrade from a ancient fan trainer, difference is night and day (but an order of magnitude in price of course).

    With DD you can generally space the cassette to make it fit, ours is compatible with various axle lengths too.

    Premier Icon jam bo
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    The Halfords one at £200 is just about ok.  Bit flimsy and will struggle a bit if your an animal knocking out 1000W intervals.

    Premier Icon feed
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    Some of the cheaper “smart” trainers such as Elite Muin are “semi smart”. They can send data to the app but the app can’t control the trainer resistance. A wheel on smart trainer is probably more suited to you than a direct drive semi smart.

    Premier Icon lyrikal
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    Would a kickr snap version 1 be worth £300? Guy local to here selling out his stock? I have a Magnus but I’m tempted to try one

    Premier Icon tomlevell
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    Isn’t the Muni notorious for making power numbers up?

    I dived in at the ~£600 direct drive (Elite Direto) partly to ensure motivation was there due to the expense so I had to give it a proper go. Could never do dumb trainers for long. With Zwift and TR I’m very glad I did as I’d be probably looking at an upgrade now from the wheel on type. I could easily be accused of being soft now and hiding indoors in winter but I’ll claim it’s lack of time :0)

    Premier Icon tomd
    Full Member

    I got a Cycleops Magnus in September as my first foray into smart trainers after a few years with a magura magnetic one. It was just over £300 at Halfords with the BC discount and an offer on, but now available for under £300.

    It seemed to get quite good ratings as a decent entry level full smart trainer.

    I’ve been using every week since then. Feels solid, reasonably realistic feel and the smart functionality works really well. However, now I know how much I “enjoy” it I’m sort of wishing I’d paid a bit more and got a direct drive. Just for that extra solid feel and to eliminate any lag and tyre / roller issues.

    So I can definitely say £300 gets you one that’s worth having and works consistently well.

    Premier Icon ferrals
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    Thanks for the various sugestions – i’ll look into them.

    I’ve been using a dumb trainer for a few years, but my issue is with 9sp cassette i’m having to vary my cadence out of natural comfort to hit the power numbers TR is suggesting. I find this massively impacts percieved effort, hence the desire for a smart trainer.

    One thing I wonder about is whether it would be less hassle to switch from indoors to outdoors with a direct drive. At the moment I have to switch rear wheel and then re-adjust brake every time i switch, i guess with direct drive the re-adjustment wouldnt be necessary. When it gets lighter I want to both turbo and commute so switching easily will be good.

    Premier Icon lunge
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    Some of the cheaper “smart” trainers such as Elite Muin are “semi smart”. They can send data to the app but the app can’t control the trainer resistance. A wheel on smart trainer is probably more suited to you than a direct drive semi smart.

    This is true. However, it’s a good trainer, very quiet and works fine on Zwift if that works.

    Premier Icon downhillfast
    Free Member

    Re: switching wheel…   I use the same wheel and tyre (no trainer tyre as noise isn’t an issue for me, and tbh I’ve noticed negligible tyre wear using the Conti GP4000 on the trainer). Only thing I do is swap out the Tacx quick release for a Shimano one, and tbh I’ve forgotten to do it plenty of times and just ridden the bike with the Tacx trainer qr fitted (it’s just shaped nicely to fit into the trainer axle mounts is all).

    So for me, a direct drive would be more hassle lol! But either way it’s only a 60 second job at most.

    Premier Icon Andy
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    If anyone wants a brand new Tacx Flow 2240 and are near Reading please PM me. Cant stand the things, so will never use it. Seem to buy them every 3 years, use twice and get rid of them. This one hasn’t even made it out of the box 🙁

    Premier Icon AD
    Full Member

    I bought this one for Zwift : https://www.halfords.com/cycling/turbo-trainers/trainers/elite-novo-smart-turbo-trainer

    Its been pretty good so far. I had to also buy a cheap generic ant+ dongle from eBay (£10-£12).  As above I suspect the direct drives are better but this was a lot cheaper (particularly with BC discount too)!

    Premier Icon ianpv
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    I’ve got a flux now, and it is ok, but the reliability is terrible. The smart-ness is good, but the feel is nowhere near as good as my old Kurt road machine (which I’m keeping for when the flux inevitably breaks)

    Premier Icon n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    Bought an Elite Mag Volare (IIRC) in 2006, barely got any use out of it, got rid of it with my Tricross Singlecross on here a couple of years ago.

    After buying a new road bike in 2017 and getting sucked in to improving my times up hills, I took a massive gamble last winter and bought a Direto. Paid for Zwift Jan-Apr to do frequent hill climb sessions of ~60mins during Beast Of The East and had a great outdoor season, improving times up every cat 3/4 hill I had a “proper” go at compared to 2017 and seeing the benefit of training by power indoors I fitted a power meter to the bike for outdoors.

    Didn’t touch the Direto once BOTE finally went until a few weeks ago, but the shortening days; chilly temps; lots of rain; lot of storms etc. got me back into the routine of climbing virtual hills. I miss going up Beacon/Old Winchester/ Butser hills two or three times a week, but it does protect the road bike from the winter grime and if I’m organised enough, I could always pop up there on the Frankenbike Wazoo.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Hush Puppies. Not cheap but hard to beat for comfort and durability as smart trainers go…

    Premier Icon GHill
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    I upgraded from the Tacx Flow to the Tacx Flux and while I appreciate the direct drive most of the time, it’s not been very reliable. Currently got a support ticket open with Tacx to see if they can do anything about the noise and resistance slips. The owners group on Facebook is full of people moaning about them.

    If you’re just after a bit of winter training/keeping fit then something simpler like the Flow might suit you better.

    Premier Icon ferrals
    Free Member

    I bought this one for Zwift : https://www.halfords.com/cycling/turbo-trainers/trainers/elite-novo-smart-turbo-trainer

    Its been pretty good so far. I had to also buy a cheap generic ant+ dongle from eBay (£10-£12).  As above I suspect the direct drives are better but this was a lot cheaper (particularly with BC discount too)!

    This looks good – any idea if its trainerroad compatible? I guess it should be but as a halfords special I’m unsure as its not listed on the TR website

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    Been using my Tacx T2240 for about 2 1/2 years (since breaking my spine). I do use it with Zwift though – allows me a couple of hours training every weak when I might not have gone out (I used to cycle commute, but that ended up with far too many broken bones on a regular basis, the spine being a step too far).

    Premier Icon velocipede
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    I’ve got a Turbo Muin with the Misouro B+ sensor. I paid £290 for it in a Halfords sale a couple of years ago.

    Works great & I use it with Zwift quite happily. For me, the accuracy of the absolute power number doesn’t really matter as I know from ride to ride how I’m doing relatively speaking, so that’s fine. Where it does cause a problem though is that I ride quite a lot of Zwift races Zwift marks this Turbo as “ZPower” which basically means you’re DQ’d from some events…..it’s not really a problem and I suppose not worth spending £2-300 extra just to overcome this…..apart from this niggle, I’m quite happy with it….

    Premier Icon AD
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    ferrals – I honestly don’t know whether or not the Elite is Trainer Road compatible – I would be surprised if it wasn’t but I have only used it for Zwift up to now.

    Premier Icon TiRed
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    After riding my KICKR I would not go back to wheel based trainers. The value is much greater than the much cheaper dumb Tacx that sleeps next to it unloved.

    The snap isn’t bad for £300 (about the refurbished price on their web page) but I would genuinely splash out on the Core. It’s silent, accurate and will make Zwift a lot of fun. You don’t see many direct drive trainers used. Think about that.

    Premier Icon ferrals
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    Cheers TiRed – out of my budget at the moment, but having read a fair few reviews etc. I have come to the conclusion that, as my budget was really just the Tacx flow or the halfords elite novo, until I can afford a ‘good’ smart trainer I’m just as well sticking with the existing dumb trainer, otherwise as people said above, in 6 months I’ll be wondering about something better! Seems from the reviews I’ve read, with the cheaper ones you still have to be changing gear to maintain the specified power from TR in hard intervals which is what i was primarily after avoiding

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)

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