Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart II users?

After listening to the latest pod cast someone once again mentions being able to hit higher wattage outdoors versus indoors using a mag based trainer. I wonder if that’s my issue too? I know the RnR Smart II uses a fluid based resistance system but I wonder how much better an off wheel trainer would be? I’m glad I bought the Kinetic trainer because the TR ad that it came with is what brought me here in the first place!

Would you recommend upgrading my Rock and Roller trainer with the Smart Control Power Unit? Or just start over and get a base model wheel off model from another brand? I thought I would love and use the Rock and Roll moving base more than I do, when I do get up and stand it just creaks and drives me nuts. I want to get back into more indoor riding and look forward to going into a base phase with a better indoor set up.

Thanks!

  • What is your cooling fan and motivation situation? These are sometimes lacking and lead to the lower performance.
  • No. I have seen far too many issues with that resistance unit. They were super bad in the initial release, and I have seen too little improvement since then to consider one of their units.

  • Different but related, their release of the new R1 smart trainer is equally plagued with issues.

  • IMHO, Kinetic is the best dumb trainer on the market. I have an original gray unit that I will keep forever. But I would not touch one of their electronic controlled smart trainers.

If you wanted to buy something to improve your R&R, you might consider the Kinetic Pro Fywheel. It’s not for everyone, but it adds a notable amount of momentum to the trainer, and that is something that makes a big difference for some riders.

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Adding a link to the related live question and comments from today’s podcast:

Summary

  1. Adequate Cooling

  2. Trainer Inertia (more flywheel inertia)

    • (Like the larger flywheel I shared above.)
  3. Motivation / Head space / Distraction / Music

Bonus: Gains in power carry inside and outside, even if there is a difference between the peak FTP.

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Like @mcneese.chad said, cooling is one issue, but let me raise another, and that is pedaling. Well, the fact that on a trainer you are constantly pedaling even during easy workouts. Outdoors it is exceedingly rare that you pedal for 1 hour straight — you have traffic light, cars, perhaps you need to wait for your riding buddies, etc. That really changes the demands you place on your system.

I started indoor training this May, and I realized how much tougher it made me outdoors. I can now ride close to my FTP for an hour, no problem at all. But this is something you have to train for mentally. @mcneese.chad suggested a few things, and I can only add to that. To me a combination of music and mental fortification helps. So when I do a 2x20 minute workout at FTP, I split each 20-minute intervals into 2-minute subintervals. After 2 minutes I make a change, be it a change of cadence or a change of body position (e. g. alternating between the aero hoods position and the drops). The right kind of music helps me, too.

Only after making sure it is none of these two things, which I find unlikely, should you think about changing trainers. At this stage, I wouldn’t opt for a dumb trainer like the Kurt Kinetic if you already own one. Instead have a look at e. g. Elite’s direct drive trainers (I have seen the Directo on sale). (For the record, I bought a fluid trainer, but I was on a budget and could pass on a $215 steal for an Elite direct drive fluid trainer.)

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Chad, thanks as always for the thoughtful response. I’m using an elite Lasko Fan per the recommendations on TR.

Ok - I will avoid that then!

I think motivation could be at play. I’m highly aware of the pedaling dynamic aspect. It seems like I know all the things but I can’t put it into practice personally. This is the same problem I have with the ramp test. When I do a hard indoor workout, it’s really hard. When I do the same workout type outdoors, it’s hard but I can at least do it. RPE and HR seem to be much higher indoors. Maybe I need two Lasko fans! I think the biggest thing might be my mental training, hard to get motivated to ride indoors when I have the time / willingness to ride outside. Even knowing all the advantages of riding indoors I really struggle to get on the trainer this time of year.

I see lots of people here with more than one.

  • I use two blower style fans at the front and one circular fan at the side/rear.
  • I also pull cold air from a window directly into the top fan and passively into the side fan.
    • This has a massive effect that improves cooling, especially for my hardest & hottest workouts.
  • And coincidently, the guys (Chad in particular) on the podcast finally tried and like having a fan located at the rear. I have done this for years. Placed properly, you get good air on your back which is a HUGE surface that collects sweat, and leads to improved evaporation cooling.

I think this is a huge opportunity for you.

  • This is a big hurdle and may be a bit different of a solution for each person.
  • Experiment with music, movies, ride videos (race or POV), games like Zwift, a picture of your nemesis or whatever it takes to keep you in the moment and right mindset.
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Yep. Zwift helped me a ton, but the largest thing (for me) was to start with short workouts. 30 minutes, 2x a day. Then increasing the time. Now, 3hr workouts are not a problem for me. Take the TR workouts and split them.

Sometimes, jumping right into 1hr workouts is a bit too much, and TR pushes the time immediately, especially if you come in to indoor cycling with higher volume and trying to maintain and build that. I couldn’t tolerate that, and it was extremely hard to adopt TR.

@ibaldwin

Do you use a power meter, or are you using the Kurt Kinetic InRide? It was not clear to me. If the latter, I would invest in a power meter.

Also, I liked the feel of the RR and the pro flywheel, before I switched to the Kickr 1 years ago. I preferred the feel to the Kickr, to be honest, but the Kickr had advantages (tires, adjusting the knob in the back every ride, leaving a static trainer setup).

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Thanks, I think I will try some of these different things soon. I also think it would be easier for me to do easier endurance type of work indoors just to get used to it again. I think jumping right back into VO2 intervals as really tough mentally.

I use a Cinch based power meter on both of my bikes. I think I may try that flywheel that you have both recommended.

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I’m looking at the bigger flywheel now and notice the comments are generally: feels better, maybe even easier and a more realistic feel. When they say easier I don’t think they mean RPE… any chance you could speak to how the two differ. At the end of the day it’s a $100 well spent if it gets me riding inside more frequently. thanks again!

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it carries more momentum, and the pedal rotation feels more natural to a road ride. the smaller flywheel requires an earlier effort in the pedal rotation, and it feels a bit numb as the torque needed is “off”, and also spins up (accelerates) easier. It’s like riding a few gears lower.

basically, with the flywheel add-on, starting from a stop takes a bit more power. accelerating takes more power. slowing down takes longer (but you can gently apply the brakes).

i’d suggest not using the pro flywheel at first. see how it feels to you.

the pro flywheel is all about “the feels”

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Cool, I figured it was based around feel more than anything. In other words, my issue is largely mental and I’m going to need to work through that eventually.

That said, Saturday’s attempted workout, Augusta was another fail. After the first interval I pulled the plug and did an hour of endurance ala Baxter -2 instead. On Sunday I pushed the Augusta work out outdoors and nailed it on the mountain bike. That was a much needed mental boost. With my last A race of the season in 4 weeks I’ll continue to do most of my work outdoors and will look forward to getting in the basement miles again when the weather fails…