Annoying trainers

I have no doubt this has been done before but I rarely come on here and whilst a search reveals lots of similar problems, I can’t find an answer…

I had a nice Tacx Bushido which I rarely used, in fact, it had blown up with a big bang (thought the tyre had blown!) and a cloud of white smoke but continued working just not recording power so I had an old powertap deployed for that, worked a treat when I first started using TrainerRoad but a bit of a bodged solution and eventually, TR lost the ability to control the power so I presume some more parts had failed.

I splashed out on a lovely Wahoo Kickr which was OK apart from tediously needing calibrating but then it started the famous clicking. A bit of back and forth and eventually got a nice refund. In total, that lasted about 18 months.

Annoyed at the Clickr I went back to Tacx with a Neo2. Lovely bit of kit, no calibration issues, connected immediately every time… then, last night, the thing packs up… no resistance and flashing power light… Turns out the thing has overheated because the fans are buggered. Might or might not be covered under warranty but I guess I will find out Monday.

Each time these things fail, I end up not training for about 10 days which is really, really annoying but not half as annoying as having to deal with warranty claims or the expense of buying a new one. It’s not really like I can spend a bit more money and get a really good one that will last as these two are kind of top of the range? I read reviews but they’re of no use, the tester has moved on to the next new model after a week and I can hardly buy a new one at that sort of rate! Does anybody do long term reviews???

I’m shocked they are so bad tbh! I mean, why put a shitty little computer fan in a unit when you’ve got a big old flywheel being driven all the time it is in use? Put a fan blade on the edge of the flywheel and you have indestructable air movement. Why use a shitty keyway with an aluminium pulley on a steel shaft? peopel have been bolting pulleys to shafts for years without any problem!

So what do other people do? Is there a trainer that can be used daily and lasts for more than 18 months? Do you have a spare trainer for when your main one fails? Is there a trainer that can actually be maintained with readily available spares? Or do I really have to accept that a trainer only lasts 18 months? Would a cheaper trainer be more reliable - I know that sounds backwards!

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I guess you had bad luck. Maybe I would go for a proven product which has been on the market for longer time, can be bought even on sale, and would not go for the latest product which yet will show its real nature. I had a Kickr 17 since 2018 and no problems at all.

I guess so! Still, I felt better for the rant! I’m not being fair to the Bushido (which is why I went back to Tacx) it was years old when it finally died completely.

I assume you can’t now get the kikr 17, maybe the Kickr Core is an option, not heard much about them failing, so long as they haven’t brought out some new fragile generation!

I don’t see why it is so hard to test these things and get these faults resolved before releasing them and why make them so they are seemingly unmaintainable?! To sell more I guess!

I hear ya. They trainer market sucks. A $1000 piece of equipment should last a decade and should be able to be repaired and rebuilt as needed. With these trainers we get no exploded parts diagrams, minimal spare parts, or no spare parts.

What I’m doing is taking power from my bike power meter for all training so that all my power readings will be consistent no matter what trainer I’m on. I have a 2017 Kickr that I bought used from a teammate. With all its clicks and whirs I can’t say that I have a ton of confidence in it. Maybe they all sound like that?

Anyway if it dies I can switch to my old Tacx vortex or even my 30 year old Minoura mag trainer that is still hanging in the garage. I was even thinking of motion rollers if it dies. Power though will be consistent as it will still come from my power meter.


There’s a learning curve with any newish manufactured product, and that curve is steeper when the product is electromechanical, because you have two engineering departments under the same roof, attempting to collaborate.

Companies making products in a new market have to juggle several things at once. With each iteration, there’s the expectation of performance and cost cutting improvements, all while scaling up production quantities and responding to competition. Production ramp-up includes internal manufacturing/assembly expansion (new equipment, training new hires, etc), as well as expansion of the supply chain. It’s common to have multiple vendors for the same component, and that can open its own can of worms.

Things will settle down eventually with smart trainers, but it’s still a bit of the wild west, and the huge spike in demand from Covid lockdowns sure didn’t help in that regard.

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Totally agree with should last a decade!

New market? You’re kidding right? Smart trainers started appearing in about 2008 and “electronic” trainers were around long before that. .Covid gets blamed for a lot of things but shit designed unreliable turbo trainers is pushing it! Covid wasn’t even a thing when I bought my Neo…

There seemingly no expectation in reliability and I for one have seen no cost cutting, indeed the neo 2t is £200 more than my neo 2 was…

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Just give up and buy some rollers.



I honestly wonder if these companies never expected people to ride their trainers hundreds of hours per year. We are even seeing folks that prefer to ride zwift than ride outside.

To be fair prices have come down. For $800, you get what used to cost $1200. The lack of repairability is still troubling.

If I buy another smart trainer I’m going to figure out a way to get a solid 2 year warranty on it. I’m thinking that I’d buy it at REI (points back and generous return policy), and use a credit card that doubles the warranty.

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Your first paragraph, 100%! That was actually exactly what I was thinking when I posted…

Back in the old days, they’d sell the things, expect people to ride them a few times and get bored. Then along came Trainer Road and the like and doing literally hundreds of hours a year suddenly became a thing.

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My gen 1 Elite Drivo was purchased in November and first use was on December 31, 2016. So far I have clocked 918 hours and 53 minutes (918:52:55 recording & 916:10:14 moving) on it without any issues.

The way it should be!

Googled them. Seem to crop up a lot in threads where people are moaning about kikr and tacx, wanting something more reliable!

As soon as I get one though…

I had an old fluid trainer and a set of rollers as back up to my trainer…

Although i haven’t been training a lot lately and have no real reason to have all that ahahah

I got my tacx vortex with an issue, as a 2nd owner, used…and they still sent me the replacement part!!!
Unscrew this and that, screw back this and that and boom trainer running like new.

But now i want direct drive :frowning: lol
And hearing all the horror stories, it makes it kinda hard to fork out all that money for someone that might not be reliable

Some of them probably will last a decade. Others won’t. Chances are most of them will be obsolete by then anyway. This buys the manufacturers some time to get it right. If they don’t, they’re just leaving the door wide open for one manufacturer to disrupt the industry and make a bullet-proof, rebuildable trainer with a limited lifetime warranty and sweep the entire market.

When my Tacx Neo OG’s aluminum freehub body died, I bought a replacement and it was made out of steel with a larger bearing. So they are addressing issues here and there, perhaps not as quickly as one might hope.

Yes, smart trainers are a new market segment. It’s not about when they first appeared. It’s about when mass adoption began.

As for Covid, it’s not an “excuse”, just the (not so pretty) reality of what happens when demand far exceeds supply.

Had a Magnus M2 wheel on trainer which I’d used for almost 2 years, loved the way it handled resistance changes, sprints and general feel. I didn’t use it for power, I used it alongside my power meter and the thing just worked!

The only faff for me was moving my power meter from bike to bike so I’d always hankered after a direct drive and a power accuracy so close to my PM that I could just use that. After nearly 2 years the Magnus suddenly stopped working so off it went to warranty, out came my Jet fluid pro.

Then 2 weeks later I won a KICKR Core. Great!

Plus point, it was rock solid, felt really good being sat on it. Problem was the power was 10% out from my PM so I sent it back, new one came, same result.

Fine I can handle that but the thing itself was just terrible, hard efforts the power seem to jam on or not be consistent etc. I was guessing at its reaction each time.

Net result, sold it. Sadly I got a refund for the Magnus which was only half what it’s not available at.

£850 in the bank, currently using a non smart trainer with my PM. At this point in time I don’t actually need a smart trainer so not a problem. Just really deflated the KICKR Core didn’t work out.

Same here. Drivo 1 (the version that looks like a Star Wars walker). It’s not new, it’s not sexy. But is mostly quiet and just bangs out the hours, and hours, and hours. Likely, I have 1000+ hours on it by now.

I’ve had my Elite Direto for about two and a half years and it’s been ok. Not bad enough to ditch it and buy a new one and it still gets the job done. I’ve fried two of the computer boards but Elite sent free replacements so I just had a few weeks off the trainer. I’ve had some small problems and quirks here or there. It doesn’t handle a big front gear but I don’t have a problem riding with a small front. And it’s not the quietest. Not crazy loud but not silent by any means. Considered upgrading a few times but can’t justify dropping $800-1000 when my trainer works.

My solution to dealing with a broken trainer was to buy some Feedback Sports Overdrive rollers. They’re not too expensive and have a ton of uses. I usually leave them in my car so I can use them pre-race to warm up. They’re also great for travel and I take them on trips along with my bike and will set them up in my hotel room. And when my trainer bonks I have a backup way to train. I’d recommend them in a heartbeat.

Computrainers can last for a long time. I have been training with them since 1996, bombproof. I use a floor fan to keep load generator cool, just as a precaution. The hardware, load generator, stand can last up to 25 years or longer.

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Yes, exactly. If they were designed to last 25 years then they’d not be failing at 18 months! The failures on both my trainers should have been sorted during pre-production testing. If I do an hour a day that’ means they failed at 550 hours so if continuously tested, that sort of “mileage” would be accomplished in 3 weeks. Hardly a big overhead…

The trouble is if nobody cares how long they last then then there is no point in the manufacturers bothering to test them properly, in fact, it is in their best interests for the things to fail so they can sell another one!

Now, where can I buy rollers? :slight_smile:


I have a direct drive non-smart trainer from before I purchased my Kickr Core. I use it when visiting family and keep it around just incase my Kickr eats it. Might be worth having a lower cost wheel-on or direct drive trainer or something like that sitting around that can bridge the gap if your smart trainer implodes.

I’ve been getting funny noises from my Kickr and its out of warranty so I am keeping the non-smart trainer near by incase it implodes. If it does, I’m not sure I want to shell out ~1k every 2-3 years for a smart trainer. Maybe I should not have purchased the climb… :man_shrugging:

I agree with you completely. I had an Elite Direto that failed three times and repaired each time under warranty. I am now on my fourth Tacx Neo and in that set I am on my sixth different external case. I am a bigger rider - 192 cm / 84 kg and I do a lot of higher wattage efforts (track rider). My theory (for what it’s worth) is that the units are simply not well built enough for bigger people - although I am sure there are many stories out there that will prove me wrong.