I’m about ready to move from a fluid trainer, which is on its last legs, to a smart trainer (leaning towards Elite Suito) but I’m a bit concerned about using it in my below freezing pain cave. This topic has been discussed briefly in older posts, but no one has ever mentioned actually having an issue. I’m just wondering if there is anyone out there who has had a trainer die due to operating it below the manufacturer recommended temperature range. I think the main concern would be condensation on the electronics as the trainer heats up.
How much below freezing? I personally think that operating them in hot conditions is more likely to cause problems due to overheating than in cold conditions (at least above freezing). I’m pretty sure some severe accuracy issues I’ve seen on my kickr are due to high temps (80-90F) - it’s fine now that it is 40-50f in the garage.
Below freezing I could see causing some problems - as much for any belts and plastic bits that may get brittle as the electronics.
What are the official temperature ranges for trainers that you have seen?
I use my first gen Hammer in my garage here in Northern Michigan. 20 degrees outside tonight so probably 35 in my garage. No issues. Knock on wood. This will be season 2 out there.
I just looked at datasheets for 3 different manufacturers of Electrolytic capacitors, and the minimum temperature was -40 or -55 C. If the electrolyte froze this would definitely damage them, but this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
Other things can go wrong at low temperatures - ie oscillators/crystals not starting, and this could cause damage, but I think it is more likely that it just wouldn’t work.
My guess is it shouldn’t be a problem down to about -10C, as 0C isn’t really ‘extreme’.
I also looked and neither the kickr nor the suito mention anything about operating environment - no temperature or humidity listed.
If you contact Elite and get a reply I’d be interested to hear what their take on operating temperature range is.
I killed my Elite storing it in my balcony. I’m not 100% sure it’s the cold but it was fairly covered and protected from rain.
In any case, I contacted Elite and they were super handful. Asked for a few videos from me to determine what’s wrong (plugging in and turning on etc). Couple emails later they sent me a new main board and it was back fully functional. They didn’t even ask where and when I bought it. Just helped me out.
My Kickr Snap stays in my unheated brick shed here in Scotland where it gets below freezing in winter.
3 years with no issue, touch wood.
It’s a well ventilated building. It gets damp in there after a workout so I sometimes worry about unevaporated moisture in the trainer but it seems okay.
Depending on which trainer you are looking at I would be more concerned with changes in mechanical properties of belts internally with big swings in temperatures. Now car makers have been dealing with this for years so hopefully trainer companies are just using auto spec belts…but you never know.
My Hammer 1 is in my unheated wooden shed here in the mountains of Ireland. I’ve not had any issues with the device in the cold. I normally spin down after 10-15 minutes, but try especially in the cooler weather (just based on my own assumptions of it warming up).
I actually thought overheating would be more of an issue with them to be honest. However, maybe moisture/ condensation could come into play? My shed is also well ventilated too (I’ve had no issues keeping books out there).
I’m on my second TACX FLUX S (original version) and that’s on its last legs. It’s in my garage which does get cold but I doubt it’s below freezing.
Couldn’t honestly say if it’s the conditions within my garage that have killed two trainers but, what I will say is that TACX have IMO, well below par customer service. They just don’t want to know. I’ve been asked to supply videos demonstrating the noises my trainer makes and they’ve just washed their hands of me and their product.
I used my Tach Vortex all year round on a covered deck (down to -15C in winter). It worked fine for a season, until it wouldn’t start anymore in spring. Not sure, if that was temperature related though. I think the problem with the change in temperature when warming up during the workout is twofold though:
- The Vortex seemed to not stabilize the power reading within the first 15 minutes. Meaning there was often a second spin down necessary after 30 minutes (depending on the temperature) and the resistance used to creep down during that time.
- I don’t think the temperature itself is problematic for the trainer, but can imagine the condensation to be detrimental to the electronics. Hard to say though, if it was what killed mine. Correlation doesn’t imply causation…
Not too far below freezing, maybe -5 or so. It does get cold enough that my iMac won’t stay on, but I guess they have temperature safety overrides of some type. It turns on, and then shuts down within a minute or so. I usually have to cover the back vent, and turn it on several times before it gets warm enough to stay on.
It’s interesting, I swear I remember seeing operating temperatures when I fist considered getting a smart trainer a couple seasons ago. Maybe the newer models are more robust, or maybe the whole thing is a false memory.
Was swapping out the main board pretty simple?
Was the opposite for me.
I’m the 2nd owner of my trainer so i didnt buy it nor did i have the original receipt. I had a loud clickity noise happening when letting it spin down (known issue on the vortex). They referred me to my store…but when i explained the situation, even though it was outside warranty, they sent me a replacement part free of charge. Easy enough to install if you can use a screwdriver.
Now it works as good as new! This is my 2nd season now using it
As for the cold… i kinda WANT to use it in my backyard but i also don’t trust my canadian winter.
Simple as unscrewing a piece of chip board, disconnecting cable and screwing in the new one in and connecting the cable back. Very simple job.
I’ve been using my KICKR in my garage for 5 years now. It still works, but I have extreme accuracy issues until it warms up for about 15-20 minutes.
I think this is regional. They’ve just taken back my second flux and swapped it out for a neo 2t with a very healthy discount on RRP.
Maybe I need to hire you as a negotiator
I borked a Flux in my cold garage, but Tacx replaced it. They assured me that the newer version is more robust in the cold, and it seems to have held up.
Interesting, I wonder what they changed on the newer model. Good to hear they replaced it despite it being used in cold conditions.