Best direct drive trainer to buy right now (or in the next few months)

As the title says I’m in the market for a direct drive trainer now or in the near future. Looking to stay around $1k or less but won’t turn down a great deal. It seems like everything on the market right now has their issues (Saris H3, Wahoo Kickr/Core).

Anything better coming down the road soon that anyone is aware of, or any current recommendations?

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I Have a Tacx Neo, I think you can still pick one up. The newer versions allow higher power but the Neo more than sufficient unless you are Peter Sagan.

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My Tacx Neo 2T has been awesome in 30 hours of use so far. Quiet, responsive, and stable connection. It also doesn’t require any calibration procedure like other units and tracks my Stages power meter within 1 watt on average.

I’d stay away from Wahoo’s current generation. I’ve gone through 2 Kickr 2018 units, each lasted less than a year of use. And I’m not the only one to have multiple failures, not by a long shot. Beyond outright failure it used to drop it’s Bluetooth connection on occasion, often at the worst time, like the end of an interval.

Pure speculation, but I think its reasonable to expect the next generation of Wahoo trainers to be debuted and hopefully released in the Fall of 2020. The 2018 Kickr and Core are aging and the apparent continuation of problems is not great. Maybe new designs can address those issues?

Much of the above could be said for most companies, considering the history of model release, and the obvious increase in demand for the typical indoor training season for the Northern Hemisphere.

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I’m really happy with my h3. The erg changes insanely fast for TR intervals and the trainer is dead silent. My fan is a lot louder.

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I’m in the same boat wanting to finally upgrade from my 2012 KK Road Machine to a smart trainer, but the issues these super expensive (Canadian $ sucks!) trainers have had has continued to leave me sitting on the fence. I really thought the H3 was going to be the route I was going to go after the reviews came out for it with its excellent Erg mode performance, but the issues people have been having with that has left me not wanting to make the jump (the Kickr Core has me feeling the same). The Neo seems to have the least amount of issues, but it’s over $2100 after tax…ouch.

Honestly, as an owner of more smart trainers than a sane person should have, I’d not buy any of the current models available. I like my Kickr17, H2, Neo 2 and Magnus. I have an aversion to any Elite trainers and would not touch a mid to low level train from Tacx.

Per the most common recommendation, I’d suggest keeping the Road Machine (I still have mine as a backup and my fitting training) and add a power meter. If you have only one or two bikes to add a PM to, that seems like a better option at the time. ERG is nice, but not a necessity and not enough of an advantage to make any real difference in training effect.

I’d personally wait for the next gen trainers, and specifically about 3-6 months after they are released to see how the real life function and early reliability shows itself. There is a need for these companies to fix the common issues present in each one before I could honestly tell a friend that it is worth the money vs a power meter.

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Yeah, I’ve just been on the “wait and see” approach for so long now. :joy: I did upgrade to my Favero Assioma’s a few years ago so I didn’t have to rely on TR’s Virtual Power anymore and could make use of power outside so that was a much better investment at the time. Having less noise, no wheel slip and being able to do more low cadence work with decent power would be the most beneficial things to me with a newer trainer, IMO. I might get more out of Zwift being able to “feel” the roads more, which could be a pro or con depending on the situation/planned ride though. :slight_smile: I definitely don’t want to be dealing with having to ship faulty trainers back and forth though!

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I’ve been riding an original Tacx Neo since 2018. No calibration necessary, just get on and ride. Couldn’t have been easier and simulates Zwift and Ful Gaz for me perfectly. I also live in a high rise, so having something quiet was really important to me. I think the new ones are in Amazon for 1200 $USD.

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Got a 2t a month or so ago. Other than having to mount the cassette it’s being just a joy.

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How is Tacx support in US? I’m based in WI along with Saris, so I feel like I would be doing myself a disservice by not going with them, but ultimately I want the best product.

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I think service you will get a lot of opinions. I have a H3 and no issues and if you do mainly erg it is amazing. On zwift it is just ok in my opinion. I also have the mp1. Neo ans kickr are also good.

Depends ultimately if you can wait and as you already know there are bad ones in every batch.

@Jordan, sent you a direct message. But for the thread, I’ve had a Wahoo Kickr for about 8-9 months (bought new), and it’s been a pleasure to use with no hiccups. I can highly recommend it.

BUT: you’ll always find people who’ve had great experiences with Product X and others who’ve had horrible experiences with the same make/model… do your research, take your best shot, and see what happens. My feeling is that it’s better to be training than not, but I suggest you assume that a trainer is a “rapidly-depreciating asset” and that, while you’ll get a few years of great use out of it, you should never expect to see your money again. :grin:

@Jordan, I’m not sure about Tacx support because I’ve never needed it. Saris, Kickr and Tacx all make good trainers. I was sold on the Neo because it’s hands down the quietest and you get that “road feel” when riding over boards or rough terrain in Zwift. It seemed more immersive. You can always add a Saris rocker to your set-up to help the hometown company!