Best Dumb Trainer (prefer Quiet)

It’s touched on in some other threads but I can’t see anything definitive. From the “do I need a smart trainer if I have a power meter” thread, @Nate_Pearson says

Well, that’s what I’m looking for. I have a good power meter and a wheel on dumb trainer. The trainer is very loud at high power, and struggles when I get towards 600w. I’m not interested in ERG mode etc. I would like a quiet, direct drive trainer with good resistance and a big ol’ flywheel. Even if it’s only £100 less than a smart trainer, that’s £100 saved to me.

What are the options? The Elite Turno and Jetblack Whisper Drive seem like they have potential?

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I have the Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer and it is solid, smooth, and quiet. Highly recommended

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Kinetic Road Machine
This is the best and longest lasting standard (dumb) trainer ever created. It will last you a lifetime.

(Skip the “Smart” models as the inride pod is flaky)

I missed the “wheel-off” part of the OP. That makes it tougher. The Elite Kura model is probably the best.

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I was also going to recommend the Kurt Kinetic, but it’s wheel on, and they asked about wheel off. Still, with a trainer tire, I really like it. Only shortcoming is that it’s tough to accelerate really hard (stomps, >1000W sprints).

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I know the horse is already dead but I’m going to beat it anyways;
The Kurt Kinetic road Machine. I bought mine directly from Kurtkietic.com and got the “smart model” with in-Ride because it was on sale.
Like @mcneese.chad mentioned though, I wouldn’t pay extra for the in-Ride module because it doesn’t work all that well. I opted for a seperate cadence sensor to use along with the in-Ride (which is just a speed sensor) and that is what I have been using ever since.
I have been using the same tire (Bontreger R2) on there for several months and I have not had a single issue with it.

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I’m not anti-wheel-on because of tire wear etc… the main reason is the noise. I’ve heard a good few (not the road machine to be fair) and they’re noticeably louder than direct drive. Noise reduction is very important as I have elderly neighbours I don’t want to disturb.

Is the road machine quiet compared to direct drive? If it’s any use for reference I’m using a Cyclops Jet Fluid Pro.

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I used the traditional kinetic resistance unit for many years, first with a kinetic road machine and then with a rock and roll, and would not call it silent. Only when I updated my rock and roll with the smart control resistance unit I noticed how noisy the original unit really is. I think it is still not the noisiest of the traditional wheel-on trainers.

The kinetic smart control unit is pretty nice and silent. I have not tried any direct drive models, but I believe they are even more silent.

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The best dumb trainer out their in my opinion is the direct mount - Elite Turbo Muin II Fluid Direct Drive Trainer

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I haven’t done side by side testing, but the JFP is a bit louder in my experience because it uses a fan to move air for cooling the resistance unit.

For reference, here are the stated noise levels direct from CycleOps. The JFP is the loudest in this group.

JETFLUID PRO TRAINER

  • Noise level at 20 mph is a quiet 70-71 decibels.

FLUID² TRAINER

  • Noise level at 20 mph is super quiet 64-68 decibels.

MAGNETO TRAINER

  • Noise level at 20 mph is quiet 66-68 decibels.

According to this site:

  • The Kinetic 2.0 Fluid is quiet. The noise it produces ranges from 69 to 70 decibels.

Hard to say for sure, but in general, I think the magnetic trainers are actually the most quite.


If you are willing to go wheel-on and want quiet, you can’t beat the Stac Zero.

  • It uses only magnets close to your aluminum rim. They are a bit more expensive for the small production they do, but you can’t get a quieter wheel-on trainer.
  • There are no moving parts other than your own drivetrain.
  • They have everything from a simple unit, one with a power meter, and their new smart controlled version.
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Love my Kinetic road machine. Did have the inRide and was ok, but now upgraded to power meter. Is wheel on though…

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I have actually gone the other way, smart to dumb trainer, mainly because I have a power meter and simply not bothered about Zwift, Sufferfest or anything else that complicates my indoor training.

I’m using a Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro, i think it’s great. It feels really nice and although I train in an outhouse it doesn’t seem noisy at all. I’m super impressed with it having swapped it for a Tacx Flow Smart which is admittedly a low end smart trainer. Certainly worth a look if you’re on a budget and looking for a dumb trainer. The biggest gain was for high power intervals, it handles them brilliantly.

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It won’t surprise you to know I came into this thread to say this. :laughing:

Honestly I agree somewhat with the criticisms I’ve seen of the STAC Zero Halcyon being a bit fiddly, having questionable industrial design compared to the nice direct drive smart trainers, etc. I am happy to have mine, but I’ll only recommend the Halcyon model with some reservations and conditions these days.

But the basic STAC Zero? I think it’s an amazing trainer. Contributes no noise, no parts that wear down, straight forward to get your bike on it and get consistent resistance levels.

There are good reasons to prefer the Kinetic trainers instead, but if noise is the problem, STAC Zero is the solution.

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I realize you said you’re not interested in ERG and I hate to be the guy that immediately says “don’t you want ERG?”. Just checking that you’ve tried it and aren’t dismissing it based on assumptions. I personally think ERG is the best. I didn’t really understand it at first, but then when it clicked on how it worked. Total.Game.Changer. I would compare it to a dishwasher, once you have it you can’t go back. Sure, I can wash dishes by hand but I don’t want to anymore. If you you’ve gotten to a place where you know what it’s all about and don’t like it, then sure. But otherwise I would give it a second look before you dismiss it entirely.

My issue with fluid trainers like KK is that they need high speed to produce 300-350 W of resistance. That means a lot of noise. With a cheap magnetic trainer I can max out the resistance of the magnets and achieve 300-350 W of resistance with a low speed and low noise.

Am I wrong?

KK Road Machine is the best. End of story. Almost silent, indestructible, and if used corrrectly very kind to tyres.

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I have both Kurt Kinetic and CycleOps Fluid 2.

Comparing the two
Fly Wheel : Kurt Kinetic is much more robust, heavier, more solid.
Frame : Kurt Kinetic is again built a bit more robust and the locking mechanisms are much better.
Fly Wheel : CycleOps after years began to leak. The machine is built so that you can’t just service the oil inside. Consequently you have to buy a entire new one. I contacted CycleOps and they explained that servicing was not possible. I think this is a complete waste. More junk for the environment to absorb when really replace a seal and some oil and it should be as good as new. Therefore I’m not happy with CycleOps due to this engineered obsalence … I would have even just sent it to them to repair. Oh no buy a new one.
Warm Up : This is a very significant difference between the two. The CycleOps took longer to warm up … generally it took 15min to get to the right level. Once it gets to the right temp you’ll notice a much different resistance. On the other hand, the KK, feels consistent from the beginning through the warm up. I really like this consistency and is a huge reason I prefer it over the CycleOps. This is maybe more subjective but the feel of the ride with KK’s larger heavier flywheel I just think is a lot better. The sounds are insignificant in my opinion… but that is very subjective.
I’ll ride the first 10min of TR cold and then calibrate after 10min and jump back into to work out.

Overall the KK is built better, its flywheel is SO much better, the locking mechanism is actually thought out, their quality is in general much higher. I used a CycleOps for over 10 years and it did its job but just wore out. I know the machine well and hands down I’m much happier with the KK for the reasons above.

My one criticism of the KK is the tension knob is really small considering how much pressure you need to tighten it down. I wish they would put a bigger knob.

I am using the Inride as it just came with the machine and I love it!!. It works perfectly for me and I have the older version. Really nice surprise and so far so good.

Pump up tires to 100psi.
Warm up 10 min. Calibrate on TR.
BOOM it all works consistently and no electronic headaches and it won’t be obsolete in 2 years. Love mine.

Hope this helps.

Ohh and just get a Shimano R500 for a cheap back wheel and you kinda have a quick easy set up!

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Are you calibrating the turbo with TR because you don’t have a power meter?

Let’s maybe say that it’s low down on my list then. I haven’t tried it but it’s not something I feel I need right now.

Money isn’t the defining factor, I’d be happy to spend say £600, I just don’t want to waste money on what feels like superfluous things (e.g. a power meter on the trainer when I already have one on the bike)

Is that still the case pushing to higher watts? If so I could be tempted, but the trainer I have at the moment is in the same price range as the KK and is way too loud once you get above 300w.

Appreciate there’s a lot of love for the KK but I would still like to hear about direct drive trainers if anyone has any experience?

If you can set aside ‘quiet’… the Lemond Revolution is, imo, the best ‘training’ trainer I’ve used to date.

The Elite Kura/Turno I guess would be close… ish.

I see Chad mentioned the Halcyon… maybe. If you have a spare wheel to stick their anchors into. I feel like I backed over their puppy with my take on it as a ‘smart trainer’… but it is what it is.

For everyone recommending the Kurt Kinetic - what are people’s expeiences with the Rock N Roll version instead of the Road Machine?

The price difference for me is £25 so cost is not a factor, but ride feel is!