Best trainer for small apartment?

We’re moving from 1200 sq ft in CA to 750 sq ft in Paris. My wife was staring at my current trainer setup the other day and getting that old twinkle of divorce in her eyes. I’ve loved my Saris Magnus for 2+ years, but I’m planning to downsize to just my TT bike and race wheels, and don’t want to ride my rear race wheel on the trainer (front is OK). Anyone have recommendations for a wheel-off smart trainer that can be stored compactly and is quick to set up/take down? Bonus points if the recommended trainer is readily available for purchase in the EU. Merci!

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The Wahoo Kickr’s legs fold in, so that would tick the stored compact box. The only thing I don’t know is how easy it is to take a TT bike on / off of it.

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I bought a small/cheap fluid trainer on Wiggle when I was living in France (I miss the pre-covid days :’( )

Maybe something like a Feedback Sports portable trainer would do the trick too.

Bon courage ! Je suis jaloux :wink:

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Thanks! Have heard good things about the Kickr, and rode my friend’s once, was super-smooth and more realistic than the Magnus. Will look into difficulty of setup/takedown.

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Merci! Will check that out.

Elite suito is easy to store

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I second the Elite Suito; you get trainer which have better ERG etc but I bought it for my small apartment due to its compactness. I’ve had it for circa two years and its been used a lot and I am still satisfied I made the right choice.

Edit FWIW my TT bike get set up on it, its QR but all the adapters are in the box for different axles.

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Thanks!

Anyone have opinions on the Tacx Neo? Came across this youtube video – Indoor Cycling With Limited Space - Setup How To - YouTube. Expensive, but on-sale at the moment.

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Elite quick motion rollers. they fold up to about 2 sq feet

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Oh, interesting! Love the idea of rollers, might be less boring. No erg mode, right? Would these work for TR workouts? For 5+ hour trainer rides?

Currently leaning toward the Neo, despite the price tag. Though the Suito seems a close runner up and a (much) better value. Reasons:

  1. Gonna be spending 5-10+ hours a week on this thing, so slightly better ride experience/ERG mode matters.
  2. I like that the cassette isn’t sticking out when the trainer is folded = less chain grease on whatever else is under the bed/in the closet.
  3. Calibration is annoying – I’m supposed to be doing it more often on my Magnus, but in reality I only do it a couple times per month, and TR calibration almost never works for me, so I end up having to close out my workout, switch to Rouvy, then come back; plus cold calibration doesn’t seem to work, so I’ve got to calibrate after warming up, which is annoying, etc.
  4. No power cord could win me some brownie points with the wife, who for some reason doesn’t like the idea of a kid tripping over a cord and flying out the window onto the cobblestones.
  5. A couple of the features that make the Suito attractive aren’t very applicable to my use case (my TT bike is ancient, so I’ll need to buy a 10 speed cassette anyway; the handle isn’t that important since I won’t be moving the trainer more than a few feet each time).

Still open to alternatives, so please feel free to chime in!

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I’ve trained on a Kickr Core for a while, it’s compact and you can fold the legs. I currently train on a Neo 2t, I don’t fold it to store but it can fit under a bed which is a good thing for small apartments. I also had a Feedback sports Omnium, not a smart trainer but this one will be the most compact of all.
I once had 4 bikes in a 900 sq ft apartment, till this day I still don’t know how my wife put up with it haha…
I’m not sure how you store your bike, mine is on or by the trainer all the time as the trainer doesn’t take much more space then the bike does.

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Thanks! How does the Kickr compare to the Neo, in your opinion (and with respect to storage)? I think my bike will end up in our room, since that’s where it’s least likely to get smashed by a kid, and I’ll probably ride in the living area.

I have the Suito. I had to decide between the Wahoo Kickr Core and the Elite Suito. I wanted the Kickr Core, my sponsor/wife told me I can have the Suito since she already ok’ed a big bike purchase this year.

The Suito is way smaller than the other trainers once it is folded up, because it is very slim. I reckon you can store it under a bed or so in most circumstances if you need to.

This is my first trainer with erg mode, and coming from a dumb direct drive fluid trainer, it took some getting used to. I’m usually only in erg mode during rest intervals or Z2 rides as I prefer to pace threshold and VO2max stuff myself. Erg mode still feels counter intuitive to me at higher power outputs as I have had years of training where increasing cadence (at a fixed gear) increases power. With erg mode, you’d first increase power, and then after a while it’d go below target power so that it’d hit the right average … I don’t know, I couldn’t get used to it. And the power fluctuations tend to be larger, something that is a bit fatiguing at higher %ages of my FTP. And when I am really fatigued, I can enter the erg mode spiral of death. For Z2 it is perfect, though.

To add to that, the Suito is way quieter than my Elite fluid trainer, and it seems that for the current generation of trainers, noise is simply no longer an issue. The reason is simple: the flywheel is moving much more slowly in the recommended, i. e. lower gears.

That’s a huge advantage of the Suito, it is very slim. But I’d still put something over the cassette, just in case. (That’s true of any trainer, not just the Suito.)

That’s not an issue in practice. I’m using power match anyway, but even if I didn’t, I doubt I’d have to calibrate it very often. The temperature in my apartment is very stable. I did compare power numbers, and while they are a tad lower than my Quark (as they should be as my DZero doesn’t see drive train friction), they seemed to track perfectly. Elite has a very good reputation in this department. Ditto for cadence numbers: I don’t know how the Suito does it, but I never saw a difference larger than 1 rpm, and even that seemed to be dictated more by when cadence was updated rather than a true difference in cadence.

Some Elite trainers including the Suito can be used without power, but then you would have no erg mode. In practice, I don’t think that’s desirable, unless you want to forgo erg mode completely.

Don’t underestimate the utility of the handle: you can also use it to align your bike or (carefully) move your trainer + bike a little if need be.

Also, I don’t quite understand the comment about the cassette: you’d need to buy a 10-speed cassette one way or another if you went for a wheel-off, direct drive trainer. They aren’t too expensive, and 105-level cassettes are more than sufficient.

PS One more comment about children and trainers: I have a 3-year-old and my wife will soon have another baby. Until getting my new bike, I have waxed my chains, because my daughter would like to play with my bike and get grease all over her, her clothes and her stuffed animals.

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This is great, thank you! To be honest, I haven’t ridden out of erg mode much at all on a smart trainer, sounds like perhaps I should give it a go. I also gave up on Power Match (with Magnus + Assioma Duo) as it was making VO2max workouts nearly impossible to finish – even though the pedal power usually reads the same or slightly higher than the trainer power. Could have just been my setup, not sure. Didn’t realize that the Suito could be used cordless, that’s also cool.

I do like the idea of the handle, even if I’m just carrying the trainer from one room to the next. Regarding the cassette, I just meant that one advantage of the Suito – the fact that it comes with a cassette – is negated in my case, since I’ll need to buy a cassette anyway. Though I guess I could resell the cassette it comes with.

In any case, thanks again. The idea of saving ~500 EUR is appealing – without, it seems, giving up much, if anything.

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Ah, I see. Elite also sells the Suito-T, which is the Suito minus the cassette. I got that model. Surprisingly, it is labeled Suito-T rather than selectively (not) including a cassette. (In my case I have a SRAM 12-speed drive train and already had the XDR adapter and a 12-speed cassette.

Yeah, and given how I use my new trainer, I am sure the Suito will do just fine. So far, I am perfectly happy. I will eventually try it without powermatch, maybe tomorrow, just to see how Elite’s erg mode algorithm fares in comparison with TR’s. It is an easy Z2 workout anyway, so even if I am 10 W off or so, it won’t matter.

The only complaint I have, and it is a tiny one, is that the Suito does not seem to transmit (and presumably measure) left-right balance. That’s why I can’t use the third mode in addition to erg and resistance, where the trainer simulates a power curve similar to my fluid trainer. But I haven’t found that to be necessary.

One handy tip about resistance mode: with TR you can change the resistance baseline. With a little bit of fiddling, you can choose it so that going from erg to resistance mode in your preferred gear (gear #4 on my bike) is seamless, i. e. the gear ratio-resistance combo at your natural cadence and about 50 % FTP is the same in either mode.

This way you just need to switch modes with minimal changes in cadence, and then click through the gears when you are asked to give it the beans. Ditto for (form) sprints.

Same here. There are brief moments when I am a bit weak and am slightly below target power. On a dumb trainer or in resistance mode, this is no biggie. But erg mode will turn the screws, the cadence drops and you feel like you are pedaling through molasses. Raising my cadence required a longer, sustained effort, which I did not necessarily have the legs for.

I have the Suito, a Direto, and the Feedback Omnium Overdrive rollers. I’ve also recently experienced life in a Paris apartment and would consider noise to be a priority, particularly if you want to get along with your neighbors. Some thoughts:

  • the rollers are loud. Also if TT is your chosen discipline the ‘road feel’ probably isn’t what you are after. They are great for some things though.

  • direto is solid but probably a bit bulky.

  • Suito I prefer to the direto for feel but some are not as accurate without the OTS. If you are running another powermeter on the bike probably doesn’t matter.

  • elite trainers are not good for erg mode. I think this is fair to say. So if you use erg, probably better with a kickr.

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I have the 4iiii Fliiiight. Whisper quiet and folds up super compact - I fit it under an arm chair when not in use.

It has limitations and uses magnetic resistance though, so you need to do your research on whether it’s a fit for you.

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We’re (thankfully) upsizing now but I’ve used a Kickr Core since end of March this year and it’s been super for the exact situation you’re in (albeit with a very supportive wife! No pun…). Bike goes on 3x week and once it’s not in use I have it folded inside a wardrobe with a plastic bag over it covering the cassette. Since I’m using waxed chains and topping up with Squirt/UFO/Silca it’s never really dirty only a tad flaky after the first top-up. Therefore get yourself a cheap yoga/exercise mat at Decathlon which you can roll up and store with the trainer. It’ll also act as a noise guard to some extent and won’t scratch your landlords precious herringbone floor :wink:

Just tell your wife it’s either this way or you getting fat as hell on a wine and croissant-heavy French diet.

I used to live in Paris years ago and can imagine it’s a good place to own a road bike. I wasn’t into road cycling back then but think it might m take a tad longer for you to get out to good TT grounds unless you’re in a suburb or live in the 16th arrondissement near Bois de Boulogne. With a roadie you’ll have many more options in my opinion.

If you have a good sized balcony get a MC style cover to keep your bike safe from the elements whilst not taking up precious indoor space. Most balconies there are tiny but can hold a bike.

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