DC Rainmaker, Smart Trainer Guide: Winter 2019-2020

I’ve just spotted that the new DC Rainmaker Smart Trainer Recommendations Guide: Winter 2019-2020 is now out…


I’m torn between a smart trainer or a decent treadmill this year. I am pretty good at holding power as it is so I am pushing towards the treadmill because I think locking into speeds would be useful and also for the winter months.

“The one strength of the Hammer series has always been just how darn good it is at ERG mode. If TrainerRoad were ever to acquire a trainer, I’m pretty sure they’d acquire the Saris Hammer series. Seriously. There’s no trainer that works better on TrainerRoad than the H3. Period. If you live in TrainerRoad, then you’ll love just how good the H3 feels. So smooth, so purposeful as it shifts between intervals. If I wasn’t so lazy moving around trainers, I’d probably ride the H3 anytime I rode TrainerRoad.”

Pretty ringing endorsement for this crowd.


Aside from noisy belt issues, my H2 been rock solid. For some reason it had a hickup on one of my intervals for Taylor yesterday for me, but this happens like twice a year and its otherwise SOLID


I bought the new Saris H3 and have been using it for a month. It’s my first smart trainer (previously used a Kurt Kinetic wheel-on trainer), so I can’t compare it to other smart trainers. But I’m very pleased with the Saris H3 so far. ERG mode feels great.


I’d like to upgrade from my kikr snap to a tacx neo but I struggle to justify it at the moment and it’s not even about the extra expense.

I don’t zwift so blurb about road feel is kinda lost on me. My snap sure ain’t perfect - it now apparently needs calibrated before every ride, it can’t cope with intense micro intervals like Spanish Needles and I need to drop gears even in erg mode to match the correct power of my trainerroad workout at anything under 200 Watts…

… Which are all first world problems of course but now that I think about it I suppose they do piss me off a little…

… wheres my credit card?

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So I’ve been using trainerroad for the past two years with a dumb trainer and a power meter. Looking to upgrade this year and have a couple options. I’m looking at overall value and best bang for the buck. I can get a new gen 1 hammer For 600 plus tax; an H3 with 20% off for 799 plus tax; or a used KICKR core (newer and with no known issues, used a handful of times) for 775 with no tax.

Any reasons to choose one over the other when just going by coat? Am I losing any functionality by going with the hammer vs the H3 or KICKR?

You just need to consult the bible on smart trainers choice - DC Rainmaker guide :slight_smile: Here you go:

Hello Folks, I have read DC Rainmakers guide. I am looking to upgrade from my dumb trainer with favero assioma pedals, to a smart direct drive trainer this fall. Based on the guide I was thinking about the H3 based on erg mode with TR, price, and don’t see myself getting into the full wahoo ecosystem down the road.
My use case is with TR of course and then I was also looking to overlay Rouvy or Fulgaz to change up what how I distract myself during workouts (been watching netflix and prime too much).
However, after reading the forum threads here, I am scared to buy a smart trainer as they all seem to have issues (e.g. H3 belt issues, people going through 3-4 wahoo units, …). I am OK with the kickr core or H3 price (kickr 2018 and neo 2t seem a bit unnecessary for me), however, I am less OK with the price if I will have the trainer for a couple of years and then it will be useless if it dies or something. I don’t mind the higher cost if you also have the hope to recover some of it one day if you sell it, or if the unit will last forever.
I am curious if I have to reset my expectations (i.e. expect to kiss the money and trainer goodbye after X many years and then re-buy)?
If so perhaps I should consider another option?
Wheel on smart trainer? (lower cost and if/when it dies you just move on and buy another)
From reading the threads I am also concerned about buying used which I was planning to do (kickr cores were super noisy, H3 belt issues, kickr 2018’s had some recall issue too I think).
Is the general consensus to not buy a smart trainer in the used market?
Thank you for any feedback.

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I may be mistaken but I think the main issues Wahoo saw with their 2018 line have been identified and resolved (in general) and they spoke about them publicly enough that I’d personally feel comfortable buying used with the assumption the issue was resolved (so you won’t see it) or if you see a problem they’d still take care of you - maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my opinion.

For the H3 I don’t feel as though I’d seen how wide spread or acknowledged any issues would have been, so I can’t say where I’d sit used there… Saris has generally been a good company to work with for old PowerTap hub services back in the day at least.

FWIW, I think you should be able to expect years of use from a quality smart trainer (10+?). As widespread as the issues seem, they still may only been a very small unlucky % of the full smart trainer population.

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Thank you.
Maybe I will stick to my plan for now of targeting an h3 by or before the fall. I kind of doubt one will pop up used in my market as well so I will also brace myself for buying new.

Worth noting usually the new trainers get announced in July, leading to discounting.
Kickr 2018 was July 22nd 2018. This may of all changed with Covid-19 and trainers being out of stock. Think in the past it’s a good 200USD off, I dunno what stock they will have to sell off now

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thank you @howlintj, I thought about this but didn’t know the timing of when trainers are updated. Hopefully it works out for me. Thanks again,