Dedicated Smart Bike Trainer or Direct Drive

Alright question for the crowd:

I currently have a very nice bike gym setup in my garage and my Supercaliber on a Kickr Core. Since getting back into cycling in 2019 and away from CrossFit and the like I have barely used my setup. I might use it once every few months. Most of my workouts are TR one’s done on my mtb on a direct drive trainer. So the question is do I sell my whole home gym setup for a dedicated smart bike like a Stages SB

Also space is an issue ans we have a smaller house and only a portion of the garage I can use for a gym or bike setup. So I have thought of adding a cheap road bike to the existing trainer but that takes up even more space. I want to keep things consolidated.

Thanks Y’all

Part of me says keep the mtn bike / trainer set up and sell the rest, keep the cash.
The other part of me says go big and get new stuff.

I had the road bike/Kickr Core setup & switched to SB20 over a year ago when Zwift sold them at a deep discount.

After over a year of use, the main benefit to the SB20 has been that my partner can also use it by making fairly quick & easy adjustments to the geometry. If she didn’t also ride, it wouldn’t be worth it to me (in hindsight).

I’d suggest sticking to the smart trainer & bike combo.

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I have the sb20 as well as a direct drive trainer. The sb20 gets used all of the time, the direct drive is only for tune ups before tt’s. The smart bike will last forever and is always ready to go. I have trained indoors since the 90’s, it’s probably going to continue so I figured the cost was worth it.



Well my wife doesn’t ride and really does not lift or care what I do with the space. Hence my decision making problem.

I did a year with an old bike + Saris H3. I had planned on upgrading it (the power felt off on the Saris even after calibration and I kind of broke the power adapter) and through looking around saw that some retailers had discounted the KICKR BIKE V1 nicely and splurged and picked one of them up. So far I’ve been extremely happy with it, an extremely worthwhile upgrade for me. From the configurable gearing, less maintenance, auto calibration, to just feeling better to ride on it.

My philosophy is if you’re using something a ton and getting value out of it, spend the most you can afford on it. It also is taking up less space in my setup but that was a minor point.

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Let’s see your setup, mate!

I ride a dedicated smart bike in the garage (Wattbike Atom). It takes up a smaller footprint than a regular bike on a direct drive turbo, means I don’t sweat all over my decent road bikes and is always ready to do - I typically train at 05:30, so being able to jump on and ride is very important at that time of the morning!

If I were to change the Atom for something else, it would be another Atom…

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I bought an sb20 when they were deeply discounted as well. My main reasons for buying it were that it’s always ready to go and it’s almost silent. I have two young kids and the noise from direct drive would wake them up. My wife likes to use it too so that’s a bonus.

With quite a few rides on it I would say it was worth the cost. I live in a cold part of Idaho so trainer season is basically October-May so a good indoor setup is pretty important to me.

Got an SB20 as well. I’ve put over 20,000 km on it according to Strava and the only maintenance it needs is replacing the coin batteries in the power meters a couple times a year. That thing is rock solid and will probably outlive me, and if nothing else, it’s 20,000 km I’m glad I didn’t put on my nice road bike.

I’d recommend you look at the Stages SB20 thread here on TR & the SB20 owners group on FB. The bike isn’t without it’s issues. A particular pain point for me is that it’s not the most responsive for short sprint intervals.

As others have pointed out, the bike is rock solid and bombproof aside from a few electronic niggles.

Can’t argue that. I switched to non erg for 30/30s because of it. But it’s not a deal breaker for me.


Old bike on the direct drive turbo? Until the bottom bracket went, I was using an old 7 speed road bike. I use erg, so the gaps in gearing doesn’t matter. I’ve moved bikes around in prep for n+1, so my 8 speed commuter will be going on shortly (currently have my 9 speed CX bike on it).

While a smart bike might be a smaller footprint in use, if it matters (which it does to me), the bike turbo combo is very easily moved and stored. I can carry the bike, and turbo, albeit separately myself to move out of the pain cave (when the pain cave goes into full bar mode!).

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