Did a smart trainer improve your training?

I’ve got an ancient Tacx trainer, it was electronic resistance but this no longer works but I can still use it as a dumb trainer fine and I do get a decent workout from it still. I’m probably a good few months away from getting to a point where the resistance isn’t enough anymore but I’m wondering about the benefits of an ERG trainer for TR and other people’s experience going from dumb to smart.

Has using an ERG trainer with TR made it more enjoyable/benficial or is it over-hyped ? Model I was looking at is the Tacx Flux S

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I bought a kickr core about a month ago. Well worth the money spent, and a significant upgrade from my old dumb wheel-on trainer. Most interesting was the new experience of short (~1-3 min) intervals. I used to muscle through them which put unnecessary strain on my body. Now, I increase the cadence and raise oxygen consumption. I feel less spent after such workouts and feel better adaptations a few days after.


I think it’s a want vs need dilemma here lol, direct drive trainers only just seem to be coming back into stock again and with the Covid situation getting worse are likely to get sold quickly again - So I need to make a decision to either stick with what I have or taken the plunge :thinking:

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Depends whether you mean dumb vs smart or wheel-on vs direct drive then

I really liked going from wheel-on to DD. It just felt better to ride and less faffing around with tyre pressures, trainer tyres etc.

Dumb to smart was ok but nothing that transformed my training


Does a smart trainer make life easier, yes… necessary, no.
Does a direct drive trainer make life easier, yes… necessary, no.

For me, a piece of training equipment that does improve your training is a power meter… a smart trainer will give you access to this but only when you are on it. If you ride / race outside at all then fitting one to you bike would be a better option.


Hey, I was on the fence for very long about this one. In the end I do not regret money spent on a good trainer.

I Switched 2 years ago to the Tacx, i use in ERG only. The main benefits is the direct drive, the smooth transition up and down in power. I think its TR plans that i have seen the difference in my training sticking with them. 5 training sessions a week works for me.

You ask if its more enjoyable. Yes… I seem to like watching the numbers. Not tried Ziwft, but some of my mates use it and have good results too.

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As the recent purchaser of a direct drive smart trainer, I think it’s worth it. But value for money is a very personal thing. If you can comfortably afford it, I don’t think you will regret it.

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And buy rollers instead😁
Forgive me, I’m a rollers fanboy


backing the rollers point…

I owned a Kickr for couple of years, worked good and helped me to get into the vibe of indoor workouts. Then again, ERG mode seduces you to just follow the trainer whatever it does, no matter which gear etc you have…

the “dumb” rollers/trainers force you to adjust to reach the watts needed in the workout…
so my argument would be… (bit provocantly)

smart trainer = dumb training :wink:
dumb trainer = smart training

sure… you can use a smart trainer without ERG mode, but why so much money then? I sold the Kickr and am very happy with the Rollers now.


I used a wheel on dumb trainer with a power meter on my bike for years. I bought a Tacx Flux from a friend and I didn’t know what I was missing. This trainer is so much quieter, I don’t feel guilty being on it with my family in house. The ERG mode is really nice, especially on steady state rides so the trainer keeps the resistance steady and I can drop my head and focus on the pain rather than a line on the screen. Even if the noise weren’t a factor, I’d buy a smart trainer again for the ERG.

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I would say for me it did improve my training, mainly because I had (and still have) 8 speeds, so trying to nail power targets was kind of frustrating for me. With erg mode, I don’t have to worry about being in the right gear, I just love having ERG mode.


Not really.

Direct wheel off trainer was more of a game changer for me. No more slipping wheels or worn out tyres.


I never use ERG. I don’t like it. I also think there is some value in holding a certain power rather than letting ERG do it for you.

A smart trainer improved my training because it was my first power meter but if I had to make one purchase I’d rather have a real power meter (even a $300 Stages or 4iiii) and a dumb trainer especially if you ride outside.

I finally upgraded to a wheel off kickr and I have to say I love it. It’s way more comfortable and enjoyable to ride. If you ride a trainer a lot, then I’d say that wheel off is a good investment. I still use power from my power meter with my Kickr and I don’t use ERG.


I think I got better work out with my fluid resistance DD trainer (Elite Muin) but the smart trainer has brought more interactive virtual cycling (RGT) which has been quite good for keeping me entertained during this period when we/I have been going out less. Ironically, I bought the smart turbo for that reason last year thinking chemotherapy might stop me getting out, it didn’t really, I wasn’t expecting not to get out this year :joy:

“Did a smart triner improve your training?”

Ring it up for another ‘yes’.

I can wholeheartedly say that a smart trainer coupled with TR workouts definitely improved my training and performance out on the road. I’ve just come off the back of General Build and some tailored VO2 weeks using the smart trainer and performance has improved. See the post below if you’re interested. Most were done on ERG - the General Build session and the Endurance sessions - but I did the VO2 sessions on Resistance mode.

Moving from a similar cheap smart trainer to simple rollers has improved my training.

I started out using erg on a taxc flow, but had lots of issues with erg/powermatch (think TR might have solved that now), so started to use it as a dumb trainer. Then bought rollers just to try and riding them is so much easier, no faffing about with the bike and riding is more natural. Tried to use my trainer again for zwift, but hated the feel of it and now haven’t used it in months. I’d say that if you buy a smart trainer, buy a better one to improve ride feel.

I have had a smart trainer and used erg almost exclusively for two years. Until about two months ago when I revamped my training. I love using resistance mode now. Reflecting back, I don’t think using erg made my training better. It made it easier because I didn’t have to pay attention.

The thing I love about my DD trainer is the built in power meter and no tire changes. However, I have a dedicated trainer bike so I am living the life of luxury. The cassette doesn’t have a ton of gears though, so I prefer to change the resistance via the percent bar on the computer.

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Take the plunge, before the Wife notices…