Help me pick a bike trainer


I am in the market for a new bike trainer. Currently I have a wheel on dumb trainer (super cheap) and while it works, I used a KK road machine for awhile and that was amazing in comparison to my current one, (think $100 special)

So there is one store that I want to buy from, (free shipping here in Canada and never ending return policy) but the selection is somewhat limited.

Info: training for Ironman, low/mid volume so a decent amount of trainer time, as well as I do my long 4hr + rides on the trainer. Currently have a stages power meter that I will use instead of the trainers PM. I don’t see an appeal in zwift, its pretty much TR all the time. Don’t care about the noise too much as the Lasko fan is pretty loud.

Here are my choices/picks.

Wahoo Kicker Core: while a good trainer, and if I got one that worked I would probably be happy I am just to worried about the recent reliabillity

Elite Direto: Good trainer, GPLama has a good review as does DC Rainmaker. Haven’t found too many cons, does everything I want well, and doesn’t have a lot of extra’s. Price is fair at ~1000

Tacx Neo 2: Seems like the gold standard for trainers. But with me not doing zwift and not really caring about how silent it is with a giant fan blowing at me, is it worth the extra $800 (pretty much the price of an ironman) to have the features, I won’t use? or is it head and shoulders better then the rest?

Thanks for the time and comments in advance.

I have the Direto and I would buy it again. It has been flawless and the calibration seems to never move on it, just super steady. I had 3 Wahoo trainers and all of them lived short and unhappy lives. I’ve never owned a Neo.

Check out the deals thread though. You can get a Hammer for the same price or lower than what you are about to spend and it seems like a bullet proof option. Scroll to the bottom…

Here is the link:

TR Deals Thread

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The Core has been perfect for me so far.

I have the same dilemma. Core vs Neo 2, cores reliability is what concerns me.

I’ll toss my hat in for the Hammer. Ordered it from Clever Trainer on a Wednesday night, received it in Winnipeg on Friday afternoon. Did have to pay $129 in duty. I believe it is now on for $650 US. I really like it, especially going from a Magnus to the Hammer. Quiet and smooth is how I would describe the Hammer.

I am still kind of stuck on ordering from Canada (MEC) just with the never ending 100% satisfaction guarantee its hard for me to think about going with clever training even though I am close to the border (Thunder Bay). Just that extra piece of mind if something goes wrong in a year or two.

*Disclaimer first… What you buy is entirely your call. Where from is your call as well.

My 2c:

  • Going from a wheel-on to a direct drive will be a step up.
  • If you’re training for IM and using TrainerRoad then I’m guessing you’ll want good quality steady-state ERG sessions.
  • The Kickr (Kickr or CORE) are typically preferred by riders who do a lot of ERG. That flywheel feel is usually what is mentioned. The Direto will work in ERG, but you’ll need to be in the little ring, which may not simulate the exact inertia/momentum/speed/muscle firing you need to make the sessions as close to your outside riding as possible.
  • The NEO 2 holds ERG well… but it’s a slightly different ride feel due to the ‘simulated flywheel’. It’s not a show stopper. But there is a difference. Different enough to matter? That’s your call.

RE: Quality concerns. Every brand and model of trainer has them if you look hard enough. Facebook groups for products aren’t ‘fan sites’, they’re support pages. All you’ll ever read are user issues. People who have working Cores, Neos, Diretos are getting their training in and going about their day, and not posting on those forums.


If I were to go with a CORE, is there a way to find out if it may be a unit with reliability issues, or has it been sorted out (I know Ray has mentioned he thinks it has, estimated 3% effected units) or its luck of the draw and if there is an issue, deal with Wahoo.

Prior to the new units, Wahoo was always the trainer I was saving up for.

Side note I read that in your voice. (Didn’t hurt I was watching your video on the Hammer) Thanks for your work.

No way of knowing that I’m aware of. I’ve not been able to break the CORE I have here. I assume the issues have been resolved off the production line… if companies are holding older stock then that could be an issue. By locally or from a reputable retailer.

I’m in the same boat being in Canada and being leary of ordering a trainer from the US and dealing with any warranty issues that might come about (especially with the Wahoo units). The Neo 2(T) at $1900 CDN just seems too crazy right now and I didn’t really enjoy the ride feel when I tried my friend’s Neo 1 (felt like mud compared to my Road Machine). I’m leaning towards the H3, but the Core is a touch cheaper so it’s a contender too. Definitely buying local though! (MEC is finally opening here next summer :hugs:)

Food for thought, 4iiii is a Canadian company and ships from Cochrane AB, or at least that’s where my STAC Halcyon came from on the clear out deal. Maybe not exactly what you are looking at, or in the right timeframe since they aren’t generally available yet, bit might be interesting to look into if shipping is prohibitive

Interesting as I’ve done something over 100 TR rides this year on the Direto in ERG and it’s never seen the little ring a single time.

and… here’s the rabbit hole. The Direto has an optimal ‘working zone’ for ERG with flywheel speeds of around 15-25km/h (iirc, I can’t recall the specifics without looking it up). If you throw it in the 53/11 you can out-ride ERG and it won’t stop you. If you set 250W ERG in you can ride well above 250W. It’s a quirk of the trainer some people come across if they’re looking at the numbers closely.

+1 for Direto

I don’t ride in 53/11 either. I know you are the trainer guru and all but your advice and my reality don’t align. I’ve had none of the problems you attribute to the Direto but honestly I don’t care enough to argue about it. I’ve had the Direto for approaching a year and have used EKG mode exclusively and nothing but big ring and great results for me.

Wheeeeyy… A quick search will show that the wattage floor / optimal working flywheel speed zones is a common discussion in regard to the Direto. If you’re not experiencing it, you might be operating within those zones, that’s all good. I’m not calling you out on anything. I don’t have enough data for that. :wink:

A nice aspect of the Neo is barely any maintenance and calibration needed.

Maybe those other options have this too.

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I am happy with my Wahoo Kickr Core after they replaced it last week. The biggest reason I went with this device is the low noise level. I live in a typical late 19th century building a European city and the last thing I wanted is to bother my neighbors. Sure, I lost two weeks of training to get the device replaced but as of now I would recommend the product and service

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By working at a tri store I have access to a number of units. Based on feedback, price, quality, customer service and a few other metrics, I’m going to agree with the Saris H3. In fact, I’m going to upgrade to that one.

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Hopefully this one lasts longer than the last for you.