That’s true, the Neo seems prone to snapping drive belts. But otherwise most reviews seem very positive. All these first gen Smart Bikes seem to have a few niggles and it does put me off a bit.
You might want to consider the Stages bike too as it’s built like a tank. But the Neo frame looks pretty sturdy too.
Pretty much decided to go with the Kickr Bike from a local retailer, despite a few reports of minor teething issues (dead shifters and such). In the grand scheme of things, they are not show-stoppers and the critical functionality (for TR purposes) seems to work as advertised without fail. As it stands, the Kickr power unit is mature technology and the “fluff” bits around it can be addressed with software updates in most instances. If there is a critical failure, I’ll have the local retailer sort it out rather than having to go back to Wahoo myself. My main interest is the lack of maintenance, the silence and the proven reliability of Kickr units.
As for Black Friday sales, I’m not counting on it, certainly not where I am here in Switzerland. Found a retailer where I can use credit card points to take some of the price tag sting away and I guess that’s as good as it gets for me.
Long term Kickr Bike review from Smart Bike Trainers:
There’s a TACX Bike review on his channel as well.
Thanks for the link!
As mentioned in a previous post, I have no issue “underwriting” a 1st gen Kickr product, seeing that my 1st gen Kickr has held up for 7 years and 2000+ hours of use. I’ll keep it around as a back up.
Yeah my plan is to buy from a local retailer too for extra support. I think that’s a good plan.
As for the maturity of the Kickr power unit, I was under the impression it’s quite different from their Kickr trainers i.e. with motorised flywheel like a Neo. Not that I’ve read of many issues with the drivetrain. Most of the complaints seem to be about dead shifters, slipping seatposts and excessive slop and creaking in the frame. But I like the idea of having some flex in the frame as I find totally rigid exercise bikes are very uncomfortable for longer sessions. One of the reasons I discounted the Stages SB20 and the Neo bike looks very rigid too. Which is odd when their trainers have a degree of built-in flex for that very reason.
I’m still wondering whether or not I should just get a Kickr V5 + Climb package instead of the bike for less than half the cost. I get the feeling it would be more reliable long term, but do I like the idea of a complete standalone bike with all its adjustability and virtual gears etc.
First world problems hey!
Well I finally caved in and bought the Kickr Bike. I managed to get a 10% discount in the sales from a reputable family run shop (Pearson’s in London), so I’m hoping customer support will be good, because I have a feeling I will need it at some point down the line! I’m keeping my Direto X as a back-up, but really looking forward to winter training on the Kickr.
Hey @Peteski - how are you getting on with your Kickr Bike? Any short term impressions? Be interested in how you are using it etc. as I am in a position to seriously be considering picking one up… Thanks!
Well it was all going great right up until today when both the gear shifters suddenly stopped working (one of the common faults I had read about). So I’ve just contacted Wahoo support for the first time and will see how that goes.
Up until this point it was performing very well. It’s not as quiet as I expected - makes all sorts of weird resonance noises at various loads and speed, but it’s not really a problem. The virtual gearing is excellent and it feels pretty smooth to pedal. It can get a little lumpy at very low cadence (sub 60) and high load, but otherwise hard to fault on feel. Again, as widely reported, the seatpost and stem quick release clamps are a bit flaky and need to be closed really tight to avoid slipping.
The frame feels solid enough, with just enough flex to feel like a real bike and I honestly think this makes it more comfortable than a truly rigid trainer. I previously had a stationary gym bike that was absolutely rock solid, but uncomfortable to ride for longer than an hour even with my regular road saddle. The Kickr bike feels more like riding your own road bike on a direct drive trainer.
The only thing I’m not convinced about is the slight fore-aft rocking free-play you get on the climb actuator. Wahoo say it’s a design feature, but it just feels like something is a bit loose! It’s not a dramatic thing, but if you shift your weight around on the bike it rocks back and forth and you really notice it when you get out of the saddle. I’ve got used to it now, but I would prefer it not to have this freeplay.
The climb function itself is still why I bought this bike over all the other alternatives. I do a lot of climbing and it makes it a lot more realistic with the bike sitting at the correct attitude on slopes.
I think my post is probably coming across as quite negative, but apart from the above niggles it is an awesome trainer and way better than my Elite Direto X. I’m just hoping it doesn’t keep breaking down on me.
Just to add while waiting for Wahoo support to come back to me about the shifters I mentioned above, I got them working again today. It appears to be some sort of grounding issue with the wiring. If I very carefully move the shifter wires so they are not touching each other or the frame then they come back to life. So a temporary solution at least! I did a virtual climb up the Stelvio this afternoon on Rouvy and it was all working fine. I do love the climb function and not having to put my own bike on the trainer. No regrets so far, but still have concerns over reliability. I’m counting on Wahoo and the reputable shop I bought it from to keep it going. My Elite trainer is still sitting there as back-up over winter!
I am considering swapping my Tacx Neo2 for a KICKR bike, somehow the KICKR bike looks smaller than my Neo2 with my bike connected, could it be that I gain space here?
I think that’s where I’m landing. Even with various discounts, the cheapest option (Stages SB-20) is still $2250. And that’s a lot to spend on technology that could be obsolete and/or unsupported or unstable in the near future. So, as much as I want a nice quiet/clean trainer option, I think I’m stuck with a regular bike on a smart trainer until these offerings mature (and hopefully drop in price).
Just an idea to throw out there…Thanks to everyone thinking theyre a cyclist and then realizing post purchase theyre not, buying a used peloton for around a grand doesnt take much effort right now. Theres little gizmos that allow you to run zwift on them. Not sure about TR but may be doable with some effort?
My only concern about a smart bike is how long until v2 comes out and makes it obsolete or wanting an upgrade. Previous comments about ease of use are for sure real, its just a big purchase that doesnt make much sense to me personally. In my budget and situation where Im the only one riding, id rather put that 3 grand into another bike
Why do people think these bikes may be obsolete shortly?
Just because a new model comes out does not make the existing ones obsolete.
Just look at how many people are still riding on original Kickrs etc?
sure, but technology is changing, so when i buy today a equipment for this price i want actual technology and not from 2019.
Especially Bluetooth and so on, actual 5.0 or 5.1, sure it is not really needed, but you don’t know what feature things are bringing and of course design updates?
are the different Wahoo Bike revisions out there, i read something of a v4?
Of course everyone wants the newest, but it doesnt make it obsolete.
As I said Kickr original is still working and supported. So is the original Neo.
The Kickr bike in terms of how the trainer component works was a development for Wahoo as it is now more similar to the Neos than the regular Kickr / Core.
Also if history is anything to go by, any new version will have limited supply for a while and will have teething issues - so in my view for those that want one and can afford it, the current gen of smart bikes are still perfectly valid purchases. Also because many teething problems have been ironed out (other than perhaps the SB20)
I had bought a Tacx Neo although I was assured that there would be no newer device.
1 week later I got a message from Tacx that there is a Neo 2, I was pissed!
I also had quite a bit of problems with the Neo, constant drop outs and such, had the Neo appraised, it was only 2 months later that I got a Neo2 as a replacement (but 2 month without a trainer), that’s just my story with old and new versions of a hardware
I’m personally waiting on 2nd gen bike, probably a Neo, but we shall see. But because it’s been over 2yrs now since the Neo bike came out I’m now waiting because I want the design refinements of 2nd gen based on lessons learned from 1st gen. I can’t see there being a big technological leap. Hoping that this year there are 2nd gen announcements.
I have an Neo1 since 2015. Rock solid. For a short time beforehand, I had the Kickr v1. I sold it to a buddy who is still using it. Rock solid. The diff between the 1st gen and the latest Neo and Kickr is not some major technological leap and it’s been +6yrs
I’m waiting for gen 2 of the bikes come out before deciding. I keep on eye on some of the fb user groups for the bikes to see some of the common complaints are. Kickr bike seems to have lots of complaints about seatpost and handlebar slippage. For a $3500 bike that seems ridiculous. Stages seems like a tank but lots of confusion around connecting pedals and/or bike to training software. And when I hear mention of slow resistance change for stages bike I just don’t find that acceptable when existing top end trainers don’t have that issue. Tacx bike doesn’t seem to have any one specific issue that people are mentioning as a problem as far as I can tell.
So I’d definitely feel more comfortable waiting for gen 2 to come out.
I’m a big guy and had handlebar slippage. Adjusting the clamp pre-load did the trick but to make it even more solid Wahoo sent out another kind of bolt that will allow more pressure to get the clamp to hold. They not only had an immediate solution to the problem, they also have a firm fix. People complaining about this issue never reached out to support to get the right info or even done a Google search since this same fix is documented online. Yeah, it would be great if you didn’t have to do any of this, but for most “cyclist side people” they probably don’t. Only those of us that are a little less aero have the problem.