Kurt Kinetic Trainer buying choices - ERG or not?

I’d asked about this on the ‘Best Dumb Trainer’ thread after the overwhelming positive comments about Kurt Kinetic, but I have a few specific questions after finally getting my head around the product variants.

As background, I’ve been quite happy using my old Elite Chrono Gel which has served me well. I use an on-bike power meter at all times so I’m not too bothered by power measurements from the trainer.

I realistically have two options to upgrade to;

Rock n Roll Smart (£329)
This doesn’t have ERG control but I am quite interested in the Rock n Roll functionality to ease a little bit of uncomfortableness I feel from long sessions in a very static position.

Road Machine Smart Control (£375)
This is getting to the top end of my budget for sure, and whilst it doesn’t have the Rock n Roll motion, it would support ERG mode and Zwift if I ever tried that. I’ve never tried a Smart Trainer so not sure if this would be any better than the ‘non-smart’ choice of the Ronk n Roll unit.

Any words of wisdom would be hugely appreciated!

You can basically build up the whole Kurt Kinetic line with the right collection of modifiers:

Rock n Roll: Adds the side-to-side freedom. People seem to have a difference of opinion as to whether or not the Rock n Roll is useful. That’s what I have and I like it, but no real experience with other trainers.

Smart: Adds a module that is essentially calibrated Virtual Power. (It’s the little green or black box in the back.) Bluetooth only. Requires a spindown calibration after your warmup, which can be annoying. You can buy this separately.

Smart 2: Newer version of Smart. Bluetooth + ANT.

Smart Control: Makes the Kinetic a smart trainer by replacing the resistance unit. Bluetooth only. (You can actually buy this separately also, but you would have no reason to.)

Control: Newer version of Smart Control. Bluetooth + ANT.

If you have a power meter, there is little to no reason to have the Smart module. If you want a dumb trainer, you do not want Smart Control / Control. They are smart trainers.

IMO, Kurt is known for making good dumb trainers. Their Smart modules have slightly flaky electronics. I don’t know about the Control resistance units, but there are more-respected smart trainer manufacturers out there. If you’re going to get a Kinetic, since you already have a power meter, I’d avoid the words Smart and Control altogether.


I believe I stated this in the other thread… I would not touch any Kinetic product that uses electricity, PERIOD.

They have shown many more problems with firmware, app control and other related issues that I don’t think they are even close to the same level of quality as other brands.

  • Inride pods (that are part of their fluid based “Smart” trainers that only output power data, with no interactive control)
  • Smart Control units (that have electronically controlled magnetic resistance) were plagued with introduction and prolonged use issues.
  • And the new R1 wheel-off trainer is showing much of the same, with several dead units and problems with power data and such. Off to another terrible start, just like the Smart Control of 2 years ago.

All trainer makes have issues, but Kinetic seems to have a much larger distribution of issues than others, based on my review from numerous sources (here, FB, DCR, etc.).

Again, a large “buyer beware” should be part of any electronic purchase from the big K.

Thanks Chad and @jpowers for these really helpful and thorough replies :+1:t2:

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Great info on KK here. To summarize, avoid anything electronic. But they do build dumb trainers that will last forever.

(I can’t say tanks as those things are maintenance hogs).

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I have owned the road machine smart(bluetooth) for 2 years now. I have had no problems and it serves me well. I have only replaced the battery 4 times since purchase. It is a very good trainer inmo. I have used it with trainerroad and zwift. works great with both of them. But i agree from what i have read from the posts above, buy the rock and roll with the smart sensor and be done with it.


I’ve just changed my KK Rock & Roll for a Smart Halcyon Zero Smart Trainer. I was initially sceptical about using Erg mode but having now been using it now for 3 weeks or so, for me, it’s been a game changer. I love the erg mode experience. What I didn’t like was the trainer not moving around underneath me like the KK did so after looking on the Rocker Plate FB page run by @mcneese.chad I built myself a rough and ready one to see if it could go some way to to replicating the KK experience, which thankfully it does.

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I find ERG mode to be very helpful. Not only does it “force” you to hit the prescribed power, but it makes it easier to hold it there consistently and I find it helps me practice a steady cadence.

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Throwing out my experience with the Road Machine Smart. Been using that and the InRide Sensor for the last two years and have been very pleased with it.

The one issue I had was when I went to replace the battery for the second time but the contact point had gotten so loose (It happened naturally, I hadn’t damaged it) that the battery would simply fall out before putting the cap on. The sensor was out of warranty but I contacted KK and they sent me one free of charge with two-day shipping.

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Hi Chad,
I’m going to respectively disagree with what you’re saying regarding InRide pod.

The InRide pod came on my trainer and so far (4 months) it has worked without fail. (I’m now worried it will die because of all the bad information about it … ugh!? Touch Wood!)

Maybe in a few more months I will encounter the issues that have come-up but until then I recommend it since it is working good.

On the other hand, I agree that Kurt Kinetic trainers are NOT what I would purchase if I was looking for smart trainer technology. So far their solutions are still based on their dumb trainers. Yet, if they could combine the durability of their dumb trainer with a modern variation smart trainer I would be interested. Currently, they are stuck in forcing their old trainers into new smart trainers and it isn’t working to well.

When and if the InRide dies I’ll owe you a beer.


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I agree, once you get a “good” one, the Inride pods are good.

My recommendation comes more from the history:

  • Inride 1.0 was introduced and had massive problems. So many so that they did a full and free replacement with the Inride 2.0 for EVERY customer that bought the 1.0 (because it was so bad.
  • Inride 2.0 was much better for a product, but they struggled with app support and calibration at the initial release. That got resolved and I agree it is a good product… with the notable caveat that it is BLE only.
  • Inride 3.0 was introduced and paraded for it’s new inclusion of ANT+ to accompany the existing BLE. Great, except they started selling and shipping units before they had ANY support for ANT+. That was introduced over a month after initial release. Now that it’s supported, people are having frequent issues with the ANT+ connection and calibration. A review of the DCR thread shows notable issues with the 3.0 model & ANT+.

Point being, they can make good stuff, eventually, but their history is anything but reassuring, especially for an early purchase of a new product from them. I fully expect they will get to a functioning and fully supported 3.0, but it is months after release and they still don’t have it set. Overall, I wouldn’t touch their electronic products until about 6-12 months after release, based purely on the track record that they made for themselves.