Low Ceiling - Trainer Axle Height

My Elite Direto recently died and my wife is kicking me out of the living room and moving my pain cave to the basement. So I’m in the market for a new direct drive trainer. My basement ceiling height is low at about 5’ 11" (180cm) so i’m looking for a trainer with an axle height that is the same as a 700c wheel axle. My Elite Direto is an inch or two above that and I tap my head on the ceiling if I stand up.

In addition to the height restrictions, I would like a trainer that responds quickly to changes in power in erg mode. I primarily ride MTB in Michigan which has very punchy short climbs. I felt my direto responded a bit to slowly for 30 second intervals and I could never replicate the single track in my area.

So I’m trying to compare all the mid/high range trainers like Tacx Neo 2T, Kickr 18, Kickr Core, Saris H3. What is everyone’s opinion on these trainers with respect to my issues I described? Sorry if this has been discussed in previous threads, if so just add a link.

Kickr18 is your best bet here. It’s height adjustable. If you need the exact axle height in the lowest setting, let me know and I’ll measure.


Oh right I could adjust it below a 700c axle height if I’m able to mount a smaller front wheel. Haha I just have to make sure my pedals don’t scrape the floor. I think I’ll be good with the Kickr in the 700c position but it’s nice to have the lower options. Thanks Shane!

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The Kickr Core is, if memory serves, ever so slightly lower than a 700c wheel with 25 mm tires. But you generally want a trainer setup with the front wheel slightly elevated anyway (there’s no wind to help take weight off your hands).

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why would you need a smaller front wheel? In fact, I’ve found that raising the front wheel a couple of inches is great for comfort on the trainer… so I don’t see any problem with having your ‘back wheel’ lower than your front…

  • For the same reason he wants a low trainer, the low ceiling.

I’m a big proponent for the elevated front axle via the lack of wind and all that. But his height limits may lead to a lower front being as important as the low rear too.

Ah, true that @mcneese.chad, but I’m going to split hairs here and say that I picked-up on the ‘IF I’m able to mount a smaller front wheel’…

there’s theoretically no need to have both wheels be the same size, that said, a Penny-Farthing would not work with your low ceilings @ajmarecki :smiley:

Haha sorry the “IF” in that sentence gave it a few possible meanings. I said “if” because don’t know much about older and smaller wheel standards and if they would fit on my fork. I ride a 2013 Specialized Tarmac with my trainer. That’s obviously quick release but I don’t know if an old school 26in MTB wheel has the same QR axle width. But yes I agree with other, I prefer my front axle to be about an inch higher than my rear axle. I think Chad is right, it could be due to the wind resistance. Also, outside I only ride an XC MTB which has a higher stack than the Tarmac. So one configuration that could work well for me would be to drop the Kickr 1 or 2 levels below the 700c setting, then just have my 700c front wheel installed with no riser block. That will be about 2 inches lower than my current Direto setup and should solve my height issue. Thanks for the feedback everyone, I’ll probably go with a Kickr 18 and start training for Iceman! (crossing my fingers hoping that race isn’t canceled)

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