Personal Experiences with Trainers


While there is definitely great information out there about specs, power accuracy etc. of trainers and equipment (see Shane, DCRainmaker etc.) I thought it would be cool to have a thread where we can see the collected experiences of the TR user base with their trainers. The good, the bad, the ugly.

Too often, I think, we hear only about the bigger problems people have with their trainers and not the “day-to-day” stuff. Or information has to be cherry picked from different parts of the internet. I thought a thread like this could help people to make a more informed decision when looking to purchase a new trainer and learn about common short falls, issues but also positive aspects of different trainer models.

I’ll start:

Trainer Model: Tacx Vortex Smart T2180
Price & Country of purchase: USD 370 (Europe)

Usage: Practically exclusively in Erg mode. No PowerMatch. Close to two years.

General impression: I’m quite happy with overall performance and ride feel for the money I paid. It has quite low wattage floors in Erg mode though, which leads to me shifting quite a bit to have a comfortable flywheel speed during hard intervals. It takes a little bit to figure out how to best shift / accelerate into wattage increases as well, but it’s not a big deal in my opinion.
Calibration before every ride is an absolute must, especially because i train outside (sheltered deck) and temperature fluctuations can be quite substantial. This can still lead to some problems with power consistency if there are especially warm / cold days.

Problems: The first unit broke after approx. a year and maybe 70 hours of use. The second one is still going strong after 9 Months and approx. 100 hours. I will say though, that training in sub zero (°C) conditions might have brought on these problems.

Would I buy it again? As a start into indoor training, absolutely! I’m overall happy with what i got for my money and i think it’s a decent trainer that you can make great progress on. If you spend a lot of time indoors though, I would probably go for a more accurate & silent model that has somewhat better ride feel. I will look to upgrade once I break my current model.

Would be great to hear about the experiences of others with their trainers!


  • Highlight and copy/paste the text below to get a template that is easy to fill out for consistency, if you’d like.

Trainer Brand & Model:
Price & Country of Purchase:
Specific Use Info:
General Impression:
Issues & Problems:
Would I buy it again?

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I was using a Kurt Road Machine for several years, with a stages power meter. Absolutely no complaints. The best dumb trainer you can buy I’d argue. It’s built as solid as a rock and was really kind to tyres.

Upgraded to a direct drive smart turbo this year. This is where it gets fun!!

Tacx Flux #1 - lasted less than one week before the belt started to squeal. Replaced under warranty
Tacx Flux #2 - lasted less than one week before the belt started to squeal. Replaced under warranty, upgraded to Tacs Flux S.
Tacx Flux S - lasted two weeks before the belt started to squeal. Replaced under warranty and upgraded to Tacx Neo
Tacx Neo - the pinnical of turbo trainers. It’s practically silent. There’s a bit of movement with the bike which adds to the feel of riding outdoors. Road Feel function is awesome fun. The light is a cool feature. Neat that it doesn’t need plugged in, but doesn’t have all functions when not running off power.

Note, that I use a power meter so can’t comment on the accuracy or consistency of any of the above. I don’t use ERG mode, and mostly ride on Zwift.

It’s not cheap, but in my view the Neo is worth every penny. I wish I’d just bought one in the first place!


Cheapest Tacx trainer I can find. Probably around 120 USD/EUR. 120 PSI, a lot of roller pressure, sticky race tyre - no tyre slippage no matter what. I pick Tacx only because of their locking mechanism. One issue that can arise, and is easily solved by a couple of drops of super glue, is “clicking” in the roller. Paired with a power meter, or cheap speed sensor and virtual power, it’s excellent. I wouldn’t buy anything else.

Been using CycleOps wind trainer without any complaints. The simplicity of the wind resistance is great.

EDIT: finding the correct gearing for some intervals is my biggest challenge.

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But it’s loud at 250-300W+. With a magnetic trainer, on high resistance, you can reach 300W at low speed/noise.

Picked a Vortex up around black friday for $250USD. I’m happy with it. It was a bit of a pain finding which thru axle I needed with my disc brake bike. I agree it’s been a bit of a process figuring out which gearing works best to hit high watts in short intervals. I’m new to trainers and road biking in general so I’m hoping it’ll be awhile before I reach the limits of this trainer and have to upgrade to direct drive.

That is true, I use it in my basement where the noise isn’t a large factor. I’m also very new to structured cycling so I don’t spend much time near 300W lol. Probably should have made that disclaimer earlier.

Trainer Model: Stac Zero w/ Powermeter
Price & Country of purchase: ~$500 (US)

Usage: Doesn’t have Erg mode. I use it with a pair of Vector 3 pedals but power tracks closely.

General impression: I’m happy with it. It’s neither a traditional “wheel-on” nor a direct drive trainer. Resistance is generated with two arrays of magnets running parallel to rims/alloy brake tracks. The alloy moving through the field between the magnets produces eddy currents. The only noise is my drive train so that’s amazing and no contact on the tires means no tire wear. I pretty much use the full range of my gearing. The trainer uses wheel-weights to generate inertia and that seems to be working just fine for me. In fact, it’s probably just slightly easier to produce high cadences than on the road.

Problems: Since I need to use gearing to hit power targets, there are intervals that are just awkward to do at the right wattage/cadence combination. I’ve had problems with over-unders where riding right at threshold either required a far too low or far too high cadence. I also still think that the resistance is somewhat uneven due to a tiny bit of flex in the frame of the trainer, which means that the rims move between the magnets. Very short intervals often look like I failed them but when I check the ride after and just search the intervals at target power it mostly turns out that there’s just some lag. Sometimes this means that I overshoot vo2max intervals, which probably doesn’t help my performance in the final set. :slight_smile:

Would I buy it again? Yeah, I think it’s good. I’d probably get the model without a power meter since I have the Garmins now, but maybe I will use it as a backup if they fail. Occasionally I think about upgrading to the smart model (there’s an upgrade kit that saves some money), but I’m not sure I need ERG mode. I like to be in charge of the ramping up of power, I like my knees! Also, I like the kick over the top of hills on Zwift that you get from not having your trainer lower the resistance! :wink:


This resoning is seen quite often, where people debate whether a trainer is quiet or not. It depends on the wattage (speed really). If you’re on a wind/fluid trainer with an ftp of 320 W, doing intervals at 380 W, that will be loud as hell since everything has to spin so quickly.
Stick to the TR plans and you’ll need a high resistance magnetic trainer soon. :wink:

Elite Direto.

I’ve had great experiences with it. I bought it pretty much immediately after it came out, and my first unit seemed to have a bit of a power meter issue, it would read really low or really high. I have a 4iiii crank power meter that I use for power readings so the trainer is basically only there for ERG. I had to warranty return that one though because there was a grinding coming from the back when I’d ride. The return was smooth and I got a new unit pretty quickly, and it’s been great ever since. The newer unit’s power meter tracks identically to my crank one, and the erg mode works great.

This is the only smart trainer I’ve used, and my only other trainer was a Travel Trac (Performance Bike house brand) fluid trainer. It was fine for a cheap fluid trainer, but having a trainer that actually has a sense of Inertia has been wonderful, it keeps me disciplined on the intervals, and I love having a direct drive unit.

My only negatives would probably be the included instructions. They’re not very clear, and the app setup was initially awkward. The skewer was a bit of an odd set up too. You have to put a spacer on it and run it on the inside of the non-drive side dropout. It’s not really clear how it’s supposed to be done with just the directions, and i was running it wrong for the first few weeks I had the trainer.

Overall, I would highly recommend it. It’s extremely affordable, folds up easily for storage, and keeps the power right on target. The power meter is also extremely accurate, especially for a trainer at this price. I have no doubts if I ever use it with my second bike that doesn’t have the PM on it. It can be a little finicky if your cadence is varying like crazy, but I’d imagine most smart trainers are like that. If you want great smart training at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong here.

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I originally had a 1-up USA trainer. That was I think the OG trainer to have before the smart trainern boom. It was built like a tank.

My first smart trainer purchase was a Tacx Neo. I couldn’t find it locally so I made the big mistake of ordering it online and from a UK dealer despite living in the US. I was lured by the discount and I have had some good International purchasing experiences in the past. However, this trainer arrived in a box so damaged it was amazing it worked. It worked okay for a bit, but eventually started having issues where the brake would fail and I’d lose all resistance. I reached out to Tacx for support. They couldn’t really help me as they offload that to the dealer, which is pretty typical. Luckily I called a US based dealer, they hooked me up with the regional rep and they replaced it with a brand new one. Tacx will always have my support based on that customer service.

The Neo is very nice. I don’t have a lot to compare it to. It is quiet, but I do get a whine at times in ERG mode. It sounds louder than it really is. I’d recommend it, but it’s the cream of the crop so it’s easy to say I’d recommend it all things being equal. I’d say it’s worth the cost. However, I’d give the Flux some serious consideration if I didn’t have the Neo.

I started with Kreitler 4.5" rollers and used virtual power for a short while (total fail on zwift) then purchased a Powertap g3 wheelset which made everything better. Invested 450$ for rollers and 350$ for g3 wheelset totaling 800 ish USD. I don’t regret it and have had no problems other than the occasional ride off the edge :/. I have since purchased an original kickr and have been using it exclusively for ease and hassle free training for the past 2 years. Purchased refurbished from kickr for 900 I think? Trouble free until recently I need to replace my chain and noticed the ghosting issue that required 15$ (shipping +10$) bushing replacement.

I’ll play this game:

Trainer Brand & Model: Tacx Flux
Price & Country of Purchase: $719.20 purchased in the US with a 20% discount code
Specific Use Info: Purchased for my partner who uses it for Zwift and TrainerRoad
General Impression: Wow not that good. ERG mode power floor issue is terrible. Regular riding feels like you’re riding in mud (“road feel” is poor)
Issues & Problems: ERG mode power floor is huge for a rider with a lower FTP. Hitting zone 1 intervals will mean 34T ring in front and something like a 28T in the back or a super low cadence. Regular ANT+ and BLE dropouts. We’ve done everything in stop signal drops book and none of it prevents it from happening.
Would I buy it again? For sure no and I warn anyone that I know thinking of buying one not to. But then how do I sell it used to upgrade my partner?

My trainer:

Trainer Brand & Model: 2017 Wahoo KICKR
Price & Country of Purchase: $1,019.15 purchased in the US with 15% discount (I wish my LBS carried Wahoo when I was buying)
Specific Use Info: Zwift and TrainerRoad
**General Impression:**LOVE it. Best trainer I’ve ever owned. Flawless function for well over a year now. ERG mode is fantastic and road feel is very good.
Issues & Problems: Not a one
Would I buy it again? For sure and twice on Sunday.


Love the idea of this thread! I’m on a Wahoo Kickr Snap (2017), bought with a DC Rainmaker sale for $450 on

Usage: Erg mode with a Power2Max supplying the power info.

General impression: I have basically zero issues with the trainer. I use a dedicated trainer wheel so it doesn’t kill my tire. It can be fairly loud, which is a little bit annoying to the other human living in our 1 bedroom apartment, but I didn’t want to shell out close to a grand for one of the silent ones so that’s to be expected. I almost never do spindowns since the power meter is supplying the power and I’ve never noticed any issue with this (someone tell me if that’s not how it works :slight_smile: ). Occasionally erg mode will be a little slow (10-15 seconds) to respond to big power spikes, but on the whole I’ve been using this fairly heavily for going on 2 years now and it’s been as close to set-and-forget as I could have hoped for. 10/10 would recommend.

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I’m also on a Kickr Snap, bought late 2017 (the new version with flashing LEDs!).

Overall impressions
Very very good, no problems at all through the whole winter in 2017/18 and now well into winter 2018/19. It just works. It’s also very quiet in operation, I hear only the fan in my face and the purring of the drivetrain, there really is no noise from it at all.

My set-up
I am lucky to have a dedicated turbo bike in a concrete outhouse, so set up is just 2.25 turns of the (marked up) knob, 10 minute warm up then 1 minute spindown and off I go. No bells or whistles, no internet nor audio visual toys, I just use it via the Android app on a phone, music from wired ear buds. No Bluetooth (it was causing regular dropouts), everything on Ant+ (HRM/cadence/trainer) and it works faultlessly. I use it exclusively in ERG mode (except for 20 min FTP tests) because it works beautifully. I’m a Trainerroad-only user - I love the blue blocks of doom!

No separate power meter
In the absence of a power meter and power matching etc I seem to have circumvented the various problems associated with these things that I read about, like dropouts, lack of power tracking and slow reaction time for fast big-watt changes. The reaction time for Burst type intervals and VO2Max is super quick, especially when in the small ring.

Road feel and wattage floor
I had a few shots on my mate’s Neo and there is little difference in road feel to my Snap, honestly. The wattage floor of the Snap is lower, so when I come down from say a 10 minute threshold interval (in the big ring) into a valley of say 110W and I want to spin through it at 90rpm, I select the small ring, since staying in the big ring requires very slow cadence to get such low wattage. It’s no big deal though, and for VO2 stuff like 30/30s, I just do them in the small ring throughout, so no changing needed.

An absolute gem of a machine, fantastic value for money, highly recommended.


Trainer Brand & Model: Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer (Dumb, not smart)
Price & Country of Purchase: Around $350 USD in August 2015 off Amazon
Specific Use Info: Exclusively Trainer Road for 99.9% of my training (I did 6 rides outside last year but 5 a week inside)
General Impression: It’s the only trainer I have ever owned. It’s a wheel on trainer but I love the road feel. The faster you go the harder you peddle. Noise is not really a problem though I took it with me on a work trip and tried to ride it on the second floor of a hotel with hard wood floors and stopped because I thought I might wake people up. At home I use it in the garage and this is not an issue. I use the full set of Wahoo Speed, cadence and heart rate sensors. Very reasonably priced.
Issues & Problems: I ride on a 2008 Trek 1.2 with a 9 speed cassette. There are some workouts where high power and high cadence are called for in the workout, but I just can’t get my gearing right. That is probably more a problem with my bike than the trainer. Since It’s not a smart trainer there is a lag between the speed sensor reporting and the trainer road presenting a higher watt output. This means I need to start sprints about 5 seconds early for it to present correctly on the screen. Kind of a 1st world problem, but something I accept with my entry level price point. Oh, I also bought another wheel so I could keep a trainer tire on one and my road tire on the other. This makes it easy to switch between riding inside and outside.
Would I buy it again? Yes. It was a low Dollar entry into structured training and I really like the fluid trainer feel. I am planning on upgrading my bike and when I do I will also upgrade my trainer to a direct drive in the hope of not needing to buy another wheel and getting the smart trainer features. This path was necessary to prove to my wife that this was a sport I was going to stick with for a while. It stuck alright!



Trainer Brand & Model: Wattbike Atom

Price & Country of Purchase:
UK - £1599 - bundle with mat, cleaning products etc

Specific Use Info:
ERG mode for TR workouts - currently SSB LV1 using TR app on an iPad mini
Used the Wattbike app once and that was ok

General Impression:
Reasonably solid build quality. Quieter than other trainers or indoor bikes I have seen in action (admittedly not many) but still not ‘silent’ or ‘near silent’ as I had (perhaps naively) anticipated. Handlebars are ok - tri-bar pads are a bit flimsy and the adhesive pad on one side has already come unstuck after 6 weeks of use.
Works really well with the TR app - seamless connectivity (apart from one issue noted below). Easy to set up and lots of adjustability. Not entirely sure whether some of the smaller parts are robust enough to last the test of time however we shall see …

Issues & Problems:
Only one so far. Cadence sensor connection went haywire with TR app on iPod mini. Shut down app and Atom, left for 30 seconds then rebooted - problem cleared.
A small thing but the location of the power cord socket on the frame and the fact the cable supplied is not very long means I am prone to tripping over it - might just be my own clumsiness but it’s a small irritation.

Would I buy it again?
Probably - costs a lot (Probably more than it should) but the extra £500 over a Wahoo Kickr was justified (for me) as I live in a small apartment so avoidIng the hassle of swapping the rear wheel and tyre constantly to hitch my road bike up to the Kickr was important - plus the time saving and reduction in ‘mess’ associated with trying to.

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Elite Direto with an “old steel frame on” (adjusted to mirror my outside bike)

Price (UK) + Purpose
Unlike some here I view thew trainer as just provding resistance, I’m not really interested in road feel (I’m in the garage :grimacing:) or speed of changes or very low noise or mega load capacity. (my sprint max is maybe 1200:anguished:)

Worked strainght out of the box, feels very solid, quiet enough to watch something on a lap top and has never gone out of calibration.

Issues + Problems.
Being very picky, for large jumps in watts +50% if you increase your pedalling speed at the same time it can take 5sec’s or so to adjust to the new load (making a 10 or 15sec interval very short). If you don’t increase pedalling speed it’s only 2-3 secs.

Would I buy it again - yes.

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Trainer Model: Tacx Neo 1
Price & Country of purchase: £820 in UK (~$1055)

Usage: TrainerRoad plans in Erg mode. Don’t bother with Zwift.

General impression: Really impressive. Coming from using a dumb trainer with a Stages power meter last year, I love that I can just load up a workout on one screen and watch a TV show on another letting the trainer take care of the workout without me having to focus on constantly hitting the numbers. All I have to focus on is keeping the pedals turning. I’m more confident that I’m getting the full benefits of the prescribed plans as there’s no hiding place in ERG mode.

Problems: No real problems. Minor hiccup would be hitting some of the avg power numbers on some of the shorter intervals (30sec for example) it can take the trainer a couple of seconds to figure out the resistance but from reading up on it, it’s par for the course and evens itself out most likely on the way down to the recovery phase.

Would I buy it again? Absolutely. It’s an expensive investment but proving to be worth it persevering with the training plans. It also helped that I got a good discount off the RRP >30%

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Trainer Brand & Model: Tacx Flux

Price & Country of Purchase: £550 UK

Specific Use Info: TrainerRoad, maybe some zwift racing later on.

General Impression: My first Flux was exchanged by my LBS as it didn’t work from getting the unit out of the box. The second unit has so far it’s worked flawlessly. I bought the unit from new a couple of years ago and after a couple of months use, I knocked cycling on the head and returned this summer.

Issues & Problems: I needed to do some work to ensure my Tarmac disc fit and could be located securely as the disc brake body hit the casing of the flux. Tacx support were quick, knowledgeable and easy to access.

Would I buy it again? Yes.