I started off with a Tacx Vortex “Smart” trainer. It’s been fine. It served it’s purpose and I don’t ride the trainer that much anyway.
I got extra serious again with cycling a couple of years ago. I finally got a Stages Campagnolo left. Yes, I know people have complained about left only, left/right balanced, and all that. For my purposes, I still think left only would be fine.
But, but, but … my best 20 minute power on the Tacx was 295 watts. I haven’t tested for six months on the Tacx (Corona and all). I’m clearly fitter now than when I did a 295 watt test and my best outdoor power on the Stages is 220 watts.
I did try to do a side by side comparison with the Stages vs. Tacx and they seemed close though power bounced around a lot. I didn’t record simultaneous sessions though because I think I need two Garmins for recording and DC Rainmaker’s tool.
On one hand, it’s a blow the ego. I thought I was closing in on a 300 watt FTP. I do seem way stronger than a 200 watt FTP guy. I’m one of the stronger old geezers in my club (age 54) and I have 30+ KOMs on Strava. I have great short power and can score on the shorter segments but I also have a bunch of 10-12-20 minute KOMs on gravel which are blasts near or above threshold.
Maybe I’m venting more than anything. I find this whole power meter thing frustrating. Ideally I want power on my gravel bike and on my road bike but getting two meters that are very close seems like a crap shoot.
If I didn’t care about the actual numbers I could just use the Stages for indoor and outdoor riding and then just look at it as a relative number. It just sucks that there seems to be such a large, 75+ watt, discrepancy between the equipment that I have.
I went with Stages because of price and that it was Campagnolo. I really wanted a Campagnolo crank on my Campagnolo bike and the other Campagnolo options are around $1500.