Smart Trainer Conundrum

Hi all, this is my first post.

I sold my very reliable £1400 spin bike, it was solid and took a lot of abuse and sever me well over the years. The reason I sold, well I’m training for triathlon and have lost a fair bit of weight, I want to take it to the next level and for my quality of training to improve and ride for 2 or 3 hours in one sitting. The spin bike was so boring.

Seen all the hype about Zwift and direct drive trainers and was so excited. Sold my spin bike for a very good price and have money aside to add and get a smart trainer and road bike.

The excitement stopped when I read some of the threads in here (which I’m glad I found as may have dodged a bullet) on Kickr, Tacx Neo2T and Saris H3. These are the trainers I’m looking at but all of them seem to be so poorly manufactured? I’m now considering not buying a smart trainer as I can’t afford for my training to take a hit and can’t afford to keep buying new trainers.

Are they badly built and unreliable on a mass scale basis?

I’ve went from being excited and desperate to get one, to now being an anxious and depressed mess incase it doesn’t live up to expectations! :joy:

I would ideally like it to last 3 or 4 years at the price they are?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I wouldn’t think they are badly build in general. They must have sold millions of them, but happy customers don’t post and ask for help with various issues.

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Thanks.

Have you got any personal experience with any of the direct drive trainers?

I’m maybe over thinking it but some of these threads seem to be reporting the same issues over and over.

Nothing anybody says on here will help you make a decision.
If these trainers did not work then the companies would be out of business.

What you are really looking for is a company whose trainers are well rated, within your price-point and have good customer service.

Of course you could argue that good customer service is not required if the purchase has no problems.

Wahoo has been very good for me. It works well and when I did have an issue (2018 model) it was quickly resolved to my satisfaction.

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Thanks John. I think I need to just put the big boy pants on and go with my gut.

I’ll look at after sales customer service for each of the 3.

I was considering a smart trainer until I read all the reviews as well. In Canada, trainer prices especial high end ones are through the roof. 1800 for a kickr. 2000 for the neo plus add another 300$ taxes. Imagine spending all that money and it lasts just 2-4 years. Forget it. I’m sticking to my supermagneto pro (paid 400$ 9 years ago) and powertap wheel (paid 250$ last year). I have had no issues, no downtime no surprise expenses. I would just get a dumb trainer and reliable power meter for a quatre of the price of a smart trainer.

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That is a lot of money. Here in the UK you can pick up the H3 for £850, Neo2T for £1200 and Kickr for £1k. Still a lot of money.

I really want a solid trainer so I’ll do my research on after sales care and go with best option.

Slightly off topic but why are Canadian taxes so high - your $2100 cdn =£1254 UK pounds which is about 25% higher than the UK price. Is income tax lower in Canada and tax is generated through purchases primarily?

I have a wahoo core.

I have to send it back twice.

Dealing with the costumer support was a brise and I even got a fancy fan as a “sorry”.

I think they sorted the manufacturing problem by now. They would be out of business if everyone had the same probs has I did.

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Can’t speak to the others but have had a Wahoo Kickr for 4 years and maybe ~500 workouts and never had a problem with it other than a couple of minor ANT+ connection issues initially which I suspect were more down to the laptop and dongle I was using than to the trainer. Thing is bulletproof, just works first time every time, and with the metal construction it also still looks as good as new. Pretty much the same machine that is now being sold as the Kickr Core.

I would go for it. Smart trainers are great, completely changed the way I view indoor training. If you do get unlucky and have problems then that’s what the warranty is for. For peace of mind maybe worth buying from a LBS who will handle the return/replacement/repair for you.

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Evans cycles retail all 3 machines I’m looking at. I’ll speak to them and ask plenty of questions about their experiences of returns and after sales service with each of the companies.

I’ll 100% be buying one, just need to figure out which one!

If considering the Kickr, would add the Kickr Core to the list. Not sure it is worth paying £300 more for the top of the line Kickr for the addition of a cassette (£30), a few hundred more watts which you don’t need, and a few more % of gradient which you also don’t need. I guess the carrying handle is nice though :wink:

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I might just do that. Save myself the money and if it breaks I’ve got money left over to buy another haha!

THIS!

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I’ve a Kickr for 4 years over 1000 training sessions no real issues (it has clamped high resistance a couple of times in the last six months, for 30 seconds if it doesnt reset itself pulling the plug out resets it, but like I say its only happen a few times)
4 years, 1000+ sessions, I’m happy with that,
although I was thinking of replacing it for this winters training.

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I’ve had a 2018 Kickr core since, well, 2018. I had one issue where the internal antenna died and it would no longer communicate with my laptop/cell phone/anything. So, I called Wahoo and they, without hesitation (obviously because this was a known issue, but still), sent me a brand new one. Has worked like a dream since and I’ve logged thousands of hours on it thanks to Canada’s wonderfully long winters and it’s ease of use.

It plays nice with my MacBook, and functions well with all my other peripherals, including a 4iiiis powermeter.

When it dies, no question I will buy another Kickr.

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Biggest sellers, have the most “noise” on complaints/ issues.

You’re also looking at the most expensive - check out @dcrainmaker for cheaper alternatives.

I also keep hearing adverts for the Watt Bike Atom, on a monthly payment plan?

Also on H1 - not had to do the belt, yet.

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Third year on my on my H1, solid kit, almost used everyday and has had one belt swap that took me about 30 minutes to do around 6 months ago. I expect another couple of years before next one!

Would purchase a H3 without hesitation if my H1 completely died. On forums/threads you only hear the bad stories, every manufacture will have a bad unit every several hundred/thousand. They adjust their processes to eliminate these and think you would be very unlucky to purchase something that would have issues that’s been out on the market 12+ months.

Pick your Kickr / Tacx / Neo2T /Saris H3 and I bet you’ll have a great experience.

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Taxes in Canada are generally high depending the province you live in. I’m in a province with high income tax (50%) and high sales tax (15%). But at least child care and school is essentially free.

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I have been using a Watt Bike Atom Next Gen for 2 weeks now and only have good things to say about it. You may already be aware that the original Atom had lag issues with gear changes and the seat post was prone to slipping, both these issues have been resolved with the Next Gen along with other hardware upgrades over the original.

All the workouts I have done (TR, Zwift and WB Hub) so far have been perfect, the bike itself is very well made and aesthetically pleasing, not that will bother some people. Connection via ANT+ or BT is solid so as long as your internet speed is good you shouldn’t experience any drop outs during workouts.

ERG Mode is good but takes a bit of getting used to if you are doing any kind of short interval workouts.

Having a dedicated trainer I can just jump on without having to mess around fitting my own bike is another added benefit.

The only downsides I can see are the 170 mm only crank length and the amount of time you have to wait for one to be available! having to wait 15-17 weeks is likely a deal breaker for most people.

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