Smart Trainer Conundrum

A ‘smart’ trainer is one the communicates via ant+ or bluetooth. They come in both wheel-on and direct drive, that has nothing to do with it. It will usually measure your power somehow, and send that to your computer/device, and then the other way a program can control the resistance. (A ‘dumb’ trainer usually has a lever where you can manually increase resistance, but not do that automatically). A power meter will also report the power you do, but off course it can’t control resistance.

If you just follow the blue line in TR, it’s fine to use a dumb trainer combined with a powermeter, and just pedal harder when the line goes up. But with a smart trainer, you can have the blue line control the resistance, so all you have to do is pedal, and it gets harder/easier on its own. For zwift, if you want to feel the hills etc, you need a trainer that can do that. All of the ones you are looking at can do that.

You make a good point about online research. It’s outright depressing jumping into ANY product group/forum that becomes a de facto help desk for people with issues as opposed to a ‘fan group’ sharing tips/tricks/enhancements.

Having said this… it’s always good to get a feel for how happy product owners are. The best example I can think of is Favero. People love their Assiomas. If a company makes a GOOD product then it doesn’t need the approval of ‘reviewers’, it’ll do well regardless and people will know about it.

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@GPLama I’ve been in looking at your review videos and they are fantastic, this forum is really great too.

I would be happy with all of the smart trainers functionality for my level at the moment. It’s reliability I want more than anything.

I was really set on the H3 but the belt issue, knocking sounds and melted plastic review from numerous people is putting me off.

I’ve not really seen any mass praise for the reliability of these direct drive trainers. Even the comments in your reviews have their fair share of issues with reliability and long term sustainability.

Hopefully whatever I buy works out to be ok.

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Buy locally from a store who has you back with a good return policy. Here in AU we have a solid consumer protection body (ACCC) who can step in if people are sold something that doesn’t work as sold (or what’s on the side of the box).

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I understand the sentiment that “only unhappy people post” but in reality, we were told several times that the Neo2 and Kicker 4 issues were resolved by people with large audiences. This simply was not true. Many many many people continued to have the same issues even after they were “fixed by the vendor and new units should not have these issues”. I personally know people who in the last 12 months have had 3 or more units due to issues over and over again. The reviewers are awesome and I appreciate the service they provide us all, but I trust the people I personally know more.

Hi @Journeyman - Sounds like a good plan! I have an SRM crank based power meter. Pros - rock solid, high accuracy. Cons - cost, complicated to transfer to another bike (but I only have one road bike, so not an issue for me). Between the forum, DC Rainmaker, GPLama and others, there’s an abundance of great info out there on power meters, trainers, etc… I’m sure you’ll notice that like all things bike, you can always spend more on more than you need. Happy shopping and training! Best to ya.

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I had this quandary a while back and got the smart trainer first because of TR erg / Zwift / Fulgaz but this was before TR outdoor workout integration. Might have been different but unlikely if that was in play but never regretted decision.

Honestly at this point though I hardly look at the PM outside (have a 4iii and works well) until after the ride. TR outdoor workouts work very well but depending on route can be interesting. I find it easier to dedicate my TR workouts to indoor only via ERG (:heart:) and outdoor ride for fun.

Yep, I’d be the same. It’s fun/ social outside.

I occasionally use power to dig a bit deeper or back off on climbs now I’m going with a slightly faster club group more regularly, but it’s mainly for KJ’s it’s used outdoors. It would be different if I raced, maybe. Although even then, it was mainly an indicator of how different my “FTP” was indoor and out! It’s why I’m not really justifying putting the money into power for my gravel bike.

Indoors is what works for me family/ work wise. I have tried outdoor workouts, but for my local terrain, it didn’t really work as it was too rolling. I’d have to do hill repeats, which I’m not sure I really rate as better than indoors to be honest. And it’s still more effort to get the bike out than go to my permanent pain cave set up.

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Looks like: Saris H3, Wahoo Kickr Core, and Elite Suito, are very good options — quiet; decent precision; ~15% max grade simulation; good reviews; cheaper than premium models; good customer service; etc…

I really like “ERG Mode” on the smart trainers. Can watch Netflix during training while still maintaining the correct interval intensity. YMMV.

Quick update guys. Opted for Tacx Flux 2.1 as it comes with a 2 year warranty. Bought via Wiggle. Getting delivered next week.

Watched DCr and GPLama reviews and DCr said the newer version of it (2.1) was much better than the original.

GPLama, I’ve bought the Tacx Ant+ receiver off of your advice too.

I’m excited and can’t start to get stuck into training plan.

I’m off for a 5k run now and then a mile in the pool.

Thanks for your help guys.

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