Smart trainer life span

My Elite Direto started making terrible noises this week and feels like its full of gravel. Bought it in 2019 on clearance and the warranty is voided because I’ve had it apart to work on the belt. TR says I have 585 workouts on it; i mostly do HV plans with 2hr workouts so i would expect the hours on the machine to be 900-1000.

I took the casing off, cleaned everything up, checked the belt, nothing obviously wrong. Cleaned and checked the drive-train on the bike and its ok so i know the problem is in the trainer. I have already ordered a Saris H3 to replace it.

So my question is;
How long do you expect a trainer to last? What are your experiences? Are different brands/models more or less robust? What are the causes of smart trainer malfunction or breakdown, and how do you avoid them?

I’ve had an Elite Drivo since the end of 2017 and it has at least 2000 hours on it. I have to say that I’m very impressed on how it held up, I thought I would have needed to replace it after 3/4 years.

The only thing is that last month I had to open it because it started to make an awful high-pitched noise which I managed to fix by lubing the mechanism that regulates the resistance. I also greased the belts and now it feels like new!

I’m no expert in smart trainers but since your Direto is a mid range one we could say that, at least for these two Elite trainers, the high range Drivo is more robust, despite being an older product. Also, it’s not the first time I’ve heard about Diretos (the first model) having serious issues, in particular related to the belt. I know a guy who changed it five times on his Direto, but he rides an insane amount of hours on the trainer.

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I had a similar issue with my Tacx Neo, turned out one of the bearings in the freehub had failed, any chance it’s the same for your Elite Direto?


I have an OG Tacx Neo that I got used from my former coach back in 2016 or so. I haven’t tracked it, but I’m sure there are thousands of hours on it (I ride indoors from Dec-April). I’ve replaced the free hub because the bearings died a horrible noisy death. Aside form that, so far so good.


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The lack of service parts, exploded diagrams, etc. is a sore point for me. The bicycle industry should do better. Thousand dollar trainers should also have 3 year warranties. One year is a joke.


I had a similar issue in April 2020 (right as lockdown started…great timing). had the trainer for about 18 months, but Todson warrantied it with no questions and upgraded me to a Direto X when they sent a replacement unit.

Thread, with video of the issue:

I took that apart and didn’t see an issue. When I would turn the flywheel by hand it makes a lot of clunking. Can’t find the source

I’ve had a Kickr since 2014, never an issue. I’ve never changed the belt either. I don’t how many hours I put on that thing. It will probably blow up now that I’m typing this.


My Tacx Neo is now 5 years old and still going well.


I have a 5+ year old (non-smart) Elite Turbo Muin trainer that started making clunking noises - reached out to Elite’s customer service in Italy and they identified the noise as coming from the bearings. They sent me a new axle/bearing assembly and oil for free (even though it was many years out of warranty), so I could replace it myself. Excellent customer service! Maybe something similar can be done with the Direto…?

This. Similar experience with an elite drivo that broke down, albeit still under warranty. Elite simply upgraded me to a drivo II, very helpful in diagnosing the problem and coming up with a solution.

Those of you who know how many hours you have on the trainer, how do you track it?

In my case I started using TR at the same time I got the direto. So I used my number of TR workouts from my “past rides” page at speculated based on my typical workout duration

@biberg did you contact Elite about it? I’ve had to talk to them a few times and their support is generally really good (they send me a free circuit board after mine fried itself even out of warranty).

Yours sounds similar to what happened to mine last summer. They had me take out this pulley and reapply some co-axial blocker and loctite the nut. Clunks and grinding sounds all went away after that.

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@slipdog interesting. I have not gotten in touch with them yet. My plan is to wait until i get my new trainer (Saris H3, im actually kinda stoked to be upgrading) this weekend, then fully tear down the Direto and see if i can sus out what is wrong. I guess getting some guidance from the company before doing that is probably wise :sweat_smile:.

Thanks for the tip!

Personally, aside from some free trials on other platforms, I’ve only used TR and Zwift on my trainer. The latter tells you the amount of hours spent riding on your profile, instead for TR I looked at the number of workouts and multiplied by a conservative estimate of 75 minutes per workout. Although it would be nice if TR showed the total time spent riding on the platform too.


I have an original Hammer - bought in mid-2017 that is still working perfectly. Other than lubing the noisy belt once I haven’t touched it. I have only about 300 workouts on it though so maybe 500 hours since I ride outside more than the trainer.

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My experience:
Cycleops hammer H1, zero maintenance. Has lived in basement, humid garage, freezing garage, extreme heat garage. It’s 3.5 years old now, going strong.


Wow! I have a Wahoo Kick1 from 2016 with about 2500 hours on it. The bearings went about 6 months ago which I managed to replace myself with standard SKF bearings. Wahoo no longer stock any replacement parts which is kind of disappointing. Its a bit noisy and needs new belts about every 2 years but otherwise still okay.

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I have a Cyclops H2 since 2017. I have 10,500 miles (tracked by Strava) with no issues at all. I may be lucky or these are pretty robust machines. I read an article (don’t recall where) that the higher end trainers may have amazingly long lifespans. There is a well known Zwifter from Australia; Tim Searle, who last year had his Wahoo Kickr die on him after something like 250,000 kilometers or something outrageous. He claimed he never did any maintenance on it. Actually one of the support legs snapped, so the trainer itself was still good. He probably could have had it welded, but he chose to buy a new trainer. I wish you the best at sorting this out.