Upgrade KK Road Machine or start new?

I think my resistance unit on my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is finally giving out after 7 years of HARD use. It seems like the resistance has started to get higher and higher and it feels like it’s grinding some. I’ve replaced my bottom bracket, tried a new tire and cleaned everything, so I’m outta ideas and can only think that this is the source of the problem.

I’ve not been in a hurry to upgrade from dumb to smart trainers but it looks like I may have to. I see that I can get a KK smart resistance unit that I can put on my old frame for about $350. Is there any reason why I shouldn’t do this instead of spending 2x as much for a brand new smart trainer? If so, what’s a good one to get?


I wouldnt get a smart unit from KK, they are super problematic. If you are the original owner they will replace your resistance unit for life if it fails.


Agreed, heard more negative issues on the Kinetic Smart Controlled units than other brands.

I’d contact them for warranty or possible discounts on a replacement fluid unit before buying anything.

1 Like

I upgraded from a KK Roadmachine to a direct drive smart trainer at the start of March and the difference between the two is night and day. For the me the most frustrating thing about a ‘dumb’ trainer was that I could never select my own cadence, it was always determined by the target power and my gearing which made some workouts more taxing than they needed to be. The other benefit for me is that I had a tendency to overshoot the target power as I didn’t want to go below it, often to my detriment. With ERG mode, I just pedal and trust that the trainer will take care of the rest. That’s before even considering the benefits of a better Zwift experience, more consistent bike setup (no more worrying about correct tire pressure/tyre tension) and vastly reduced noise levels.

Is it worth double the price? For me, yes. I could never go back to a wheel on, non smart trainer now. I’d be looking at something like the Elite Suito or the KICKR Core if I was in your position I think.

Just bought a Kickr Core. Switching the bike to direct drive takes 60 seconds. I’ve been very happy with the core so far.

Everyone that I know that has gotten a KK smart direct drive trainer has returned it. The DC Rainmaker review was also less than encouraging.

1 Like

Thanks, everyone for the feedback!! I put a ticket in w/ KK for a warranty claim this a.m. I’ve had great support from them in the past (had to replace the bushings on the frame), but it never occurred to me to call them about this issue.

Ultimately, I will get a direct-drive smart trainer, but if I can get a new “dumb” resistance unit for now, it’ll buy me some time to do my research and look for sales, etc.

I’ll chime in when I hear from the KK folks. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again, everyone!

1 Like

They have replaced many fluid units for me, usually they just want a video and you have a new unit in a few days.


Even if you eventually get a smart trainer, if you can fix your KK under warranty, it will be nice to have around as a back up when you do upgrade. I keep mine around. Lately it has been “on loan” to my daughter who lives out of town a/k/a cached for my holiday pain cave at her house.


Totally. I fully recommend having a dumb trainer for the times that tech fails, and it’s also nice to have for travel or races when lugging the smart one makes no sense.

1 Like

Yep. If I can fix it, I’m going to keep it for those exact reasons!

1 Like

If you do decide to get a new one, DC Rainmaker has a pretty comprehensive rundown: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2020/11/smart-cycle-trainer-recommendations-guide-winter.html