What's the best Trainer to use with TR?

Hello team,

I’m planning on treating myself with a new Trainer.
My current BKOOL PRO 2 is fine and it’s done the job so far but I’d like to upgrade.

What’s your recommendation?
Budget is not an issue (I have been saving a lot for this…).

-100% compatible with a 29er MTB
-Reliable/accurate/precise ERG Mode
-Easy to pair with PM, Chest Stripe, etc
-Easy/Quick (ideally not even necessary) to calibrate
-Mobility (need to take it with me across the country often)
-Works great with TR

I’ve read forums and I’ve watched videos but the guys making comparisons were not TR users and that’s why I’d appreciate all input possible from this awesome community.

I really like the gen1 kickr. It’s reliable and can be had for a decent penny used. I think it’s the best bang for your buck


I’ve seen it on CL for a decent price but reviews say there are some issues with power drop out or some sort of software issues?

Frankly I think most trainers are fine and the differences between them are small. I’d suggest thinking about trainer selection in the broader context of your whole setup. If I were doing a new pain cave, I’d want a great rocker plate. The Inside Ride Flex thing seems to be very popular, but only works with Kickrs (and not my current Kickr Core :frowning:), so I’d look at that.

  • What exact axle standard do you have?

  • Is swapping to a smooth rear wheel/tire combo an option? (or do you want wheel-off trainer?)

  • Are you asking for trainer based power match like Wahoo and Elite offer, or just the ability to use the TrainerRoad Power Match function?
  • Do you have a weight or size limit in mind?

I would think unless you are a track sprinter then - wheel on - Kickr snap (is what I have and has been great for 2 years - don’t have space for a permanent set up). Wheel off Kickr core - again seems to do 99% of what the kickr does for 2/3 price. If you don’t trust Wahoo then the Tacx flux (again most of the top range features - for less) would be the way to go.

  • I strongly disagree on the grounds that the Flux models are fixed assemblies that do not pack to smaller sizes easily. Not ideal for the OP since it is not easy to break down for packing, especially when compared to nearly every other trainer on the market.
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Yerp. I swapped to the Kickr for this reason: the legs fold together with the body, and it has a handy handle. The Flux was particularly awkward to carry, even with its legs off.

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Fair point - didn’t read the OP carefully enough…I’d just go for option 1 or 2 then Wahoo it is! :smiley:

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Hey Chad,

I have a custom axle built to make my MTB work with BKOOL, and from what I listened on the Podcast Episode 212, it’s pretty clear that if budget is not an issue, an off-wheel Trainer is recommended. My only concern with this is that the cassette they come with is for Road Bikes. Do you know if I can implant/replace the one they come with, with an MTB cassette?

I didn’t know there were Trainers with a built-in power match option. Is that what you’re saying about Wahoo and Elite? That’d be a nice to have for sure…

Haven’t thought about weight limit, but something around 25 pounds or less would be nice. When it comes to mobility, I am more concerned about setting complexity than weight. For example, disassembling/reassembling my BKOOL is pretty easy. Something that easy works great.

I hope that answers all your questions and from the rest of the replies I have read on this discussion, it sounds like a Wahoo Kickr might be it…? Would you agree? What about Elite? :thinking:

  • OK, but do you have a 142mm, 148mm or 157mm axle? Some trainers can handle these while others can not.
  • True, but that is based on a different set of criteria than you have listed above, which changes things a bit.
  • What exact drivetrain do you have on the bike?
  • There are some cassettes that can work with MTB’s, and still fit the standard freehub on most trainers. A few also offer and XDR/XD freehub option.
  • Additionally, in some cases, if you plan to use ERG mode exclusively, you may be able to use the existing road cassette with no issues. But again, depends on your exact bike drivetrain.
  • Yes, each trainer takes the power meter data directly and performs a power match internal, before sending the info to TR. People have had mixed experience, with some preferring the trainer-based version, while others like the TrainerRoad version.
  • I need to look, but most wheel off trainers exceed this, with many at 40-50 lbs. It’s the reason I asked. You may end up wanting a wheel-on trainer for pure weight consideration. But that leads to the potential need of a 2nd wheel for a smooth tire. Pro’s and Con’s to each design.
  • Presumably you have a solution you like with the current BKool, so that could carry forward if you decide weight is most important.
  • The Kickr is great, as long as you avoid the problems that they had in the beginning, and are still reported by some current buyers. The main Kickr and even Core are great in theory.
  • I am not a fan of any Elite trainer. They just have too many issues for my taste.
  • The Neo 2 that I have is great. Though others have had issues with them. The Neo 2T is promising, but not without it’s own set of issues. It is about the most quiet trainer and does not require (or allow) calibration), which meets one of your points.
  • I loved my Hammer and H2 (still have this one). Great trainer with the best flywheel feel and ERG use of any I’ve tried. The new H3 is showing issues for some users.

Unfortunately, there are more blemishes in the field than I’d like to see, and it’s hard to make a recommendation without at least one qualifier.

Hi Daniel, i have the Elite Suito and it is so easy to use straight out the box and even comes with an 11 speed cassette and front wheel block


Second the suito, also comes with adaptors for 142mm bolt through axle and legs fold away to leave a neat slim unit with a good carrying handle.

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Hey Chad,

Got it. I appreciate you’re asking all the right questions to provide the best recommendation.

To your questions, I have a Specialized Chisel MTB with a 12x148mm thru-axle which I had to replace with a custom axle from the Robert Axle Project to make it work with BKOOL.

And I have a 1x12 drive train with a 34 on the front and a 10 to 50 12-speed cassette on the rear.

Furthermore, I already have an extra wheel just for the trainer but I’d be willing to give a try to an off-wheel trainer if they are really that promising.

If weight is an issue, I can just leave that one at home and bring the good old friend (BKOOL) with me when I travel. I would not mind that, so coming to think of it, we can remove mobility from my original requirements list.

And I plan to only use ERG mode, but I read in another forum discussion that some power meters require you to shift gears in your trainer for PowerMatch to work properly at some wattages. And I think I heard Nate (on that episode…) mentioned that the only issue with off-wheel trainers is that shifting might need some calibration as the cassette in the trainer might not match the one on the bike (which in my case will be definitely true since I will be using a MTB)…?

Did I answer all your questions, Chad?

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I am picking up my new Kickr Core today for my MTB (Scott Spark) with 12x148 thru axle. I bought an Eagle NX cassette to put on the trainer because I have an AXS drivetrain and want shifting to be available, though I will likely only use erg mode.

It’s my understanding that this is the best way to go, but I guess I’ll find out when I set it up this weekend. I’m coming from the wheel on Kickr Snap that I’ve been using for just over 2 years with my Quarq PM and Powermatch.


Based on the original and updated info, and importantly the idea of using the BKool for travel, I’d say you should consider the usual suspects.

  • As above, the Wahoo Kickr Core is a great option and is essentially like the Kick17, with a different frame and the quiet belt design. The full Kickr18 is great if you want a larger flywheel and the different frame, with a bit higher power specs too (but the Core is more than enough for nearly everyone). Both have had some “clickr” issues with pulley mount issues, but seem largely under control now.
  • The Tacx Neo 2 (if you can find one) or the 2T could be good. No calibration, super quite, neat design. There have been reported power accuracy issues with both, and claims that they are getting closer with recent firmware.
  • The Saris H3 has about the best feel in ERG mode. There is a known issue with the body interfering with fixed thru axle handles, so make sure to have an adjustable or tooled version to use. They also have some squeaking issues on some units with high force, low speed input. But it is not a real functional problem, and they claim to have it fixed with some pulley modifications.

Those are the 3/4 main ones that are worth a look, IMHO. Some minor warts on all of them, sadly.

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Can’t thank you enough, Chad. This discussion has been very informative. Better than searching online pieces here and there and MUCH better than asking on retail stores for sure…

I get that none of them are perfect, but those three options narrow down the search significantly.

Thank you very much!

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Hey @MI-XC

We’ve shared thoughts on other forum posts and I feel like you can understand the needs of a MTBer very well, and along with our love for MTB, we also share the same Power Meter, same Cassette and same Thru-axle, so we’re on the same page there… :joy::+1:

What you mentioned above is very interesting and I am very curious to hear feedback from you in a week or so when you’ve ridden your new trainer a bit.

I will check back with you then to see what you’ve discovered!

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Hey @MI-XC

How is the Core working with your MTB?

Would you recommend it?

Any issues with Dropouts? Power Accuracy? PowerMatch? Power getting stuck? Erg Mode?

Works perfect with my MTB and I would recommend it. I thought it would feel better/easier than my Kickr Snap but it mostly feels the same. Workouts are still hard, lol. It does react to power changes much better than my Snap so that’s nice. No issues with dropouts, power getting stuck or erg mode. I’ve used powermatch for every workout except the Ramp Test and it’s worked flawlessly.

Power accuracy is still to be determined. I’ve only compared one workout, the Ramp Test, and my Quarq PM and the Kickr definitely started to drift as the watts increased (around the 10 minute mark). That does’t mean the Kickr is not accurate, it just means the PM and the Kickr doesn’t have the same power curve. I warmed up the Kickr Core for 10 minutes in resistance mode and calibrated it before the Ramp Test. Below is from my latest Ramp Test (Quarq vs. Kickr Core).

And the final minute:

So at it’s peak the two were as much as 16 watts off and averaged 12 watts off in the last minute.