General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer Rss Feed  
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2018-10-03 8:47 PM


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Subject: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer
Hi everyone,

I'm currently in the process of purchasing a bike trainer to train in the winter for IM Canada in 2019. I am debating between a smart trainer and a regular trainer (specifically the Wahoo Kickr Snap Smart Trainer and a Kinetic Road Machine "Dumb" Trainer).

Is there one option that is better? Would I get better workouts and be able to get in better shape with the Smart Trainer?

Thanks, much appreciated


2018-10-03 9:57 PM
in reply to: #5250163

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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer
You can buy the Kurt kinetic inride sensor for $50. It will turn the dumb trainer into a smart-ish trainer.

I purchased a used Kurt kinetic rock n roll trainer for $130 yesterday. I’m adding the inride sensor and for $180 I’ll have a pretty good set up.

Now, that being said, the KK won’t automatically adjust your resistance like a true smart trainer will. Kurt kinetic has a road machine smart control trainer that is $550 bucks that is worth looking into as well. Wheel on smart trainer that automatically adjusts resistance.

I’d encourage you to check out some videos of the Kurt kinetic inride app and see what you think. It works with zwift, etc. you can probably find a good used Kurt kinetic for around the same price I did and just add the inride sensor and be good to go.

2018-10-04 7:41 AM
in reply to: 3forcarter


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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer
I would suggest something in-between, I use a Tacx Santori Smart (just broadcast watts), but within Zwift I use my 4iiii power meter which I also use doing my triathlon races. This way I can more closely compare indoor and outdoor rides.
2018-10-04 10:53 AM
in reply to: 3forcarter

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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer
I had a CycleOps Fluid and went to the Magnus last year.

GAME CHANGER.

The "dumb" trainer, while better than nothing, was not a viable substitute to road riding. I could maintain at best.

The smart trainer boosted my fitness over winter. So much more variation you can do and make gains with.

Smart trainer all the way.
2018-10-05 4:27 PM
in reply to: 3forcarter

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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer

I just started using the Wahoo Kickr Snap with Zwift, and I'm liking it so far.  The variable resistance is pretty neat to feel the hills/descents.  I used a KK before.  You can get a workout on either.  But the more real world feel of the smart trainer is nice if you have the money for it.  I assume ERG mode will be also great for structured workouts too.

2018-10-05 10:03 PM
in reply to: 3forcarter


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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer
After years of training on a simple mag trainer, I went to a direct drive smart trainer, and it might be the best investment I've ever made in all my years of riding. It is such an incredibly powerful tool when paired with Trainerroad and Zwift. Erg mode forces you to push beyond yourself in a way you won't get from a normal resistance trainer. The extra cost is easily off-set by the savings in tire wear. You'll also put in a lot less shifts too, I don't know that this will extend the life if your cables or chain in a meaningful way. . .but it's worth noting. Take a look at DC Rainmaker's annual trainer review to get a great breakdown on the choices and differences. FWIW, I bought an Elite Direto. . . it's awesome.


2018-10-06 8:55 AM
in reply to: ziggie204

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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer

Guess it depends on how much you're willing to spend.  Value is in the eye of the beholder/spender.  I have a KK Road Machine with a Powertap PM, and while I'd like to have the road feel of variable resistance, it just wouldn't be worth the spend for me.  If you're just getting in workouts, I don't see the need for a smart trainer.  If you're looking to race in Zwift, that might be a reason to better simulate riding (and I think they more accurately reflect output vs. just a PM).

DC Rainmaker's site has tons of info on trainers, along with recommendations.  You could spend a week reading through his blog/reviews.

2018-10-07 3:05 PM
in reply to: 3forcarter

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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer
Find a friend, shop, studio who will let you test each then you'll know for sure.
2018-10-08 10:38 AM
in reply to: 3forcarter

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Subject: RE: Smart Trainer vs Regular Trainer

If I were to be spending a lot of time on a trainer I'd go for one of the KK rock-n-roll type units.  1.5+ hours on a stationary trainer was usually my limit as I started to get uncomfortable.  KK is about to come out with a RnR type smart trainer, DC Rainmaker has a pre-review of it here.

I still have my KK Road Machine and about to fire it back up for use with my gravel bike.  But am going to make a simple rocker plate for it to give it some movement.

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