A few questions before I buy a smart trainer


(R ick Sanchez c-137) #1

 

I’ve been riding Zwift for a couple of weeks now with a PowerTap power meter and a dumb trainer. I’m considering upgrading to a smart trainer. Likely a Tacx Vortex Smart T2180. I have a few questions before I do:

Is the experience with a smart trainer that much better than with a power meter alone?

The resistance changes dynamically with the terrain, right? This sounds great for group rides, but what about workout mode?
Say I’m trying to output a constant 200 watts, wouldn’t it be annoying to have the resistance change? I’d have to switch gears and/or change my cadence to maintain that power.

With my gearing, in the real world I “spin out” at around 35 mph (53x11 @100 rpm, 650-23c) which I already exceed on the descents in Zwift now. Will I spin out in Zwift too?


(Vincent Molenveld) #2

I use a Vortex Smart and I am happy with it.

Workout mode used the ERG function, so no need for shifting.


(L Read) #3

Use the ERG mode in zwift and you can do constant power workouts.  The resistance only changes in the freeride mode.

Your problem is those 650c wheels!


(Pete GameCock WBR (D)) #4

I went from a Powertap/Fluid combo to a Vortex Smart. It was a huge upgrade. It works perfectly in training mode. I initially left the powertap on just to make sure the power numbers from the Vortex were accurate. I ended up taking the wireless Powertap off just to save wear and tear on the bearings and put on an ancient wired powertap wheel just so I can spot check the numbers. I would strongly recommend the Tacx Vortex Smart. FWIW, I also have a Computrainer and don’t think it works near as well in training mode as the Vortex


(Mark Hewitt) #5

> Is the experience with a smart trainer that much better than with a power meter alone?

Absolutely! For me it’s the difference between just turbo riding and a proper situation of riding outside,

>The resistance changes dynamically with the terrain, right?

Exactly, you don’t get (as) bored because you’re constantly having to work through the gears just as you would outside, it becomes a proper cycling simulator.

 

>This sounds great for group rides, but what about workout mode?
Say I’m trying to output a constant 200 watts, wouldn’t it be annoying to have the resistance change? I’d have to switch gears and/or change my cadence to maintain that power.

The resistance doesn’t change with gradient when you’re on workout mode. It’s essentially ‘flat’ for those purposes, although your rider does still slow down on hills etc. What happens instead is the trainer goes into ‘ERG’ mode, so that it holds you at 200watts, do more than 200 the resistance decreases, do less the resistance increases, it’s really quite brilliant.


(Mark Duncombe) #6

I have just swapped from a Cycleops Jet Fluid (dumb) to a Kickr. I am glad I made the change but not for the reasons I thought I would.

I was thinking having a smart trainer would be great for gradient changes in sim  mode, making it more immersive and it is dont get me wrong.

But the big surprise for me is workouts in erg mode, not having to change gear when when the workout block changes the power is great, you just pedal harder. It also means you stay at or very near to the required power without having to do anything, not even change your cadence if you dont want to… you just pedal harder. You dont even need to be looking at the screen, yes you feel it get harder but it holds the desired power, no matter what your cadence. I guess this is how trainerroad works with a smarttrainer as well.

What ring and cog you choose to do your workout in can make a big difference in how noisy the Kickr is and how much inertia you feel.

I am almost exclusively using Zwift in workout(erg) mode now, its brilliant.

In sim mode the resistance increase on gradients can be brutal. There is a slider setting for the Kickr in zwift that controls just how brutal the climbs are but dont worry its not changing the power required to climb, but instead is like swapping from an 11-25 to an 11-32, still the same power but your cadence goes up.