Best smart trainer?

(J iggle Poof (50+ no race)) #1

I’ve been using Tacx Vortex and fortunately am now able to afford a different trainer and dump the Vortex. Nothing but troubles with it this whole season.

Having said that, I see a LOT of people having issues with various smart trainers (power dropping, resistance too high, not able to calibrate, etc). 

If you have a smart trainer and have been using it more than one season on Zwift and it’s been consistent and reliable, can you post what you are using?

FYI, I’m using Zwift purely as a fitness workout. I screwed up my knee in 2016 and it appears it’s a permanent issue so I’m not doing group rides nor racing any longer. So power accuracy is not going to be a huge issue so much as power consistency. Love having consistent numbers to track progress against myself.

I absolutely love Zwift for many reasons and plan to keep using it (hopefully for many years) so cost of the trainer is not an issue. I’m looking at investing in a trainer that will hold up for several years.

Having said that, I detest Tacx and won’t buy Tacx products ever again (their “support” is the worst I’ve ever encountered with any product. Period.) 

Excited to get a new trainer and get back to having fun in Zwift! Can’t wait to try some of the climbs on a trainer with consistency both within the ride and workout to workout. Thanks in advance for trainer feedback

~Lynne (aka Jiggle Poof)

(Mal McNeil (Neo)) #2

I have the Tacx Neo, great trainer and the added feedback from the ground adds a bit extra and makes it feel more real.

Just read you don’t like Tacx support but not sure if anyone has the same issues.  The Wahoo Kickr is also popular.

(Stuart Middlecoate) #3

I went from Vortex to Neo after experiencing the same issues from Tacx as the original poster.  Trouble free miles ever since.  The Neo is much better designed and engineered and far less to go wrong.

(Anthony Hecimovic) #4

I have the Wahoo Kickr Snap. Only been using it a month on zwift but very solid unit with no issues am very happy with it. Bought it on the recommendation of a friend who’s been using his on zwift for quite a while. 

(Cleve Waterman 69y/o) #5

I am very happy with my Wahoo Snap.  It is very quiet and the results are reproducible. I am sure that something like the Neo would be better, but for me the Snap is more than good enough. 

(J iggle Poof (50+ no race)) #6

Will definitely check out the Wahoo Snap, thanks!  While I’ve read really great things about Neo, there is just _ no _ way I’m willing to support Tacx (installing software after one season that caused the  $450 Vortex to be unusable instead of actually fixing the problem (apparently it has to do with tire overheating) is absolutely unacceptable; I’m done supporting companies that put profit before product).


(Paul Dempsey) #7

I use a wahoo kicker snap . My first trainer and I love it . I use Zwift and you can feel every dip , incline and descent . I can’t compare to anything else , but I think it’s worththe money , as I use it most days 

(Stephen Betley) #8

I’d suggest go direct drive and get either an Elite Direto, or if you’ve the budget a 2018 Kickr.

Check out GPLama’s reviews on youtube.


(Tara Cocke) #9

I have a CycleOps Hammer. It’s pretty good but CycleOps is about to release (I’m not sure if they already have) a new trainer that will alter the angle at which you are riding, to better simulate climbing.

(Stefan Hardt) #10

I also started with a Smart Vortex, but had a lot of problems with slip. My budget is limited, so switched to an Elite Direto and I am very happy with it. I think its the best value for money out there.

(J iggle Poof (50+ no race)) #11

Stefan, unfortunately there’s a whole forum thread dedicated to the issue. If you can figure out how to roll back to the 2016 software Vortex still works without slip (needless to say I’m not tech savvy and couldn’t figure out how to do what you need to do via an iPhone). 

I was already thinking Wahoo, but did see quite a few posts with issues. Going to check out GPLama’s videos-good tip.

Fortunately I have the budget for anything right now (but I’m far from rich so am trying to get what I realistically need rather than top of the line that far exceeds my level). Still, interesting to be in a true climbing position since my favorite is long, slow, steady climbs :slight_smile:

(Stefan Hardt) #12

Thanks for the info about the Vortex; I did not know that. Went through a blue training tire, tried other tires, and then got fed up.

I don’t have the time or patience to beta-test software or devices. For me reliability and consistency is more important than the latest HW/SW.


(C hris Strub) #13

I also have a Kickr snap.  It works well.  I have yet to burn out a tire.  I don’t bother with a training tire.  The roller is large enough.  If in my budget, I would have liked the Kickr wheel off trainer, but it was not.  I also have a Kurt Kinetic dumb trainer.  My wife uses that now.  She also get’s the cars when I am done with them.  :slight_smile:

You won’t go wrong with a Tacx Neo, Kicker or K-snap.  Just depends on your budget and how close your kids are to university.

One thing I can say.  The grades in Zwift with a smart trainer are awesome.

(Matt von Wahlde 7403) #14

If money is no object, I’d recommend the Elite Drivo. I have had a number of trainers (Kickr, Neo, etc.) and the Drivo is overall the best.  

Had a lot of problems Tacx products with Tacx support too. 

So far, the Drivo has been perfectly reliable, quiet, and accurate. I have not had any reason to request support. 

(J iggle Poof (50+ no race)) #15

Wahoo Kickr seems to work best with Zwift, but I also saw a review for Elite Direto (DC Rainmaker review; so far his reviews have been really accurate) and it looks pretty amazing. Apparently it has issues on Bluetooth and I’m using an iPad. Plan to get Apple TV as using an adapter to mirror to the TV makes the graphics so bad I can’t actually see a lot of stuff. Interestingly if it works with Apple TV on Zwift, it’s getting better reviews than the Drivo. A LOT to be said for having no issues at all! That and it lasting several years are really high on my list

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #16

I have a Wahoo Kickr direct drive.

I have over 4000 miles on it. I went direct drive as I am a little larger (100kgs) and push 1500 w+. I found I push less watts on the kickr, but enough for a satisfactory sprint, and its a stable platform.  


I also found that my wahoo HR monitor works well, as does the cadence thingy for the shoe. I found its easier to keep it all in the ‘brand’. A lot of my issues cleared up when I turned over the older equipment and went wahoo. 

(J iggle Poof (50+ no race)) #17

Malcolm, can I ask what you’re using to run Zwift? Windows or Mac? Are you mirroring to a TV? So far I really haven’t seen any significant criticism of Wahoo Kickr (I am going direct drive as I want to get out of the saddle like I really would on a climb-looks way more stable on a direct drive??). I get my extra funds on 4/13, so about another week to make my final decision. Still leaning toward Kickr

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #18

I use a Windows pc. It’s about 7 feet away and I mirror it to a 65 inch led tv. It feels like a club ride.

(Stuart Middlecoate) #19

I’m similar, dedicated windows pc, using ant+ to communicate with a Tacx Neo. Rock solid connection, never have any issues with dropouts, not pairing, calibration, not saving, freezing etc etc that people have.
65 inch t.v. Is impressive, I’m surprised if you’re only 7 feet away you can actually see anything. Lol

(J iggle Poof (50+ no race)) #20

Couldn’t wait-put a Wahoo Kickr on the credit card a week before my house closes-it better close, lol!! Also purchased Apple TV 4K and very happy it quickly and easily resolved the resolution issue. Still not great because the iPad isn’t great, but much, much better and way cheaper than buying a new laptop :slight_smile:

Kickr arrives in a few days and cannot wait to try Alpe D’Huez on it! Right now the Vortex puts more resistance on a 2%-3% grade than a 6%, so I’m pretty sure the trainer will be set to something like 30% trainer difficulty. Goals.

Man, I hope this works the way it’s supposed to and changes with the grade the way it should-nothing like a few hours of (very slow but happy, in my case) climbing. After the experience getting burned with the Vortex I’m really nervous about it calibrating correctly and especially about the fact that I have to run it via Bluetooth.

Thanks for all the recommendations, feedback and advice