Best trainer around $400 or less

(Cody Schlager) #1

I was curious on what peoples thoughts were for the best trainer for Zwift around $400.  I recently bought a Cycleops Fluid2, and while it is an awesome trainer, I do not believe it is a good fit for Zwift.  The Fluid2 increases resistance as the unit heats up, so unless I stay consistantly slow from start to finish, the trainer becomes too difficult to withstand high wattage, especially after a segment push.  So what else is everyone using?  I’d like to stay around $400, as that really is as much as I can spend.

(Bob Venturi) #2

For just a little more than that, you can get a Tacx Vortex Smart trainer which works well with Zwift and offers resistance control.

You can pick one up in the US for under $500.

(Bertram Redmeijer (B)) #3

The Vortex Smart is available in Europe for 325 euro (including 21% VAT) (at Coolblue in the Netherlands, for example). Might be worth it to pay an overweight charge on the plane ride, if you know someone traveling to Europe.

(Juan Ferres [BRT]) #4

I tried several trainers, and the no-wheel-direct transmission is the way to go. Maybe in USA is expensive, but Elite Turbo Muin it’s a piece or art. I bought in Spain for 395€

Please, try it. It’s completely different to normal trainers. The harder you push, the harder it gets.

(Jeffrey Kramer (ZSUN)) #5

Just order the Vortex at  I think I was at around $375 after all was said and done to have it shipped.  Only took about 5 days total from order to my front door near Chicago.

(Noel Nunkovich *USMES*) #6

+1 on the Vortex from I bought one from them a couple of months ago. It was at my door in North Carolina in about 5 days, I paid about $385 all totaled.

As an alternative, my buddy scored one from Performance Bike on one of their every-other-weekend sales events. I think he paid around $460 for his.

(Brand One) #7

I got the Vortex from (Germany) for  $322 US shipped, it came with a european cord but I picked up a replacement cord for $1.  Shipping was a bit slow (about 2 weeks) since I ordered it around Christmas though I don’t know how long it would take today.



(Thomas Ackerson) #8

I just started zwifting in December and I picked up an Elite Turbo Muin via an online shop in Europe.  I can’t believe how quiet it is and mounting the bike directly to the trainer with the cassette makes for a really smooth ride.  No tire slippage and there is no tire wear.

I’ve heard that the Elite can be harder as you keep going but this isn’t an issue for me since I’m not racing, I’m just trying to enjoy riding inside during winter in Maine.

The key to the puzzle on the lesser priced Elite Turbo Muin is to buy the gadget that monitors your speed, cadence and power.

(R ick Sanchez c-137) #9

Thanks, Brandon. I also ordered a Vortex Smart from  I’m impatiently waiting for it to be delivered.  Yeah, it’s slow.  I ordered on 1/12 and have about another week to go, if your 2-week delivery time is typical.  

Did you have any problem with customs on your shipment? Were there any taxes or duties to pay?


(Brand One) #10

No problems, other than the slow shipping it was no different than ordering from Nashbar

(Mike Martin S2T) #11

Cody, Did you get a different trainer?  I have the Fluid2 and wonder if I would do better on zwift group rides with a different type trainer.

(Cody Schlager) #12

Mike, indeed I did.  Ended up going with the Kinetic Road Machine 2.  I’ve been very pleased with it.  Cost barely more than the Fluid2, and the resistance stays the same for the whole ride.  Also, the huge flywheel on it makes it smoother than pretty much any trainer that I’ve ever tried.  Most people on here suggested the Vortex it seems, but frankly I’m a bike shop employee, and couldn’t get the Vortex for nearly as cheap as the fluid2 or the road machine.  Plus, as cool as smart trainers are, I really don’t want to have to constantly shift as my trainer changed difficulty.  Road Machine for me :slight_smile: