Buying Advice for my first Exercise Bikes to use with Zwift

Hey absolute Beginner here.

Im looking for some buying advice on indoor bikes (not to sure about the right names for everything yet).
Didnt see any information on the “Zwift Resource Wiki” Post regarding that, so im just starting a new post.

I saw zwift in combination with a smarttrainer at a friends house a couple of weeks ago and i was immediatly hooked by the concept.

So here i am, looking for advice on my first (and hopefully last) indoor bike.
I dont want a smart trainer, since they seem to be pretty loud and less sturdy than the stationary alternatives.

I’ve done some research on indoor bikes and worked out a couple of features that it should have.

  • Automatic resistance control
  • Good max resistance (im quite big and i like to stand up while pedaling)
  • Zwift integration (native or via qdomyos etc.)
  • Preferably under 1200€
  • Europe Based Seller (so sadly no walmart deals etc. for me)
  • Preferably no subscription by the manufacturer to use it with Zwift (besides the zwift subscription of course)

Since i plan to use it with zwift only, i dont need workout classes like e.g. pelleton offers.

It seems quite hard to research the diffrent bikes that are available on the market let alone get reliable reviews for them, so i thought this forum might be the best place to ask for advice.

Any recommendations or links to bike tests/bike comparisons would be very helpful and much appreciated.

Hope some of you can help me and thanks in advance

Under 1200 Euros is the tough bit.

Do you want a smart bike or one of those exercise bikes where you just spin spin spin.

Look for one which has a power meter built in, not just an algorithm that estimates. Some people go from exercise bikes and 350w FTP over to smart trainer and find their FTP is really only 190w…

My own bike is the kickr bike, I have used it for a very long time and it was a godsend when I got badly injured. The adjustability allowed me to be able to get on and off the bike. It is quiet. It also tilts forward and backwards to simulate climbs, a feature I also use to help me get my bad leg over the top of the bike.

Other options from that article are a bit cheaper but not under 1200EUR.

If it can be a smart trainer (you need a bike) and depending on where you are - look after 2nd hand deals - for example there are some (easy to find) good deals on Tacx Neo 2 (< 1000 Euros), Neo 1st gen (< 600) here in Austria.

Do you want a smart bike or one of those exercise bikes where you just spin spin spin.

Could you clarify what the differences between those are?

Regarding your Link:
I’ve read that article a few days ago, but they are way to pricy for my budget.
To my knowledge there are much cheapter bikes (600$) with automatic resistance control (dont know about the power sensor tho), so im having a hard time to justify buying a Bike at 2-4 times the price? What makes them so much better than the cheapter alternatives that maybe have a sensor less and are build a bit less sturdy?

I’ve thought about getting a smarttrainer and a normal bike, but im really not sure about the noise and how stable it is. Do you have any experience with the Neo 2 in that regard?

I have got a Wahoo Kickr Core and a dedicated road bike on it. It’s a cheap version of my normally used outside bike.

It’s low noise and bike tech is serviceable as every other road bike.

Kickr core was 700€ (630€ now at and bike on it was 800€.
The new “Zwift Hub” smart trainer is just 499€…
You can put on any cheap bike that fits you.

You can start here but know that updated models are out: The Smart Trainer Recommendations Guide: Winter 2020-2021 | DC Rainmaker

A regular spin bike does not adjust resistance automatically. You want the nomenclature to say: “Smart” and “Auto resistance”. Terms like “Zwift Compatible” do not mean anything.

I do not know of a smart bike in your price range unless you hunt for a used one. You can look for a Saris H3 or Kickr Core (maybe others), get a used bike to mount, and your cooling fans will be louder. Should be around your budget. You can always come back to this thread with questions.

The person above has said it very well. A lot of those “spin” bikes give you no automatic resistance adjustment. So you won’t feel the hills - you just spin away and feel no difference. And they aren’t always very accurate in terms of power. It’s fine if you want to blast along at 4.5w/kg all the time, but if you want to train and need the power to be fairly accurate then it’s no use. Like I said, with some of them people had 350w FTP then switch to an accurate smart trainer and end up with only 190w FTP - lower but realistic.

Smart Bikes like Kickr Bike for instance have automatic resistance changing, so when you hit a hill you feel it because the resistance changes and you have to change gears, it’s more like a real bike.

I suggest you try a Tacx Neo 2T - it is very quiet among the smart trainers (I have one here). The rest is down to the bike you put on it and how well you tune the gears and chain. If you have them fine-tuned properly then it should be fairly quiet.

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modern smart trainers are all quiet now. even at 1200w+ my saris h3 is quieter than my fan, neos are very quiet, kickrs are supposedly quiet, my direto x wasn’t loud either

the saris h3 is probably the cheapest option of those in europe. i paid £380 for a new one. there is a new saris h4 available but it’s not really an upgrade from what i hear

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I put my Cervelo P5 on my backup Tacx Neo 2T just to ride something different to the Kickr Bike (different position) and even by very quiet Kickr Bike standards, the Neo 2T is not bad. The major noise comes from the drivetrain of the bike and getting everything adjusted perfectly.

That’s where having a bike dedicated to the trainer works out well, you can tune the drivetrain (limit screws, etc) perfectly to the trainer. You also have a chain that’s only used indoors so it’s never got any outside dirt/grime, helps for keeping things clean.

I would suggest you reconsider using a smart trainer and an inexpensive bike.
Many good reasons are stated above so I will offer an additional reason.

Maintenance and repairs.

If you get an indoor bike and something goes wrong or breaks.
Who repairs that?
How difficult will it be to ship an exercise bike to a repair facility.
These forums are full of people shipping this and that back to wherever and waiting weeks.

A bike just goes to the local bike shop or you can learn how to perform most of the basic repair tasks and you have the option to ride outside on a nice day.

Within your house, it is easier to move a bike/trainer than a heavy stationary bike.

Too bad you weren’t a few days earlier on this, when Stages was blowing out their stock of SB20’s for USD $1300 (or was it $1400?), including a year’s subscription to Zwift!

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