I'm sure you get this alot, but

This is a usual… What should I buy to access this…

So I used to race bikes when I was a teenager and into my early 20s but as life got in the way I stopped doing so.

I bought a new Mountain Bike in COVID but after a few rides it’s sat in the shed. I struggled with how poor my fitness had got, I also need something to keep me interested.

So I saw Zwift and indoor biking. My fitness levels have become pretty poor and is like to build my fitness levels. The interactivity is what is drawing me, races, time trails, endurance, etc etc.

So I started looking at what I could get.

I’ve looked at the WattBike which seems the only real stationary bike option

I’ve also looked at the Kickr

I have limited space at home

My questions are as follows…

Should I just get the WattBike? I can afford it but it feels pricey

Should I get the Kickr Trainer and use the mountain bike on it? Would this work? Or am I better buying a cheap road bike?

Thanks in advance

While I can’t tell you what to do I can tell you what works for me …

I have recently upgraded to a kickr 1.5 with a kickr climb and I do enjoy it quite a lot

I also use a 2012 Marin Palisades Trail mountain bike on it and it works great… The only thing I’ve done was to change to a 25-11 cassette for tighter gear ratios. I found the stock set up’s gear spacing too much of a jump between gears while ‘road riding’

And since I went new cassette I also chose to get a new chain and chain rings so they’ll all wear evenly

So yes, a mountain bike works, and I’m happy with it

Other good stationary bike options to consider are from Wahoo, Stages, and Tacx (Garmin). They’re all pricey.

The mountain bike is almost certainly compatible with a trainer, but depending on the bike’s gearing and your power, you may not get sufficient resistance for a good experience. This mostly affects people using mountainbikes with a 1X drivetrain and a small front chainring (often 32 or 34 teeth). There are some workarounds for that but it’s not ideal.

You might consider getting a direct drive smart trainer (Wahoo, Elite, Tacx, Saris are common choices) and try it with the mountain bike. If you don’t have a good experience with it, or the workarounds for low gearing are too annoying, get a road bike. A used 8-speed bike would be the place to start if you want to keep the price down.

Mountain Bike is a Carrera Vengeance 24 Speed. Very cheap versus the bikes I used to ride.

Power, I have no power really anymore. I was always stronger in the climbs than I was anywhere else, but it’s 20 years since I seriously rode, so I’d suggest it wouldn’t be a problem.

I was leaning towards the WattBike however after reading around I’m now leaning towards the Wahoo Kickr Core with my current mountain bike.

That bike probably won’t have problems related to low gearing since it doesn’t have a 1X drivetrain. Should be fine.

I would maybe go for the Core first, then later you can always upgrade to a stationary bike (I did the same once I knew the investment was worth it for me).
If you’re only going to use Zwift then go for the Kickr Core Zwift One, a much easier setup, and as you have limited space you can put it all away when needed, something which is harder to do with a stationary bike.

Which Cassette woild be best with my mountain bike? What exactly does the Cassette do?

The cassette, on the back wheel, gives you all your
gear options (more teeth=easier pedalling and slower speed, less teeth=harder to pedal but faster)

It sounds to me like that shouldn’t be something for you to worry about just yet (I think I regret bringing that up)…

Just get started and get riding

As you increase your experience and time on the bike you may want to make changes… When that time comes we’ll still be here for advice

I personally find that my cadence range (rpm) is very tight and I prefer only a 1 or 2 tooth jump … But that’s neither here nor there

It looks like the Carrera Vengeance 24-speed bike comes with a 12-32 8-speed cassette, so that would be a safe choice if you want an additional cassette for the trainer. 12-28 would also work fine. The easiest gear on that would not be quite as easy as the one on the rear wheel now.

The kickr bike is actually quite compact compared to a real bike connected to a trainer and still having a front wheel in place. In the room where your front wheel might have gone you can place a 450mm industrial fan.

It’s also very practical in that you can adjust the size/fit easily. This doesn’t seem important at first but trust me it is when you have a serious crash and mobility issues.

Unfortunately the smart trainer bikes are expensive.

Kickr Core Zwift One comes with a single cog pre-installed, you change gear virtually in Zwift using the Zwift click that comes with the trainer. I believe it’s compatible with 8-speed bikes. If you go for this option you won’t need to buy a cassette. And you get a year of Zwift included.
But, the Zwift cog, click and virtual gearing is only compatible with Zwift. So if you’re planning on using other cycling apps then you’ll need a cassette for the trainer.

So I believe I pretty much messed up my order. I went ahead and just ordered with no cassette, but not the virtual shifting.

I think I misunderstood what was said until the reply above. Then it all made sense.

So I’ll just be getting the basic 1 cog with no shifting.

Assume I will need to order a cassette now and fit myself?

If you bought a trainer with no cassette installed then yes you would need a cassette and a Shimano lockring tool. Or just take the bike and trainer to a bike shop and have them sort it out. It may need minor adjustments to shifting when it’s put on the trainer.

I think you’ll also need a spacer for an 8-speed cassette?? There’s a good pinned post in the Bugs and Support forum called [Guide to Direct Drive Trainer Cassette Spacing] that will help.

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Wahoo has detailed instructions that include guidance on spacers (1.8mm in this case)

Well I got everything installed ok including a cassette from Evans Cycles.

Put in a 8km ride to start (I used to ride over 100km back in my younger days)

Managed 6kms and had to stop. My legs couldn’t take it. Gonna have to start very small and work upwards.