Need a trainer upgrade, should I spend the $$$ on a smart one?

I currently have a Qubo Elite Fluid Trainer that I use with my bikes power meter to Zwift. This thing sucks. It is super hard to get my bike lined up properly on it and it often feels like I am leaning.

I don’t really need a smart trainer since I have a power mete but the thought of wheel off sounds so nice.

Any suggestions on a trainer upgrade?

It depend on what power meter you have on your bike , if it is a Crank, Pedal or crank arm based powermeter you can get a nice cheap direct drive trainer because you don’t need to rely on accurate power measurement.

If you have a power meter in your wheel hub, then I would stay with a wheel on trainer Or you have to spend a lot of $$$ to get a accurate direct drive trainer.

It’s a quarq spider based meter so I am pretty happy with it power wise. What would you consider a cheap direct drive trainer worth spending money on?

This is a hard question. I would read the DcRainmaker trainer reviews to find something that won’t break the bank.

Are smart (controllable) trainers worth investing in? Absolutely, an unqualified yes. I used an old wheel-on fluid trainer w/ Zwift for about a year, then switched to an Elite Direto. The difference in the Zwift experience is night/day.

Re: which to buy? Well, one man’s idea of ‘cheap’ is another man’s GTFO!

Second what Gerrie said above about DCRainmaker. Check the latest trainer shootout.

I’ve been really happy with my Direto. I’ve had it ~ 15 months and it’s been very reliable. The first belt wore out about a month ago (after >5000 virtual miles) and I got a free replacement from Elite in under a week.

The Wahoo Kickr Core is another solid choice.

After creating Zwift Insider’s new Smart Trainer Index, we put together short lists of the very best trainers at three budget levels:

I was in the same boat where I was using a power meter (Favero Assioma) when I upgraded from a wheel-on smart trainer to the KICKR Core almost 2 years ago. I can’t say the difference was necessarily night & day like many who’ve gone direct drive, but the ride feel is definitely different and gradient changes are a little smoother. I don’t think I settled by not getting the flagship KICKR for a few reasons:

1 - the included 11-speed cassette would have done me no good, since the bike I keep on the trainer is a 10-speed

2 - even on my best day I’ll never see 1800 watts let alone 2200 watts the flagship KICKR has as max resistance

3 - I use a power meter as my power source anyway so I just needed something to replicate the gradient changes for realism

Even though I’ve never used the Core as my power source on Zwift, I’m confident it would work well if I had to based on the reviews. Honestly, I got the Core because I was curious about all the hype about direct drive trainers.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice and you can spend as much as you want on a high-end setup to enhance your experience, but at the end of the day you still gotta put the work in whether your trainer cost $200 or $1200. That’s what I remind my friends who are getting into cycling and indoor training as we head into winter here in NY USA.