Noob question: where’s the trainer comparison discussions?

Hi, I’m Kampy.

I’m brand new here and have never been on Zwift, but I’ve been interested for a long time, and have now decided to buy a smart trainer and go for it.

I’ve been trying to research my options for buying both new / used, but having a hard time deciding. I like to do a lot of research on purchases like this, and can’t seem to find much unbiased, objective comparisons on smart trainers.

I came here to these Zwift forums expecting to find a section dedicated to smart trainers, but I’m not seeing much here in terms of model comparisons and recommendations. But maybe I’m not looking in the right places?

If any of you can point me in the direction of some good info to help me decide what model smart trainer to buy (Whether on these forums, or anywhere else online) I’d appreciate it!

FWIW, I’m leaning in the direction of the wheel-on Tacx trainers with incline, but having a hard time deciding between the Flow, Vortex, and Bushido. I also saw a used Tacx Genius for sale, and wondering how that compares? It seems these models were all released a few years ago- are they still current as far as new tech goes? If I buy a 3 yr old Bushido used, is it the same as a brand new Bushido (feature-wise)? :man_shrugging:

Any help / links much appreciated!

DC Rainmaker is probably the de facto place to go for these reviews.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/product-reviews/trainers

Here’s his 2018 round-up:

Plenty of others too, such as TitaniumGeek:

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Elite’s new Suito looks pretty good for $799 and includes a cassette, you won’t find a better deal for a brand new smart trainer (most don’t include the cassette). They should be available in the next few months in the US.DC Rainmaker has a review on his youtube channel.

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Thanks @Mike_Rowe_PBR , the Suito looks great, but being a beginner on a budget, I don’t think I can justify spending $800 just yet. To start out, I want to go as affordable as I can while still getting the interactive Zwift experience. The more I look, the more I keep coming back to the Vortex. I can get it new for $205 USD from ChainReaction, and I found a guy selling a used one for $110.

If I really take to Zwift and stick with it, maybe in the future I will upgrade to a direct drive model.

@Daren , thanks for the links. Somehow I missed DC Rainmaker’s stuff while searching. I did know about Shane/GPLama though, his channel has been the most helpful.

Re: the Vortex, I’m a bit concerned that this model was released 5 years ago… that seems like a long time for a tech-heavy piece of gear meant for rapidly evolving platforms like Zwift, etc. But if I can grab a new one for only $205, I guess it wouldn’t hurt too bad if they came out with a new model right after I buy it…

I’ve also found a couple used Tacx Bushidos for sale… and the Tacx Genius… but I’m a little worried that those models seemed to have been discontinued by Tacx. Why were they discontinued? I get the sense that they were plagued by connection & calibration issues, but can’t find much to back that? I dunno…

I think I may be overthinking this decision. I’m probably just gonna grab a Vortex. If that used one works OK for only $110, why not

The Vortex might be relatively long in the tooth, but realistically there’s not a lot to change. I had mine for more than three years, from first getting on Zwift in 2015. I upgraded to a Tacx Neo 2 a couple of months ago, but not because I felt the Vortex was particularly bad or out of date compared to other wheel-on trainers.

I’d be bit surprised if Tacx came out with a new wheel-on trainer. They already have at least three current models with the Vortex, Flow and Satori. Along with their three wheel-off trainers, that’s quite a lot. If anything I’d expect them to cut back the wheel-on range and focus more on lowering the entry point for direct drive. Particularly after they were recently acquired by Garmin.

I just don’t see what they could offer in a wheel-on trainer that the Vortex doesn’t already do. Greater accuracy would be the only selling point I reckon, but those types on trainers are so variable depending on things like tyre pressure that I’d be sceptical of any claims to great accuracy.

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The one thing I was thinking about would be pedal assist on descents… or some sort of freewheel simulation– from what I can tell, that’s a feature on some hi-end direct drive trainers, and was a feature the Tacx Genius Smart. I’m thinking they could add another wheel-on model w/ descent assist to go where the Genius / Bushido used to be in their lineup, and that would be exactly what I want…

Of course, the point is probably moot, because if they did announce something like that, I’m sure it would be $600+, which is more than I want to spend right now anyway…

One more useful link for those researching a new smart trainer purchase: Zwift Insider’s new Smart Trainer Index has the web’s largest database of smart trainer reviews, specs, and recommendations.