Smart Trainer vs Power Meter vs RPM/Speed sensor

Hi all,

Newbie to cycling (couple years) and definite newbie to indoor training/zwift. I’ve just got my set up done with the Wahoo RPM Cadence and Speed sensors with a tradition “dumb” trainer. However, it really doesn’t feel that accurate to me.

Anyone else have opinions on this set up? successes or failures?

Also, if I were to upgrade, would you recommend going with a power meter or a smart trainer?



What is it about your setup that doesn’t feel accurate? Using a ‘dumb’ trainer without a power meter is certainly the least accurate way to use Zwift, but I think more information is needed to understand your specific issue and, more importantly, what you are hoping to get out of using Zwift.

Well it simply doesn’t feel accurate. There are times, especially uphill, where I’m really pumping, like 4/5 with 160 HR. But I’m going 5MPH? Also the responses time seems delayed. But maybe it’s not that much different than a smart bike?

That’s not surprising. Between the setup you have being the least accurate and Zwift adjusting your speed to match the terrain on which you are riding this sounds “normal”.

If you are hooked and are looking to be doing this regularly, a smart trainer is the way forward. Erg mode and the resistance changes are the best way to bring the outside inside.

I agree with George… I tried Zwift when it was in Beta with a dumb trainer, speed & cadence sensor and thought it was a little ‘Meh’.

Thankfully i invested in a crank based power meter a couple of years ago and revisited Zwift. With the power meter and dumb trainer the best use of Zwift is the workouts.

However i invested again in Feb 2018 and upgraded to a direct drive smart trainer. This has been a gamechanger in terms of experience.

Being a new dad (1 year old) indoor cycling has been a major thing for me and i could not done the amount of Zwift i have without that immersion.

So i would recommend a smart trainer and would really advise getting a direct drive system which are easier to set up and are generally more accurate.

Thanks Martyn,

This is what I suspected. I’ve definitely felt, “meh” so far with my trial and want to see what the fuss is about. OK - I’ll likely pull the trigger on the Wahoo Kickr. Wonder when they’ll one that moves side to side!?

*Cycling is expensive…