Thinking of getting Zwift

(Zac Murray) #1


I have recently been looking into Zwift and really want to get started, but I am a bit confused as to some of the more technical aspects, especially when it comes to the difference between a smart trainer and a dumb trainer with a speed and cadence sensor.

How big of a difference is having a smart trainer compared to a dumb trainer with a speed and cadence sensor? Will the speed and cadence sensor still provide me with my power output along side the speed and cadence? Is it reasonably accurate? As someone who is looking to use Zwift mainly for fitness reasons, what would you suggest for someone just starting?

Thanks guys.

(F. ATLad. PacK/NEO?) #2

Buy the best and buy once. Tacx neo or wahoo kicker.
I have an elite drivo which I have found has Bluetooth and firmware issues :sob:
I was riding a tacx bushido with no issues for around 2 years and was very happy with the whole experience.
Not happy now :crossed_fingers:

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(Tim) #3

Since it sounds like you don’t know if you will even like it, the “buy best” advice may not be appropriate for you.
This is especially true because with a dumb trainer, speed cadence sensor and an Ant+ sensor, you can get active on Zwift for less than $200. If you already have a trainer, then you can get started for less than $70.
Here is the usual evolution.

  1. You have a bike and you like to ride out doors and you and your friends are pushing each other and it’s lots of fun.

  2. You live where it gets cold in the winter and you either sit and do nothing which hurts your cycling form or you decide to try an indoor trainer to be in good shape by Spring - make friends hurt - that’s still fun.

  3. You buy an in door trainer and it “kills” you to try an stay on it for more than 20 minutes. OK you can listen to the radio or watch a movie but that’s not really riding - not so fun anymore.

  4. Attach speed/cadence/heart rate monitors to your existing set up using an Ant+ dongle (all for $70) and start riding along with others - back to fun. You will learn what a Watt is and what is a normal W/KG performance.

The big problem with speed sensors and dumb trainers is they can be inaccurate but so can smart trainers.
Most of the inaccuracies persist because the users are new to riding with power and Watts and they don’t realize that their numbers are exaggerated and almost professional level.
These newer users have usually started Zwifting with the equipment that they had - dumb trainer and a new speed sensor.
The error is not the equipment but the failure to recognize and adjust the variables that created the exaggerated power and speed.

Many people seem to spend money on trainers that are smart but ignore the same (or a new set of variables) and their reported power is still incorrect and freq exaggerated.

Just go with what you got, get started, and you will really like it.
Avoid the temptation to be too happy if you happen to find yourself beating everyone.
Unless you are the fastest rider in real life, then your set up is incorrect and needs adjusted some how.

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(Milan) #4

My solution was power2max wattmeter (NGeco, 500 Euros for my Rotor crank) - perfect for using out- and indoor - and a used Turbo Muin. Yes, Turbo Muin is dumb, but never mind for my training. I am happy with it.

(Aaron Zwanzig) #5

Tri247 just published an article about getting set up on Zwift for cheap.

(Adam) #6

Hi, Zac
Let’s say that I was “in your shoes” several month ago and was not sure about the type of trainer. Finally I’ve got to myself a so-called “dumb” trainer, but with a smart power measure device - Kinetic Rock&Roll Smart 2. I find it a little bit more expensive than other dumb trainers, but after several months of experience with it I’m not regretting this purchase. Well, although now with some experience I will probably go with the real smart trainer for my next purchase.
The real deference that you’ll feel between the dumb and smart trainers is the whole realistic feeling of the climbs.
If you do have a budget, get to yourself a real smart trainer. If not, get some fluid supported trainer with something like Inride3 sensor by Kinetic or get the Garmin cadence and speed set.
Also, as an additional advice, if you would like o test different trainers prior of puchase go to gyms - there are a lot of gyms out there with trainers that support Zwift (well…surely depends on your location). Also, some of the bike shops where you could test it on the plac.e

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