Trainer Recommendation Needed - Returning Kurt Smart Control - Too many bugs


(D. Sembiante) #1

After a few weeks of owning the top of the line Kurt Kinetic Smart Control I’ve decided to return it and get my money back. It still does not work in Zwift, as the power output numbers are way off. Before purchasing, I called Kurt and they told me integration with Zwift was working. What lie I was told.

So I’m looking for recommendations from people who have successfully used smart CONTROLLABLE trainers to feel hills in Zwift using Andriod phone/table and Windows 10 PC.

I’m very disappointed in Kurt Kinetics. I liked my “dumb” Kurt unit, but Kurt is not ready for prime time in the truly Smart Control market.

Thanks.

David


(Bastiaan Gaillard [HIK - C]) #2

Hi David,

Sad to hear that about the Kurt Kinetic trainer.

DC Rainmaker has a good website with a lot of detailed information about trainers.

He published a good article last October about his recommendations:

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/10/annual-winter-2016-2017-bike-smart-trainer-recommendations.html

#rideon


(Craig Howard WBR B) #3

The 22nd Nov update apparently incorporates the KK smart. Seems odd.

Get a kickr snap - you won’t be disappointed. Read my opinion here;

http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40121&t=13073575


(D. Sembiante) #4

Hi Craig.

The Nov 22nd update did indeed ‘incorporate’ the KK smart, but the power levels were just way too high…about 30% to 40% high. I was flying up 8 and 10% grades like they were 2-3% grades. Kurt told me they were aware and the defect was in their side of the interface and the fix required a firmware update.

The Kurt Fit-App (Android) has some bugs they have not yet fixed (app does not save workouts for example.

So I waited, but lost faith in Kurt Kinetic’s ability to respond quickly. They acknowledged the problem, and their support usually awesome. The icing on the cake for me was the tone the general Manager (Paul) took with because I pressed for estimated release dates and the like. He did not give me a sense that had a good plan internally to get things done.

I’m sure there are “Smart” Control users zipping around Zwift right now, plowing down hills like nothing. I want to train, not play with a toy, or debug things for a company that, in the past, I’ve heard used to have great support. I don’t think Kurt Kinetic is staffed up and ready to compete in the smart trainer market.

After being burnt by Kurt, and have to fight with them to get them to reimburse my local bike shop because of my return (with merchandise and not a simple refund), I’m extremely tentative about jumping to something else.

There is a reason I liked the Kickr over the Snap, it might have been max resistance or something like that. I’ll check out your review.

Just a really disappointing few weeks with Kurt. I like their “dumb” trainers, and maybe that is the part of the market they will be relegated to.


(Craig Howard WBR B) #5

Interesting. It’s weird how we all research lots before buying these products and there are clearly some bad kit/marketing/reviews being put out. Lots of this stems from manufacturers wanting to be on the cusp of innovation and also media being in bed with certain munufacturers lending to bias on products. The risk there being if the product falls flat or has major issues when it’s out with the consumer, it will ultimately damage their brand. The balance is difficult and consumers have a huge choice at their disposal.

That’s one of the main reasons I went with Wahoo - every single person who I’ve read have had either issues with their kit or needed an answer to question they had have said their customer service is simply outstanding. Secondly, everyone raved about the build quality. The Elite crono dumb I had for around 5 years and it was a great dumb trainer, wasn’t giving me the outdoor ride feel I so craved indoors. I do thousands of miles indoors per year so having something life-like is important. It was matched with a proper power meter, it gave me accurate results for Zwift/TrainerRoad - you can’t argue with real power! This sent me down the road of needing something that could produce near comparable outputs so I can train indoor or outdoors to power and know that one isn’t over-reading by +20% or more.

I debunked Tacx as I was waiting too long for them to release their Flux (still not out) and then reading all the consumer issues with their other releases left me not wanting to be their Flux guinea pig while all the bugs get ironed out. I also borrowed a Bushido and found it was awful in comparison to the Snap. Felt cheap and made with loads of plastic. The footprint is also very small and not as stable and road feel was non-existent due to having practically no flywheel. Crazy how that is a similar price to the Snap.

I nearly went for the full Kickr but the V1 whine put me off. The V2 is a little more expensive (£90?) but is quieter and apparently more accurate. BUT it’s nearly £1000 in the UK! I paid £399 for the Snap on a Black Friday offer and I honestly can’t see what that extra £600 would have brought to the table other than a slightly larger flywheel (marginally better road feel?) and a bigger power brake. Especially when my Snap/Stages test to my own power meter clearly shows an accuracy within a few % across any amount of power I can train to and sustain. I can hit 1500w in a sprint (for around a second) but it tapers to around 900w and then will roll off very quickly. 1500w brake not an issue for me and I doubt many other riders.

Trouble is, there isn’t many places around which have these trainers all set-up for punters to trial. Perhaps buy from a retailer that guarantee’s a no quibble refund within a set amount of days?

 


(D. Sembiante) #6

Hi Craig.

I’m leaning toward a Wahoo…will have to understand the differences between Snap and The New Kickr. The bike shop that I’ve done business with for 30 years does not carry them, but yes, another around here will let me return it.

I am AMAZED that without me contacting the general manager at Kurt Kinetics for my local bike shop,  that my local bike shop would have to eat the cost of my returned unit. That is still stunning to me and my local bike shop will only get more Kurt merchandise. I’m wondering how in the world Kurt Kinetics has such a good reputation.

I think the max %grade is what got me thinking Kickr instead of Snap.

$1,200 is a lot of money for a trainer. It should cook pancakes for you each day at that price.

I just want to get training…

Thank you for your comments.

David

 


(K Smith) #7

I’ll chip in here and be the first to suggest a good hard look at the Tacx line of products.

I wanted to “future proof” as much as possible my trainer.   I want it to be with me for a good many years.   So, with this in mind I bought the top of the line Neo.   My reasoning for this is that since the trainer uses a motor to vary it’s resistance then it’s going to have a lot more opportunity for firmware upgrades.   It also should have less mechanical things to wear out.    

The road feel function which was released (firmware update) is confirmation of the things that could be accomplished with the Neo and this type of technology.    

Lastly, the quietness of the unit is simply sublime…    Just before running the WBR and doing a imperial century I decided I would convert my whole drivetrain to a paraffin wax treatment.  I thought that the trainer / bike setup was quiet before… now it’s almost impossible to hear.   No joke, it’s really that quiet.  

$1500 is a lot to spend and it took a lot for me to pull the trigger.   However, now that I own and have put a few thousand KM on it now I’m really thinking about how much amazing tech there is crammed into this unit for that amount of money.  

The Elite Drivo is also getting pretty good reviews also.    If accuracy is what you are after then both the Tacx and the Elite units should be given a good, hard look.     My understanding is that when compared to the Wahoo the Tacx and Elite are a notch above and do NOT require any warm up to become accurate nor require any spin-down tests as well.

Enjoy the Ride whatever you decide.   The beauty of this is that it’s hard to not make a good choice. 


(D. Sembiante) #8

Thank Kerry.

This is WAY harder than I thought it would be…

$1600 is just too much for me to spend. I have it, I just think it’s too high. I’m sure the unit is outstanding. I can afford it but would rather put that money toward other stuff.

The Kickr seems too loud and is above the $800 price tag I’d drop (right now in my thinking) to cycle indoors. Technology is changing fast and I think all these units will seem dated in very short time.

I like the Rock and Roll aspects of the Kurt, but the “Smart Control”, as I learned, is lacking in maturity. It will be interesting to see if KK can survive the transition to “Smart”.

I did not know about any required warm-up with the Wahoo, and underrstand that every two weeks they do recommend a spin-down (for the Wahoo snap).

So right now I’m at either the Wahoo Snap (only 12% hills but very accurate according to DCrainmaker <5%) or the BKool Pro. What I don’t like about the BKool Pro is that the accuracy is dependent on you being in a SEATED position. According to DCrainmaker, when standing the power numbers can be crazy, like putting out 400 and 100 reported.

This has been a really hard purchase!!! 

 

 


(K Smith) #9

Hi David,

We all are certainly spoiled silly with so many choices…   The hardest part is the decision.   But, I’m convinced that with a few exceptions no matter what you choose you are going to be getting really good tech.

I think Craig gave a great review / advice above.   

As for Tacx support, well I only needed to contact them once for a minor issue and my email was personally answered the same day with a promise that the tech would call me if the advice they gave me didn’t fix the issue (which it dit… which basically involved me pulling my head out of my arse).  

I will end up with a minimum of 4000km ridden indoors per year.  probably more because frankly speaking, I’m having so much fun on Zwift and some other programs.  My training also has now been taken to a much higher level because I’m forced to pay attention to things and stick with the program…  ERG mode sort of forces that on us, which is a very good thing.  

When I look at it this way, the 1600 dollars for the trainer, for me, was a no brainer…  It’s going to be where I get the majority of my riding and nearly all of my training accomplished.   I certainly hope it will last me a good few years which also helps take the sting out…

For my ability the Neo is WAY more then I need to be honest…  I’m mid-pack fodder plodder and could only push the watts to half the stated capacity of the Neo…  So, it’s overkill in that respect.   But, now this may seem a bit silly, but I live in Japan so this unit lives in my living room where the family needs to look at it and, well, it’s sort of pretty looking, even when it’s all folded up and sitting in the corner.  :-)

The most interesting thing is that although my outdoor riding is less then before, it’s a lot more enjoyable for me because I’m now fullfilling my training requirments almost 100% indoors which leaves some nice relaxing recovery rides outdoors where I can actually sort of relax and enjoy things.  

Oh…  and Shane Miller has a video just out today on the unboxing of the Flux… so, it’s shipping.    More Choices!  Lucky Us!

Now, what I really really really want for Xmas is more roads on Watopia… lots and lots of them… (and a velodrome in the stocking would be nice also)

See you on the island.


(Bastiaan Gaillard [HIK - C]) #10

More roads are coming soon Kerry according to the latest release notes. #rideon


(K Smith) #11

Thanks Bastiaan…   Can’t wait…    Let them be mountain roads…   Please…  :-)    

I’m not good enough to hang with the fast guys on the island so I spend most of my time tooling around the hills…   So, my vote is for mountains (like I have a vote). 

It’s interesting, if you look at the real estate available on the whole island(s) of Watopia, there is a ton of expansion possible… and, that’s the beauty of creating these worlds…  Need more space just plop down another island and build… 


(Bastiaan Gaillard [HIK - C]) #12

Yes me too, can’t wait for those new roads. Hope they soon have a teaser ready with the building signs. Haha.

I am doing a lot of training based on the programs available in Zwift at the moment. Last summer I went to the French Alps and before this trip the mountain route was really my favorite;-)


(Leena Dallasheh) #13

Hi David, 

I’ve had the KK Smart control for a few weeks and it is a disaster. How were you able to return it? 


(D. Sembiante) #14

Hi Leena. I took the unit back to my local bike shop and told them the issues. The method they used was a return under warranty I believe. I now have a Wahoo Snap (my nickname is Wahoo Scrap), and while it does suffer from vibration issues, Zwift was able to control the resistance and it feels realistic. I did not use the Wahoo Snap estimated power, which was close in accuracy, but varied too much for my taste and required a ten minute calibration effort before each ride. I’m using PowerTap C1 power meter. The power reported is always accurate and does not require a ten minute warm up.

Kurt Kinectic should be ashamed what they have done to cyclists, dumping garbage on the community.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


(Leena Dallasheh) #15

Thanks David, I just talked to my bike store and they will try to do the same!