Upgrade Kinetic frame or another wheel on trainer?

So while I know direct drive trainers are better it just doesn’t work with the constant back and forth between road and Zwift riding based on weather in Northeast US and family stuff. I also have a 2009 Canondale with a 9 speed cassette so no benefit if a trainer comes with an 11 speed cassette.
I added the Kinetic inRide V3 to my old Kinetic fluid trainer and no complaints after two years. Seems accurate and Ray Maker and Shane Miller reviews agree. That said I feel like I am missing out on feeling the gradient changes and it is a bit boring just shifting to change. The Kinetic app is buggy on Android but I get it to work usually or use an old iPad.
Question is should I get a Kinetic Smart Control unit for $280 on sale I can retrofit my frame or look at something like Kickr Snap/Elite Tuo/Saris M2? I know Kinetic Smart Control had some struggles initially but anyone still using or have current experience?

What is more difficult about wheel-on vs wheel-off trainers when going back and forth between indoor and outdoor riding? Or are you not using a trainer-specific tire/wheel? (Which, to me anyway, presents its own issues due to tire wear from the wheel-on trainer.)

When the workout time is highly limited with twin 7 year olds the 5 to 10 minutes it would take me to take the rear tire off and on vs the 1 minute or less to take the bike off the trainer (I leave it on the trainer most of the time) makes a difference in a 60 minute window of opportunity. Stopping 10 minutes in to recalibrate for 30 seconds is not a big deal. I’ve been an elite athlete in another sport and I know that my cycling level is not at the level where even 5% is going to make a tangible difference.
What is a big deal is justifying the cost of a new $1k trainer in the family budget vs something that still gives a good experience while satisfying my competitive itch. If the Kinetic Smart Control is $280 wasted in most people’s experience than I am interested in knowing. If it is comparable to other wheel on trainers than the price factors in.
Any experience Nigel?

Bump, Anyone have any experience with Kinetic, Smart Control, Kickr Snap, Saris M2 or Elite Tuo trainers?

Hi Greg,
I was tempted into the world of upgrading my equipment thinking my old setup was not good enough. After two Tacx Neo’s let me down in the space of 20 months I have gone back to my old setup and am really enjoying it. (Elite rollers with resistance and a power meter).
I am now using a system without gradient feeling, but to have a setup that just works, is way more important to me than gradients, road feel or ERG mode.

However if you are thinking of change it the Kickr Snap could be a good choice, they look like they have very good customer service, and a friend of mine has had an Elite Rampa that has never let him down, (It out lasted two Neo’s and is still going strong) so maybe an Elite could be a good choice also.
Ps if you buy something new, keep your old setup. :slightly_smiling_face:

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i’m using a kinetic ex fluid) trainer which i upgraded with the control unit.
theyre expensive but do give a better game feel by setting gradients and erg power in workouts, look second hand ? ( old ones are bluetooth only)
I use my old tri bike ( 2x6 shimano 600 gears, down tube shifters) perm on the trainer, even with a training tyre i do get tyre slip on higher powers.
response is slow in erg mode, useless for short workout intervals
Calibration can be a bit hit and miss, but i now use my ( expensive) garmin v3 pedals which i swap off my road bike, so not a problem.
( control to kinetic unit, power and cadence from pedals)
i had thought of a direct drive trainer, but then would need to use an 11 gear cassette on a different bike. ( having a bike already on the trainer is better for me)

I bought a Snap when they first came out. Works pretty well but temp changes (i ride mostly in the garage year round) will affect the calibration so needs to done. I switched to an H3 and the direct drive is quite a bit nicer. The Snap works but I ate tires and the trainer tires feel like squat. If time is burden you will be swapping out rear wheels to ride the trainer vs outdoors. Easier to just take the wheel off and put on the DD.

the Snap needs to be calibrated frequently. I calibrate the H3 when big temperature swings occur. the H3 stays within 3-10 watts of my P1 pedals. In the important sweet area of 180-250 watts they are within 3 watts. More than good enough for me.

If near Austin, TX you can try the Snap, and if you like, buy it from me. Otherwise check you local Craigslist or similar. A lot of people have upgraded and Snaps/M1s show frequently.

Wheel ons are noisy as heck as you know…Most DD are better but need to go pretty high-end to get near silent.

Thanks all. Decided to pull the trigger on getting the Kinetic control unit that is 20% off on Amazon since I can use it with my current Kinetic frame. Worst case I’ll hold onto the Kinetic Fluid attachment and go back to that if necessary.

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Please write an update after using a few months.

How are you liking the Kinetic control unit? Any thoughts on it? I’ve been considering the same upgrade and would love to hear how you like it.

Have only gotten 3 rides in due to home renovation project. Early thoughts is it feels much different than the fluid. I like the coasting feeling you get when you back off a bit. Fluid was tons better than a mag trainer but I always felt it stopped a lot faster than riding on the road.
My power numbers are different. Some of that may be due to me spending more time running and rowing lately. However, they fluctuate more than the inRideV3. I don’t have a power meter to compare to but the overall numbers seem to average out. When I go up an incline I feel it and my Watts go up if I keep the same speed. Conversely on a decline the Watts drop as you naturally coast like in real life. The inRideV3 was always constant.
Setup is key as is calibration I think. First ride with no calibration was ok. Second ride calibrated felt much better. I have only calibrated in Kinetic Fit App. May try Zwift as well. What didn’t work was Zwifting for 10 minutes, pausing, and then trying to calibrate. I was on ANT+ on Zwift but it appears you can only pair to one program at a time but maybe I’m wrong. Haven’t gotten to 7 second spindown number yet but close at 6.8 seconds. I usually have to do it a couple of times. What I find helpful is going past the minimum speed. I usually go to 30+mph and then stop pedaling.
All in all I like it better. Nothing to compare it to besides the Fluid but I only paid $100 for that unit. With this upgrade my total cost is about $400 since I got the control unit on sale. If I didn’t have a Fluid frame it would have been a toss up between this, the Wahoo Snap and Elite tuo. I know wheel on isn’t as good as direct drive but I have a 9 speed so that factors in plus easy for my wife to share as well.

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