10 Best Wheel-On Smart Trainers Reviews of 2018

smart wheel on bike trainer reviewEveryone is going crazy about smart turbo trainers. Cyclists are realizing that indoor training can be fun and are dumping their dumb trainers for smart ones. All the big companies (Kinetic, Tacx, CycleOps, Wahoo, etc.) have released series of wheel-on smart trainers.

It can, therefore, be overwhelming for any rider looking to pick just one. They all look good, have positive feedback from users and promise the best experience.

The aim of this review is not to make you more confused than you already are. It is meant to help cyclists of all levels find smart trainers that fit their needs.

Below are 10 of the most popular wheel-on smart trainers of 2018.

Smart Trainer Comparison Table

Best Smart Trainers
Connectivity
My rating
1. Tacx Satori Smart Bike Trainer
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
(4.5 / 5)
2. Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Control
Bluetooth Smart
(4.5 / 5)
3. Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer
Bluetooth Smart
(4.2 / 5)
4. Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
(4 / 5)
5. CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer
ANT +
(4 / 5)
6. Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Trainer
Bluetooth Smart
(3.5 / 5)
7. Tacx Vortex Smart Trainer
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
(3.5 / 5)
8. Cycleops Magnus Smart Trainer
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+ FE-C
(3.5 / 5)
9. Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control Trainer
Bluetooth Smart
(3 / 5)
10. Elite Arion Digital Smart B+ rollers
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
(4.5 / 5)

Best Smart Trainer Reviews

Read on for my reviews of these smart wheel-on bicycle trainers.

1. Tacx Satori Smart Trainer

tacx satori smart bike trainer

The Tacx Satori smart trainer from Tacx offers you 10 different levels of resistance and the maximum resistance is 950 watts. The resistance is enough to help you keep pushing yourself harder every single time, thanks to the powerful Neodymium magnet. Using ANT + and Bluetooth Smart connectivity, it connects to devices and communicates with all your favorite apps. It features a hand lever for manually adjusting the resistance.

The unit measures speed, cadence, and power accurately and transmits the data to your device to help you assess your efforts. The maximum slope simulation is 15%. It does not automatically simulate climbs but the conveniently located hand lever lets you do that manually.

Features and Specifications

  • Supports both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity
  • Offers 10 levels of resistance
  • Has a hand lever for manually adjusting the resistance
  • Maximum resistance is 950 watts
  • Measures cadence, power, and speed
  • Maximum slope: 15%
  • Power accuracy: -/+10%
  • Weighs 7.75 kg while flywheel weighs 1.6 kg
  • Includes front wheel riser block and quick release skewer
  • Fits 700c, and 22” to 29”
  • Frame folds for storage and transport
  • My rating: (4.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Comes with a front wheel riser and quick release
  • Stable
  • Super quiet
  • Affordable
  • Decent power accuracy
  • Resistance is not app-controlled
  • Lighter flywheel
  • Small diameter roller

Customer Feedback

The Tacx Satori is a great trainer and the users agree. As much as people prefer a fully assembled trainer, the setting up of this one is easy. It connects to devices and apps with no trouble at all. It has also proved itself in terms of stability. The only issue is that apps do not control the resistance and you have to do it yourself using the hand lever. Read my full review of the Tacx Satori Smart Bike Trainer.

2. Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Control Bike Trainer

Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Control Bike Trainer

The Rock and Roll is a unique unit that allows you to move from side to side as you cycle. This is the one trainer that has really tried to make your experience more like riding outdoors. Its state-of-the-art construction ensures unmatched durability and Kurt Kinetic confidently offer an unconditional lifetime on the frame.

The flywheel on the Rock and Roll is heavy at 14.4 pounds. That is a good thing because it means more inertia and smooth pedal strokes as you gain or lose speed. Almost any bike can be used with this trainer; those with a rear thru-axle will require a Kinetic Traxle thru-axle adapter.

The trainer only supports Bluetooth Smart for connecting to apps and devices. It is compatible with all the popular training apps; Zwift, TrainerRoad, and Kinetic Fit.

Features and Specifications

  • Fits 22” to 29” wheel sizes
  • Flywheel weighs 14.4 lbs
  • Rocks from side to side as you ride
  • Durable and stable
  • Unconditional lifetime warranty on frame
  • Maximum slope: 10%
  • Connects to devices and apps using Bluetooth Smart
  • Resistance is controlled by apps
  • Includes Kinetic skewer and power cord
  • Large diameter roller
  • Ergonomic feet and knobs
  • My rating: (4.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Highly durable
  • Lateral movement mimics road feel and promotes core workout
  • Huge flywheel for smooth pedaling
  • Large diameter roller for less wear and tear on tire
  • Has great resistance
  • Does not fold for storage
  • Is a little heavy
  • Lacks ANT+ support

Customer Feedback

Trust Kurt Kinetic to make their customers happy, every single time. From the reviews, the Kinetic Rock and Roll is a fantastic trainer. The frame is sturdy and durable. Users love the Rock and Roll feature that keeps them focused just as they would be riding outside. It connects well to devices and apps. Customers, however, wish it has ANT+ support.

Read my full review of the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Control bike trainer.

3. Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer

Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer

The Kinetic Road Machine Smart is a fluid trainer with an integrated InRide sensor. It can be termed as a “semi-smart” trainer. Unlike the fully smart trainers, the Road Machine does not measure power but estimates it based on wheel rotation. Even then, Kurt Kinetic, having tested it against power meters, assure cyclists that it is accurate with a difference of about 2-3%.

The trainer offers progressive fluid resistance that is virtually infinite. The fluid chamber is securely sealed making it 100% leak-proof. As is the case with almost all fluid trainers, the Kinetic Road Machine promises a quiet and serene workout free of squeaking and shrieking. The heavy flywheel ensures realistic acceleration and momentum.

Features and Specifications

  • Flywheel weighs 6.25 lbs
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Frame folds for storage
  • Smooth progressive resistance
  • Large diameter roller
  • Supports Bluetooth Smart connectivity
  • 100% leak-proof
  • Compatible with TrainerRoad, Kinetic Fit, and Zwift
  • Ergonomic knobs and feet
  • Integrated inRide sensor technology
  • Lifetime warranty on frame and 2-year warranty on inRide sensor
  • My rating: (4.2 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Stable, sturdy and durable
  • Whisper quiet
  • Unconditional lifetime warranty
  • Large diameter roller prevents overheating
  • Erratic cadence reading
  • Android version of the Kinetic app is a little faulty
  • Does not support ANT+

Customer Feedback

It is never difficult to find positive reviews on a Kinetic product. Users absolutely love the Road Machine with InRide sensor. Since it comes fully assembled, it is easy to set up. It does not have connection issues when pairing with devices and connecting to apps—everything runs smoothly. There are no complaints about the noise level.

Because of the wrong cadence reading, users recommend using a cadence sensor instead.

Read my full review of the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer.

4. Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ Bicycle Trainer

Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+

This interactive trainer from Elite has some features that make it stand out from the rest. Your performance and power output are determined by your weight—it is the pressure that your bike exerts on the roller that counts. Another unique feature would be its Elastogel roller that enhances tire grip while reducing noise and wear and tear.

The trainer allows for both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ transmissions. Apps control your resistance based on the virtual terrain. The frame of the Elite Qubo Digital is well-made and stable. Although the flywheel is not that big, the pedal strokes are surprisingly smooth. Smart trainers are not very accurate in measuring power but this trainer does a great job. However, the fact that it uses your weight may cause a few discrepancies when you alternate sitting, standing and leaning forward.

Features and Specifications

  • Supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart transmissions
  • Uses Crono system to determine performance
  • Elastogel roller reduces noise and tire wear
  • Foldable frame
  • Fast fixing lock system
  • Has 16 levels of resistance
  • Features electric motor resistance
  • Fits 20” to 29” wheel sizes
  • Sturdy and stable frame
  • Complete interaction with apps
  • My rating: (4 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Crono system mimics road feel
  • Affordable
  • Foldable and lightweight frame
  • Fully interacts with apps
  • Comes with a quick release skewer
  • A little noisy
  • Crono system may cause discrepancies

Customer Feedback

Customers say that the Elite Qubo is a wonderful trainer. It is easy to set up and connect to devices and apps. They have also commended the great make and stability of the Elite Qubo Digital. They are a little concerned about the shaky power accuracy. Nonetheless, to make your numbers more accurate, ride with your weight shifted back.

Read my review of the Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ Trainer.

5. CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer

CycleOps PowerBeam Pro ANT+ Trainer

They don’t call the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro trainer a pro for advertising looks or because it sounds official. This may, in fact, be one of the top electronic resistance trainers on today’s market. Made in the U.S.A riders who purchase this top end trainer will have a sleek matte black finish with yellow CycleOps logos and yellow accents.

Program your resistance the way you want it with the ANT + electronic resistance and never worry about a loud and annoying session because this trainer is recognized as one of the CycleOps most silent performing trainer. At 20 MPH, this trainer only puts out a meager 69-70 decibels, which is substantial for indoor usage.

Find your preference when working out and choose between target power, zone, or slopes when locating a resistance that fits you best. The Fold flat design is made with an aluminum frame and with a wide single leg base you can easily adjust your preferred level of comfort. At 24.5 pounds, this trainer its slightly heavier than the basic trainers, however, provides a stable and solid base for all human and bike sizes. Use this pro trainer to increase your stamina and performance

Pros & Cons

  • Versatile and easy to use.
  • Folds easily and stows away without issue.
  • Quick setup.
  • Ultra-quiet.
  • The flywheel is heavy and optimizes inertia without dead weight.
  • Slightly heavier than base models.
  • For those who prefer two connected legs instead of one for the base may not like the single leg.
  • Expensive, however, buyers are paying for quality with a lifetime warranty.

6. Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Bike Trainer

Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer

One of the most popular products of Kurt Kinetic is the Rock and Roll. No other company has manufactured a product like that, yet. The Rock and Roll has a rubber pivot joining the base to the rest of the trainer, making it sway as you ride. This eliminates the boredom that comes with cycling on a still bike stand. On top of this, an InRide sensor has been installed to make the trainer interact with apps and connect to devices for power training.

The Rock and Roll with InRide sensor is a fluid resistance trainer and that means that it is quiet and has great resistance. Just like the Road Machine with InRide sensor, this one does not measure power but estimates it. Connection to apps and devices is via Bluetooth Smart. Although the protocol is not open, it is compatible with all your favorite apps; Zwift, TrainerRoad and Kinetic Fit.

Features and Specifications

  • Lets you analyze and share workout data
  • Pairs with devices using Bluetooth Smart
  • 25 lb flywheel
  • Large diameter roller
  • Compatible with Pro Flywheel for extra inertia
  • Progressive fluid resistance
  • Fits 22” to 29” wheel sizes
  • Elastomer pivot point for rock and roll movement
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Lifetime warranty on frame
  • Two-year warranty on InRide sensor
  • Weighs 41 pounds
  • My rating: (3.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Unconditional lifetime warranty
  • Core training with lateral movement
  • Accurate power measurement
  • Smooth progressive resistance
  • Lacks ANT+ support
  • Resistance is not app-controlled
  • Does not fold for storage

Customer Feedback

From the users’ reviews, the rock and roll movement is exciting and keeps them focused. It also works the core muscles which is an added bonus. It is easy to set up and pair with devices—there are no reported connection problems. It is safe to say that riders love the Rock and Roll with InRide sensor.

Read my full review of the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Trainer with inRide Sensor.

7. Tacx Vortex Smart Trainer Review

Tacx Vortex Smart Bicycle Trainer

The Vortex is a super light smart trainer that can also act as a fluid trainer when not plugged into power. With it, you do not always have to carry a power cord around and devices; just hook your bike and start pedaling. The progressive fluid resistance is enough to get your heart rate up.

It uses an electro brake that allows apps to control its resistance when connected. It ensures that you really feel those Zwift climbs. The trainer supports both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ transmissions, unlike the Kinetic smart trainers. The protocols are open and you can connect to third-party apps. In addition to being lightweight, the frame folds down for storage and transport.

Features and Specifications

  • 7 kg flywheel with 11.82 kg mass inertia
  • 8 powerful magnets and maximum resistance of 950 watts
  • Measures cadence, speed, and power
  • Resistance is app-controlled when connected
  • Fluid progressive resistance when not connected to power
  • Frame is lightweight and folds flat
  • Maximum slope: 7%
  • Connects to devices and apps via Bluetooth Smart and ANT+
  • Compatible with both iOS and Android
  • Allows for virtual speed outside brake range
  • My rating: (3.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable
  • Can act as a stand-alone fluid trainer
  • Lightweight and foldable frame
  • Virtual speed feature
  • A little noisy
  • Power output is not so accurate

Customer Feedback

The assembly is easy if you choose to dump the manual and get on YouTube. The Vortex does not have problems connecting to apps and devices. The app-controlled resistance makes riders enjoy Zwift climbs as it works very well.

Read my full review of the Tacx Vortex smart ergo trainer.

8. CycleOps Magnus Smart Bike Trainer

Cycleops Magnus Smart Cycling Trainer

The CycleOps Magnus is a strong and sturdy smart trainer from a reputable company. Made using the CycleOps Classic Series frame, the company claims that you will never have to replace it because it broke down. They even have a lifetime warranty to show their confidence. The trainer supports both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ transmission. It allows cycling apps to control its resistance.

The Magnus is not assembled straight out of the box but the work required on your part is very little and the clearly written manual will help with that. When you properly calibrate this smart bike stand, you can expect a decent reading. The electromagnetic resistance is very responsive compared to most smart trainers within its range.

Features and Specifications

  • Supports Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ FE-C
  • Quick response electromagnetic resistance
  • Resistance is app-controlled
  • 1500 watt peak resistance
  • Clutch knob for a great roller to tire tension
  • Fits 650b, 700c, 26”, 27” and 29” up to 2.0 tire
  • Not compatible with 650c and 29er tires
  • PowerTap technology for accuracy
  • Eccentric leveling feet for stability on uneven surfaces
  • Includes quick release skewer
  • My rating: (3.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Lightweight and collapsible frame
  • Strong and sturdy
  • Compatible with many bikes
  • Affordable
  • Smaller flywheel

Customer Feedback

The manual is clear and makes the assembly bearable and quick. It has proven to be solid and strong even during intense workouts. It works well with cycling apps and is very responsive. The only problem seems to be tire slippage but that can be solved by buying a trainer tire.

Read my full review of the CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer.

9. Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control Trainer

Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control Trainer

The Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control combines Kurt Kinetic’s state-of-the-art frame with electronic resistance and Bluetooth Smart data delivery to give you a package you cannot resist. The frame, made from steel tubing, is very sturdy and reliable. That explains why Kurt Kinetic has no problem offering you an unconditional lifetime warranty. Like the other Kinetic units discussed above, the Road Machine Smart Control has a huge flywheel to offer an experience that mimics riding outside.

Since it allows apps to automatically control resistance, you are going to have a blast riding the virtual terrains. The Bluetooth Smart protocol is closed so you can only work with TrainerRoad, Zwift, and Kinetic Fit. These are the most commonly used apps and probably the best out there.

Features and Specifications

  • Heavy flywheel: 14.4 lbs
  • Fits 22” to 29” wheel sizes
  • App-controlled resistance
  • Maximum resistance: 1800 watts
  • Free 6-month Kinetic Fit subscription
  • Comes with a quick release skewer
  • Maximum slope: 10%
  • Ergonomic knobs and feet
  • Folds for storage
  • Works with Zwift, TrainerRoad, and Kinetic Fit
  • Supports Bluetooth Smart
  • Weighs 38 lbs
  • My rating: [3.0]

Pros & Cons

  • Sturdy and reliable frame
  • Decent power accuracy
  • Huge flywheel
  • Lacks ANT+ support

Customer Feedback

It is true that the Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control is sturdy and durable. The frame is well-made and nobody is complaining about it being wobbly. It is easy to set up and collapses for storage. It pairs well with devices and connects to apps without trouble.

Read my full review of the Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control trainer.

10. Elite Arion Digital B+ Rollers

Elite Arion Digital Smart B+ rollers

Behold the world’s first smart rollers. Cycling rollers are not really as popular as turbo trainers. That explains why there aren’t many smart rollers flooding the market as there are smart turbo trainers. The Elite Arion rollers have ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart compatibility which allows you to pair them with devices and connect to apps. The apps control the resistance; for instance, if there is a hill in the virtual environment, the workout will get harder, demanding more effort from you.

The rollers are parabolic, that is, they are narrower in the middle. The shape keeps you on the rollers even when you are pedaling at high speed. It is easy to ride off the drums while working out intensely. The frame is lightweight yet durable and sturdy. It is also collapsible to give you an easy time with storage.

Features and Specifications

  • Maximum slope: 5%
  • Measures power, cadence, and speed
  • Frame is lightweight and foldable
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart protocol
  • Maximum power output: 400 watts at 35km/h
  • Large parabolic roller
  • Allows resistance to be controlled by apps
  • Has step for safe mounting
  • Adjustable front roller
  • Compatible with most bikes
  • My rating: (4.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Features 16 levels of electromagnetic resistance
  • Light and collapsible frame
  • Ultra-durable and sturdy
  • Power measurement is a little inaccurate
  • A little too noisy

Customer Feedback

Setting up involves unfolding the rollers so nobody is complaining about that. It offers a very smooth ride with great resistance. The parabolic shape has helped the riders stay safe whenever they are training and they appreciate it.

Read my full review of the Elite Arion Digital Smart B+ Rollers.

Conclusion

It is amazing what smart trainers have done to indoor cycling. They have turned a boring situation into something that riders can look forward to when the weather is bad. The trainers listed above are the best in 2018, with great reviews across online platforms. Almost all of them are from well-known manufacturers. You have no reason to continue using a dumb trainer as these smart ones are not that expensive. Get one and enjoy the world of virtual cycling.