Best Direct Drive Trainer elite drivo best direct drive bike trainer Elite DRIVO Interactive
  • Amazing terrain simulation
  • Smooth and quiet
  • Most accurate
  • Bluetooth and ANT+
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Get It Now On Amazon
Best Wheel-On Trainer kurt kinetic rock and roll best smart wheel on bike trainer Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart
  • Awesome training experience
  • Quiet & Super stable
  • Connects with your favorite app through Bluetooth
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) Get It Now On Amazon

What’s the Best Smart Bike Trainer of 2019? Find out which smart trainer you should get for indoor bike training [Oct. 2019]

best smart bike trainer

Everyone 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 smart bicycle trainers.

But it can be overwhelming for any rider to pick just one. They all look good, have positive feedback from users and promise the best experience. Besides, the companies are all reputable.

The aim of this review is to help cyclists of all levels find smart bicycle trainers that fit their needs.

Below are 15 of the most popular smart trainers in 2019.

Smart Bike Trainer Comparison Table

Best Smart Trainers
Type
Connectivity
My rating
1. Elite DRIVO Interactive Trainer
Direct Drive
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
2. Elite Direto 2 Smart Trainer
Direct Drive
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
3. Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer
Direct Drive
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
4. CycleOps H2 Direct Drive Trainer
Direct Drive
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
5. Tacx NEO 2 Smart Indoor Trainer
Direct Drive
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)
6. Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Trainer
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
7. Kinetic Road Machine Smart Trainer
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
8. CycleOps M2 Smart Trainer
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)
9. BKOOL Smart Pro 2 Trainer
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)
10. CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Trainer
Wheel-On
ANT +
3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)
11. Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Control
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
12. Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control Trainer
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
13. Tacx Vortex Smart Trainer
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)
14. Tacx Satori Indoor Bike Trainer
Wheel-On
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
3.3 out of 5 stars (3.3 / 5)
15. Elite Arion Digital Smart B+ rollers
Rollers
Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Best Smart Trainer Reviews

Read on for my reviews of these smart bicycle trainers.

1. Elite Drivo Interactive Smart Bike Trainer

Elite Drivo Interactive Smart Bike Trainer

The Elite interactive trainer promises flexibility in all areas. You will love everything that it has to offer. Take a look.

Build Quality

This is important because you may be spending a lot of time on your trainer. You want the freedom to perform all the exercises without worrying about safety. The Elite Drivo is a product of Elite and its reputation speaks for itself. The turbo trainer is one of the strongest and sturdiest you will find- thanks to the heavy-duty materials used.

Performance

The Elite Drivo works as both a power meter and a smart trainer. According to the manufacturer, you will enjoy gradient simulation of up to 22%. This trainer also boasts of a 1% accuracy. It is one of the most accurate in the market.

Noise

This smart trainer may not be perfectly silent but it is quiet. You will realize that it is way quieter than your gear changes.

Connectivity/Compatibility

The trainer comes with the My Training app and real software. It is compatible with other smart devices and third party apps (such as Trainer Road and Zwift) since it supports Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols.

Package

In the box you will find a cassette, the feet, the power supply, various axle standards and doohickies, software, standard ANT+ USB key, cadence sensor and, of course, the interactive trainer.

Features and Specifications

  • Direct-drive smart trainer
  • Wireless, smooth and quiet
  • Slope simulation of up to 22%
  • 1% power accuracy
  • Comes with Elite software
  • Cassette included
  • Compatible with third party apps
  • Compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ smart protocols
  • Fits bikes with hubs 130-135 x 5mm quick release and 142 x 12mm thru axle
  • Integrated power meter
  • Magnetic resistance unit is electronically controlled
  • High maximum power output
  • My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Quite accurate
  • Smooth and quiet
  • Great for power training sessions
  • Compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ apps and devices
  • Elite software is not that great, but you can use third party apps.

Customer Feedback

Users say the Elite Drivo is indeed very accurate, smooth and quiet. It makes a sound but nothing bothersome—you will barely notice it.

The terrain simulation is amazing and one cyclist says that he is just as miserable riding it just as he is riding his bike on a real road (this is a compliment, he says).

It is comfortable and works well with apps and other smart devices.

2. Elite Direto 2 Interactive Smart Trainer 2019 with Riser Block

Elite Direto 2 Interactive Direct Drive Smart Trainer

The Direto smart trainer is designed for cyclists who love to train at home. It has everything you need to improve your indoor training (and other features that you didn’t even know you needed).

Build Quality

At 33.1 pounds, the Elite Direto is heavy and sturdy. You will not experience wobbling—which can lead to an accident. This is an Elite product so you know it is going to be your training partner for a long while.

Performance

The Direto 2 offers slope simulation up to 14%. At 40 km/h (25mp/h), the power output is 1400 watts. Trust the integrated power meter to measure power with an accuracy of -/+2%.

Noise

Expect some sound but nothing bothersome. Your housemates and neighbors will not complain at all. You can still watch TV or listen to music comfortably as you ride.

Elite-Direto-2-Interactive-Direct-Drive-trainerConnectivity/Compatibility

The Elite Direto 2 interactive trainer is compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ smart devices. It works with Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. You can use it with Elite software or third party apps such as Zwift.

Package

This trainer comes with a riser block, the trainer, thru axle adapter and skewer. Pretty much everything you need to get started is included and assembly is easy.

Features and Specifications

  • Electronic resistance
  • Foldable for storage and transport
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible
  • Works with Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS
  • Integrated Optical Toque Sensor power meter
  • Power accuracy is -/+2%
  • Has a pedaling analysis option
  • Does not come with cassette
  • Includes a riser block
  • Power output is 1400 watts at 25 mph
  • Slope simulation up to 14%
  • Weighs 43 lbs
  • My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Comes with a riser block
  • 2% power accuracy
  • Quiet
  • Optional; pedal analysis
  • Compatible with many devices and apps
  • Short power cord
  • Cassette not included

Customer Feedback

Riders love the Elite Direto 2. It works well with Zwift; which seems to be a favorite for many people.

Hill climbs are amazing with a great road feel. Assembly is very easy especially if you opt to use a YouTube video.

Since it is a direct-drive smart trainer, some cyclists say that it allows them to focus less on balance and more on wattage. The only complaint is from one user who did not find it suitable for sprints.

3. Tacx Neo Direct Driver Smart Trainer

Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer

Anytime top trainers are being mentioned, there will always be one or more from Tacx. The Tacx Neo smart trainer is one of their outstanding products.

Build Quality

This is a very solid stationary bike trainer. The manufacturer made sure to design a stable platform for all cyclist and all kinds of workouts.

Performance

The Tacx Neo direct drive simulates slopes up to 25%. Its maximum power output is 2200 watts. It has an integrated power meter with dependable accuracy. The main selling point for the Tacx Neo is its road replication. You will get the actual feeling of riding on a real road—including a dirt road.

Noise

The manufacturer promises a quiet experience but this is not to say that it is completely silent. Whether or not the sound is a nuisance depends on an individual.

Tacx Neo Smart Bike TrainerConnectivity/Compatibility

This trainer uses ANT+ and Bluetooth smart protocols. It is compatible with just about every cycling software around and smart device. Out of the box, it works with Android and iOS devices. However, you have to upgrade for PC.

Package

The Tacx Neo comes with a quick release skewer, riser block, Edco lock rings, power socket and a transformer. There is an option that includes a cassette kit.

Features and Specifications

  • Super stable platform
  • Slope simulation up to 25%
  • Descent simulation up to -5%
  • Maximum power output is 2200 watts
  • Outstanding road simulation
  • Wireless connection
  • Quiet
  • Has Bluetooth and Ant+ control
  • Uses fluid resistance
  • Compact and foldable
  • Works as a fluid trainer when not plugged
  • Weighs 58.4 lbs
  • My rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Impeccable road simulation
  • Stable and strong
  • Can be used as a fluid trainer (unplugged)
  • Compatible with many devices and software
  • Pricey

Customer Feedback

There are many things that the cyclists find exciting but the winner is the road simulation. Riding on virtual terrain feels very much like riding on a real road. You get the feeling of gravel, sticks, dirt roads—it is amazing.

They also say that it is stable and quiet. There is no need to turn the music or TV volume way up.

4. CycleOps H2 Direct Drive Smart Bicycle Trainer

CycleOps H2 Direct Drive Smart Bicycle Trainer

This CycleOps trainer is easy to use and offers everything you will need in your sessions. It is responsive and gives near perfect numbers. See what you will get when you buy it.

Build Quality

The CycleOps is a well-made piece that is very sturdy. The materials and construction all scream quality. Not only is it totally safe, but you will also be using it for a long time.

Performance

The maximum power output is 2000 watts at 20mph. It has integrated power, cadence and speed data which means you do not need more (external) sensors. Power measurement accuracy is at -/+2% and gradient simulation up to 20%.

Noise

According to CycleOps, the manufacturer, this trainer is super quiet. At 20 mph it only produces 24 decibels.

Connectivity/Compatibility

The smart trainer features Bluetooth and dual-band ANT+ compatibility, so it’s compatible with all your favorite cycling apps. You can use it with 142/148mm thru axle and 130/135mm quick release bicycles.

Package

Other than the trainer itself and necessary tools, you will get a Shimano splined freehub. Unfortunately, there is no cassette and you will have to buy one separately.

Features and Specifications

  • Integrated power, cadence and speed data
  • 20-lb precision-balanced flywheel
  • Internal cooling
  • Bluetooth and dual-band ANT+ compatibility
  • Electromagnetic resistance system
  • Very quiet
  • 2000 watts at 20mph
  • Simulates gradient up to 20%
  • Power readings at -/+2% accuracy
  • Comes with Shimano splined freehub
  • Super responsive
  • Made in the USA
  • Weighs 56 lbs
  • My rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Quite responsive
  • Surprisingly quiet
  • Folding legs
  • Great resistance
  • Replicates terrain very well
  • No cassette included

Customer Feedback

Users only have one regret: they wish they had bought the CycleOps H2 sooner.

It is easy to get your bike on and connect to your favorite app—Zwift for many riders.

Cyclists enjoy the virtual worlds, especially because this direct drive smart trainer is very good at simulating roads. It does not heat up and it is quiet. Nobody is complaining.

5. Tacx Neo 2 Smart Indoor Cycling Trainer

Tacx Neo 2 Smart Indoor Cycling Trainer

This is like an updated version of the Tacx Neo discussed above. The difference between the two is not significant when it comes to external features.

Build Quality

The Neo 2 Smart is one of the strongest bike trainers you can find. The manufacturer does not joke where quality is concerned. The frame is sturdy, stable and safe.

Performance

The maximum gradient simulation is 25%– one of the highest—and the maximum wattage is 2200 watts. The Neo 2 offers better accuracy than its brother at -/+1%.

Noise

As you can expect, this smart turbo trainer is comfortably quiet. It is near silent. Even though you have roommates, you will not disturb them when training late at night or early in the morning.

Connectivity/Compatibility

The Neo 2 is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth protocols. It works with most devices and connects to pretty much every cycling app. Additionally, it is compatible with a wide range of adapters and skewers—just about all of them.

Package

By default, the Tacx Neo 2 does not come with much. However, Amazon has a number of options where you can choose a cassette and even app subscriptions (all these at a higher price).

Features and Specifications

  • Offers pedal stroke analysis
  • 25% gradient simulation
  • Maximum wattage is 2200 watts
  • Power measurement accuracy at -/+1%
  • Near silent
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols
  • Can be used with any training app
  • Largest virtual flywheel (275 lbs)
  • Compatible with all adapters and skewers
  • No handle
  • Folds for storage
  • Weighs 47 lbs
  • My rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Compatible with all apps
  • Huge flywheel
  • Almost silent
  • Pedal stroke analysis
  • Awkward to carry – no handle

Customer Feedback

Some users say that the Neo 2 is nothing short of perfect. It is easy to set up and you will be training in no time. It also connects to apps just as easily.

There are users who seem to be having issues with the Tacx software. Zwift and all the others have no issues.

Users love that it connects seamlessly to Garmin watches and the rest of their smart devices.

6. Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart 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. 

Build Quality

Both the base and the rest of the frame are made using heavy-duty material. Between them is a pivot made from rubber. It causes a rock and roll movement hence the name. Regardless of the swaying, this trainer is super stable and safe.

Performance

The Kinetic Rock and Roll smart trainer has an inRide sensor which sends data to the training app. The readings are reliable. The rock and roll feature, together with the fluid resistance, provide for an awesome training session that replicates riding outside.

Note: this trainer cannot be controlled by apps.

Noise

Fluid trainers are known to be very quiet and this one is no exception.

Connectivity/Compatibility

You can use numerous cycling apps with the Kinetic Rock and Roll thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. As long as you have a laptop, tablet or smartphone you are good to go. This trainer does not have ANT+ support. It is compatible with almost every bike.

Package

The box contains the upper frame, the legs, skewer and any other small things that you will need to set it up and get started.

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
  • Quiet
  • 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 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.

The bike trainer 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. 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.

Build Quality

Just like the Rock and Roll trainer discussed above, this one is high-quality too. Kurt Kinetic have a reputation when it comes to making sturdy indoor trainers. This is why they confidently offer a lifetime warranty.

Performance

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%.

Noise

This one being a fluid trainer too, you can be sure that you will never have to worry about noise.

Connectivity/Compatibility

The Kinetic Road Machine offers Bluetooth support so you will be able to use all the amazing cycling apps—FulGaz, TrainerRoad, Zwift, Kinetic Fit and many more. It connects to laptops, tablets and smartphones. This smart trainer can be used with virtually all bicycles.

Package

Other than the trainer, usual manual and booklets, you will receive a skewer when you buy the Kinetic Road Machine.

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, Zwift and other apps
  • Accuracy is -/+2-3%
  • Ergonomic knobs and feet
  • Integrated inRide sensor technology
  • Weighs 29 pounds
  • My rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 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.

8. CycleOps M2 Smart Bike Trainer

CycleOps M2 Smart Bike Trainer

If you are looking for an indoor trainer that will totally make you feel like you are riding outside, the CycleOps 9930 M2 is among the best. Winter will go by so fast and you will not find yourself staring out the window wishing it away.

Build Quality

There is really not much you can do to destroy this turbo trainer. It is one of the sturdiest in the market. The CycleOps smart trainer is designed to bear your weight and that of your bike, regardless of how intense the exercises are.

Performance

The maximum power output at 20 mph is 1500 watts and the climbing grade is 15%. It does a good job replicating the terrain on the app. Power readings are +/-5% accurate.

Noise

This quiet trainer only produces 69 decibels at 20 mph.

cycleops m2 best bike trainerConnectivity/Compatibility

The CycleOps 9930 M2 has support for Bluetooth and dual-band ANT+. You can ride with buddies from all over the world or choose any road that you like on whichever training app. It is compatible with most devices and software. The resistance unit roller accepts 26” – 29”, 650b and 700c.

Package

The package has the CycleOps trainer and anything you will need for assembly, including a skewer.

Features and Specifications

  • Power accuracy is +/-5%
  • Maximum power output is 1500 watts at 20 mph
  • Simulates gradient up to 15%
  • Quiet
  • Supports Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols
  • Works with most devices and cycling apps
  • Features electromagnetic resistance
  • Integrated power, cadence and speed data
  • Made in the USA
  • Weighs 23 lbs
  • My rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Great road simulation
  • Can be used with any training app
  • No need for external sensors

Customer Feedback

According to the users, putting everything together is easy—and this includes pairing it to the app.

The resistance is amazing and cyclists are having a blast, especially in the virtual world. Almost every user recommends a tire trainer for obvious reasons; that is, noise reduction and durability.

There are very few complaints from users who may have received faulty trainers.

9. BKOOL Smart Pro 2 Trainer

BKOOL Smart Pro 2 Trainer

BKOOL may not be the most popular name but their products are outstanding. The BKOOL Smart Pro 2, in particular, offers everything you need in a smart trainer at a very fair price.

Build Quality

The Pro 2 is made using strong materials that can neither bend nor break no matter how hard you train. It has a wide base which is great for stability too.

Performance

The maximum resistance is 1200 watts. This BKOOL trainer can simulate gradient up to 20%. It may also interest you to know that the Pro 2 simulates inertia. This means that descents and hills will be more realistic.

Noise

This is s relatively quiet trainer. The noise level is 68 dB at 19 mph.

BKOOL Smart Pro 2 Bike TrainerConnectivity/Compatibility

The BKOOL Pro 2 is compatible with all training apps. It uses Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ to connect to all kinds of devices—smartphones, laptops, etc. It is suitable for 20” – 29” bikes.

Package

This trainer comes with a power adapter, quick release, front wheel riser, three-month simulator subscription and a ANT+ USB stick.

Features and Specifications

  • App-controlled resistance
  • Maximum resistance is 1200 watts
  • Slope simulation up to 20%
  • Support for Bluetooth Smart and ANT+
  • Compatible with all training apps
  • Works with most smart devices
  • Cool and quiet
  • Inertia simulation
  • Compact and foldable
  • Weighs 27 lbs
  • My rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Rear wheel skewer is included
  • App controlled resistance
  • Superb gradient simulation
  • Folds for storage
  • Small and compact
  • No thru-axle adapter for 12 mm thru axle bikes (sold separately)

Customer Feedback

There are all kinds of reviews on the BKOOL Pro 2. One user, however, pointed out that most people are not keenly following instructions. That is why they have issues with ANT+ compatibility.

Cyclists seem to love their Pro 2. It is easy to set up as long as you are doing things right. The trainer offers good resistance and its terrain simulation is impeccable. Riders don’t seem to be bothered by noise so it is safe to say that the Pro 2 is indeed quiet.

10. CycleOps PowerBeam Pro Bike Trainer

CycleOps PowerBeam Pro ANT+ Trainer

This may, in fact, be one of the top electronic resistance trainers on today’s market. Riders who purchase this top end trainer will have a sleek matte black finish with yellow CycleOps logos and yellow accents. 

Build Quality

When a product comes with a lifetime warranty, you know it is made to last. The CycleOps PowerBeam does not wobble and it will not be damaged anytime soon—or ever.

Performance

One of the most notable features of this trainer is that it allows you to control the resistance. Set it to your preferred wattage and start riding. The maximum power output is 1000 watts. The CycleOps PowerBeam cannot simulate road patterns (gravel, sticks, etc.). The power measurement accuracy is -/+5%.

Noise

This trainer is quiet, producing 69-70 decibels at 20mph.

Connectivity/Compatibility

The CycleOps PowerBeam has ANT+ support (standard). Unfortunately, Bluetooth connectivity is still not available. (Some versions have Bluetooth Smart FTMS support).

Package

The trainer comes with a joule 3.0 head unit, a DVD, power cable, ANT+ cadence sensor, heart rate strap, joule mounts, USB cable, skewer and manual.

Features and Specifications

  • Electronic resistance
  • Aluminum frame
  • Resistance is programmable
  • Low noise level
  • Foldable design
  • Maximum power output is 1000 watts
  • Does not simulate road patterns
  • -/+5% accuracy
  • Calibration is required
  • ANT+ standard support
  • Can be used with training apps
  • Weighs 25 lbs
  • My rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Foldable
  • Programmable resistance
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Inertia optimization
  • Bluetooth support lacking in some versions
  • Pricey

Customer Feedback

For many users, the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro has exceeded their expectations. It is easy to set up and connect with their favorite training apps.

According to a majority of the customers, resistance training is the most remarkable thing about this trainer. No one is bothered by the noise level.

11. 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.

Build Quality

Its state-of-the-art construction ensures unmatched durability and Kurt Kinetic confidently offer an unconditional lifetime warranty on the frame. The flywheel on the Rock and Roll is heavy at 14.4 pounds.

Performance

This smart trainer sways from side to side as you ride and engages your core. Maximum slope is 10% and the maximum resistance is 1800 watts at 30 mph.

Noise

The Kinetic Rock and Roll is a quiet trainer. It produces a little sound but your roommates will not be bothered and neither will you.

Connectivity/Compatibility

This smart control trainer has Bluetooth support which allows you to connect with all your smart devices. It is ready to use with all the apps you love out of the box. There is no ANT+ support. Like all trainers from Kurt Kinetic, this one is compatible with virtually any bike.

Package

You will get everything you need in the box, including a power cord and Kinetic skewer. Additionally, you get a free 6-month access to their Kinetic app.

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 is 10%
  • Maximum power output is 1800 watts at 30 mph
  • 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
  • Weighs 53 lbs
  • My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Lateral movement mimics road feel and promotes core workout
  • Huge flywheel for smooth pedaling
  • Large diameter roller for less wear and tear on tire
  • Compatible with most apps
  • Lacks ANT+ support
  • Inaccurate power readings
  • Not foldable

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 had ANT+ support—the Bluetooth connectivity works just fine for most of them though.

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

12. 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.

Build Quality

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 on this and all of their trainers.

Performance

The Kinetic Road Machine has a maximum resistance of 1800 watts and the maximum slope simulation is 10%.

Noise

The Kinetic Road Machine is basically noiseless. If you get a trainer tire, the only thing you will hear is just your bike.

Connectivity/Compatibility

As already mentioned, Kinetic trainers fit virtually any bike. This smart control trainer supports Bluetooth connectivity. It easily connects to your smart devices and training apps.

Package

In addition to the quality trainer, you will get a skewer in the box. It does not come with a mat or wheel riser.

Features and Specifications

  • Heavy flywheel at 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: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Great resistance
  • Compatible with smart devices and apps
  • 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. Remember to get a trainer tire to prevent noise.

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

13. 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.

Build Quality

The Tacx Vortex has a light frame but let that not fool you. It is very sturdy and stable. It also folds for storage which makes it one of the best choices for cyclists who love to travel with their indoor trainers.

Performance

The Vortex features 8 powerful magnets which allow for a maximum resistance of 950 watts. The maximum slope simulation is 7%. One of the best things about it is that it supports virtual speed outside brake range.

Noise

This trainer is not the quietest in the market. However, the noise is not that bad. It is definitely not a deal breaker for most people.

Connectivity/Compatibility

You can connect the Tacx Vortex to devices and apps using Bluetooth and ANT+. When connected to an app, the app will control the resistance of the trainer according to the virtual road.

Package

The trainer comes with a front wheel riser and basic necessities to set it up and get you started.

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 is 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: 3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Comes with riser block
  • Affordable
  • Can act as a stand-alone fluid trainer
  • Lightweight and foldable frame
  • 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. Some riders had issues with calibration.

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

14. Tacx Satori Indoor Bike Trainer

tacx satori smart bike trainer

The Tacx Satori smart trainer from Tacx offers you 10 different levels of resistance. This is enough to help you keep pushing yourself harder every single time, thanks to the powerful Neodymium magnet.

Build Quality

The trainer is made using steel and aluminum—some very strong materials. Other than being durable, the Satori ensures that you have a stable platform for training as hard as you like.

Performance

With this smart indoor trainer, you get 950 watts, maximum resistance. The maximum slope simulation is 15% while the power accuracy is +/-10%.

Connectivity/Compatibility

The Tacx Satori supports Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity. This makes it work so well with apps and smart devices. It is compatible with 22” – 29” and 700c bikes.

Package

In the box, this trainer comes with a skewer, front-wheel support and all the little things that are required for the set up.

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 is 15%
  • Power accuracy is-/+10%
  • 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
  • Weighs 21 lbs
  • My rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars (3.3 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Comes with a front wheel riser and quick release
  • Stable
  • Affordable
  • Decent power accuracy
  • Resistance is not app-controlled
  • 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 Trainer.

15. 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.

Build Quality

One look at the Elite Rollers and you will not need anyone to tell you this is a premium product. Also, it is from Elite and they never play when it comes to quality. This is something that will last for years and it is completely stable.

Performance

The maximum slope simulation is 6% while the maximum wattage is 400 watts. It measures cadence, speed and power.

Noise

These Elite rollers are not that loud. Expect the normal sound but nothing that can make you go crazy.

Connectivity/Compatibility

Elite Arion B+ smart rollers support both Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols. They interact seamlessly with devices, software and training apps. The rollers are also compatible with virtually all bikes.

Package

The box does not have any additional exciting things inside; but at least you get a free 12-month access to the Elite training app.

Features and Specifications

  • Maximum slope is 6%
  • Measures power, cadence, and speed
  • Frame is lightweight and foldable
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart protocol
  • Maximum power output: 400 watts
  • Large parabolic roller
  • Allows resistance to be controlled by apps
  • Has step for safe mounting
  • Adjustable front roller
  • Compatible with most bikes
  • Weighs 28 lbs
  • My rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 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 bike 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 2019, 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.

Wheel-on Bike Trainer Vs Direct Drive Trainer: Pros and Cons of Each

smart wheel-on vs direct drive bike trainers

A wheel-on bike trainer or a direct drive smart trainer?—this is a question you have to answer when you decide to switch to smart trainers.

Unfortunately, it would not be okay to conclusively tell you that one is better than the other. They are both efficient and the end results are pretty much the same.

However, considering that they have some major difference(s), the experience with each one is different. Therefore, your personal preferences and other factors determine which one suits who.

Thankfully, you have this comprehensive article at your disposal to help you understand these two types of smart turbo trainers.

Wheel-on bike stands

The wheel-on bike stand is the one you probably already know. It is simply a trainer on which you attach your bike and stand exercising.

The wheel is clamped into the turbo trainer, usually with a skewer. The tire then rests on the trainer’s roller and you use a knob to make sure the pressure is perfect.

Most wheel-on trainers are compatible with just about all mountain and road bikes.

The resistance in a wheel-on is brought about by the pressure that the roller applies to your rear tire; the harder the roller presses.

The training app that you are using controls the resistance, making the exercise easier or more difficult depending on the virtual terrain.

Direct drive bike stands

With the direct drive bike stand, you remove the rear wheel altogether.

There is a dedicated cassette that allows you to mount your bike without the wheel. The cassette has to be compatible with your bike. If you use different bikes, you may require different cassettes.

The first direct drive trainer was developed in 2010. Since then many more have come up, most of them from renown companies.

Wheel-On Bike Trainers Vs Direct-Drive Trainers

a. Affordability

Direct drive trainers are the hottest thing in the bike trainer market.

They, therefore, are far more expensive than their wheel-on competitors.

Their design is also very complicated and they are made up of many parts. You will be lucky to get a direct-drive trainer that costs less than $1000—which some people will agree is a crazy amount.

On the upside, a good direct drive is worth its weight in gold.

Wheel-on trainers, on the other hand, come at all prices.

Sometimes you do not even need to throw out your basic trainer to enjoy “smart” benefits. You can buy a few gadgets and save tons of money.

If you insist on a brand new wheel-on smart trainer, $600 will get you one of the high-end ones.

b. Ease of Set Up

As you can tell from the names, the wheel-on goes on the trainer with the rear wheel on while the direct drive requires that you remove the wheel.

Because of this, the wheel-on is definitely the easier one to set up. In most cases, you will be done in less than five minutes. This is great if you prefer to ride different bikes, share your trainer with a roommate or attach and detach your bike for every session.

The direct drive needs a bit more work here.

You have to take off your wheel and clamp your bike to the cassette. If you use different bikes and they have different cassette types, then the work will be more.

The whole process can be frustrating if you only get a few minutes out of your schedule to do your workouts. However, if you have a specific bike for indoor training and never have to move the trainer, this will not bother you.

c. Power accuracy

When it comes to accuracy, direct-drive trainers take the cake.

On a wheel-on trainer, you get the readings from the contact that your bike makes with the trainer through the roller.

There are a lot of things that can affect the accuracy in this case such as inconsistency in roller tension and tire slippage—something that is very common.

Most wheel-on trainers register a power accuracy of 5-10%. This is the average; some are better while others are worse. A rider may use a power meter to get more accurate readings.

Direct drive bike stands allow for direct reading and most of them register an accuracy of +/- 1-5%.

They do away with inconsistent roller pressure, tire slippage and other factors that may lead to inconsistent reading.

Power accuracy is becoming increasingly important to many cyclists with the rise in popularity of trainer apps.

d. Calibration

Wheel-on exercise stands almost always require calibration before every session, failure to which you will get inaccurate readings.

The calibration takes about ten minutes and sometimes it is not a simple process.

Direct drive trainers barely require calibration.

If they do, it could be only once every few weeks.

You will save some time and avoid the whole calibration process, especially if you dislike it.

e. Storage and Portability

Direct drive indoor trainers tend to be bulkier and heavier. Others cannot even be folded for storage and transport.

Most of the wheel-on trainers are lighter and fold flat making them suitable for people with a small storage space and those that like to transport their bike trainer a lot.

Direct drive trainers will appeal more to people with a big storage space and a designated room for working out.

They have no need to fold and get the stand out of the way when they are done.

f. Gradient Simulation

Direct drive trainers have proven to be quicker to respond compared to wheel-on trainers.

They are way superior in terms of road feel. There is one, in particular, that claims to simulate the feeling of riding on a pavement.

When riding your virtual terrain, you will notice that the direct exercise stand responds almost immediately when climbing a hill.

Many of them can simulate gradient up to 25%; which is really impressive.

Wheel-on trainers will take a little longer, more so the much cheaper ones. Their slope simulation is up to 10% (15% for some of the more expensive ones).

g. Resistance

If you get a good wheel-on bike stand you can enjoy a maximum resistance of 1500 watts.

This is enough for some cyclists, especially those that are just starting out.

However, if you need to go harder, a direct drive trainer is a great option.

Most of them offer up to 2000 watts and a few can push up to 2500 watts.

h. Noise

Last but not least, how do these two types of trainers compare when it comes to noise?

Obviously, the direct drive is quieter.

Most of the noise, in a trainer, usually comes from the rear wheel.

Since the direct drive does away with the rear wheel completely, you can imagine the quietness you will experience.

The noise in wheel-on trainers can be reduced by using a trainer tire, though.

Pros and Cons: Wheel-On Bike Smart Trainer

Wheel-on trainers are far more common than direct drive trainers.

Many cyclists will find that they do the job just fine. With a maximum resistance of 1500 watts, you will still attain your indoor training goals.

They may not be the quietest option but newer models produce very little noise, nothing you cannot handle.

The best thing about them is probably the convenience. There is not much work involved in attaching and detaching your bike.

The wheel-on trainer is best for riders who want something that is easy to set up. If you share the trainer with other people who use a different bike, you will save a lot of time.

For small storage spaces, this is also the best choice. On top of that, they are affordable.

Pros

  • Easy and quick to set up and detach your bike
  • Folds flat for storage and transport
  • Sufficient resistance
  • Compatible with a very wide range of bikes
  • Affordable
  • With a power meter, accuracy can be reliable
  • Most tend to be smaller and lighter
  • You can get a less noisy one

Cons

  • Requires calibration before every ride
  • Takes some time to respond
  • Power accuracy is affected by inconsistent roller pressure and tire slippage
  • Prone to tire wear
  • Not totally quiet
  • Not the best gradient simulation

Pros and Cons: Direct Drive Smart Trainer

Direct drive bike trainers are still sort of new in the market.

It is hard to tell if they will become more popular than their wheel-on competitors. Given what they have to offer, that is not impossible.

Despite the fact that they cost a lot, many people do not mind digging deeper into their pockets to get the benefits. Those that own direct drives are saying that you get what you pay for.

This trainer type is suitable for the cyclist who wants more. A maximum resistance of 2000+ is more than enough.

When using the trainer app of your choice, there is not a challenge you cannot take on.

A direct drive is the quietest type of trainer you can lay your hands on. This feature means a lot to people with roommates or those that live in apartments.

If you are all about power-based workouts, the power accuracy will blow your mind—and you do not even have to calibrate.

Pros

  • No tire wear and tear
  • Eliminates inaccuracies by removing the wheel
  • Does not require calibration often
  • Super quiet riding experience
  • Impeccable gradient simulation
  • High maximum resistance level
  • Superior road feel
  • Very quick to respond

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Set up takes some time
  • You may require different cassettes for different bikes
  • Too bulky and heavy; not easy to store and transport

Conclusion

Honestly, the two types of trainers are awesome. You will not miss much by choosing one over the other.

To help you make your choice, decide what factors are important to you.

There are ways in which the wheel-on is better than the direct drive and in other ways, the direct drive is superior.

Having the important factors outlined will help you see which type of bike stand suits you best.

For instance, If you do not have the money and would love something portable, the wheel-on will have to do. If you hate calibration and want the outstanding riding experience and accuracy, the direct drive will have to do.

As long as you know what is important to you, it is not that hard to make a choice.

So, what do you think?