Best Cycling Smart Trainers – 10-Way Mega-Test

This video contains paid product placement on behalf of Zwift.

Smart trainers allow third-party apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad and The Sufferfest control the resistance to replicate hills, headwinds and draft inside group rides as well as guide you through power-based interval workouts – perfect for those foul weather winter months.

We’ve tested 10 of the best smart trainers on the market today – including models from Wahoo, Tacx, Elite, CycleOps and Kinetic – on Zwift and against pairs of power meters.

The trainers on test –

Wahoo Kickr Snap
Tacx Vortex
CycleOps Hammer
Tacx Neo Smart
Wahoo Snap
Tacx Flux Smart
Elite Direto
Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart Control
Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+
Elite Arion Digital Smart B+

Comments

Stefan Ma says:

Hello maybe you can help me i look for a smarttrainer for zwifting which one you would take tacx genius smart or wahoo kickr snap ? Thank you

Mark Schadler says:

I just had Zwift confirm that the Elite Qubo Digital Interactive is NOT supported in Zwift. Did you guys get it to work in Zwift? if so, I’m dying to know how.

Jackson Jxnatti says:

…or you can spend a fraction of the money on some cold weather kit and GET OUTSIDE

tVideoUTube says:

Good content, but please fire or retrain your video editor; background music is exceedingly annoying with loud spikes and overall makes it much hard to hear the speaker.

Chris andrews says:

I wanna get a direct drive bike trainer. I am not a professional rider so I don’t need all the measurement instruments, but I like the idea of the resistance changing while using an app like zwift. Any thoughts?

A. Garcia says:

Great video. Very informative! I also agree with the comments regarding the presenter. That guy has a magnificent voice. Should do voice overs for radio and television.

Nigel Doyle says:

Would have been useful if he commented on lag responding to terrain changes on Zwift. Some trainers are quicker than others. The Hammer having about a 4 second lag which is really noticeable on the Watopia S’s and the escalator in London. It also has issues of power momentarily dropping to zero. I agree with the Hammer power being a little bit lower than a power meter. ERG mode as he said works really well.

jirvinjirvin says:

That was the most helpful video I saw to decide which one to buy. So many options with price tag also! Thank you very much for it!

Lukas Winter says:

Very well done video. One really gets a great overview on what’s currently out there. I would however shy away from the tacx flux. It caused me nothing but problems. I had to return it twice and it took forever due to delivery shortages. Now I upgraded to the Neo and I have to say that you cannot compare it to anything else out there.

Ryan says:

Fantastic review technique by Ben, well spoken and clear all whilst being honest.

Thanks

The poor fella looked like he had to do a 6 hour ride to test the power accuracy on all these units. Solid effort.

My guess is this is a full working days worth of filming, training, video editing, voice over and then uploading.

Much appreciated, all for free on the youtube. Thanks

j h says:

any chance of giving numbers % +/- on the qubo

Yang Guan Tang says:

What bike is that?

Ryan Marshall says:

Does anyone know what virtual training software they’re showing at https://youtu.be/c-3-6KDu1fY?t=149

yogatriathlete says:

Hi, do you know if the Tacx Neo is compatible with an eTap derailleur using a CeramicSpeed Oversized Pulley Wheel System?

Sam Leonard says:

Excellent video!!!!

Eric Feldkamp says:

Something about the Elite Qubo video tells me that your tire pressure would be causing power issues. Typically I’ve seen 90 percent of trainers require pressure at (or around) 100 psi and the amount of “give” in your tire bouncing on the roller would seem to suggest it was well below 100 psi. I do not own the Qubo, or have ridden it. Just going by what I know about typical trainer specs etc. etc. etc. If I’m missing something let me know! Just was curious from what I saw. Also, great review of all, currently tried the Direto from our Elite rep for 2 weeks and only have amazing things to say. Totally changed my Zwift experience. So on those God-awful days of sleet and 7 degree F weather outside I can actually get a good workout in… Definitely going to purchase one.

Steven Langlois says:

Nice video. I do have one correction with the Wahoo Kickr. If you turn off ERG power smoothing with the Wahoo app the controlled power will report the same as pedals or another power source so you won’t get the bar graph look. ERG power smoothing is averaging things out. I have compared with using Garmin pedals and with ERG power smoothing turned off, you couldn’t tell the difference in feel or results.

Chris Cornelison says:

Nice review…great info!  Any recommendations for any of these that either work well or don’t work well with a 29″ MTB?

Dan Sabin says:

Really good comparison particularly regarding the commercial vs residential grade, but it’s obvious there is considerable bias here due to the fact that the OP cannot sell Peleton bikes.

1) It’s interesting that one key feature missing from this comparison is the fact that Peletons are SILENT in comparison to the Schwinn which is a huge selling point (due to their choice of belts).

2) The levers used to adjust the Peleton are considerably easier to use compared to those found on the Schwinn.

3) While you can rest a tablet on the Schwinn three things to take into account is the size of the tablets, whether the tablet is always on hand, and as the stability of the tablet under load (spoiler the Peleton is better here).

Overall I’d still agree that the Schwinn is a superior authentic stationary bike, but certain customers will find the ease of adjustment, integrated tablet, and quietness outweigh the warranty of the Schwinn bike and would likely enjoy the Peleton more particularly due to the fact that many riders may only be on the bike 45mins/4 times a week.

Next time challenge yourself to see the reasoning in both products and let users choose vs. posting videos clearly aimed at discouraging users to buy products you can’t sell.

thesnoman1 says:

I ended up choosing the Tacx Neo over the Wahoo Kickr mostly due to noise. The Neo is nearly silent and the bike chain is louder than any noise it produces. Shifting however is pretty loud which I’m guessing is due to the metal hub. The Kickr produces a fairly loud wine which may not sit well with family members or neighbors. Also I liked the idea of 0 calibration, just get on and ride.

Uzair Ahmed says:

TUTORIAL : I have made this with arduino unity and 3d max , check out on my channel

Derrick Lewis says:

Good one, Ben. One note for those with 140mm disc brakes, many of the trainers can have fatal flaws. Ordered the Neo and though it offers a thru axle adaptor, it’s a little sketchy to use and the bike doesn’t fit with a 140mm brake on. The axle adaptor for the trainer rubs the thru axle threads on the frame (it may eventually wear them out rendering the frame kaput) and I need to unbolt the disc caliper from the frame to get it to fit, a pain if you take bike on and off. I’ve pedaled down the block before realizing I need to remount my caliper! Wahoo looks like it has plenty of room for a disc caliper, but the thru axle adaptor still rubs away at the threads of the frame. The Hammer is the best in this regard as I can simply use the actual thru axle that came with the bike and thus no damages to the axle threads in the frame… but does it have enough room to leave the brake caliper on?

Antonio Figueroa says:

The name of the app in the screen?

jcee77 says:

Hi Ben, thanks for this great review. I need some advice. I am tossing between a Kickr or Kickr Snap. I do not have a power meter but I am thinking instead of buying the Kickr, I should maybe get the Snap and Powetap P1’s or Vector 3’s. What would you recommend?

Paleo Pedaler says:

lmfao @ 9:22…. that is the funniest BS I’ve heard all day, Ben obviously have hearing problems because it is definitely NOT quiet, in fact I’d say it’s prob the loudest of the bunch tested in this video….

Spadez says:

What bottle cage is that?

Optimize My Airbnb says:

I liked this video, I’ve got to do something similar for my channel

kierenkd says:

Do any fit a Brompton?

Medical Cannabis Spain says:

socks with cycling shoes should be banned lol

suzukitlr01 says:

Why no Cyclops Magnus?

The Joker says:

I’ll buy one when I don’t need to pay a monthly fee to use it

Eric Semianczuk says:

No Magnus :'(

Paul Robertson says:

Is there a speed setting so I can listen to Ben in normal speed?

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