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Smart trainers seem to have 2 primary benefits:
1) Keep you on track for prescribed workouts
2) Add realism to Zwift and other programs
Are they worth it? Do you get better workouts? Or just end up hating it or turning down the watts if you don't feel up to the workout?
Do they add to the Zwift experience in proportion to their price?

I have a Kurt Kinetic Rock-n-Roll. Love it (as much as I could ever love a trainer). After riding one, I swore I'd never go back to a rigid trainer. My KK is very high quality and the company seems committed to customer satisfaction. Also has a 2 year warranty which is twice the others.

DC Rainmaker didn't include the KK in his recent test because they don't support ANT+. I certainly wish they did, but not sure it's a showstopper for me. All I use my trainer for is Zwift and KK has an app that supports that. I might want to try TrainerRoad, but it's not a definite plan, just a thought.
 

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Forever a Student
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I think they're worth it. When they work properly.

I get better workouts for sure.

There is no turning down the watts, ERG mode handles everything but the pedaling, all you have to do is suffer through it. No gear changes or anything, just get it done.

Never tried Zwift without one, so can't comment there. I know they're badass on Zwift though, really cool.

Zwift has plenty of structured workouts that are just like the TrainerRoad setup but you get to have a nice scenery going on while you're doing the structured workouts. I'm not really seeing the benefit to TrainerRoad anymore, the workouts on Zwift are tops.

In terms of the rock and roll, well the Neo is probably the smart trainer that moves or sways the most of them all. Many have commented that they don't like it but it seems like you'd like it quite a bit. Surely none of them move like the rock and roll does, but the Neo does have quite a wiggle to it.

They're not all the same and they're not all good. Some are louder than others. Some are more accurate. Some can handle higher loads and simulate steeper grades. The Neo is the only real direct drive, the rest are belt driven. But the Neo has issues. The Flux has issues. The Kickr had issues, but I think they're finally sorted now. They're all expensive.
 

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Episode 211 of the GCN show, in the Hack/Bodge of the week, they showed a guy with a home make 'Rocker' setup he made for zwift out of some tennis balls and misc stuff from the home center.

It can be seen at the 11:34 mark of the video

https://youtu.be/gTcTN8q3ww0?t=11m34s

It's an interesting idea. I don't care for the front fork mount post he has,but the general idea of a 'rocker' platform for the trainer itself seems good.

Edit: here is a screenshot from the GCN video

 

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Smart trainers seem to have 2 primary benefits:
1) Keep you on track for prescribed workouts
2) Add realism to Zwift and other programs
Are they worth it? Do you get better workouts? Or just end up hating it or turning down the watts if you don't feel up to the workout?
Do they add to the Zwift experience in proportion to their price?

I have a Kurt Kinetic Rock-n-Roll. Love it (as much as I could ever love a trainer). After riding one, I swore I'd never go back to a rigid trainer. My KK is very high quality and the company seems committed to customer satisfaction. Also has a 2 year warranty which is twice the others.

DC Rainmaker didn't include the KK in his recent test because they don't support ANT+. I certainly wish they did, but not sure it's a showstopper for me. All I use my trainer for is Zwift and KK has an app that supports that. I might want to try TrainerRoad, but it's not a definite plan, just a thought.
dcrainmaker did do a reveiw of sorts but its before it went market

https://www.google.com/search?q=kinetic+smart+control+power+unit+review&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

If you are hellbent on the ability to rock (literally) than adding the KK Smart Control Unit to your KK rock n roll may be fine. I agree with DC that having a proprietary interface is a bad idea but as long as Zwift supports it I guess you are OK. As for TrainerRoad, I just recently ended my subsciption simply because there was nothing that TR could do that Zwift doesn't do now. Yes, TR has a big library of workouts but you can find stuff on the web and just edit them in to Zwift.
 

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Anyone considering a "Smart Control" trainer from KK might want to read the dialog between Ray Maker and Joel Stewart from Kurt Kinetic in the comments Ray's review. His attitude about compatibility totally put me off the brand. And the fact that their power control still isn't accurate after several firmware updates just reinforces my decision.
 

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My take is if you want accurate power readings across a wide spectrum of power ranges, get a power meter. The added advantage is that you can take it on the road with you (if you're one of those weird people that still do that sort of thing). On tire-based trainers, there's an added element of slippage that can skew data (especially in sprints). Most trainers are moving away from strain gauges to electronic calculations based on sensor inputs that may or may not be accurate over time as components wear. Bushings and bearings have different resistance over time. Belts loosen up. What may be calculated as 200w when the trainer is new may not be the same 200w when the trainer is fully broken in. The same goes for dumb trainers, although that doesn't affect the power reading if you're using a bike-based power meter. My LeMonds do the same thing.

Smart trainers vary in how "realistically" they track the terrain changes in Zwift. Some do it better than others. Some people think they enhance the Zwift experience. I don't, but that's just my take. Zwift for me is more of a visual distraction than an immersive experience. I tried a few smart trainers and while some seemed to do the trick, the cost and long term reliability (I ride the trainer about 6 months out of the year) didn't justify it for me.

I'm fine with my loud LeMond and a power meter. YMMV. Just figure out what you want the trainer to do and then explore all of your options. There's more than one way to get there.
 

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Anyone considering a "Smart Control" trainer from KK might want to read the dialog between Ray Maker and Joel Stewart from Kurt Kinetic in the comments Ray's review. His attitude about compatibility totally put me off the brand. And the fact that their power control still isn't accurate after several firmware updates just reinforces my decision.
I read a few of the posts. Continuing to argue with potential customers in a forum is probably a bad idea. Did anyone read this blog that the KK guy referred to that explains their decision?

I have a KK Road Machine and I think its a very good unit but I bought it a while ago and in the current market its a bit overpriced. Maybe KK thought that because they currently have good market share in the dumb trainer market that they could just jump into the Smart market and expect customer to flock to them. I dont think that will be the case
 

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I was thinking about changing from my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine to a smart trainer, but I continue to hear about reliability issues from them and decided I will wait a while before that. I can get a great workout as is with the KKRM, just have to pay attention to staying in the zone. On zwift it works great, I use an ANT+ Power meter though. I know when I was using a speed sensor and Zwift power last year because they didn't have the 3 second average in the software yet and Zwift power bounced around much less, I found it to be optimistic by 5 to 10% depending on how cool I kept the trainer. Putting a fan pointed at the resistance unit helps quite a bit.
 

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I love to climb!
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I had a rock and roll and liked it a lot. Pre-Zwift. Then I got a smart trainer and got on Zwift. Won't go back to a dumb trainer.

Currently using a Cyclops hammer. Has a flaw in the firmware I know they're working on (drops power at bottom of downhills. No prob during workout mode, though). The legs have little adjusters on them, I didn't really set them properly, and the carpet and under carpet are kinda thick, so the thing does rock a little. Could adjust the legs so it doesn't rock, but doesn't seem to cause a problem, and I kinda like it. Feels a bit like the rock n roll.

Not a fan of the Bluetooth only for the KK unit, but as long as it works...
 

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Has anyone tried, or know of issues with the Elite Drivo ?

Ray's review is pretty good, and it's in the same price ballpark as the other major players. His data showed the power accuracy is good, and it has good response times for resistance changes.

Has it had similar issues to the initial TACX and Kickr 2014 iniitial release (quality control, etc.. ) ?

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/elite-drivo-trainer-in-depth-review.html
 

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along with the drivo, there is the kura. i went for kura cause i didnt want erg. i got it shipped from evans cycles to the US in under a week for $570. had a kinetic road machine before which was nice but he kura blows it out of the water in every way possible
 

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I have a CycleOps PowerBeam Pro and just got the new CycleOps Hammer. The direct-drive and ERG mode on the Hammer are amazing. It is so good with TrainerRoad. I am using Zwift for distraction, but haven't done a normal simulation mode with it yet.

I am also using a DIY rocking plate. This vid shows it with my Road Machine, but I made it work with all of my trainers and am using it and the Hammer right now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYzKcz46oOw
 

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The only issue I know of for the Drivo is that it seems to have issues in ERG mode. I think I have seen similar report in both TrainerRoad and Zwift. Otherwise, it is a fantastic trainer.
 

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I used several KK trainers including the Rock n Roll for several years. I loved them at the time and was using them Trainerroad. I then decided to get a Kickr a few years ago and I never looked back.

I tend to watch sports and other things while training. With the Kickr you just punch up the Trainerroad workout and pedal. Not having to watch the Trainerroad screen constantly to adjust power was huge for me.

I did find the Kickr less comfortable. Even though I had my RocknRoll set fairly tight on the spring, it added a level of cushioning the Kickr doesn't have. I did reevaluate my saddle and changed it out; this helped me.

The DIY spring box platform is interesting. I suspect something will get commercialized soon.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

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The only issue I know of for the Drivo is that it seems to have issues in ERG mode. I think I have seen similar report in both TrainerRoad and Zwift. Otherwise, it is a fantastic trainer.
I've got the Drivo - and it works great in Erg mode on Zwift just riding around, quick response time. For intervals it can have a bit of a sine wave wobble around the target power. It doesn't really cause a problem with the workout, its just an interesting nuance. At a 300 watt target it can go from 290 to 310, but some of that is just normal response from the rider too. For accuracy, it matches my crank based power meter within a few watts, and I haven't seen any power dropouts riding yet (about 400 miles on it now). I'm very happy with it, it's quiet and has all the resistance I would want from a smart trainer, more that I will ever use I'm sure.

Compared to the KK Road Machine, a big improvement at a big cost. FTP Power test using a Ramp test is very nice IMHO vs the traditional 20minute test. It holds you very accountable on intervals too, there's no cheating/slacking off.
 

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I have a Drivo and no problems; no constant firmware upgrades or calibrations. I don't have a power meter that can test the accuracy, I have a Stages, but based on all of the reviews I have seen it's very accurate. ERG work great in Zwift, Golden Cheetah, and on Elite's own program. It's very different from Wahoo as far as I can tell. There's more "slack" based on cadence before the unit will compensate. It feel more like IRL but with a guiding hand. I have logged 1,341 miles since the new year with Zwift (stuck indoors due to shoulder surgery). Love my old KK RM but can't image going back. Only thing I don't like about Zwift is lack of Sim mode for workouts: it's limited to the game course (topography) or as a dumb trainer. It makes long hill repeats more challenging just like IRL.
 

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If you want Sim mode (hill adjustment) during workouts, simply deselect the "ERG" option in the workout screen. You should have to adjust shifting to match grade changes.
 

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If you want Sim mode (hill adjustment) during workouts, simply deselect the "ERG" option in the workout screen. You should have to adjust shifting to match grade changes.
That basically turn it into a dumb trainer. Just me, but I prefer mixing it up with ERG and Sim. Sim just feel right verse dumb with gearing. As far as I know it's not possible mix the two modes in a workout with Golden Cheetah and Elite's program but Zwift might offer that possibility. Zwift doesn't support pure Sim mode workout and I'm too lazy to run concurrent programs. Right now I intersperse free ride option to my workouts which simulate dumb trainer (a break from high cadences that I tend to do with ERG) and hill repeats using game topography. Timing and variable slope are the biggest limitation. Though I had it working with "Slope" attribute with the FreeRide tag in December but can't reproduce it now. (I was on their 6wk FTP builder followed by mostly base workout I do IRL before moving on to climb repeats starting in March.) Here's how to code it.

Dumb trainer: < FreeRide Duration="x" FlatRoad="1" /><freeride duration="x" flatroad="1"><freeride duration="x" flatroad="1">
Game Topo: <freeride duration="x" <freeride=""> < FreeRide Duration="x" />

where "x" is in seconds and "1" just a placeholder (could be any value, was True/False when I tested in December).</freeride></freeride></freeride>
 
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