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Direct Drive Trainer or Smart Bike?

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Direct Drive Trainer or Smart Bike?

Old 09-27-20, 05:20 PM
  #1  
TJtheWrecker
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Direct Drive Trainer or Smart Bike?

I am looking to invest in an indoor training set up and deciding between a Smart bike or direct drive trainer + new cheap road bike, would love to get your opinion to help me pick.

Option 1: ($2500)
  • Wahoo Kickr/Tacx Neo (~1k)
  • New Road bike ($1500
    Will allow me to have a bike set up on the trainer for all winter as well as N+1 bike which I can use for commuting/riding casually across NYC (rather than my gravel race bike)
Option 2: ($2700-3000)
  • Smart Bike
  • Used Wahoo bike, new stages bike, or wattbike.
    Pros are convenience of riding, no faffing about with the chain, and takes up less space in my apartment. Also just cool.
Anyone have experience or opinions on both? Thank you!
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Old 09-27-20, 05:41 PM
  #2  
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I don't like the idea of a single purpose smart bike. rather have a wheel off train and bik I Can hook up. Maybe I am biased. I have a kicker core.
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Old 09-27-20, 06:00 PM
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Mulberry20
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Originally Posted by TJtheWrecker View Post
I am looking to invest in an indoor training set up and deciding between a Smart bike or direct drive trainer + new cheap road bike, would love to get your opinion to help me pick.

Option 1: ($2500)
  • Wahoo Kickr/Tacx Neo (~1k)
  • New Road bike ($1500
    Will allow me to have a bike set up on the trainer for all winter as well as N+1 bike which I can use for commuting/riding casually across NYC (rather than my gravel race bike)
Option 2: ($2700-3000)
  • Smart Bike
  • Used Wahoo bike, new stages bike, or wattbike.
    Pros are convenience of riding, no faffing about with the chain, and takes up less space in my apartment. Also just cool.
Anyone have experience or opinions on both? Thank you!
Nordic Trac Commercial 22i is the bomb
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Old 09-27-20, 07:48 PM
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Ehhh I would rather be riding my own bike but those dedicated bikes are actually kind of cool but when not in use take up more space that I could use to have more bikes.
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Old 09-28-20, 05:20 PM
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I have the Wahoo Kickr Bike and Wahoo associated extras.
I am extremely happy with it and the support from Wahoo.

It's always ready to go, completely adjustable. I can even choose what gearing I'd like to take on a particular ride.

Barry
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Old 09-29-20, 07:30 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Ehhh I would rather be riding my own bike but those dedicated bikes are actually kind of cool but when not in use take up more space that I could use to have more bikes.
My wife and I are currently locked in this debate. She wants a Pelaton but Im intrigued by Zwift (I love the idea of using my daily rider while playing video games) and using some of the money it would cost for component upgrades for my XC bike and a dedicated N+1 trail bike come spring.
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Old 09-29-20, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by PGHNeil View Post
My wife and I are currently locked in this debate. She wants a Pelaton but Im intrigued by Zwift (I love the idea of using my daily rider while playing video games) and using some of the money it would cost for component upgrades for my XC bike and a dedicated N+1 trail bike come spring.
The Peloton and Nordic Trac are addicting.
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Old 09-29-20, 07:59 AM
  #8  
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If I were having this debate with myself, a debate which involves a bit of money, I would take each of the various items under consideration for a test ride. A LBS/fitness store near by sells Wahoo products and has a demo set up of Zwift for customers to try. So it is possible to try. Not sure how one would get to demo Pelaton but I know a number of people that have one and I'm sure that if one was to ask around would be able to test out this product.

For me personally it was an easy choice. Last year when things were more sane in the world, I picked up a used smart trainer that is supported by Zwift for a total of $95.00. I put one of my spare bikes on it and a few additional add-ons bring my total outlay to less than $200 Then $15/month for Zwift and I can say without any hesitation I got my monies worth out of the whole thing. $200 is nothing compared to $2000 Glad I'm not having to make that decision today.

Last edited by Thomas15; 09-29-20 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 09-29-20, 08:04 AM
  #9  
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If you want a challenge and more reality, consider smart power rollers. You can use any road bike and not have to worry about cassettes or being artificially locked in. Only drawback is you won't be able to Zwift chat during a ride because you will be the only one really riding your bike.

The two best smart power rollers are:

1. InsideRide E-Motion Rollers with Smart Power
2. Tru-Trainer Smart Power Rollers
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Old 09-29-20, 09:25 AM
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Options

I own a smart bike. I considered Peloton but it appeared to be a closed standard.
My Wahoo Kickr Bike has so many more software options available.

Personally I was not enamored with Zwift. It was the first app I tried, but the toon nature of it just didn't tickle me.
BKool makes a great attempt at realism while retaining the multiple rider environment. (I had issues, and their support... well....didn't)
FulGaz is 4K video taken from an actual bike ride. But you do give up the multiple rider onscreen competition.
Biggest drawback of FulGaz, is it's biggest feature.. Those 4K video rides are stunning, both in the glorious sunny vistas and the file size to store the MP4 files.

Yet I like FulGaz so much I added a drive to my PC and place the ride files on the drive. You can stream them, but I do have a data cap on my ISP and this helps stay under it.

Indoor cycling can be boring, do consider how you will feel regarding software availability/variety a year or two from now.
By having a Smart bike compatible with all of the smart trainers protocols, I get to piggy back on all of the software development driven by that extremely large trainer market.

Barry
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Old 09-29-20, 09:49 AM
  #11  
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The biggest benefit I see from a stationary bike (smart bike?) is the easy adjustability that would allow multiple people to use it.

If I'm the only one riding it, I feel like I'd rather just have a N+1 bike on a direct-mount trainer. That way at least I have a bike I can still ride outside if I want, and I can run other bikes indoors as well.
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Old 09-29-20, 12:41 PM
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A trainer takes up less space than a smart bike when not in use, and you can move it around much more easily. Putting a bike on is also easy, you can just use the bike you have and get a second bike only if you really feel like it.
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Old 09-29-20, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
I own a smart bike. I considered Peloton but it appeared to be a closed standard.
My Wahoo Kickr Bike has so many more software options available.

Personally I was not enamored with Zwift. It was the first app I tried, but the toon nature of it just didn't tickle me.
BKool makes a great attempt at realism while retaining the multiple rider environment. (I had issues, and their support... well....didn't)
FulGaz is 4K video taken from an actual bike ride. But you do give up the multiple rider onscreen competition.
Biggest drawback of FulGaz, is it's biggest feature.. Those 4K video rides are stunning, both in the glorious sunny vistas and the file size to store the MP4 files.

Yet I like FulGaz so much I added a drive to my PC and place the ride files on the drive. You can stream them, but I do have a data cap on my ISP and this helps stay under it.

Barry
Agree 100% about Fulgaz. One of my favorite rides is out your area. Marin Headlands. I have the virtual guy, Bernard, programmed just a little faster to keep me from slacking.
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Old 10-01-20, 12:16 PM
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I am struggling with this myself the always ready to go nature of the Smart bikes are interesting to me, and the Norditrack looks good but I don't think it does Zwift and my local group does some zwift group rides I would like to participate in.


Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
I have the Wahoo Kickr Bike and Wahoo associated extras.
I am extremely happy with it and the support from Wahoo.

It's always ready to go, completely adjustable. I can even choose what gearing I'd like to take on a particular ride.

Barry
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Old 10-01-20, 01:45 PM
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I personally prefer a smart trainer for the following reasons:
  1. I don't like having technology and hardware "tightly coupled". With a smart trainer, almost all the technology that will change rapidly is in my laptop, not the trainer and not my bicycle. Therefore, when it comes time for technology upgrade, I'll upgrade my laptop accordingly and keep the trainer and bicycle for many years to come.
  2. I don't want the bike I train on indoors to feel different than the bike I ride outdoors. I'd like the same experience everywhere, so I put my outdoor bike on a trainer. In particular, my butt knows the difference when there's a new seat
  3. I just love bikes. I'd rather spend several thousand on an actual bicycle than a stationary bike.
  4. I am the only one riding my trainer and bike, so adjustability "on the fly" isn't an issue.
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