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Best smart trainer to get started with Zwift

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Best smart trainer to get started with Zwift

Old 11-28-17, 10:57 PM
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rmd5533
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Best smart trainer to get started with Zwift

Hi everyone,

I am planning on getting a smart trainer to use with Zwift and improve my fitness over the winter. I would like to keep the price to around $400, but am willing to spend $500 if it is worth it. What is the most highly recommended smart trainer in this price range?

So far, I am currently looking at two different options: the Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart and the Tacx Vortex. I am drawn to the Kinetic due to the side to side motion it allows, but the Tacx also seems highly rated.

I currently ride a Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi Mod and weigh 165lbs. Also, are there any other equipment/accessories I will need in order to use Zwift? I have a smart phone and basic laptop. I plan on getting a floor mat and front tire riser. Would I need a USB Bluetooth adapter to run Zwift off of my laptop?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-28-17, 11:29 PM
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atwl77
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Not familiar with the two trainers you mention, but I think the side-to-side motion is a pretty good feature to have.

And generally yes, you would need a USB ANT+ antenna to connect to your trainer's sensors, unless your trainer (and any additional sensors you want to use, e.g. cadence and heart rate) also supports Bluetooth -- though general advise would still be get a USB dongle (either with a built-in cable, or get an extension cable) so that you can place the antenna close to the trainer.
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Old 11-29-17, 05:02 AM
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Hello,

Any money you spend on a smart-trainer/Zwift setup is well worth it, so only cry once if you can (buy good stuff). It will easily have you in the best shape of your life when others are just getting re-started for the Spring.

Display it on a HDTV if you can. As atwl77 said, you need a dongle. I wasted 36 hours trying every single thing in the world to get BT running. I bought an ANt+ dongle and I was riding in seconds.

You'll need a mat and water-resistant area, fans, 2-3x the towels you think you'll need, 2-3x as much laundry will need to be done for towels and riding clothes. Buy sweat bands to help control the sweat too.

I have learned so much about perfecting bike fit and my form while riding is now automatic. Two weeks of Zwift gave me 2+ mph averages outdoors and I was not even trying. I looked down and my speeds were that much faster.

It is a very good thing.

oops, Sorry I can't help with trainer choice. I went with a kickR myself.

Last edited by PaddleFoot; 11-29-17 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 11-29-17, 05:53 AM
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https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/10/...endations.html
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Old 11-29-17, 06:04 AM
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Agree with DCRainmaker. I was in same position and got Wahoo KICKR Snap. Connects via Bluetooth to my laptop so no additional connections needed. It even comes with a front riser.
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Old 11-29-17, 07:33 AM
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Make sure you get a "smart" trainer, Zwift is not nearly as fun without one. The Wahoo Kickr Snap is a really popular cheaper trainer. It should be in the DC reviews...
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Old 11-29-17, 09:00 AM
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I recently picked up a CycleOps Magnus. I was previously just using a standard fluid trainer (no Zwift) what a huge difference and the trainer worked flawlessly with Zwift, which was nice.
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Old 11-29-17, 10:05 AM
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no problems with my tacx vortex but if i was buying again, since the prices are quite low now, i would go with a direct drive machine
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Old 11-29-17, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Agree with DCRainmaker. I was in same position and got Wahoo KICKR Snap. Connects via Bluetooth to my laptop so no additional connections needed. It even comes with a front riser.
Which laptop and which program? Zwift normally doesn't work with laptop bluetooth connections, so you need the phone to make the bluetooth connection to the trainer work.

To the original poster, you may need/want the USB ANT+ dongle, of which an inexpensive version is here: ANT+ USB
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Old 11-29-17, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by PaddleFoot View Post
Hello,

Any money you spend on a smart-trainer/Zwift setup is well worth it, so only cry once if you can (buy good stuff). It will easily have you in the best shape of your life when others are just getting re-started for the Spring.
Truer words have never been typed. I too went with the Kickr and I'm a cheap ass. Got me back on the trainer after more than 15 winters off. I HATE trainers.....well I use to ;-)
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Old 11-29-17, 11:44 AM
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I'm curious about this as well. I already own a Kinetic Rock and Roll which I bought before I even heard of Zwift...

But now I want to set this up, and my primary concern is that this particular trainer won't automatically adjust difficulty in Zwift based on hills, i.e. you would need to upshift to simulate the incline (the exact opposite of what you'd do when you encounter a hill in real life). I'm worried this will really ruin the immersion. Is this correct? Did I buy the wrong trainer?
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Old 11-29-17, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by British View Post
I'm curious about this as well. I already own a Kinetic Rock and Roll which I bought before I even heard of Zwift...

But now I want to set this up, and my primary concern is that this particular trainer won't automatically adjust difficulty in Zwift based on hills, i.e. you would need to upshift to simulate the incline (the exact opposite of what you'd do when you encounter a hill in real life). I'm worried this will really ruin the immersion. Is this correct? Did I buy the wrong trainer?
Yep, resistance controlled by zwift is more than half of the whole experience with zwift. From what i know there are two version of kinetic rock and roll, check if yours can be controlled by zwift
https://support.zwift.com/hc/en-us/a...Smart_Trainers
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Old 11-29-17, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mvnsnd View Post
Which laptop and which program? Zwift normally doesn't work with laptop bluetooth connections, so you need the phone to make the bluetooth connection to the trainer work.

To the original poster, you may need/want the USB ANT+ dongle, of which an inexpensive version is here: ANT+ USB
I am using a 2 year old MacBook Pro and running Zwift, the trainer pairs with the computer no problem using bluetooth. Phone is NOT necessary, although the "mobile link app" is useful as a remote control.
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Old 11-29-17, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by British View Post
I'm curious about this as well. I already own a Kinetic Rock and Roll which I bought before I even heard of Zwift...

But now I want to set this up, and my primary concern is that this particular trainer won't automatically adjust difficulty in Zwift based on hills, i.e. you would need to upshift to simulate the incline (the exact opposite of what you'd do when you encounter a hill in real life). I'm worried this will really ruin the immersion. Is this correct? Did I buy the wrong trainer?
It isn't necessarily cheap, but if you have a non-smart version of a kinetic trainer, you can buy the item below to upgrade your old trainer. Though I haven't seen this done personally.

https://www.kurtkinetic.com/trainers...rol-power-unit

Perhaps off topic, why is there so much focus on zwift? I have been looking into a getting a trainer, but trainerroad seems much more appealing to me...
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Old 11-29-17, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by formula bike View Post
It isn't necessarily cheap, but if you have a non-smart version of a kinetic trainer, you can buy the item below to upgrade your old trainer. Though I haven't seen this done personally.

https://www.kurtkinetic.com/trainers...rol-power-unit

Perhaps off topic, why is there so much focus on zwift? I have been looking into a getting a trainer, but trainerroad seems much more appealing to me...
Horses for courses. Zwift is fun because it's interactive and, with a smart trainer, a person could almost feel like it was a real ride with terrain and elevation and everything.

Personally I prefer Trainerroad, because I have a dumb trainer and I got a lot more benefit last winter from using the structured workouts on Trainerroad than I did with Zwift. But -- a smart trainer would be useful with Trainerroad, too.
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Old 11-29-17, 05:02 PM
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I personally bought a Magnus 2 months ago and have been using the heck out of it. One piece of advice that no one ever told me, and I only found out after melting a tire, CALIBRATE BEFORE EVERY RIDE. None of the documentation says this, Zwift doesn't say this, but it is imperative in order to have accurate readings and a fun time. Also, I prefer trainerroad over zwift, but that's just me, especially since zwift just raised their price from $10 a month to $15 dollars a month.
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Old 11-30-17, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I am using a 2 year old MacBook Pro and running Zwift, the trainer pairs with the computer no problem using bluetooth. Phone is NOT necessary, although the "mobile link app" is useful as a remote control.
It must be an IOS thing then, because it is stated that one must use a phone with Bluetooth when using Zwift with Windows.
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Old 11-30-17, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by firebird854 View Post
CALIBRATE BEFORE EVERY RIDE. None of the documentation says this, Zwift doesn't say this, but it is imperative in order to have accurate readings and a fun time.
I'm curious about this, I use The Hammer and used to calibrate almost every ride but I didn't notice any difference so I stopped. What do you notice as an improvement by calibrating so often?
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Old 11-30-17, 02:05 PM
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Cheap rollers (or trainer if you go that way) and a Power Meter.
Yes... Zwift won't control the resistance this way, but you can use the power meter when you get back on the road in the summer. This is what I do.
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Old 11-30-17, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry77 View Post
I'm curious about this, I use The Hammer and used to calibrate almost every ride but I didn't notice any difference so I stopped. What do you notice as an improvement by calibrating so often?
If you have a direct drive (like your Hammer) it's probably not necessary.

If you have a wheel-on trainer (like my KICKR Snap and most budget trainers), it's a good idea.
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Old 12-01-17, 07:30 AM
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Greetings,

About 4 months ago I purchased direct from Wahoo, a factory reconditioned Wahoo Kickr SNAP, wheel on trainer. You may want to check the Wahoo website for a reconditioned model, the one I purchased was significantly less than a new trainer, and I recall there was also a sale going on when I purchased mine. So far it has worked flawlessly.

On the recommendation of a friend, I did purchase another rear wheel, cassette and trainer tire to use on the bike when on the trainer.
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Old 12-01-17, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry77 View Post
I'm curious about this, I use The Hammer and used to calibrate almost every ride but I didn't notice any difference so I stopped. What do you notice as an improvement by calibrating so often?
I use the Cyclops Magnus which is an on-wheel trainer, it makes quite a difference, I hear it is much less so with direct drive trainers like the hammer.
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Old 12-02-17, 11:05 PM
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After reading all the reviews, I will hopefully have a Kickr on Wednesday. Wahoo had a 10% off cyber Monday sale.
I came close to buyingn a Kinetic trainer until I did some research. Cycleops and Wahoo both use ANT+ or BLE. Kinetic uses a proprietary BLE signal that is not supported by all the programs out there.
Every review said the Kickr had a better "road" feel than the Magnus due to the larger and heavier flywheel.
I am using an older rim and tire on my current fluid trainer. If you use your current wheel, you will definitely want to get a steel rear skewer to use on the trainer.
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Old 12-04-17, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by turkey9186 View Post
After reading all the reviews, I will hopefully have a Kickr on Wednesday. Wahoo had a 10% off cyber Monday sale.
I came close to buyingn a Kinetic trainer until I did some research. Cycleops and Wahoo both use ANT+ or BLE. Kinetic uses a proprietary BLE signal that is not supported by all the programs out there.
Every review said the Kickr had a better "road" feel than the Magnus due to the larger and heavier flywheel.
I am using an older rim and tire on my current fluid trainer. If you use your current wheel, you will definitely want to get a steel rear skewer to use on the trainer.

Congratulations. You'll love it.

Now be sure and study all the tips and tricks. The biggest being to use the big gear and a smaller sprocket in ERG mode....helps avoid the death spiral :-)

Enjoy!
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Old 12-04-17, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by pesty View Post
Cheap rollers (or trainer if you go that way) and a Power Meter.
Yes... Zwift won't control the resistance this way, but you can use the power meter when you get back on the road in the summer. This is what I do.
Hrmm interesting...you can use zwift with just a power meter? I have a cheap/dumb wheel on trainer, and have been thinking about getting a powet meter.

Would I need anything else?
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