Buying a new direct drive trainer

Hello, i’ve been looking at a bunch of trainers.
My friend own a Neo 2 which i do enjoy but it’s a tad bit expensive for my current situation.
I’ve glanced at Elite suito but saw that people didn’t like it for reasons.
If i get lucky i may be able to buy a Kickr 2018 at 20% discount.
Should i do that, buy a suito or save up for Neo 2/2T?

Edit: Through axle

I’m lost in this jungle…

I am not the expert, but here are my personal picks:

Neo 1 & 2

  • Not the 2T until they fix the power data issues.

CycleOps Hammer, H2 and the rebranded Saris H3 .

  • Make sure to load the latest firmware that addresses the old issues.

If you find a prior Kickr17 refurbished , that is a good buy.

  • Even a used 2014 or 2016 model if you find one.

Kinetic Road Machine for the best dumb trainer.

  • To include the Rock & Roll model.

Pulled from this thread:

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Check out the deals thread as people will post sales in there pretty frequently:

TR Deals

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One small comment. I would avoid the 2014. There are a couple of issues, one is the strain gauge. The second is that there’s a backdoor selection to switch it to calculation mode, but it doesn’t have as many sensors as the 2016. The third issue is that you cannot turn off ERG power smoothing on the 2014. There’s no option to do that and get the real power data from it.

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Loving my Cyclops hammer h2 was $680 brand new. I use it with my MTB which has boost spacing

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My 2016 Kickr is still working great, but we need to add another trainer to the household. I had planned on buying a 2019 Kickr, presuming that Wahoo would make some changes to resolve the issues that plagued the 2018 model. With Wahoo deciding to leave the 2018 Kickr unchanged, I’m now re-evaluating my options.

Can anyone with experience with both the Kickr and the Neo comment on the feel of the Kickr flywheel vs the virtual flywheel of the Neo? Any issues specific to the Neo that I’m likely to notice coming over from a Kickr? I’m aware of the front wheel riser with the Neo and while I definitely prefer the Kickr in that regard, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. Anything else?

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I have the Kickr17, Neo 2 and H2:

  • The best way I can describe it is “different”. The Virtual Flywheel is not really better or worse to me. But I can tell the difference with overall “feel” when I swap between them.

  • I almost thought the feeling of the flywheel inertia and gearing (hi vs lo) was just about backwards on the Neo compared to the K17 and H2. Now, I’m not so sure.

  • Overall, I prefer the “feel” of the real flywheels, but I don’t think there is any measurable impact on training effect.

  • Maybe the biggest issue: there can be frame fit problems with the Neo that are different from the other two. Anything with narrow chainstays (like many aero or tri bikes) can lead to rubbing or even complete lack of attachment. The case is rather forward when compared to the others, and that is what causes the problems with some bikes.

  • The Neo is an awesome trainer. The quietness is appreciated and especially noticed when I move back to either of my other trainers.

  • The lack of calibration on the Neo is a nice treat that takes one less variable out and thing to remember compared to the others.

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Thanks Chad, fantastic information as always. :wink:

For me personally, accuracy is of little concern since I pair my 4iiii powermeter as the primary power source, inside and out. I’m primarily concerned about reliability, connectivity (ie dropout free), and “feel”. Sounds like the Neo wouldn’t be a huge change in terms of feel, but I am intrigued by your comment that the flywheel inertia felt backwards. I assume this means that you perceived relatively lower inertia while in a high gear on the Neo vs Kickr? If so, is there any way to quantify the “virtual inertia” on the Neo?

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You mention connectivity, and that reminds me. I have had some intermittent issues with the Neo 2 and TR via Windows and ANT+. Just a few dropouts in some sessions. No issues at all with TR mobile and BLE. In the same setup (Win & ANT+) I have even fewer issues with the K17 & H2. Not sure there is anything substantial there. It could be as simple as a difference in antenna location along with the “noise” in my room.

For the flywheel, it’s hard to pin down. Initially, it seemed I felt it was “easier” to pedal in my 34x17 gearing than 50X17 (I often swap the front chainring for standing and seated efforts in the “taller” gear). So it was “kinda backwards” to my gut feel on the trainers with real flywheels.

With the real ones, I can feel the pedal demand around more of the circle and makes me feel like the lower inertia and dirt or gravel surfaces I ride frequently. That aligns with experiences of some, but not all other users.

With the Neo, I still perform the same gearing (low mostly, with high mixed in). As I have used it more, that “backwards” feeling has largely disappeared and I can’t point to it as obviously right now. Not sure if that is me just “getting used” to the Neo or something else. I have just swapped back to the K17 for some work and notice the general difference in winding up a “real” flywheel, mostly from slow speeds or stops. Once I’m rolling, the differences are largely unnoticed now.

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Hi Chad,
I’m still bouncing between these trainers, possibly the newer iterations if them.

I’ve been riding a Cyclops fluid trainer for years. On TR I find it pretty easy to hold a steady cadence during the intervals and hit my power numbers (using stages PM).

However when I road the Kickr 18, I found it harder to hold the steady cadence in ERG mode. On my Fluid I can cage the power required as the resistance is pretty constant, so steady cadence is easy, select the appropriate gear and spin it. On the Kickr as the power fluctuated slightly to hold the constant power, I found it harder to hold the steady cadence.

If you can follow that small ramble above have you felt a difference in the Kickr, H2, Neo as to which one is easier to hold a constant power in ERG mode and doesn’t fluctuate around the target power.

I’m assuming as you get more used to ERG mode it would all get smoother.

Kind regards
GG

Yeah, the change from a fluid resistance to ERG control is a different feel for sure. I spent many years honing ERG use on real flywheel trainers.

CycleOps Powerbeam Pro > my first Hammer > Kickr17 > H2 > Neo 2

Other than the slight change in feel, ERG use on the virtual flywheel of the Neo 2 was an easy transition after years of prior ERG use.

The K18 you rode is very close to the feel of the Hammer trainers. I suspect that you just need to spend more time and get used to ERG in general. Sounds like you already have the right idea to focus on power and cadence.

Just make sure to be as smooth and steady as possible, and that will reduce the app and trainer intervention to change resistance.


I was just talking with a training partner during a workout last night. He was complaining about the feel difference inside on ERG vs outside. He prefers the subtle changes in power outside vs the more constant loading in ERG. He has been using my H2 lately, but has used all my trainers at some point.

So, I told him to try Resistance mode (or Standard for some trainers) on the next workout. Essentially his comments are kind of related to yours. It gets to the fact that some people really like ERG and others not so much.

I do mostly ERG, but still do Resistance for some workouts (like Baxter and some harder sprint workouts).

The nice thing about a smart controlled trainer is the ability to use either mode that is preferred on a given day or workout.

All that goes to say that I think you can work with any of the trainers and the slight differences aren’t probably enough to matter for ERG use.

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Thanks Chad,
That was a really great reply. With some great points. I think what I was saying is very similar to your training partners thoughts.

Regards

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Thanks Chad. FWIW, I’ve experienced something very similar to what your describing with dropouts with my 2016 Kickr on Win 10/ANT+. TR support has been extremely thorough and patient in working through it and, as of the last couple of betas, seems to have largely gotten ironed out.

Sounds like we approach gearing in much the same way. I too split my time between the big ring and small ring but I’d estimate roughly 70-75% of an average workout is in the small ring and middle-ish cog. Given all that I’m still on the fence about he virtual flywheel concept and really think I would still prefer a good old heavy flywheel. I may give the H3 a look as well.

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I have a Neo 1 and a Neo 2. No problems with either ever. The main reasons that I bought is- no calibration and super quiet. I tried the Kickr but the neighbors complained about the noise. Plus I kept forgetting to calibrate it. The Neo solved both of those issues.

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