New Kinetic R1 Trainer - new Smart Trainer user, need help

trainer

#1

Hey all, I got a brand new Kinetic R1 trainer, and am new to using a smart trainer. I have done 2 rides and am having some issues. Not much in the way of support out there for this trainer (I have a call into Kinetic) and not many users yet, but wanted to see if anyone has any ideas on how to help issues I am experiencing.

  1. There seems to be significant lag time any time the workout has significant changes in power. For example, going from a rest period to a sweet spot interval, the power increases, but can take several minutes to get to the actual sweet spot zone prescribed. I have tried it with Powermatch on and off, doesn’t make much difference. I have found that if I coast for 2-3 seconds to give the trainer time to “power up,” I can get to the prescribed wattage zone quicker.

  2. All seems well for a couple minutes, and then power starts to fade, up to 10% or more lower than the prescribed workout wattage target. Again, I have found that if I coast a couple seconds, it will catch back up. But should I have to do this? I was doing 20 minute sweet spot efforts this morning, and the longer I got into the interval, the more often I would have to coast to assist the trainer in getting to the power target. Near the end, it was almost every minute. I suspect it may have something to do with heat buildup…

  3. Suspect heat because the longer I did a sweetspot interval, the more noise this thing made. It certainly was not quiet.

  4. The Kinetic app seems like a joke, I cannot get it to work with the trainer in any manner, other than connecting to it.

The only good news so far, the rocking motion is nice. If anyone has any suggestions for me, please let me know. Being a new smart trainer user, their could be some user error involved, but something seems wrong.


#2

Here are some initial recommendations.

  1. No. You should not “have to coast” using a trainer in ERG. That is crazy and should not be happening.
    • Assuming that you are holding a steady cadence and not changing, the trainer should read that and hold the prescribed target power.
  2. I would avoid using PowerMatch initially, just to reduce the number of variables in use and testing.
  3. Make sure you are on the latest version of firmware and you are following any and all calibration procedures Kinetic offers.
  4. I think you need to work hard with Kinetic initially, since very few people have even seen an R1, let alone used it,

I hate to say it, but this is the kind of thing I expected with this trainer. I have never seen Kinetic launch anything with an electrical current involved and have it go well, without a hitch. Their Smart Control release was plagued with braking issues that were mechanical and firmware related. They still seem to have some issues from what I have seen.

I hope you get some good answers and solutions from them, but I am not surprised by issues like this.


#3

Thanks for the suggestions, if nothing else to know that this is not how a smart trainer should work. Have to say that I am seriously disappointed. Wondering if they will take it back and give me a full refund. I don’t have time to deal with this.

I was hoping a smart trainer would make my life easier, but this is quite the opposite.


#4

Sadly, you’re not the first to jump into the messy world of smart trainers and end up with buyer’s remorse. I have seen similar comments here in the recent past.

I love smart trainers, but I’m a minor techie, and like tinkering. To a point, that is almost required right now. I hope it will improve over time. The hardware and software should be as simple to use as our smart phones.

If you are looking for dead easy and reliable right now, a Kinetic Fluid Road Machine (and NOT the Smart ones) coupled with an on-bike power meter is tough to beat.

Happy to help more as you move forward, whatever direction that may be.


#5

Just did my first ride on my new R1. I love the road feel and the power seems pretty accurate on the flats and up/down 1-3%. However on climbs like Zwift>London>Surrey Hills, the power is WAY off. I weight 203 lbs and on 10% climbs at 4 MPH it has me at 108 watts. Nope and nope. I recalibrated after about 20 minutes and it was still way off. I rode back into London and it seemed fine on the flats power wise, 0%, 18MPH 180-210 watts which is pretty solid reading. Not sure what to do. Not despairing yet because it’s only 35 minutes of riding. But I hope there are some answers. I did update firmware and do an initial calibration. I’ve been on the Rock&Roll for years and love it. I hope they support the R1 and get us all as happy ambassadors.


#6

Welp, I hope we find some answers as well. Here is where I am at. The first unit they sent me was basically dead on arrival. It never worked. After a week and a half of radio silence from Kinetic, they finally replied to my 3rd message and sent a new unit. 2 rides on it in TrainerRoad and it works fine for the first 45 minutes or so, then gets stuck at whatever wattage TrainerRoad was prescribing at the 45 (or so) minute mark and doesn’t move again.

I asked them for a refund today. We will see what happens. I too have been a long time rock and roll and road machine user, but am really down on the company. 2 strikes plus poor customer service. Can’t recommend at this time. We will see if they honor my request for a refund.


#7

Interesting. I had to get a second unit from retail location I purchased because the first had a damaged handle in box. I’m having some challenges as well after being a long time road machine advocate. I moved from a road machine because I wanted a little bit more give without flexing the frame of my new very expensive bike. Maybe not the smartest decision…

  1. I feel like I am leaned to one side. It’s been driving me so insane that I actually sit a level on my aerobars (tri bike) to track it. Now in fairness, the aerobars read level, so it may just be my own insanity.

  2. I have felt like the power reading is just off. I know what 105w feels like. My FTP on TR has dropped drastically since moving to this trainer and riding in ERG mode. I jump on and 105w is not the easy spin that it used to be. I might ride with my Pioneer in tandem to the R1 to see if the power aligns.

  3. Cadence is not being picked up by TR. Again, I’ve only ridden in ERG so not sure if that is part of the problem, but there just is no cadence reading.

  4. I also am unable to get much out of the Kinetic Fit app. The trainer will connect and I can update firmware, but I cannot get the calibration to work. I am also unable to get TR to complete the calibration. When I asked TR about the calibration failing they just pointed the finger at Kinetic. So I’m at a loss.

Going to keep plugging away because at the end of the day the W number is just a number so long as I ride on the same trainer consistently. Will be curious to see how the W number is alongside the Pioneer reading this weekend…


#8

Sorry for your pain, but thanks for sharing the info. Please report back with the power comparison. Good luck.


#9

This is good to know. I have a Road Machine that I’ve used for years. A few weeks ago I happened to be at REI (US retailer), and spotted a Kinetic control power unit that looked like it was returned but otherwise in good condition for a very good price. It has been a bit of a problem getting it to calibrate, but once done it seems to work well enough. But the native app is pretty poor, and I assumed that’s why it was returned. I thought I’d just renew my Trainer Road account so the app didn’t concern me much anyway. For sure as soon as I got the device paired to my phone it did a firmware update.

I noticed there’s a USB port on the unit, I’m thinking I may connect up a laptop and see if it does anything. If it will work with TR on my Mac connecting via usb would be an option.


#10

I was hoping to come back to report a power comparison. Instead I’m here to report that I went to ride this morning and the unit is dead. Battery pack works fine, tested it on other devices. Also tested a different battery pack on the trainer. No effect. Indicator light is dark. Won’t pair to anything. It’s dead.

Sent a note to KK. Can’t really afford time off of the bike given how late of a start I got this season. Hope they are responsive. Reached out to TriSports where I purchased as well, so will be interesting to see their response.

Hard not to feel like they rolled this device out into the market well before ample testing was done…


#11

Sadly, this is exactly what I expected. It follows the same pattern they established with their original Smart Control (wheel-on) units, not to mention their issues with every Inride release. Kinetic is just sub-par with electronic devices. They have shown consistent problems with each release of their powered devices.


#12

Kinetic is claiming there was a production batch that had a bad fuse. They are being responsive this time via Facebook messenger which is nice. Will let them send me one more replacement unit and they we’ll see about making the jump to something else.


#13

Another update to the saga. Received third trainer in the mail last night and this one is also broken. No resistance in ERG or Resistance mode on the Kinetic Fit app or TrainerRoad. Not to mention a bad knocking sound as the flywheel grabbing the rear mech and throwing the cassette forward a few clicks during spin down.

Oddly enough they now list the R1 as “sold out”. My guess is now that’s it’s the time of year that everyone’s really getting into riding all of these trainers are coming back with issues.

I sent a pretty strongly worded email. Hopefully a contact from someone of relevance there today to discuss as I’ve now lost 2.5 months worth of training time for an early June race. I’m pretty much fucked on the bike leg.


#14

Sorry for your luck.

I recommend that everyone get a reliable fluid or magnetic wheel-on trainer, for just these purposes and more. Our tech toys can and do have troubles, so having a bombproof backup is.a worthwhile investment. It can also serve as a race day warm up tool.

Despite my distaste for the electric Kinetic products, their Road Machine is my favorite and one of the best trainers ever produced.


#15

Appreciate the recommendation. I actually own a Road machine and it was 8 years with that trainer that led me to this buy.

I originally bought because I have a BMC TM01 and it felt like it was flexing too much in the back so I figured the rocking function would give it a bit more allowance. But I ordered another cassette yesterday so I can swap back and forth between a wheel on and wheel solution. Probably a step I should have taken a while ago.


#16

This sounds like my story. I gave up on Kinetic, sent a strongly worded message through facebook messenger and got a full refund. Oddly, I am back to using my Rock n Roll dumb trainer and am as happy as ever. It will be awhile before I try a smart trainer again. Too much hassle.


#17

As a long term KK road warrior user I am sorry to hear these reports of production issues. I always had KK down as a very reliable and reputable company and have always recommended their kit.

Actually I am not really sure why they felt the need to go down the smart trainer route. Stick to your core expertise.


#18

Inability to adapt to change will lead to niche status at best, and extinction at worst. The future of indoor cycling is in view and it is with electronically controlled trainers. There is still a need for simple (wind, magnetic, fluid, etc.) trainers, but their use will trickle down to the pure entry level and those wanting travel solutions.

So these simple trainers (much like rollers) will always have a place in the world. But like rollers, these trainers will become a smaller portion of the overall trainer sales landscape, and therefore limit the potential for any company with only those in their product lineup.

Kinetic is making the right move with respect to working into the future, but their execution is falling well short of their competitors.

To your main point, a good plan… poorly implemented may well be worse for them than not going down that road in the first place. If they can’t salvage their engineering and marketing time spent on this (and their prior Smart Control trainers), they may well be digging their own hole (grave?).

It sucks because they make one of the best standard trainers in the world, and helped pioneer motion in trainers. It’s unfortunate that they seem to struggle with these electronic devices.


#19

Doing software well is really hard - much harder than people often realise.

Smart trainer manufacturers need to be software-first businesses, with the non-s/w engineering know-how bolted on, not the other way around.

Seems Kinetic failed to grasp this and it shows in the problems all their electronic products have exhibited over years. It has the appearance of just being farmed out and/or knocked up on a too-tight budget rather than being core to their mission.

Look at Tacx, producers of arguably the best smart trainer (Neo) available, but IMO they’ve struggled with software (just nowhere near as much as Kinetic…). Look at Tacx’s mobile apps, which are weak, or the decision to pour resources into developing a desktop-only(!) training platform that only works with Tacx trainers - sheer madness! I guess Garmin’s accountants will have a lot of scope to shake things up or rationalise.