Looking for a "smart" indoor trainer - your opinions needed


Sep 28, 2015
Hey Guys,

So, the season is winding down, fall and winter are around the corner. I just participated in a local GranFondo Century. I had a lot of fun and now that my season is nearly complete, I'm making plans for training during the off season. Over the past few years, I've resorted to resistance (strength) training on days that I couldn't ride. And on the days that I could ride, I would just bundle up and bear the cold weather as best I could.

I've tried using an indoor trainer, but the one I have doesn't simulate the sensation of riding. More specifically, the sensation of inertia. When I stop pedaling, my trainer grinds to a halt in a few seconds, even at the lowest setting. It was a deal breaker for me.

So, I've been doing some research and I've come across indoor smart trainers that can be used with virtual training software such as Zwift, Bkook, Tacx, etc. The reviews I've read and seen on YouTube look encouraging. The two different styles of trainers (that I'm interested) uses either the typical, rear wheel clamp on a fixed roller (for lack of better description), and direct drive. My budget is around $500, so that excludes most direct drive trainers. My primary requirements are that they be compatible with virtual training software, offer realistic resistances, and provide a good sensation of inertia (such that the wheel spins for many seconds before stopping). Also, the primary metrics, power, cadence, speed, HR, etc.

I've checked PerformanceBike, and they have tons. I found one, "Elite Qubo Digital Interactive Trainer" that seems to be in my price range. If anyone has opinions about this model, I would greatly appreciated it. Otherwise, if you can recommend a trainer that you really like, I would love to hear your opinions. If you have opinions about virtual cycling software (the good and bad), that'd be great too.


I like Kinetic Road Machine fluid trainers. With the standard flywheel, spin down is still pretty quick. With the optional flywheel...better. Spins much longer in coast mode. The kinetic can take massive Watts. This year they offer a kind of / sort of power meter option / Digital program package and electronic control of the resistence unit. Requires a subscription to 'Kinetic Fit'. No clue how they integrate with Zwift or similar. Prices will run $400-$650 depending on the unit, retail discounts and accessories.

CyclOps is also a crowd favorite.

DC Rainmakers recommendations: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/11/2015-2016trainer-recommendations.html

More DC Rainmaker reviews and recommendations: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/product-reviews/trainers
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Thanks for the response CampyBob. Sorry for the late response, my computer decided not to boot up the other day. My computer is up and running, all is well. Those links you provided look to be very informative. I'll be sure to go through them before I purchase anything. For the moment, I'm still leaning towards the Elite trainer I mentioned. I'll try and keep this thread updated in case anyone else needs help.

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Bought a cycleops fluid 2 in 2005 and I wish I got a KK instead. The cycleops resistance was way too hard, had to stay in the small chain ring most the time (39x15 and lower gear). The KK's resistance curve is reported to be similar to the road. Plus software like Zwift or Trainer Road didn't support this old model. KK and Elite seem to be the most popular supported trainers. Can't go wrong with either.

For Christmas I upgraded to the Wahoo Kickr with a Stages power meter and it's been great, but pricey.
I ended up buying an Elite Qubo Interactive Trainer. The first one ended up damaged upon arrival. I was able to get a replacement within a few days. I'm using it with Zwift and I can say it is much less boring than staring at a wall for an hour. The trainer adjusts the resistance on the fly, as the terrain changes on the Zwift simulator. Prior to Zwift, I tried Bkool for the fact that they allow you to upload your rides recorded via GPS. They have bugs to work out, I may return if they get things straightened out. One of the things I enjoy about Zwift is that there are always 900+ riders on the course. It feels like a GranFondo everytime.

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