Smart trainers/smart bikes budget
Wheel-On: affordable trainers which operate by placing force against your back tire. These are not accurate, with less inertial “road feel” than direct drive trainers. Gradients don’t go higher than 6-8% On the plus side: they cost less than direct drive trainers!
Budget Direct Drive: this is the most competitive category of trainers today. Direct drive trainers work with your back wheel removed and offer increased accuracy and improved feel over the wheel-on offerings. With prices ranging from $650-$900, this is where the most bang for the buck is found.
Premium Direct Drive: the cream of the crop, these trainers are built to be the best and are priced accordingly. They typically offer increased accuracy and higher maximum wattage/gradient (up to 30%) simulation than lower-cost alternatives.
BUDGET (SUB $500)
These wheel-on trainers tend to be basic in function and lack the durability, low accuracy, and realistic road feel of higher-priced offerings. These last about 2 years.
- Tacx Vortex (T2180 ANT+ FE-C compatible and newer models)
- Tacx Flow Smart (T2240 and newer models)
The best of the wheel-on trainers, but still falling short of the durability, accuracy, and realistic road feel of higher-priced direct-drive offerings. These last about 2-3 years
- Wahoo Kickr Snap
- Cycleops M2
MID-HIGH END ($700-$1000)
Direct-drive trainers lack some of the beefier features of their high-end counterparts.
- Wahoo Kickr Core - best bang for your buck and highly accurate!
- Tacx Flux S
- Saris H3
- Elite Suito, Direto X, Direto XR
HIGH END ($1000+)
The best trainers available on the market. These are quieter, highly accurate, and sturdier than their mid-high counterparts.
- Tacx Neo (1 OR 2)
- Wahoo Kickr
- Tacx Neo Bike - $3 000
- Wahoo Kickr Bike - $4 000
- Wattbike Atom - $2 800
- Wattbike Atom X - $4 500
- Stages SB 20 - $3 000
- Technogym Skillbike - $5 000
- Zycle Zbike - $1 500