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2016/17 Indoor Trainer Buyers Guide

Indoor Trainer Buyers Guide

When the weather outside is frightful, there’s no better option to helping keep your summer form than an indoor trainer. Freshbikes carries a large selection of trainers to fit both budget & fitness goals. This guide serves as a reference to our most-recommended, best selling indoor trainers. While you can probably find cheaper trainers out there, they are just that, cheap trainers. These trainers represent the best of breed for both performance & reliability. Pick a good trainer and you will want to ride it all winter long, pick the wrong trainer and you’ll be complaining to your ride partners all spring long!

Wahoo KICKR 16

The Wahoo Kickr is the gold standard in next generation, smart indoor trainers. Just like it’s little brother, the Snap, it features a built-in power meter, ANT+ & Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility, all controlled via the Wahoo training app (available for Android, Windows & iOS). At a total weight of 47 pounds, it’s not the most portable trainer, but the 12.5lb flywheel allows incredible real world feel and performance. The KICKR is foldable for easy storage, but it does need to be connected to an external power source so keep that in mind if you plan on using this for pre-race warm-ups.

Wahoo KICKR Snap

A couple of years ago Wahoo Fitness just about revolutionized the trainer market with their first connected, smart trainer with the Wahoo Kickr. The Kickr Snap brings all of the connected features to a wheel on, rear wheel drive trainer. Featuring a 10.5# high-inertia flywheel the Snap offers the best in portability and realistic road feel. Just like it’s big brother Kickr, the Snap offers a built-in power meter and resistance unit which is controlled by the Wahoo training app (available for Android, Windows & iOS). It also features both ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 support which allows it to track your workout data on a cycle computer or better yet, through the online training portal, Zwift.

Tacx NEO Smart

Considered by many to be the top-of-the-line in trainers, the TACX Neo Smart is the Rolls Royce in trainers, both in price and performance. While a bit more expensive than the Wahoo KICKR the NEO Smarts bests the KICKR with two key features. One, nearly silent operation, yes it is that quiet (significantly quieter than the KICKR and the KICKR isn't loud either).The second unique feature is downhill drive, yep you heard that right, downhill drive. What that means is the unit will more accurately simulate downhills, and not just coast to a stop like other trainers. One other cool feature of this trainer is how it's stored; the NEO folds up and as a result become much easier to store when not in use.

Tacx Bushido Smart

The TACX Bushido is the rear wheel drive brother to the direct drive NEO Smart and quite similar to the TACX Vortex. The main difference compared to the Vortex is that the Bushido can push higher wattage, simulate a steeper incline and doesn't require a power cable

The Bushido is fairly quiet too, not as quiet as the NEO but definitely on par with other rear-wheel units. As for specs, the Bushido is capable of 1400 watts and up to 15% incline. Another unique feature of the Bushido is it's virtual and actual flywheel which results in a combined feel of 130-pounds, which helps with its realistic road feel.

Tacx Vortex Smart

The TACX Vortex Smart is another trainer in TACX's extensive line up of trainers. The great thing about TACX is they have a trainer for just about every budget and all feature the rock-solid technology that only Tacx can provide. The Vortex is the little brother to the Bushido and while it offers a lower maximum wattage (950 watts) it is quiet suitable for just about everyone and rider ability that isn't doing all out sprints indoors.

Unlike the Bushido, the Vortex does require external power to operate, so keep that in mind if you plan on taking this to races to use for warmups.  

Kinetic Road Machine 2.0

Kurt Kinetic’s Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer features a fluid-based unit for smooth, progressive resistance that matches your effort for a true outdoor simulation. With a 6.25 lb. flywheel and a sealed fluid chamber pushing back, you get a natural resistance feel and a lower operating temperature for consistency to 3000 watts and beyond. When it's time to store or transport the unit, simply fold up the legs and tuck it away. And, thanks to the 2 1/8-inch roller, tire wear is reduced significantly.

 

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