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2020 Top Rated Smart Trainers

We are in the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic crisis, and depending on what country you live, there will be restriction of movement, and that means you can only train indoors.

While riding alone is generally safe from contacting the virus, it is the chance of you getting hurt in a crash and lead you to the hospital emergency room that is the bigger health risk. Also the activity is non-essential and the mantra today is to stay home and contribute to measures in #flatenningthecurve.

Which leads us to the use of turbo trainers, which are the essential equipment if you want to cycle indoors. Training at home used to be a bore-fest, and a winter purchase/activity at least for the colder climates. That has changed, and with compatible indoor cycling apps, they either have a workout plan embedded, or you can do social riding/racing/training against riders all over the world. With the popularity of smart trainers, it is now easier, and basically much more fun!

Smart versions features connectivity via bluetooth and ANT+ and can feature data anywhere from power output, heart rate and cadence. They also have the capability to mimic a route, including the terrain difficulty. Moreover, with companion apps like Zwift, Trainerroad or The Sufferfest (there are more to mention), the workout is automatically logged into your favorite training log tool like TrainingPeaks, Strava or GarminConnect (agan too many to mention).

Here are the top-rated Smart Trainers:

TACX NEO 2T Smart Turbo Trainer

  • Direct Drive
  • 2200 Max Power
  • 25% Max Gradient
  • Connectivity via ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Thru-axle compatible
  • Electromagnetic Flywheel
  • Power meter accuracy: +/- 1 percent

The Neo 2T is the sequel to the original Tacx Neo, one of the earliest smart turbo trainers ever produced. Tacx claims the new version to have a power measurement accuracy to +/- 1 percent, which is one of the most accurate on the market.

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You can also use the trainer without a power source, and a great use for pre-race spinning and warm-up. Since this is Tacx’s top of the line trainer, the only nitpick you can find is if you can afford it.

ELITE SUITO

  • Direct Drive
  • 1900 Max Power
  • 15% Max Gradient
  • Connectivity via ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Thru-axle compatible
  • Power meter accuracy: +/- 2.5 percent

The Elite Suito most important feature is its plug & play configuration. It is already pre-intalled with a 11 speed shimano cassette, and promises a set-up time in less than five minutes. While it’s +/- 2.5% power accuracy is not as good as the more expensive units, ride quality is very good, and stability is decent enough when you go crank it up.

It is a good entry-level option for its price, and should sell well to those looking a direct-drive smart trainer and on a budget.

WAHOO KICKR Smart

  • Direct Drive
  • 2200 Max Power
  • 19% Max Gradient
  • Connectivity via ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Thru-axle compatible
  • Power meter accuracy: +/- 2.0 percent

The Kickr is Wahoo’s top of the smart line model, and it remains one of the best units in terms of ride feel–this can be attributed to the weight of the flywheel at 7.25kg.

Set-up was very easy, and it pairs up quick via bluetooth or ANT+. Reviews from users swear that this latest build is smoother and quieter than the previous version. The Kickr remains one of the best options on the market.

Cheaper Alternatives-Smart non-direct drive Trainers

ELITE QUBO Power B+ Smart Trainer

  • Non-direct Drive
  • 900 Max Power
  • Connectivity via ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Thru-axle compatible
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This is Elite’s go to trainer for non-direct drive type, and should be one of the most affordable smart trainers on the market. It employs Power Mag technology, a magnetic resistance part with 8 levels, and can be set via handlebar mounted selector.

The red roller is made of Elastogel, the eclusive polyurethane compound developed by Elite. It claims to decrease noise by 50% and tire consumption by 20%.

If you are looking for a cheaper smart trainer, and want to use cycling apps like zwift or trainerroad, this is a very good choice.

WAHOO KICKR SNAP Smart turbo Trainer

  • Non-direct Drive
  • 1500 Max Power
  • Connectivity via ANT+, Bluetooth
  • Thru-axle compatible/adapter not included

This is Wahoo’s offering for the smart non-direct drive category, and should be one of the best in its line. Offering a 1500 watts of maximum power, this should be pretty heavy already for most riders, and can also simulate up to 12% incline.

Despite being a non-direct drive unit, the ride stability is solid and feels realistic enough, but of course not as smooth as its direct drive counterparts.

Power meter accuracy is listed at 3%, which is not as accurate as the top units, but with the price, users and riders can still work around it fairly well. Pairing up with cycling apps is easy and as advertsied, set-up is a snap.

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