Re: Peloton-style vs. Smart trainers?

Jay Gilson

My two cents.....

When Julie had shoulder issues and could not ride outside I got her a Tacx Vortex smart trainer.  We coupled it with Zwift. Here are the pluses as I see it:

1. You get to ride your own bike and do not need to worry about the fit.
2. When coupled with Zwift, the resistance changes with the course you are riding based on the cues from Zwift - you do not need to do anything
3. With Zwift - there was real interest in the ride and you could compete with others (either real - a fellow rider or perceived - just chase another rider on your session).
4. It gives a real workout without some of the boredom I found with a trainer in a gym.
5. When you ride, you get to ride the way you want - I frankly do not take spin classes because I do not like the yelling by the instructor and many times they really don't know about riding outside and have you do really strange things.  
6. I found the sessions with Zwift to be the only trainer I could stay engaged over a 60 or 90 minute session and at the end to have enjoyed it.
7. The trainer (tacx vortex Smart) has a very small footprint when storing.

I  do not have any desire to ride a trainer without Zwift - it keeps me engaged and you have choices on the course you ride and then which actual path you want to take within the session.  BTW I have made a bad choice and ended up climbing for 40 min because of the choices... kind of fun when you get right down to it. Kind if like riding a new road.

You can read reviews of trainers that are very detailed at DC Rainmaker.    When I am looking to purchase bike gear, I go through his website to see what he thinks...  

I think what would work for you is you have the tarmac and you could set it up on the trainer and leave it setup on the trainer to ride when you want.  That way you are not setting up and taking down every time.  You will need a current iPad or a laptop with good Internet connectivity tpo act as an interface with Zwift and the trainer.  I set up in the garage and link through the wireless... have not had any issues.  

The tacx Vortex is +/- $550.  Zwift is ~$15/mo.  This is far less than buying a peloton and subscribing to their service....  You can get much more expensive smart trainers as well....

The downside: I really don't see one except it is not riding in the sense of you do not get any core work as the bike is fixed and there is no side-to-side training or balance work.  I think this is a real detriment to trainers as a whole.  There is no real substitute to riding a bike outside.  Maybe rollers come close and I have not had the guts to try a set.

Happy to get on the phone with you to talk about it.


On Sun, Sep 6, 2020 at 9:27 AM Mike Moore <mrmoore.usa@...> wrote:
Hi everybody!   As we are fond of saying in Reno, winter is coming.  (That’s pretty catchy!).   I am still trying to get back in shape after last year’s calamity so I am considering buying an indoor trainer.  So I would love to get the opinions (and I know you have them) on these questions:

1. Is it better to buy a Peloton-style or Smart trainer and if so, why?

2. If you’ve experience with a smart trainer, which one would you recommend and how easy is it to set up and get going?   What ancillary purchases are desirable?

3. What do you wish you knew before you purchased one of these machines?

From what little I know, there probably isn’t a single correct answer for every situation and individual preference which is why I would hoping to draw upon the collective wisdom of the club.

In advance, thanks!!   Safe riding and happy trails to all of you!


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