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Smart Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

Smart Trainers help make riding inside Fun.  But, we know that sometimes new technology can seem complicated and frustrating to use.  We have been using and selling Smart Trainers at Bicycles East for over 10 years.  We are here to help guide you through the purchase, setup, and use so that you can start your fun today. Below is a list of some of our most frequently asked questions.

Click to view the Smart Trainers we Stock
Typical Questions

What is a Smart Trainer?

As smart trainer supports the rear of your bike and allows you to ride it inside.  Although there are lots of ways to use a smart trainer, the most popular way is to use a wireless connection to a computer, tablet, smart phone or Apple TV.  An application runs on whichever compatible device you choose, and that application controls the amount of resistance that you feel from your smart trainer.  By far the most popular application is a program called Zwift.

What is Zwift?

Zwift is essentially a home training game connecting cyclists around the world.  The application connects your bike, trainer, and other optional accessories, to create a smooth and realistic indoor ride.  The application has several virtual locations that you can ride and multiple routes within each location.  Zwift also has a section that contains lots of predesigned workouts from coaches.   The application can be downloaded for free and has a 7 day free trial.  After that you pay a monthly subscription fee of just $15.  When it gets warm out in the spring you can pause your subscription and not pay the monthly fee, ride outside during the warmer months, and then turn it back on again when it gets cold again in the fall.

It looks like there are two types of Smart Trainers - one were the rear wheel stays on your bike and another where you remove it.  What's the difference and which one would be best for me?

There are basically two types of smart trainers.  One that is tire driven from your rear wheel and one that uses a direct drive design where you remove your rear wheel.  They will both work with all the features in applications such as Zwift.  Both designs will work with disc or rim brake bikes.  They will both work with standard Quick-release axle wheels or through-axles.  You can ride your road, tri, hybrid or mountain bike on both designs as well. 
Tire Driven design (rear wheel stays on):

Kickr Snap

This design is popular because:

  1. Mounting your bike into the trainer is simple and straight forward.
  2. It is the least expensive Smart Trainer Design (Kickr Snap starts at $499)
  3. It holds your bike stable, is smooth and quiet.

    If using a mountain bike with this trainer design, we do recommend changing the rear tire to a smooth design to smooth and help quiet the ride.
Direct Drive design (you remove the rear wheel):
This design is popular because:

  1. These Smart Trainers have the smoothest and best road-like feel
  2. The two that we stock (Wahoo Kickr  and Kickr Core) are virtually silent -- you just hear the chain as you tire noise.
  3. Able to generate much more resistance because there is no tire slippage
  4. No tire wear because you aren't driving the resistance with your rear wheel
  5. Very stable
  6. You don't need to purchase a smooth tire for mountain bikes.

It looks like you stock two direct drive Smart Trainers.  What is the difference between the two?

  1. This is the flagship Smart Trainer from Wahoo Fitness with the latest technology.  
  2. Comes with an 11-speed cassette installed - can be changed if your bike doesn't use 11 speeds
  3. Is height adjustable to level bikes with front tires sizes 24 inch through 29er
  4. Legs fold, and it has a handle---makes it easy to carry and move around.
  5. 16lb Fly Wheel
  6. Max 2200 watts, Max 20% incline
  1. As the name has the Core features of the Kickr based on previous generation technology 
  2. Does not come with a cassette - we can either transfer your cassette from your rear wheel or you can purchase one (typically $30-$90)
  3. Fixed non-adjustable height
  4. Fixed legs that need to be attached when removed from the box - we do this for you at no charge when you pick it up at the store.
  5. 12lb flywheel
  6. Max 1800 watts, Max 16% incline
I see there are some Smart Trainer accessories from Wahoo.  Are these compatible with other brand Smart Trainers?

Wahoo Fitness currently makes two popular trainer accessories: 

Kickr Climb:  Only works with Wahoo Smart Trainers.  This accessory raises and lowers the front of your bike to simulate hills and keep your body in a realistic-riding position when standing.

Kickr Headwind:  This will work with other trainers and speed and heart-rate sensors.  This is a "Smart" fan.  The fan can be controlled manually with 4 speeds or via sensors that either transmit based on trainer speed or your heart-rate.