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  1. #1
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    Thinking of trading up to a direct drive trainer-what differences will I notice?

    I've been using a Tacx Vortex Smart, which is a wheel-on trainer. It has 950 max watt output, and a 7% max slope, but it's loud when I get into higher wattages (really anything above 250 or when I have to switch to the larger chain ring to compensate for it's low power output). I mainly use Zwift and its ERG mode, so I try to never shift at all and just leave it in the small chainring most of the time. However, for short bursts in my workouts that call for 400+watts, I have to shift to the large chainring or else it will simply never get to 400 watts.

    I'm trying to see if it would be worth it to switch to a new trainer. Let's start by saying I'm not competitively racing, but I do like to see my improvements over time and I'm wondering if this smart trainer will hold me back at all. I don't like the fact that it's so loud, and not having to deal with the trainer tire (and just use direct drive) could be pretty nice.

    I'm 170 pounds and my last FTP test gave me an FTP of 240 watts, so I know I haven't reached the threshold of this current trainer, but it is a pain that I have to shift quite a bit during some workouts to make sure the trainer can keep up with the workout. Also, my best all out effort showed 800 watts for 5 seconds, so I'm not sure how realistic it is to expect that I can/will reach the max wattage of this trainer anytime soon (950 watt max). All of the above wattage readings were taken using Powertap P1 pedals, which a friend has lent me to see how I like using them. Speaking of power, I don't like that the Tacx overstates my actual power. I know it's just a number and as long as it's consistent, then that's what matters, but my prior FTP test was 255 and then it dropped to 240, and I'm noticing my current workouts with the P1 pedals are harder than they were just using the smart trainer, so that's a bit annoying.

    I generally ride outside from April-September, and the rest of the time is spent indoors on the trainer. Lately I've been using the trainer inside for some workouts during the week and going outside on the weekends as I have an imperial century ride coming in September.

    If the simple answer is 'no, don't bother upgrading' then that's fine. However, if I should upgrade, should I stick with a wheel-on with just more capabilities like the Wahoo Snap, or should I go all the way with a direct drive? The $1000 price tags don't appeal to me for the direct drives, so if I went that route, I would probably try and get something off ebay/craigslist.

  2. #2
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    Yes probably, but maybe not

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by factory feel View Post
    Yes probably, but maybe not
    Any explanation?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwin View Post
    Any explanation?
    I’ll get back to you after I re-read it while drinking my coffee.

    pS. I see you’re new here, Make a new account using a girl name and you’ll get 20 answers in a few minutes.

  5. #5
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    Don't bother. If noise is the reason, get some earplugs!
    I've been using a dumb Kurt Kinetic trainer for 5 years, not holding me back at all

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by factory feel View Post
    Make a new account using a girl name and you’ll get 20 answers in a few minutes.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  7. #7
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    Sounds like you spend a lot of time on the trainer. For me price is no concern if 1. I can actually afford it and 2. I'll be using it enough to get my money's worth out of it.

    Crappy equipment makes for a crappy experience. Some people don't mind it as much.

  8. #8
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    A direct drive trainer is a nice choice if you decide you have the coin to put into one. You do spend quite a bit of time on a trainer like I do so I can relate to your comment on the noise.

    That said, I've found that relying on a trainer to make quick changes in power for you isn't the best plan, it's easier to just change gears for me. For intervals I just set the resistance using my Garmin and choose a gear to get the cadence I want at the desired power output for the interval. You may be able to do that all in the big ring or stay in the small ring if you are willing to ramp up the cadence on the surges.
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwin View Post
    Any explanation?
    Yes, you just got trolled.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  10. #10
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    As a frequent zwift user, I feel it isn't worth it for a couple reasons:

    1. Convenience. I don't have a dedicated "trainer bike" so having to take a wheel off and index the gears every time I take the bike off the trainer or put it on the trainer is a major put off.

    2. I have power meter pedals I switch between bikes, so I'd be using power match on a direct drive trainer. In other words, I don't need to pay for the increased power accuracy of a direct drive smart trainer. Wheel on trainer power is not accurate at all, but when I'm using a power meter, I don't care.

    I zwift race with a kurt kinetic dumb trainer. I can't sprint as well as the direct drive trainer guys, but I can't sprint IRL either.

    If you're serious about cycling training, I'd get a power meter and use that outdoors and with your current trainer.
    I like to ride fast.

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