Online training platform Zwift takes cycling into the twenty-first century. This popular new platform gives cyclists the ability to connect with others in the digital world.
By using technologically-advanced smart trainers, Zwift connects to one’s bikes to receive signals that are then translated into the virtual world. Here, in a massive multiplier landscape, cyclists are able to compete, train, and play with others.
In order to take advantage of the great benefits that Zwift offers, one must first purchase a smart trainer. Below, we take a look at six of the best smart trainers for Zwift to streamline your shopping experience.
What Are Zwift Smart Trainers?
Zwift smart trainers serve as the connection between your bike and the virtual world. Without a smart trainer, you’ll be unable to plug into Zwift’s digital landscape.
Importantly, smart trainers calibrate your bike’s resistance based on the terrain that you’re seeing in the game. This provides for a more realistic experience while making your training worthwhile.
All of this works to reduce the boredom of training by yourself. With Zwift smart trainer’s two-way feed, you’ll be able to compete and ride with others in a fully unique virtual world.
Additionally, this form of training offers several powerful benefits when compared to cycling in the real world. For starters, it provides a safer form of travel, as you don’t have to risk falling off your bike or being involved in other accidents. Because the smart trainer will adjust to mimic different terrains, you can get the same great workout from the comfort of your own home.
In other ways, Zwift smart trainers allow for an even better workout. That’s because you won’t need to stop for traffic lights, pedestrians, or any other blockade. Instead, you’ll be able to ride continuously while enjoying social communion with others.
Zwift smart trainers bring you these benefits by helping link your bike to your tablet, PC, or phone.
6 Best Smart Trainer for Zwift
With this information in mind, let’s take a look at six of the hottest Zwift smart trainers on the market!
1. Tacx Flux Trainer
Weight: 55.4 Pounds
The Tacx Flux Trainer provides a realistic cycling experience with highly-accurate power readings. Because it’s a smart direct trainer, keep in mind that you will have to remove the rear wheel of your bike to install it.
This installation method is what drives its highly-accurate power readings. In fact, these readings are so precise that they’re accurate within around three percentage points of the actual value.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of the Tacx Flux Trainer, however, is the fact that it has one of the most realistic feels on the market. It gets this great feel by using eight powerful electromagnets that can help adjust both resistance and torque to mirror realistic conditions.
Overall, it offers a great deal of power, as well. Clocking it at 1500 watts, it gives you the power you need to take your indoor workout to the next.
That’s not to say the device is without flaws, however. Perhaps the biggest detractor from the device is that it proves to be a bit louder than some other smart trainers. This makes it more difficult to do your workout indoors without disturbing your neighbors.
Despite this, you can count on its durable design to give you a secure riding experience. Though you won’t be able to fold it for traveling convenience, you can be sure that the sturdy design will hold up. In other words, its durable frame will help make sure that you don’t fall off. And don’t forget that with its seamless flywheel, you’ll enjoy an incredibly smooth ride.
2. Elite DRIVO Interactive Power Meter Muin Trainer
Weight: 10 Pounds
Size: 19” x 15” x 32”
This powerful Zwift smart trainer features some of the most accurate power readings in the business. As a smart direct trainer, it will require that you remove the back wheel in order to attach it. However, once you do, you can expect to see power readings that are accurate within about one percentage point. This makes it one of the most accurate smart trainers on the market for those looking to get precise power ratings.
What’s more, this incredibly powerful smart training includes up to 2200 watts of power—helping you take your workout to the next level. Its magnetic resistance also helps the device provide for a more realistic experience.
Like other great trainers, this device helps control your speed, cadence, and power and then transmits these readings to other apps such as Zwift. This allows for you to get a complete cycling workout from the comfort of your own home.
What’s more, its integrated technology means that you can enjoy some of the most life-like terrain experiences possible. And because it runs only at 71 decibels at 200 watts, it’s the perfect option for use indoors. This means that you won’t have to worry about bothering anyone near you—including your neighbors.
Despite its many benefits, this Zwift trainer does come with one small drawback in that the resistance has been reported to slip at times. This generally happens when cyclists accelerate hard on quick starts. Overall, however, the device provides a solid training experience on-par with real-life conditions.
3. CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Smart Drive
Weight: 46 Pounds
Size: 23” x 13” x 2
Like the other direct drive trainers on this list, this great option from CycleOps provides an incredibly accurate power measurement.
The tradeoff, of course, is that you’ll have to spend a bit more time during the installation, as you’ll need to remove the rear tire of your bike to install it.
What makes this option so great is that it’s 100% Zwift compatible. Not only will it transmit your information in real time, but it will also make sure that your bike adjusts to different terrains at incredible paces. This helps ensure that you’re getting the complete workout and training experience you need.
But that’s not the only way that this CycleOps device can help you mimic real outdoor conditions. With the capability of mimicking several kinds of outdoor terrains—even inclines of up to 20%–you can get a great outdoor ride from the comfort of your own home.
And at just 72 decibels at 80 RPMS, it offers the quiet ride you need to enjoy your Zwift training from the comfort of your own home.
Additionally, riders have the opportunity to use 8-11 speed cassettes. Even better, it features internal cooling technology that can keep it running longer—allowing you to get the workout of a lifetime.
With its front wheel tray and foldable design, you get all the best in the way of storage.
What’s more, with its revolutionary axle design, you can enjoy a quiet, vibration-less ride. And because no resistance is added when you hit 0, you’ll enjoy one of the best rides any smart trainer has to offer.
4. Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer
Weight: 47.4 Pounds
Size: 17.32” x 10.24” x 24.41”
The Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer is one of the most popular on the market. And for good reason.
This direct smart trainer features a powerful, yet quiet, motor that operates at a maximum of 80 decibels. And with it running at only 70 decibels at 80 RPMS and 200 watts, you never have to worry about bothering your neighbors or those around you.
Remember, however, that because it’s a smart direct trainer, you’re going to have to take extra care when installing it. That’s because you’ll need to remove your rear wheel to attach it. This has mostly positive effects—namely that you’ll be able to enjoy more accurate power readings.
Keep in mind, though, that it does come with a few minor drawbacks, such as making your rear tire wear out a bit faster. Many find this to be a worthy tradeoff when considering its other benefits.
The most powerful of these benefits is likely that the TacX Neo trainer really helps add another layer of realism to the entire experience. Unlike other smart trainers that simply attempt to mimic different terrain, the TacX Neo has rapid resistance response, helping it better calibrate your ride based on a number of different virtual conditions. This allows riders to get a more accurate and powerful workout.
Finally, its size and design make it one of the most portable options on the list. This makes it the perfect option for cyclists who enjoy traveling.
5. Kinetic Rock and Roll 2.0 Smart Bike Trainer
Weight: 47 Pounds
Size: 30” x 30” x 11”
This powerful option from Kinetic comes with integrated sensor technology—meaning that no other add-ons are needed.
Additionally, it comes fully equipped with ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth technology, making it perfect for connecting to your Zwift device.
This Kinetic device has become a consumer favorite because of its extremely realistic ride experiences. This comes in part from its patented frame that is specifically designed to mimic movements on real roads.
Additionally, the device comes with a 6.5 pound flywheel that ensures that you have an incredibly smooth ride.
Keep in mind, however, that in order to maintain your speed in Zwift, you’ll need to manually shift gears. This is because the sensors only transmit your cadence to Zwift and don’t control the resistance of your trainer.
What’s more, you can expect a very easy setup with this device—meaning that you don’t have to waste any additional time in getting to your training.
By allowing you to seamlessly hook up to Zwift, you’ll be able to start enjoying your rides at home like never before. Its progressive fluid resistance allows you to enjoy a quiet ride that won’t upset your neighbors—or anyone else in your house for that matter. This fluid resistance will adjust with your wheel speed. This means that it’s not controlled by outside apps—such as Zwift. This means that you’ll have to take more care to ensure that you’re switching gears to maintain realistic speeds and experiences. Used correctly, however, it provides an incredible training workout.
6. CycleOps 9930 M2 Smart Trainer
Weight: 23 Pounds
Size: 20” x 22” 9”
The CycleOps 9930 M2 Smart Trainer brings together some of the lastest in CycleOps’ recent firmware innovations.
While it still sports the classic 2-inch steel tubing design the brand has become known for, the M2 comes with a number of game-changing innovations. Notably, however, the strong spring-loaded frame makes it safe for riders to stay on without worrying about losing their balance.
But that is not all. With its three partitions, the M2 allows for riders to choose between three different options for rear hub spacing: 120mm, 130mm, and 135mm.
Like others in the series, the M2 still features great compatibility with a number of different training apps, including Zwift. This makes it perfect for those looking to link up to virtual training systems.
Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the M2, however, comes from its integrated cadence detection. This allows for riders to stay indoors while still getting accurate power readings without installing separate cadence sensors. This cadence is calibrated by a unique design that features magnets in the flywheel.
The M2 is particularly easy to set up, making it the perfect smart trainer for beginners. It’s wheel-on design reduces much of the set up hassle, providing users with quicker access to their rides. Additionally, recent firmware updates have helped the trainer provide one of the most realistic workout experiences possible. This makes it a great option for those looking for a Zwift smart trainer, as it allows for different roads and terrains to feel as real as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Smart Trainer for Zwift
Q1: How Does Zwift Compare to Other Training Apps?
Ans1: Zwift differs from other training apps such as TrainerRoad, Rouvy, and Bkool in that it provides both powerful training and an immersive social environment. Those seeking to get both a good workout and enjoy time with others will likely enjoy the highly-immersive digital world of Zwift. Additionally, Zwift features some of the most developed and creative courses of any of the popular training apps.
Q2: Does Zwift Include Any Climbing Training Plans?
Ans2: Yes, Zwift currently has training plans that are available to users.
Q3: What Equipment Do You Need to Use Zwift?
Ans3: To use Zwift, you’ll need a computer, smart phone or tablet; ant+ dongle and USB cables; a road bike; and a smart trainer.
If you’re in search of an all-new type of cycling experience, Zwift may be the platform for you.
With its immersive social environment, carefully-planned routes, and two-way performance training courses, it provides you with the great workout you need with the fun you deserve.
To get the most from your experience, consider purchasing one of the great Zwift smart trainers above. These devices will allow you to interact in Zwift’s virtual world, giving you the ability to train and communicate with others around you.
By keeping these choices in mind, you’ll be able to choose the best Zwift trainer for your situation.