In October 2020 I bought a Wahoo Kickr v5, so a direct drive smart trainer to use in the flat. I hadn’t ridden indoors for years although I owned a very basic wheel on turbo trainer but that had found its way to the skip due to lack of use. In general my preference has always been to ride outdoors no matter what the conditions. 2020 didn’t really change this but the chance of not actually being allowed to exercise outdoors did. I was also curious to what has changed in the indoor cycling world with everyone Zwifting.
My attempt of buying a smart trainer during the first lockdown didn’t happen as everyone else had got there before me and smart trainers weren’t available for weeks if not months. Come the 2nd lockdown, luck was on my side.
The Kickr v5 is at the more expensive end of smart trainers. Factors that decided my purchase were based around our little flat. I wanted something that would be quiet and pack down reasonably well to store away. This one fitted the bill well on the noise level – very well actually – and does a pretty decent job at storing away, better to be honest than the old basic trainer I had which was very awkward.
The Kickr also, according to reviews would be very accurate for power output and readings. As I don’t have a comparison to other smart trainers, I’ll have to trust that they are right. I do right outdoors with Garmin Vector Pedals and the power indoors and outdoors seem to match pretty well so that is a good sign.
My main set up at home involves my desk with the tablet on it to play whichever smart trainer app I am using at the time. The bike repair stand I bought a couple of years ago came with a great thick plastic sheet to cover the floor which has come in handy for a floor cover when using the smart trainer too. I would try and run the smart trainer app through the TV but the setup in the flat doesn’t really allow for this as it would all end up at a bit of an angle. The tablet works fine.
I’d post a picture of my setup but the bike is currently in the bikeshop being serviced so you’ll have to wait for another day for that.
I have ridden the trainer for the last 6 months between 0-2 times per week as I still choose to head outdoors mostly. It takes about 5-10 min to setup and take down, a bit less than it takes to get sorted for a winter outdoor ride. The main thing I had to sort out over time is to have some support for the ‘feet’ of the trainer as it would tilt a bit due to the unevenness of our floorboards. A couple of big wide boards seemed to have helped with this.
As I still ride with a 10 speed cassette I had to change the one that the trainer came with but that was a pretty simple task. From there on riding in both ERG and resistance has worked very well and connectivity to apps has been simple, the issues mostly seem to stem from the apps than the trainer as it appears.
In an ideal world I’d have a place to have the set up continuously over the winter but it works pretty well in our small flat.
I’ll chat through my experiences with the apps I have been using over the coming days.
Any questions or thoughts drop me a note.