7 Smart Trainers for Zwift, Rouvy, & Riding Indoors 

Researching the Best Bike Trainers for Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, etc.

Even for the most outdoor-enthused cyclists, an indoor bike trainer can be a practical investment. Whether for quality training intervals in the middle of winter or spinning easy while multitasking on the laptop, sometimes indoor cycling makes sense.

As a competitive cyclist who’s done most of my winter cycling outdoors on a fat bike, this year I’ve decided to buy a direct-drive, smart trainer to ride indoors. If you’re also looking to buy a bike trainer, then you’re probably well aware that smart, direct-drive models are not cheap, and choosing the right one is a difficult decision. 

To help narrow your selection, I’ve extensively researched various smart bike trainers – all of which are compatible with Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, and most other platforms. I whittled it down to these seven based on features like maximum simulated gradient, maximum power output, accuracy, and overall quietness, stability, and smoothness. 

 

1. Wahoo Fitness KICKR Smart Trainer 

Wahoo KICKR V5 Smart Bike Trainer

Wahoo Fitness has evolved its bike trainer technology to great lengths and the KICKR Smart Trainer is a pack-leading frontrunner for those looking for the next best thing to outdoor riding. 

The Wahoo KICKR Smart Trainer offers highly precise (+/-) 1 percent power accuracy and an extra-large flywheel making it ultra-quiet. It provides automatic calibration out of the box with no manual process required, so it’s ready to ride with minimal setup. This high-end bike trainer comes with a Shimano 11-speed cassette but is 12-speed SRAM compatible with the appropriate XD/XDR freehub and thru-axle adapter.

The footing foundation of KICKR’s AXIS technology mimics the side-to-side movement of riding outdoors. Combined with exceptional stability, this is one solid bike trainer for serious cyclists seeking the best-in-class. Visit WahooFitness.com for more details or see the specs at a glance below

  • Max power: 2,200 watts
  • Accuracy: +/- 1%
  • Max simulated gradient: 20%
  • Weight: 47 lbs (21.5 kg)
  • Cassette included: Yes
  • Noise: 61dB
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC, WiFi
  • Price: $1,299.99

Look for deals on Backcountry and REI. Also, check for discounts on the 2021 model.

 

2. Tacx NEO 2T Smart Trainer

tacx neo 2t garmin's best bike-trainer

As an upgrade from the original NEO smart trainer, the Tacx NEO 2T features a new motor design that delivers a quieter, smoother ride. Unlike most smart trainers, it doesn’t require a power source so you can use it damn near anywhere. 

Tacx NEO 2T claims its power output metrics to be within (+/-) 1 percent accuracy. And with its magnetic flywheel-like feel, it’s one of the best bike trainers at simulating gradient changes on Zwift.

Tacx is a line from Garmin, so you can be confident you’re getting a well-engineered bike trainer from one of the best brands in the cycling industry. Go to Garmin.com for all the tech specs or check out this summarized breakdown below:

  • Max power: 2,200 watts
  • Accuracy: +/- 1%
  • Max simulated gradient: 25%
  • Total weight: 47.4 lbs (21.5 kg)
  • Cassette included: No
  • Noise: 61dB
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC,  Bluetooth
  • Price: $1,399.99 

Look for deals on Amazon, Backcountry, and REI

 

3. Elite Justo Interactive Bike Trainer

What looks like it came out of the late 1980s, the interactive smart trainer known as Justo is a new innovation from the Elite brand of cycling technology.

This well-crafted bike trainer offers some of the highest gradient slopes for climbing, maxing out at 24 percent pitches. Its simple 90-degree folding leg design is mindfully-engineered for optimal stability.

Like other top-of-the-line trainers of today, Justo offers auto-calibration for easy at-home setup. It’s a fantastic bike trainer for Zwift, TrainerRoad, and other interactive simulated rides. But it also offers two stand-alone features that don’t require power or a connection Go to Elite-IT.com for more info or see the most important specs below.

  • Max power: 2,300 watts
  • Accuracy: +/- 1%
  • Max simulated gradient: 24%
  • Total weight: 37.5 lbs (17 kg)
  • Cassette included: No
  • Noise:very quiet” 
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth
  • Price: $1,199.99 

The trainer comes from a European brand, so being that it’s relatively new, it’s tougher to get in the states. Stay tuned for updates.

 

4. Saris H3 Smart Bike Trainer

Saris H3 Smart Bike Trainer

 

The Saris H3 is one of the lesser-known bike trainers on the market that’s highly reviewed yet lower in cost compared to similar models. The H3’s power accuracy is within (+/-) 2 percent, which is less precise but still sufficient for most cyclists.

The H3 trainer has a robust flywheel that provides a realistic riding experience that’s both smooth and quiet. It also provides ample maximum power output at 2,000 watts and can simulate up to 20 percent grade climbs.

As a significant upgrade from the H2 model, the Saris H3 is a more accurate, stable, and enjoyable bike trainer for Zwift and other training platforms. You can get all the details at Saris.com or review the primary specs below.

  • Max power: 2,000 watts
  • Accuracy: +/- 2%
  • Max simulated gradient: 20%
  • Total weight: 47 lbs (21.3 kg)
  • Cassette included: No
  • Noise: 59dB
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth
  • Price: $799.99 

Look for deals on Amazon, Backcountry, and REI.

 

5. Elite Direto XR-T Interactive Bike Trainer

Elite Direto XR-T Interactive Bike Trainer

Just one step down from its old brother Justo, the Direto XR is one of Elite’s high-end bike trainers. It offers the same 2,300-watt power maximum and the same level of elevation simulation peaking at a 24 percent maximum gradient. 

Where it falls short slightly short is its power metrics vary at +/- 1.5 percent, just a half-percent off from comparable models. For a vast majority of users, this is a very minimal discrepancy.

The Directo XR-T is the version that does not include the cassette while the XR version does. The XR-T, however, can be easier to find. Visit Elite-IT.com to get all the details or see the summary of specs below.

  • Max power: 2,300 watts
  • Accuracy: +/- 1.5%
  • Max simulated gradient: 24%
  • Total weight: 44.8 lbs (20.3 kg)
  • Cassette included: No
  • Noise: very quiet
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth
  • Price: $999.99 

Check for deals on Amazon, Backcountry, and REI.

 

6. Wahoo KICKR Core Smart Trainer

wahoo kickr core best bike trainer with smart integration

The KICKR Core is a great option for those seeking one of the best bike trainer options but at a reasonable price. It’s a slight step down from KICKR V5 but delivers ample capability and features for most riders.

Backed by the exceptional engineering and customer support of Wahoo Fitness, the KICKR Core is a simple yet durable smart trainer that provides great ride quality despite its smaller design and flywheels.

While its power accuracy is slightly less accurate at (+/-) 2 percent and the maximum output tops out at 1,800 watts, the KICKR Core is an economical model that’s more compact and easier to store. Head to WahooFitness.com for more details or see the primary specs below.

  • Max power: 1,800 watts
  • Accuracy: +/- 2%
  • Max simulated gradient: 16%
  • Total weight: 39.7 lbs (18 kg)
  • Cassette included: No
  • Noise: 70dB
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth
  • Price: $899.99 

Check the pricing on Amazon, Backcountry, and REI.

 

7. Elite Suito T Interactive Bike Trainer

The Suito T is one of the best bike trainer options from Elite. Perfect for a wide variety of bikes that use both quick-release and thru-axles, the Suito T is compatible with 9-12 speed Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM cassettes with the appropriate adapter. 

Primarily made from steel, the Elite Suito T is a highly durable indoor bike trainer that’s very solid and stable. While it’s not as quiet as some of the more premium-priced bike trainers, it still hums with minimal noise. 

The Suito T has a heavier flywheel which is preferred by most riders. And while this version does not come with a cassette but it’s also far more affordable compared to similar smart trainers.

  • Max power: 1,900 watts
  • Accuracy: +/- 2.5%
  • Max simulated gradient: 16%
  • Total weight: 50 lbs (22 kg)
  • Cassette included: No
  • Noise: “semi-quiet”
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth
  • Price: $849.99 

Check the pricing on Amazon, Backcountry, and REI.

 

My “Best Bike Trainer” Pick

As an ultra-distance cyclist who rides over 10k miles per year on my bike (almost entirely outdoors), I have finally succumbed to the long, dark winters of northern Michigan and I’ve decided to invest in a smart bike trainer for Zwift rides and indoor training. The model I chose was the KICKR Smart Trainer from Wahoo Fitness. 

my best bike trainer choice: wahoo kickr

I am happy to report that this bike trainer has exceeded my expectations. Not only does it ride smoothly and quietly (which were two very important features), but it’s seamless in simulated gradient changes in the elevation. I also love that it rocks slightly from side to side, which effectively mimics cycling outdoors. 

While I’ve been using this bike trainer for Zwift and riding with my friends online, I also enjoy a slightly more technology-free riding experience and just listening to music while pedaling. 

It wasn’t a cheap investment, but it was definitely worth the expense. I got it on sale at REI.com for $899, which was 25% off its original price tag of $1,199. Keep an eye out for deals through Wahoo Fitness and other retailers and you can usually find good discounts like these.

 

About the Author

Tyler Tafelsky Head of Content Better Triathlete

Tyler Tafelsky is an experienced multisport athlete who specializes in various forms of cycling. Mountain biking, road cycling, and eventually triathlon is what initially catapulted Tyler into endurance sports at a young age. Today, he competes in ultra gravel bike races on the professional level. Tyler is the Head of Content for Better Triathlete and leads the site’s editorial team. Learn more about Tyler. Or follow him on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.