I've been thinking about getting a trainer for my M5 CHR. Wahoo Kickr seemms nice, but they do not recommend it for use with recumbent bikes. Is it just because they lack the experience or would it be bad for any particular reason?

Anyone got good experience with other trainers for their recumbent bikes? (Preferably zwift compatible)

  • Guessing that you're a small percentage of a small percentage overall. Recumbents just aren't that common overall (I've only seen two other riders in my city ever.) – Criggie Apr 28 '19 at 13:43
  • Have you considered a set of rollers with the required sensors for zwift ? – Criggie Apr 28 '19 at 13:45
  • Semi related - on a bent you're putting out lower power than on a road bike. So if Zwift doesn't know about recumbents, you'll appear to be putting out ~half the wattage you could on a road bike. Zwift will show you going much slower than you really would be, and (possibly worst) the avatar will be a generic upright road bike too. – Criggie Apr 28 '19 at 13:52
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    If the trainer is measuring power output at the rear wheel, it shouldn't care if you're on an upright, a unicycle, a recumbent, or cranking one-handed. Where Zwift will get things wrong (if it's making a speed assumption based on road-bike design and power, + virtual conditions, as it seems to) is getting the CDA so far from reality. The M5 CHR is a really aerodynamic bike compared to any upright bike. – WPNoviceCoder Apr 28 '19 at 18:40

The main reason that they don't recommend it for recumbent bikes is that it's much harder to make a universal fit for recumbents. Regular bicycles have far fewer compatibility issues regarding frame shape at the rear dropout. Some recumbent bikes will have tubes that mean that they simply won't fit on a kickr. If you can get access to a Kickr, the only way to know if it will fit is to remove the rear wheel and try to put it on the trainer. If you can fit it on the trainer and your frame has ~5mm of clearance (to account for flex and wobble as you ride) to the trainer, then there is no reason that it can't be used.

The stresses on the rear hub of a recumbent are not so different that a recumbent will be able to fit on the trainer, but should not be used simply because it's a recumbent.

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    Surely if the trainer replicates the mount points of a wheel then it would fit almost any bike. My bent takes a normal 135mm OLD wheel so any trainer that duplicates that should fit. You'd want to bolt it on just like an upright road bike, moreso because of balance reasons. – Criggie Apr 28 '19 at 13:44
  • The rear end of nearly every recumbent is built on the same standards as upright bikes, because 99% of them use stock parts. So the spacing, QRs, derailleur hanger, and cabling will be nearly identical to what's on upright bikes. – WPNoviceCoder Apr 28 '19 at 18:12
  • It's not the hub spacing that's the issue at all, but about frame clearance (the stays in particular). – Carbon side up Apr 29 '19 at 11:42

Cyclops makes a "smart" fluid 2. We've got 2x Cycle-ops fluid 2s in our house, one a decade old, the other newer. Both fit every bike in the house, mostly recumbents, but also several uprights. I've had them on: Volae Team, NoCom, Catrike Expedition, Rans Rocket, Bacchetta Giro 26 + uprights. The cycle-ops used to sell an adapter (just an extension) so that it could be used with a 20" drive wheel as well. We have also used them on several other standard fluid trainers that have passed through the house over the years, and they have all worked perfectly fine.

I like the fluid trainers because they've got a nice power curve that just requires upshifting and going faster to increase resistance, and they're fairly quiet and troublefree. They've got no tech on them, and they're reasonably priced. You can usually find one (or similar) on Craig's for less than $100, and there's not a ton that goes wrong with them.

On our floors they sometimes rock and make a creaking sound (but they'd do that on an upright, too). Grab a rubber weight-lifting or treadmill matt for underneath and you'll probably be happier.

The direct-connect ones even look like they'd work with the chain and chainstay lines of the M5 CHR, Kikr included, but if they're giving a blanket "no recumbents" recommendation in order to CTA, I wouldn't bother handing them the $1100.


I used an Elite Qubo smart trainer on my 2 wheel bent for 4 winters. The trainer went belly up so I purchased a Tacx NEO2 smart trainer from Garmin. Used it for 1 winter with the 2 wheel bent then sold the 2 wheel bent and bought a recumbent trike. Using the trike on the Tacx with no problems at all. The rear mechanism on a rear wheel drive recumbent bike/trike is the same as an upright bike. I have 11 speed Shimano cassette, 11 speed Shimano derailleur, etc. All standard components. I mainly use Zwift and Rouvy and neither one knows or cares if I'm on an extremely comfortable trike or an upright. Yes the avatar on these programs is an upright. I don't care, I'm comfortable.

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    Was the failure of your first trainer (the Elite) related to being used on a recumbent ? Or did it fail for other reasons ? Welcome to the site! Please do take a moment to browse the tour – Criggie Mar 7 '20 at 7:46

Common sense tells us if the bent fits on the trainer there is no discernible reason for a smart trainer to fail on account of it being attached to a recumbent. I wonder how such a ridiculous notion like that got started. The circuit board failed on my trainer. A new circuit board costs about a 100 dollars and it was out of warranty. I gave the trainer to my brother in law. He'll fix it and have a fairly decent trainer for a 100 bucks. I went with a wheel off trainer because of higher accuracy and more bells and whistles. Bells and whistles help soften the boredom of indoor riding.

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