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I'm a regular rider -- I average 175 km with 3500 meters ascent a week. I'm looking to be able to do some training at home, for rainy days, and also because during the summer the area where I train becomes filled with traffic and thus not much fun and a bit dangerous.

I plan on leaving a cheaper aluminum bike permanently mounted on a training device at home, saving my carbon frame for when I go out (I don't relish attaching and detaching the bike constantly).

I was recommended the Kickr Core, but when I went to my regular bike store today the salesman recommended the Kickr Snap to me. He has one (he showed me photos) and likes it, he said. Plus -- and this is an important point -- the Kickr Snap is on sale for €350, whereas the Kickr Core would be €800. So that's a fairly large difference and my strong inclination is to get the Snap (plus, the Core would be a special order, whereas the Snap is in stock).

My question is whether there are good reasons to spend the extra money and get the Kickr Core. The salesman said the advantages of the Kickr Core over the Snap was that it was quieter, that it doesn't eat away at the training tire (which can leave a little tire residue on the floor as well), and that it goes to 16 degrees incline, whereas the Snap only goes to 12. To my mind, I don't know that that is worth more than double the price. But are there any other good reasons to prefer the Core?

The only thing I wondered about was the incline -- I'm no competitive cyclist (nor do I want to be), but I do enjoy good hills. That is, I'm interested in getting a good workout when I train. Would 12 degrees incline be enough for someone who is in really good shape (although no pro)? It would be frustrating to max out the Snap, although I was told that that really wasn't a possibility. The salesman also said that the Snap, even if it doesn't go to more than 12 degrees incline, would allow you to use programs that went to more, just "slowing you down" in some way, although the incline wouldn't be reflected as such in the program. Is this in any way true?

Thanks for any info!

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  • With that kind of riding volume that should easily justify getting the gold standard: Tacx NEO 2T. Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 3:44

3 Answers 3

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If possible, it is better to get a direct drive trainer like the Kickr Core. They have better road feel than wheel-on trainers like the Kickr Snap. Additionally, with wheel-on trainers, you can get a lot of variance in how accurate the power measurement is depending on how hard you push the roller into the tire. This will reduce the fidelity of your ride experience. Many people enter a race or competitive ride on Zwift for variety and training, and you will be much more credible with a direct drive trainer.

The Zwift Hub (about €500) is priced well under other direct drive trainers, although it is a bit less accurate. That could be worth considering. Also, there are probably other less-known brands manufacturing low-cost trainers - in fact, the Zwift Hub is a rebranded trainer from JetBlack. To navigate this space, I'd suggest checking the reviews of Ray Maker, aka DC Rainmaker and Shane Miller, aka GP Lama. I'd expect other brands to drop prices or introduce lower-spec direct drive trainers to compete with the Zwift Hub.

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  • They have better road feel than wheel-on trainers like the Kickr Snap. Still, no one's going to confuse a direct-drive trainer with actually being outside riding. IMO the "better road feel" is like saying a Volkswagen Passat is more like a F1 race car than a Yugo - technically true, but it still isn't going to get into any GP race. I personally wouldn't use that as a big decision-driving feature, it'd be more of a tie-breaker for me. Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 17:09
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I've been using Kickr Core for a couple of seasons from the year it first got out in the market, and in comparison with a rear-tyre mounted turbo, it's a night and day difference. Now I haven't used Kicker Snap, but rather Tacx Booster and BlueMatic.

In comparison, Kickr Core is much, much, quieter than any of Tacxes and produces much less vibration. This is a huge benefit for me, as I live in a block of flats, and do not necessarily want to disturb the neighbours. When I was using a rear-tyre mounted turbo I had a few complaints about noise, something that never happened while using the Kickr.

I also prefer the feel of a bike on a direct-drive trainer. It just feels more natural, as you have no rear wheel slipping under hard loads. This is especially frustrating when doing sprints. However, the 'gradient simulation' is for me more of a gimmick. Essentially, if you were riding in e.g. Zwift and approached a hill there, the power unit settings will be adjusted to reflect the gradient. However, I would normally train in the ERG mode, therefore never really used this feature so much. However, in tandem with Kicker Climb, it might produce some nice real-world feel, but that never justified the price to me. Besides, it's really hard to forget you're training indoors.

Regarding the gradients, I'd say that 12% is steep enough. And if you want to push higher wattage, just pedal faster. You can also select a higher gear to make it even more challenging. The Snap is rated up to 1500 W, and that is more than most people push while sprinting - it's more than enough for sustained efforts.

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    "much, much, quieter than any of Tacxes " - doubt it, my Tacx NEO2t is almost completely silent, all noise comes from my bike's drive train. Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 3:39
  • @whatsisname nowhere have I stated anything about Tacx direct drives. I was referring to the models I used.
    – Paweł
    Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 13:45
  • then don't say "any of Tacxes" because that encompasses their whole lineup. Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 17:05
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    I have to agree with @whatsisname - all the roller trainers I've used aren't all that loud, both friction and fluid. It's the fan-resistance trainers that can get loud. FWIW, the fans I use while riding on the trainer are a lot noisier than both the bike and the trainer. Pushing 200W+ means you need to shed a lot of heat. Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 17:12
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The Kickr Core has been touted as a having almost all of what Wahoo's flagship model, the Kickr, offers, at a significantly lower price than the Kickr. Having ridden a high-quality wheel-on trainer (albeit a "dumb trainer") for years, moving to a direct-drive smart trainer (a Kickr in my case) was a nice improvement. The Kickr Snap (a smart wheel-on unit) is cheaper, and if your budget does not allow the expense of the Kickr Core, then the Snap would be a decent compromise (both are smart trainers). However, if you plan on spending a fair amount of time on a trainer and your budget allows the extra expense of the Core, it is an investment that you will benefit from. Weiwan's links to DC Rainmaker are a great source of unbiased reviews and recommendations on trainers, among other things, so that is a resource I would also recommend to look at before ANY trainer purchase.

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  • Would you say that the Kickr Core's lower weight flywheel would be noticeable in comparison to the Kickr's? The bike shop where I shop is telling me that the heavy flywheel on a stationary bike (the ZCycle Zbike, to be specific) makes it better and more realistic than the Kickr Core trainer. I was wondering whether the Kickr was worth the increased price. (Since I'd be getting a bike to leave permanently on the trainer as well, I think the Kickr is probably outside my budge. In any case, I've decided not to go with the Snap, after reading your and other advice).
    – Cerulean
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 1:18
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    @Cerulean this is a quote from DCRainmaker’s review of the Core: “When it comes to that feel, I find the road-like feel of the KICKR CORE and the KICKR 2018 indistinguishable. That’s despite the fact that the KICKR 2018 has a 16lb flywheel versus the 12lb one on the KICKR CORE. Others that have ridden both say the same – you just can’t tell.” Based on this, I would say you also wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a 12 (Core) and 16 (Kickr) lb. flywheel either. Link: dcrainmaker.com/2018/09/…
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 4:00
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    @Cerulean additionally, two more things. DCRainmaker is one of two resources (the other being Lama (sp?) that have an earned reputation and respect for being honest and unbiased. I have used DCR’s advice for ten years now, and have not been let down. Legit. Second, for at least five years now, the Core has been so close in performance to its sibling, the Kickr, that when price comes into play, the Core is the winner over the Kickr.
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 13:40

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