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Bkool Announces ANT+ FE-C Software Update Available Now, plus a new budget trainer and more

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BKOOL is here at Eurobike this week and has pushed out a number of updates (both software and hardware), one of which will definitely make (most) existing owners quite happy.  As a brief refresher Bkool has historically been one of the least expensive options on the market for resistance controlled trainers, which has over the years made them a fairly popular option for those wanting to get into the automated trainer game – especially in Europe.

ANT+ FE-C Control Software Update:

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First up on the docket is the announcement of ANT+ FE-C trainer control coming to the existing Bkool lineup.  Specifically, to Bkool trainers manufactured after August 2014 (Pro or Classic).  The ‘Pro’ series trainers (black) are the ones they launched last summer, versus the ‘classic’ ones are the white trainers.  Those units as of this past Monday can actually already be updated to include FE-C support.  You’ll do that first by updating your Bkool software, and then by going into the Pairing function and finding your trainer.  You’ll then see an option to enable FE-C control.

Update Sept 8th, 2015: Bkool has changed their stance and will now support all trainers they’ve ever made with the upcoming FE-C support.  See further details in comment here.

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Once FE-C support is enabled, you can use apps including Zwift, TrainerRoad, Kinomap, PerfPro, and others.  At that juncture, no subscription is required for fully paid-off trainers (there’s a model where Bkool allows you to kinda rent a trainer while paying just for the software, so that’s still a bit different).

As you might expect from the overall direction of the company, they’re definitely working to position themselves more directly as a software services company – which is why you can also utilize their paid subscription software to control other FE-C compatible trainers, such as those from Tacx and Elite.  So while the FE-C control on their existing trainers probably doesn’t help them from a software services standpoint, it does help them stay more competitive from a hardware standpoint.

The Bkool pricing for the ‘Smart Pro’ trainer (that’s the resistance controlled one) is 549€/$699/£449.  That does start to make things a bit tricky compared to cheaper FE-C options for the Tacx Bushido Smart and the Elite lower-end trainers that have FE-C at the 390€/ pricing.

New Budget Bkool One Trainer:

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In addition to their upper end line, they’ve also introduced a new budget trainer at 199€/$239/£164.  This new magnetic trainer is not electronically controlled, nor does it broadcast natively anything on ANT+ or BLE.  However, they do have power curves available for it, which means that with the use of a simple ANT+/BLE speed sensor you’ll get wattage information displayed on compatible apps.

So think of this as the regular non-smart trainer that you used to have (or perhaps have had) in the past, just made by Bkool instead.

That power curve is included in the Bkool training simulator software, along with power curves for a number of other trainers by other companies (again, the focus on catering to any trainer out there and making money on the subscription service).

App Updates:

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Finally, they’ve made a number of updates to their app recently.  I’ll briefly call a few of the most recent ones out.  First is the new Velodrome competitions.  These take the previous Velodrome modes and add an online competitive aspect to it where you can compete in different events with other players and teams.

Further, you can actually ‘watch’ an event – both as a spectator and then as a standby team member.  If standing by for your event, you’ll be on a virtual trainer in the middle doing a warm-up.

Bkool velodrome games

The Velodrome competitions come in three modes, which you can see above: Individual Pursuit, Team Pursuit, and ‘Miss and out’.

It was actually surprisingly impressive watching a few of these events happening in real-time today at the show from some random corner of the Internet (the people were elsewhere).  First, because of the serious wattages some folks were putting out (saw bursts above 1,000w), but also because the players were seemingly quite into it.  You can even chat/taunt messages as well to others.

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Next up they’ve started to refine their online rewards ‘currency’/points concept.  For a while now users have been earning points for various tasks and competitions.  But you couldn’t actually do anything with the points.  Now though, you can start to redeem those points for things like customized cycling clothing (digital, not for real life) within the application.  At different levels you’ll be able to do everything from just change the color and add text, all the way up to full-on logo uploading.

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Interestingly, the clothing ‘wears out’ like real clothing and eventually starts to look tattered and with holes.  Though, they must have bought some bad digital fabric if it’s only lasting a few hundred kilometers.  Of further note is that the ‘higher end’ digital fabrics are lighter and more aerodynamic, and in turn the application actually gives you a very slight edge over crappier fabrics – within competitions.

Finally, as alluded to earlier but just to call it out here – the Bkool Simulator software now supports a number of power-curve trainers (i.e. those that aren’t electronically controlled), the list as of today is below – but note that they plan to constantly expand it:

Bkool One
CycleOps
– Supermagneto Pro Trainer
– Jet Fluid Pro Trainer
– Fluid 2 Trainer
– Wind Trainer
Kinetic
– Kinetic Road Machine
– Kinetic Cyclone
Elite
– Turbo Muin
– Qubo Power Fluid
Lemond Pro Wind Revolution

Remember that this list above is in addition to 3rd party FE-C trainers (like the Tacx and Elite ones), as well as native support for the Wahoo KICKR.

Note that all of the newly talked about features are implemented today for the Bkool simulator software (just update it).  However somewhat interestingly the newest features will only be available initially for those with actual Bkool trainers.  So if you subscribed to the app but are using (for example), a KICKR, you won’t get the new fancy aero jerseys or the Velodrome games.  Over time though as they introduce other new features, the previous generation of new features will become available for all.  Sorta like rolling upgrades.  Just something to be aware of.

With that, thanks for reading!  If you’re looking to burn a bit of time, here’s all my Eurobike 2015 posts!

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148 Comments

  1. theboxers

    It is nice to see the continuing updates of the software platform.

    However they have managed to break one of the options that I use. If you are running a plan to sequence some sessions, it no longer runs. I have tried to get it to work on my pc and android tablet without success. I have abandoned and created a new plan and it still does not work.

    I have contacted bkool and have been told that it is a bug that the will fix.

    Everything else as far as I can tell works ok. Although I have not tried to create my own jersey and shorts design.

    • theboxers

      It looks like they have fixed the bug. I now have visibility of my plan sessions in bsim.

      It was a fairly quick turnaround, I reported the problem Monday.

  2. Kez

    This is great news. I’m glad they added FE-C support also to the classic. Still very happy with their own software and good to see constant improvements.

  3. Fran

    August 2014? Seriously?

    I feel scammed by Bkool, and I’ll make sure to let them know.

    I bought their trainer in spring 2014, driven by the promise to implement the ANT+ protocol, and even paid the subscription for some time. I had lost all hopes of this happening, and now I read that my trainer is too old to be updated.
    I don’t know how many people pulled the trigger back then with future updates in mind, but I suspect I am not the only one…

    • JR

      How do I know when my classic trainer was manufactured? I bought it September 2014 but I don’t see the update option. Why the update is only available trainers manufactured after August 2014?

    • Ryan

      I was initially over the moon when I seen this post – now really nervous as I bought mine in November 2014 as well….keeping fingers crossed that ill be able to update. Ill report back later….hopefully with good news.

    • jim

      bought a Bkool Pro back in October 2014, updated to FE-C today and had a nice power controlled ride around Zwift :) next stop i guess is now a Garmin 520 to control power during sessions when not online.

    • Ernesto

      I bought my Bkool Classic 4-5 years ago and I managed to update the firmware without any problems, and now I can use my Edge 520 to record the session and change effort levels etc.

  4. Patrick Charlton

    How can I find out when my Bkool Classic was manufactured?

  5. Patrick Charlton

    I bought mine in November 2014 but there is no option to update ant+

  6. Patrick Charlton

    Has anyone with the classic bkool managed to update the firmware?

    • Kez

      I just updated my white BKOOL Classic (the model with no-USB port). It said it works.

      I noticed that now my Wahoo TICKR X is showing up as a cadence option. In the previous version it only worked for heart rate. Not sure if that is BT or ANT+.

    • Patrick Charlton

      When did you purchase your Bkool Classic?

    • Kez

      In June 2015. In the Activity view of Bkool, it shows up as Bkool Trainer Classic 2.

    • Ian Redfern

      Hey Kez – can you tell me how you got your trainer to update, I have been struggling with this for months on my classic trainer.

      BKOOL just send me the same copy and pasted answer from their website – I have everything set up correctly (i think) but I see no option to run a firmware update anywhere, and it doesnt seem to auto detect one either

  7. This looks like a great set of updates (and finally something to spend my bkool coins on!).

    Look forward to updating later.

  8. Frrice

    I have just updated my Bkool Trainer Pro and I have tried Zwift. All work well!!! Nice.

  9. Patrick Charlton

    Anyone know what the mini usb on the Classic is for? Nothing in the Bkool manuals!

  10. Patrick Charlton

    From Bkool:- (I bought this trainer at the end of November/Early December)

    BKOOL (BKOOL)
    Aug 28, 16:19

    Hi Patrick,

    Thanks for your message. If your Classic trainer has a rear Mini-USB socket, it has been manufactured before August 2014 and therefore cannot be updated to the latest firmware version which enables the ANT+ FE-C protocol. Sorry if this is the case.

    So looks like I am locked in to Bkool software. Shall never buy a trainer from them again..nor will I renew my subscription even though I like their software… I am stuck with a dumb trainer with a usb socket that does nothing! Doesn’t even update their own firmware!

    • JR

      It should support firmware updates, the usb port is because of the updates. Quote from Dcrainmaker’s review: “The trainer itself supports firmware updates, and you do so via a USB cable.”

      So why we can’t update it with the usb-cable?

    • Patrick Charlton

      Good question that Bkool themselves don’t seem to have an answer to. Seems like they have abandoned the majority of classic users.

    • JR

      How did you get in contact with them? Maybe if more people demands the update to older classics they might do something?

    • Patrick Charlton

      Their email is info@bkool.com

    • pert

      got this from support earlier
      good news!

      Thanks for your message. If your Classic trainer has been manufactured before August 2014 (has a rear Mini-USB or USB socket) it will receive a firmware update in the coming weeks. That will enable it to use the ANT+ FE-C protocol and connect to other compatible simulators.

      If it is has been manufactured after August 2014 (no rear sockets), the current firmware update already enables it to use the ANT+ FE-C protocol.

    • Antonio Alonso

      Got the same email this morning (only mine was in Spanish).

      Very happy about it. It’s not everyday a company decides to include older devices in their update plans.

      Cheers.

  11. Ukexpat

    Mine’s a 2013 model so I guess I am sol too. Not happy…

  12. earl

    Same for me, stuck with an old white classic model with usb socket in the back which was £499 at the time. Now cannot update the firmware. I’ve messaged them over the years asking when the turbo would be able to utilise erg mode and they’ve replied with messages which basically said “not yet” and “wait and see” and now this! .

    • 6co

      Same here! Very unhappy.
      My unit goes for sale as soon as I pick up a new one, which will be of a different brand for sure!

  13. Artur

    I’m on a Mac. My BkoolIndoor app keep crashing. Any ideas why?

  14. Mattias Forsberg

    Sent a mail asking about the Pro model and how to know when its manufactured this is the reply

    Thanks for your message. You need to have the 3.06 firmware version to be able to upgrade the ANT feature. In order to update your Bkool Pro trainer correctly, please place it closer to the PC (not further than 5 cm). Use a USB extension cable for the mini USB ANT+ antenna, in order to separate it from the computer and enhance communication. Also turn off your computer Bluetooth connection

    According to my software mine is 3.2 but I don’t have the new ANT feature

    /Mattias

    • Jonny Stone

      I am in the same boat here possibly Mattias? I have the Bkool Pro but the software is not giving me the option to update the firmware so I can get ANT+ FE-C.

      I bought my unit in May this year and I asked Bkool about updating the Firmware and this is the reply I got “Not all the trainers can be updated to 3.06 version, it depends on the fabrication date. If your trainer doesn’t ask for an update, it is because it doesn’t need to be updated.”

      I have followed up and asked them how I find out the fabrication date of my unit and to confirm which Pro units can or cannot have the firmware updated. I will let you know what they reply.

      It seems to me that they are just abandoning all users of pro or classic units not ‘fabricated’ after August 2014! Poor show if true!

    • Mattias Forsberg

      this is the latest reply I got

      Thanks for your message. Not every Bkool Pro trainer can be updated to the latest firmware version, since the electronic board can vary from one serial to another. If you don’t see any update notification in the simulator program, it means that your trainer already has the latest firmware version according its specifications.

      Not every? it may vary? when i read this I understand it as it doesn’t matter if its before or after August it may “vary” it doesn’t sound as Bkool support has all the info themselves. if not every trainer after August 2014 can be updated I see it as a warranty problem and thats what I’m going for with my LBS and I’m also throwing in that the fan is rubbing at higher speeds

    • Jonny Stone

      I asked the following on my follow-up email back to Bkool –

      “Can you confirm exactly how I determine the fabrication date and which model of the Pro can and cannot be updated?”

      Now, between me asking this and getting my answer below, they appear to be telling Classic owners now that they will be able to update to get ANT+ FE-C support, which is great news, but they again replied along the same lines again about Pro models –

      “Thanks for your message. Not every Bkool Pro trainer can be updated to the latest firmware version, since the electronic board can vary from one serial to another. If you don’t see any update notification in the simulator program, it means that your trainer already has the latest firmware version according its specifications.”

      So, they now saying to Classic users whose trainer was built before August 2014 that a firmware update will be coming, but it now appears that if you have a Pro model and you have not already got a notification to update your firmware that it won’t be happening???

      Confused?

      I have asked directly again about Pro users and ANT+ FE-C support… lets see if they reply with an answer!

      I will be even more angry if they resolve the classic firmware issue for ANT+ FE-C support and they leave Pro-owners with older units out!!! I only bought my Pro in April too!

    • The super short version is that basically everyone will get a firmware update. The precise definition of everyone (ensuring it captures everyone back to the beginning of time), is something I just sent a note back to them on.

      There will be different timeframes for older units though as they prepare the update for units they didn’t previously plan on updating, sounds like 1-2 months.

    • Jonny Stone

      Brilliant, I think that is the answer everyone is wanting, thank you. I don’t mind waiting a little longer, as long as it gets done in the end.

      Interesting that you say they are preparing “the update for units they didn’t previously plan on updating”, so it does sound like that they have only decided to do these other firmware updates under pressure from us consumers! If so, it is a little naive of them not to think they would come under pressure, especially as they can’t control exactly when a unit is sold after manufacture, so if mine is pre-August 2014 it was not sold to me (new) by the retailer until 8 months later! Also, with pro-models in particular, it only came out last summer so did they not think that some of us would get a little hot under the collar about this, given that the oldest units are not much more than a year old?

  15. Patrick Charlton

    Those of you with the older classic should write to info@bkool.com and ask for the firmware to be updated. My model is only 9 months old yet is unsupported with firmware updates. The model has a usb slot so it must be possible. You never know… there must be thousands of users with the older classic model.

    • JR

      Email sent, and I hope everyone else sends one too.
      I can’t think any other reason why it’s not supported than older models doesn’t support OTA firmware updates and they don’t want to make a software to update with a USB cable.

    • GoldRush

      I too sent them an angry/disappointed email. I’ve had my classic trainer (with USB port) since November of last year but to find out that I can’t update it is rather frustrating.

    • JR

      Did you get any response from them? I haven’t. They’ve been quiet also in facebook, except spamming some pictures.

      Not so good customer service.

    • I’ve been going back and forth with them on e-mail regarding it. They’re working to get clarification on the exact blocker there. Will update as soon as I have it.

    • Patrick Charlton

      That’s good to hear!

    • JR

      Good news! Just got reply from Bkool:

      Thanks for your message. If your Classic trainer has been manufactured before August 2014 (has a rear Mini-USB or USB socket) it will receive a firmware update in the coming weeks. That will enable it to use the ANT+ FE-C protocol and connect to other compatible simulators.

    • Jonny Stone

      That is good news and I assume this will also apply to Pro Trainers manufactured before August 2014 too? I have emailed them about this already, so hopefully they will come back with similar confirmation.

      It has to be said, but maybe if they had made this clear from the start that other firmware updates would follow they could have saved what I suspect has been a barrage of inquiries… of maybe they have had their minds changed by those inquiries and posts on here and other similar sites?

    • Patrick Charlton

      Wow! Never expected that! I will wait and see!

  16. Bob dynowski

    UK Bkool users might want to look in on the Bkool cyclechat forum for hardware and software issues and resolution especially issues upgrading from 3.2 to 3.6. The U.S. Bkool rep keeps an eye on the forum too and occasionally posts. I know some of us have felt customer support hasn’t been great at times but it’s another forum to air understandable concerns about support and may mean a more speedy response and resolution that simply emailing Bkool direct.

  17. Tom

    What’s now the best budget trainer in your opinion?
    I can buy a Tacx Bushimo Smart or Bkool Pro at the same price… (mostly used with Zwift)
    Witch would you prefer?

    • Personally I prefer the Bkool as I found it to feel more realistic when riding. I’ve not been on the Bushido though as I was comparing to the Vortex – not sure how much difference there is, for me the price was equal between Vortex and Bkool – the Bushido is a lot more expensive.

  18. Jonny Stone

    Hi All – Has anyone tried a firmware updated Bkool Pro with TrainerRoad yet and did it work and/or control resistance? I was about to sign up to Bkool for the winter when I came upon the news of the firmware update and now think that using TrainerRoad for more structured and interval sessions and Zwift (which Frrice seems to confirm does work, although will be trying this for myself soon?) for less structured and more ‘fun’ winter sessions, seems like a good combination. Although, in the longer term I am sure Zwift will become a subscription service. Thanks, JS

    • Ryan

      Hi Jonny,

      I’ve just emailed Trainer Road to ask them about Bkool support. Ill update as soon as I hear back from them. Bool now works great with Zwift (completed my first 30km yesterday on it and really love it!). Zwift have also said structured workouts are on the way – which would make Zwift the complete experience in my view. Would still love to try Trainer Road synced up with sufferfest videos.

    • Jonny Stone

      Thanks Ryan. I posted the question on TrainerRoads Facebook Page and they replied with “We’re in the process of testing Bkool trainers with TrainerRoad and will have full-device support in the coming weeks :-)”. So it sounds like that it does work and I assume they want to ensure that they have been able to check the calibration & accuracy of the data output before formally supporting it. Hopefully, this will be done quickly & we can start to use it in the coming weeks. JS.

    • Ryan

      Thanks for that Jonny, just got the same reply! Looks like we will be up and running fairly shortly. In the meantime, Zwift have just put their Richmond course live, so I may have to give that a try this evening!

  19. Emil / Norway

    DC, in your 2014/2015 Trainer overview you rated “Tacx Smart” trainers to be the most attractive trainers in the mid range segment. Would you still reccomend Tacx after the new Bkool upgrades ??? I have just sold my Tacx Fortius, ready for a new gadget. I like steep hills > 7% which is stated as maximum realistic on the Vortex (a problem ??)

    Bkool Pro, Tacx Bushido Smart or Tacx VortexSmart?? In Norway the Bushido is 50 usd more expensive than the Bkool Pro.

    • They key benefit to the Tacx is dual ANT+/BLE, which the BKOOL lacks. for that reason alone I’d go Tacx.

    • I personally found that the Bkool rides better than the Vortex…. as Ray says though, if you want/need BLE then your decision is made.

      For me the Bushido is significantly more expensive than the Bkool though… so i’m not comparing directly for you. If you do like steep hills, then the Vortex really isn’t for you… again the Bkool is better here but they don’t list a realistic incline option.

    • I’ve had it with Bkool. That company has just disappointed me time after time in regards to the ANT+ profile support and timelines regarding the same! Furthermore, the development of their platform during the last two years are held to a bare minimum (wow – now I can get custom cyclingclothes on my avatar) – and the usability and featureset of their webplanform are still laughable!
      I’d go with the Bushido Smart instead anyday! The one plus in Bkools book – their “all you can eat” video-route Premium membership can now be used together with the Bushido anyway.

    • Just for clarity though – since they’ve already made the update available to folks that had compatible units, and then now promised to add it to everyone else since the beginning of time – what specifically is the issue (from a hardware standpoint)?

    • From a hardware standpoint there is not much of an issue. They make some great value-for-money hardware and have kept improving it with each new release.
      My issue is rather with Bkool as a company. During the latest couple of years they have communicated a lot of “promises” about what they would do and when they would do it. And they haven’t kept a whole lot of them. This makes me doubt if they really can be trusted to do what they claim they will do, this time? Or in the future? They now need to walk the talk for quite a while, before I can support og recommend them again without a lot of warnings and “buts”.

    • Antonio Alonso

      Well, René, it seems to me that you don’t really know how bad are things when you buy another brand of trainer. Tacx’s and Elite’s platforms are much worse and really expensive. True that the cycling clothes thing is quite silly, but the velodrome’s Elimination and Pursuit are a great addition to me. Plus, the amount of videos have increased enormously in the last two years.

      To me, at this price point, there is no better option.

    • Huh?

      The CompuTrainer is up to 4x the cost of the Tacx and Elite trainers with FE-C. The addition of FE-C means it really doesn’t matter what software platform any of these companies have inhouse, because nobody is going to use them. They’ll all be using other apps.

    • Ehh, were your “Computrainer” comment for me, Ray?

      BTW. Do you by any chance know if Bkool has any kind of API for their webplatform? I was just thinking that it would be easy to make a 3rd-party tournament/league system if one could just get read access to their session data.

    • I have to admit that I don’t have any experience with other brands’ platforms, Antonio. But what I would really like to see was the brands taking more of an Apple-like strategy to their development… Meaning, that they should/could focus more on quality before quantity. They need the basics to be in place (need to haves) before using a lot of resources doing more or less stupid add-ons (nice to haves). The time Bkool used to develop the customize-your-jersey-feature, could have been used to add just little hints of usablity to their webplatform – and thus remove a lot of confusion og frustration from their users. And since it seems that Bkool wants to base the main part of their business on their softwareplatform, it seems even more relevant to focus on the quality of exactly that!

    • René – Hmm…I have no idea where that CompuTrainer comment of mine was supposed to be, but clearly not in this post. My bad!

  20. Hi All-

    Just as a brief confirmation/update, Bkool has indeed confirmed they will roll out ANT+ support to all past Bkool resitance controlled trainers. Here’s the note directly from them:

    “Good news! we have researched the possibilities to make all Bkool trainers compatible with the ANT+ FE-C. The Classic trainers manufactured before Aug 14′ are legacy units with a different hardware than the newer ones, which means some work needs to be done, but it is feasible. Bkool has always followed the same philosophy of making new versions (firmware and software) available for all users for free, no matter when they bought their trainer. We are happy to be able to achieve it this time too, despite the technical difficulties.

    The ANT+ FE-C adoption for these Classic trainers manufactured before Aug 14′ will happen through a firmware update. No button will be shown on the pairing screen in this case, the trainers will be ANT+ FE-C right after the update. This firmware update will also include the inertia simulation, which is a feature that has always been included in the Bkool Pro and “new” Classic trainers.

    We don’t know the exact lead time, I can keep you updated [on it]. Our estimation is that it will take us between one and two months.” (Sept 8th: Clara @ Bkool)

    I further clarified that this will include any and all trainers they’ve made, except obviously the brand new budget one that doesn’t have any resistance control at all.

    Cheers,
    Ray

    • Jonny Stone

      Hi Ray

      Not wishing to muddy the water and certainly not contradict what seems a very clear, direct and helpful response from Bkool but… they told me this yesterday in an email –

      Hi Jonathan,
      Thanks for your message. First Bkool Pro serials were not designed to support ANT+ FE-C protocol, that is the reason. We can pick your resistance unit up and make the change at our facilities if you want to. Please confirm.
      See you at Bkool,
      Bkool Team.

      To be clear, mine is a Bkool Pro (Black) and they seem to be saying that mine is probably an early model (despite being bought in 2015) and can’t be upgraded to ANT + FE-C.

      They have also as you can see, to their massive credit, appear to have offered to swap my resistance unit for one that will support it.

      I emailed them yesterday and said yes please… I will keep you updated.

      Jonathan

    • Patrick Charlton

      They should have sent this email to all Bkool users with the older models. Would have saved them a complaints/emailed from unsatisfied customers.

    • JR

      “This firmware update will also include the inertia simulation, which is a feature that has always been included in the Bkool Pro and “new” Classic trainers.”

      What is that inertia simulation feature?

      I hope their “between one and two months” is not the same as 2013-2014 when they said open ANT+ profile will come in few weeks / months.

    • Marco

      Hi, do you have any news regarding ANT+ FE-C update for old trainers?

      Thanks, Marco

    • Jonny Stone

      Ok, so the very nice guys at Bkool arranged for my Bkool Pro resistance unit to be picked up and sent back over to Majorca and yesterday, after just over two weeks, it returned! Got everything set-up and when I went into the software the ANT + FE-C option was now there (they must have done the firmware update in Majorca), ticked it and that was that! Tried it with Zwift and it worked fine, controlled resistance no problem.

      So, it does appear that not all Bkool Pro trainers (I understand it is the earlier 2014 models) will be able to implement the firmware update to enable FE-C without a hardware update!

      I am not quite sure what Bkool plan to do about these earlier Pro-model owners, because I assume they will not want to paying for trainers to be sent back to them from all over the world for a hardware update?

    • Mikkel Staunsholm

      very interesting, I will ask bkool :-)

  21. Hamish Barker

    Sounds great, hope they can make the update available for legacy classic trainers sooner than later!

    Many thanks to Ray and his wife for the great website and for allowing Ray the time to create it respectively!

  22. Gian Claudio

    Hi Ray,
    if I connect my Garmin edge 520 to bkool, can I control the trainers and use it offline ?

    Instead, when using it online with the app on tablet, can I pair my garmin sensor, like speed, cadence, etc….
    Or do I need to buy a separated sensors ?

    Thanks, Gian Claudio

  23. Steve

    With this BKool update, do you know if the Classic will now transmit power etc via ANT+ to separate head units etc?

    I’m about to buy either the New Bkool Classic (without simulator subscription) or the Tacx Vortex Smart – as I can get them for a similar price. Not sure which to go for though…? With the update, would you put the Bkool Classic back up above the Vortex Smart?

    Thanks

    • 6co

      Good question! Is the updated BKool Classic now able to broadcase power etc via ANT+ to any Garmin or any bike computer? not being 520 necessarily?
      thx
      6co

    • No, just over ANT+ FE-C. That means that it takes a compatible FE-C application or device. For example, the Edge 520 or Edge 1000 are FE-C compatible. Perhaps we might also see some FE-C apps on Connect IQ soon too. But otherwise, it doesn’t transmit raw ANT+ Power streams unfortunately.

    • Manuel

      What do you mean by “it doesn’t transmit raw ANT+ Power streams”. I just bought a Garmin Edge 520 paired with my BKOOL classic and power data are all over the place (noise?). It seems to record 3 sets of power data sequentially, a first one that is the real power (RP), a second one that corresponds to 1,5*RP and the last one 2*RP, it is weird because the bsim from bkool shows the RP with no issue. I just send you a screenshot of the workout. Who do you think is responsible for all of this noise? Any solutions available in the short term?

    • Anddrew

      Hi Manual, I am having the same issue now with my Garmin 520 (see somewhere further down this page!)

    • Rubén

      Hello Manuel.
      The same thing happens with my 520 and the Bkool. Did you solve the problem?
      If so, I would appreciate it if you contacted me, since Bkool has not been able to solve it.
      Thank you.
      By your name I deduce that you can be Spanish.
      If you want, you answer me in Spanish.
      Hola Manuel.
      Me pasa lo mismo con mi 520 y el Bkool. Solucionaste el Problema?
      Si es así, te agradecería que contactaras conmigo ya que desde Bkool no me han sabido dar solución.
      Por tu nombre deduzco que puedes ser español.
      Si quieres me respondes en español.
      Gracias.

  24. Nathan

    I bought a bkool pro today (2015-09-25), which came with a Garmin ANT+ USB dongle. I paired the Garmin heart rate monitor and Garmin crank sensor (both of which came with my Edge 520) to my bkool PC application right out of the box.

    The firmware update triggered immediately and went smoothly. Upon completing the firmware update, under manual pairing option, there was an option to pair my bkool pro in ANT+ FEC mode. I did so and it went smoothly, requiring only pairing the device again to finish the setup.

    My Garmin Edge 520 paired with the bkool on the first try and I can now control resistance on the bkool from the 520 if I wish to.

    The only issue I have noted is that in automatic pairing mode my Edge 520 wheel speed sensor takes priority in the bsim PC application which overrides the option to connect the trainer. Manually pairing the trainer and not pairing the wheel speed sensor resolved the issue.

    I haven’t tried Zwift or other applications with my bkool yet but the 520 and the bkool pro play very nicely together.

  25. Patrick Charlton

    Any news about the ANT+ FE-C Software Update for older Classic Trainers?

    • Antonio Alonso

      They said 1 or 2 months. Let’s hope they deliver. ;)

    • Antonio Alonso

      Just wrote them and they replied the following in less than 5 minutes (impressive):

      Hola Antonio,

      Gracias por tu mensaje. Ha salido hoy. Si tienes algún problema con la instalación, escríbenos de nuevo.

      Nos vemos en Bkool,

      Equipo Bkool.

      Meaning the update just became available today. I’ll try it later.

  26. Patrick Charlton

    I have already updated. It seems to work with Zwift, Pity it doesn’t work with my Cyclo 505.

    • Antonio Alonso

      Hi Patrick,

      Was the procedure to update similar to that of the newer models?

      I don’t seem to be able to find it how to do it.

      Regards,

      Antonio

    • JR

      You have to manually pair your classic trainer. After that the software asks you to connect your trainer to your computer with usb cable. Then it downloads and updates the firmware.

      Does anyone know if bkool is working with trainerroad already?

    • Antonio Alonso

      Hi JR,

      Well, I did manually pair my trainer but after that nothing else happens. I’ll write the guys at Bkool again.

      Thanks

    • JR

      Did you also click Apply after ticking the trainer in pairing window?
      Are you on OSX or in Windows? I didn’t get it to work in osx bit it worked in Windows.

    • Mikko Lintamo

      Works with Trainerroad. Already did an exercise with it and the watts are the same as in BSim. Crazy happy with the update and even happier that it works with Trainerroad!

    • Patrick Charlton

      Mine was automatic, once I connected the usb cable to my laptop

    • Antonio Alonso

      I think that’s it. I’m using OS X. As soon as the little monster is asleep I’ll try Windows. Thanks again.

    • Antonio Alonso

      Kid’s sleeping, Bkool’s updated and it works with Zwift. I’m going to bed happy tonight.

      PS: I guess the update can only be done in Windows for now

    • JR

      Mikko,

      I read from trainerroad support forum that trainerroad had/has some problems with resistance being too high with bkool? You didn’t have such problems?

      link to support.trainerroad.com

    • Mikko Lintamo

      JR,

      I read those posts too and was a bit anxious to find whether they had figured out the resistance related problems. Fortunately, the power seemed correct. As i mentioned, I even compared Trainerroad and BSim power figures simultaneously and the numbers were spot on.

    • rupert ireland

      I also had an issue with the update on my mac, (it didn’t even prompt for a firmware update). I actually have a windows vm installed on my mac, and ran the bkool software for a test on that. it upgraded the the trainer eventually. It initially failed twice from the manual pairing screen. i then closed the app and reopened it then prompted straight away to update the firmware and connect the usb cable, it then worked. Now the firmware is updated i can use the trainer with my Mac again. just tried with Zwift that worked fine. So if you can plug the trainer into a windows machine you should be able to kick of the update then use with a Mac, until they fix the Mac update issue! really happy i can finally have a go with Zwift now!

  27. Hamish Barker

    probably updating my bkool (usb version) tonight. if it works, big thumbs up to the bkool gang!

  28. Chris

    Has anyone heard anything on the Ant+ FE-C update not being available if you get the Bkool trainer on the 12 month installment plan? Trainerrroad says here that ‘Trainers not fully paid off with Bkool will not have the ability to upgrade to support FE-C’. There’s nothing about this on Bkool’s website. Anyone bought a Bkool this way and using it successfully with Trainerroad?

  29. Ryan

    I got my trainer on the monthly instalment plan over 14 months ago, and I was able to update my trainer through my macbook on the 1st day they released the update (a month or so ago).

    Has been working amazingly well with Zwift ever since – its really turned by Bkool into a fantastic piece of kit!

  30. I was soooo excited to try if my missing update was due to trying with an osx machine, but alas… No update appears on either osx or windows. I have a Bkool Pro 2015, so I was really expecting this to work :-(

    Keeping my fingers crossed that an update will arrive, but hopes are dwindling, since bkool gave me this answer so far: “Not every Bkool Pro trainer can be updated to the latest firmware version (which enables the FE-C ANT+ protocol), since the electronic board can vary from one serial to another.”

  31. Hamish Barker

    Got the update done. Yay! Paired with Trainerroad And I could set it in manual mode and hear the mechanism changing the resistance by moving the magnets or something inside the casing, but haven’t ridden with it yet so can’t comment on whether the power is getting set correctly or not as reported by Nate from Trainerroad.

    My bkool is one of the old ones with the mini USB connector (there also appears to be an RJ45 network jack as well, does anyone know what this gets used for?). It was nice price ($499 new zealand, so about $350US) so I guess the retailer has old stock (pre August 2014 have the mini usb jack). With the update, if it works it’ll be awesome value and a nice change from the basic fluid trainer that I have been using. Thanks Bkool and dcrainmaker!

  32. Gian Claudio

    Hi All,
    yesterday I was going crazy to connect the garmin edge 520 with the bkool trainer. I want to control the trainer using the edge 520 but no way to find an recognize it from the edge 520.
    I have the bkool pro (the black one) just arrived few days ago.
    Someone got my same problem ? Please help.

    • Timo Springfeldt

      Hi Gian
      I cant connect edge 520 with my new Bkool Pro, my first Bkool broke down and with that one i could connect 520.
      But with the new one i just cant get it work !!!!!
      Did you fix yours ??? And most important, how ???

      Happy new year // Timo

  33. Hyukjin Yoon

    Got old version of classic bkool (with mini usb port in the posterior). I have successfully upgraded the firmware, and it automatically switches to ANT FEC (there is no prompting to select mode). Works perfect with zwift.

    • Salvio

      Hi Yoon, could you please describe the way you successfully upgraded the firmware? I have a old version of classic bkool too. Thanks, S

    • GoldRushTri

      I just successfully performed the update on my BKOOL Classic trainer. Here’s the steps I followed:

      I tried doing this update with my Mac running the latest version of OS X but it never prompted me to update. I then used my son’s PC running Windows 8.1 and was able get the update to register.

      1: Inserted my ANT+ USB Antenna and Micro USB cable into USB ports on PC.
      2:Logged into PC and downloaded the BKOOL software from their site and installed the software.
      3: Plugged the trainer into a power source and logged into the BKOOL app went to Settings -> Manual device pairing -> after a short search it found my trainer, I checked the corresponding box for the trainer and clicked “Apply”.
      4: On the Settings menu I clicked the “Back” button and returned to the home screen of the app.
      5: A pop-up appeared that said that there was a firmware update available for my trainer and asked if I wanted to install it. I chose the option to install. I was then prompted to insert the USB cable into the trainer.
      6: Once the cable was inserted the firmware update on the trainer took place. It took less than 2 minutes but be aware that there is no progress bar or anything showing that a firmware update is happening. A pop-up window appeared and said that the update was successful.
      7: I tested the update by downloading Zwift and going for a short ride. The trainer worked great.

    • pau

      Do you have a premium version of bkool?

  34. Nicolas

    Anyone know if its possible to get power data from the trainer to Garmin 510?

  35. Andrew

    Sorry quick dumb question. I see mentions that with the ant+ fe-c update, a Garmin 520 can be used to control the resistance/power of a bkool, but does it also allow you to see your power(and averages) like you would when pairing a standard ant+ power meter? I know it won’t currently work with my garmin 500 as the bkool uses and private ant+ channel, but wasn’t sure if fe-c overcomes that when used with a 520? Cheers!

    • Rob

      Andrew. Did you get a response to this? I think I’m in same position. Have paired 520 with BKool but don’t appear to be able to view power during a ride, although it does appear to be reported to Garmin Connect.

    • Andrew

      Nope! I was going to buy a 520 this month too. It’s interesting that it records the power but doesn’t output it anyway. May have to rethink….

    • Andrew

      Just a follow up to this. Got the 520, and it does show power if I set that up on one of the screens. I just added the device as an indoor trainer and the power popped up.

      Few problems though:
      1.Target power doesn’t work. So if you set a target power of 250w, the resistance on the unit will just increase and increase till you can’t pedal anymore!
      2.The measuring the power is totally weird. Watching the power zone I was in (or w/kg) jumps every second between about 2 different values (low, medium, high). This ties in with Manual (up above somewhere) says about the recording of the power being off.
      3.The power in strava/garmin looks mental, probably due to recording all these different values. link to i.imgur.com . This also throws into question how accurate the wattage then is anyway too!

    • Rubén

      Hello Andrew.
      The same thing happens with my 520 and the Bkool. Did you solve the problem?
      If so, I would appreciate it if you contacted me, since Bkool has not been able to solve it.
      Thank you.

      Gracias.

  36. Kelly

    I have what is probably a very stupid question, please forgive my ignorance as I am new to the trainer world and trying to find a good fit. Have only used my Blackburn Tech Mag 6 so this is a bit overwhelming. Question about the BKool Pro: can you use it without the computer? For example, if I feel like watching a movie instead, can I do that and still somehow change the resistance? Will I need a fancy separate bike computer to do this since the watches I have won’t? I just want to have some virtual rides (zwift mostly) with the ability to ride the trainer normally if not. Thank you

    • Kez

      There’s no way to change the resistance manually during a ride using the BKool program. You have to schedule a ride in advance that has the profile you want. The route planner lets you do that. You can create a training plan and the software generates a whole range of different exercises.
      You could create a few different courses with different fixed gradients and then switch between them – the software works well with a wireless keyboard but it would be quite a few steps to switch courses. Perhaps someone else has better ideas (besides just changing gears?)…

  37. Wheelie King

    Having read on this thread that BKOOL will update all versions of trainers to run ANT+ FE-C, I’ve had this response from them only today given that mine hasn’t updated yet. I’m on a Nov ’14 purchased Pro.
    Has anybody had such conversations in the last few weeks? I’ve written back asking them to comment on their position in relation to this thread and asked to speak to Clara (named in DC’s post). Will see where this goes :-|

    Hi Phil,

    Thanks for your message. Only those Bkool Pro updated to the latest 3.06 firmware version can be used with any other simulator compatible with the ANT+ FE-C protocol. If your trainer’s version is 3.02, the trainer cannot be updated to ANT+ FE-C protocol as the electronic card was not designed to permit this feature.

    See you at Bkool,

    Bkool Team.

    BKOOL Connect | Sport

  38. Con Giacca

    I’ve recently picked up an old BKOOL Classic Trainer (the one with the old printer style usb port), and while i have been able to update the firmware (from 1.13 to 2.04) i don’t see any option for FE-C and it doesn’t look like it can find any more updates.

    Has anyone with the USB port version successfully got the FE-C option working?

    I’ve tried it with Zwift and while it was detected by Swift as an FE-C capable smart trainer, it did not seem to modify the resistance on the trainer during my FTP test.

    Any help would be appreciated :)

    • Con Giacca

      As an update to this, I have been able to pair it with mt Garmin Edge 520 and using the Indoor Trainer mode I have been able to follow a course, with the Garmin successfully setting the resistance according the the elevation/gradient on the course. This suggests FE-C is working, doesn’t it?

      So, perhaps I need to try again with Zwift? :(

    • Con Giacca

      Tried Zwift again, and I think it’s working. This time I skipped the FTP workout and went straight for a ride.

      I noticed the trainer ease off the resistance when the gradient went negative, so I think I’m good :)

      Sweet! Picked up a smart trainer for $150AUD :) Merry Christmas to me!

      Now my training for the Stelvio begins…

    • Timo Springfeldt

      Hi Con
      I cant connect edge 520 with my new Bkool Pro, my first Bkool broke down and with that one i could connect 520.
      But with the new one i just cant get it work !!!!!
      Did you fix yours ??? And most important, how ???

      Happy new year // Timo

    • JR

      Did you enable the ANT+ FE-C with bkool sim? You have to do that first, then you can pair it with Edge 520.
      Instructions here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Timo Springfeldt

      Hi JR ( are u from Dallas ? )
      Of course it works when you do it right ?
      Thx for the help.

      Happy new year from Sweden // Timo

    • Con Giacca

      Just confirming for anyone who may be interested, it was in fact working all along with the initial firmware update. I have since found out that the FTP workout is a Power/Watts based session and as a result it does not adjust the trainer’s resistance according to the gradient you will see on the screen. It simply reads the watts you produce as you ride, with the aim to ride at a certain wattage for a certain amount of time.

      So, my final settings are:
      BKOOL Classic Trainer (Pre August 2014 w/ USB port)
      ——————————–
      Firmware version: 2.04 (updated from v1.13)
      Detected in BKOOL as: BKOOL Trainer ANT+
      Settings->About Bkool Indoor:
      Sensors – Bkool Trainer Classic ANT+ v2.04
      (Note: I had to update using my windows laptop, as it would not update via my Mac Mini. Also, there was/is no mention of FE-C or any option to switch to FE-C after the update, so I guess it is enabled by default for this version of the trainer)
      Detected in Zwift as: BKOOL FE-C
      Detected on Garmin Edge 520 as: Indoor Trainer

      Happy riding everyone :)

    • Minja Pavlicic

      Hi Con Giacca,

      i have bkool pro (black one) v254. i was wondering how did you connect your edge 520 with your Bkool, i am trying to do the same, Bkool doesn’t seem to recognise my edge 520 at all, just doesn’t work. Getting really tired of it.

  39. Bob

    Does Bkool have a powermatch feature like Trainer Road so I could use my powertap hub with the bkool trainer ?

    Thanks

  40. Taylor Hubbard

    I have a BKOOL Premium membership. Because I use a Wahoo Kickr, however, I do not have access to “New” features. I have spoken to BKOOL and have been assured this will change. It has been several months and no change thus far. I really hope they make all features available prior to my membership renewal. Otherwise I will be going elsewhere. I think BKOOL has a great product. “Premium”, however, should allow access to all features.

  41. Thibaut

    Hello!
    Is it possible that a firmware update of BKTOOL PRO allows the transmission of power information by ANT +?

  42. Haroldson

    I just got my bkool pro trainer+simulator. I have registered and have gotten the premium but when i log in, I cannot find the settings to connect the ant+ to my trainer. It is not on the settings pulldown tab under my name. Am i doing something wrong? I cannot find the homepage you have in your post and the one thats in their manual as well. I can only get to this attached page. Help please!

  43. Nigel Pond

    You need to download the app either to your computer or iPad. Then you connect your trainer to the app.

  44. Melifluous

    I have Bkool premium and a Wahoo Kickr Snap trainer. The software on my macbook only detects my trainer as a power sensor using bluetooth connection, and I need to plug in an ANT receiver to detect it as a Smart trainer. The software picks up my wahoo bluetoothsmart HR sensor, but it cannot detect the wahoo blue SC speed-cadence sensor. Anyone have any ideas. It seems to be an issue on Macs, as it all works perfectly on my android device.

  45. Nigel Pond

    Folks, my BKOOL Classic has been playing up the past few rides – losing connection with the iPad app, and the app dropping the connection to my cadence sensor. Does anyone have contact details for their English-speaking support folks – email, phone, support forum? Thanks.

  46. Alex Foster

    Hi All,

    Just a quick one regarding the FE-C upgrade to those of us on the BKOOL monthly purchase plan – BKOOL inform me that they do not allow the unlocking of the FE-C protocol until my 12 payments have been made. However, they do not state this anywhere at the time of signing up. I am currently in dispute with them over this as if I had known my trainer was locked down for a year I would have returned it before the trial expired.

    Does anyone reading this have a trainer on the montlhy plan but has the FE-C option available? Please let me know if you do!

    Cheers,

    Alex :)

  47. Dave

    Just set up a BKool pro for my son, but the speed displayed on my Mac is nowhere near the correct speed, the sensor works fine and the correct speed is shown on the garmin, any ideas out there?

    • Rich

      Hi,
      I have the same problem –
      I have a kickr snap, garmin edge 810 and garmin speed/ cadence sensor. When the BKool speed shows in white then it closely matches the garmin speed. However, when the BKool speed is in blue it is very different to my garmin speed (i.e. BKool shows 5kph when garmin shows 25kph or BKool shows 90kph when garmin shows 40kph and everything in between).
      I removed the garmin speed/ cadence sensor thinking that maybe this was causing interference but then i only get speed shown in blue and it is often very different to what i think my speed is. i also don’t get any cadence shown anymore.
      Anyone know how to get the BKool to use the garmin speed reading instead of its own?
      Anyone else managed to solve this issue?

  48. Paul

    Hi all bkool users…a word of warning! Check your bank accounts bkool has charged people again if you havre already paid for a primium service this year! They told me it was a automated computer error…5-5-2016 your account may be £78 down…has mine was, being emailing bkool this AM said there going to refund me.

  49. Paul.c

    Can’t believe bkool update last week or so, now my herart rate moniter won’t work! Says I need Windows 8.1…Iam on Windows 7 ultimate been ok all this year…its picking up the pro trainer unit ok via ant…so why it won’t pick up heart rate moniter I don’t know..I built a top spec tower machine with dedicated graphics card to power there software. I’ve got two useless lap tops that won’t run bkool now but in past they worked, to many fancy graphics trying to look like zwift. Not happy.

  50. Paul.c

    People don’t bother buying a bkool heart rate for £35..mine packed up! Two now have broke, now! I’ve bought a cheap coo sport ant one from China..or eBay, £17..they work just has well and better build. my trainer picked the ant up ok. Oh and bkool rides are not downloading proply takes two days for you ride to show in your activity, I’ve emailed them and got a blunt response. I’d love to use zwift but bkool pro trainer his not FEC ready it’s a old model.