JUMP TO:

Bkool Announces New Smart Go Trainer

DSC_0688

While at Interbike, Spanish trainer company Bkool announced their latest trainer – the Bkool Smart Go.  This lower-priced option helps to complement their existing option, the Bkool Smart Pro.  These two trainers sit at $479 and $699USD respectively.

In many ways, the trainers are very similar, but they have one of the more clearly defined list of differences between two mid-range trainers on the market.  Sometimes you get a bit of wishy-washyness when comparing options in the $450-$700 trainer market, but this is straightforward…which is nice.  Let’s get into it.

What’s new:

DSC_0690

Like all but one new trainer in the market, the Bkool Smart Go supports all the common control options/standards on the market today:

– ANT+ FE-C Control
– Bluetooth Smart Control

The one difference though is that unlike some other trainers on the market, it doesn’t broadcast standard ANT+ Power or speed, so you can’t pick it up on your older Garmin head unit.  For some, that may not matter, and for those with newer Edge units (Edge 520/820/1000), you can simply pair via FE-C instead on your Garmin and you’re good to go.

The Smart Go has a maximum simulation resistance of up to 8%, which is in the ballpark of others in this price range.  However, in order to compensate for the occasional resistance levels beyond that, they’ll actually compensate by slightly slowing the videos down (within their own apps).  Thus creating the effect of having to work harder to compensate for the trainer being unable to punish you properly.

The trainer has a resistance capability of 800w, which is likely more than enough for the vast majority of riders.  To put it in perspective, I very rarely go above 800w – and even then it’s only for a second or two in a hard sprint on Zwift.  If it wasn’t for that, I could likely go years on a trainer without hitting 800w since it’s well outside of any normal training zones.  Of course, to each their own.

DSC_0694

Now many of the remaining differences between the two units are more physical trainer frame attributes.  For example, the Go Trainer (on the left) uses a twisting tightening knob, versus the Pro (on the right) using a quick release lever:

DSC_0690 DSC_0697

Then on the trainer frame legs, on the Bkool Smart Go, they are 27” wide (68.58cm), whereas the Smart Pro expands to 32” wide (81.28cm).

DSC_0692 DSC_0698

Lastly, on the physical trainer frame attributes, we’ve got the ability for you to separate the frame from the resistance unit.  On the Smart Go, you’ll have to take out a hex wrench to remove the bolt.  Whereas on the Smart Pro it has a quick release type system.

DSC_0693 DSC_0700

In order to make this all a bit simpler, I’ve tossed both models into a modified comparison sheet.  I’ll add the new model into the product comparison tool, but it wouldn’t have captured some of the frame nuances, as I don’t typically track those. In any case – here ya go:

Bkool Trainer Comparison

FeatureBKOOL Smart GoBKOOL Smart Pro
Price$479USD$699USD
Max Slope Simulation8%20%
Max Wattage800w1200w
Trainer legsStatic at 27" wideExpandable to 32"
Trainer collapseBolt requiring toolQuick release
ANT+ FE-CYesYes
Bluetooth Smart ControlYesYes
Weight of trainer10kg (22lbs)12kg (26.5lbs)
Noise level75db @ 30KPH75db @ 30KPH
Premium Bkool Subscription3 Month (US)12 Month (US)
Includes front wheel blockYesYes
Warranty2 Years2 Years

Note that on the Bkool subscription, those will vary by country.  So in the US, I’ve listed those, but if you go to various European countries the subscription amounts will vary.

DSC_0702

Oh, and speaking of random things – Bkool also have announced some new thru-axle accessory options as well (above), you’ll soon find these listed on their site for $59.

The Bkool Smart Go should start shipping within Europe by the end of October, and then will hit US stores about two weeks later in mid-November.

Initial Thoughts:

DSC_0697

This is a nice offering from Bkool, with the majority of features common to this price range.  Longtime trainer segment followers will remember that Bkool was really the leader in the market when it came to budget electronically controlled trainers.  But, that point was a few years ago.  Once Tacx came in with their ‘Smart’ lineup, those differences largely disappeared and left Bkool in a tough spot.

However, this new $479USD option (again, Euro prices will vary, and I don’t have those at the moment) will make it more competitive with the Vortex Smart sitting at $529USD.  Plus, them throwing in 3 months of a subscription to their training platform will certainly be appealing for some folks that want to experiment with training platforms.  There are still some minor hardware differences – but I’ll cover those later in the week in my 2016 Trainer Recommendations Guide.

Finally, I’ll note that this is the end of the road for new trainers for 2016.  In a few hours (4hrs to be precise) you’ll see my Interbike Trainer Round-up, covering the last tidbits of trainer news for the Eurobike/Interbike 2016 run.  There won’t be any new trainers in that piece, but there will be key shipping timeline updates on all of the new trainers.

With that – thanks for reading!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

*

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

11 Comments

  1. Tommies

    Hi Ray,

    What do you think of tracx flow smart (T2240)? This is (i think) the less expensive (239€) smart trainer on the market.

    Thanks Ray, great job as usual

    Reply
    • Tommies

      Tacx not tracx…. 😉

      Reply
    • JohnD

      Lower end Tacx trainers are too flimsy for my liking (and I only weigh 60kg). I had to send my Vortex back 4 times to be fixed within the 1st month before they finally refunded me. Won’t be buying Tacx again.

      Reply
  2. I like that we can add MTB. I have new bie that has Boost or 148 spacing would love to put on trainer. Even Elite. But it also has to be XD Sram cassette compatible. Wish trainer makers will accommodate that. Wahoo can’t do Sram.

    Any incite would be nice.

    Regards

    Dave

    And this in your comparison would be nice table to add. MTB compatible.?

    Reply
  3. Julien

    Hi Ray – do you know if they fixed the ERG mode for resistance on workout sessions on Zwift ?
    With the current BKool it is not usable, which is not a huge issue as you can control resistance electronically but still would make it nicer if it worked !
    Thanks for the great work as always.

    Reply
  4. Bob Dynowski

    Yes, the resistance issue in Zwift workout sessions is fixed and works a treat.

    Reply
  5. Barry Ryan

    It’s just all to confusing! I want a mid range trainer to do a couple of workouts a week and when it occasionally rains

    Reply
  6. Dave W

    Hi Ray, at the end of this one you implied your trainer recommendations guide would be out later that week. Sounds like we might be only days away?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • AmauryC

      I want to buy a new trainer for this winter and I can’t wait for the new version too :)

      Reply
  7. Martin

    I think I’ve just about had it with this trainer now and need to buy a KICKR or TACX NEO, they seem to have changed the software (again) recently by REMOVING the option to create intervals based on time (i.e. 5mins at 1% gradient, 10mins at 5%, 5mins at 0% etc) and only allowing you to define an intervals based on distance in…….metres????? this is a major pain for me as I used to create workouts for myself based on time and gradient which worked perfectly now I find completely out of the blue they go ahead and just remove the time option.

    Does anyone know any other way now to create a custom workout based on time and gradient?

    Reply
  8. Giovanni

    Is the Bluetooth smart support the Go version offers over the Pro version as any kind of advantage? I am looking to buy my first smart trainer and wonder if I need the Bluetooth?

    Reply