It’s been nearly a month since Kinetic quietly added their new lineup of smart resistance controlled trainers to their website, a fact not gone unnoticed by DCR readers. But it wasn’t until this past week at Eurobike that we’d actually get to touch and see the units in person. But before we do that, it’s probably worth having a brief history lesson. History is fun, right?
A Bit of Backstory:
For those familiar with Kinetic, the American company has long been a mainstay in the trainer business with their green trainers. They’ve historically been pretty popular, including the Rock & Roll trainer that actually allowed you to rock back and forth. About four years ago, just ahead of the tidal wave of new electronic controlled trainers, they released the InRide accessory. This allowed you to get more accurate power data from your (existing) Kinetic trainer. It didn’t control the trainer, but it did get folks Bluetooth Smart data integration with apps like TrainerRoad.
Fast forward to last year and they released their Kinetic Smart Trainer software platform, effectively a training suite. At the same time, they tweaked their trainer lineup by making InRide standard-issue on their trainers – the Rock & Roll and Road Machine editions. These being basically the two core trainers they make. They make two other lesser known models, but they don’t have anywhere near the uptake as the Road Machine and Rock & Roll models.
In general, last year’s news didn’t go over well – partially because the market was just moving too fast for Kinetic. There were numerous new trainers and lower price points with far more functionality. Kinetic was competing at the same price as trainers with full resistance control, ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and countless other connected features. While it’s true that Kinetic had a better road feel than some, it wasn’t really enough to cover the functionality gap for most.
Upon concluding my chat with them at Eurobike last year, they noted plans for a new electronic trainer for the 2016-2017 winter training season. Which, is where we find ourselves now.
The New Models:
Kinetic has gone out and introduced three new products; two trainers and one upgrade kit. It’s a pretty customer-friendly approach for past customers, which will enable them to upgrade their existing Kinetic trainers with this new electronic controlled piece. That’s cool.
The three devices they’ve introduced are:
Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control: $649USD
Kinetic Rock & Roll Smart Control: $849USD
Kinetic Smart Control Power Unit (Upgrade Kit): $549USD
The first two models simply take the existing frames (Road Machine/Rock & Roll) and make them resistance controlled trainers as a complete package. Whereas the last item allows you to upgrade *any* past model of those trainers, no matter how old, to a smart trainer. The same resistance unit (RU) is used on all of them.
That resistance unit allows for approximately 1,800w of resistance, though they’re finalizing the exact spec as we speak. Testing is also showing that it can replicate grade in the 10-15% range. But stay tuned for the final spec there as well. Both of those numbers are in the ballpark for resistance units at this price point, with the 1,800w being on the higher end, and the 10-15% being in the middle of the road.
Now one unique feature that the Kinetic Smart Control trainers will offer is the ability to actually control the trainer via a wired connection. This is upon request from cycling studios that were having challenges with wireless connectivity. This gives them a way to control numerous trainers using simple long USB cables. While I don’t think this is necessary for the average home, it may be a good option in wireless-challenged environments with lots of trainers. Kinetic says that PerfPro should have this ready in their multi-user training suite by time the units ship.
Beating to their own drum:
Now this is where things take a bit of a left-turn off the road of normalcy: The unit doesn’t support ANT+ (any variant, including FE-C), or even standard/open Bluetooth Smart. Rather, it only supports a closed/private Bluetooth Smart protocol instead. This would make for the only major-retailer electronic trainer on the market that lacks such support for both protocols, let alone either.
Kinetic counters that they’ve got the apps that matter to users on them ready to roll, such as Zwift and TrainerRoad. Further, Kinetic says that they’ll work with other app partners that request access. Even going as far as offering an open SDK that they’ll be publishing to Github as open source. That’d be great if they did that in addition to just using the normal ANT+/Bluetooth Smart protocols.
So why does this matter to you as a consumer? Well, I outlined a lot of reasons in the ANT+ FE-C post in this section, which actually has nothing to do with ANT+ FE-C. But rather, all about understanding how software companies work. See, in this case they convinced TrainerRoad and Zwift to add support. They’ve got a big enough user base to sway them. But the challenge is what happens to the other 20+ apps out there? Sure, they could add support, but it’s house to house firefighting. Each app has to ensure that these trainers work, versus just using one of the standards.
The same goes for head units. These trainers won’t work with any of the following head units: Garmin, Suunto, Polar, Wahoo, Stages, SRM, Ben & Jerry’s, Lezyne, Sigma, Magellan, Mio, etc… None. Not one.
Instead, Kinetic is offering to work with companies, such as Polar, to build in trainer support. But you and I know that just won’t happen, at least for all (or any) products. Whereas had they used the standard power/speed/cadence profiles on Bluetooth Smart (or ANT+), it’d work out of the box. Presto Magic!
The move is rather peculiar, because the vast majority of chipsets these companies use these days are fully capable of dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart. For most of the chipsets the companies utilize, they’ll pay a licensing fee dependent on whether it’s ANT+ only, Bluetooth Smart only, or dual. That licensing fee is substantially less than a quarter (yes, less than 25 cents). Let alone the fact that implementing already existing standards is leagues easier than creating your own. Plus, it offers no competitive advantage. This move will simply drive users elsewhere – even users that already have Kinetic gear and likely would have just paid the upgrade cost.
I really hope that Kinetic reconsiders this move, perhaps by Interbike. It’s just software, and their chipsets would likely easily support following industry standards. And the kicker is, I think what they had on the table at first glance would have been a rather strong offering, especially for the upgrade kit for long-standing Kinetic folks, as well as for training studios. Plus, some folks really enjoy the Rock & Roll sensation that moves side to side.
But not following standards these days is just a deal killer in this market. And with the upgrade kit priced at the same price as a new competitive trainer with full dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart compatibility and FE-C/Bluetooth Smart control, it’s a really tough recommendation to make. Nonetheless, I’m interested in seeing how the road feel is on final production units – which arrives at the end of September. It sounds like they’ll have some of those at Interbike as well in a few weeks. Thus giving them plenty of time to change their mind.
With that – thanks for reading!
Looks like a USB-B socket on the back – haven’t seen one of those in a while, except on my Concept2 rowing machine
It is indeed a USB-B. We chose that interface as it’s quite a bit stronger than a micro or mini USB and would stand a better chance of surviving if you tripped over it …
How can I use the USB B for Zwift to send resistance instructions to the trainer in place of the Bluetooth functionality?
You can’t. According to KK when I called, the USB is for commercial use to support training facilities that did not want to deal with connectivity issues. I sold my unit, very inaccurate power when riding in Zwift. I’m hoping the Wahoo Snap will play in Zwift. That arrives next week.
Ugh. So far I am not pleased with the addition of the Smart Controller to my Rock and Roller. I love the Rock and Roller side to side action and thought the Smart Controller at 20% off would be a good addition to play/train on Zwift. So far I am having connectivity issues unless I bridge the unique Bluetooth signal from Kinetic through my Note 7 that then connects via Wifi to my computer. Inconsisitent to get set up and then signals get dropped in the middle of a ride. The cadence data is all over the place. So today I tried to connect my Garmin sensors to Zwift for input data and hoped to also connect the trainer via Bluetooth for resistance instructions. Needless to say that did not work either. I also cant use my Garmin HRM or an older Polar HR monitor.
Does any have any suggestions before I return this POS? Responses from Zwift and Kinetic are mostly 3 day waits for them not answer the question I asked.
KK tried hard at first. The engineer called me at home, the General Manager gave me his cell number. I started finding things and asking questions about dates things would be fixed….then they went on radio silence. My wife rides their fluid trainer, so we were both disappointed knowing the old KK reputation.
I returned mine and ordered a Wahoo Kicks Snap. It comes in Monday. A bigger player with third party software and as long as you do the one time “special calibration” and regular calibrations every couple weeks or when you change something (tire pressure, tension I rear wheel) I think accuracy will be 5%.
Lower price in the Snap, and I’d rather put money into a power meter that can go on my bike than drop big money on a trainer with strain gauges
I do not like the bkool pro….It is dependent on your bodyweight keeping the rear wheel down, no tensioner. When you stand up the power reported is way off from what I understand .
Thanks for sharing your experience with the Kinetic Smart Control RU and saving the rest of us from becoming beta testers for a half baked product. I mean that sincerely! I’ll be very interested in your impressions of the KICKR SNAP when you get and will look for your comments here on DCR (and elsewhere).
You are very welcome Bradley.
well I hope water and sweat does not get into there, most place put those horizontal or pointing down for that reason. I think using non standard wireless is a big turn off. I do like the USB wired port for studios. Another option that would have made more sense would have been to use Zigbee for the communication as they can tolerate 65,535 nodes on the same network, i.e. good for studios.
I am also surprised why nobody does a knurled contact for the tire, you would make more money selling tires and the grip would be better when sprinting. I think you should do an add on accessory for Zwift where the front wheel is inclined or declined based on the elevation…
Now you can sell an ANT+ bridge with your trainer or an BLE bridge so that ppl can use any app with this trainer.
Indoor spin classes are fun for us cardio junkies, if the spin bikes could measure power that would be awesome, might be something to look into. Working with MyZone or Polar Club?
“…I am also surprised why nobody does a knurled contact for the tire…” – well we do but because our roller is so large the tire practically does not wear out. Obviously there is no tire slippage at all and no need for trainer tire either.
“…Now you can sell an ANT+ bridge…” – since main interface of our trainer is USB for reliable high speed communication we also do just that except it comes for free and is based on standard ANT stick.
Have you had any rides on your Snap? I have the Kinetic Road Machine which works well for me since I already have a powermeter, but looking for something for my wife to ride indoors with zwift/trainer road that doesn’t require buying a trainer and a powermeter!
The Snap had MULTIPLE defects, both hardware and software. Had to return it….another is on the way. It’s pretty sad the lack of quality in what is a very simple device.
So in the interim I’m riding my wife’s “Road Machine Smart” which really is not that smart, just provides an estimated power. By the time this is all worked out I’m betting spring will be here.
David – thanks for the quick response. A bit frustrating to hear. Wahoo quoted a 3 week wait time on the Snap, perhaps the new batch has better QC?
No problem. My new shipped from Wahoo. They kept some for Warranty.
I’m not too optimistic. There were many defects software and hardware in the Snap. I respect DCR saying they are rare, but seeing 4 defects on one unit does not instill confidence.
I would not count on Snap, They have released entire batch (I suspect they are all busted not only one batch) of totally broken Snaps. I have tried 4 different Snap trainers, 2 had issue with “wobbly” roller metal roller was totally not aligned. Other 2 had 40-50W power discrepancies and no calibration could fix that. They are just junk, no quality control lat all. Friend of my in UK had exactly the same problem with the roller…
The lack of ant+ fec is a major fail on their part. Trainer road is also a problematic in that it needs a specific Bluetooth dongle for pc. (not sure if that’s changed).
Looks like Kurt ain’t getting my upgrade money.
The BT dongle is true for now. We’ll be adding native BT 4.0 support on windows 8/10 after our new android app is on par with our iOS app.
Good to know. Thanks!
I’m surprised by the upgrade pricing – $549 for the upgrade kit. That’s almost the same as the price of a new trainer. I’ll be looking at other options.
Agreed. Why bother offering it as an option if you set the price that high. No one is going to buy that.
I, like many I’m sure, would be lost w/o DCRainmaker. Lack of support is just not cool. Garmin’s latest “up grade” to Connect Mobil only supports MyFitnessPal and Strava…boooo. I like the way Connect works but if I can’t get everything into it easily I just don’t have any need to use it.
Can you define lack of support? Our Smart Control trainer is likely to be supported by the software you use … without the need for a dongle …
Not as of now..what’s the point of your own bluetooth proprietary way of communicating? Every other machine is already compatible, why wait for yours to become compatible when everyone else is already compatible. Is it compatible with Perfpro right now? Nope, didn’t think so. How do you not see the light?
This is a long answer. Catch the full thing on our blog later this week.
Did the blog get posted this week?
link to kurtkinetic.com
It won’t work with my Garmin Edge 1000. One smart trainer feature I’m really looking forward to is the ability to re-ride my outdoor rides, indoors. Which is why despite holding out specifically for this model since it’s announcement, I placed my order for a Tacx Genius when the news broke that it’ll be proprietary. There is no advantage for the consumer. None. Zilch. Nada. End of story. For a proprietary solution. Whether lazy engineering or backroom deals are the culprit; or an unwillingness to license existing standards (the price is already not competitive as-is), that’s what consumers of this product are going to be stuck with.
I know you’re working with Polar, but I don’t want a Polar head unit, I want a Garmin Edge 1000, which is what I have. And while you say it’ll work with other software, and I’m sure it will; for how long will that support last? Who will support it if I can’t get it to work?
This is the fundamental issue. ANT+ FE-C makes sense for the consumer. Or at least, existing Bluetooth Smart profiles. The only people a proprietary solution makes sense for is the engineers who built it. Kurt Kinetic folks, build products for the consumers, and we’ll buy them. Build products for yourselves; and you’ll have to buy them yourselves.
Nothing on the blog for 2 weeks (since 26th September)…
26th August, even!
This is the winter I get a smart trainer; I had hoped I’d just be upgrading my Road Machine and save a little. But I think I’d need to save a lot more to make the hassle of yet another dongle worthwhile.
IF it had full ANT+/Bluetooth, sure, easy decision. IF it was, say, two thirds the price, sure, worth the hassle of a cord or a dongle. But you know what else is an easy decision? A Wahoo or Cycleops that’ll work out of the box for not a whole lot more dough.
I have no doubts the hardware itself will be awesome. Every person I’ve ever talked to with a Kurt product has loved them, myself included.
You might be pleasantly surprised at the software that the Smart Control RU will work with out of the box without the need for an extra dongle or cable. We cannot speak officially for 3rd parties, but we have been in conversation with Zwift, Trainer Road, PerfPro, Fulgaz, VirtualTraining, Kinomap and a few others. We will provide more details at Interbike.
Why would I spend more money for a trainer that supports a handful of software hand-picked by you with special third party support; when I could spend less money for a better-performing trainer that works with ANYTHING, including a Garmin head unit? This was a terrible, terrible engineering decision and Kurt Kinetic is going to have to own up to it and make amends to it in future versions. Defending the indefensible is just bad PR.
How odd. Why would you not add support do they think it’s 2012? Surely the more flexible you are the more you sell.
Indeed! We have actually gone out of our way to help support third party software interested in working with our hardware. We have open sourced an entire BLE framework that can help companies migrate off Wahoo’s closed-source SDK, developed lightweight SDKs for .NET, Android, iOS, macOS and tvOS that do all of the encoding / decoding of messages from our devices (free), and have integrated with the APIs of every possible data platform (Strava, MMF, 2PEAK, Training Peaks, etc.) to allow you to easily take your data to your platform of choice when using our own software to do workout.
no ant+ !??!?!?!
stupid decision for sure!
Ok I have a 5 year old Road Machine that I am looking to upgrade this fall/winter to a smart trainer. The price of the upgrade and the lack of ANT+, etc, make this an easy decision. Hello Cycleops and Wahoo, so long Kinetic. Very poorly thought out pricing and connectivity strategy.
Extremely disappointing–was looking to upgrade from KKRM, and it made perfect sense (for example, if the upgrade unit were 200 bucks less, it would still be tempting, as zwift and TR are both supported). But between the high price and the lack of standards-based compatibility, it’s off the list.
What additional software would you like to see us compatible with? Just because we decided to not adopt Garmin’s Protocols does not mean that we are suddenly incompatible with everything. We are in active communication with all of the major trainer software companies (Zwift, TrainerRoad, Fulgaz, Kinomap, VirtualTrainer, more) and even the major fitness companies (Strava, MMF / UA) about integration.
How about Golden Cheetah? Some of us are old school enough to avoid buying into the whole monthly subscription nonsense. If I spend my money for something, I prefer to do it once, and not over and over again.
I am in the market right now for a trainer. and your rock and roll smart control is in my top 3. but this lack of immediate compatibility is turning me towards others. I dont care what standard you follow as long as you are compatible. and you say dont worry give us your money and we promise we will work on it. Sorry not good enough.
are you compatable with Bkool simulator? will you be?
“Some of us are old school enough to avoid buying into the whole monthly subscription nonsense”
You might want to look at our software then, no “subscription nonsense” 😉
Joe….My Kickr Snap had a defective installation of the optical sensor and out of round roller that shook the bike. Really low quality build. I’m 0-2 in my attempts to get a “smart trainer”.
Where can I get one of these Ben & Jerry’s head units you mentioned? Sounds delicious!
You should start here: link to ebay.com
Wow. This was exciting until I saw the caveat and the price. Since I already own a KK an add on seems ideal but that price is outrageous!
What’s the point of releasing smart trainer without open Ant+ and BT communication? It shouldn’t be even called smart. I seriously can’t comprehend that policy.
ANT+ FE-C is not actually open. You have to register to get access to the specs and those specs are defined by Garmin. Our decision to not support ANT+ on this device will be detailed on our blog in the coming days. We hope you take the time to read it.
BLE is an open platform with standardized protocols for simple sensors. There is no adopted spec for electronic trainers. Let me say that again: there is no official BLE protocol for electronic trainers. Every trainer company supporting BLE has defined their own protocol (Wahoo, TACX, Elite, CycleOps, and now us) and it has not been an issue for software developers. We don’t expect any problems in integration with your favorite software.
Except you could have easily just adopted the standard BLE power/speed/cadence protocols – which would have solved half your battle. It would have instantly made it work with: Wahoo, Polar, Suunto, and countless apps.
As for FE-C, it’s open. It’s just as open as BLE is. You had to register for BLE access and join an organization. It’s no different. Garmin may technically own ANT+, but that hasn’t stopped all other competitors from using FE-C or broadcasting on ANT+. Until BLE comes out with a trainer spec, this is the best option today. That battle was fought and won, and every trainer company except CompuTrainer (RacerMate) had adopted it.
I think it’s great you want to share your API for BLE control. But that’s no different than what Tacx, Elite, Wahoo, and CycleOps all do. But until everyone gets together and decides on a BLE control standard, then use what’s out there. Re-inventing the wheel and skipping over existing BLE/ANT+ standards isn’t the solution.
The bottom line is this: ANT+, and by extension (and maybe even to a larger extent) ANT+ FE-C is the de facto standard. You can write a fancy blog post, and heck even if you’re correct in your assertions I’d be willing to bet the majority of potential customers are going to look and see no support for FE-C and move on. The responses on this blog should be a (very) strong indicator, is this is basically your target market (self included).
In my university marketing program we were taught this when it comes to marketing: “perception is everything”. Lastly, I wouldn’t brush off having Ray saying he wouldn’t purchase it for that reason…his recommendations have considerable influence in this market.
The best option today is providing an electronic trainer that works with the software that a consumer uses and to make it affordable as possible. We believe that Smart Control checks those boxes. It works with your iPhone, your Android device, your Desktop computer. It does NOT work with Garmin Head Units, but given that you don’t ride our trainer up a mountain, compatibility the Garmin HUs is irrelevant.
If our hardware does not work with your preferred software and we cannot provide a compelling alternative with Kinetic Fit or work to get compatibility for you, then we have no expectations of selling a trainer to you.
But none of my devices work with Bluetooth.
Laptop – no
Desktop – no
Heart rate strap 1 – no
Heart rate strap 2 – no
Power meter – no
Head unit – no (and yes I do use it on my trainer as it has extra metrics and when I’m pushing hard intervals I can’t always look up)
Fair enough if I don’t fall into your target audience but personally that’s quite annoying as I’ve always sung the praises of your products. But I do think you’ve misjudged your customer’s needs, as you can see from this thread but also from what I’ve seen in the groups I follow on Facebook etc.
Seems strange that for the sake of what it would take to add the extra protocol you’re willing to alienate so many existing and potential customers. But hey ho, if that’s your business model then that’s your choice.
Do you not have a phone?
Yes, with a 6″ screen? My TV that’s hooked up to my PC is 27″ so why on earth would I use my phone!
Plus it’s Android which the Sufferfest app doesn’t work on.
I don’t mean to be so negative but it’s just really annoying when companies expect you to own the tech they want to work with rather than the tech that people actually own. You’re possibly 100% right that long term BLE is the way forward BUT it isn’t the 100% supported tech that you suggest in the present which is where we are now.
I understand the negativity. Telling people that they have to upgrade their tech is never well received and we expect it. It’s the blind loyalty to a slowly dying technology that is difficult for me to understand.
Here’s my suggestion if you considering a Smart Control RU. It looks like you use Sufferfest for workouts? If so, you can use the Kinetic Fit App for Android and subscribe to Sufferfest’s streaming service for $10 / month directly through it. We have a partnership with Sufferfest to stream all of their content through our App (free). With a cheap Chromecast you could then have that video (or any of the other workout videos we have in our library, some free, others paid) broadcasted onto your TV alongside workout metrics, all synched up. Yes I know, it’s more tech, but the $25 device removes your computer requirement and makes you far more mobile as you don’t have to be next to your computer. Replace the head unit on your bike with your Android device when you’re doing your trainer sessions and now you have a far more powerful interface in front of you with more metrics than you can shake a stick at.
Your data is Your data and you can take it wherever you want: Strava, 2PEAK, Training Peaks, FIT files, CSV files, etc.
We’re still working on ANT+ support in our Android Application so it could talk to your existing HRM and Power sensor. I hope to see that complete in the next month or two.
I realize that this suggestion is a complete wholesale change on your current setup. But if you’re open to getting an electronic trainer, why not look at the options? It costs you nothing to try it out. 🙂
I don’t mean to be rude but that contradicts most of your other replies and even contradicts itself!
You’ve mentioned numerous times that your use of the BLE protocol negates the need for dongles yet your suggestion is to buy, in effect, a dongle that is more expensive than an Ant+ dongle. You also suggest that I commit to an extra $10 a month to yourselves.
You then go on to say it’ll cost me nothing to try it out! This is a few lines after saying I need to buy a new dongle and pay $10 a month subscription! And I have tried previously to use my phone instead of my head unit and it was immediately clear why people pay good money for Garmin units! Plus, I have never heard of a phone app that works with cycling dynamics.
You also seem to use your own blindness to accuse other people of being blind. What I have to Ant+ is not loyalty, blind or otherwise! I choose garmin as they have proven to be amongst the best units in terms of cycling and multi sport watches etc. This has lead me, along with quite a few others, to invest in various other Ant+ accessories. So what you are mistaking for blind loyalty is in fact a genuine investment in a technology platform.
Think of blu ray players, how many of them are sold without DVD support? TVs are still sold with analogue tuners. ANT+ may be dying but it certainly isn’t dead yet.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come across as rude or accuse you directly of blind loyalty. It was an aggregate obsveration of many of the responses on this post. I’m trying to be helpful. I apologize if it wasn’t.
You don’t need a Chromecast dongle to work with our Trainers. I was merely suggesting a solution to replace your entire computer. Trying to be helpful …
The $10 / month is to Sufferfest, we are a pass-through. Not trying to upsell you…
It will cost you $0 to download the Kinetic Fit App right now. Not trying to get you to spend $ right now.
Your investment in a technology platform is understood. But you cannot deny that that tech platform will never be adopted by any industry outside of Garmin’s fitness devices. I’m trying to offer solutions as you slowly migrate to BLE for your tech:
– we are planning on support ANT+ devices on Android (for your HRM)
– our iOS App supports the Mio Velo and 4iii’s Viiiiva for ANT+ bridging (something Apps based on Wahoo’s closed-source SDK cannot support)
Sometimes we rip the bandaid off. Floppy drives, CD-ROMS, Adobe Flash, headphone jacks, etc. We’ll see how it goes…
Actually a pretty good solution. I already pay Sufferfest $10 per month. I don’t blame you for trying to move the market forward but it seems like you are banging your head on the wall for a cause not worth fighting for.
I don’t usually respond to online banter like this. However, you’re elitist attitude and overall disregard for consumers who are your exact target market definitely don’t encourage me to try your products. My money will be going elsewhere this winter for sure
Just trying to keep things light. I apologize if it came across as antagonistic.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t I guess…
“compatibility [with] the Garmin HUs is irrelevant.”
A potential customer, arguably a group of them, is asking for something and you’re going to tell them that their needs don’t matter? Good luck with that. SMH
“It’s the blind loyalty to a slowly dying technology that is difficult for me to understand”
I’t rather stick to “slowly dying” tech that is actually being actively developed and supported by everyone and everything
“But if you’re open to getting an electronic trainer, why not look at the options”
I am looking at the options. Plenty to choose from … No need for artificial limitations
“You don’t need a Chromecast dongle to work with our Trainers. I was merely suggesting a solution to replace your entire computer. Trying to be helpful …”
Why would one need to replace computer? To get less powerful hardware instead?
“But you cannot deny that that tech platform will never be adopted by any industry outside of Garmin’s fitness devices”
It is in fact widely adopted by vendors too numerous to list.
“Sometimes we rip the bandaid off” – well this time it seems that you rip the skin instead of bandaid
“It does NOT work with Garmin Head Units, but given that you don’t ride our trainer up a mountain, compatibility the Garmin HUs is irrelevant.”
Not for all of us. For example, my main piece of tech is a Garmin 920xt, which has a nifty recovery adviser built in. However, it only takes into account workouts recorded with the watch. So yeah, when I ride the trainer with Trainerroad, I also record the workout with the 920 so that the recovery data is useful.
Incompatibility with Garmin head units is a dealbreaker for me on this right now.
Totally agree, I do precisely the same. All my workouts (indoor or outdoor) go into my 920XT
Been looking at smart trainers for this winter training and really like the side to side motion of the rock and roll trainers. Currently I am on a dumb trainer without variable resistance using a stages power meter (hr and speed sensor too) onto my Garmin 1000 using sufferfest videos through a dvd player, but the solution you outlined here is actually quite a bit better assuming the app works and sufferfest stuff comes through. Since I am not really heavily invested in trainer stuff already, it seems just going through Kirk Kinetic and using the app and casting it onto the TV is a pretty good solution to all of this.
There is a several second video delay using chromecast. That is not a viable option. My guess is that ANT+ was deemed too expensive and they decided to not pay for it. They say its a dying protocol yet all the other trainers use it? and basically every accessory for your bike uses it too. that sounds alive and well.
Looks like an old Computrainer RU. Poor development on design, connectivity,… While Wahoo, Tacx and Elite (CycleOps missed the boat but jumped on it this year) are setting benchmarks in trainer business, Kinetic is pottering in the background.
Thanks for the info Ray! I was ready to upgrade my R&R trainer, but now I’ll wait. I can’t believe Kurt K went in this direction .
This is a spectacularly unwise and arrogant move. Let’s revisit this in 12 months and see how close they are to going out of business.
If this is indeed an unwise move, we will correct our mistake long before we go out of business. 🙂
As others have said, this monumentally short sighted decision just means this can’t be considered in my options to upgrade.
I really hope they come to their senses as I love my road machine but currently a full KICKR Snap at <£500 is way better value with its compatibility
What software do you currently use? Smart Control will likely be compatible with Zwift, Trainer Road, PerfPro, Fulgaz, VirtualTrainer, Kinomap (and more). If your preferred software isn’t listed, please tell us so I can reach out to their development team. Integration is fast and easy. Zwift and TrainerRoad added support for inRide’s custom BLE protocols with minimal effort (and no assistance) and Smart Control is just as easy.
No idea why Kinetic believes they are special enough to move to proprietary protocols when literally all of their competition is open via ANT+/Bluetooth/both.
It’s as if they’re blind to the decline and fall of the people at Computrainer, who made the exact same mistake and went from the dominant trainer company to irrelevance.
Not even proprietary, they are publishing the api. Just different – very odd decision unless there is something their api provides that standard protocols don’t. Although in fairness, there is no standard Bluetooth control protocol which is why Wahoo originally rolled their own. Maybe KK thinks they can get everyone to use their api like Wahoo did, only times have changed.
Yeah, I can understand publishing an API for BT control, since as you noted there’s no official standard there. So each company is indeed doing things slightly differently, which sucks, but is fine in the context of the realm of suck that exists.
But not also transmitting on open BT for Power/Speed/Cadence is the real issue. Nevermind the whole lack of ANT+ thing.
There actually are improvements in our API over the official BLE protocols. We will be discussing this at length in a post on our blog soon. We hope you take the time to read it.
Several already smart trainers at the upgrade price point. No way these things gain traction.
… but seriously though. Go ride one at a store in a month and compare against those similarly priced trainers. You’re welcome to say it sucks at that point, but I would hope you would leave open the possibility that our trainer might be the bees knees so you don’t miss out…!
No open Ant+ or FE-C and open Bluetooth and over $500 to upgrade an already over $400-$500 trainer. Looks like Kinetic is making my decision to a Wahoo Kicker even easier. Loved my Road Machine but it’s probably going to the wife’s bike since she doesn’t need anything but speed and cadence.
Ouch! I was just getting excited about the prospect of upgrading the resistance unit on my old Kurt Kinetic Road Machine (it’s at least 12 years old now) that the girl is using…
But if there’s no ANT+ and BLE, it’s definitely NO SALE and I’ll pick up a 2nd Kickr or Kickr Snap or Tacx or Elite… It makes me sad when I see companies not integrating the consumer friendly standards…
Actually we are integrating the consumer friendly standard: BLE. BLE is on 100% of iOS, Android and Mac devices and with Windows 10 BLE support has become much simpler so software like TrainerRoad will work with all of your BLE gear without the need of a special dongle. No dongles ever again!
Unfortunately ANT+ is far from open (at least my definition of “open”). Our decision to not support ANT+ will be detailed in an upcoming blog post. We hope you take the time to read it.
Not compatible with Ben&Jerries ? No deal !
Very stupid move by Kinetic. I think I will continue with my Rock & Roll for a while, but when the time comes to replace it with a new one, I will definitely choose Kinetic any more.
I wonder why none of the other brands have designed anything similar to the R&R: the freedom to move more freely is quite nice.
The R&R is nice isn’t it!? I’d encourage you to demo the Smart Control and see if it works with your software before you make a decision simply because we don’t support ANT+. You might find that ANT+ isn’t actually as big a deal as you think… And this flywheel is to die for!
Like everyone here I find the move indredibly stupid, but I therefore can’t understand why they made it – Isn’t there anything we’re all missing there? If it’s not a cost issue (25 cents!), what could be their reasoning on their end? Is it really pure arrogance/incompetence?
For those old enough polar once ruled the roost when it came to smart training watches, refused to open up their software to the emerging ANT+ standard. Look at them now !
Garmin rules !!
For all of you that have a Kurt Kinetic – cherrish it….., for it is now a dinosaur !!!
Sweet! What kind of dinosaur???
Ray, do you have any thoughts on why Kurt Kinetic would think it was a good idea to not follow standards? Other than 25 cents, what’s in it for them?
They want folks to buy into their training platform subscription service.
(Well, that was the reasoning last year anyway)
…yet they’re shoehorning in support for all the competing training platforms?
We’re not sure where the 25 cents idea started, but let me be clear here: this decision was not made to save ourselves $0.25 per unit.
It’s also not about what’s in it for us. It’s about what’s in it for you. This is a long, nuanced explanation that involves Garmin, Wahoo, Kinetic, Zwift, Trainer Road and more. We will be writing up a detailed explanation on our blog this week. We hope you will take the time to read it.
We would love for people to subscribe to our platform, but that’s not why we made this decision.
If only you could be bothered to write it…
lol…no Ant+…jesus fekin christ..
Who say down at Kinetic and said..’you know what…lets upgrade our turbo-trainers..everyones doing it..Wahoo..Cycleops…Tacx…lets do ours!”..
‘yeah..and lets upgrade it with no Ant+ or Bluetooth smart…whatsoever….that’ll make em scratch their heads..!’
‘great..thats sorted…now somebody pass me another crack pipe I’m going off my tits here for a hit…’
Kinetic = losers.
It does have Bluetooth Smart. Which means that probably every device you own (aside from Garmin Head Units, but who uses a head unit to train on a trainer?) has the ability to communicate with our trainer without the need for a dongle.
… pass me the crack pipe …
Come on. 70% of the market is owned by Garmin and even more ANT+ (in any variety). I´m sorry but this is just a wrong turn you guys have made, and it feels like it´s done mainly to go against the grain and flip the finger to Garmin. We all know who you guys are, and you make a brilliant platform (loving my Rock and Roll here) but you are turning your lovers to haters this way.
I´m moving over to the TACX NEO after this, but I´ll miss the side motion for sure.
If you would like to work on introducing a better and fully open standard, then there are a few main things:
Make it backwards compatible with the mainstream communication protocols out there (uhhu wake-up, for now it REALLY is ANT+).
Then tell everyone you have found a more capable/stable open platform and start lobbying to make sure they will adopt it.
Then (and really not before!) phase out support for the (in your view constraint/obsolete/aged) protocol in a consumer friendly manner.
Maybe you guys can work out a nice way to get us all back to loving your products by using a simple and cheap ANT+ dongle with full support. Also…. Don´t charge us for this mandatory dongle, it´s your way to show us you are consumer minded, but want to have us focused on new protocols.
Also the upgrade price is a crazy one, you must realize this. If it was in the 300 range, it would be something I would consider given it would have ANT support.
By the way, I am leading a group of product developers inside an IT company. This is basic stuff here guys, just ask anyone.
Hope to see your /proper consumer minded response/ soon in a blog or elsewhere.
Joel, I guess I’m old school I do use my Garmin Head unit when I am on a trainer. My HRM, speed and cadence sensors are all Ant+ and all connect flawlessly every time I turn it on. When I’m done with my workout it wirelessly connects to my wifi and uploads my work out. Last year I wanted a power meter and really considered the inride solution from KK, but that private BLE meant I’d have to either replace all my Ant+ gear and ride with my phone or just purchase a power meter that I could use on or off the trainer with my existing ecosystem. So that was $200 that KK lost from me and went to a competitor. Now I have been wanting to get a trainer that I can use the head unit to control resistance and be able to quickly ride existing course profiles and was excited to learn about the new option from KK, however the decision to stay with your version of BLE, and not going dual Ant/BLE and wanting $500 for the upgrade to my existing machine is pushing me to other options. Even if the other options are more expensive, at least they are allowing me to keep my existing accessories and train old fashioned with a head unit instead of having to buy a laptop or use my phone to ride or log or control my workouts.
Joel, your market research people either lied to you or phoned it in. People use the tech they have, and that means they use their Garmin head units when indoors on trainers. You can continue to mock it in the hopes of making it go away, but wishful thinking does not equate to reality. Take a look at, i don’t know, every head unit review that Ray has done and you’ll see mention of using it for indoor use.
Seriously, take a look at what you’re doing (“you” being the company, with you, Joel, as its voice in this forum), you’re ignoring input from customers and/or telling them they are using products incorrectly. That’s a hard road to hoe.
You have a limited amount of time until Ray publishes his trainer buyer’s guide… There are people here telling you that they will take that into account when making a purchase this season, and more of them will read what Ray says than will read this magical blog post to which you keep referring. And that equates into dollars for your company. The choice is yours. Good luck.
“…I´m moving over to the TACX NEO after this, but I´ll miss the side motion for sure…”
TACX NEO actually does have side motion
I have read it will have ‘some/limited’ side motion.
if this is incorrect and I could compare it to the RNR I would be totally sold and have some green old iron for sale.
I tried both and they feel too different. I can not make direct comparison because of it. The motion of NEO while not over-exaggerated feels really nice and cushioned. I liked it. I suggest that you just simply find NEO in whatever LBS you have around and try it. That is what I did. Also if you are thinking of buying NEO make sure that there are easy ways to exchange if something does not work. There are reports on Tacx’s forums o NEO’s dead/malfunctioning on arrival/soon after.
I’m a pretty serious time trialist and am a prime candidate for your products. I’m happy spending £1,000 on a trainer if it will improve my FTP by 10w over a season, which is why I’ve always loved Kurt Kinetic’s smooth and realistic feeling trainers – they are the closest thing to riding outdoors and allow the rider to develop the right muscle groups because of this, meaning your indoors training translates to improvements in race performance.
I used to train with an iPhone mounted to my handlebars, but I now use a Garmin head unit, as does virtually everyone I train with and race against. I’d say once you get to the “high end amatuer” end of the market, about 90% of people are using their head unit of choice, and 90% of the time that will be a Garmin. All the top end power meters support ANT+, as to the most reliable HR straps. I know it’s dated technology and has lots of limitations, but it’s absolutely rock solid in my experience compared to Bluetooth.
Why do serious cyclists use a Garmin head unit instead of a phone?
1) It has real buttons. When you are pushing yourself to the limit and can’t see properly because of sweat and your brain is turning to mush due to the effort, having a physical lap button to press to record the end of an interval is what you need.
2) Head units normally use resistive touch screens as opposed to capacitive touch. This means they work when they are covered in sweat, unlike a smartphone screen.
3) They are water proof, again not presenting a problem when sweat is pouring all over them.
4) You can have the same data in front of you as you do outdoors. For example, I have 3s power displayed next to 30s power, with lap NP and lap AP underneath. I know your own iPhone app is very good and would allow something close to this, but most other apps are really limited in this respect.
5) When you’re warming up for a race, you don’t want extra complications like having your iPhone mounted on your bars and then taking this off 5 mins before your start time. Or that the latest app update has changed the screen layout, or added some new functionality. Garmin head units just work. You just want to get in the zone and stare at your power and HR data for 20 minutes as you do the same warm up you did last race.
I have a big fat powerful Win10 tower PC with a 27″ screen, perfect for Zwift, TR and all the services you support. But my pc doesn’t have Bluetooth….. and it’s only 2 years old. So what was that about “no dongles necessary”?
I use the ant+ dongle that came with my garmin watch, and it works totally reliably.
I imagine that I can’t be the only potential buyer with such a setup..
Further more I do make use of ant+ connection to my Edge unit to show my self chosen stats, that TR and such doesn’t show on the big screen. And to a lesser extend for its recovery guide.
You probably have lots of reasons for your move, and fine by me, but I just don’t understand why you don’t open up for those features I just mentioned.
Is is really so detrimental to your strategy?
Btw, funny that ditching cd-roms etc. that you mentioned, were all pioneered by Apple 🙂
There’s just the small difference that you could buy external CD-ROM drives and so on, except for Flash I give you…
This is like trying to sell a gravel grinder bike which only fits 20mm tyres. There is less than zero chance I will buy something which doesn’t support basic standards.
Given about 30/32 = 94% of comments along the lines of “What were you thinking” regarding connectivity, I think a public announcement of a swift U-turn is in order.
Breaking the status quo is never easy. But if we do our jobs right, you won’t even notice that its happening.
So they have no compatibility with the market dominating Garmin/Suunto devices…I am loathe to call anyone stupid…but…the Board of Directors for KK need to be replaced. No one wants to add another electronics box to the mix with no compatibility.
This confuses me. Right now I hop on the Smart Control R&R, pull out my phone, and do a workout. In the ANT+ world, I plug in a 30-pin adapter, a Wahoo ANT+ Key, and then maybe buy another head unit to strap to my bike … We’re trying to remove the need for more gear by going to where the rest of the tech industry went 5 years ago. You might be surprised by how little not supporting ANT+ actually affects you. We understand the head-unit argument, but last time we checked, your trainer isn’t up the mountain with you. And doing a workout in other mobile / desktop software seems to be a better experience, and taking your data from that workout in FIT format is simple. We will be doing a write up on all of this soon on our blog. We hope you read it.
Here in Alaska we have ample opportunity to ride trainers (6+ months of winter). I’ve put over 2,000 miles on my trainer in 2016 alone. My workflow is hop on my Road machine fire up my head unit and ride to a DVD or training plan I’ve created and downloaded to my Garmin. Not supporting Ant+ affects me greatly. My HR, Speed, Cadence, Power meter are all Ant+ and talk to my head unit indoors or out. The beauty of the Kinetic Road Machine is that the same equipment I use on it goes right out the door with me when weather is suitable for riding. I would love to ride on Zwift or Trainer road or any other live-stream platform but my reality is that in Alaska a broadband connection with unlimited or actual usable bandwidth is a still in the future pipe dream. In total there are 52 broadband providers in Alaska. There are 282,000 people in Alaska without access to a wired connection capable of 25mbps download speeds. There are 113,000 people in Alaska that have access to only one wired provider, leaving them no options to switch. Another 53,000 people in Alaska don’t have any wired internet providers available where they live. So while many of the lower 48’rs can just fire up their smartphone and ride, that’s not an option for many of us (and I’m sure there are many places in the lower 48 that are broadband wastelands as well). I keep checking for this soon to be published blog but no-joy. As a consumer it sounds like you are comparing your company to Apple in that your innovation will change the world in trainers and software and I hope you are correct. However so far your implementation on products (In-ride, new power unit) to me is comparable to what Nintendo has done versus Sony (Playstation) and X-Box. Sony did it the best up to the PS3 slim version; all their PS versions were backwards compatible to the original PS which kept consumers inside their ecosystem because they saw value in upgrading because it allowed them to keep and continue playing with their existing products. Huge win for the company and for the consumers, and kept many a user from switching. I love my Road machine simply because it just works, I put my bike on it, it is very quiet, no issues with leaks and gives me a very realistic road feel. Having the ability to control it with my existing equipment at a reasonable price for upgrading would keep me in the Kinetic ecosystem. But you are locking me out because not supporting Ant+ actually affects me even when I don’t take my trainer up a mountain with me.
I will add to the comments in the vein of “the people that made this decision may be out of a job”.
Kinetic is employee owned and run by about 6 people. No CEO. No Board of Directors. The decisions we make are mulled over for long periods of time and collectively agreed too. We all care deeply about the products we create and we try to make products that you will want to purchase. We support our products with ridiculously awesome warranties and have chosen this path to ensure that we can provide the best possible experience for you. We have actually learned some things, contrary to what you might see, and are moving forward with products that will work with all of the devices you purchase today, tomorrow, and probably the next 10 years. No dongles. No dependency on a privately controlled wireless tech acting as a middleman. Relationships with every software developer, helping them with integration, testing and ensuring a stellar user experience.
I have a 3 year old KK Road machine and it works great but eventually wanted to upgrade to a smart trainer. Like other peoples comments the upgrade kit to retro fit my current road machine is a crazy price. Not sure how they plan on staying in business.
We plan on staying in business by continuing to sell a large number of trainers.
I am sure you will sell trainers still. All I was saying like most people on here is the upgrade kit price is outrageous. $549 to upgrade my existing KK road machine. I would think $200-$250 is more in line honestly but that is just me.
I know you might say I cannot get a new smart trainer for that but I can get a new Kickr Snap at REI when they do their 20% off coupon for ($700 – 20%) = $560 before tax. Just saying and I would like to just upgrade mine but if the price does not come down to an acceptable number I will just sell my KK and wait until REI has their 20% off to use it on the Kickr out of principal to your pricing scheme.
Also how do I connect the smart part of your trainer with my setup. I have a desktop computer that is connected to my TV. I have an ANT+ stick in the computer that pairs that to my garmin speed/cadence sensor on my bike. I start zwift or TR and it finds the dongle and communicates the information to the screen for me.
I am assuming since you are not supporting Ant+ I would have to then buy another stick with my current setup.
I also like some people use my 910xt when riding on zwift to get my stats instead of pulling the file to attach to my garmin connect account. Reason why which I am sure you guess is because I want to see how many miles I went on a flat course vs. zwift shows my “virtual” mileage because of the hills and such.
In case you’re not aware, REI also carried KK accessories, including the Resistance unit. They often have 40% off single items (Excluding bikes) a few times a year, so you could probably pick it up for $330 sometime this year if the price stays the same. It’s how I plan on picking it up. $300 is the range I would have expected this to cost in the first place.
Thanks for the REI tip Philip. Still not inexpensive in $CDN. I am still waiting for the dust to settle, and riding in Zwift using my cadence and speed from Garmin. Stone age I guess, but thought I would wait a bit.
40% off? Typically REI does 20% off sales (usually right before Thanksgiving, then again in the Spring). Never seen a 40% off sale, unless referring to the Clearance/Garage Sale, but that’s generally for refurb/returned items.
Obviously, the 20% off sale is still a good deal – especially since it’s virtually always valid on Kurt Kinetic products.
WOW did they ever miss. I was really hoping to hear great things and be tempted to upgrade even though the pricing had me already leaning away. I think if they were comparable to other “smart trainers” then the price is reasonable but the upgrade isn’t. Then add the standards issue and they have shot themselves in the foot!
Wow! I’m in the market for a Smart Trainer, and on Ray’s advice, waited until these announcements before making a decision.
I really like the look of the Rock n Roll trainer, as this seems quite realistic compared to the way I ride, but there’s no way I’d consider buying this if it doesn’t follow standards (out of principal).
“Out of Principal” is one of the many reasons you don’t see ANT+ support. We will detail our decision in an upcoming blog post, we hope you read it. 🙂
Add my name to the list of disappointed KK R&R owners looking to upgrade. Upgrade price is too close to that of the KICKR Snap (and others), and that’s before even getting to their unwillingness to play in the sandbox.
Makes more sense to sell the Kinetic and take my trainer business elsewhere, unless they reconsider their position.
Through some email interactions with KK support I was pointed to this post (which does at least leave the door open for a course correction):
link to support.kurtkinetic.com
We reconsider our positions on a daily basis. Everything is subject to change. If we are wrong, you can be assured that we will correct our mistakes.
I appreciate your responses Joel. Wireless protocols aside, the Smart Control upgrade price is still a concern.
I have the original R&R (T-016). Any performance differences between the new R&R Smart and the Smart Control installed onto an original R&R?
Ya know I don’t know the answer to that. Jason can help you out: email@example.com
And we definitely see the upgrade price complaints. I’m not responding to those as I don’t really have any authority on that. :-/
I appreciate you responses as well Joel. I don’t have a dog in the fight as I won’t be making any trainer changes soon. I think what KK may have missed here is that people are already invested heavily in ANT+. We get it. We know how to get stuff to work. We don’t want to invest again. For my trainer I use an old second hand laptop that works with ANT+, for me to purchase your (very expensive) upgrade I need a new laptop. But I have already invested in ANT+ sensors and dongles. I don’t want to reinvest. I want the new tech to work with the old tech. What your calling blind loyalty is actually investment in the form of cash and energy and time to figure out how to make things work together.
I’ll add to the chorus: No Sale. I love my Road Machine and it does what I need when combined with TrainerRoad. When I find myself in a position to move up to a smart trainer though, KK is not under consideration. Willful failure to adhere to industry standards is an indication of bad management decision-making and I am not investing money in a product that may not be around long.
I cannot imagine the decision making framework that led to this outcome….
Forward thinking. Sometimes it’s okay to remove the floppy drive if there is better tech that already exists in 100% of devices being sold (no dongle needed) and the software development community is eager to ditch the status quo and move on…
It’s not “100% of devices”; your being disingenuous, at best. You’ve already said it doesn’t work with Garmin HU. You’ve already tried to mock those who use head units indoors. Potential customers are telling you that your wrong. Your not “ditching the status quo”, you’re not meeting (and ignoring) customer needs.
Software developer community is eager to implement new features that can help win over competitors. Implementing yet another protocol is nothing but distraction however small or big.
I’m putting away my pitchfork and taking a “wait and see” approach. I want to see how good the unit actually is and how not having ANT+/BTSmart will affect my setup (R&R). Definitely looking forward to hearing them out on their blog on the reasons they feel this is a valid and smart business move.
Thank you. It’s all that we can ask for.
Honestly, the lack of ANT+ FE-C support is disappointing from a tech standpoint, but at the end of the day, how do I use my trainer? I use it with my iPhone and TrainerRoad and/or Zwift apps. Both of these applications are supported by the KK platform apparently, so this seems completely fine to me.
I’m still trying to figure out why anyone would want to train using a smart trainer and their Garmin head unit, rather than something like TR or Zwift. What benefits does that bring?
The biggest issue with the KKs is that the trainer upgrade is only $100 less than the full trainer, which probably means it’d be cheaper for me in real money to sell my Road Machine on CL and buy a new trainer. Seems like KK picked the wrong price point for the upgrade, but that’s probably driven by actual costs. If I sell my trainer to fund the replacement, I’m not longer locked into getting another KK though, so it might be a mistep KK’s part.
Zwift is coming to iOS! … and will only support BLE sensors. Thank you for taking a step back and understanding that if we, the creators of the hardware and software, do our jobs correctly, the wireless technology used is irrelevant to you.
Reading through the comments I see a few things that are underlying all decisions I am making when it comes to sport tech at the moment.
Everything shall be able to communicate together without any hiccups. Being the Tacx Neo I got with the Garmin 520 or with the android tablet that has built in ANT+ and BLE, or being the Win10 tablet.
And they should not have a closed protocol or have limited support in the market, or limit where you can use the data (Polar in the past).
I see this ticks the two no buttons for what I would consider.
Also looking at the price point of the Kinetic Rock & Roll Smart Control brings it into the ballpark of the new Tacx Flux that works with everything.
If I were in the market to get a new trainer at this price point I know where I would go.
Built-in ANT+ on Android Tablets is available on some Samsung Galaxy Tabs and a few Sony Xperias. That’s it. Those tablets also have BLE. So does every other Android device sold. If you’re looking to the market to continue to support the bike tech you buy, BLE should be your primary decision point, not ANT+. Dynastream failed to win that war back in 2006, Garmin bought it wholesale and has been cornering the bike market for the last decade while the rest of the tech market moved forward with BLE.
When you are in the market for a new trainer, maybe see if we were right or wrong. If we’re wrong, there will probably be a Kinetic FE-C trainer waiting for you.
But still why not provide backward compatibility as it were? One of the reasons I bought an android phone was specifically to have ANT+.
I was very excited when I saw that there would be a Smart Control Power Unit upgrade available for existing Kinetic trainers. The MSRP price of $549 for just the power unit, though, definitely poured some cold water on my initial enthusiasm. I wouldn’t pay anywhere near that just to retrofit my existing Road Machine trainer.
The lack of ANT+ and/or Smart Bluetootth support, which I just learned about for the first time here, is a definite deal killer.
If the final price isn’t significantly lower than $549, and if support for established wireless protocols isn’t added, I’ll be purchasing another brand of smart trainer and selling my Road Machine.
It does have Bluetooth Smart. But there is no established wireless protocol for electronic trainers. Everybody does there own and things seem to be working out okay …
What software do you use when you train? We will likely have support from Zwift, Trainer Road, Fulgaz, Kinomap, VirtualTrainer and more. If it’s not one of those, tell me and I’ll reach out to their dev team!
Sorry, I know you have BT Smart support, I meant to write established BT Smart as it relates to smart trainers.
I actually use my Garmin head unit when I train indoors. I want that option. It’s doesn’t make sense why you don’t want to give your customers that choice–especially since the costs to do so seem so trivial.
Like many others, I currently train indoors with TR and Zwift. I know those programs should work fine with the upcoming power units. My concern is what about those great programs that have not come out yet? Will they support your proprietary protocols? Hopefully, but who can say for sure? Why not just bake the support for these established standards into the product?
Joel, I hope you are right because aside from the ant+ issue you look to possibly have built a really good trainer. If it’s accurate, running erg off that flywheel could really condition your legs. Inertia is a big issue in the uk and your unit wil have a huge amount.
However lots of us still use a garmin head unit to draw data from our trainers, though I’m no fan of garmin. We now even have the option of setting workouts from those head units. As it stands your new trainer doesn’t support that as far as I can see.
In relation to trainer road, I run mine off a laptop, which needs a specific dongle to run Bluetooth with a trainer, even if the laptop has Bluetooth built in. I prefer to use a laptop just coz it’s bigger, I can see the screen more easily. I sometime do a trainerroad workout then follow it up with a zwift spin if I’ve anything left, I’m going to need a really good iPad to get the screen I want for that.
DCR did mention a wired option. I know perfpro are looking to support that. Will that also be an option for trainerroad?
I do wish you all the luck with this as it does seem a good unit, which could be an effective training tool. I just hope you’ve not made a misjudgment in relation to ant+ support.
My response is a little snarky …
Why doesn’t Garmin just support BLE in their Head Units?
As far as proprietary protocols, we did our own thing because I find the existing spec lacking, and I want to make a better product than just another trainer.
How is ours better from a technical perspective?
– Stateless messaging
– 4Hz update rates
– Smaller packets, more information
To make those improvements, we have to do our own thing. We’re not the only ones doing this, it just seems that we’re the only ones being called out for it. :-/
Hi Neila –
That flywheel is a beast. Just saying …
Our lack of support for Garmin stuff is a complex answer. We will detail everything later this week on our blog. Check it out.
If you get an iPad for Zwift, you’ll need a trainer with BLE. Fortunately for you we made one and it’s awesome and it should be Zwift compatible! Yay! You can also run TR on that iPad! And Sufferfest. And Kinetic Fit. And ______ You get the point …
The USB option is of interest to pretty much everyone. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see support for it with the usual suspects.
“To make those improvements, we have to do our own thing. We’re not the only ones doing this, it just seems that we’re the only ones being called out for it. :-/”
You’re being called out for it because you’re the only one not *also* adopting the other standards out there. It’s perfectly fine if you want to do something extra on the side for BLE *control*, as I noted in the post, everyone does to some extent. But not supporting the other open BLE or ANT+ standards is the singular reason why you’re being called out.
Every other trainer company has adopted both of those standards for their 2016 lineups (and even their 2015 lineups, some also even their 2014 lineups).
From memory Wahoo didn’t originally have FE-C but then added it after the response from customers so I don’t think you’re the only ones getting the backlash. That then made their trainer suitable for everyone within the price point.
Supporting the standard BLE GATT protocols is doable, but not ideal. And I do have a good reason for it beyond just building a better API. That message is better left to our blog post.
Removing that dongle requirement for windows 8/10 is on our list of improvements for TR windows.
Hi Joel, thanks for your involvement with this – it can’t be easy, but i’m sure it’s appreciated by many even if they disagree with your point of view. For my pennysworth…
Firstly, on the technical side
– Stateless messaging : not necessarily a good thing as it can often result in polling on the sink which can result in poor power performance. This has been one of the reasons that BT based networks have traditionally been prone to high power consumption compared to some other wireless protocols for low bandwidth scenarios in particular. ANT (and other) use the synchronisation to go into deep sleep as often as possible. Might not be an issue, but it’s certainly not a Good Thing ™ per se.
– 4Hz update rates : FE-C channel period is by default 4/8Hz and can be nogiated up (or down) by the fitness equipment (in this case, the trainer).
– Smaller packets, more information : packet size should be pretty irrelevant here – more information is obviously a nice thing to have – especially if you’re defining the protocol.
Secondly I can’t help but feel that Rays comment is the pertinent one – other guys are implementing stuff _in addition to supporting the existing open standard_. If that is (partly) a consequence of developer resource, which would be completely understandable given your comments, then I can’t see any real world disadvantage saying so. If it’s purely a design decision then that’s slightly less understandable to me. Good luck with things either way, I have a slight suspicion you might need it .. which pains me to say as a happy RoadMachine/InRide user (inter alia).
My thoughts exactly. What about future software. And I use my Garmin indoors.
I work at a bike shop and get everything at cost. Even with that discount the upgrade price is still too high in my opinion.
And I use my Garmin on the trainer.
Don’t really want to defend Kinetic on the decision as it is an odd choice in 2016 but in reality the trainers will ‘just’ work with the apps most people use.
I’ve got a PowerBeam pro (bought in early 2013 when the trainer choices were far more limited) which also uses a proprietary protocol.
Does it cause me any issues? None at all. It works with the apps I use (Zwift/TrainerRoad) without any problems.
Do I regret buying it? Not at all as it’s worked since the day I bought it without a flaw.
Big question is would I buy it again in 2016? Probably not as there are so many alternatives which is where Kinetic possibly has a problem (guess the biggest problem for Kinetic now is this review which will in all likelihood force them to change or risk killing sales)
Well, if their current roll-out is to be judged based on last year’s offerings, I wouldn’t believe any of their spin. In particular, I would be extremely wary of any “improvements” or updates they claim to have in the works. IMHO, they will never happen.
My reason for saying this is based on the abysmal performance of, and support for, the Android app they perfunctorily cobbled to together for the “smart” lineup. We were promised a fully functioning app shortly after the release. Never appeared. The current version, a year later, is pathetic; only about 50% functional. Many “coming soon!” dead ends that have lasted the year.
And we’re not talking resistance control training here- just monitoring, recording and reviewing what comes out of the sensor unit. No real way to customize displays. Generally clunky. You can’t even bulk upload all of your workout history (Y’know, that 4 months of workouts you amassed before the app would even link to strava… To be fair, I only use strava, to which I must upload each old saved workout *individually*. Dunno if the other linked app connections make more sense, but it doesn’t look like it).
It’s just a shame, since the trainers themselves are very solid. As folks have pointed out, these are not complex problems to resolve in a consumer friendly way. That why it smells so much like less-than-thorough design, and zero post-launch gameplan or support resources.
I will own up to the lack of progress in Android. We over promised and haven’t yet delivered an App that is equal to its iOS counterpart. I’m sorry. I won’t make another promise, but I will say that we *are* working on it. I know from your perspective it might seem like we’re all hype and no action, but let me list some of the things we accomplished this last year on software engineering side, and maybe we can rebuild some trust when we do turn our full attention to Android and deliver a quality product.
– Major revisions to the iOS App
– AppleTV integration
– Chromecast integration
– 28 Professional Training Plans, 200+ Workouts
– Partnership with Sufferfest
– Redeployed server architecture supporting tens-of-thousands of users and hundreds of thousands of hours of workout data (from both Android and iOS)
– Rewrote the entire firmware on the inRide to make it stable and replaced (still replacing) all units for free
– Built out Kinetic.Fit to support our growing Application feature set
– Open-sourced our BLE framework for iOS so companies that are stuck on Wahoo’s SDK have a reasonable exit-ramp so they can support more devices than just what Wahoo dictates
– Built lightweight SDKs for every platform (.NET, iOS, Android, Mac, Windows) to make it stupid simple for software engineers to add support for our tech (Zwift, Trainer Road and more -> all had zero issues and zero complaints)
– Automated a machine we call “Crank Armstrong” which runs our trainers for days, weeks at a time, at speeds of up to 40mph and kicking out 2000+ watts of glorious power.
– And Smart Control RU.
This was accomplished by a small team of 6 guys at Kinetic. And I’m the only full-time software engineer. When we get the Android version up to speed, I hope you come back and check it out. There’s a ton of stuff that will be there for free that rivals a lot of the subscription apps.
i have a first gen. Rock n Roll. I use my MacBook for TR and I’ve bought a large library of Sufferfest videos. I have an ANT+ power meter and various sensors. I want to have my data in the same online training diary as my running, swimming and cycling data i.e. Uploaded through my watch/head unit.
How do I make that combo work? Forgive me if this is wrong, but I have to have your app on my iPhone and upload every workout manually? So now I have my phone involved?
I think the idea that people don’t use a some sort of watch or head unit is incorrect. I also need to have the MacBook as my setup isn’t near a TV screen; won’t be; and I’ve bought Sufferfest videos.
I also have an ANT+ P2M Type-S. That’s ANT+, so ANT+ is going to be in my future for a while.
I guess I’m another n-1 sale. It’s good that the market is so large…
As a small company with limited resources why would Kinetic even try to compete (software-wise) with an established field of training apps/platforms? Typically if you want to build a better mousetrap and go compete with established players, you need a lot of resources to do so. While I am a software engineer and can appreciate some of your arguments, I would focus on making the hardware (and the firmware in the Smart Control RU) as robust and solid as possible, not on apps or yet another training “platform”.
Sadly I can’t find a single positive review for your Smart Control RU trainers, only a handful or remorseful early adopters. From what I can gather, you guys must be in “circle the wagons” mode with the Smart Control RU product line right now. Hope you can pull it together and be successful in the marketplace.
IMHO it’s a bizarre direction that Kurt have gone in. Ant+ FEC is the standard and will be for a while yet, not to support it is creating a problem which isn’t needed.
But some kudos is due for being visible and defending the position (with some humour…), I’m fairly certain it’s a position that will be reversed quickly.
The real problem is hidden. I know that’s vague which makes me look arrogant, but I will have further explanation as to why we’re doing things this way. On our blog. Later this week.
And being more visible is something we are working on, that way you don’t have to yell into the comments section here, but rather straight to our faces. 🙂 And then we can understand each other better. ‘Cause LOUD!
We reconsider our positions on a daily basis. Everything is subject to change. If we are wrong, you can be assured that we will correct our mistakes.
All my cycling and running tech is ANT+
I like it, it just works. I like the one to (very) many pairing.
Quarq power meter – many HR straps – footpods – speed sensors – cadence sensors – speed and data sensors – garmin edge – garmin Fenix – etc etc
I have a wahoo dongle for the very rare times I use trainer road on iOS
I don’t find Bluetooth as reliable – I never seem to get any ANT+ problems…. Ever
I suspect I’m like 90% of people who read this blog.
Why should I change ?
Most of my equipment is Ant+ as well when I decide to get into the trainer market repurchasing devices will not be in my future as I still need them for running and swimming so Kinetics will not be for me. Sure sounds personal between Kinetics and Garmin…..just sayin!
Well, all my cycling tech is dual ant+\BLE. And I find I only ever use the BLE side. My only problem with KK is the upgrade pricing. Drop that 100 or 200 and you can take my money.
Like many my KK R+R has been bulletproof for more than 5 years but Zwift, TrainerRoad and rapidly reducing smart trainer prices have me looking hard at a Tacx Flux or similar for this winter. I couldn’t care less about ANT vs BLE – my laptop is happy with either and I can’t run Zwift or TR on my garmin.
I like the option to upgrade my existing trainer but 500€ seems excessive in the current market, especially for a company that hasn’t yet proven they translate their fluid unit quality across to an electronic one.
What I really want to know is what is this new unit like to ride – road feel, responsiveness, noise? If it scores well in those boxes and the price drops a bit then I think it is well worth a look for existing KK owners.
Further on upgrade pricing …. If I understand this correctly I can take a fluid R+R, buy the new smart Road Machine for 570€, switch over the resistance units and have a smart R+R plus working fluid RM to use as backup or sell. This seems to make more sense than buying just the upgrade for 500€ or am I missing something?
Agreed on this – the pricing is high for me for the upgrade. I loooooved my R+R but bought a Tacx Vortex last fall for zwifting for @$550. I’d switch back over by upgrading but just can’t justify the cost in my head – would definitely do it at $300, probably would at $350.
For what it’s worth, I understand but don’t care about the Ant+/BLE discussion. If it works with zwift on a PC, I’m in.
Huh – a friend forwarded this on to me. Add the rock & roll feature to the vortex I already own at my desired price point. Guess I don’t have a dog in this hunt anymore.
link to coplate.bike
My question is do I need to get and use the Kinetic app to be able to connect to a Zwift session on my PC?
I have the R&R trainer and would consider the upgrade to Smart, but I can’t quite picture the options here. I pay for Zwift already. Do I have to pay for the Kinetic app too in order to use any of the other training software? I don’t know if my laptop supports BTLE, so does a phone with the app act as the middle-man? I already have a ANT+ dongle, do I need to get a BTLE dongle too? I think this really needs to be clearly laid out.
Hi Jeff –
You do NOT need the Kinetic App to connect to Zwift. Zwift has a “Mobile Link” app for mobile devices that you will use that gives you some nice controls as well as giving you a BLE connection since your computer doesn’t have one. That app will communicate with your PC over WiFi. No BLE dongle required.
If you have an iPad, Zwift will be coming to that device soon here (it’s in Beta) and that will work directly with Kinetic gear and again, no Kinetic App required.
The Kinetic App is free. We do have a paid subscription tier in it, but that only adds additional training plan content and unlocks a few advanced connectivity options with Apple TV, streaming more video, etc. The free app is still very functional and feature rich as is.
This actually answered a question I had, so thank you for that. I’ve been looking at smart trainers for this year but here is my setup so far. I own all the sufferfest videos and training plans already and watch those through my TV using DVD (old school). I use my Garmin head unit to show me what my heart rate monitor and my stages PM are doing and ride the workouts to that. I then upload the finished workout via Bluetooth to strava, garmin connect, and trainingpeaks. I would love to get smart training capability.
So, to ride to Sufferfest videos using a Kirt Kinetic smart trainer and get readings from my power meter and heart rate monitor and be displayed on my TV (hdmi connections but not a smart TV) what would I have to do? I understand this is a very basic question but this whole smart training/app thing is new to me.
It’s quite possible in the future I will join the zwift crowd or maybe do trainerroad, but I don’t want to be paying several monthly subscriptions to ride trainer workout indoors, but you never know. If it adds to the fun, I might.
People have made a big fuss about the lack of ANT+ integration on the new kinetic trainers, and while i agree with that, there is potentially a way around it.
The way I see it, you can use your phone or computer with bluetooth smart to control the trainer and then use your ANT+ head unit to pick up data from the various ANT+ sensors you have already on your bike (speed, cadence, power, etc). You won’t be able to control the trainer from your head unit, but in my mind that is not a necessity because you can use your phone or computer for that. Then after the ride, you upload your data from your ANT+ head unit to any of the apps you normally upload to (strava, gc, tp, etc). Now, the bluetooth smart app you use to control the trainer won’t have all of the sensor info it wants, but that I don’t think that would keep it from “smartly” changing the resistance. Besides, if you’re like me, I’m not about to go out and buy a whole new sensor suite and head unit just because Kinetic decided to be stubborn and not support ANT+.
The only question I have left unanswered is does the smart control trainer still behave like a non-smart kinetic trainer when it’s not plugged in? In other words, if I decide to do a not-plugged in ride, like if I’m next to my car warming up for a race in the middle of nowhere, will it still have the same resistance/speed curve that my good old trusty road machine has?
Ps. the upgrade price sucks big time!
The problem is not all apps will work with it, for example Sufferfest won’t control it. So it’s not so much the sensor side it’s the actual control as they’re introducing a barrier to apps being compatible.
So, buy the KK smart trainer AND a power meter to get power data on your head unit?
Seems quite expensive compared to a few cents extra to make the trainer ANT+ compatible.
They really blew it on this one with the propriety standard. I would have been a buyer but I’m back to looking at cycleops.
I really like my Road Machine trainer. The upgrade to the Smart Control would be ideal for me but the upgrade price is a bit steep. A lower price point and you would be getting my money. At the current price point and the apparent proprietary issues will make me hold off and check out the reviews. Frankly, I am more inclined to spend more and get the Wahoo Kickr 2, for it’s proven track record.
I only use TrainerRoad and Zwift anyways so the proprietary protocol doesn’t really affect me. Those apps will recognize the Smart Control. My current collection of sensors already work with the apps so it could be a seamless transition for me.
Another concern is from the fiasco with the inRide 2 sensor and the TrainerRoad app for Macs. I had to resort to using Parallels running Windows 8. Then I bought a bluetooth dongle that TrainerRoad for Windows recognizes to make my frankenstein contraption work.
In all fairness there was a clear indication on TrainerRoad’s site stating inRide 2 issues with the mac app. It’s my fault for not reading more thoroughly but what a pain nonetheless.
So will I have to buy a new heart rate strap to track HR with this? Currently I have a Garmin Edge 520 and an ANT+ HR strap. I realize the Edge won’t work with this. Does it come with a head unit, or do I have to jerry-rig some sort of a mount for my tablet and buy a new HR strap?
Lots to comment on here …
1. I appreciate the need to advance technology. The real questions are maintaining backward compatibility and open communication standards. Looks like Kinetic isn’t doing either, here. I can see moving on from ANT+ (personally, all my devices are Bluetooth), but not being compatible with an open Bluetooth standard is problematic, and there is a high likelihood that something will simply not connect.
2a. Sufferfest – some apps, like Sufferfest, do not support the new Kinetic Smart Control (check out the Sufferfest web site – they are only supporting FE-C). I’ve tried using the Sufferfest videos on the Kinetic app, but the timings and other settings are not always correct. Kind of a problem if you’re measuring your FTP …
2b. BTW – Sufferfest is moving to a subscription model themselves. Will all their new videos be available? They seem to want to keep that as an exclusive at this point.
2c. Those of us who want to use the Sufferfest app (just because we like it) will be out of luck with Kinetic. Sufferfest doesn’t support the inRide Power Pod – think that has anything to do with open standards?
3. The trainer and the software ideally should be able to be used independently from each other, allowing users to mix and match the best options for themselves. Sure, integration is may offer some advantages (and should), but there should be functionality if I want to use a KK trainer with ANY software, or the Kinetic app with ANY trainer.
4. Prices points are what they are, but the upgrade unit does seem quite high considering that one can purchase a new unit with broader compatibility from others for about the same price.
I’ll ad my voice (won’t change anything).
The problem is not KK using their approach to BLE, if they believe it’s better, then do it… However not supporting open BLE or ANT+ standards that are used by all other competitors is a very dumb move. Why antagonize and make life harder to your potential clients (say goodbye to most of them) ?
All other trainers are adopting both so it’ll an uphill struggle to convince customers to pay for yours, that has less compatibilities than others.
You can push your approach as long as you offer to bridge the gap, but also supporting open BLE or ANT+ defacto standards.
One parting thought… Even Apple, while pushing for lightning and wireless audio, is offering the lightning to audio jack adapter to bridge the gap… and you’re not Apple, so why would you think you can ignore the reality of the trainer market and the de facto universal support for open BLE and ANT+ ?????
First of all: sorry for my bad English.
Second, last season i´ve logged over 7000km on my trainer (yeah, its sad) mainly i´ve used Zwift, BKOOL and GoldenCheetah but i love trying new software like XERT mobile or Ipbike, and sometimes when i´m in a hurry i use my Garmin.
I need a new trainer and Kinetic just rolled me out.
By the way i own an Xperia Z3 compact and a Samsung note 10.1 2014, i bougth them because (among other reasons) they were ant+ compatible, i don´t need adaptors of any kind.
I´m not so sure about this, but i think ant+ has less energy consumption than BLE, well, and multicast and… COMPATIBILITY.
First of all, I (and many others I’m sure) appreciate you are engaging with us on this topic. At the very least we can say you are hearing us. Only time will tell if you are actually listening.
The “executive summary” of this post is as many others have said before. No Ant is suicidal, and your pricing is completely out of whack. I’ll elaborate further
I understand your arguments (your blog entry pending) that BT is the future. However, Ant is very much the present, like it or not. Here are three reasons why, for me at least, a BT only solution is a complete no go:
1. Despite your incredulity, I too use my Garmin head unit when training indoors. I use it in combination with an upgraded old PC, because sometimes I pull a Froome and stare at my stem, and because I like having ALL my cycling workouts in a single device. My computer sometimes goes haywire and cuts me off mid workout and looses my data. My Garmin head unit has a 99.5% success rate at recording my workouts (it does crash sometimes too)
2. ALL my cycling technology runs on Ant+, only my Tacx Vortex has BT (as well as Ant+)
3. Ant+ sends the data via broadcast. BT is point to point. This is important (at least TO ME), because it means I can use PerfPro at the same time as Zwift (with two Ant+ dongles). When I have a hard structured workout I use both, when I have an easy one I tend to use Zwift only. On top of this, I record all my workouts in the Garmin as backup. This is not possible to do with bluetooth
I have had a KK Road Machine for what seems like ages, and it’s a great device. But it’s “dumb”. Last year I purchased a Tacx Vortex which works great, but my precious wife liked it too and has “stolen” it. Therefore I’m in the market for a new trainer this winter. I was very excited to hear about the upgrade option for my KK, but the technological choices detailed above means it’s not an option. Not to mention your pricing doesn’t make sense in light of your competition at the moment. I am much more likely to either go for another Vortex, or to make the investment in a Wahoo unit (which is guaranteed to work with everything and is by all accounts a very solid unit).
Personally, I will be purchasing my new trainer at the end of October or in November. If your pricing becomes more realistic and you decide to implement the Ant+ stack, I’ll likely upgrade my KK. Otherwise, it will be sold and one of your competitors will get my money. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but this the thought process that I’m sure a lot of your clients and potential clients are following.
The ball is in your court
Same situation here… I have a R&R trainer that, taking into consideration the current specs of the new smart KK trainer/upgrade will find it’s way to craigslist and be replaced… Most likely by the new Magnus
What’s the latest with this blog post? Is it going to be going up here:
link to kurtkinetic.com
FWIW, you can add my name to the list of disappointed KK owners looking to upgrade my Road Machine. I can kind of understand the “upgrade resistance unit pricing” issue; if that’s what you guys have to charge to make it profitable then so be it, but from a customer’s perspective it doesn’t totally make sense.
However, not supporting ANT+ is just daft. All of my sensors are ANT+ and I want to record my trainer sessions on my Garmin, help me out here!
For those of you using TrainerRoad and a Garmin we have a desktop feature where we rebroadcast data as ANT+ devices so you can pair it on your Garmin.
It’s very popular for CompuTrainer users and it sounds like it might be popular for Kinetic Smart users :).
We call it “TrainerRelay” in our legacy app but our new has rebranded it to “DeviceRelay”. If you have any questions let me know.
well, all the technical details aside… but Imthink I habe never ever read a more arrogance and ignorant BS from an official companies rep like Mr. Joel Stewart.
I think you haven’t done any good to your company and to selling and promoting your products…
Sometimes you comments are crossing the borderline to insulting people, I think.
Well, people (at least those who are reading your comments here…) will know what to buy or not…
I appreciate Joel’s comments, but I won’t hold him responsible for KK’s decisions. I hope that after seeing all the feedback from just this small group, Kinetic will think again about their product and solution going forward. They have a great fluid trainer. I’m not so sure they are going to make inroads into the smart trainer market without ANT+. AS has been suggested before, it would be a good idea to support ANT+ and their BTLE solution out of the box.
It’s quite obvious that Joel comes from the engineering side of the company and not marketing. His responses started off well enough. But they quickly transitioned into argumentative with that arrogance and borderline insults directly to posters (for any potential buyer to see).
I suspect someone above him pulled the leash a bit after seeing the backlash here. Contrary to popular sentiment, there is such thing as “bad press”. Joel being the direct source of that does not reflect well on the company, whether he had their blessing or not.
I suspect the radio silence is in part to avoid more self-inflicted damage. The lack of a blog post, or any explanation as to its absence, does not look good.
Maybe they are re-evaluating their direction or they just want to let the fire die down and hope most people aren’t following this discussion.
Either way, I am disappointed in the source of information and how it was delivered. I steered clear of the InRide gear once I heard about the numerous issues. I will continue to do the same with their Smart Control. At least I have a solid fluid trainer that they can’t screw up 😉
Well I do not know how BTLE is superior from an engineering point of view. For one thing it does not practically allow multiple head units to read from the same sensor. It becomes “superior” only in case when one wants to use smartphone and that smartphone as not Samsung/Sony Xperia.
Personally even though I use PC/software at home to control my trainer I still always run Garmin unit in parallel, and outside it is Garmin only. Battery life in smartphones is too short even without talking to sensors.
There are 6 people in the company. I think Joel might be more than a “company rep” 🙂
works for the company, vocal via online media… = company representative.
He could be the owner, the industrial designer, or the accountant. I’m not sure that’s relevant after how they’ve dismissed the vast majority of potential clients’ concerns.
Acknowledged. It all reminds me of cars without CD players, or iPhones without mini plugs Dan. I find the price high, but if I buy the upgrade, I can still use my Garmin, albeit apparently not to simulate previous rides
But you can’t use your Garmin. imgiess you could download the power data from your laptop and try to overlay your heart rate data. Or use an ANT+ USB dongle, which avoiding this dongle Kurt Kinetic promotes as a USP…
I think most people want to know their trainer will work with further software as well as current software. The majority also want to record their data. Not everyone records via their cellphone, despite what KK thinks.
I guess it would be like having an iPod with a connector that is unique to that product, that your car stereo can talk to, but it doesn’t talk to your car speakers so you have to wear headphones. Ground breaking stuff.
Won’t the data get recorded by the Kirk free app and sent to Strava, Trainingpeaks, ect? You could still run the garmin outside of the app if you have a power meter or want to get speed data through use of a speed sensor…right?
Ryan, That is my plan. I do still ride in the basement with the Garmin on the bars, but while the speed is different in Zwift due to the virtual hills, my cadence and hr are the same, so I am looking at the Garmin less and less.
Still the pricing of the bolt on is pretty steep (especially for a Canadian!)
I collect my data in Garmin connect (swim/bike/run). So to keep all my training records together I need to export it each time or own a power meter? So if you’ve got a Garmin you should also budget for a PM as well as this? It’s starting to make the top smart trainers look cheap…
That’s just not really user friendly. It may be great for anyone who only uses Bluetooth; but it does seem to exclude a large portion of the market.
Four turbo sessions a week – seems like a lot of working around the issue. For what it’s worth, I would have paid the upgrade cost for the smart control unit fairly happily, and I really applaud KK for offering that as an option.
Yeah Dan, I’m not sure how you would go about getting data into Garmin Connect cheaply. I use Trainingpeaks for everything and it seems to work with that; I find TP to be superior to most others. For me and for the setup I’m envisioning, this Kirk Kinetic app seems to do what I want and I can easily cast my phone or ipad that is running the app onto my tv using my apple tv. Much better than the setup I’m using now which is dumb trainer, stages power meter, hr strap, The Sufferfest videos (they are going app only now) downloaded to DVD and played on my tv and everything recorded on my garmin.
Also can’t believe this decision. I’ve always wanted a Rock n’ Roll but have been waiting for the smart trainer version to come out. I do sometimes use Zwift or Sufferfest when I’m on my existing trainer, but regardless, I always use a Garmin head unit (and if I weren’t using a Garmin head unit, I’d use something else ANT+). It’s just so much more convenient than a computer/phone.
When my cycling team gets together to do trainer sessions, nobody is rocking up with a laptop to track their HR/cadence/wattage/etc. It’s just head units. Many people (including me) have HRMs that are ANT+ only. Or how about bringing a trainer to warm up before an event, and you have to use your phone or laptop? Nope.
Kurt Kinetic: It is very nice that you responded on this thread but the message comes across as fragmented and piecemeal. I think the 6 of you should get together, pow-wow, and put together a clear statement about your position. Respond to this post with a convincing argument, explain that ANT+ is still on the table, just not for now? You are suggesting a paradigm shift for a lot of these people so need to do a more complete job of explain and selling it.
I stumbled into a kinetic road machine, then got the inrinde pod and rode it all winter. No subscription, worked out of box with my iPhone, worked with strava, worked with my BLE HRM. I am maybe their happy customer. Terrific value for the money and absolutely no regrets.
I use my iPhone to record my outdoor rides for strava along with a wahoo tickr ble hrm – it is all perfect. I see a bunch of friends with unreliable gps on their expensive garmins, they sure seem like pieces of junk to me so I’m confused why you all care so much, maybe because you invested a bunch in unripe tech?
I am considering a smart trainer for this coming winter, it is sort of painful and distracting to need to watch that effort line while riding hard. I was looking forward to the kinetic offering because based on my road machine/inride ownership they built a fantastic durable device and take care of their customers.
I totally do not care about ant+ because I’m so happy today using my phone. I totally don’t care about subscriptions. I can’t believe the storm that is showing up in this comments section. I guess there’s a seriously passionate market. Mostly though a lot of you come across as pretty narrow minded to me. Sort of reads like when you come across someone still using a dos-based computrainer from the late 90s, there’s no discussion they are very happy in their own world, oblivious about how simple and awesome the modern stuff can be.
I care most about better mtb climbing simulation and am waiting to read a comparison of the different devices.
“Mostly though a lot of you come across as pretty narrow minded to me. Sort of reads like when you come across someone still using a dos-based computrainer from the late 90s, there’s no discussion they are very happy in their own world, oblivious about how simple and awesome the modern stuff can be.”
Actually, this is precisely the scenario people here are trying to avoid. Kinetic is doing exactly what CompuTrainer did: Beating to their own drum and ignoring industry standards.
Of course, in the late 90’s there were no such standards. But there was from around 2007 onwards, and CompuTrainer ignored those standards (and still does). We all know how that ended.
BLE looks and feels to me (an iPhone user) like an open standard. I guess from my perspective it isn’t a problem because it always just worked. I even have a BLE dongle for my pc. Is the hate because kinetic are defining a new BLE profile for encoding the data interchange?
link to en.wikipedia.org
Or are the strong feelings because they chose a different protocol that isn’t compatible with a bunch of existing stuff?
Since they have an open sdk it doesn’t look like they are trying to leverage a proprietary protocol to ‘own the customer’ which would actually make me mad. If the protocol was private I’d be uncomfortable since I’d be at the mercy of their devs to continue to use a device I paid for.
Anyhoo. Mr DC Rainmaker you rock. Thanks so much for operating this site. Is great to be able to have public critiques. I sure hope Kinetic gets their act together and explains itself with a well structured response, end of the day I want a good device to use.
“BLE looks and feels to me (an iPhone user) like an open standard….Or are the strong feelings because they chose a different protocol that isn’t compatible with a bunch of existing stuff?”
Correct. They aren’t following the open standards for BLE sport devices here (any of them). They’re rolling their own private variant of it.
That said, I’m optimistic since they haven’t posted that blog post yet, that they took the weekend to crack a few cold beers and decided the best path forward is to listen to the 100+ people here that have expressed concerns about their direction. At a minimum, that represents about $60K in sales. In reality, it probably represents about a million+ dollars of untold voices (only about 1 in 2,000-3,000 visitors per page leave a comment).
“Correct. They aren’t following the open standards for BLE sport devices here (any of them). They’re rolling their own private variant of it.”
Well, the BLE radio/handshake/packet conventions are certainly being followed. What isn’t in a previously defined spec are all the semantics of the fields in the data extents. This together is the data “profile”. The lack of these profiles is I guess the tragedy of BLE.
If the trainer only supported ANT+ I wouldn’t buy it because I’d need to buy some crappy dongle to use my iphone with it. And that stinks even more from my POV. 🙂
FWIW, here are some public profile specs:
link to developer.bluetooth.org
“What isn’t in a previously defined spec are all the semantics of the fields in the data extents. This together is the data “profile”. The lack of these profiles is I guess the tragedy of BLE.”
Nope, those exist (since early 2012 for speed/cadence for example). There are public BLE specs for:
Cycling Power: link to developer.bluetooth.org
Cycling Speed/Cadence: link to developer.bluetooth.org
They aren’t following those. That’s what people are asking for.
There’s no spec for BLE Trainer control, which is fine, everyone’s rolling their own and it kinda works on an as-is fire-fighting basis. But everyone is also just doing it over ANT+ FE-C, which actually works for device inter-op between devices/platforms. Plus of course generic ANT+ Speed/Cadence/Power.
(Side note: I have no idea why the BT SIG’s own page is missing half their fitness profiles from the link you sent…)
I suspect that BT committee is just too big and those pesky trainer profiles are not worth the trouble.
“They aren’t following those. That’s what people are asking for.”
Ok, you win, even I think that’s just ********. Fix your stuff Kinetic!
Firstly, I’m glad it works for you. I’m not “angry” at KK; I’ve merely commented that their product won’t work for my needs.
“I use my iPhone to record my outdoor rides for strava along with a wahoo tickr ble hrm – it is all perfect. I see a bunch of friends with unreliable gps on their expensive garmins, they sure seem like pieces of junk to me so I’m confused why you all care so much, maybe because you invested a bunch in unripe tech?”
I don’t use Strava, I find it limited unless you pay for the subscription service, and my device (a Suunto Ambit2) comes with its own suitable online analysis package that automatically exports to TrainingPeaks and Strava.
I like all of my training data in one place. I also find the iPhone useless for swimming with… Plus the battery life is ravaged by Strava and I need my phone to be a phone on long rides. Once again, I’m glad it works for you with Strava.
TrainerRoad have an ANT bridge, I understand, which would actually solve most of the lack of ANT+ issue for me personally. Yet why would I invest in this if that feature of TrainerRoad is all that is keeping it working for me? I’m not married to the philosophy of ANT+ for any other reason than my PM is ANT+, so the “rip the bandaid off” approach of Joel from Kinetic is blithe nonsense as it involves great expense when the competition would allow me to phase out ANT+ over time.
The great thing about this post is it means I won’t have to wait and see what Kinetic do. Their indifference has sold me on the competitors product. Adiós Kinetic.
Just ordered a Kickr….
i have a Kinetic RR which has been great but the upgrade cost for me plus the issue with lack of ant+ (i use my garmin to record everything) plus the hassle of changing the wheel (i have a trek Domane with Thru-axle so a spanner is involved everytime) makes this just too much of a pain in the arse.
it is a massive shame as i love the Kinetic but that just ‘broke the camels back’ for me…
Joel…while I appreciate you coming on here, your tone is extremely off-putting to me as a consumer (and as an owner of a KK Road Machine). You make it sound as people have no basis for their complaints about your decision not to include ANT+. Let me spell it out for you: There are a huge number of folks, especially triathletes, who use a single brand of device so that they can collect their data in one spot. For a very large number of us, that’s Garmin. My Fenix 3 does swim, bike, and run, and I collect all of my data on it. I also us a Garmin 510 head unit. I heartily dislike having all of my workouts in one spot, with the exception of indoor bike rides. Makes no sense to me. KK has completely missed the boat on this and has completely misread how people use their devices, and instead of just acknowledging that simple fact, you are getting defensive and dismissive (which is not going to win you any customers). For the record, there is no way I’m going to spend $550 to upgrade my current KK trainer with something that can’t even broadcast to the devices I collect all of my training data on. And, before you say, “read my blog post,” don’t bother, because I don’t care why you aren’t doing ANT+, I just care that you are not.
Exactly… It does NOT matter why KK does not support ANT+, the point is that ANT+ is not supported and there is no way to use the ‘smart’ KK trainers with ANT+ devices… We’ll see how the market reacts and how many will prefer to have a trainer that support BLE and ANT+… Even if BT is better (which I’m not sure), how hard is it to support ANT+??? Why intentionally exclude a large section of your target market?
I don’t want to involve my mobile phone in training. It is a pain to turn on my phone, start the kinetic fit app, start the zwift app, wait for it to connect to the zwift desktop so then I can start training while my ant+ devices are already connected effortlessly.
So I’ve read the review and initial impressions and all of the comments and I have to say, I’m pretty sure the ANT+ support is not the biggest deal breaker. It’s the price of the upgrade unit. I understand new tech isn’t cheap and there may be a little premium to pay to stick with the trainers with undoubtedly the best feel on the market (I’ve ridden an R&R trainer for the last 7 years and nothing comes close), but the advertised pricing is hard to swallow. Kinetic is a great company that has always made quality products and supported them with a no questions asked policy so I am willing to cut them a little slack here.
The ANT+ argument to me is an issue that can be settled pretty easily since there really is no down side to adding the support. And honestly, if you are thinking of moving to smart trainer experience, Joel is absolutely correct that there really is no need for a Garmin HU anyway (at least until the new Garmin HU’s that support smart workouts are available).
What bums me out and I’m not even gonna touch this topic is that Kurt Kinetic won’t even warranty a $12.00 dollar tension adjustment knob without a receipt. Maybe I should learn to file things better. I bought the dam thing 6 or 7 years ago because of the supposedly great warranty! It’s been a great unit. But the warranty is useless to me now. I suppose just owning one with a serial # isn’t enough proof.
In all the uproar I’m still trying to work out, if I don’t want to use my Garmin head unit but just run this on Zwift with my ANT+/Bluetooth Smart HRM strap and W10 laptop, does any of this matter? Or will it just everything hook up without any need for a dongle?
Also, any blog yet??
I have an older (almost 10 years) Road Machine Pro to which I added an in-ride pod last indoor season. I was generally happy with the upgrade – although a millisecond hesitation in pedalling would shoot me off the back in Zwift – but I am looking for something with app controlled resistance.
Zwift really did it for me, and I doubt I’d go back to non-Zwift indoor riding.
You mentioned there are resistance trainers on the market currently that cost the same as the Kinetic upgrade unit; could you kindly tell which ones they might be please? (that might be useful in Zwift, if that’s even possible at that price point)
Tacx Vortex springs to mind, but it’s not the only one
The CycleOps Magnus ($600, soon to be released)
Bkool Smart Go ($480, soon to be released)
This upcoming KK blog post is beginning to sound like a Limits Power meter shipping update!
Lets hope it’s because they have decided to take a step back and reconsider the lack of Ant+ support
As far as I’m concerned, much like another comment further above, I don’t care why they don’t have Ant+. I just care that they don’t have it
Considering these are showing as in stock in the next 3-4 days, I’m guessing by the time Kurt Kinetic guys showed up here to tell everyone how wrong they are, the final design was through production and shipping to stores.
I had a R&R for 2-3 years before selling it last season in favor of a Kickr. So I had a list of Kurt employee email addresses from various contacts.
Yesterday I wrote to some of them to express my dismay that the new Smart Control trainers don’t support my Garmin head units (3 of them). I very respectfully said that I really liked the R&R and the only reason I sold it was because I wanted a “smart” trainer: now that they offered a smart trainer, I’d come back if it (the new trainer) would work with the gear I already have.
I got an almost immediate reply stating that there are NO plans to change the current Smart Control line. They basically said “we have a great app that works great with iPhone and you should use that”.
Needless to say, I was quite put off by the abrupt (actually hostile) response.
Clearly, Kurt Kinetic has no interest, whatsoever, in what it’s customers want. With them it’s their way or nothing. Disappointing.
“That said, I’m optimistic since they haven’t posted that blog post yet, that they took the weekend to crack a few cold beers and decided the best path forward is to listen to the 100+ people here that have expressed concerns about their direction.”
Looks like a couple of cold ones turned into a two week bender
Well, I for one am dying to get it. I have a rock and roll trainer, and if I can upgrade for $5xx.xx, it’s a no brainer. I do almost all of my Ironman training indoors. Using a stationary bike trainer for the length of time that I do per workout, makes other trainers a bad idea. That fact that the R&R rocks side to side has saved my IT bands. (And yes, I know what proper cycling form is on my bikes.)
So no upcoming blog, but did find this on the KK FAQ page link to support.kurtkinetic.com
Bottom line they aren’t going to support Ant+ for the near future as they end with a “Maybe.”
This matches the conf call I had late last week with them. In a nutshell, the ship has sailed for the immediate/medium distance future.
Is it even possible to add ANT+ support in the future? I was under the impression it needed different hardware, not just a software change.
Yes, different hardware is required, but an awful lot of BT chipsets include the Ant+ stack as well. They both operate in the same radio frequencies, so I think it’s just the micro controller code that needs to have the extra logic in there. Not 100% sure here as I’m not a hardware guy, but I am sure there are lots of chips with both in them. It would be extremely short sighted of KK to use a BT only chip, as the BT+Ant chips cost a few cent extra
Too bad, my Road Machine will be up for sale very soon
Unfortunately, the current board does not include a dual chipset (as you noted, many are, but theirs isn’t). However, the board was designed with the ability to add an ANT+ capable chipset down the road (at manufacturing, not by a consumer), as they saved space for it.
But at present, that won’t be possible for any of the current manufactured units (and they aren’t focused on adding it for near-term batches either).
@FJ Are you in the UK? I’m looking for a non-smart Road Machine to replace my current turbo until I can afford a Neo.
that’s disappointing. For the sake of saving a few cents they have pushed themselves into a corner. It’s going to be a lean Christmas at the KK headquarters
I was, five years ago :). I have since traded Box Hill for for The Alps 😀
I guess the closed form of the topic on their site says it all:
link to support.kurtkinetic.com
Article is closed for comments.
I’m done with KK and their rigid way of thinking. That ship should not have sailed and has actually no reason to be afloat at all. I don’t want my phone close to my ride. I do not want to take calls during my ride. I also do not want to put it silent or in airplane mode. I do not want it covered in sweat and furhtermore: I am an android lover. Don’t tell me you have a working iPhone app and a less-then-béta version for Android.
Just ordered the NEO after riding it in store, it’s easy, it’s small, it folds (and heavy…) and they do understand what concumers want and need. I suggest any reader on this forum tries it, it’s wonderfully natural in terms of power increases/decreases. I’ll be sure I’ll get some good support from these guys, and they’re also in country for me so I won’t be worried about warranty issues (as was mentioned here or there…)
UK RM user here too, bought in 2014 and picked up the InRide last season. I’m having a few issues with the Kinetic fit Android app on my smartphone (unreliable connection & crashes) so may consider moving my RM on if I can decide on the ‘best’ replacement without spending so much on a KICKR. If you’re an iOS user I guess you’ll be ok with the app – gimmie a holla 🙂
Phil if you’re still interested in a Roadmachine, email me (address in website field so clickable, just remove SPAM from it).
Other news, in my communication with a UK partner of Kurt Kinetic there has been a mention of an imminent ‘big update’ to the android app. I’m waiting with baited breath to check it out (but equally my InRide might also be faulty as now doesn’t report anything…!)
At the risk of this turning into a classified section, i’ve sent you an email Haydn regarding InRides.
I have A power2Max and that is Ant+ only and I use Trainer Road with a road machine. If upgrade to the Smart Control will it work?
As long as you are using a Bluetooth enabled device for TR, it will work. As I understand it, your P2M will be redundant in this scenario as TR will receive your power output from the KK Smart Unit.
If you have an ANT+ head unit to record your workout, it could record power from your P2M.
This Joel Stewart guy appears to be a software developer (specializing in mobile apps) contracted by Kurt Kinetic to handle their “smart” strategy. What’s obvious by all his comments is he doesn’t understand or care about cycling and the fitness technology ecosystem. Furthermore, his dozen or so mentions of a nonexistent blog post demonstrate that he has zero integrity. Looks like Kurt Kinetic is gonna be toast, didn’t make DCR’s 2016 list at all…which is really too bad given that I was a loyal customer for many, many years. I had bought two Road Machines, have now dumped them for a Tacx Vortex.
Thanks for the insight you make it easy to figure out which would be best fits. I actually tried the elite Drivo but got a defective one and their Tech support kinda sucks especially the day lag in response them being in Italy and me in the States so i am working on returning that and got a kickr instead which has worked well so far.
I would have gone for the Kurt Kinetic but their silly desicion to not make it Ant+ and more open and not play nice with other apps made my wife and go NOPE!!!! Now reading the comments and them trying to justify it is even more hilarious. I use trainer road on my computer with the ant dongle and my wife uses her ipad currently and not being able to use it for both is a pain. Also the cost for the upgrade is silly! I live in MN as well and just want to go to their place and go really way to alienate your customers and make it hard for them to use the actual apps they want and not your special app!
If Kurt Kinetic believes that BLE is superior to ANT+ and that their app is superior to Garmin’s head units then those are fine opinions to hold, perhaps technically valid. And supporting BLE is a great idea if it is a superior technology. But superior technologies do not always win. Beta vs VHS is the classic example.
They seem to be under the impression that the trainer I use will influence the rest of my fitness metrics system. That is foolish. The trainer is a small, perhaps even minor part of my fitness metrics system. The most important part of my system is my head unit and/or my training watch. Everything else has to work with that, and I have lots of stuff that does. HR strap, cadence meter, powertap, etc. I use those things every time I get on my bike or run, all year long. My whole routine is built around that head unit. And the big gorilla in that market is Garmin. So unless they are going to go head to head (no pun intended) with Garmin they should accept the fact that customer will want to stick with what is working for them now, which is their Garmin head unit and all those peripherals.
It would be like, back in the day when CDs were invented, if Sony had said: CDs are digital, and converting that beautiful signal to analog would be a waste, so we aren’t going to support RCA jacks, just this new digital optical connection. So you need to upgrade your amp if you want to play CDs. Like this new Sony amp. It could be successful if there was no competition for CDs, but if someone came along with something almost as good as CDs that had RCA jacks, they would win. It only works if there is no competition. There is a lot of competition in the trainer space.
Supporting ANT+ should have been a no brainer from a sales and marketing perspective. I suspect the company is run by engineers who believe that their trainers are the best (I love my Road Machine), that there is no competition, and that people will buy them solely based on their standalone attributes. I am afraid the trainer market just isn’t like that anymore.
I have a Kinetic rock n roller, and really like the ability to throw the bike around. I hear your objections (and agree) but it would be nice if you reviewed the trainer as a trainer? That would really be helpful.
In Canada, the bolt on unit will likely be around $700, so almost even money with going with another complete mid priced unit.
Were you able to try the new power control unit on the Rock n Roller?
My understanding from an e-mail last week is that a unit is on the way shortly. They were sending it from the European distribution hub (as that minimizes import duty issues for me), and there was some minor logistical delay there.
They’re sending me the Rock and Roll frame + power control unit, and I have an older Road Machine frame, so I’ll be able to try it out on both.
For anyone interested – I’m in communication with a UK provider/partner of KK products (having issues with my InRide) and they had advised me to hold off until last week as they were aware of an imminent update to the kinetic.fit app on Android. My handset has now received an update to the app (today at some point) and I’m going to see what’s different later tonight. If it’s anything groundbreaking I’ll post back, looking through the app here it doesn’t look very different… (‘Workouts’ & ‘Displays’ are still ‘Coming Soon’)! 🙁
Roady, did you get any more feedback on update to the kinetic.fit app on Android or arrival of power control unit in UK. From what I can see should be available from next week to mid-Nov depending on supplier.
Hi Macca, my UK contact (at 2pure) put me in contact with a kinetic.eu rep who hasn’t got any further information and has suggested to ‘raise a case on Kinetic Support at http://kurtkinetic.com‘. Have not done this as I’d fully expect a European rep to have any information about imminent updates. I’m betting we’ll see one when the Smart Control unit is released (or soon after) not before.
I’ve had another replacement InRide sent out to resolve my issues but haven’t tested it yet (arrived yesterday). Kinetic.fit app update on the 24th did not add any additional functionality that I can see. Nothing visually has changed in the app. Conversely the version listed on the android Play Store is still 1.0
Ray did you receive the Smart Control Unit yet for testing on Rock and Roll frame? Really interested to get your thoughts on how it performs.
Also am i right that a simple Bluetooth 4.0 BLE USB stick will provide connection with this unit for Zwift etc on a winows 10 PC (currently using Ant+ stick and InRide)?
Replacement InRide sensor has sorted my ‘problem’ (no power data transmitted) so I’m onto the next issue – Calibration. The Kinetic.fit Android app starts calibration (after 10 minutes of riding?) yet doesn’t register the 23.3mph required for the spindown. Steady cadence/power on Zwift (from Speed&Cadence sensor) I can generally hold 23mph, Yet the speed within the Kinetic.fit app (calculated from flyweel by the InRide) is all over the place – anywhere between ~16mph & ~34mph! It seems extremely erratic! Have tried various combinations of tyre pressure, tyre tightening & cadences. Going to strip it all back tonight and refit to see if I can resolve. The whole thing is moot anyway as I’ve ordered a Vortex Smart in the wig* sale.
Another happy KK customer moving away. I’m not saying their smart control unit pricing , with strange software/development choices pushed me away, but it certainly helped to open my eyes. As a side note: I’ve had fantastic support from a KK EU rep and a UK KK partner (2pure) the last 8 weeks. They’ve been responsive & quick with emails and given me above and beyond service with replacement units and parts. Suffice to say: I would happy become a KK customer again in future.
TLDR; InRide is no substitute for a smart trainer. KK Smart Control is overpriced and their Software ecosystem backwards. Would not recommend as a viable alternative, even if costs dropped to equal the current market alternatives.
Thanks Roady. It is great that folks take the time to share.
I have been using my RnR and sending sensor data to Zwift. I am going to watch Kinetic’s moves and see what they do. The price in Canada with the exchange looks to be $700 or $800 for the Kinetic Smart Control Bolt-on, which is pretty pricey.
For now I am satisfied with my not-so-smart trainer.
Sharing our experiences is one of the few things we as consumers can do! That’s why Ray’s blog is such a wealth of information – not all of it is him (sorry Ray!) 😉
Ironically, I committed to the sale of my Road Machine yesterday and today the Kinetic.fit app has updated on my Android. It’s had a complete overhaul and looks pretty powerful & flash now! I still have my InRide setup but will be stripping it from the RM over the weekend. I may jump on it for a blast ‘just because’ (rather than leaving things untested). It was a little too late for me, but equally I’m moving away for other reasons than the InRide and Android app (the whole interactive smart FE-C compatible trainer route, rather than an expensive KK Smart Control upgrade).
Kinetic app update, seems much more ‘polished’ than the previous. Complete UI overhaul and pairing/connecting seems much quicker. Didn’t solve my calibration issue (so speed still too erratic to hold 23.2mph or whatever, so calibration doesn’t start).
Can see the app had another update today (to 1.0.5), hopefully that’s to resolve some of the Zwift issues.
Will probably be my last post on this as my RM is sold & boxed up and sending the InRide to a friend to try. Good luck everyone & will be interesting to see how the Smart Control is (& hope I’m not kicking myself in 6 months time for selling it)! 🙂
I tried the new Android Kinetic app update (1.05) on Sunday and has the same issue of no calibration, so as DC Rainmaker originally posted in his InRide review, unless you calibrate then there is no advantage to this unit!
Am still hoping for Ray to do a review if the smart power control unit.
It appears that Kinetic have not shacked with Polar people long enough to learn from them what happens when you stick with a propriatary protocol. I don’t know in numbers the market share Polar have lost because of their reluctance to offer ANT/Bluetooth but they lost me and my partner years ago and now, Kinetic! I was roaming the Internet for a replacement for our 6 years old Computrainers and was quite interested by the Rock and Roll, but oh, forget it, no more ghettos!
Still no blog post? Quite surprising seeing as how defensive KK was in the comment section. Interesting, as seeing the amount of misrepresented, confused, and frustrated consumers and customers probably warranted it more than most situations. Not to mention the lack of one speaks monumentally about either the arrogance associated with the character displayed in the comments on this post, or the dedication to their product; and frankly, neither one is good at this point.
See, the thing with people is that they tend to like familiarity and for the most part stay loyal to brands that treat them right, and companies they trust. This is extremely evident with the American car market and multi-generation return customers, or a number of long-term businesses like L.L. Bean, hell even Nashbar. As a new cyclist I was dead set on the new Smart Control as my first trainer. I withheld due to tech concerns (this initial post), and am glad I did because many better options popped up within days. Sadly, withholding has now turned to boycotting as the attitudes displayed in this thread are rather disappointing, not to mention the lack of customer understanding or empathy. Humans are also creatures of habit. You can’t expect people to go out of their way, abruptly, to change their routine and adapt to a new regimen or standards for one product in an industry (albeit semi-small) full of merchandise that work when, and how they want. Any investors who understand the tech enough to see what happened here would shit a brick. But I digress.
Through trainer reviews, user experience comments, and factory visit posts on DCR’s website I have gained a quick and thorough understanding of which companies care and support their customers and which don’t. It made the process of picking a trainer model and manufacturer to support and enjoy relatively easy, and DCR I thank you for that, as I’m sure many other readers do on this website whether they post about it or not.
Proprietary is awesome…
link to support.zwift.com
Noticed another Kinetic app update today, which might be related?
I’ve waded through all of these postings and decided to give my thoughts simplistically.
I’ve two RR Smart trainers which my girlfriend and I love. I’ve decided that I will buy the upgrade Smart Control unit but only when it becomes ‘cost effective’. I’ve had the misfortune of owning two Tacx trainers and anyone who thinks that they’ve bought a trainer for the long-term is in for a shock. They fall to bits over a period of time. Just reading blogs and comments online wouldn’t make me have any faith in their back-up regarding any software issues. Buying a Neo seems a hit and miss experience. Bye bye Tacx. I’ve also had two Elite trainers which were great as they had solid metal frames, but the new ones are just too plasticky. I’ve already read that someone has cracked the casing of his Drivo by just brushing his knee against it. Bye bye Elite.
I’ve no experience of Wahoo trainers but they seem fine albeit with wattage issues. We shouldn’t forget that it’s still a fledgling technology that’s being rolled-out and the public are doing the testing.
I don’t know why some people beat the drum so much for Garmin. I’ve an 810 and have nothing but issues uploading my rides to my iPhone. In fact everyone I know who has a Garmin has a tale to tell.
In short then, I bought my trainer on recommendations I found online. It’s fantastic, solid, built to last and buttery smooth. Well done Kurt Kinetic but please do something about the upgrad cost. I only use TrainerRoad and Zwift like most people and my inRide works fine. If it ain’t broke…
I’ve waded through all of these postings and decided to give my thoughts simplistically.
I’ve two RR Smart trainers which my girlfriend and I love. I’ve decided that I will buy the upgrade Smart Control unit but only when it becomes ‘cost effective’. I’ve had the misfortune of owning two Tacx trainers and anyone who thinks that they’ve bought a trainer for the long-term is in for a shock. They fall to bits over a period of time. Just reading blogs and comments online wouldn’t make me have any faith in their back-up regarding any software issues. Buying a Neo seems a hit and miss experience. Bye bye Tacx. I’ve also had two Elite trainers which were great as they had solid metal frames, but the new ones are just too plasticky. I’ve already read that someone has cracked the casing of his Drivo by just brushing his knee against it. Bye bye Elite.
I’ve no experience of Wahoo trainers but they seem fine albeit with wattage issues. We shouldn’t forget that it’s still a fledgling technology that’s being rolled-out and the public are doing the testing.
I don’t know why some people beat the drum so much for Garmin. I’ve an 810 and have nothing but issues uploading my rides to my iPhone. In fact everyone I know who has a Garmin has a tale to tell.
In short then, I bought my trainer on recommendations I found online. It’s fantastic, solid, built to last and buttery smooth. Well done Kurt Kinetic but please do something about the upgrade cost. I only use TrainerRoad and Zwift like most people and my inRide works fine. If it ain’t broke…
Well summarized Steve. Those are almost exactly my sentiments.
Kinetic: Please do something about the price of the Smart upgrade.
I’m glad the solution KK offers works for you, Steve. That’s great.
A few points I’d raise…
“I’ve already read that someone has cracked the casing of his Drivo by just brushing his knee against it” sounds a lot like, “I was just riding along” and distinctly improbable. That sounds an odd reason to rule out a product.
Your experience of Garmin is not mine. When you say, “some people” I think it is short sighted. Obviously a significant number of people value compatibility with their Garmin units. If you’ve read the feedback being given on this page and failed to grasp that, then I’m not sure what to say.
We all have different needs; it seems yours are met perfectly by the products KK are offering. For that I’m really happy for you. It’s probably enough to enjoy having found your ideal solution rather than dismissing a large segment of the potential market.
“…In fact everyone I know who has a Garmin has a tale to tell…”
Sure let me tell you ma tale. I have Garmin 705 and Garmin 500. Years of completely trouble operation. Granted I never uploaded from Garmin to iPhone as I do not own one. Upload to PC works like a charm though. I also have 2 outdoor Garmin units: Garmin 60csx and Garmin 62s. Same results. Great functionality and zero problem over the years.
You are a lucky man with Garmin Kostya. I haven’t had insurmountable issues, but I have had a few, and know others that have had as well. They can be mysterious at times. I have an 800, and 3 other devices from Garmin all which have had their challenges. I still like them, and obviously with 4 Garmins, I haven’t walked away
Dan, I still don’t completely grasp the issue. (and consider myself of average intelligence)
o I have a Garmin 800. It has no wifi capability
o I have a cadence sensor, and speed sensor on my bike: No powermeters
o I ride in my basement in Zwift, upload the ride to Strava, and at the same time, the cadence and speed are registered on my Garmin, and upload to Garmin later.
o If I move to the Kinetic Smart upgrade bolt on, I will still be able to get the same Garmin data as I do today from my bike; and upload
o At the same time, Zwift will control the Kinetic R&R.
o The only thing I cannot do is have the R&R Smart Control be controlled by Garmin rides, but I do not have a wifi Garmin in any case that could send to a smart trainer.
What I really don’t get is the animosity in some of the comments contained here. Kinetic is well aware of what they are doing, and will succeed, or adjust, or fade away. I have calmly registered that I find the price too high, and when I come to buy a smart unit I will vote with my money.
If I am missing something in all this ANT angst, I am sure someone (or many) will let me know.
Not really “angst”, Good. Merely a different requirement.
Your solution might be what you need, and again, that’s great. Do you have two files for your ride then? One on Zwift/Strava with power data and another on Garmin without power data?
Hi Kostya, I’m glad your Garmin experience is fine for you. It’s hit and miss if you have an iPhone which was my point. Safe riding.
Hi Dan, I only made my comments based on my experiences. If people are happy with their purchases then that’s fine. The great thing about these type of forums is that we can share experiences both good and bad. I’ve shared some of mine as did the guy who bought his Drivo. Who’d go back to a bad hotel?
Yes. The Zwift file I keep on Strava; the Garmin in Connect.
So there in lies the problem for me. I’m not interested in having data spread across different accounts, especially when I do other sports, which the Garmin covers.
Again, glad having one workout split across different online platforms works for you Gord; it’s not for me and I’m guessing a large segment of the market.
Have KK cleared up the Zwift issue with the Connects? Proprietary…
Yeah, it look like if you use GarminConnect for your data then this unit won’t work with it. For me, I find Connect lacking and went to Trainingpeaks a year or so ago and find that to be vastly superior and this unit works with that. It also works with sufferfest, which is great.
Agreed. I have not looked at data in Garmin, in a long long time.
Has anyone here actually bought an Upgrade Kit?
Regardless of ANT+ compatibility issues … is it easy to fit? is it accurate? does it work?
In other words, accepting the compatibility limitations … is this a good smart trainer?
I have a KKRM. I usually train at a PerfPro studio and ride on the road, but occasionally weather and other commitments mean I will dig out the turbo at the weekend. I like be able to ride each session with a clear training goal and using my FTP and I usually use an old Sufferfest video; I would like to give Zwift a go.
But i’m not looking for a great deal in terms of analysis. I don’t have the time or, more probably, the inclination, and Strava (Premium) is usually provides plenty enough for me.
At around £300-350 the Upgrade Kit looks interesting. But i can’t find an actual review amidst all the other noise.
DC Rainmaker has said that there will be a review, but I had not seen it as yet. The product is still only weeks old. When I had gone to my bike shop in October (Montreal) he did not even know about the product yet.
It just arrived on my doorstep either yesterday or the day before. I’ll likely be poking at it over the weekend.
I have a Stages PM so can live without ANT+. Zwift sessions will be saved on the PC with the trainer PM but I will upload my Garmin data with the stages PM to my training analytics software for consistency. Thank you Stages for future proofing your product. Back when I was looking for a power meter I remember DCR praising Stages for running on both ANT+ and BLE. It was a big factor in my decision go run with Stages.
I currently own a Road Machine 2 and love it. I plan to purchase the rock and roll smart control pending your review.
Does the Kinetic Smart Control resistance unit also track Cadence like the InRide does? i.e. in Zwift I can connect the InRide and it accommodates both Power and Cadence.
Is this functionality maintained?
DC Rainmaker is going to post a review ANY day. I am sure it will, as it is supposed to be compatible with Zwift. In any case you can use the Smart, and still send you cadence to Zwift from your Garmin meters the way you do without a Smart trainer.
So I received and set up my KK smart control road machine a few days ago. Gotta say I was excited to get it set up as it feels like a pretty solid product.
Past setting it up, it’s been miserable though. The actual “smart” part of the trainer is absolutely awful.
First off, since this is at the bottom of the page, you probably already know it doesn’t work with Zwift if you’re running on Windows (as it crashes the zwift app on the phone when the trainer connects).
Brilliant, I got this thing for Zwift… alright, well let’s try the built in app. Absolute garbage. First off, the power metering is so far off its laughable. It just uses the speed of the flywheel to meter power! Yeah, I wish I could spin at 450w for 2 hours, but we all know that’s not true. Secondly, there is no way to control the magnetic resistance in the app!
Wow, okay, let’s try trainerroad. This one is less of KK’s fault, but you need a ble dongle to get it running. Maybe I can get it going by plugging the usb b into my laptop? (cable which doesn’t ship with the unit by the way, had to use my own). Plug in, Windows instantly detects that the device connected has a problem (no kidding huh?) and can’t connect.
So basically it’s a really expensive heavy flywheel trainer with no resistance.
Super disappointed! Luckily I got it from Nashbar when it was 25 percent off… I hope they’ll refund me for the hunk o junk!
As an FYI: My understanding is that an incoming firmware update is supposed to address the power accuracy issues. I haven’t set mine up yet though, not updated it. You may want to poke Kinetic support and see if they can get you the update.
But appreciate the comments/detail!
I poked ’em a couple days ago about some of the issues (pre full annoyance, so I was definitely less snarky and more polite :P). No response yet, but maybe they’ll come through! They should really package a usb-B to A cable with the trainer if they plan on requiring firmware updates…
Even still, I’ll probably go with the return. One thing I forgot to add in my original post was the noise when it was spinning at higher speeds (50+ kph). It starts to get some pretty bad vibration noise coming from the plastic casing on the magnet resistance side when you really get spinning. Maybe this doesn’t happen if resistance is actually active… Well, I’ll post an update if the firmware fix comes through before I decide to just suck it up for the return!
And thanks for the reply dude! In my frustration I sometimes forget my manners!
Did anyone ever get this unit to successfully work in ERG mode with TrainerRoad and PowerMatch? We also bought the Smart Control unit to use with TrainerRoad and it’s a huge disaster. TrainerRoad spin-up calibration fails. TrainerRoad does not control the resistance and the resistance is very low but shows relatively high wattage. The wattage on the trainer seems way off (+40 watts) compared to power meter pedals. We applied the latest firmware upgrade but it did not fix anything. Wasting hours on this. One last try tonight or its going back to the dealer. 🙁
A few things need to occur:
A) Only certain versions of the TR apps support it: iOS/PC in production, and Android/Mac in beta. In theory the current production Mac should support it, but in talking with them last night there’s a few fixes in the beta Mac.
B) Kinetic is said to be issuing a firmware update they believe will address power accuracy issues. I’m seeing roughly 25w offset on 250w at the start of a session after multiple calibrations. I haven’t done a longer session to see if there’s any drift.
Is there a link to the steps to calibrate the smart control trainer that anyone has seen? I just purchased the rock & roll smart control, and have now seen all the same problems (doesn’t work with Zwift, etc.)
I’ve downloaded the new firmware for the trainer this morning, but when I connect with the Fit app, I get no speed, power, etc. Wondering if I’m missing a step (calibration?), or something else.
I have tickets opened with Zwift and Kinetic, but not holding out much hope yet.
We had to do the firmware update at least 2 times before it finally seemed to work. The first time we got the “firmware update successful” message but it didn’t seem to work and there was no improvement with the calibration errors etc. The next time we connected to the kinetic fit app we were prompted to run the firmware update all over again. When the firmware update was completed, the LED stayed green (no flashing) and the app would not connect to the unit. We waited about 10-15 minutes after the update, and unsure what was going on we eventually had to unplug the power cord from the unit before it was able to reconnect to the app.
When the unit connected to TrainerRoad again, the spin down calibration was sucessful.
The smart control seemed to be working initially but the success was short lived. During the last TrainerRoad session after about 6 minutes into the workout, the ERG mode just stopped working and the app failed to control the resistance. For the rest of the intervals we had to manually shift the gears on the bike like a normal dumb trainer.
Even after the firmware update the watts measured on the smart control unit were about 30-40 watts higher than the power meter.
So all in all we are VERY disappointed with this unit. The customer experience is quite bad. It seems to me they rolled out this device way too soon and are marketing features on it that are not yet tried and proven to work.
TrainerRoad was very helpful with sorting this out from their end of things but sadly, I can’t say the same for Kinetic, I haven’t received a response from them after my last Email.
When you click on sensors does it show them linked to your trainer and other sensors you use. Mine dropped them once when I started to ride. showed no info. paused workout looked at sensors, and they werent pairing. They wouldnt connect til I turned my phone off and back on. Worked pretty good since.
Upgrading the firmware didn’t work, but restarting my Android Phone *AFTER* the firmware upgrade did work. I can now at least use the Kinetic Fit app on my phone. Hoping the note a bit below about the fix for Zwift is on target.
Thanks for the note about the phone restart all!
Just heard back from Kinetc with some step by step instructing on firmware update.
1. I’d first go to your google play store and make sure the Kinetic.Fit app is up-to-date (Version 1.0.8). Also, make sure you hard close the TrainerRoad app.
2. After updating the Kinetic.Fit android app, open the Kinetic.Fit app, click the menu icon == in the upper left hand corner, Click SENSORS, Then click the Green icon to connect. There should be a prompt that pops up asking you to update the firmware, select YES.
3. During the firmware update, keep the app screen active by touching the screen below the sensors listed until firmware update is complete. If you leave the app, exit the sensor page, or the screen goes dark during the firmware update, the update will stop and the unit will not be updated to the proper firmware version. (Firmware update takes ~5 minutes)
4. After the update has successfully complete, unplug the power cord from the Smart control resistance unit, then replug the power cord into the trainer.
Hard close the Kinetic.Fit app, then open the TrainerRoad app.
5. Click on their menu icon == in the upper left hand corner, select devices.
TrainerRoad’s device screen should show the Smart Control resistance unit labeled as “Smart Control 71:8D”. (The numbers shown after the name “Smart Control” will vary).
Hope this helps someone
I’ve been using the Smart Control turbo now for 2 weeks. After initially finding it a pain I have found that the recent updates on Android have worked for me. After initial calibration TrainerRoad and Zwift are working fine now.
Do you know if it’s possible to use the USB connection on the trainer and connect it directly to your PC via a USB cable ….. and run Zwift that way. …… One could avoid all the smartphone and Bluetooth hassle
My experience with the usb connection hasn’t been successful thus far. There may be some way of getting it to work, but as far as I can see it’s not possible.
I was in correspondence with Kinetic recently, and on Monday they said that they sent a fix for the Zwift bug to Zwift’s quality control, so there should hopefully be a patch out for that soon.
Hello – Thanks for your reviews.
1) I wanted to get your opinion on the rock and roll mechanism of this trainer. Do you find it worthwhile to spend the extra amount? In short is it really more realistic than the other trainers.
2) Apart from the odd connectivity choices, how is the flywheel of this trainer? How does it compare with the Wahoo for example?
Your comments will be really appreciated. Thanks. Rahul.
1) Only you could answer the question. You should go out to bike shop that has that trainer and ask them to try it. Then if you like it you can make decision whether it worth your money. Boys buy various toys and what they’re willing to pay for those can be vastly different.
2) Wahoo’s flywheel emulates more mass which IMHO is better. Whether it is better for you is a different question. Some people might find it more beneficial riding in a sand at prescribed wattage. Again, should be your informed decision.
3) As a reviewer DC would do good to translate flywheel parameters for various trainers to what it amounts to in terms of emulated cyclist’s mass. He does not have to do it himself. I think he can push manufacturers to publish those numbers. I do not remember particular value but I think that Wahoo for example have this number for their KICKR trainer.
I think the ‘rock and roll’ motion is quite unique, and wonder why other trainer makers aren’t dinged in their reviews for not doing this with their products? As it is, evidently there are a number of bike manufacturers who are labelling their bikes with warning stickers (carbon fiber framed models anyway) that their bikes should not be used with trainers (voiding warranty). It is consensus that the the locked-in aspect of a trainer on the rear wheel is not good for the chainstays/seatstays which were not designed to stop lateral forces as they are in a fixed trainer. At least with the motion that a rock n’roll model allows, we can guess this *might* alleviate these strains.
I wouldn’t overthink the whole stresses thing. If it was actually a concern, then we wouldn’t see Pro Teams riding on trainers in the warm-up area before the TdF and every other race out there, as the liability aspect of that would be too high in a lawsuit.
The wording is simply there as CYA if you manage to do some incredibly bizarre on a trainer and hurt your bike, that’s all.
Maybe. Though pro teams go thru bikes like popcorn.
Considering the thousands of people who use carbon bikes on trainers you’d soon know if it was an issue. There’s obviously going to be some instances, but that’s more likely to be due to an already weak frame or people pulling on their bars like they’re sprinting on the Champs 🙂
You’d think. And I’m not sure, this may be a more recent warning that some bike makers are doing.. maybe (?) driven by warranty claims, maybe not. I don’t recall reading about these warnings being around even 3 years ago, but could have been in the fine print.
Maybe due to bike makers trying to get lower and lower in frame weights, and building in accommodation for unnatural lateral forces a trainer exacts on the dropout areas aren’t factored in? I don’t know.
That said, I’m just thinking that in this context, at least a minor mention or plug of a perhaps benefit to a ‘rocking’ trainer model in mitigating these concerns could be considered. However, worth noting, using one of these probably won’t help in fighting a bike company in a warranty claim, as it’s still a trainer.
Hello DC Rainmaker – any comments from your side on the user experience of this trainer will be really appreciated. Are you going to review this soon? If yes, by when will it be out? Many thanks Rahul
My earlier question:
“Hello – Thanks for your reviews.
1) I wanted to get your opinion on the rock and roll mechanism of this trainer. Do you find it worthwhile to spend the extra amount? In short is it really more realistic than the other trainers.
2) Apart from the odd connectivity choices, how is the flywheel of this trainer? How does it compare with the Wahoo for example?
Your comments will be really appreciated. Thanks. Rahul”
Reply I received about android crashes on mobile link app from zwift.
Jessica S. (Zwift)
Nov 17, 18:57 PST
Thanks for reaching out!
There appears to be a compatibility issue between the new Kurt Kinetic Smart Control machines and the Zwift Mobile Link app. We currently have a fix that is being tested with our QA department. We are hoping to push out this update very soon (hopefully by end of week!).
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thanks for the info Paul_f
Here it is zwift should work update is out. Email I received.
Thanks for writing in!
Great news! We have pushed out the update for the Bluetooth issue, so you should be able to ride with your kinetic smart control now.
Hope this helps!
Do let me know if you have any other queries, I’ll be happy to help.
My zwift is working.
What a complete piece of junk. Really disappointed. Tried all night to connect to my PC via a straight USB connection. No dice. Tried to use with Zwift via Bluetooth phone app. Said I was outputting 1200 watts when I was not pedaling.
My wife has a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine (fluid). Solid dumb trainer.
I think Kurt Kinetic rushed this to market and it is not ready for prime time.
AVOID THIS NIGHTMARE!!!!! At this price this is a complete rip off.
I want to add that the Smart Control unit DOES NOT EVEN WORK with the KINETIC software app.
The app requested to do a firmware update to the control. I said ok. Let the update terminate and then after that visibility and connection to the unit were sporadic. When connected, there is NO INPUT when pedaling. Zero.
What a consumer nightmare and complete disappointment in the product.
I took a chance as I could not find many reviews. My concern was this was an under tested rushed to market product to try and get something out there to try and keep up with competing units.
Extremely disappointed consumer experience.
After many hours, I don’t want to debug this product for Kurt any longer. I think I may end up just returning the entire package and look to a more mature “smart controller”.
iOS or Android?
The control roughly appeared to work for me on iOS during the warm-up stages playing around with it and the app. Accuracy is a different story of course.
Do note there’s actually two apps for it. One is the default Kinetic Fit, and the other is the Kinetic Calibration app, which is used for updating firmware/etc…
Mine works pretty good with my galaxy note. Did beast builder, and a few others, and worked well and seemed fairly accurate. Mine didnt want to do anything when first paired. Turned phone off and back on and worked after that. (Have kk road machine smart control)
Just noted your question. Setup was Android. Returned it and ordered a Wahoo Snap. What a job KK did on their reputation.
Okay David we get it. 🙂
I bought the Smart Control power unit to replace my dumb trainer fluid flywheel during their 20% off sale they are having right now. I really love the Rock and Roll trainer with the side to side motion and wanted a smart trainer that had that so when the sale came up I jumped on it. I really want to read some reviews of this trainer that don’t focus on the lack of Ant+ data transmission, because I plan on using the Kinetic training app for the majority of my trainer rides.
Looking at the app that I downloaded last night it seems very well put together to me…and they have the Sufferfest videos that I most commonly use. I’m excited to get this all set up and working.
I ordered this unit early last week and it showed up at my door very quickly, which is nice. I’ll update here when I get it set up and start using it for any issues I come in contact with. I’m using an Iphone with the latest Os for the app.
I got my Smart Control unit set up on my Rock and Roll last night, paired it and updated the app (on iphone), rebooted the phone and the trainer, and started up a 4 week training plan. My first ride went well, which was a 4 interval “test” to set up zones, which came out roughly comparable to my zones that I’ve been training with on my dumb trainer with the garmin and Stages PM. I also used my Garmin 1000 and Stages PM to record the ride to check that everything is roughly equal. It seems to be fairly accurate, at least enough for the kind of training I will be doing on it. Everything seems to be working well and the resistance seems to work since I didn’t do any gear shifting during the entire ride. My next ride which is on Thursday will be a 4x2x1 min NM power interval session, so the trainer will get quite the workout with changing the resistance and I will get a better opportunity to judge that. Oh yeah, I used a mio link HR monitor and it worked and displayed fine during the workout.
I really dig the functionality of the Kintetic Fit App on the iphone…it just seems to work. In the future I will be using the apple TV so I can have the display cast onto my TV along with The Sufferfest videos through the Kinetic Fit app. I’m looking forward to doing that even though it seems this will take a monthly subscription to do. I’m curious if the Sufferfest subscription upgrade includes all the new functionality of The Sufferfest App; stuff like the yoga workouts and new video mashups that they are doing. Kinetic told me via email that to I subscribe through them to get The Sufferfest and not through Sufferfest. so that is what I plan on doing.
A few cool things I found out.
One. The training plan uploads into my apple calendar with workout titles and full descriptions, so that I don’t do any typing. It is really easy to figure out what my next ride will be and I can plan accordingly. Yay technology.
Two. Uploading to Trainingpeaks and Strava was super easy and workout titles with full description gets imported with the upload. That saves me even more typing. Yay technology.
Three. The unit is not that loud and I couldn’t hear it over my fan which was blowing on me.
I am sure that the connectivity issues and general software function will be sorted out eventually, although it is very sad that products as immature as this one are rushed out (but I can see the commercial side of it – it is important to have “some” kind of product in the shops for the winter season in the Northern hemisphere.)
But what I am really interested to hear from those folks who have managed to get the their smart power units working with Trainerroad (or any other app), how is the responsiveness of the KK Smart power unit in ERG mode. For example, there are Trainerroad workouts that include very short duration intervals at increased power level. How does the the KK smart power unit handle those – is the increase in power instant or more like a gradual ramp-up of power, so that the prescribed power level is achieved when the interval is over. Or how does the power unit react to sudden change of cadence when you are riding a TR workout at a prescribed flat power level (in ERG mode).
I hope to read those kind of things are covered in the upcoming Ray’s review (that is provided the basic connectivity and app control issues are solved and the review can actually happen).
Initial responsiveness seemed OK to me.
Accuracy is the current issue (aside from all of the connectivity/app/etc issues that folks have already noted). And all that still ignores the lack of standards issues.
Ironically, all of the connectivity/app issues wouldn’t be issues if they had just followed standards…
Thank you for your quick reply. Lookign forward to tghe full review.
Personally I am not that bothered by the lack or presence of ANT+ (not a deal breaker for me personally, provided the smart control unit actually works with the major apps and costs half the price :-)). By reading Joel’s contributions I have got an impression that KK have got off on the wrong foot with Garmin and have decided to go on the war path with Garmin by entrenching themselves firmly in the BLE camp (but this i just an impression and I might be totally wrong). On the whole it has been very entertaining and educational to read up on KK representative’s conversations with disgruntled (potential) customers. I applaud the initial KK’s decision to delegate (or tolerate?) company’s representative to this comment section. In the end it appears the company decided that there was more harm than good in this participation and pulled the plug.
For me tyhis is indicative of the wider issue – how transparent such companies (in this niche market) generally are in dealing with the public. Let’s take power meters and one of the things I have noticed is how few of these companies actually maintain a public forum. Let’s say I might be interested in Pioneer’s power meter system but actually it is very difficult to figure out what kind of problems users encounter and if these problems ever get solved etc.. So buying into that system is a bit of leap of faith. Decisions not to maintain such public forums might be driven by lack of resources (staff), but also in part because the companies may feel that the downsides outweigh the benefits – it is clear that problems are more likely to be reported (as opposed to success stories) and that skews public perception. For example Tacx get a bad rap for their trainer’s quality issues but I am open to the notion that it might actually not be the case and that this reputation may be the result of the sheer number of units in use and the Tacx’s willingness to deal with the problems in an open public forum.
It’s all a bit of a mess, isn’t it ?
I have an old road machine that has been largely unused for several years. Recently had a go on zwift and it has made turbo riding at least tolerable for me (and time-efficient, of course), so hoping to do more this winter.
One of the things I don’t like about turbos is the rigid upright position (I guess I’m a wriggler !) so I got to this page by looking for smart rock and roll trainers
I now have 2 concerns:
1) (minor, as I’m not fully bought-in like so many others) is the lack of ANT+, or even possibility of a revision in firmware to activate it in future
2) Major, frankly – Although I know virtually nothing about their business, I’m genuinely not sure what state KK will be in if they survive this episode and that could leave a smart RR with proprietary software as an expensive white elephant in a year or two
Think I’ll just wait & see for this winter
What is the voltage and wattage of the power supply?
I’m trying to figure out whether the unit can be run “in the field” with some portable battery…
What a complete nightmare for me, the Smart Control. An Android App that is buggy (does not save work outs) and a lack of mature software integration with Zwift, the reason I wanted and purchased the top of the line model.
This unit was rushed to market not ready in my opinion. I’ve spent evenings the last two weeks trying to get things to work and beta testing for Kurt.
My advice, AVOID THIS UNIT. Invest in something that is tested before release to market. I can’t believe that Kurt would damage their reputation releasing such a disappointing immature product.
My wife owns a Kurt Kinetic Fluid Trainer. Seems like Kurt is relegated to the “dumb trainer” portion of the market.
Does your unit adjust resistance to correspond to a workout in the Kinetic Fit App or on Trainerroad? I thought mine was working but now I’m getting cadence readings that will bounce from say 80-105 with steady pedaling and the unit isn’t working to adjust cadence at all. I just did an easy workout in Trainerroad to check to see if it would adjust at all (the Taku workout, for those familiar with it) and the unit just kept with the same power without varying to the increase or decrease that the workout required. The only way to change my power to correspond with the workout was to switch gears, which I started doing just to see if the unit would adjust and it didn’t. The unit was on “Erg” mode too.
I sent an email to Kinetic about this and got back instructions to make sure i’m on the correct firmware, which I am. I’m contacting them in the morning to see what is going on.
As far as using the Fit App, I had the same experience if I did not follow the Bluetooth pairing sequence they recommended (close everything, reboot everything) and you probably will get lucky with the app controlling the resistance. Still not 100%
As far as integration with Zwift, the power output is off at least 30%. I’ve been waiting on this fix, but they just keep saying “next week”. In going to return mine and get my money back and look for something else. I have a Kurt dumb trainer it is solid. That seems like their niche, dumb trainers. The competition just blew past them. I wanted to like this unit, but the facts are it is not ready and they dumped this on customers. This has to tarnish the Kurt reputation.
David, thank you for the information. I recently started using Zwift and I really liked the concept of this smart trainer but your comments tell me exactly what I wanted to know about the RNR trainer. I will look for something else now.
What a shame folks are so turned off the Kinetic Smart Control. I am so hooked on the RnR, and I am staying with my RnR and using Zwift by sending my sensor data to Zwift. This is a far less-than-perfect solution, but I am hopeful that KK can fix their issues (including price!).
I am a software engineer and suspected, from the lack of video and reviews in October that I was in for a nightmare. I tried it because of the softness of the Rock and Roll Trainer, but what a software nightmare.
I’m most disappointed that when I called Kurt Kinetics in October they informed the integration with Zwift was completed. Just a lie. Such a great reputation they had I thought I’d try it, and we already own a Road Machine with good history.
My opinion, Kurt Kinetic makes great dumb trainers. The were standing still and the competition left them behind.
I’m cutting my losses. Boxed up the “Smart Control” tonight and it is getting shipped back.
Question now, is it Kickr?
So I rode a trainerroad workout last night using the smart control in erg mode and used my stages PM to power match, so the power meter will control the trainer. It was working fine except the trainer would not go low enough during the warm up, by quite a bit. What I did is just switched gears to the small ring in front and somewhere in the middle of the block. Doing this seemed to get the trainer to the correct resistance for the warmup and the rest periods. The workout consisted of a warmup with two relatively quick intervals to get the legs spinning, then a short rest with a slight ramp up in power and then three 7 minute long intervals just below threshold with 3 minute rests in between.
So here is how it played out. After starting the warmup and getting into a proper gear to get the low power situated, the Smart Control adjusted to get the higher power in the first two warm up intervals and then let off to get to the rest with ramp up. It doesn’t seem like it was doing very well with the ramp in power though but when it hit the first of three 7 minute intervals it ramped up to the appropriate resistance and throughout the interval changed the resistance to coincide with different cadences. When I got to the rest it dropped the resistance but when I hit the second interval the unit did not ramp up the resistance after a minute of waiting for it to kick in, I switched to a harder gear and attempted to spin quicker for more resistance. The unit then started keeping up with the target power. After the interval the unit did not let up the resistance to coincide with the rest target power so I had to switch gears again. When I hit the third interval it was the same thing…no change in power until I backpedaled and changed gears and then it decided to start working. At the end of the workout there is a ramp down in power and it just stayed at a steady resistance without changing.
It certainly isn’t accurate, which is annoying. The whole point of getting a smart trainer is to get the unit to adjust resistance based on a workout and this one is just not doing it accurately nor consistently.
I’m on the latest firmware and running the latest IOS on my iphone, so something is buggy in their software or the unit isn’t picking this stuff up correctly.
Ryan, I’m returning mine today. Cut your losses and give some reviews to help others avoid this nightmare of a consumer experience that Kurt Kinetic has let loose on it’s customers.
Yeah this pretty much sums up what we’ve experienced with TrainerRoad and the KK Smart Control unit in ERG mode using PowerMatch to control the resistance. It’s prety much all hit and miss.
But I’ve also had the exact same issues with a Tacx Vortex Smart and Stages with TrainerRoad and ERG mode using PowerMatch. So at first I thought it was the Kurt Kinetc but now I’m tending to think it’s TrainerRoad and the PowerMatch feature.
I’m currently in contact with TrainerRoad support and it seems like we’ve caught the Devs attention. Hopefully they can get this sorted.
I don’t know if I’d send the unit back just yet, especially if it’s only just not working with TrainerRoad.
What you can try is turning PowerMatch to “disabled” and see if the resistance automatically changes. It will most likely be a bit under the prescribed power (too easy) as the KK unit is off about 20-30 Watts from what we found. But if the unit does change the resistance automatically at the start of each interval, then you can possibly confirm that the device does work in ERG mode, but just not with PowerMatch.
You might try it using either a desktop or laptop to control it too if you can. I was having all kinds of trouble using my ipad and iphone to control my Taxc Smart trainer about a year ago. I was having a lot of the same problems you guys are describing about the KK smart control. I was just about done with the whole thing when I decided to try using my laptop. That solved the entire problem. No more lag in the trainer adjusting, and powermatch worked great. Everything worked great. Not sure if you guys can, but if you can, try using something other than your phone to control the trainer.
Thank you Tom. I want to use the unit with Zwift. I’m not one to stare at a powermeter and try to stay on a line….Zwift is a distraction and it just works with me.
I just want to feel the hills, the variety.
I would have hung on to it longer but the General Manager at Kurt (Paul) would not give me a better sense on when fixes were coming. Probably because he did not know and it is worse than they think. I would have preferred that answer as opposed to him saying “I’ve set up a return to your local bike shop”.
I bet they are sweating, for the wrong reasons.
Perhaps all these “smart units” are junk. Who knows.
I used the unit with a very new Windows 10 PC and smoking fast internet connection.
The unit was controllable via Kurt’s own fit app, but I want a unit to work in a realistic manner with Zwift.
Really sorry to hear about the troubles here man. I just took a look at your career to get the context of your issues. The problems you’re experiencing are due to what’s known as the “resistance floor” of your trainer. What that means is, your power target is below the wattage at which your trainer can apply resistance to sustain. Think about it like this: it takes a certain amount of power to simply turn the cranks at whatever gearing ratio you’re in on the trainer — just like on the road. So this explains why you began to get better results once you changed into an easier gearing ratio. Note that these “resistance floors” (often referred to as “wattage or power floors”) vary from trainer to trainer. So when you’re experiencing this “resistance floor” and your power isn’t being held down to the target (which is too low for your trainer to adjust to considering your gearing), you should try to change into that easier gearing ratio to try and reduce the amount of resistance needed to bring you down to that target.
It looks like your workout ‘Taku’ was under that “resistance floor” the entire workout. And as for the workout ‘Mount Field’, you were experiencing that “resistance floor” in each of those recovery intervals, which also ended up affecting your transition into the intervals that followed.
Now, let me give you a little background of what you were experiencing during ‘Mount Field’ with PowerMatch enabled: Our algorithm keeps a running offset of the difference between your current actual power and the target power. This offset helps us tell your trainer to adjust to keep you as close as possible to the target power. However, when you hit the wattage floor and your trainer cannot go any lower, this offset falsely continues to grow larger. Then, when you hit your next interval, you have an inflated offset. The offset shrinks every second, which is why it looks like your trainer is just slowly increasing resistance until it finally hit the target and performs better.
Your best course of action is to make sure you’re on target power during those recovery intervals and choose the lower gearing ratio to do so. Then when the interval comes, it’ll transition easier. We’ll also be moving forward to act on these issues. We’re going to follow up with you via email to make sure we can get you back on track on your next workout. 🙂
I also believe Kinetic will be releasing another firmware for the smart control here soon as well.
Similarly with Ryan’s issue, let me give you a rundown of what is going on in the meantime of hearing back from you via support. With PowerMatch, we keep a running offset of the difference between your current actual power and the target power. That offset lets us know what to tell your trainer to adjust to in order to keep you as close as possible to the target power. But when you hit the wattage floor and your trainer cannot go any lower, this offset falsely continues to grow larger. Then, when you hit your next interval, you have an inflated offset. The offset shrinks every second, which is why it looks like your trainer is just slowly increasing resistance until it finally hit the target and performs better.
I think your gearing ratio in those recovery intervals is whats giving us troubles in the transition into the next interval. Switching into an easier gearing ratio will help you avoid hitting the wattage floor (or resistance floor) of the trainer. This will also help in the transition into the next intervals. We are moving forward to make sure this isn’t an issue down the road.
We look forward to hearing back from you and to make sure your workouts are going smoothly.
Thanks a lot Nick! I shifted my whole setup about 2 gears down (easier) and made sure that the resistance was easy enough to match the target during recoveries. My last workout was without any issues and adjusted pretty well.
The only thing that I would say still needs a bit of tweaking is the overall resistance adjustment. It tends to be a bit too low for my preference. The average power for the intervals are generally 1-2 watts below the target. I noticed especially at higher cadences >100. It seems pedaling faster causes the resistance to drop more than it should. This makes the whole workout fall slightly under the prescribed IF, TSS and Kj . With a dumb trainer I would usually be slightly over as you can push yourself a tad more if you want.
I would prefer that the adjustment would err on the higher side if possible.
Thanks a lot for the help, Nick. I just now saw this reply and I think I have everything figured out now. The Kinetic Smart Control is working great with Trainerroad and I’m on target to continue with my base plan and then move on up to the build plan. I’m pretty sure I hosed the first FTP test and I have manually adjusted my ftp since then just by feel from what I was doing outdoors. I believe I have it dialed now. Next ftp test is in a few weeks when I start up the next base plan.
BTW, your app is great; I should have started with it last year. lol.
Very welcome, Ryan. Glad to hear things are running smoothly now. 🙂
FTP testing can be a little tricky — just being exposed to one will help out big time in your next go at it.
Thanks for the kind words mate! You’ll be faster in no-time!!
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you run into any questions or concerns down the road. Cheers!
An interesting development:
I originally ordered my KK smart control road machine from Nashbar, and received it around Nov 11. I returned it 3 days later due to all of the aforementioned issues. I left a 1 star review on the product on Nashbar, and also noticed that the RR variant of the machine had a 1 star review as well. Very recently (perhaps even today), Nashbar had taken down both of those reviews, and moved both variants of the trainer to “Out of stock” until 12/28. Maybe there is a fix on the hardware end from KK that’s being pushed to vendors?
(That being said, I got a kickr, and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it!)
Are you using the Kickr with Zwift. That is really what I want to do. If so, are you using Android? Mac or PC?
I have a 1 star rating up on Amazon. I’ll keep reposting it until Kurt Kinetic stops ripping off people and not disclosing what is really going on with their units. I specifically call Kurt Kinetic and spoke with Steve to explain how I wanted to use the trainer, with Zwift. Steve told me testing was complete and it would be an “immersive” experience. I’ve only been immersed in KK bugs for a few weeks now.
I primarily use the kickr with zwift, as was the main reason I was trying to get a smart trainer. That’s really the huge let down that made me return the KK.
I’m running PC, and I’ve used the Zwift app on both android and IOS to use all of my bluetooth connected stuff. It worked great on both! I can’t comment on the exact accuracy of the kickr, but it’s been put through its paces by many users, and to my legs it felt great. I’ve used it both in erg and normal mode and it’s been an “immersive” experience 😛
Thank you very much for your note. Are the speeds and powers and hill climbs reasonable for you? For example, I was climbing 10% grades on my BIG RING when using KK Smart Control. I was up about 50 watts in power over my average. I was up from ~17MPH for a loop I usually do to ~23MPH. Like ridiculous numbers that made it seem unrealistic. Can you comment on the reasonableness of what you are experiencing?
Very much appreciate your input.
I have used my smart control road machine on zwift for about 100mi now, and have never had it not adjust tension automatically. I have no PM to test against, but its comparable to the average I get on comparable elevation ride. It is a bit higher power than I would put out but not ridiculous. Maybe im wrong but im enjoying it so far.
I agree – once I got the Kinetic firmware update and the Zwift fix went in (to stop the ZML from crashing every time it paired with the Kinetic smart trainer), I’ve been using it and most definitely enjoying it.
The cadence isn’t right, agreed, and I can’t compare it to a real power meter since I’ve never used one. However, the resistance does adjust based on the Zwift terrain, and it simulates hills, flats, and downhills just fine for me. I did clock an hour ride against a Garmin bike kit, and found it pretty close, in fact, it seemed closer to what I normally get outside. (Meaning, an hour on the bike normally gets me about 16 miles inside on dumb trainer with the Garmin kit, but outside with a Garmin I generally get about 17 miles, terrain depending. The Zwift app got me about the same 17 miles).
So, I suppose it depends on what you want from your trainer setup. Maybe my expectations are low enough that I’m happy, at least currently. 🙂
I’m curious as to what setup you are using. Are you using the Fit app in IOS or Android and did you do the firmware update like prescribed up above? Are you using Trainerroad or just the Kintetic Fit App?
I was using the Kinetic Fit App but the unit was not adjusting resistance on its own so I joined trainerroad just to see if it would work through there, and the first two rides it did not. But, after powering down my phone and then getting the Kinetic Calibration app the unit does seem to be actually adjusting resistance…sometimes. I’ve only done the one workout in trainerroad with the unit actually changing resistance on its own and that was using power match, and I described how that went above. This weekend I have two workouts to do according to my workout plan and I am going to attempt to do that without using powermatch..but I would like to keep it on Trainerroad since I think their user interface is better.
But, I’m not opposed to keeping this unit for the next week to see if I can get it working because I really want a smart trainer with the rock and roll base, so I really want to figure this out. I think my unit was not initially changing resistance because of some software glitch that fixed itself by rebooting the phone and using the Kinetic Calibration app….can’t say for sure but after that the unit actually started to do something. I will try it with the Kinetic Fit app too and see if I can get it to work. Hopefully this is just software issues that will be fixed and not some hardware issues, because if that is the case it is definitely going back.
My cadence bounces around a lot if I don’t pair the power meter to measure cadence too. It’s basically not useable through the smart control unit because of how much variation I’m seeing.
I’d take with 5% as okay…smoking up 10% grades on the big ring is something I just can’t do in real life. The Smart Control was grossly off, enough to make the Zwift experience unrealistic.
I have ridden with the fit app about 60 miles and it is a bit glitchy if I dont restart my phone before using. I’m using a samsung note edge with a wahoo blue sc (because its dual band) and a KK road machine smart control. And I did the firmware update with out letting my screen sleep,( wont work if it does)
I usually start my ride on fit app, warm up then do a calibration. Then I pair to zwift (usually my whaoo cadence has the most issues pairing to zwift. Trainer is picked up quick) then start riding. The cadence is pretty consistent.( With a 5 rpm drop every once in a while) I have never used trainer road. Like to see other riders, usually pushes me harder. I end up in about the middle ranking on segments, like I do in real life.
I think I’ll ride it out for a bit and see if it will be updated soon for the accuracy.
Message from kinetic on accuracy. I wont let my ftp go up because I know its a bit high on power.
Right now it seems like it’s about 20-25 watts on the high side, not a specific percentage. We’re doing a bunch of bench testing this week to improve the accuracy, we should have an app update coming soon, please watch for that and install it when it comes out.
I talked to a rep and he said they have it on a bench being tuned with a few PMs quarq, power tap and a few others (cant remember),but when its tuned thats when they will release the update.
Hope this helps
Wondering if anyone else has encountered this:
Upgraded my RR trainer with the Smart Control, Updated the firmware and for about .26 of mile it worked perfectly. Now the Kinetic fit app provides no power/cadence/speed from the Smart Control? I can connect with either an Android or IOS device, I can hear and feel the resistance change when I switch from Warmup to Calibration but no power/cadence/speed is ever displayed. All zeros and no distance is recorded except for the initial .26 of a mile. I’ve tried several different unplug/uninstall/disable/reconnect and pedaling for 30 minutes but nothing. It does however pickup my HR monitor. My Pioneer PM and Garmin speed sensor are all recording correctly. Any ideas?
I will pray for you. I returned my “Smart Control”. Kurt Kinetic dumped this not ready for market product on the public in a last ditch attempt to catch up with the market. Epic fail. KK is only failing in damaging their reputation.
Cut your losses. Return it, unless you are a boater, then you can use it as an anchor.
Alright, I did two rather long endurance trainer rides this weekend using trainerroad without power match to my power meter and the unit performed well and without incident throughout the entire workouts. I think the difference between what I was getting before and now has a lot to do with rebooting my phone and unpairing the unit from the Kinetic Fit app and the Kinetic Calibration app and only pairing it with the Trainerroad app, at least that is what I’m going with. I was also running my Garmin which was picking up my Stages PM just so I could compare the data. I used the Garmin and PM for cadence because the Smart Control’s cadence still bounces around. I am beginning to think this is just the nature of the beast with regards to cadence.
The Smart Control’s power reads higher than my Stages but it is consistent. I will be doing an FTP test soon to get a new number using just the Smart Control for power. I really didn’t expect accuracy compared to the power meter anyway, but it is nice that it is now working and consistent.
The graph I got from the workouts look like what I was expecting to get using a smart trainer and the workouts felt like they should, so I’m very glad it is working now and I still enjoy the Rock and Roll side to side action.
I really think much of the problems have to do with the pairing of the device and the firmware updates, after which you should really reboot your phone/ipad/device. Seemed to work for me.
A much more optimistic commentary than David’s; and more helpful than praying. Thanks
Unpaired from KineticFit and paired using TrainerRoad app unfortunately still no Power/Speed/Cadence output from the Smart Control. Hoping I get a response soon from KK as only live a few miles from their HQ/Factory in MN in case I need to return/swap equipment.
I’m so very glad I returned my KK “Smart” Control. Only smart part was getting my money back and ordering a Wahoo Snap.
Read the comments in this post with interest:
I had an old Rock and Roll with Pro flywheel that I really liked. Last year “smart” trainers and Zwift happened so I traded — first for a Kickr (too loud/derailleur clearance issue), then Kickr Snap.
I like the Snap — flywheel effect is pretty good — but thought that a “smart” Rock and Roll would be the ultimate trainer (for me).
So I’m disappointed that the new Rock and Roll sounds like a dud. I’d have bought one and sold the Snap without the comments here.
FWIW, I also just sold a brand-new Neo that I had for a month. Lots to like about Neo but, IMO, the flywheel effect is lousy. For the $$$ it just wasn’t enough better than the Snap (and I dislike wheel-off anyway).
I really liked the rock and roll aspects, so I thought I’d take a chance on the “Smart Control”. My wife has a road machine fluid trainer and it is rock solid. After finding bugs at a faster rate than KK could fix them, and getting a rather cold response from the general manager Paul (the engineers were great, management stand off-ish), I was done. Spending more than $800 seems a stretch in a market that is changing rapidly. KK got caught by surprise by the smart trend…..not even ANT+ on the top of the line model .
I could have lived with all that is the trainer played well in Zwift and they had an app that was, albeit primitive, functional.
One of my worst purchases in a long time. Can’t believe KK would do this to their reputation. Granted I pushed on KK after weeks of finding bugs faster than they could fix them. Then I met general manager Paul – game over.
I hope the Snap simply produces reasonable power readings in Zwift.
Good luck in the search
I was told by Kirk Kinetic to try downloading the Kinetic Calibration app, pair the unit with that and then use the slider to see if the resistance is actually changing. It took me twice to download that app to get it to work, which very well could be a problem with my phone. I did get it to work though.
Then, assuming the slider is changing resistance, unpair it from the Calibrate app and close out your trainerroad, Kinetic Fit app, and then the calibrate app and I would also reboot your phone. Then power the phone back up and go into trainerroad and try and pair it only through that app. See if that works…it worked for me and using the calibrate app showed me that the resistance in the unit wasn’t actually broken.
Kirk Kinetic has been pretty good about helping through email for me and I would assume calling them would help too. Hope you get it figured out. I think the majority of problems are just app related but you may have an actual broken unit. Good luck.
So, are there 2 Kinetic apps? I have the Kinetic Fit app, and it does some calibration. I did use it to update the firmware too. It comes with some workouts though, so wasn’t sure if this was the same app on Android.
It may be too early to declare Rock and Roll Smart Power a dud yet. If the comments here are anything to go by, then at the very least it is quite obvious that KK pushed an immature product onto suspecting and unsuspecting customers. Unfortunately it seems to be a common practice in sports tech to use paying customers as beta testers – happens with all the companies more or less, but KK may have reach new lows here. But it not clear yet, if something is fundamentaly wrong with the unit itself, or if KK are overwhelmed by the software side of it. It may very well take months find out.
Meanwhile hold on to the Snap. KiCKR Snap may be the next best thing after R’n’R in terms of road feel. And it being from Wahoo, Snap should have the least amount of trouble with various apps. The product is mature, the user base is high, so all the bugs should be ironed out by now. (but I have not researched itm, this is just my guess).
I wonder though, if the the new KK smart power unit has ‘inherited’ the famed KK road feel. After all, the classic RM and R’n’R were fluid units. This (especially with the pro flywheel) contributed to the so called ‘road feel’. Smart Power unit is a different beast technically. Yes, KK promised ‘Kinetic Smart Control and Smart trainers deliver incredible ride quality’, but they promised many other thing too 🙂
I downloaded and installed the IOS Calibration app last night and change mode and sliders settings. I can here Smart Control unit change and the Position field in the app will count down or up between 1 – 100 depending on the setting but still no Power/speed /cadence output. Starting to think I may have a defective unit
Yes. Kinetic Fit and Kinetic Calibrate.
Hi Ryan – I bought the road machine smart control and have been using the iOS app. Till now I have not had issues with the pairing but I have to admit I am only using kinetic fit app at the moment and not using zwift. The app has so far worked well with the trainer changing resistance on its own when required. I also started a training program and I really like how the app puts everything very neatly in the calendar with detailed notes etc. Cadence is jumpy by +\- 4. I have also liked the road feel of the trainer and I am now thinking if I should have gone ahead with the rock roll feature since that is even more realistic. And another thing the calibration is done within the kinetic app before every workout and I like how it then guides me if I have by chance left the tire a little loose on the roller. So far so good. Let’s see how it goes with the other apps.
Hopefully they have fixed the bug where workers are not saved after they are ended. My smart control worked okay with the fit app, but would not play nicely with zwift. The resistance was ridiculously off. Paul at Kurt kinetic offered no estimated dates for fixes, and essentially silent with respect to any specific commitments to fix this hardware. I hope others have better luck than I with Kurt kinetic . I own a road machine as well , and was therefore extremely disappointed in Kurt kinetic.
Hey Rahul s,
Yeah, the feature of the Kinetic Fit app with the training plans uploading into your calendar is excellent. I kinda wish Trainerroad had that feature too, but the plan “calendar” is on the website when you sign up for a training plan. Not a huge deal, but a positive feature for Kinetic.
It’s great that yours is working out. The road feel is excellent on it, for sure.
Are you still liking thekk smart control. Have you tried it on swift yet? What about Bkool?
So, after reading this entire thread. Can anyone tell me if the Kinetic Rock & Roll Smart Control is working with Zwift? Will Zwift change the resistance on this trainer? I would be using it on an iPad Pro and don’t have a Garmin so I guess I don’t care about ANT.
Also, what about the calibration aspect when using with Zwift? Are there any other trainers that allow the bike to move like the Kinetic Rock & Roll Smart Control? Are there any smart rollers on the market, i.e. ones that have variable resistance that can be controlled by programs like Zwift?
I’m not sure about Zwift so someone will have to chime in on that. My computer apparently doesn’t have a new enough graphics card to work with Zwift so I’m out of that game. I can see it being fun though.
My Smart Control is now working well with Trainerroad and with the Kinetic Fit App, also it works with Sufferfest videos through the Kinetic Fit App, which is awesome.
I don’t think there are other trainers with the Rock and Roll side to side feature; someone else may chime in to correct me though.
Nothing quite like the Rock’n’Roll, although you can get platforms that you mount the trainer onto and *that* rocks. One thing that used to be done by some was to fit a Powerbeam (IIRC) brake onto a RnR chassis – best of both worlds 🙂
I rode about 23 miles on zwift and warmed up on kinetic fit and noticed my cadence was alot more stable today no bouncing around. Maybe the update I just did helped dont know why it would affect the cadence though. Anyone else notice this?
Talked with Paul from KK today – his support and service was awesome. 30 minutes later I picked up a replacement Smart Control unit from the KK facility and it’s working great. Tested it on Android/IOS with the Kinetic app and TrainerRoad. Will give Zwift a try on Thursday. Probably just had a defective unit to start with but was very pleased with KK support. Haven’t done any comparison to the Pioneer PM on my bike but am looking forward to some bike training this winter in MN!
Glad you had better luck than I with Paul at KK. The accuracy of power in Zwift was so far off I was flying up hills like nothing. Maybe I caught Paul on a bad day, but his attitude was the breaking point for me.
I do not understand one thing, how does the kinetic fit app, which is the main controller of this unit, get the cadence data? Or if the information is somehow “deduced” based on the trainer speed and the selected workout?
Since it does not pair with any other products, I guess my existing garmin cadence sensor wont be of much help.
I have the existing garmin ANT+ setup like many others (for cadence, speed and HR) and I could continue using that even on the trainer, with KK app providing the necessary resistance as per selected workout.
Any inputs would be appreciated.
Anyone seen any reviews of this in action? Have the initial teething problems been ironed out? I would seriously consider buying one as an upgrade to my road machine but at the moment I’m really put off by the lack of ANT+ connectivity. Is there a way with bluetooth to have my powermeter control the resistance, i.e. connect to tranerroad with ant+ dongle, then have trainerroad ‘power match’ and control the trainer via bluetooth smart? If that works, I might be tempted. Following this with interest.
I have used this trainer now with Zwift via BLE. It worked fine and I was pleased not to worry about the ANT + dongle bit. For me Bluetooth seems like a more wireless solution. The trainer was indeed changing resistance on its own depending on course. You must first connect the trainer when the app is opened first and then calibrate via Kinetic calibrate app.
Thanks. I guess I want to know it is accurate, that the resistance changes resistance responsively and that I can rely on it to be accurate on a bike without a power meter. If the calibration is easy and quick then I won’t mind having to do that too. I still think the unit is too expensive as an upgrade – particularly with the Flux on the scene, but it is still a lot cheaper than a whole new direct drive trainer
I think basically it comes down to this: I would really like this to be a good product as I would like to upgrade my Kinetic Road Machine. Perfect. BUT given the lack of comprehensive reviews out there and the weight of negative feedback on this site and elsewhere, I can’t spend any money on it at the moment. I really hope the bugs are ironed out and someone can show me, above all, that it works accurately and reliably with testing against a power meter, otherwise it is totally useless to me.
I felt the same way, but took a chance. At first KK was supportive, then they pulled back. Silence. I asked for expected release dates for fixes from the general manager. I think he got annoyed because I texted his work phone (why did he give me the number?) and then there was radio silence from KK. My problem was almost no change in resistance while in Zwift. I just wanted to know when I might be able to use the product as I wanted to.
As far as accuracy, I think all the units where you tighten down the wheel and then have to calibrate suffer from some inaccuracy. Do you have to calibrate each ride….the tire pressure changes etc. How OCD should we get? I might consider a power meter with my Wahoo Kickr Snap for consistency. Then again, I’m cycling to ride some centuries and feel good. All the gadgets and calibration and batteries etc etc just take way from the good feelings that come from cycling IMHO. All our money for stuff that does not wish that great is a bit disappointing.
Kinetic was having a 20% off sale last month and I’m not sure if it is still going on, but that is when I bought the Smart Control upgrade to my Rock and Roll. I didn’t think the price was too high with that kind of sale going on. Remember, the unit is very new and not a lot of people have one to review. I’m waiting for the DCReview of this unit, but I like how mine is working now. I’m getting some killer workouts done.
It has been working great for me after having a few issues setting it up, calibrating it, and figuring it all out. Some of my issues with it are due to having a power meter and pairing that to Trainerroad along with the Smart Control. Now, I just pair the smart control and use the power meter on my garmin to give me an accurate cadence display when needed. The Smart Control does bounce around a bit with the cadence, but that is the only real issue I have with it at the moment. The resistance changes are on target and ramp up quickly enough, and the unit is working great with Trainerroad and the Kinetic Fit app. All in all, I like it quite a bit. I’m not a zwift user though since my computer is too old to use it.
I contacted The Sufferfest and asked if they will be supporting this unit on their app (you can get Sufferfest vids through the Kinetic app too, but I was just curious) and they said they were working on it and going to support it sometime in January.
All in all, it is a pretty good way of getting a rock and roll working as a smart trainer, which IMHO is the way to go.
Thanks Ryan and David both for your comments. David, I know you’ve had a terrible time with this unit. My question is for Ryan… how have you found the trainer’s accuracy in comparison wtih your power meter? this is a big issue for me. I would use the power meter to guide the resistance on one bike but on another bike i don’t have a PM (i could swap) and would want the power to be accurate. I use trainerroad rather than zwift (but i would expect this to work with zwift for the money!). At the moment I’ll hold on to my money and keep the Road Machine until there is a reliable review – or I am wondering why I would buy this over an £840 Elite drivo!
I find the power meter and the unit to be off by like 30 to 40 watts. For instance, my FTP measured on Trainerroad using their 8 minute FTP test workout with my PM is 205 and on the trainer it is 244. I used the Garmin to record the PM when I tested and used Trainerroad on my phone to record the trainer. I don’t believe that difference is throughout the power range though…low power could be only off a few watts, ect. This seems to be common using electronic trainers though, so it doesn’t seem like a KK thing. In trainerroad you can use the Power Match feature to have the PM control the trainer. I had trouble with this in the beginning but I think I wasn’t setting the thing up properly but if you need to use the PM outdoors and in, then it is a great solution. I imagine if set up properly it would work great, and you could use the PM outside and in.
For me, I’m using trainerroad solely for my structured interval training and when I ride outdoors I am usually mountain biking without any power meter, so using the Trainer is just as good as using the PM indoors. It’s consistent, which is what I’m after.
Have managed to finally connect KK smart power trainer to Zwift for the first time.
I think that laptop had found the trainer and blocked use of Bluetooth through the android Zwift app.
There is still a problem that trainer seems to disconnect when Kinetic app is not main feature (eg open and running but switched to Zwift app).
Also not sure if calibration on Android Kinetic app stores information fully as rather than tell you its finished, it starts another calibration.
However, the trainer was connected to Zwift and the gradients changed resistance if the trainer, so an improvement on the previous InRide and dumb Rock & Roll 2 trainer setup.
Hopefully get more rides in in the next few weeks.
I just got one of these. I’m surprised how quiet it is. It also works quite well with Zwift and the App they have is very well thought out. It isn’t quite as intuitive unfortunately as the Wahoo system but once you find the settings section it is easy to set up and get it running and accurate. I haven’t tried it with Sufferfest, but I assume given the native support it will work well.
I personally don’t really understand why I need to control my trainer using my Garmin. So for my uses, it works well.
I Do wish that the Instructions were a bit better and help those of us using zwift calibrate the system without using a workout(it is possible, but It took me a bit to figure out.)
I think it might be a bit short sided to rip a product you haven’t used real world, as well as Kurt’s lack of support for industry standards(dying or not), However in practice the device works well, is near silent(a great Surprise) and Does what it is designed to do, even if it does require you to use your phone(and if you are using zwift, you probably already are)
I think this is a fair evaluation and matches mine closely. I believe David was unlucky to maybe receive a faulty unit. I have found the resistance changing on its own on Zwift and Kinetic app. I have not tried it with the TrainerRoad app. I believe one has to take care to use calibration. Kurt Kinetic would have avoided all of these issues if they could have just written a detailed manual for the app and trainer.
I also agree that Ant + is not really missed. I like the fact that I don’t need any dongles to connect to Zwift or kinetic app via phone or mac. It is indeed silent and I quite like that. I think DC rain maker is making too much into this standards issue. if it works well with the phone and the mac / PC via Bluetooth then why is that a problem for Kurt Kinetic? Just because DC Rain Maker is aware of all these extra standards does not mean that the average bloke needs it. I think he needs to write and analyse from the end user in mind – not a techie.
Lastly, I have found the road feel to be quite good on the trainer too.
It is easy to blast a small company on the internet. Yes they should be blamed for things that are not working properly – like the cadence is all whacky and jumps up +/- 4 units. But blaming them to use a standard that in fact makes it easy to connect a PC / tablet / phone without a dongle is not appropriate I believe.
How did you calibrate the unit without using a workout in the Kinetic App? Is this using the Android or ioS App? I’m assuming that it pre-connecting to Zwift via the Mobile Link App?
“Just because DC Rain Maker is aware of all these extra standards does not mean that the average bloke needs it. I think he needs to write and analyse from the end user in mind – not a techie.”
Numbers are easier to understand:
Apps supported by the Kurt Kinetic Smart Control today: 2 (+ their own)
Apps supported by trainers that support industry standards: 22-24 (+ even Kinetics’s own app + head units)
Apps that actually worked for Smart Control at launch: 0
Yes, 0. The week they started shipping neither Zwift or TrainerRoad actually worked. It took weeks for both to work properly. And all of which ignores the accuracy issues with the hardware itself.
If as a consumer you like being locked into a platform with less than 8% of what competitors offer…then OK.
Okay fair enough. I take your point there. I do not look beyond Zwift and Trainer Road so understand the point you are trying to make. For me this is not a hassle yes. I even find the own apps by Kinetic very good.
Did you find the trainer not accurate in your testing? If so by how much? Do you find the Wahoo Kickr more accurate? is this related to Power or Cadence? Do you think the hardware issues regarding accuracy can be improved by future firmware updates?
Macca in the kinetic app go to the sensors tab and connect to the trainer, then click on the settings gear,. There is a calibrate option in there. I’m using Android
Yeah, I can’t really say lack of Ant+ will make any difference to me since I will only be using Trainerroad, Zwift, The Sufferfest (can get these on kinetic app or through Sufferfest next year according to them), or just the Kinetic app. Really, I need it to work with Trainerroad because that is where my workout training plan is, and for that it seems to work great. I actually really like using my phone rather than a garmin for a trainer ride, so that has also been a positive feature for me.
I forgot to talk about the noise previously. The unit is pretty silent and it has good road feel.
yes, Kinetic should have sent detailed directions with the unit or at least had a “how to” within the app; but I will say their customer service through email has been great. I think it makes a difference to have the unit paired to only the app you are currently using…at least that has been my experience. So, if I am running through Trainerroad, I make sure the unit is not paired to the Kinetic App, Kinetic Calibration App, or Zwift, ect. If that is the case, Kinetic should have a note in some directions.
I have been riding this trainer for over 2 weeks using zwift and a lot of things are off. First is the cadence, it is set to low or doesn’t stop when I stop. I tested this using my wahoo blue censer to compare too. The other is my power output. about 60-100watts above my real numbers and small hills are nothing when going at them. I keep my same cadence going up a small hill and I go from 2.6 w/kg to 6+ w/kg with no real ramp up from the unit. I usually am running at 2.5-3.5 w/kg but with this unit I run 3.5w/kg and above for most of the time. I have changed my rear tire, done multiple calibrations (13.5 sec) and still have the problems. I have given myself until the end of the month with this unit and if no fix is in I am returning it, which sucks because like you say it is quiet and I like my KK frame…
So does the trainer have its own built in cadence or something. I use a wahoo blue sc when on the trainer, and seems to be pretty steady.
How does Zwift deal with a rider when they change power measurement tools? Is there a way to change your FTP, Watts/kg, or training zones within the application? I’m not much of a Zwift user so don’t know this, but through Trainerroad and according to the coaches there, if you change power measurement tools you need to re-asses your FTP using the new too. For instance, when I change from a power meter to a different power meter or when I go from a speed and cadence sensor and virtual power to a power meter I would have to re-asses my FTP, which will change my watts per kg and my training zones.
If you were using a power meter before the smart trainer and now using the smart trainer, there will be a difference with the numbers for your power…at least that is what I’ve always been told. I know that compared to my stages PM, the Smart Controller reads high, but it is consistent so I can figure my FTP using the Smart Control and use those numbers for my zones.
You can rightly claim there are few apps running with Kinetic Smart Control right now, but there weren’t zero that supported it at release. I know because I was riding the trainer pre-release and using with Zwift.
Duane – That’s not entirely accurate.
As noted by posts here and Zwift’s own support articles (linked to here and still active/alive), the unit didn’t work at launch. Sure, it paired, but didn’t control on all platforms, and crashed Zwift on other platforms. Hardly the definition of being functional.
This is where the directions would be helpful. Mine was only 10w off of a stages meter, but was way off before it was calibrated. The biggest issue with this thing is the lack of intuitiveness. Yes it launched with of supporting apps but has made great headway and seems to be making progress all be it using Thier customers as a beta test.. I’m happy but it took me an hour to get it working right sure to the lack of instructions
First impression of Wahoo Snap: it sucks. Vibrates. ANT signal is weak and drops out as measured in Wahoo Fitness app when 6″ from Snap, power varies widely and wildly in both Wahoo Fitness and Zwift…..when pedaling add steadily as I can, I see power values of 0, 60, 100, 160, all in a few seconds time. Also in both apps, for no apparent reason, the brake is applied for a few seconds at random intervals.
Yes I did the special calibration and two standard calibrations successfully, after properly warning up the unit. DCRainmaker really liked this unit?
I’m thinking my old KK fluid trainer is the thing to use. Nothing but frustration and wasted time.
I saw a youtube video that explains the problem with the erratic power readings and how to fix it. there is a defect in the design of the optical sensor.
here is the video
link to youtube.com
Thank you Mark. I saw that video. In addition to fixing the optical sensor (which I’m not sure how long that repair will hold up) the roller is out of round causing the bike to vibrate and shake. Really low quality build, and frankly disappointed that DCR would be so enthusiastic about a really low quality unit. I mean, it’s not round. What level of quality control is Wahoo utilizing if they are not checking if the round parts are round? So even if a fix their install of the optical sensor, I’ll have a unit that shakes. At $600 there should not be this many defects.
Once again David – I don’t sit on a factor floor in Taiwan and do QA on manufacturers products. Instead, I test things they ship me. And by and large it’s pretty rare to see manufacturing defects. Obviously, they happen for every vendor – from Wahoo to Garmin, and from Apple to Samsung.
Also, in some cases breakage can occur during transit, despite the best of packaging otherwise. A flywheel off-center certainly falls into that possibility.
So As no one has done this, I figured I could try to help those of you having trouble. I think I have flushed out how to get this set up on Zwift, At least with Android.
A couple of Notes:
1. The built in Cadence is an Algorithm, Its going to fluctuate, I just unpaired the trainer as the cadence sensor and used my garmin speed/cadence sensor for that. I would recommend you do the same
2. It is imparitive that you calibrate the trainer before you connect to zwift.
3. Make sure you have your tire aired up to the right pressure and tighten the resistance so when you pull on the tire making it spin, it doesnt slip past the roller
Ok Onto making it Work:
1. Power on the trainer(im assuming you already have the bike on the trainer and resistance set)
2. Without being connected to the Zwift app, Open the Kurt Kinetic Fit app
3. Select the Menu Bars and then select sensors
4.Next to the Smart Control Trainer, There will be a green “chain” link, Click on that to Connect to the trainer
5.Click on the Small Settings gear below the chain link
6. In the settings menu, There will be an option to Calibrate, Click on the button
7. Dont let the phone go to sleep, or you will have to reconnect to the trainer and recalibrate
8.Follow the directions to calibrate and adjust as it tells you to, it will tell you to change the tension based on calibrate or say calibration successful
9. Disconnect trainer from Kurt Kinetic and close app
10. Start Zwift on your computer and log in
11. Start the Zwift Mobile Companion app
12. click on the bluetooth symbol in the companion app and select the smart control trainer
13. start ride like normal
This has worked for me. The Calibration step is important to do, though i seem to be able to keep it close on the calibration front by keeping the tension and air pressure the same, but if you are training by power the extra 2 minutes isnt a big deal. Using this set up, It has been very quick to work and consistant power. Compared to a Stages, It reads a bit different but only by about 5% now that i am calibrating it every ride.
Hope this is helpful, and again this is the set up for using it with android, I havent tried with any other system.
Thats about what I do, but before getting into the fit app hard close all apps as they can interfere. It has made connection alot faster for me on zwift. I also calibrate before every ride. Thanks good info.
Very nice of you to do this. There were zero lines written in the instructions that can with the unit. At the time I was trying to use this unit, it was not playing with Zwift. Returned out for a Wahoo Snap and that suffered from software AND hardware defects (out of round roller).
Glad you got it working. I may just put a stages meter on my old dumb trainer and leave the high tech stiff until it matures.
Agreed: Super nice of you to do that. Perhaps KK will even put something similar up on their site.
its probably not a bad Idea to use the close all apps option when using this, but I havent had an issue as long as i follow these steps.
I did spend a good 1.5 hours figuring out the above, so I’m hoping that helps someone.
The close apps was told to me by kk yesterday. It has made pairing faster for me. He also said hoping the firmware update may be ready by the weekend. Hope so.
A firmware update before Christmas!?!? Don’t tease me! (In spite of the accuracy and difficulty getting it set up and running, I am enjoying my new smart trainer and especially in the Zwift world.)
Hi Brad – I do this every time for iOS as well. So the instructions are the same for the iOS set up as well. Once I do this, it works fine. I am now more worried about dc rain maker claims that this trainer is not accurate. Till now I have found for ‘similar’ efforts it is giving consistent power but I don’t have a power meter to compare with. I can live with, in fact be happy with a 5% deviation as long as it is consistent and repeatable. So in short I make sure I connect and pair trainer before every ride and then carefully calibrate before workout. Once I do these two things it all works fine. KK did a dumb thing not to put instructions in detail here. They have made a good product in my opinion so far but let down by no manual to use it.
A friend of mine recently bolted a CompuTrainer load generator to a KK RnR unit. (FWIW, he’s an engineer.) He said it was super easy to set-up and works great. So, he has the best of both worlds — proven training tech and the RnR base. I read in another forum that the Cycleops Magus should also bolt on pretty easily. I’m wondering if anyone else has tried a similar Frankentrainer solution. I have a KK “Smart Control” unit sitting unopened in its box in my training space, but given the comments I’ve read here, I’m ready to return it. I’m really hoping that I can find another way to keep my RnR base in the mix, while gaining smart control functionality via another company’s tech. Would love some feedback. Thanks.
Adam, if you find something let me know. I returned my RnR with the smart so called Smart Control. The mechanical aspects were great. Software via Android, sad.
I’m returning my Wahoo Kickr Snap tomorrow. That had 4 major defects, one being the roller was out of round and shook the bike. I don’t understand how DCRainmaker is so high on Wahoo products. I mean they couldn’t get the round parts round. Seriously? And he crucified KK? I think there is much junk out there . . .
If you build something that works let me know. I’m going back to the KK fluid trainer. KK makes solid dumb trainers. I think all this technology is really immature, but I have a sample size of 2.
Manufacturing defects happen. Certainly not the norm. I can’t think of another person on the Snap post who has had a non-round roller.
That’s a bit different than deciding to not support any standards.
As far as other defects of this type on the forum, look at reply #476 in your own snap review. There are many having this issue…videos on YouTube. So if you crucify KK on standards, you might want to hold the bar as high for manufacturing quality by Wahoo. Your forum, your call. But after my KK Smart Control debacle (software in November not playing with any third app) I sought out a place to get a trusted review. I used your site, your recommendation. There is a pattern of poor quality in Wahoo that, based on comments on your site, and other YouTube videos, is too common. Your forum, your call. I’m just a consumer. But why not acknowledge what is going on. There are videos and discussions addressing the optical sensor installation defects.
PS – for the record I think BT will win the battle against ANT in the end. Just a geek bet. It’s like Betamax versus VHS all over (you might be to young for that reference).
Sorry, but I don’t think one other person in 18 months is considered a pattern. And out of how many tens of thousands of units sold?
Obviously there’s an issue on your unit, but it seems a bit of a stretch to say there’s some sort of recurring pattern here. If I got an influx of people seeing issues – then certainly I’d bring it up. But given that simply hasn’t happened, it’s hard for me to say it’s anything more than a couple people having an issue. It’s also not clear if you actually contacted support. Note that typical consumer electronic failure rates are usually in the low-mid single digit range – sometimes you just end up in that pot.
Finally, this isn’t about BT vs ANT. Understand the issue: They aren’t even adopting the BT standards. They made up their own. That’s (mostly) what got them into this mess.
So, I’m happily using my Kinetic Smart Control Unit on my T-016 Rock and Roll frame last night and towards the end of a Sufferfest workout (riding it through Trainerroad and the entire thing is working great) I start to feel the rear wheel hitting the mat. I’m like “WTF?” Get off, check it and everything seems good with the bike connection. Get back on, start riding and same thing…rear wheel starts hitting the ground. Check it again and find the weld at the back of the frame where the base connects to the rock and roll mechanism snapped, making the entire trainer not useable. Luckily I was at the end of a long workout, so at least I got that in. I’m bummed now…it was going so well.
So, things break, even dumb trainers…even really good dumb trainers. LOL. These things happen, especially when one uses the tools a lot. This Rock and Roll has gone through quite a few seasons so I am going to see what Kinetic has to say about it. I have a Cyclops dumb trainer that I can use with my power meter for a bit (but now I have to do a new FTP test to get a solid number with the PM, which I’m not looking forward to).
As far as the Smart Control, I have found as long as I have it paired correctly it works well. I think it is a solid product if your training world revolves around Trainerroad, the Kinetic Fit app or Zwift.
I’m tempted to return the unit for another. Based on your confident assertion, the statistical likelihood of two in a row being defective should be almost zero.
Well… then you won´t like to see what happened here with Shane Miller and the Tacx Flux
link to youtube.com
Sorry to hear about the broken frame. That’s definitely a warranty item. Can you submit a claim please at: link to support.kurtkinetic.com
Be sure you’ve also registered the warranty. We’ll get you back up and running as soon as possible. Any issues, direct mail me and I’ll handle it personally.
Hi DC(sorry, I dont know your real name im ashamed to say)
As a lot of the bugs have been worked out, Standards not applying, What if maybe you gave this a shake out now and with out getting pissed off about the standards reviewed the product as those of us who have it and have finally flushed out how to make it work are pretty happy with it. Ill gladly say that the instructions suck, leading the rider to trial and error to get the thing up and running but once it is, I think it hits the marks it was supposed to despite the Proprietary standard.
No offense is intended but you seem to be stuck on what this was 3 months ago and not what it is now and the Process, that admittedly, Kurt Botched on the launch, but is now rectifying quite well and trying to move forward.
Yes, it doesnt talk to my garmin. Of the people I know with a Smart trainer, probably around 20 or so, 1 uses his trainer with his garmin, the rest of us use trainer road, or zwift.
Does it matter what Standard it uses if the Product works? I understand that It might not have at first, but it Does now, How about giving it a fair shake?
Totally get that many of the teething issues have since been sorted, at least for TR & Zwift, as well as their own app.
My upcoming review will indeed separate the differences between the unit by itself, vs those that are standards related. Note that aspects like accuracy do however fall into the category of the unit itself.
I think , even as someone who suffered with and returned a RnR kinetic smart control, that DCR should take up your offer if he is a gentleman . My observation is that mechanically KK is much better than any other brand. I would be someone that could live with it not supporting standards if it worked like I wanted to in zwift and other training apps. DCR Is dismissing the mechanical problems with Wahoo products as “rare” that just happen , even though there are forms and videos explaining those shortcomings.
I think your offer will be a good measure of DCR’s character.
I’m still riding my KK fluid trainer, in search of a smart controlled unit that I can live with. I loved the mechanical aspects of the RnR. after several weeks of frustration in November I cut my losses and returned the KK smart control. I would reconsider the KK Smart control after a DCR shakedown, and based on bad experience with the Wahoo Snap.
Brad, if you are looking for a volunteer consumer who rejected your unit after having early trouble and then (potentially) embraced it because of the changes you have made, I’m your candidate.
I will get some pictures of the break and the serial number tonight and make the claim tomorrow.
I have to say this here, Kinetic’s customer service has been absolutely excellent for me. Really top notch and quick. As a customer of the fluid unit and now the Smart Control, I have to say that I couldn’t expect any better service so a huge kudos to Kinetic for that!
Hey Ray, so what are the accuracy issues? Is it with the power meter or cadence? If it’s a grand reveal for your review, when will it be out? Look forward to your review. Thanks R
I want to Make it very Clear that I am a Consumer. I am in no way affiliated with Kurt Kinetic.
And “…20 people you know…” constitute vital statistics everyone should take as a given.
Brad, do you have any empirical measurements to debunk DCRs intimation that power is not accurate when reported by the KK Smart Unit after the fixes? I don’t care about cadence I use a meter for that.
Here’s some simple accuracy data from tonight on a quick demo test. I validated that both the Kinetic Fit app as well as the Kinetic Calibration app showed the Smart Control as up to date. I then did not one, not two, but three separate calibrations of the device over the course of ~10 minutes. Upon completion of that, I started the above/below posted ~10 minute test.
This is compared against a PowerTap G3 hub and a Quarq DZero unit. It was the Quarq’s first ride, so you see a tiny bit of settling going on with the chainrings, which settle out right before that final push. That’s normal. Still, it’s within a few percent of the PowerTap G3. This was not the Kinetic’s first ride. It was the PowerTap’s who-knows-how-many ride.
Things to look at on the Smart Control data:
1) There appears to be some app issue that doesn’t show under 189w. So anytime I’m below that, it flat-lines at it. I noticed this while riding on the app display. I’ve got no explanation for it. Let’s put that aside and pretend it’s not an issue with the unit itself, but just an app bug. Obviously it makes it harder to see data below that, but just concentrate on data above it. I’m sure Kinetic will e-mail me shortly about it (or circle back to them either way).
2) Next, you’ll see that it’s highly latent. In the graph I’ve linked to, I smooth it by 3s to make it easier to see. Either way, you can see it totally misses the sprints. Surges within that are also missed, because it’s still trying to ‘catch-up’ from the previous sprint. This missing of embedded sprints is sometimes seen on wheel-on trainers, but not anywhere near this degree.
3) Any sprints under a few seconds are totally missed altogether, as seen in numerous spots on the graph.
4) The variance between the trainer and the power meters was pretty much all over the map from 1w to 100w.
Note, I’m not the first person to point this out. It’s been noted in other comments as well – albeit they didn’t provide sample data. Other readers have e-mailed me with some data showing similar variances (20w-40w at steady-state on ~250w).
Finally, as for cadence, no – it’s not accurate (you can see that in the linked data). Though, I’m not holding that against them too much. Almost none of the trainers are too accurate in that region, especially when quickly shifting power.
Data for download/analysis/whatever here:
link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com
This is an interesting post. Thanks.
Also, David, I think you may be misconstruing my posts, I am not trying to challenge or otherwise say that dc is doing any thing wrong here, I am legitimately interested in his thoughts and analysis. Im sorry you are having so much trouble with tech recently, but there is no reason to get so bitter here.
Sorry but i dont think there is any need to attack someone who is doing this in their own time and at a great cost to himself.
I look forward to your analysis DC and Also hope that the coming firmware updates will help improve the unit, Which i am bias to at this point and very happy with. I hope more people can learn how the system works and it continues to get better.
Thanks again everyone. I hope my posts have been helpful and Again i look forward to DC full analysis.
I read DC’s latest data to say stay away from the KK Smart Control even after the fixes. That’s not interesting, it’s disappointing.
It could be your tire or tube showing symptom of ending of life span. I had one time experience on my Road Machine. The ride suddenly felt bumpy. I thought it was resistance unit. Of course, it was fine. I just kept riding like cruising on cobble stones. 20+ minutes later, both tube and tire exploded. HAHA. Not so fun. Lots of cleaning afterwards.
All is well with the tire. I also own a KK Road Machine (fluid) and when I move the bike to that everything is jet smooth. (It’s a durable trainer tire as well) My experience to date, KK Smart Control is pretty much so immature that it is not ready (returned) and I have returned my Wahoo Snap due to multiple mechanical issues. I’m going to try another Snap based on DCRs assertion that evidently I’m the only one having problems with the Snap on this forum. If Wahoo defects are rare, then getting a second defective unit should be like getting hit by lightning a second time. Right now I’m believing in DCRs recommendation…….let’s see.
I realized that you used the kinetic app to do the power comparison.
I also noticed yesterday that using the Trainer through Zwift doesnt seem to have the same bottom limit(189w), is there anyway you can compare that chart as well. Id be curious if your observations are due to the app or due to the unit its self.
I no longer have a power meter to try the comparison myself as I was borrowing it, but it would be interesting as i have found it to be very similar when using zwift and my ftp that i got on a computrainer was about 5% lower.
Regarding the 189w floor, I’m 99% sure that’s due to the app and a bug there, since I don’t see it in other modes/etc…
I’ll put together a short Zwift ride chart, since my previous data is a bit older.
Still, I believe the accuracy issues are related to the unit firmware and/or hardware. In discussions with Kinetic, they seem to agree and are working on possible near-term solutions. They’ll let me know once they have an update.
Given I’m focused the next few days on getting out the CycleOps Hammer review, that gives them some time to sort that out.
Just wanted to share here that Kinetic replaced my older Rock and Roll frame that recently broke with a new one without any hassle, disappointment, or real wait. Excellent communication like always. I now have the Smart Control set up on the new frame and will do the first ride tonight. You just can’t beat that level of customer service.
DCR (and everyone else),
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the RnR Smart Control. I ordered one in September and received it in early November – and have had s lightly different (though equally problematic experience) than others have had.
First, the good news: I only use the trainer with Zwift, so the lack of compatibility with other standards has not been an issue for me. In fact, it connected to Zwift right away, and the road feel has been great (compared to other trainers, at least). I also like the ability to rock the bike back and forth, though because you don’t have the inertia that comes from being on a moving bike, it takes a while to get used to the motion.
Next, the bad:
1. The first time I tried the trainer, it made a loud rattling noise. I updated the firmware to version 1038, and the noise went away.
2. On Zwift (like everyone else, it sounds), my power numbers are about 30% higher than I’d expect (or my lack of training is really paying off). I spoke with Steve at KK, and he confirmed that this is a known issue – and that the software fix is probably still a few months away (not the one week they originally promised).
3. My biggest issue, however, is that I cannot get the resistance to go _low_ enough on Zwift – or on the KK calibration app, for that matter. While the resistance increases on the uphills, it won’t drop below about 180 watts at 20mph even at a -10% grade. I went back and forth with KK on this a couple of times, and the eventual answer that I got is that the original issue I had (the noise) was because the magnet carriers retracted too far and started vibrating – something fixed by the firmware update. The downside to this fix, however (so I’ve been told), is that the lowest resistance is always going to be what I am experiencing until they come up with a new hardware design (I understand that this trainer doesn’t have a motor to simulate downhills – but I still think 20mph at a -10% grade on a smart trainer should feel like almost no resistance). Until then, it seems the smart control trainer will only simulate uphills.
4. I’d also note that the response time of the trainer is pretty poor – I don’t even feel many of the rollers on the back side of Watopia.
Anyone else experiencing the issue I am having in #3? If I’m the only one, maybe my unit has a particular defect (I can live with the high wattage in Zwift). I’m trying to decide whether to wait things out, or simply return this as defective – and get something else.
Try running the trainer in erg mode using your easiest gearing. Small ring in front and big cog in back. The trainer does seem to have better response time riding like that.
Magnus Rock & Roll Frankentrainer
Understand Brad….adding a little levity…..
Kidding aside, I’m reconsidering the KK RnR Smart. Hard to beat the mechanical aspects. I got burnt, wasted time, looking for affirmation that it will be reasonably accurate (power 5%) in Zwift via Android, that the Android app can actually save a workout, and pairing is not a nightmare.
I’m returning my Snap, because, Oh SNAP , it is a POS. Maybe that is why they named it Snap?
Where to now?
I can now properly join the discussion since my Smart Control Unit arrived this week. I bought it during the CT 20% discount and it finally arrived here.
I was in doubt between Rampa and Kinetic SC. In the end, the main reason why I bought was customer service. If indeed the Smart Control is really bad, or if it brakes, and had to returned, I will only need to drive 20 minutes and deliver the faulty unit to local dealer, which always helped me with every problem I had with my now 9-year old Road Machine (not that many actually, only the unit was replaced 5 years ago). If that happens to any other trainer, I would have to ship somewhere else, and probably pay for another trainer only with shipping costs, or stay with a broken unit.
Since I was training with the Road Machine with inRide, basically my setup would still be the same: BT and iPad Pro. Ant+ is not a problem for me since I started using iOS version and can´t see myself using another device to connect even in long term. So I took a chance and bought it. I installed it, calibrated and did a quick test yesterday with TrainerRoad iOS version (don´t plan to use it with Zwift), testing ERG and Resistance mode. Up to now it is working without a problem, but yet to do a full workout with it. I calibrate first with Kinetic Fit and then with TrainerRoad. Both seem to show the same calibrated values.
The only thing I can´t test right now is accuracy since I don´t have a Power Meter. If it is consistent, then I have absolutely no reason to return it, even if accuracy not perfect. About cadence jumping all around, I came from using inRide, which has the same pattern. It was not a deal breaker before, since I can check that with my bike computer, so it won´t be a problem now (and really surprised that people actually find it strange, since cadence will always be an estimate using this type of trainer).
Oh, and it is damn quiet!!!! I haven´t done a sprint with it, but only after 30km/h I started hearing the noise, which still sounded lower than my Road Machine.
So, it works for me. It might not be for other people, but it seems a solid product after all bug squashing. Sure, Kinetic might have rushed the product so it could be delivered for this winter, fearing they would miss the bus entirely, which means not showing enough information for setting up and still working with 3rd party apps problems (although I believe TR and Zwift, which seems to work without much problems at the moment, are more than 8% of the potential consumer market, so I guess Kinetic already covered a lot on this side). I guess (hopefully) they learned the lesson. In the end, I think they are showing improvements, and we will see how it goes.
Does anyone know if the RnR SC will work with the Book simulator? I like the idea of riding my routes in 3D
I think ill be looking into that. Didn’t know about it, looks cool! Ill let you know if i can get it to work.
Sorry I meant bkool not book
I figured, I think my computer plotted against me spelling wise. I havent tried yet to see if it worked yet though.
Just out of curiosity, what is the USB port for? Does that allow you to connect directly to PC and avoid incompatibility issues with software (like bkool )?
I was told by one of the engineers at KK that it is for use with specific software in a gym setting where there are multiple units, reducing pairing issues. I forget the application he mentioned. You didn’t see that in the instructions? Oh, that’s right, there were none.So the detailed instructions are on the KK website? That’s right, they are not.
Correct, mostly designed for cycling studio applications. I believe the plan is that PerfPro (pretty much one of the most popular apps for studios today), would support it. I don’t know if that’s been completed or not.
Does anyone else get a ramp up in watts when going up a small hill in zwift? I go from 2.5 w/kg to 5+ with no effort change. This is my main problem with my unit. I ride along and do the zwift flat route in watopia and when coming to the rollers I start at 2.5 or. 3 w/kg and as I start up the small hill it jumps to 4 then 5 to 7+ W/kg with no or very little change in effort. Also my watts are no were near what I’m capable of producing. My FTP is around 330, and average about 3.0 w/kg. But with this unit I can hold 4+ w/kg with no problems. Anyone else? I will try the steps listed above tomorrow and if that doesn’t work or no firmware update soon then this thing is going back any help would help.
How did you get your FTP, Derf? What were you using to get that number? If you weren’t using the Smart Control when you assessed your FTP you have to re-assess because you have changed power measurement tools. Your FTP is only good if you continue using the same measurement tool.
When I first got the Smart Control I mistakenly assessed my power using my Stages PM instead of the Smart Control making the next few workouts way too easy for me, because my PM and the Smart Control both read differently. I have since re-assessed my FTP using the Smart Control as the power source and the number for my FTP went quite a bit up, but the workouts are where they should be now.
So I can use stages power with kinetic smart control controlling resistance on trainerroad, but cannot do similar with zwift? Unsure about using the kinetics power data.
Just ordered a replacement unit at a discount price and I’m having doubts now and thinking Is it worth it over my standard road machine and stages?
Correct, but that’s just because Zwift actually doesn’t support that type of functionality for any power meters in workout mode.
Well my cycle ops magnus will be here monday so I can test it side by side with my KK road machine smart control. Have a feeling im not going to like the small 2.5lb flywheel compared to the KK 14lb one.
Well I didnt get the magnus, but got a hammer. Its not really a good comparison but the things I did notice. The smart control is much quiter than the hammer, like half as loud. Ive had a delay on zwift hills like 4sec for it to let up on the subway stair climb (will recalibrate). It is more difficult (more accurate) wattage average was about 50 lower on the hammer. On the kk I would get around 290-300 average pushing myself. On the hammer its more like 250-280. About the same distance and elevation rides, I lost about 2-3mph average speed. The direct drive is the way to go if its in the budget.
If kinetic get the accuracy issue fixed it would be a great trainer (imho), quite big fly wheel for a wheel on (the biggest I’ve heard of). And easy to pack around. The hammer is like 50lbs. I still may hang on the my kk til the firmware update.
Pail_f, lets us know how it compares, I need a replacement for the KK smart. I noticed today that their is a lag to ramp up power. When you start going up a hill it has to be at least 6+ percent grade or there is no change in resistance and there is at least a 5-10 second delay before the unit kicks in. So if the hill is short it will miss its ramp up. And I was still holding 4+ w/kg (400+watts) up watopia mountain route today in zwift and that’s way to high for me to hold the whole way up. I received a email two weeks ago to fix the calibration problem and I have heard or seen anything for an update. A few more days and if nothing is fixed this thing is going back. I also did the calibration steps listed below and it did kind of help but very little.
Did you set the resistance in zwift to 75% +.
It makes you feel the hills more, its when you start a ride then click the menu button (bottom left) then click setting then slider that says trainer difficulty. I feel hills almost instantly.
Derf, you more patient than I. Returned my KK “Smart Control” after the month of November struggle for a Wahoo Snap. Had to return the Snap as it was defective. The Bkool Pro they had in the shop was sold and returned as defective as well. Seems like much junk out there to me.
Good luck. Prices are falling fast. I would not invest heavily in a market that is changing fast.
Yes I have the resistance set at 100% or max in zwift. Like I said, the small hills do not really give any feel back unless there 5-10 sec long then I’ll get some resistance feed back…..
The trainer max power output is 1300 watts if anyone needs to know. I just noticed that since I need to crank down the smart unit, it looks like it has bent the tightening L holder bolt holder as seen in the pic.
Hi Ray and others,
Is there an actual review of this product coming out soon? I am ok with their current protocol but would like to know how good the hardware is – smart control console, power meter, et al .
I was waiting for them to try and get a firmware update for the accuracy issues (it’s bad otherwise). They were targeting early January, but I haven’t seen it yet. Either way, I don’t return back home till next week – so that’s the soonest I’d be able to look at it anyway.
Ashwin – I have been using it for two months now – mostly with Kinetic’s own app and sometimes with Zwift. I have found the power numbers to be repeatable and the app excellent. It can get some serious workouts. I have also not had much issues with Zwift. I have not tried the others except for one session on trainer road. I think it can only work with a few training sites and that seems to be the biggest drawback that Ray is concentrating on. If however, you are more keen on the three that I listed above then it works just fine. Also by far it is the most silent trainer you will ever sit on – for me that was also important. I don’t really care for the standards issue but that’s just my use case. Ray will write a review with everyone in mind so he will I am sure raise this as an issue.
Regarding accuracy I think Ray has discovered that it under reports power numbers for very short sprints. I have not tried those – if that is important to you then wait for Ray’s complete review. I am not sure if Wahoo is more accurate than this trainer because you need to try them back to back. I know for sure that Wahoo is not as silent. If very short sprints are not important for you then I will suggest to just go for it. I have not tried the very short sprints that Ray is highlighting – so I cannot say if that is only his experience or shared by other units as well.
In my experience it is consistent, silent and sturdy. In the end remember like any other human being Ray has his own biases and stuff, which is natural and which is valued. That’s why he is so popular. But you have to decide what is important for you.
Hate to chime back in as I no longer own one of these, just curious!
Have many of the people with accuracy/power related issues tried switching between Kinetic.fit apps on Android and iPhone? During my communication with KK they always seemed to target everything to iOS and Android was more of an afterthought?
Just think it would be handy for some of you, if you have both types of devices, to report any disparities between the two. Not many people (Ray included?) seemed to be troubleshooting with Android, but if many of the issues are isolated to Android (and not iOS) it might highlight a ‘requirement’! If no difference I’ll go back under my stone…
Sidenote: switched out my KKRM+inride to a Vortex Smart rather than buying SC. Have had zero issues with Vortex. ‘Road feel’ isn’t as good as the RM but I’ll take the Smart over any road feel any day of the week!
It’s not related to the app side, but rather the unit firmware.
I’m also seeing a 25-30w difference between the reported KKSC power and Powertap P1. Has KK indicated when this firmware update will be released? I know I heard something about early January, but it is now late January. They seem to be wholly uncommunicative on their web site. Most of the blog posts, articles, and knowledgebase entries are months old.