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CycleOps Hammer Trainer In-Depth Review


It’s Hammer Time.

The Hammer is CycleOps’ answer to the highly competitive high-end direct drive trainer realm.  Or said differently, it’s their answer to the KICKR.

It feels like an eternity ago that the Hammer was announced.  In reality though, it was a ‘mere’ 7 months ago, in early May, when CycleOps held their media event and announced both the Hammer and Magnus trainers.  At the time both were set to ship by summer’s end, but like almost every other trainer company this year, those plans hit a few snags and delays set in.

Still, Hammer is now shipping and slowly becoming available throughout various distribution channels (the Magnus has been shipping a bit longer now, but is also backlogged too).

The Hammer is the first resistance controllable direct drive trainer from CycleOps, but hardly their first trainer.  In fact, they had resistance controllable trainers out well before Wahoo and their KICKR.  It’s just that in those days the trainers only worked with their respective apps.  Here’s a look at those days.  But more than that, this trainer is really a step forward for the company in becoming a legit competitive trainer offering again – both in the higher end realm with Hammer, but also the mid-range realm with Magnus.  For this post, I’m focusing purely on the Hammer.

As usual, I’ll note that CycleOps sent me the trainer as a loaner to try out.  Also like usual, I’ll be sending it back to them upon completion of these trainer reviews.  That’s just the way I roll.  If you found the review useful, you can pick up the CycleOps Hammer and other gadgets from Clever Training at the bottom of this review.  In doing so DCR Readers save 10% and support the site.  Plus, you’ll get free US shipping.  Win-win!

With that – on to the trainer!

What’s in the box:


First up is cracking open the not-bite-sized box.  Though, pretty much par for the course insofar as trainer boxes go.  Inside you’ll find the trainer lying on its side looking up at you.

As someone who has unboxed his share of trainer boxes, I appreciate boxes that don’t require you hold them upside and wait for the trainer to slowly slide out the bottom clunking on the floor like a dead body.


Inside, it was wrapped up in plastic.  This is another nice touch, in particular for trainers that use foam packing material (this one doesn’t).  For example the lower end Tacx trainers use a Styrofoam that easily cracks and splinters into a million pieces, which you’ve got to then painstakingly clean up as it static-clings to your unit.  I mean, not that I’ve had to unbox a dozen or so of them or anything.


Here’s what that looks like sans-condom:


Next, inside we’ve got enough power cables to plug in half the neighborhood.  Or, half the world.  There’s one cable for each country type, along with the power brick that connects to the trainer itself.


There’s also some manual paper stuff.  One tip is to take this serial card (which contains your ANT+ ID) and tape it to the outside of the power brick (I’ll show you a pic later), that way you can always remember which cable is which.  Another life lesson learned from having too many trainers.


One interesting omission compared to every other trainer out there (especially ones over $800) is the lack of an additional quick release skewer.  I suppose many people have an extra one of these floating around, but still, it’s odd.  I’d recommend picking up one for $9 or so from Amazon or your local bike shop.  You can also just use your existing quick release skewer from your bike, though many people prefer just being able to loosen the skewer on their wheel and move the frame to the skewer on the trainer.

Next you’ll find additional thru-axle adapters, depending on the exact axle type you have on your bike.  You do not need to purchase additional adapters or skewers for thru-axle bikes, as it’s included in the box (unlike the KICKR or NEO).


Here’s what all this jazz looks like sitting by itself on a table looking like a lonely puppy:


But, there’s a secret compartment I’ve still yet to show you.  But a guy’s gotta have his secrets, right?  More on that in a minute.

Setting It Up:


The Hammer is pretty easy to setup.  It doesn’t require any assembly of the body itself, though does require you install a cassette on it.  As frequent readers know, one of pet peeves in life is that trainer companies (except Wahoo) make you go out and buy a cassette.  The cassette itself isn’t that expensive – usually about $50-$60 for the Shimano Ultegra one that I bought half a dozen of each year.  But it’s the extra tools you’ll need.  Again, these aren’t super expensive either – another $20-25 all-in (a cassette locking toolwrench, and chain whip).  But all in you’re talking in the $70-$85 range more than you expected.  Note that Wahoo is the only one that includes a cassette in the price (pre-installed).  Of course, you can swap it out for your own.


As such, your first order of business is installing said cassette.  It’s easy enough, and will likely take you 5-10 minutes if you haven’t done it before.  If you’re a frequent cassette flyer, then you’re likely looking at 2-3 minutes.


When it comes to cassette types, the unit accepts Shimano 8-11 speed cassettes.

Further, on the thru-axle support, it has compatibility for 130mm, 135mm, 142mm, and 148mm axles, which makes it the broadest range of axles supported today (KICKR tops out at 142mm, and NEO at 135mm).

Once your cassette work is done, your beauty awaits:


At this juncture you’ll want to grab that power plug and get things situated.  The Hammer does require power to provide resistance.  Without it, I’ll just sorta provide very low resistance (under 150w), and a brief higher resistance pushback if you try and sprint.  This is akin to virtually all other higher-end trainers except the Tacx Neo.


Finally note that the power adapter works for 110-220v, so you can use it anywhere on earth.  And if the space station operates on 110/220v, you can use it there too.

Usage Basics:


Like most trainers these days, the trainer-specific usage is silly simple.  That’s in large part because most of the complexity has shifted to 3rd party apps, and going wireless has largely eliminated much of the setup and day to day complexity.  With the Hammer, you simply mount your bike and start riding.

Of course, first you might want to deploy the Hammer party trick, which is its hidden front wheel block.  When you first get the Hammer, it looks like this – all folded up:


However riding the trainer like that would be pretty darn unstable.  Instead, you’ll want to fold out its legs, which unlock via the small yellow buttons along the edges:


You can adjust each leg’s foot, in case you have wonky-ass uneven floors like me.


Once you’ve opened up the legs, you’ll find that secret held inside: The front wheel block.


You can then place this small plate under your front wheel, which can help minimize twisting from the handlebars.  Magic!


Now in the event you need to move the unit around, it’s got a handle up top that’s easy to grab:


As noted earlier, along the back is the power port, and below it lists your ANT+ ID.  In general you won’t need this unless you have multiple units in the room.  But still, it’s super-handy to have.  Once plugged in you’ll get a small status LED along the top of the trainer that can be easily seen while riding it.


Of course, the main purpose of buying a resistance controlled trainer is of course the ability to automatically control resistance and power levels.  This typically takes two common forms:

ERG Mode: Setting a specific power level – i.e. 225w.  In this mode, no matter what gearing you use, the trainer will simply stay at 225w (or whatever you set it to).  The Hammer has a maximum wattage set point of 2,000w.
Simulation Mode: Simulating a specific outdoor grade – i.e. 5% incline.  In this mode, it’s just like outdoors in that you can change your gearing to make it easier or harder.  Wattage is not hard-set, only incline levels.  The Hammer has a max simulated incline of 20%.

There are variants of these that different trainer control protocols utilize, but basically everything gets back to one of those two ways of controlling a trainer.  From a usage standpoint, different apps will focus on different things.  For example, Zwift in regular mode will be setting the incline/grade, while TrainerRoad and Zwift in workout mode will be using ERG to set specific wattages.

When it comes to ‘road-like feel’, it’s always fairly subjective.  But essentially people are looking at the inertia and how it feels – primarily when you accelerate or otherwise change acceleration (such as briefly coasting).  A key driver of this is the flywheel size.  Be it physical or virtual, flywheel sizes tend to be measured in weight.  In general, the larger the flywheel size the more road-like feel.  The Hammer has an official flywheel weight of 20LBS/9KG which is the highest of any flywheel out there today in a direct drive electronically controlled trainer (by almost double).

As I’ve said numerous times, for me personally, it’s hard to separate the fact that I’m riding indoors from outdoors. It’s still a trainer, and I’m still looking at a wall in front of me.  My brain can only turn that off so much.  Overall I think the unit’s got a pretty good road-like feel, and it handles well when I crest the top of hills in Zwift, or even feels like soft-pedaling while going down descents.  Additionally, rolling into a sprint feels pretty good.  Not spectacular, but most trainers don’t feel spectacular – even at this price point.

Now it used to be that you’d use apps by trainer companies to control your trainer.  But these days that’s far less common. The vast majority of consumers go with the vast collection of 3rd party trainer apps.  Though, CycleOps actually does have a pretty legit training suite, which I cover a bit in the next section.

However, for all apps you should visit my recently released trainer app guide – which covers over 20 different training apps, the majority of which will connect to the Hammer just fine due to the adoption of standards by CycleOps in the Hammer.  With that, let’s talk standards.

App & Protocol Support:


The CycleOps Hammer is one of two new trainers this season from CycleOps (the other being the Magnus), and both of which are the first dual-protocol trainers that CycleOps has released.  Prior to this they had both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart versions, but never one version with both protocols combined.

Further, these would be the first trainers that CycleOps has released that supports the ANT+ FE-C standard that was introduced some 18 or so months ago.  This would actually make for one of the last of the majors to adopt FE-C.  Which isn’t to say that CycleOps ‘had’ to, since they already had opened up their protocol to virtually all apps – so the net difference is pretty minimal for them.  Instead, it just makes it easier for newer apps to get these trainers compatible.

In any event, all this means is that it’ll transmit across ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, while also allowing resistance control across ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  Resistance control is what enables apps to specify what resistance level the trainer is at, such as wattage and slope.

The CycleOps Hammer supports the following broadcast and control standards:

ANT+ FE-C Control: This is for controlling the trainer via ANT+ from apps and head units. Read tons about it here.
ANT+ Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard ANT+ power meter (with speed in the case of the Hammer)
Bluetooth Smart Control: This uses the CycleOps variant of BLE control, the same as their other Smart Trainers starting back with the PowerBeam lineup.  There is not yet a BLE trainer control standard (soon!); so each company does their own thing.
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard BLE power meter, with speed as well.

Note that the Hammer does *not* broadcast cadence across any channels.

Within these standards you can basically control or connect to the Hammer from just about any 3rd party app or device out there.  If an app doesn’t support one of these protocols, it probably sucks horribly.  Zwift, TrainerRoad, Kinomap and dozens more support these.  As do head units like Garmin, Wahoo, Lezyne, Stages, and more.  The power of using standards! No pun intended.


In my usage of the Hammer, I’ve utilized it with: Garmin Edge 510, 520, Garmin Edge 820, Edge 1000, Fenix3, Zwift (Workout & Regular Mode on both iOS and PC), CycleOps Virtual Training App (iPad and iPhone), and TrainerRoad.

2016-12-29 22.30.15

Still, once calibrated you can do your workout just fine:


I had no problem doing calibration however within the CycleOps Virtual Training (CVT) app, and then using Zwift and TrainerRoad.  You can see it showing as an ANT+ FE-C source in the below completed workout.

2016-12-22 (2)

Note that Zwift has never (oddly) supported calibration of any trainers within their app.  This is somewhat ironic given that Zwift is the only app that from an integrity standpoint actually stands to benefit from calibration.  All other apps if you don’t calibrate you’re only harming yourself, whereas with Zwift you’re effectively harming other competitors (and/or perhaps yourself too).  Still, Zwift sees the trainer just fine and you can otherwise ride it just fine and dandy, be it the desktop via FE-C, or the iOS app.

For example, here I am using the new Zwift iOS with Bluetooth Smart control over Hammer:

2016-12-26 19.12.06 2016-12-26 19.11.57

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While I suspect we’ll see TrainerRoad soon support the Hammer calibration natively, you can see it in process within the CVT app.  CycleOps Virtual Training (aka Virtual Training) is actually compatible with virtually every trainer out there, even ones not made by CycleOps.  It’s also got about the widest collection of functions in an app.  It does real-course videos from around the world, structured workouts, and even replications of various outdoor races/courses.  Plus, you can upload your own stuff there too if you have an action cam, allowing you to re-ride it later.

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Within the CVT app, you can also save and store the bike settings, as well as trigger that calibration function that I mentioned earlier:

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When you do a calibration of the Hammer, it takes a…umm…long-ass-time.  120 seconds to be precise.  Actually, it’s slightly more than that, about 136-138 seconds.  See, you’ll start by spinning up to speed:

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And then you’ll stay at that speed for 120 seconds.

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Finally, upon the conclusion of 120 seconds – you’ll stop pedaling and let it coast to a stop.  It’s this coasting time that they’re actually measuring.  Note that this calibration procedure is exactly the same as the Magnus trainer that also came out from CycleOps this fall.

The good news though is that in talking with CycleOps, they’ll be slicing that calibration period down significantly.  In the beta firmware update I tried today, it’s down to 20 seconds for standard ANT+ FE-C calibrations (no matter the app/device), and in an upcoming firmware update they’ll match that on Bluetooth Smart calibrations.  They noted that the 120 second calibration period originally came from the older PowerBeam series, and was simply something that hadn’t been tackled yet for the new line.  A 20 second calibration is on par with virtually every other trainer out there.

The trainer will remember calibration values from other apps, so you can quickly use the CVT app on your smartphone to set a new calibration value.

Sound Levels:


Measuring the sound of silence.  One of the most requested things y’all ask me to do with trainers.

Let’s get this out of the way: The CycleOps Hammer isn’t silent.  It’s not like the Neo (which costs $400 more).  But it’s not noisy either.  It sits in the same ranking as the new Wahoo KICKR (KICKR2) as well as to some degree the Tacx Flux.  It’s not as quiet as the Elite Drivo though. You’ll of course hear it in the video below and decide for yourself.  Still, it’s better than any of their past units, better than the original Wahoo KICKR.

First however, something to note about noise testing.  Someday I’ll write all about trainer sound and noise testing.  I’ve learned a lot over the years, and the more I do the more I realize how hopeless it really is to give folks a truly accurate view of the sound levels in videos (let alone measure them).  There are a massive number of environmental factors that truly do have a huge impact:

– The room materials (which can make trainers quieter or louder due to echo, noise dampening, etc…)
– The size of the room
– The exact distance of the camera and/or decibel meter
– The mode of the decibel meter
– The type of mics used
– The sound levels of the mics used
– The exact position of the mics relative to different sides of the trainer
– How the mics capture different tones
– How I edited the audio (normalized levels)
– The speed of the trainer
– The cleanliness of the drivetrain on your bike
– The shifting accuracy (tuning) of your bike’s drive train
– Whether or not I remembered to turn on the @#$@# mics
– And other items I’m likely forgetting

Any one of these items can make the entire trainer sound dramatically different.  I think I might put together a funny video showing just this some day.  Maybe I’ll pretend to be different people on YouTube, just to demonstrate how different I can make a single trainer sound.  All of which makes doing repeatable tests over the course of years very difficult.  So instead, I’m going to focus on ‘in the now’ type tests by showing two trainers side by side in as close of conditions as possible.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue using my handy dandy decibel meter stoplight (this first video explains how it works, while the second video shows the Hammer):

To demonstrate how this trainer sounds, I’ve stacked it up against the KICKR2 and the Elite Drivo.  I go side by side with them in the same space, so you compare them in like conditions.  Note that I have a separate video comparing the Tacx Flux, Tacx Neo, and Wahoo KICKR2 – in case that fancies you.  But the below video is all about the Hammer.

As you can hear, it’d be hard to pick a distinct winner between the KICKR2 and Hammer when it comes to noise.  They’ve virtually identical, with just slight differences in tone.

Accuracy Testing:


Next up we’ll take a look at accuracy, specifically power meter accuracy.  The CycleOps Hammer claims a stated accuracy level of +/-3%, which is slightly beyond other trainers in this price ballpark.  Some are slightly better at +/-1% or +/-2%, but that wasn’t in the cards here for the Hammer.

In my case I was looking to see how it reacted in three main areas: Zwift, TrainerRoad, and ANT+ FE-C control via Garmin.  However, I also validated accuracy in CycleOps’s own CVT app.  The actual apps don’t much matter (at all), but rather the use cases are different.  In Zwift you get variability by having the road incline change and you being able to instantly sprint.  This reaction time and accuracy are both tested here.

Whereas in TrainerRoad I’m looking at its ability to hold a specific wattage very precisely, and to then change wattages instantly in a repeatable way.  There’s no better test of that than 30×30 repeats (30-seconds at a high resistance, followed by 30 seconds at an easy resistance).  However, my legs and workout structure decided to go with slightly longer 1-minute intervals this time.  Not that it matters too much since you see the impact of accuracy shifts in the first 5-7 seconds for these tests anyway.

So we’ll start with TrainerRoad.  In TrainerRoad the Hammer is utilizing ERG mode via ANT+ FE-C control.  This means that TrainerRoad tells the trainer a given wattage level, and the trainer should hold it. After all, that’s the entire point of ERG mode – very specific wattage levels.  Whereas other trainer modes are used when you want to simulate a specific gradient (such as in Zwift…but more about that in a second).

Here’s the workout I selected (requires a TrainerRoad account to view, but it’s shown below in this screenshot):


And here’s the high level data, in this case showing it smoothed at 20s.  We see a bit of disagreement between the units, at the higher end, partly because they measure in different places, and partly because of the +/- 3%.


If I look at the early peaks, it seems to hit those pretty close to spot on.


But remember I mentioned smoothing?  I do that to make it easy to pick-out accuracy issues, as power data is normally pretty noisy.  Except that in the case of ERG mode, it actually shouldn’t be noisy, it should be very ‘tight’.  Here’s what it looks like unsmoothed:


Woah, that’s not good.  What’s up there?  That kind of variability is perfectly normal outdoors, but not indoors in ERG mode.  It’s fluctuating +/- 50w or more, a trend I see reflected on the power meters as well.  To be clear, it’s *accurate* during those periods, it’s just not holding the wattage set point it should be (i.e. 300w).  Instead, it’s like a drunk driver that can’t keep in its lane.

So, I circled back to CycleOps and let them do some digging.  A short bit later they came back with a firmware update.  They found that in my case the speeds I had used in ERG mode were causing a bug which led to the high variability of the ERG set point, producing the drunk-driver effect.  So they shipped over a beta firmware update to address it.  Here’s the results of that quick test:

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And then below on the Analyzer, both at 0s smoothing (left) and 20s (right) smoothing to match above graph styles:

(Note: You see a few minor dropouts in the graph on the Hammer, this is a case of an ANT+ dropout to that Edge 510, as it doesn’t show on the TrainerRoad data stream.  One of the reasons I often duplicate data recording on multiple devices.)

image image

As you can see, now it’s nice and crispy – as it should be. Boom, almost perfect!  That firmware update should be released shortly to the public, after they do a few more rounds of testing to ensure this didn’t break anything else.  Again, the issue wasn’t that the power wasn’t accurate, but rather that it just didn’t hold the designated ERG point correctly.

You’ll notice a very minor difference above between the first four and last four intervals.  I changed my gearing to change speed, since that can impact results.  You’ll see the last four are a tiny bit cleaner than the first four.  CycleOps says they’ll be tweaking things a tiny bit more over the coming days to get it a bit cleaner.  The change mainly impacted how they were using wheel speed previously.

Next, we’ve got Zwift.  In Zwift you can either be in ERG mode (workout section), or simulation mode (general Zwift).  I tried both actually, mostly because I was curious how Zwift ERG might differ from TrainerRoad ERG.  But first, the regular Zwift riding mode wherein I just wandered around Zwift for 45 or so minutes.  After which, I plotted the data:


That’s some really beautiful alignment there (shown above at 10s smoothed).  Even zooming in on the sprints, it does really well.  Keep in mind that max power in a sprint is often a function of how/when it’s recorded by the head unit.  So seeing slight variances between units is 110% normal.  Note the below data was collected on production firmware, not beta.


Next, a quick look at the Zwift workout mode, from a workout this morning lasting about 30 minutes:


Well then, that looks pretty.  Check out that max power – all incredibly close on those short sprints (the above is shown smoothed at 5s).  You see a slight bit of difference between the power meters in the first two intervals (at the 5/7 minute markers), but then things settle out really nicely.  I’m not terribly worried about that, as settlement in accuracy over the first 8-10 minutes of any trainer is normal – even the ones that say they don’t need to settle usually do.  You can click on that link above to dig into this set further as well.

So where do things end up? It seems that in general the accuracy side is pretty good.  I had one weird calibration run, which I didn’t fully realize until later on, which resulted in this odd set here.  I’m about 90% certain that’s because something went amiss mid-calibration that I suspect is related to a flaky wall outlet I had temporarily plugged it into while filming my sound levels video.  It dropped the connection towards the end of the calibration and I’m wondering if it actually set anything at all.  Either way, I’ve never had that happen again or before – so I’m considering it an anomaly related to the power issue (since I lost all connectivity to it).

But if I ignore that, and look at successful calibrations, or heck, no calibrations at all, it matches very nicely with the other power meters on the bike.  Obviously they’ll need to release that beta firmware update to address the ERG set point, but I don’t have any concerns there.  It sounds like they just want a few more days to validate things before releasing it to the wild.

Trainer Comparison:


So which trainer is your best bet?  Well, that’s an extremely complex topic.  One that I dedicate an entire post on each year as part of my annual trainer recommendations guide.  That guide came out a month or so ago, and is available here.

At this point I have ridden every trainer coming out this season, all of which I now have final versions of.  Here’s the higher-end versions that compete with the CycleOps Hammer

CycleOps Hammer: Final In-Depth Review (this post, duh)
Elite Drivo: Final Production In-Depth Review
Tacx Flux: Final Production In-Depth Review
Tacx NEO: Final Production Unit ridden for a year, post here
Wahoo KICKR2: Final Production In-Depth Review

When it comes to accuracy, all of these units are pretty darn solid.  I’d give slightly higher marks to the Elite Drivo and Tacx NEO, but we’re talking the tiniest of margins there.

If you’re looking for silence, as noted the quietest trainer is simply the Tacx NEO.  There’s really no comparison there.  The second quietest would be the Elite Drivo, at least because the tone/pitch isn’t as high as the Hammer/KICKR.

When it comes to apps, the Hammer has a slight advantage of Elite in that many apps have previously supported the PowerBeam series on Bluetooth Smart, which means they also work on the Hammer/Magnus.  The Wahoo KICKR/KICKR2 has slightly more support on some fringe apps, but for all the big apps it’s a wash.

In any case, I’ve added the CycleOps Hammer to the product comparison tables.  For the purposes of below, I’ve compared it to the Wahoo KICKR2, Elite Drivo, and Tacx NEO.  But you can make your own comparison tables here, and compare it against any trainers I’ve ridden:

Function/FeatureCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 30th, 2016 @ 8:40 amNew Window
Price for trainer$1,199USD$1,299/€1,390/£1,099$1,599USD/1,399EUR$1,199
Attachment TypeDirect Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)
Available today (for sale)YesYesYesYes
Availability regionsGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobal
Connects to computerYesYesYesYes
Uses mouse/keyboard as control unitYes (with apps)Yes (with apps)Yes (with apps)YEs (with apps)
Uses phone/tablet as control unit (handlebar)Yes (with apps)Yes (with apps)Yes (with apps)YEs (with apps)
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYesYesNoYes
Flywheel weight20lb/9kg13.2lbs/6kgSimulated/Virtual12.5lbs/5.7kgs
ResistanceCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)NoNoYesNo
Maximum wattage capability2,000w2,000w+2,200w2500w @ 30MPH
Maximum simulated hill incline20%24%25%20%
FeaturesCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerNoNoNoNo
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)NoNoNoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoNoYesNo
AccuracyCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Includes temperature compensationYesN/AN/AYes
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)YesN/AN/AYes
Supported accuracy level+/- 3%+/- 1%+/- 1%+/- 2%
Trainer ControlCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYesYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart control for 3rd partiesYesYesYesYes
Data BroadcastCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Can re-broadcast power data as open ANT+YesYesYesYes
Can re-broadcast data as open Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYes
PurchaseCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Amazon LinkLinkN/ALinkLink
Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10MHD)LinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training EuropeN/AN/ALinkN/A
DCRainmakerCycleOps HammerElite DrivoTacx NEO SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR2 (2016)
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Again, remember you can create your own comparison tables here and mix and match trainers till your heart’s content.



It’s clear that CycleOps/PowerTap have found their stride in the past 12-18 months.  Last year they’ve announced and started shipping the popular PowerTap C1 & P1 power meters, and now this year they followed that up with another double – the Magnus and Hammer trainers.  All of which support dual-ANT+/Bluetooth Smart connectivity, giving you choices on the apps and devices you use.  And most importantly, all are solid products – including the Hammer.

While I would have liked to see CycleOps aim for a slightly higher accuracy rating (+/-2% instead of +/-3%), it appears that in practice they’re already achieving that anyway.  And quite frankly, I’m more focused on actuals than theoreticals.  The upcoming beta firmware I tested should resolve the outstanding quirks I saw in ERG mode, which will round this out to be a a very solid trainer option.

When looking at the growing flotilla of trainers in the ~$1,200 price range (KICKR/Hammer/Drivo), you’ll find it really comes down to nuances.  One might have a slightly different road feel, or a different noise pitch.  While another might have barely different accuracy specs or thru-axle support differences.  And another may fold up one way vs a different way, or be supported better in one specific application vs another.  It’s almost to the point of being a wash between them, if not already one.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found This Review Useful? Or just wanna save 10%? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the Hammer trainer through Clever Training using the links below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, if your order ends up more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

CycleOps Hammer Trainer

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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  1. Simon

    first commnet! but I don’t really have a comment…….

    Great work as always Ray

  2. james

    Great review, thanks!!!

  3. Mike D

    Glad to hear that CycleOps is so responsive, and especially glad to hear that they’re changing the calibration step down from 2 minutes! It’s kind of a bear to have to start a workout with what feels like a 2-minute interval!

  4. Marc Teichmann

    As always, thanks Ray! Can’t wait to read through this and get the conversation going :)

  5. Luis R. De Freitas

    do u need to calibrate every single time???

    • I actually haven’t found that to be the case. I did some rides with no calibration and it was just as accurate as those with calibration. Still, as a general best practice I recommend it.

  6. jb

    good initial review of the trainer. happy the accuracy is less than the advertised 3%.

    personal pet peeves

    why your trainer reviews do not mention WARRANTY information. when buying a top end trainer manufacturers should offer a warranty period to complement the high price they charge for them. i believe wahoo/elite/tacx have one year limited warranties on all there products. cycleops??

    stability of the trainer. how stable is hamer vs neo/kickr/drivo when doing a full out sprint. is it this bad
    link to youtube.com


    • Mike

      I agree about the warranty information. Cycleops web site says lifetime warranty on the frame and 1 year on the electronics. But if I spend >$1,000 US on a trainer, I’d like to think I would be guaranteed to get more than one year out of it.

    • Generally speaking warranty is based on where you live. For example, in Europe a 2-year warranty is required for consumer goods for EU countries.

      The reason I haven’t included warranty in the past is kinda simple: Nobody’s ever asked for it before (ever).

      Secondarily, it’s also generally speaking 1 year in the US, and 2 years in Europe. As such, it’s mostly a great equalizer.

      As for sprinting tests, I didn’t have problems once I tightened up the screws. Out of the factory I found the screws for the arms were a bit loose, so I just tightened them up and all was good. It’s hard for me to comment either way on that video, since I can’t see what the rider is doing. Meaning, are they going crazy left/right trying to tilt unit, or? Which is to say I can make any trainer do wonky stuff with enough force when out of view of a camera.

    • jb

      thanks Ray. so the euro’s get trainers(neo,flux,drivo) at a lower price + better warranty. nice :(

      btw cycleops put up a video on facebook showing the manufacturing of a hammer/magnus. good QA. surprised every trainer is tested before shipping. happy not all usa products are made in asia(wahoo)

      link to facebook.com

    • No, just to clarify – the warranty is based on your country of residence, not actually the vendor.

      As for manufacturing in Asia, it’s honestly irrelevant from what I see. What matters is the manufacturing partner a company chooses, and how well they implement quality controls. One can make products in the USA and still deliver crap. Inversely, one can make products in Asia and deliver high quality goods. Apple being a good example in Asia, and I can think of specific examples of USA made products that are less than ideal.

      Further to that point. Companies often separate hardware from software in different countries. Or, may be good at one side versus another. That can ruin a beautiful product even if the hardware is perfect or the software is perfect. Two peas in a pod thing and all.

    • jb

      we need shimano to enter this trainer space. as more electronics are added to cycling industry the failure rate will go up.

      shimano warranty.

      link to bike.shimano.com
      link to cycle.shimano-eu.com

      notice on dura-ace/xtr premium product the longer warranty period.
      i had a di2 battery fail on my 9070 trek. battery was 2 years old. replaced. no drama.

    • Chader

      The CycleOps warranty (in the US at least) is:

      Hammer and Magnus Indoor Trainer:
      Frame: Lifetime (with the typical limitations of being “free of any defects in material or workmanship”).
      Electronics: 1 year

    • JD

      Here’s the direct link to the assembly video:
      link to facebook.com
      The Hammer is covered in the first half while the second half is the Magnus.

  7. marc teichmann

    I’m guessing SRAM cassettes will work, correct?

  8. Chader

    Thanks for the thorough review as always.

  9. Chris Capoccia

    bad luck for Zwift on the space station… lol… probably wouldn’t work very well without gravity anyway. The ISS operates at 160VDC with some systems running at 120VDC via DC-DC converters. so no AC anywhere. link to nasa.gov

  10. Kevin


    In your opinion, would you say the Hammer is worth the extra cost compared to the KICKR SNAP? I posted the issues I was having with the SNAP in your SNAP review section. The gist of it being that I ended up sending the first unit back for exchange and, having the same issue on the 2nd unit, was about to send it back for a refund when a reader posted a fix that not even Wahoo told me (to upgrade the firmware to a newer beta version). That fixed it (even though I have 3 friends with SNAP trainers running without issue on the older production firmware). Evidently the latest ones manufactured need the firmware fix for some reason (my friends had all purchased theirs at least a year ago).

    Anyway, the fix came, of course, AFTER I ordered a CycleOps Hammer (which, BTW, should be here today). I ended up getting both the SNAP and the Hammer at discounts so the difference in cost for me is $420. Is the Hammer worth the extra cost? I doubt I will ever hit 2000 watts (or even the 1500 watts of the SNAP) but I might, rarely, do the 20% incline vs the 12% of the SNAP (there are some 20%+ grades near where I live that I can recreate on the trainer with my Garmin 520). Regarding accuracy–the SNAP matches my Stages power meter pretty well, but there’s no way I’m doing a 10-minute spindown every time I ride to calibrate it (I also have to turn the knob 3.5 times after touching the wheel to get the spindown time under 15 seconds, per Wahoo). I would be willing to do a 20-second calibration every time with the Hammer (but I doubt I would do it every time). The lack of support for Android with the SNAP is also annoying since I don’t have an iOS device (and had to borrow a friend’s iPhone to do the advanced spindown, although I’m guessing I will never have to do that again; just standard spindowns). You already mentioned “road feel” so I’m guessing they both feel similar in that regard, even though the Hammer has a much larger flywheel. I like that, with the Hammer, I don’t have to worry about tire pressure, tire wear, or knob tightness (just get on and ride). The SNAP does hold ERG mode perfectly in Zwift (at least, it ‘reports’ it perfectly; there are no up and down little spikes like my Stages reports but the SNAP, like the Hammer and every other trainer, I think, that reports power, does not have/use an actual power meter).

    So, just trying to decide which one to send back or sell. I already have a prepaid shipping label to send the SNAP back so that won’t cost my anything; but to send the Hammer back I would have to pay $50-$60 in shipping. Any thoughts are welcomed and appreciated! :)

    • Chris Benten

      If the Hammer only costs you an extra $420, I would be all over the Hammer. I have a greater than 1 year old Snap and the lack of Android and the Spindown pita would be worth the dollars. In fact I have gotten to where I do not calibrate my Snap…if the numbers look reasonable compared to my P1s…I leave it alone. One thing I do now is leave it plugged in. That seems to help power stability.

    • Kevin

      Thanks, Chris. Yeah, I got the SNAP back in November at the 20% discount for $479 and just recently got the Hammer at 25% off for $899 so there’s the $420 difference. I’m leaning towards keeping the Hammer but still, $420 is a lot. I’m thinking I could keep the SNAP and sell the Hammer and make a little money so, in essence, making the SNAP even cheaper. I’m just not convinced the Hammer is worth the extra money (but I haven’t ridden it yet so I couldn’t tell you).

    • Karim

      curiouss where you got the hammer, new, for 25% off….thats an amazing deal, do share!

    • There were a few deals around Black Friday in the 20-25% off range. You won’t see those again for some time.

  11. when are these “smart” trainers gonna offer an app similar to comutrainer’s/Wattbike SpinScan?

    • Some already do – such as the Elite Drivo/Kura.

      Though, I’d also argue that such metrics that both give aren’t terribly useful in the grand scheme of things. There’s virtually no studies that can prove (or even suggest) that focusing on upstroke and/or balance actually does anything. In fact, there’s plenty of data more recently showing that attempting to influence your pedal stroke/style/balance actually negatively impacts your total power output.

      The singular exception to this can be injury recovery (balance/left/right), and some fit metrics, but those fit-related metrics need to be closer in to the power production point, typically done at the pedal (which is why you’ve seen PowerTap partner with folks to provide that higher level data). It simply can’t be done at the trainer with merely a cadence sensor.

    • yes, power is important, but if only generated from the quads, or hamstrings not good, having SpinScan and muscle use graph can certainly can assist in preventing over use of certain muscles… spread the work load around so one can run a marathon after a long bike ride. instead of having one muscle/group filled with lactic acid.

  12. Marc Teichmann

    Ray, do you know what sort of clearance there is for larger cassettes and longer cage derailleurs? I was thinking of going from 11-28 to 11/12-32 and I may get a long cage derailleur to do that. Although a bunch of people say they run an 11-32 with regular cage derailleur.

  13. Bradley Peet

    So no comment on how responsive the Hammer is in Zwift (for example) when you hit the hills? My understanding is some trainers are slow to ramp up the resistance and you really notice it on the short hills (rollers).

    I’m also still hoping you’ll start doing at least some basic testing of torque or max resistance at low speeds which would be more meaningful than the dubious “max simulated grade” figure. I realize you can just gear up since apps like Zwift provide essentially unlimited virtual gearing, but for the sake of comparing one trainer to another I think this would be useful information.

    • Virtually instant on Zwift, no lag issues. Honestly, I haven’t seen any recent trainers that are slow to respond. Some older Elite ones had that issue, but even that’s been resolved through firmware updates.

      As for max-resistance, it’s honestly not something I have the capability to test, as I can’t hit more than about 900-1000w. I’d have to build out some sort of power testing rig. It’s something I’ve looked at doing, but gets more complex. If I were to make something, it’d honestly be more geared towards testing power meters than trainers’ max power, since that’s usually where I see issues as most people can’t hit above 1,000w anyways on trainers.

    • Bradley Peet

      Good to hear the Hammer is responsive/dynamic in terms of controlling the resistance.

      All of these smart trainers rate max power dissipation at fairly high speeds, right, like 20 MPH so I would expect max resistance to be a lot less at, say, 5 MPH. If you can crank out 900W for 10 seconds that should be more than enough to determine if the trainer can effectively simulate a 20% incline for a 200 pound rider. According to bikecalculator.com 500 watts would propel 200 pound rider & 20 pound bike up a 20% grade at 5.27 miles per hour. All that said… I presume the higher end direct-drive trainers like the Hammer, KICKR, Neo, Drivo aren’t going to have any difficulty achieving 500W @ 5 MPH. But how about the SNAP, Magnus, and Flux? Would be interesting to know what they’re really capable of, how they compare. Not a “make it or break it” metric, but maybe a useful data point to add to the mix.

    • Lee Sutton

      I think you’re confusing real world speed with trainer speed. The 20mph is used as that roughly the speed of the rear wheel when pedalling at around 50rpm in your highest gear. So to simulate hills you usually have to get your rear wheel spinning faster.

      The benefit with ano electronic trainer is that you also have a brake so you can get a certain wattage without having to spin the flywheel as fast. But the brake will only be able to provide so much resistance hence why they quote max watts at a given speed as that is a more realistic demonstration of what the unit can do during workouts you’re likely to use it for.

      For example, on my KK (Dumb trainer so limited in low cadence watts) the max resistance I can get at 55rpm is around 380w but if I’m doing sprints (i.e. high cadence) I can get 1500w out of it as the rear wheel is spinning so much faster hence the flywheel is adding to the resistance due to its inertia.

    • Bradley Peet

      I’m not confused at all. I’ve already acknowledged that you can simply shift gears to get more resistance and that apps like Zwift provide you with “virtual” gearing that is basically unlimited.

      Mainly, I am questioning the whole concept of “maximum simulated inclined/grade” that manufacturers are publishing for these smart trainers. This is a dubious spec. As it’s directly dependent on rider weight, it’s meaningless to say this trainer can simulate X % grade (without stating what rider weight the figure is based on).

      OK, I think I’ve officially beat this horse to death now. 😉
      So I would like to see some kind of well-defined benchmark, metric, or spec that gives the consumer an idea of how much resistance (torque, basically) the trainer can develop at lower speeds. Why does this matter when you can simply change gears? Well, it matters about exactly as much as the dubious “max simulated incline” spec matters. If the ultimate goal of a smart trainer is to simulate real world riding as accurately as possible, the ability to produce realistic “hill climbing” resistance at lower wheel speeds has to be a part of the equation.

      Manufacturers are stating max wattage (resistance from the brake) at 20 MPH but few are publishing max wattage at lower speeds. So why not publish max wattage at 10 MPH or 5 MPH? This information could be useful in painting a more complete picture of the trainer’s capabilities and how it stacks up to the competition.

    • Just to be clear, some manufs do actually specify the rider weight/speed as part of their charts. I know Tacx does on all their public stuff online. In fact, they actually create a little chart showing it.

      And I believe Elite also specifies it too.

    • Bradley Peet

      Thank for pointing that out. I can’t find the Tacx chart, other than stumbling upon a link from another DCR reader that doesn’t “work” (in the sense of getting me to a page that has the chart).

      I did find a power vs speed graph for the Elite Rampa, which is EXACTLY what I would like every smart trainer manufacturer to publish. Sadly for the Rampa it’s quite anemic at low speeds. No wonder in the manual for the Rampa their example is a 130 lb rider going 15 MPH in order to simulate 10% slope.

    • Interesting, looks like Tacx revamped their website, and the nifty graphs that used to be on each product page are now gone. Bummer.

      I found some references to them via Google Image search, but can’t seem to figure out where they went to. Here’s a Tacx forum thread that has an image of one of the curves:

      link to forum.tacx.com

      The text is in French on that screenshot, but it’s pretty easy to discern what’s being shown.

    • Lee Sutton

      Yes I get the point about gradient, the rider weight should be specified (as Ray says it sometimes is). But what’s the point specifying the max wattage at 5mph? The numbers they quote are surely to g8ve a rough idea of limits, spinning the wheel at 5mph is not, or is no where near a limit of the trainer?! Even in my lowest gear that would mean pedalling at 50rpm. So unless you’re intending on doing a workout solely in your lowest gear that spec is totally irrelevant.

    • Lee Sutton

      Apologies, think my brain has just clicked i! Your point I guess is specifically about using in something like Zwift where Zwift tells the trainer the grade and it sets it. Hence the need for the slow speed. Apologies, I don’t use Zwift anymore and when I did it was on my KK so Zwift just took the power value and works out the speed from the w/kg. I wasn’t thinking about the fact it sets the grade setting for smart trainers :-)

    • Jeremy B

      I actually came here to ask the same question as Bradley. What exactly does “incline” mean? Of the 4 mid-range trainers you mention in your latest trainer roundup, only the Rampa Elite gives any info that one could use to actually figure out max incline (the power vs speed graph). Rampa claims it can simulate a 10% grade, but digitizing their chart and using a little math, I come up with ~5% max grade before I saturate the trainer. I’m 170lbs with a 20lb bike. For a 135lb rider and 16 lb bike, you’d saturate at about 7% grade. 10% is a pipe dream if their chart is correct.
      Interestingly enough, as power output increases, so does max grade before saturation. For me, 100W = ~4% grade
      200W = ~5% grade
      300W = ~5.75% grade

      Although Wahoo Kickr doesn’t give any info about incline, you posted in the comments of that review that it can absorb 250W@5mph. That is equal to a grade of ~12% (for me) while Wahoo only claims 10% capability. For comparison, the Rampa can absorb ~85W@5mph, assuming their chart is correct.

      At the same time, incline is only important if you want to simulate riding up steep hills while on the trainer (which I’d like to do for a mountain century this spring).

      Also, it’d be nice if you could get the manufacturers to give you flyweight inertia instead of weight. Since inertia is roughly related to diameter^4, the actual weight of the flywheel is less important than the effective radius. If I take two cylinders of steel that weigh the same, but one has twice the radius as the other, the cylinder with 2X the radius will have 8X the inertia.

    • Jeremy B

      Thought about it some more. The Kikr Snap watts vs. speed is linear from >5mph. So is the Rampa Elite and the Tacx Vortex. Thus, you can compare max incline between products given a certain power at the same speed.
      Kickr Snap, 1500W@20mph (~12% grade @250W) – Claims 10%
      Cycleops Magnus, 1500W@20mph (~12% grade @250W) – Claims 15%
      Tacx Vortex, 950W@20mph (~7.5% grade @250W) – Claims 7%
      Elite Rampa, 720W@20mph (~5.75% grade @250W) – Claims 10%

      So, the Kickr delivers more than promised, the Tacx is nearly right on, and the Cycleops and Elite claim more than they can deliver.

    • Bradley Peet

      Appreciate your comments, Jeremy. Did you find a power vs speed graph for the KICKR SNAP? There may be a range of speed over which the wattage is linear for any given smart trainer, but I wouldn’t assume that applies universally or at extremely low or high speeds.

      Aloha from Kona,

    • Jeremy B

      I got the Snap data from this post by Ray: link to dcrainmaker.com

      The Snap, Vortex, and Rampa were all linear above 5mph up until their max rating. The only trainer that showed data below that speed was the Rampa, where is was non-linear until it hit 0.

      Another review did low-speed testing to see how much a few trainers could take at a slow speed (~7.5mph) link to athletictechreview.com
      That reviewer showed the Magnus could only hold 200W vs the Kickr’s 340W. The Vortex was dead last at 100W. These numbers disagree with Ray’s numbers in the first link, as the Snap should be able to hold ~450W at that speed according to the data from Ray and the Magnus should be able to equal the Snap if they both take 1500W@20mph.

      Another interesting thing the reviewer did was come up with minimum power available vs speed.
      link to athletictechreview.com
      link to athletictechreview.com

    • JD

      Interesting discussion —
      In layman’s terms does this mean most if not all smart trainers do not accurately support certain training modes under various conditions?
      Or simply put — smart trainers are not that smart. Some are dumber than others depending on variables (speed, power, simulated incline, body weight, cadence, etc).

    • Jeremy B

      I think “Or simply put — smart trainers are not that smart.” is a bit off the mark.

      Mid-range trainers have to ability to simulate a rider and bicycle’s drag profile on a flat ‘road’ up to a level exceeding most cyclists output. They can also simulate going up an incline of varying degrees. Lastly, they can simulate going slightly downhill, depending on the speed.
      High-end trainers add the ability to power the roller to simulate steeper downhills and generally have higher incline capabilities. Unless you want to pay for this added improvement, a mid-range trainer will fit bill just fine, IMO.

      All the above is for something like Zwift in Simulation mode where you are trying to simulate a bicycle on a road. For TrainerRoad in Erg mode, the whole incline and decline thing is not really applicable. The trainer is set to X watts, and you are in whatever gear needed to do so. There are still some limits though. Pumping put 500W in granny gear will over-power a mid-range trainer and spinning out in 52-23 gear at 100W for a recovery will end up being >150W because you’re above the ‘min’ range. Shift to a reasonable gear and it isn’t an issue.

  14. Lee Sutton

    Glad I’ve got at least 9 months to make my choice now there are so many to chose from :-)

    • Lee Sutton

      Scratch that, just seen the £ cost and this is more than the Tacx Neo :-/ looks like we lost out on this one :-)

  15. Ken

    Could you add a line to the table about which ones could be used by those of us who like Italian drivetrains. Since you specified, “When it comes to cassette types, the unit accepts Shimano 8-11 speed cassettes.” I’m assuming it can’t be used with Campy cassettes, correct?

    • Marc Teichmann

      According to the Cycleops how to video uploaded yesterday, 11sp Campy setups will work with a shimano cassette because the spacing is the same.

    • Nigel

      According to the CycleOps video that I watched just now, the Hammer has a Shimano free hub, and 11sp Campagnolo cassettes are compatible with that free hub.

  16. RIchard Kaufmann

    I have a 1st generation KICKR, and a feature I really value is the ability to use my Stages power meter as the source of truth for power. I simply tell the Wahoo Utility the ANT ID of my Stages, and then I’m totally dialed in when comparing road biking vs. training. Do any of the other trainers support this?

    • Marc Teichmann

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that is dependent on the softwares capabilities. I believe that’s what TrainerRoad’s power match is for.

    • Richard Kaufmann

      Not really… for example, erg mode works off my Stages… So when I erg mode to 200 watts, I’m putting out the exact same effort as if I were on the road putting out 200 watts. Also, if your app is controlling the trainer, it’s hard to have the app talk to another power meter… not impossible, as in “anything can be done in software,” but things really aren’t set up for that use.

      Bottom line: I was asking Ray if any other trainers (plus or perhaps because of app functionality) have this feature I value.

    • Marc Teichmann

      Actually, really…

      link to support.trainerroad.com

    • dkrenik

      True. You can check others in DC’s recent trainere app review:
      link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Louis Matherne


      I have the same arrangement but I’ve stopped using the Stages to control the KICKR with TrainerRoad because it gave me erratic readings. While the KICKR gave me higher watts for any given effort it is at least stable.

      In this picture I disabled the Stages about 20 minutes in. You can clearly see the difference.

      Do you not have this problem?


    • Louis Matherne

      Ignore the first 10 minutes. I believe that was single leg drills. Another problem with left only power meters.

    • Richard Kaufmann

      Kickr Gen 1, using the Wahoo Fitness App. Kickr configured to get power from the Stages power meter. Looks ridiculously stable, rock solid, etc. The spikes in the middle were due to me putting erg mode to 400 watts and locking up at a low cadence. (Ouch.)

    • Richard Kaufmann

      And, apologies to Marc. Yes, Trainer Road is doing the power match itself. In my configuration, I think (but don’t know for sure) that erg mode is implemented in the KICKR itself.

    • So…to recap a bit:

      A) Wahoo in their KICKR products has the ability to natively connect to an ANT+ power meter and match that power meter.
      B) TrainerRoad also implemented this functionality (actually, TR did it first). So did PerfPro. CycleOps

      With TR and PerfPro, they’re effectively in a continuous race to correct the power on a second by second basis. Sometimes this works…but not all the time. That’s when you get the wonk you see.

      In general, I’d recommend folks instead just figure out if the power really is different – and to some degree focus on that first (figuring it out/calibrating/etc…). Unless we’re talking a dramatic amount, then I’d probably leave the feature off.

    • Louis Matherne


      That is where I’ve ended up. Easy enough to compensate for a known difference.


  17. chris

    I know you state you can’t really detect differences in inertia between layers or find it important but I feel that is a function of erg mode rather than trainer. A neo set in slope mode in tri profile is relatively a joy to use while in erg mode it is horrible. I can hold 30w+ more in slope and even changing profiles within slope mode makes a huge difference if cycling on the tri bars. I went from 20mins tops in hold to indefinite just with the increase in inertia giving to small movers in my legs a break like outdoors.
    Give it a try I’ll be amazed if you don’t notice a significant improvement while on tri bars. Not such a big deal in road bikes.

  18. Happy Runner

    I would like to live in a world where I call a company with a technical issue and “a short bit later they came back with a firmware update.”

    You rock, Ray!

    • Paul

      They buy the Hammer. The Powertap people have fantastic support. I own 2 Powertap hubs, a set of P1 pedals and now a Hammer. They have always handled any of my questions or problems quickly and effectively. Their support was the deciding factor for me when I went looking for a new smart trainer.

  19. John

    Stage-Right Ray cracked me up at 7:40 of the sound comparison video! :-)

  20. John

    So if you had to choose either the Elite Drivo or the Cycleops Hammer as your only smart trainer, which one would you choose?

  21. Markus

    Sounds like a typical first-gen immature product with lots of potential problems down the road for customers.

    O.k., my case is special:

    1) 1st gen BSX customer (no further explanation required)

    2) 1st gen P1 customer –> I’m now on my third pair. The two previous pairs had died and got replaced (which is a slow process in Germany. You have to deal with the importer Sportimport. That’s why I’d be cautious to get another product from CycleOps/Saris).

    3) 1st gen Wahoo Kickr customer with massive accuracy issues

    Delays hitting the market. Firmware bugs. Firmware clearly not mature (120s calibration). These are all not good signs. I’d be cautious.

  22. Thomas Petersen

    Hi Ray,
    First of all, thank you for (yet another) great review.

    A comment on the whole “road feel” aspect of the trainers you test: You tend not to put that much emphasis on that in your reviews, stating that you can never forget that your are indoors, and rightly so. But one thing I have experienced is that my FTP is always significantly lower on a trainer compared to the road by up to 15% or so. Is that something you experience? If so, do you see any differences between different trainers as to how close you can get on your “road-FTP”? That would be a good way to quantify the road feel.

    I’m sorry to suggest that you do a full-out FTP test for every trainer review :-)


    • Lee Sutton

      The lower FTP is mostly due to less cooling from moving air and not being able to move around as much (both position on bike but also general movement of bike). So it’s more a specific issue of indoor training than a trainer issue if that makes sense?!

    • Thomas Petersen

      Hi Lee,
      Sure that’s part of the equation, but with added fans for cooling etc. that is not really an issue. There are quite a few articles about this phenomenon. Sure the lack of the stimuli, cooling and more dynamic position on the bike has an impact, but It seems as if the trainer gives a different type of resistance, lacking what some refer to as “micro-rest” compared to an outdoors ride:
      link to home.trainingpeaks.com
      I was wondering if the latest generation trainers (I’m on a Tacx Genius) offers any changes on this subject.

    • It’s actually more of a human issue. You’ll find endless debates on this on Slowtwitch and other cycling/triathlon sites.

      What’s interesting though is that while some people have a harder time hitting FTP indoors, others have a harder time hitting it outdoors. I actually fall into that camp, it’s far easier for me to hit various wattage targets indoors on ERG mode than outdoors.

      Kinda just like some people’s pee smells after eating asparagus, and others don’t. Roughly.

    • Lee Sutton

      But even in that article they say the three things to consider are temperature, position and psychology. The first part of the article seems to be more about the impacts on FTP in terms of the accuracy of the trainer.

      But the idea of micro rests is interesting. I’ll have to do some reading on that as it’s not something I’ve seen before.

    • Ken

      I initially had the same issues with lower FTP. However, once I got the room temperature down to 60F and installed a 30″ fan, this issue went away. Now I can do better indoors since I can do a 20 minute power test with no road variations, turns, cars, etc. I have found that I do slightly better on my Tacx Neo than my old Wahoo Kickr. In both cases, I am using power from my Pioneer power meter on the cranks, so device calibration or accuracy is not a factor. I have concluded that the slight side to side movement that I get on my Neo may be making a tiny difference.

    • Wattweinie

      Har! Actually the pee is the same. It’s just some can smell it and others can’t, regardless of who’s pee it is.

    • Klaus De Buysser

      I’m having the same issue and was also wondering whether a direct-drive / newer trainer would close that FTP gap a little.

      I did the same test protocol a few weeks ago and I got 12,3% higher FTP outdoors. Same power meter, using a fan indoor. That was about 35W for me. I’d like to use my outdoor FTP but since I’m using TR every weekday, those intervals are too hard when using my outdoor FTP. When it would be around 10W, it would be doable.

      I’m using a very old Tacx Satori (non-electronic).

  23. Chris

    Looks good but as someone else says, the cost of this is coming out the same as a Neo.

    • Chader

      How do you figure? Are you comparing MSRP to MSRP or “sale prices”? Us vs Euro?

      At MSRP in the US, the $1200 Hammer is much less expensive than the $1600 Neo.

    • Lee Sutton

      In the UK the Hammer is more expensive. Damn Brexit!!!!!

    • Dave M

      Price related comments in these reviews are becoming less and less meaningful because of market variations. Quick check on wiggle yesterday had the Hammer at 1500 euro vs 1400 for the drivo and 1100 for the Neo. So while an American is asking if the Neo provides 400 dollars more value than the Hammer I’m wondering who in europe could possibly justify paying 400 more for the Hammer.

    • It’s the core reason I gave up on trying to compare and make price-specific recommendations for Euro folks, or really any currency. Too much changes too quickly. Be it based on currency fluctuations, or even just demand/availability of a product in a given market.

      Demand significantly impacts European pricing, because there is no MAP, so retailers won’t tend to discount much until supply catches up.

    • Chris

      I can get the Neo for under £1045 (Tacx, via Amazon) and the Hammer for £1080 (SygmaSport). Sort of pushes the Hammer out

    • John

      Nothing to do with Brexit, its always been the case in the UK.

    • Lee Sutton

      I was joking about Brexit 😉

  24. Bobke

    I’d love to see dropout spacing compatibility added to the comparison chart. It would suck to buy a trainer of this pricepoint, only to find out it doesn’t support using your new steed with Boost 148.

  25. Bracken

    Is there a way to calibrate the Hammer (and Magnus) without paying for a monthly service?

    • Chader

      You can use the Virtual Training software for free and still calibrate it.

    • Bracken

      Thanks, that’s good to know. The CycleOps website makes it look like there’s only a subscription service and 2-week trial.

    • Chader

      Yeah, they don’t make it very obvious at all.
      Would be nice for users to know that it is there and then they can possibly pick up a subscription if the see something they like in the software after calibrating.

    • Bracken

      So I’m clear, you can still calibrate after the 2-week trial, without paying for the subscription, yes? Or is it that you can just use the trial to do an initial calibration. Thanks.

  26. Stone

    I feel a little burned by cycleops. I bought an ANT+ power sync several years ago for trainerRoad and sufferfest workouts. Sufferfest has switched to an app based platform that is FE-C and looks like the new TrainerRoad update will not work with Cycleops power sync or pro. Glad to see that cycleops is now opening up their platform, but this slow change leaves trainers that are several years old with very limited options. And, the fact that they took this approach when they had other options seems to reflect the companies philosophy about the market. Am I wrong to expect a 1000 dollar trainer to be functional for more than 5 years?

    Ray, you wrote: “Which isn’t to say that CycleOps ‘had’ to, since they already had opened up their protocol to virtually all apps – so the net difference is pretty minimal for them. Instead, it just makes it easier for newer apps to get these trainers compatible.”
    Am I wrong about power sync and power pro loosing accessibility?

    • No, that can’t be. I’ve not heard anything about TrainerRoad pulling PowerBeam/PowerSync support. It’d make no sense. Obviously, they can’t add ANT+ support to iOS sans-dongle, but nothing should regress.

      I’ll circle back with them just to validate, but again, can’t see them making any move to reduce their customer base.

    • Stone

      link to trainerroad.com

      I talked to TR customer support about this and there were no known plans to change. They are supporting PC but not MAC. My 2015 TR app still works, but I’m worried with a few more OS updates it won’t work.

    • Hey guys,

      We continue to support the Powerbeam Pro and Powersync via Bluetooth Smart on all of our platforms, and ANT+ support for both trainers is still supported through our Windows app.

      Let us know if you have any more questions!

      – Jonathan from TrainerRoad

    • Stone

      Johnathan, why did you guys decide to drop Mac support for ANT+?

    • Chris B.

      If you’ve got an original ANT+ only Powerbeam pro the only trainer road app I can get to work is the original original windows version. New windows app detects PowerBeam Pro OK but it’s very unreliable whilst doing a workout (it drops connection frequently and/or at random when starting a block it ramps the power that high that it grinds to a halt).

    • It simply came down to an issue of demand. Looking at how many devices we have to build for across all four platforms, we are forced to be as efficient as possible. Looking at the data, the large majority of PBP users were on Windows, hence the support. That being said, there is no technical limitation here, so if demand shifts and it is justifiable for another platform, we would prioritize building that support appropriately.

      As a last resort, PBP & Powersync via ANT+ is still supported on our legacy apps.

    • To follow up on my previous comment, and Chris’s point, I know this approach leaves some of you high and dry, but I hope you can understand the reasoning. There are a TON of devices (each of them unique) to support, and it takes quite a lot of resources for each platform. I hope that makes sense!

      Chris, have you reached out to support@trainerroad.com about this? Wireless communication is always a bit more tricky than normal with the PBP, but your issues sound extraordinary. One of our support staff should be able to get you closer to finding the root cause of these issues.

  27. Caiman

    I have put more than 400 miles through the Hammer since I got it early last week. I also have a KICKR2 so I have the king to compare the Hammer to. Hammer does have that signature howling sound of the KICKR but the with a lower tone, definitely better than the KICKR in this regard, but far from being quiet. The Hammer does feel very smooth but not much of a difference in “road feel” than the KICKR with a lighter flywheel. I have actually encountered several problems with the Hammer already. First and foremost, the resistance lag and it is slow to respond to a gradient change in Zwift. It is especially bad climbing up the escalator with the London route, as the resistance kicks in only 1/3 way up and then the resistance is still there once I get to the top on the flat. For a longer climb like on Box Hill, it is less noticeable but the problem is there nonetheless. The second problem is the amount of resistance, as 15% resistance seems much harder with the Hammer vs. the KICKR2. With the KICKR2, I have been able to grind up to the last section of the top of Zwift mountain at around 5-7mph with Trainer Difficulty set to 100%. With the Hammer, I get stalled immediately when I hit the last steep section of the climb as I can barely turn the cranks. There was an instant on the second day where the Hammer made some racquet noise like something was grinding and colliding inside. Fortunately, I have not been able to reproduce it. In Zwift, with the KICKR, there is a unique feature that allows me to lose the flywheel descending and then catch it back at will, which is very fun and addicting. I cannot reproduce this desirable phenomenon with the Hammer, as once I lose the flywheel, I have to wait quite a bit for the freewheeling to slow down before I can catch it. I think KICKR is so fine-tuned and optimized that it seems to work so well in Zwift. On the other hand, the Hammer will need some more fine tuning to do before it can get to the KICKR’s level in Zwift.

    • Ride on

      I’ve been very happy with my KickR2 and lucked out on purchase timing using the REI discount (20%)+dividend (and purchase dividend). I’m sure as both hardware and software platforms mature, we’ll see some cool advancements (eg. VR, etc.).

      Thanks Ray for the excellent reviews and articles!

    • For the resistance delay, you may want to upload your log file to Zwiftalizer, and see if you’re having a communications problem – as that sounds like a classic interference issue (where resistance changes are delayed, which is basically the system retrying over and over again).

      As for 15% being tougher than KICKR…honestly, at 100% difficulty setting, 15% should feel like hell. Barely pedalable hell to be precise. If it’s not, then you’re a really solid cyclist (or you have a sweet gearing setup). :)

    • Caiman

      Thanks Ray for the suggestion. I tried to relay this problem to CycleOps earlier this week but they were clueless. Perhaps key people were on holidays at the mothership. I have also posted this problem on Zwift with no response.

      Keep in mind though I am also using KICKR2 with Zwift and do not have these resistance problems. If it was a communication issue with my ANT+ dongle then I would expect to run into the same thing with my KICKR2. Obviously, my dongle is working fine, as I have logged hundreds of miles with the KICKR2 and Zwift with the same setup.

      FYI, I ride a single speed bike with a 69in gear on my trainers. I ride the same bike outside. I love to grind up a 15% grade hill slowly usually around 5-7mph both outside and inside.

      One more problem with the Hammer I forgot to add, which is related to the calibration. Initially, it took forever to calibrate the unit, as I had to get up to like 40mph before the spin down to begin. This week I can’t calibrate it at all, as every time I do a calibration, I get a lot of resistance from the Hammer, it was so bad to a point where I can’t even turn the cranks. It feels like instead for the app to send a calibration command to the Hammer, it sends 20% gradient resistance to the trainer instead. WTF?

      All in all, I have not been pleased with the Hammer with all these problems even though it is still working okay. For the money I would expect it to be a premium product out of the box. It seems like CycleOps tried to push this product out the door for the holidays and thinking they would address these problems after the holidays. They better fix these problems quickly if they want to sell more units this winter, as in another month or two, it won’t matter as I would expect most trainers around the world will be collecting dust waiting for the next winter.

    • Something is wrong then. It shouldn’t be 40MPH to get spin-down to trigger. It’s 18-21MPH that you need to maintain.

      Not sure what’s going on, maybe something got damaged or otherwise messed up – but I’d definitely hit CycleOps support again. Else, I suspect they might reach-out in the coming days as they return from the holidays. I know they’re keeping an eye on comments here, though of course given the holiday it may take a few days to catch-up.

    • Bobke

      Fwiw, you will not receive a dividend on an item when you use a 20% off coupon at REI.

    • JD

      At this point in time if you had a Hammer on backorder would you switch the order to a KICKR2?
      Assuming firmware updates resolve calibration or any reported issues with the Hammer, is there anything the Hammer can do better than a KICKR2 other than no need to purchase a thru-axle kit?

    • Caiman

      If you can live with the noise and do not use a thru-axle bike then the KICKR2 would probably be a better choice. KICKR2 has been working perfectly in Zwift for me. If I didn’t have a KICKR2, I probably wouldn’t have noticed those resistance problems of the Hammer in Zwift posted above. The high pitch howling sound of the KICKR may be a deal breaker for some people though. When I first got the KICKR2, it sounded like a taking off jet engine, and I actually got sick from the sound for my first ride on it. The sound had faded some since but it is still screaming like a low speed table saw. The Hammer has a similar sound but with a much less intrusive tone, perhaps like a quiet vacuum cleaner. I bought the KICKR2 with a 10% discount while I paid full price for the Hammer.

      With that said, the Hammer actually ticks a lot of my boxes:

      -It is quieter than the KICKR2
      -It is perceivably smoother than the KICKR2 (not that the KICKR2 is rough or anything like that)
      -The Hammer is made (or at least assemble) in the USA
      -The Hammer is compatible with most bikes including many mountain bikes out of the box
      -Last but not least the main casing is a cast aluminum not plastic, but those extension feet are indeed plastic
      One more thing, the Hammer came with a front block, which is not needed as the height of the trainer is the same as the height of a typical 700c bike. My bike has a level top tube and without using the front block, it is dead level with a bubble leveler. I actually prefer to have the front end of my bike move slightly when I am riding hard, as that is the way my bike would behave out on the road.

      You decide!

    • Chader

      Interesting points. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Andy

    Hi Ray
    Thanks for the review. Just one quick question that never crops up!..do you know what the Maximum User Weight is for the Hammer (assuming it has one). Only i nearly went for an Elite Drivo before Christmas only to find hidden away that its MxmUsrWght was 113kgs (about 17.7 stone).
    Im built like a rugby player and weigh in about 18.7 stone so i held off on the Drivo.

    If you have any info on the MxUsrWght for this (or the Kickr2/Neo etc) that would be greatly appreciated. I cant seem to find it anywhere online.

  29. anthony

    Nice review Ray. First day with the Hammer, replacing a KK using my Quarq to show power in training mode in Zwift.

    I had hoped to run the Hammer through my iPhone 7 in BT with Tickr HR strap, HDMI cabled to the TV. Zwift would not see the Tickr, not a huge deal but learned I would not be able to use the Sirius XM (or any music I assume) and hear the music in my BT earphones. iPhone relays the sound back to TV and I couldn’t figure out a way to to split it.

    Ok, back to running Zwift on my Macbook, cabled to TV. Only thing, can’t use BT as Zwift on Mac will ‘see’ the Hammer in BT but not connect. Pop the Ant stick back in and use that to connect to the Hammer (or Sarris as it says as Ant). Actually using the Hammer is a nice change from the old KK Roadmachine…not that loud and the feel is about the same. As for holing certain wattage in workout mode…its…iffy. I’ll have to run it a few more times to see if it will work for me.

    Hope the new calibration update is released soon!

    • The challenge with Bluetooth Smart is you can only have one concurrent connection. Thus, your iPhone hitting up the TICKR breaks that for Zwift on your Mac. Same goes for Hammer, only one concurrent BT connection.

      Your best bet would be to pickup a cheap ANT+ USB stick for your Mac, so you could connect via ANT+ there, and then on Bluetooth Smart for your iPhone. Unless I’m misunderstanding how you have things connected.

    • anthony

      I tried the iphone first via BT with Hammer and Tickr. Hammer connected thru BT but Tickr would not be seen on the Zwift IOS app.

      On the Mac I have an Ant stick as that is what I used with my Quarq all these years. On the Mac the Tickr is seen but BT on the Hammer is seen but can’t be connected. The Hammer can be connected thru Ant (seen as Saris, not as Hammer with the Ant for some reason)

    • Marc Teichmann

      Will I be able to connect both a TICKR and the Hammer to my iPhone at the same time, through BT?

    • Yes, you can.

      In fact, the screenshots in my post show exactly that occurring. :)

    • anthony

      After playing with it I found that if I put on the Tickr before opening Zwift on iphone it will connect

  30. JD

    It appears the Hammer thru-axle adapter set allows you to add an adapter to the trainer then use the thru-axle skewer from your bike to mount the trainer. That would mean the Hammer is truly “thru-axle compatible”.
    Your review implies you need an additional standard QR skewer to mount the bike. Are you sure about that?

    The KICKR requires a separate accessory kit ($30) comprised of a standard skewer that clamps a thru-axle frame to the trainer using inserts included with the kit.

    That’s a big difference if you don’t need anything extra to mount a 142×12 thru-axle frameset to the Hammer.
    Which description is correct?

    • I was referring to the fact that it comes with no quick release skewer at all – regardless of bike type. Meaning, you need that for the bike to stay in place. Or, you can use your existing skewer (sorta a pain in the butt)

      If you look at the Wahoo kit, it still has the skewer, whereas the Hammer has all the other parts in that picture of the Wahoo kit.

    • Caiman

      The Hammer has a real thru-axle system and mine came with 135×5 and 142×12 and 148×12 end caps along with those traditional 130×5 caps. It didn’t come with a 5mm traditional skewer nor a 12mm thru-axle skewer though so I had to use the one from my bike, which I think is a better arrangement anyway.

      KICKR and NEO do not have a real thru-axle system and they force you to buy an additional Mickey Mouse kit, which comes with a longer 5mm traditional skewer and adaptor caps for 142×5. These two trainers do not support 148 to my knowledge. Being a thru-axle fan, I hate this arrangement with these two trainers for the fact that you have to buy an additional kit and they are not even real thru-axle. F**k this sh*t!

  31. Shaun B

    Doesn’t the Tacx Neo & Flux both support 142 & 148 with their adaptor kit much the same as the Kick’r?

  32. JD

    Caiman — Thanks for confirming what I thought. Hammer is a true thru-axle compatible trainer. The others are not. The extra kits required for KICKR, etc. are after-thought solutions.

    Ray — You need to update the description next to the thru-axle adapters photo to indicate the thru-axle skewer from your bike is used, not a standard QR skewer like the one you link to on Amazon.
    You don’t need to spend $30 for a mickey-mouse accessory kit. The trainer mounts to your thru-axle frameset directly just like it should.

    • Thanks. I’ve re-worded that section to make it a bit more clear. In original wording it was a bit muddy as I was combining two different thoughts (general skewers, thru-axle compatibility), when in reality they should have been separate paragraphs to minimize confusion. Hope this helps!

  33. JD

    To clarify the thru-axle/QR issue —

    The Hammer does not come with any QR lever. You’ll need to use the skewer from your bike or purchase an extra skewer for use with the trainer.
    The Hammer does include adapters for common thru-axle sizes (ex. 142/12) that mount onto the trainer. Once the adapters are mounted you use your own thru-axle QR to clamp the bike to the trainer.

    Other trainers like the KICKR include a standard QR lever. However, an extra charge accessory kit is required if you want thru-axle support. That kit includes spacers to fit thru-axle dropouts so you can use the standard QR lever included with the trainer to mount a thru-axle frameset.

    IMO the Hammer is superior in this regard since they designed their trainer to accept standard QR or thru-axle QR levers. Their thru-axle adapters effectively convert the Hammer into a thru-axle unit. There is nothing extra to buy unless you don’t like using your bike’s QR skewer.

    • Caiman

      Correct. For the Hammer, I am using my own 142×12 thru-axle skewer to mount my bike, hence it is a true thru-axle system. For the KICKR and NEO, I cannot use my 142×12 thru-axle skewer even with their “thru-axle” adaptor kits, I must use their traditional but longer 5mm skewers supplied with the kits. NEO’s 142×5 caps are actually pretty good while 142×5 caps from KICKR were a POS, as I had to modify the right side cap to make my bike fit properly. The key word here is 142×12 for the Hammer vs. the 142×5 for the KICKR and NEO, take your pick.

    • JD

      Ah. Extra long skewer required with the kit. Makes sense.

  34. Pete Lantz

    I am new to the direct drive smart trainer world an I am wondering if anyone has had this problem. Both with the KICKR (took it back because of the noise) and with the Hammer I am experiencing “dropouts”. These are times when the trainer seems to quit sending power signals to my MacBook Pro running Zwift. For a few seconds my power can drop to zero and I even get off my virtual bike. For some reason these occur at the base of most climbs which makes it hard to keep up on a group ride. I switched from ANT+ to Bluetooth to see if that made any difference and I think it helped some but it still occurs. Didn’t seem to happen with an old Powertap wheel on my “dumb” trainer.

    • Head over to zwiftalizer.com, plop your files in, and see what it says is occurring on the connectivity side. It’s always a good place to start.

  35. Corbitt Bourne

    Does this trainer come with an ant+ usb dongle?

  36. Alan

    Does anyone know it this is Campagnolo compatible?

  37. Marc Teichmann

    If you have 11sp campy you can use a shimano cassette as the spacing is the same. That’s from Cycleops themselves.

  38. I’m hopeful that the firmware update mentioned in the Hammer review is ported to the Magnus as well. My first rides have been less than stellar in the accuracy department. I realize it is a less expensive product, but the power variance I have observed has frequently been outside the 5% range… sometimes considerably. Not a DC Rainmaker quality review, but here’s a summary of my first few rides on the Magnus: link to wp.me

  39. Jonathan T

    Glad to see the higher end trainer market getting some competition, makes you wonder what the folks at Racermate aka Computrainer are doing??

  40. Mike M.

    I bought a Hammer today. The freehub body on mine pops right off, over the installed endcap. I must be missing a stop or bearing or something on the inside of the freehub body, because it pops out if I look at it funny. It literally happens while riding, slamming the 11T into my bike’s dropout.

    Dismayed, I called Cycleops an hour before they closed. The CS rep was very nice, but not a tech & time and again put me on hold while he got help with each question. Ultimately, I sent them requested photos & videos, but they called me back to say everyone was packing up & called it a day, so they’d get back to me on Monday.

    I’m pretty nonplussed about them as a company based on that. The thing was two hours old and I’m looking at a snow filled New England weekend. If this type of service is all they’re willing to offer, I’ll just return it & support another company. Super bummed, because it otherwise looks & rides beautifully.

    • JD

      A company selling a product internationally should have a 24/7 help desk.
      No need to answer calls around the clock, but how about next-day support by email?
      It appears Cycleops (Saris?) lacks an easy-to-use help desk, knowledgebase, or community forum. There’s a few FAQs and contact page that mentions 3 business day response time by email or phone support 8am-4:45 pm CST on weekdays. That’s not going to earn many points with consumers.
      Wahoo Fitness is using Zendesk with phone and chat support on weekdays.
      How do the other trainer brands measure up?

    • Tim R

      CycleOps has been great to work with for me in the past…. so good, in fact, that I’d buy a product from them that might be just a little bit less impressive compared to the competition, just because I know they’d take care of me.

    • Mike M.

      Turns out my Hammer was flat out missing a bearing & spacer/sleeve from the freehub body. LBS sorted me out in 5 mins with a replacement and it’s working perfectly.

      I can totally understand the manufacturing oversight. Mistakes happen. The customer service issue I had is far less easy to overlook. Hopefully I just had an unusual experience. More importantly, hopefully I won’t have to need anymore service, poor or otherwise.

    • I emailed support on 12/20/16 for the poor accuracy of my recently purchased Magnus, and received the automated response that they’d respond in the order the received the request. Since I had NO actual response to the problem, I sent a follow up email on 1/3/17. Another automated response, and of 1/7/17… nothing. Truly the worst customer service I’ve experienced on an exercise related product.

    • JD

      What is simplest way to check for missing bearing/spacer/sleeve?
      Or is there side-to-side play where there should be none?

    • Caiman

      The freehub body is held in place by the end cap, which is threaded onto the axle. If you remove the end cap (with a wrench) the freehub body should slide right off the axle. The pressed-in bearing should be visible from either side of the freehub body. Since you are asking this question I suppose you already bought a Hammer.

      By the way, my Hammer made some racquet noise again for about 5 min this weekend but then it was silent and smooth again. I was hoping it would break so I would have a good reason to send it back.

      Also, there is still no firmware update to fix any of the resistance problems that I have. They must still be on break and they don’t know how to fix it. The resistance delay really makes it unrealistic to ride, especially with climbing a short hill and through rollers. Cyclingnews had a short review of the Hammer and they had the same issue, which described towards the end of the article. They described it as a power drop at the start of the climb on the escalator, which essentially a resistance delay problem. If you do not have enough resistance, your power will not be sustainable and will drop. Surprisingly not many review experts including Ray noticed this problem. Titanium Geek also had a review out and didn’t mention this problem. Nonetheless, you really have to ride Zwift with the KICKR2 to truly appreciate how responsive it is supposed to be.

      link to cyclingnews.com

    • JD

      When you say “some racquet noise” do you mean a loud racket or ratcheting noises like gears shifting?
      I notice Titanium Geek mentions 2 months testing on a pre-production model. It appears Ray also had a pre-production unit at one time. I wonder what refinements were made between then and now.
      Hopefully any issues reported are not mechanical and can be resolved with a firmware update (the sooner the better).

    • Caiman

      It was a clunking and cracking sound inside the casing that is not easy to diagnose. If it was reproducible then I would have someone ride the bike while I listen to the sound to see where it is coming from. I was going to grab my phone to record it but then it stopped. I ride a single speed bike with a dead straight chain line with no shifting at all so my drivetrain is near silent compared to the typical howling sound generated from the trainer. My setup is actually perfect to evaluate these trainers with road simulated riding, as it takes the shifting variable out of the equation so I can just keep concentrating on pedaling and feeling the resistance responsiveness of each trainer based on the terrain.

    • I’m not sure about Titanium Geek, but I had a production unit for this review.

      For Magnus, I had a pre-prod unit early on, followed by a production review.

      I suspect the reason that neither of us saw it…is simply that it wasn’t happening to us. 😉

      In the *VAST* majority of delay’d power application cases for Zwift/etc…, it’s likely to be connectivity issues. One should look at tools like Zwiftaziler to see if there’s an issue there.

    • Mike M.

      Just following up on my experience. Since my LBS sorted out my freehub body, my trainer has been great. It’s stable, smooth & tracks beautifully with my Quarq. There are some little things, like how clunky their software is & the above mentioned uncertainty about firmware upgrades, but overall it’s terrific. Far better than the Gen 1 Kickr I owned.

      That said, the customer service still makes me wish I never supported this company. As I mentioned prior, I emailed the rep who was supposed to be helping me to say how disappointed I was in their service. That person just decided that, since my LBS sorted me out, he need not reply further at all, let alone acknowledge or address my concerns. I’ll be following up with the head of customer service, just to hopefully explain what happened to someone who hopefully will care.

  41. Stocckker

    Hello Everyone,
    I bought an Elite Drivo last year september, I did 4000 km’s in it. After approx 3000 km, I started to hear a strange ‘squeching’ sound from the trainer, always immidiately before stopping. Yesterday it finally stopped, no resistance, something’s broken inside, I heared a really strange cracking sound, like cracking some cogs on a cogwheel. Now I’m emailed to the company, waiting for an answer.

    • That’s odd.

      But why post here? This is the CycleOps Hammer review. Different company, different product.

  42. Johnny Hall

    Still no sign of the updated firmware to fix the erg issue, and the CycleOps website doesn’t (appear) to have a web page anywhere to describe firmware versions, so I’m not even sure if I’m on the latest version. I emailed customer service but no reply so far (but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt).

    Will the calibration timing be a firmware update or a new app version?

    • Johnny Hall

      I’m on 31.025, according to the CycleOps iOS Virtual Training app. Nothing indicates that that is the latest version.

      Instructions say to go to the website for a step-by-step guide to updating firmware. I can’t find anything. I’m sure it’s straightforward but without instructions, how can I know?

    • Caiman

      I have the same firmware version. There is no option in VT to update the firmware. Perhaps it will detect and update the firmware automatically if there is one available, who knows?

    • Johnny Hall

      Thanks. Good to know. Instructions (somewhere) would be useful. We are pointed to the website but I find no pertinent information.

    • Yes 31.025 is the current version. We hope to wrap up testing this week and release version 31.026 shortly after

    • Johnny Hall

      Hi Eric. Thanks for that. I’m very interested in getting this update, since Erg mode at the moment is kinda difficult. It’ll average around the set wattage ok, but any changes in cadence take a while to reflect in the power output, so the set level wanders around continually. So, it’s like slope mode but with a fixed gear (if that makes sense).

      In the screenshot that Ray posted with the update applied, the power still seems to be very variable around that set point – not as tight as I’d expect. Are my expectations wrong?

      link to media.dcrainmaker.com

    • Johnny Hall

      An example, from TrainerRoad last night:

      link to trainerroad.com

    • Johnny Hall

      And here is what I would expect it to look like – guessing this is a Kickr or a Neo:

      link to trainerroad.com

    • JD

      The review mentions a couple tweaks were made in a beta firmware update which was installed during testing.
      1. Where do you view the firmware version in the Windows desktop app?
      2. How do you update the firmware when a new version is made available? There is something under the File menu called Synchronize Now. Is that it?

  43. Anthony Ross

    having the same issues some others with Zwift in ERG mode. As the training block progresses it becomes harder and harder to turn the crank. This is all with a calibration with the CVT app before the ride. I called Saris and asked if they had any info and their answer was they test everything through their training app and a little w/ Zwift and TR. They recommended building a workout with their app and see if the same issue occurs. Sounds like a lot of extra work to find out if the unit is not working correctly.

    I would think there would be some diagnostic in their app. Or at least someone willing to offer some guidance besides “use our app and see if it works right”. I got a great deal on this trainer but I really wish I just kept my Kurt Kinectic.

    • carlos

      I have the exact same issues. It’s not dependent on Zwift, CVT or anything else. When you get to a certain power or resistance the trainer feeds back too much torque, slowing your cadence and feeding back ever more torque. It can be solved with smart testing and firmware update and rewrite. Cycleops won’t admit that though.

    • Anthony Ross

      good to know I’m not the only one. How did you implement the smart testing and firmware update?

    • Johnny Hall

      The only people who can “solve” this with “smart testing” and firmware update, are CycleOps.

      I see no reason, if it’s a problem with the Hammer, that CycleOps wouldn’t admit to it, and fix it. On the contrary, they need to fix it to ensure the Hammer has a good reputation, and sells well.

    • carlos

      I didn’t. But I’ve used several other smart trainers and know these problems can be overcome with some smart programming. Not possible to update firmware at the moment, although this is touted as a feature.

      I’m sure that they will update everything sometime, dunno when.

  44. Ryan

    I have a couple questions. Just bought myself a hammer and so far I LOVE it! but I have a couple questions I can’t seem to find anywhere else:

    1. I’m having trouble getting my garmin edge 510 to connect to the speed output on the trainer (as in it can’t find it, even if I manually input the ANT+ number). any suggestions?

    2. Does virtual training default to trainer control based on a paired powermeter (I have P1 pedals) or is there a setting I have to adjust?

    3. is there a way to set crank arm length in Virtual Training for the pedals to make sure they record properly?

    Thank you in advance!

    • 1) You need to connect it as a power meter, which then includes speed. It doesn’t transmit separately a speed channel.
      2) No, it would use trainer control based on the app controlling it.
      3) I haven’t looked…

    • Ryan, as long as you set the crank arm length using a Joule or Garmin the value is saved in the P1’s so you should be set. You cannot currently set the crank arm length in CVT but we are working on adding that ability.

  45. Pete

    Great review! Thanks for putting in all the leg work testing these trainers. I’m really interest in the Hammer and this confirmed my thoughts. It was down to this and the Kickr. The TA and multiple axle adapters sealed it.

  46. Michael McAfee

    Any one using FULGAZ with the Hammer? I got one a week ago and cannot get the app to control the resistance. The app gathers the data but will not change the resistance in response to climbs and the like.

    Sent FULGAZ a note and they have not tested it yet but thought it would work based on the software that controls the Hammer.