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Saris H3 Smart Trainer In-Depth Review

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CycleOps…err…now Saris is getting a bit ahead of the Eurobike show announcement flood by starting early. Today they’ve announced three new products. First, is this post – the Saris H3 (Hammer 3) trainer. This trainer gets a bit quieter while also getting a bit more accurate. Atop that they’ve announced their $1,199 MP1 motion platform that they previewed last year at Eurobike. And finally, they’ve announced their $329 TD1 trainer desk. I’ll be discussing those two products in another post once I get more hands-on time with them in the DCR Cave.

For now though, I’ve been rockin’ the H3 trainer over the last few weeks and have a pretty good grasp of things. I’ve been putting it through the ringer of apps including Zwift, TrainerRoad, and Rouvy. And of course, have a good idea of where it sits competitively today. By and large the Saris H3 isn’t a dramatic upgrade over the H2. But it does feature a new drive mechanism with a new belt as well, that’s resulted in a reduction of noise – though it’s not silent. They’ve also addressed, via firmware, issues related to power spikes in sprints seen on the H1/H2 trainers (those trainers also got the update a few weeks back). Additionally, they’ve added some internal cooling bits to keep it from overheating. And finally, price-wise they’ve undercut most of their higher-end competitors with a new $999 price point.

Note that as usual, I’ve got a media loaner to give a whirl. After I’m done I’ll have them pick it up and return it back to Madison, Wisconsin where it was built. Just the way I roll.

(Clarification on the whole CycleOps/Saris thing: After selling off PowerTap earlier this spring, the Saris Cycling Group has decided to further consolidate naming.  As such, effective now, the trainer brand is shifting from CycleOps to Saris. Thus, the Saris H3, not the CycleOps H3.)

What’s in the box:

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We’ll get right into things by getting out of the box. Above you’ll find the naked cardboard and black color scheme. I like it. Open it up like a jewelry box and you’ll find the H3 lying on its side ready for your rescue:

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Once you remove it from the box you’ve got the trainer still wrapped in a spare garbage bag like a dead body.

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Get it away from its packaging and you’ll find yourself a power cord package, some paper stuffs, and the trainer. Also, there’s thru-axle adapters. Oddly though, no quick-release skewer. I get that there are plenty of thru-axle folks out there, but not including a quick release skewer just seems cheap, given how many $80 trainers include it.

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The power cord does include a secondary bendy piece, allowing you to add that into the chain to give it a bit more flexibility.

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There’s even a small card with the ANT+ ID as well as the squiggly mark of the person to yell at if your trainer ever breaks. Which, to Saris’s credit, they’ve managed to avoid the numerous build/QC issues that others have stumbled into over the last 12-18 months. Perhaps others should do nifty QC cards too.

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The front wheel stand is hiding out underneath the H3 itself. It’s got a little cubby hole for it. We’ll dig it out later.  For now, let’s move right into setup.

The Basics:

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Like many trainers, in order to get things started on the Saris H3, we need to get a cassette installed on the back of it. The H3 doesn’t include one, though, we are seeing a slight shift in companies starting to include them – such as Elite with the Suito at $799. In any case, a typical cassette will cost you about $50, plus about $10-$20 for the tools if you don’t have them.

Note that while SARIS has an XD/XDR adapter for the Hammer 3, that adapter is not 12-speed compatible. As such, if you’ve got a SRAM AXS or Force AXS equipped bike, you’ll need to look at other trainer options at this time (fwiw, Wahoo just released an adapter in August).

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I typically buy Shimano Ultegra cassettes for my trainers (mostly for sound-testing consistency across videos), but I’ve also done a few SRAM ones and whatever else happens to be on sale from the bike shop. It generally doesn’t matter, except sometimes you’ll find some of the lower end cassettes (like a Shimano 105) don’t quite sound as quiet as mid to higher-end ones.

In any case, with a cassette, you’ll need two tools. A lockring tool (or lockring + a wrench, in my case), and a chain whip. In this case, you need the chainwhip since you can’t get a good grasp on the flywheel.

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Once installed you’re ready to get cooking. First, go ahead and plug in the trainer. You can use the little extra cable bendy piece or not – your choice (you probably should, unless you’re living on the wild side).

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Then plug the other side into the wall. It’s a 100-240v power brick, so it can sway whichever way your voltage brings you electricity. There’s a glowing status light on the backside of the H3. The kind of status light that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, somehow.

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In case you didn’t already and are living life dangerously, now’s a good time to unfold the legs as well. The unit has locks on both legs that allow it to fold in/out and then lock in place.

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There’s also small adjustable feet on the bottom in case your floor is as uneven as a lumpy scone.

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And, while you’re down there fishing things out, go ahead and grab that front wheel plate and throw it towards the front of your trainer mat.

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Next, mount your bike. Well, I mean, mount your bike to the trainer. You can mount yourself to the bike if you want as well.

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Here’s roughly what that’ll look like once complete. Though, this is the Wahoo KICKR desk, since I don’t yet have the Saris TD1 desk to complete the postcard:

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So while we’ll get to apps and compatibility and such, let’s first start with road feel first. Like I always say – 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 off so much of that.  Still, much of the road-like feel is driven by the flywheel, and be it physical or virtual, flywheel sizes tend to be measured in weight.  This impacts inertia and how it feels – primarily when you accelerate or otherwise change acceleration (such as briefly coasting).

That caveat said – it feels pretty good. One of the better options for sure on the market, though I’m not quite sure it’s the best. I’d say it’s very close between it and the Wahoo KICKR 2018. I would say the road-feel is better on the H3 than the Tacx NEO/NEO 2 though.

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Next, there’s the sound aspect. As noted, this isn’t a silent trainer in the same way that Wahoo talks about silence for their CORE/KICKR lineup. But it’s also not hideously loud like the CycleOps H2 was. It’s sorta middle-ground. More specifically, it’s sub-fan levels. Meaning, your fan is louder than it. To demonstrate that in the most efficient way possible, here’s a very simple video of me getting on the trainer (while it was still spinning down a bit, which is what you hear initially), and then doing a short sprint and stopping. Saris says that the unit is “5X quieter than the H2”, and honestly, I believe that:

As you can hear, it’s mostly drivetrain that you’re listening too – not trainer. The freehub is fairly loud when I stop pedaling, but that’s the case of the KICKR as well. The solution there is obvious: Don’t stop pedaling. Ever.

Now given the H3 is a smart trainer, it’ll change resistance automatically in a few different ways, primarily driven by different applications/methods.  But most of this all boils down to two core methods:

ERG Mode: Setting a specific power level – i.e., 230w.  In this mode, no matter what gearing you use, the trainer will simply stay at 230w (or whatever you set it to).
Simulation Mode: Simulating a specific outdoor grade – i.e., 8% 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.

In the case of simulation (aka slope) mode, the Hammer 3 can simulate from 0% to 20% incline – which is so-so for this price point (some go upwards of 24-25%).

The second mode the trainer has is ERG mode.  In that case, the company claims up to 2,000w of resistance at 40KPH. Although, realistically, you don’t care about that. I can only barely break 1,000w for a second or two, and even most front of the non-pro pack cyclists aren’t going to top 1,800w.  The pros would only be just a bit beyond that.  Said differently: Peak numbers don’t matter.  Instead, what matters is actually a harder metric to make clear – which is the ability to simulate high grades and lower speeds (especially if you’re a heavier cyclist).

One core test I do with all trainers though is responsiveness: How quickly does it respond to ERG mode changes? I typically do that with my 30×30 test via TrainerRoad, though it doesn’t really matter what method you use as long as you’re looking at big shifts in wattage:

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And the H3 easily passed this test. In fact, it did it really well. The control exhibited by the trainer in maintaining the wattage set-point was easily the best I’ve tested this season, including things not yet announced. It’s really strong. I remember talking with one of the leads at TrainerRoad a year or so ago, and he mentioned how for his personal use he really preferred the CycleOps Hammer because of how precise it was in ERG mode. There’s no doubt that tradition has carried through to the Saris H3 as well.

App Compatibility:

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The H3 follows the industry norms as you’d expect from most trainers these days.  As you probably know, apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, SufferFest, Rouvy, FulGaz, Kinomap and many more all support most of these industry standards, making it easy to use whatever app you’d like.  If trainers or apps don’t support these standards, then it makes it far more difficult for you as the end user. The H3 includes all the same goodness as the H2 did, including cadence transmission over Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ (something Wahoo still omits – Update, now, as of Sept 5th, 2019 they’ve added it).

The H3 transmits data on both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart as well, allowing interactive resistance control across both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  By applying resistance control, apps can simulate climbs as well as set specific wattage targets.

In any case, the H3 mirrors past protocol support and includes the following protocol transmission 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 and cadence baked in as well.
Bluetooth Smart FTMS Trainer Control: This broadcasts as a standard Bluetooth Smart FTMS trainer (which is the Bluetooth version of the ANT+ FE-C protocol).
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard BLE power meter with speed as well as cadence.

The key takeaway from this is that it not only supports everything you’d need from any apps you’d need – but also transmits cadence within the signals, making it easy to pair up to an Apple TV.  Tacx, Elite, and Kinetic also do this – but Wahoo remains the odd man out that doesn’t include cadence transmission.

Baked in cadence data is handy if you’re connecting to Zwift on an Apple TV, due to Apple TV’s two concurrent Bluetooth Smart sensor limitation (plus the Apple TV remote).  This means you can pair the trainer and get power/cadence/control, while also pairing up a heart rate strap. Whereas on a Wahoo trainer you don’t get cadence with the data stream from the trainer, so you need to choose between heart or cadence as your second sensor type. Sure, you can technically use the Zwift companion app to bring in 3rd or more sensors – but I find that’s finicky as heck and rarely works well (if at all).

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It’s these same standards that also allow you to connect via head units too. For example the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM as well as Garmin Edge series support ANT+ FE-C for trainer control, so you can re-ride outdoor rides straight from your bike head unit to your trainer. For example, for my accuracy testing section, I recorded the data on a Garmin Edge 530 as well as the trainer apps themselves.  From there I’m able to save the file and upload it to whatever platform I like. I also recorded it on a Garmin Forerunner 945 too on one ride:

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For me, in my testing, I used Zwift and TrainerRoad as my two main apps (which are the two main apps I use personally), with a side dish of Rouvy for one test as well.  In the case of Zwift, I used it in regular riding mode (non-workout mode), whereas in the case of TrainerRoad I used it in a structured workout mode. For Rouvy it was in power meter transmission mode.  I dig into the nuances of the TrainerRoad and Zwift data within the power accuracy section. Here you can see the H3 paired up with Zwift though on Apple TV:

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You’ll notice that I’ve got all the sensor types from the trainer included without issue.

And here in TrainerRoad using Bluetooth Smart on an iPad:

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And here it is within Rouvy on Apple TV:

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As with many trainers, I’d recommend doing an occasional calibration – especially after you move it, or after the temperatures have shifted significantly.

Saris does have an app that’s set to be released shortly, but it’s not yet functional with the H3 trainer. That’ll allow you to do both calibration and firmware updates from both Android and iOS.  In the meantime, for calibration, you can use any number of 3rd party apps to do so. For example, here’s me using TrainerRoad on my iPad. Once you reach that speed you can stop pedaling, after a number of seconds if you give a spindown time. At which point the calibration is complete.

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You can also perform this calibration from within Zwift too:

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In my testing I didn’t find this necessary every time – things seemed to be surprisingly consistent for me (I only did it once). Still, again my general recommendation here would be that anytime you move the trainer, or if there’s significant shifts in temperature in the spot you’re operating it in (such as in a cold wintery garage), to do a calibration about 10-15 minutes in, just to be sure.  That’s pretty consistent with what I’d recommend for any trainer except the Tacx Neo 1/2, which require no calibration (and don’t even have the option to do so).

Finally, some will ask about Wahoo KICKR CLIMB compatibility. No, the unit is not compatible with the Wahoo CLIMB, and it doesn’t sound like there’s any plans to make that happen (from either the Wahoo or Saris side). Instead, Saris would have you look at their new MP1 movement platform – albeit at twice the price of the KICKR CLIMB, some $1,199 versus $599. But to each their own.

Power Accuracy Analysis:

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As usual, I put the trainer up against a number of power meters to see how well it handled everything from resistance control accuracy, to speed of change, to any other weird quirks along the way.

In my case I used one primary bike setup as follows in two configurations:

Canyon Bike Setup #1: Garmin Vector 3 pedals (dual-sided), 4iiii Precision Podium (dual-sided)
Canyon Bike Setup #2: Garmin Vector 3 pedals (dual-sided), Quarq DZero

This is all in addition to the trainer itself.  Note that because you remove the rear wheel I can’t use something like a PowerTap hub to compare as well (which I would use in power meter testing normally).

In my case, I was looking to see how it reacted in two core apps: Zwift and TrainerRoad (Bluetooth Smart on Apple TV and iPad), but I also did some work on Rouvy in beta on Apple TV – so there’s that for you. The actual apps don’t typically much matter, but rather the use cases are different.  In Zwift you get variability by having the road incline change and by 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).

There’s two ways to look at this.  First is how quickly it responds to the commands of the application.  So for that, we need to actually look at the overlay from TrainerRoad showing when it sent the command followed by when the H3 achieved that level.  Here’s the levels being sent (the super hard to read green line) by TrainerRoad (in this case via Bluetooth Smart on iPad) and how quickly the H3 responded to it:

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Just beautiful. Reaction time on virtually all of the steps was sub-3 seconds, and it nailed and held the wattage very close. The reason there’s a yellow line on the 8th interval is that’s exactly when I took this screenshot – it’s not done yet! In any case, again, the cleanest resistance hold in ERG mode I’ve tested this year. A clear winner.

But what about accuracy? I’ve tested some trainers that can hold a number really well – but it’s just the wrong number. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case here. In this first accuracy chart we see it plotted against the Garmin Vector 3 pedals and the 4iiii Precision Podium dual-sided units. All are within a few watts the majority of the time. Here’s that data set:

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You know what I like about this chart? It’s correct.

Seriously. This has been the summer of testing trainers with crappy accuracy, and it’s nice to just see a darn trainer that does what it’s told. The secondary benefit to that is that I get to type less.

However, I did see one itty bitty blip after the last 30-second interval that you see above, wherein the H3 seemed to drop communications for a second or two. It didn’t impact accuracy or holding the resistance level. And I haven’t seen it on any other rides.

Next, let’s switch over to Zwift, and in particular the new Titans Grove course. I’ve been using this for testing all new trainers since it came out earlier this summer, and it’s been great for two reasons. First, I start off on the desert side on the flats, so I can test some stability there. And then after that it’s non-stop rollers as you climb up into the mountains a bit. It finishes back on the desert flats where you can throw down on the sprint again. Here’s those data files:

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Again – what do you notice? They’re all the same. Or, within a few watts (and even in the proper order). First, let’s check out my first warm-up sprint more closely:

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So here you see a few minor things. First, there’s a very slight bit of delay/lag in the above on the H3 – about 1-2 seconds that you can see. Not the end of the world, but it is visible, primarily in sprints it appears. I suspect this is tied to their new algorithms to get rid of the ‘bonus’ Hammer sprint spikes previously seen on other units.

If I look into the rolling hills section, it’s very close to others, but we see again about 1-2 seconds of variance between the various units. That could however be attributed to multiple recording devices. Maybe. Still, we’re nitpicking at best.

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A look at my final sprint finds things very very close for the peak power. I’m happy with that:

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And looking at the Mean-Max power curve, things are very good there too:

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But there is one catch though: The built-in cadence number:

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That’s hot garbage. I mean, it’s fine when you’re at steady-state intensity, but those drop-outs that you see above are tied to sprints in most cases, or surges in power. It’s here that things have troubles.

Let’s see if we see that elsewhere. So let’s switch over to Rouvy and give that a whirl there. Note I’ve swapped out the 4iiii crankset for a Quarq DZero.

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Overall not too shabby here. I was surging the power a bit here and there on this augmented reality course, but things were pretty close together. Perhaps a couple watts high in some sections, such as this:

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But the graph might make things look worse than it is – if you look at the exact values listed up there, we’re talking +/- 5w off the centerline power device here. Super-duper close.

Though, on this longer sustained 3-minute or so section at 350-400w – we see a bit of overcommit there compared to both Vector 3 and the Quarq DZero unit. This could be a gearing-specific thing, as that’s sometimes the case on certain trainers.

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In terms of cadence on this ride – things were good, save three specific dropouts – so better than on Zwift, though the apps have nothing to do with this (I record the data outside the apps). It’s more than likely just the exact shifts in power that trigger the cadence drops (like on the Zwift Titans Grove rollers):

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Overall though – things are very good accuracy wise in my data sets from a power standpoint. It’s very fast to respond on ERG mode, and just as accurate along the way. The only downside from an accuracy standpoint is really the cadence – which seems to struggle with large shifts in power.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Trainer Comparisons:

I’ve added the Hammer 3 into the product comparison database.  This allows you to compare it against other trainers I’ve reviewed.  For today I’ve compared it against the Wahoo KICKR 2018, Tacx NEO2, and Elite Drivo II…and the slightly less expensive KICKR CORE (but spec-wise competes very well).  But given next week is Eurobike and plenty of announcements are expected, look for me to revamp this default listing in the coming week with other comparisons as new models come out.

Function/FeatureSaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated June 29th, 2020 @ 6:07 amNew Window
Price for trainer$999$999$899$1,199$1,199
Trainer TypeDirect Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)
Available today (for sale)YesYesYesYesYes
Availability regionsGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobal
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWirelessWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYesNoYesYesYes for broadcast, no for general use
Flywheel weight20lb/9kgSimulated/Virtual 125KG12.0lbs/5.44kgs16lbs/7.25kgs13.2lbs/6kg
ResistanceSaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)NoYesNoNoNo
Maximum wattage capability2,000w2,200w @ 40KPH1800w2,200w @ 40KPH2,296w @ 40KPH / 3,600w @ 60KPH
Maximum simulated hill incline20%25%16%20%24%
FeaturesSaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerNoYesNoNo9EUR one-time fee
Can rise/lower bike or portion thereofNoNoWith KICKR CLIMB accessoryWith KICKR CLIMB accessoryNo
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)NoWith accessoryNoNoNo
Can rock side to side (significantly)NoNoNoNoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoYesNoNoNo
AccuracySaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Includes temperature compensationYesN/AYesYesN/A
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)YesN/AYesYesYes
Supported accuracy level+/- 2%+/- 1%+/- 2%+/- 2%+/- 0.5%
Trainer ControlSaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYEsYEsYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart FTMS (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYEsNo, but supports most appsYes
Data BroadcastSaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Transmits power via ANT+YesYesYesYesYes
Transmits power via Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYesYes
Transmits cadence dataYesYes (with Sept 2019 firmware update)Yes
PurchaseSaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Amazon LinkLinkLinkN/AN/ALink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
REI LinkLinkLinkLinkN/A
Wiggle LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerSaris H3 (CycleOps Hammer 3)Tacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo Fitness KICKR COREWahoo KICKR 2018 (Current version)Elite Drivo II
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Don’t forget you can mix and match your own trainer product comparison tables using the database here.

Summary:

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Prior to riding the H3, I was skeptical that Saris ‘gets it’ in terms of offering a competitive trainer for the 2019 season. But after riding it, and looking at the data, and looking at their competitors – I think they may be in a better situation than one might think at first glance. The ERG mode responsiveness is the best I’ve seen on a trainer this year. If we account for last year, I’d say the Elite Drivo II gives it a run for its money for sure. And on regular SIM (e.g. normal Zwift) mode accuracy, it’s fairly good as well. Happy there.

The only two downsides are the cadence algorithms need work any time significant power shifts are applied to it. And secondly, it’s still not as silent as the Wahoo CORE/KICKR or Tacx Neo/2. But it is quieter than most other trainers, so I think for now it’ll hold it’s own.

And I think the $999 price point does a good job at undercutting the higher end Wahoo/Tacx trainers, though it does struggle a bit to compete with the slightly less powerful but also slightly cheaper options from Tacx and Elite – especially when you look at ones including cassettes (like the Elite Suito). On the flip-side, if you’re living in a TrainerRoad world (or any other ERG mode app), there’s no better trainer than this for nailing ERG workouts best I see at this point. Those trainers simply don’t perform as well as the H3 does in ERG mode.

With that – thanks for reading, and stay tuned for plenty more to come from Eurobike!

Found this review useful? Or just want to 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 pick up the Saris H3 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 – namely in this case 10% off your order using DCR Coupon Code DCR10BTF. And, if your order ends up more than $79, you get free US shipping as well. Double-win!

Saris H3 Trainer
Saris TD1 Trainer Desk
Saris MP1 Motion Platform Crazy Thing

For European/Australian/New Zealand readers, you can also pickup the unit via Wiggle at the links below, which helps support the site too! With Wiggle new customers get 10GBP (or equivalent in other currencies) off their first order for anything over 50GBP by using code [Currently Disabled] at check-out after clicking the links below.

Saris H3 Trainer (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that most folks getting a trainer for the first time might not have already:

ProductAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)Note
Basic Trainer MatThis is a super basic trainer mat, which is exactly what you'll see me use. All it does is stop sweat for getting places it shouldn't (it also helps with vibrations too).
Cassette Installation/Removal ToolsThere are *many* variations of cassette removal tools, this is the best bang for your buck. Don't overthink this. You'll likely only use this tool once every 2-3 years.
Front Wheel Riser BlockHere's the thing, some people like front wheel blocks, some don't. I'm one of the ones that do. I like my front wheel to stay put and not aimlessly wiggle around. For $8, this solves that problem. Note some trainers do come with them. Also note, I use a riser block with *every* trainer.
Shimano R7000 105 Cassette (11-speed)This is a Shimano 105 cassette (thus, slightly more budget compared to the Ultegra), in most cases, you probably won't notice the difference. Ensure that the number of speeds matches your bike (e.g. 11-speed, 10-speed, 9-speed, etc...).
Shimano R8000 Ultegra Cassette (11-speed)This is a Ultegra cassette, you can save about $10-$15 by picking up a Shimano 105 instead. Ensure that the number of speeds matches your bike (e.g. 11-speed, 10-speed, 9-speed, etc...).
Tacx Tablet Bike MountI've had this for years, and use it in places where I don't have a big screen or desk, but just an iPad or tablet on my road bike bars.

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit (though, no discount/points). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

Thanks for reading!

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169 Comments

  1. Anirudh

    At $999, it can eat into both Kickr and Kickr Core sales (with CT\REI 20% coupons). Looks like being a late mover worked out well for Saris.

  2. Nigel Doyle

    Nice but how well does it respond to terrain changes on Zwift? This was the biggest problem with the hammer i.e. couple of second lag changing resistance when you hit a hill.

  3. Chader

    Thanks for the review. I have been very pleased with my prior Hammer and H2 trainers. They still have the best “feel” of any I have tried (Kickr17 & Neo2 included). And I also agree that the ERG performance within TR is on top of the heap too.

  4. GB

    Seems like a solid evolutionary upgrade from the H2, but nothing too radical or upgrade worthy for existing Hammer/H2 owners. After the KICKR ’18 disaster (3 failures), I was able to get a refund and moved to a Cycleops H2 a few months ago, which I’ve been overall pretty happy with. Certainly not worth it to upgrade to an H3 for a few less decibels and a slightly higher bit of accuracy, but if I was in the market for a smart trainer, I’d put the H3 near the top of my list.

    The one annoyance I have with my H2 is when when using a thru axle, the body of the H2 gets in the way of the TA handle when tightening the frame to the trainer, so you need to use a TA that tightens with a hex wrench. Unfortunately, it looks like they have not fixed or changed that in the H3. Minor annoyance, but unacceptable considering that more and more bikes are using TAs now.

    • JD

      @GB — What type of thru-axle do you have that doesn’t allow you to pivot the handle?
      I’ve got DT Swiss with my H1 and it works fine (tighten 180+ degrees, lift handle to reset, tighten more, repeat).

    • GB

      It’s on my Giant Defy. Basically the handle has a hex key that attaches to the actual axle with teeth (and then tightens permanently to the axle with the hex key), but it doesn’t rotate freely like a typical QR axle or like the one you describe. I can remove the hex key on the handle and use the handle as a wrench to tighten the frame against the H2, and then replace/tigthen the handle hex key at the end. A bit hard to explain without pictures. Like I said, it’s a minor annoyance that I didn’t have with my KICKR, and I’m a bit surprised this wasn’t fixed in the H3, though, it’s probably a bit difficult to fix without significantly redesigning the trainer frame and flywheel.

      https://www.giant-bicycles.com/ie/tcr—defy-disc-brake-thru-axle–front—rear-

      Fortunately, I have a hex bolt TA that I used with my old Kinetic fluid trainer, so I just use that when I ride my Giant indoors, so it’s not a huge deal either way.

  5. Dude guy

    Looks like a winner to me. Is anyone else offering a lifetime warranty? After watching the complete failure of wahoo this year (that company deserves to be out of business in my opinion) A lifetime warranty is almost a more important selling feature than anything else. Would be neat to compare warranties in that table you have.

    • Chader

      For clarity, the Lifetime Warranty only applies to the frame of the trainer.
      Electronics are 2 years.
      Belt, pulley and freehub (Hammer series, not Magnus series) are 1 year.

      Not knocking it because I do think it is a great warranty, but the “Lifetime” part is limited.
      link to saris.com

    • dude guy

      Thanks for clarifying. Ugh. That is shitty.

    • Chader

      Wahoo is one year, period for the entire trainer. EU is 2 years total per their laws.

      Tacx is two years (no apparent difference US/EU).

      Elite seem to hide there info on the site somewhere.

      The Saris warranty is better in ways and worse in others when compared to other trainer makers.

    • Eli

      I think the warranty is pretty important to mention. Especially when you might not use the device all summer and then start using it again when it turns cold. So might have failed over the summer and start use just after the warranty expired

    • StephenB

      To be fair, Saris customer service is top notch, as is Wahoo. The lifetime warranty limitations are to a certain extent just to cover legal bases.

      In my experience – with older fluid models, is that they go above and beyond to replace parts when they legitimately break from normal use.

      Realistically the internals aren’t going to go pop on the H3. And if they do, they’ll jump on it pretty quickly.

    • kwemple

      What are the specifics regarding the negative Wahoo comments? I have an older model Kickr. Each time I required support, Wahoo either fixed the trainer or gave me another (my office very close to Wahoo HQ). Please provide some details. I am considering purchasing the newest Kickr version

    • Pat

      Agreed on Saris customer service really taking care of its customers. I had an older Fluid2 unit that failed well outside of its warranty period. After a quick phone call, I was able to purchase a new resistance unit direct from Saris no questions asked, for less than I could get a used one on cragslist. For that, they will be the first stop when i go looking for a new trainer.

      Now if only my thrashed to hell and back again knees would play nice with ERG mode…

    • StephenB

      More relating to earlier issues with the Kickr18 post release. All fixed with 2019 models.

      Not totally without issues – no trainer is, even the top-end ones. It’s still the best looking IMO, and rock solid. Only quibble I have is the flywheel quality and balancing. At high speed – lower power there is a distinctive resonance.In ERG mode it’s fantastic.

      And no integrated cadence. They REALLY have to sort that for v5.

    • Frank Sorbara

      Unfortunately it wasn’t all fixed with 2019 models. I purchased Kickr18 in March of 2019, and it broke within a few weeks. Went on to make the biggest racket of all time, and be a complete headache all season. Wahoo said they’d replace but only after I sent back and then would be on the waiting list for a new trainer. Unfortunately being a pro triathlete and living in Canada with no outdoor options to ride at time I can’t go weeks on end without being able to train. So I lived with that piece of junk for months. Only now finally getting H3, didn’t bother going back to Kickr since as you said Wahoo claimed they fixed all the trainers but clearly some still getting through and not going to risk it again.

    • Gabriel Momasta

      TLDR: I purchased a defective 2018 KICKR. Want a TACX but am reading bad reviews of the TACX on Spacebook et al. about bad units. Seems like quality control is rubbish in this entire industry.
      I have had a 1st gen SNAP that I purchased as soon as it came out. It works fine. I have been wanting a wheel off trainer for some time.
      After waiting to purchase since the KICKR 2018 was released due to the manufacturing issues, I finally decided to purchase the unit.
      I choose to purchase a refurbished unit thinking that all the issues would have been repaired and the unit would be in perfect working order.
      The unit arrived defective. There was a noise like rim brakes rubbing – a warbling in a sense that increased in noise and intensity when going over 300 watts after the unit was warmed up – generally a few minutes.
      I put in a support ticket, took the required video documentation, submitted while on the phone with customer service on Friday afternoon and was told a replacement would be in order.
      Due to an overall poor job on Wahoo’s part during the return process, I returned the product and cancelled the replacement.
      I was VERY disappointed with this whole situation and cannot recommend this to anyone.
      If you got a good one, then you got lucky and there many be thousands of you… so whatever, you roll the dice.
      I got a good quality SNAP so I got lucky. Not so with the KICKR.
      What a bunch a @#$hats to send out a defective refurb. That tells me all I need to know about Wahoo even though I love there cadence/speed/head units.

  6. Patrick

    I am so dang impressed with the H2 that it’s hard to believe there was much room for improvement. Both of my fans make more noise, it’s super accurate, responsive, and just works. My Powerbeam Pro was great, my Fluid2 before that was great. Saris makes great products and backs it up with great service. This price point should make them EXTREMELY competitive.

  7. Chris Benten

    I your intro comment…you usually note you will send back and purchase on your own…but no purchase this time…too many trainers in cave?

    • Nah, just a case of too little coffee to remember the re-purchase part of the usual intro. But yeah, I’ll go out and get one eventually (probably when it’s on sale) and add to the cave stock.

  8. Marc Teichmann

    I haven’t updated firmware on my Hammer 1 in a while. You mentioned there was an update a few weeks ago. Will that give my Hammer 1 better response time on gradient changes in sim mode on Zwift?

  9. What exactly are the “internal cooling bits”? I’m dying to see pictures of the internals! Assume they are using a ribbed belt now similar to what the KICKR uses.

  10. Gary

    Hi DC,
    Can you clarify or point me in the direction of what the +/-2% means?
    If I’m doing 300w today is it going to be the same as 300w tomorrow on the same trainer or could 300w today be 291-309w tomorrow?

    Regards

    • If you’re doing 300w today, it means that it could really be 306w or 294w. Or, it could be 300w. Tomorrow, it could still be 300w, or 304w, or 306w.

      Generally speaking these metrics are good for steady-state type power values (i.e. holding power at 250w), but less ideal when talking sprint accuracy (e.g. a 948w sprint lasting 3 seconds).

    • Gary

      Thanks. (I just realised me bad maths on the 2%!)
      I have Noticed that for a given power on long steady state efforts the cadence required is sometime 1-2rpm different for the same power.

      When there is nothing else to think about on the trainer…this often crosses my mind!

      When I make a 8w gain on 300FTP…the reality is it may just be error margins.

    • Yup, definitely true on margins gains potentially being fake news.

      In general, I’d focus more on regular calibration/spin-downs (of trainers and power meters) – anytime you use a power meter, and then every week or two for trainers. And then looking at trending. If you see an outlier, it probably means that unit or calibration was bad, moreso than an awesome (or bad) performance.

    • Paul S.

      Your 8 watt gain on FTP might be real, since FTP is based on many activities and errors tend to average out. If you reliably put out exactly 300 w every day (good for you!), then over time 300 w is what all of your measurements from your power meter should average to, so things like FTP have smaller error bars than each individual measurement. The more trials, the more exact the number should be (roughly improve as 1/sqrt(N), so 100 activities should have an error bar for the average 1/10 of the error bar for each individual measurement). Of course, there’s an immense amount of statistical literature on this. The assumption is usually that errors are “Gaussian”, distributed in a particular way, but if they’re actually not, then simple “+/- 2%” type statements and statements about averages simply aren’t right. Of course, you’re not going to put out exactly 300 w every single day, so that complicates things as well.

  11. StephenB

    It’s good to see Saris has listened. With the price point and functionality they should be onto a winner in the mid to top-end trainer bracket. Their customer service is exceptional, and they seem to have a clearer vision than before. I hope this filters down to the lower end models where a full-scale trainer cull needs to happen. The age of wheel-on trainers is ending, and a lower-end direct drive model to replace the magnus / powerbeam / fluid would really fix them in the market, the same way that Tacx has.

    That you and GPLama have issue with the cadence indicates a general issue, which I’m sure a firmware update down the road will sort – and help with the simulated power variances.

    Still, the rocker plate. What were/are they thinking? Would have much preferred some form of cross-compatibility with the climb, or even bring out a similar ‘ascent’ hardware.

    Now, I wonder if Wahoo will come out with a Kickr20 (v5) with cadence any time soon…

    • Chader

      “Would have much preferred some form of cross-compatibility with the climb…”

      The MP1 will work find with a Wahoo Climb, once you remove the front wheel support. Many of us are using the Climb on full length rocker plates, and the MP1 will work in the same way once that change is done.

    • StephenB

      Cross-compatibility was about the H3 being able to use the climb. Presuming it uses some form of generic ant+/BTE signal. But appears H3 is a fixed axle trainer.

      Rocker plates are so 2018! 😉

    • Chader

      Ahhhhh, I see. The first part of that paragraph referenced the rocker plate, and I assumed that was the reference (not switch to the H3, and the time being better spent on making it Climb compatible). Makes sense and would be nice to have the Climb more widely mixable.

      Yeah, the non-rotating axle on the H3 is one limiter. The other is the current lack of communication between the Climb and any non-Wahoo trainer. There were some comments in a DCR thread about a possible connection between Wahoo Climb and Tacx Neo (via the CEO’s no less), but we haven’t seen anything real out of them yet.

      And rocker plates are so late 2015 for me (first one built in Dec ’15 😛 )

    • Wahoo ultimately backtracked on their promise for 3rd party Climb integration. Tacx (and others) were ready to go with it, Wahoo said no.

    • John

      Funny how Wahoo benefits from Garmin’s open ANT+ Radar standard, but they don’t reciprocate when it comes to their own Climb hardware. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  12. Simon

    Thanks for this, and all of the other reviews 🙂
    I notice you write “And here it is within Rouvy on Apple TV:” followed by a picture

    Is this a native Apple TV app or are you air playing?

    I’ve not been able to find an Apple TV app for Rouvy – I’d love this as an alternative to Zwift

  13. Patrick

    I think it’s interesting that you always say you wish high end trainers came with a cassette while you wouldn’t necessarily expect less expensive trainers to come with one. I see the opposite way.

    I would think that most people buying a trainer that costs say $900 USD and up are pretty serious cyclists (might be an inaccurate assumption, I don’t know for sure) and would have a preferred cassette model and size that they would want to use. If you’re using Zwift or something with SIM mode then cassette size matters even more and you’d want one to suit your abilities and preferred cadences. And with 12 speed drivetrains making their way into the market that may or may not have the same cog spacing, many people with high end drivetrains who buy high end trainers would need to get the right cassette for their drivetrain.

    On the other hand, I think cyclists who buy trainers in the $500-$800 USD range are pretty likely to have a bike with either 105 or Ultegra because of Shimano’s recent OEM dominance so they are safe there as far as compatibility (but again, this will likely change in the next couple years). They are probably also less likely to care which specific cassette they have on their trainer.

    It’s kind of like when people are surprised that multi-thousand dollar bikes don’t come with pedals; it’s because the first thing the customer would do when they bought the bike is take those pedals off and install their preferred pedals.

    • I guess the challenge with that is that the most popular higher end smart trainer – the KICKR – has always been sold with a cassette.

      For the 12-speeds, people will have to buy XDR adapters anyway. And honestly, I supsect that’s between 1/200th and 1/500th of people buying a new smart trainer (and even that might be high).

    • John

      There is also a dearth of information about planned support for Shimano’s new Micro Spline 12-speed hubs.

      It would make logical sense to assume trainers that support XD/XDR could also support Micro Spline, but so far Shimano has been stingy approving licensees for their new hub design. Hopefully this will open up when 12-speed DuraAce groupsets drop this fall/winter/spring.

  14. Joe

    Seems like a best option for my TrainerRoad use. I just wish they had better distribution in Europe. Any chance it will be available on EU CleverTraining site also?

    • They’re trying to get it listed. Apparently there was a change in the upstream CycleOps/Saris distributor in the UK for Clever Training, and it’s been a bit of a…struggle…getting stuff super-fast for initial listings.

    • jj

      someone posted this webstore on another article. I can’t seem to find it. The store is based in the netherlands. They had 5 in stock when I ordered. good luck: link to i-mobile.nl

  15. Dave

    The biggest issues with the H2 were the 1)noise, 2) cadence accuracy, 3) power overshoot in sprints, 4) ERG responsiveness

    It seems as though 3 has been resolved for both H2 and H3 and 2 has yet to be “fixed” for either.

    Assuming you can find an H2 for $800 or less, if you don’t care about the noise, any opinions on whether the H2 is the better buy? Is the ERG responsiveness that much improved over the H2? Other considerations?

    • The noise is a lot less. Silent? No, but really darn quiet. ERG mode responsiveness was really good on the H2 though, super good. That wasn’t an issue. As you noted, power sprints has been solved.

      As for the H2 and sales, you’re in luck. For this weekend CT is running a Labor Day sale, which gets you 20% off with coupon code Labor Day. The H2 is one of the products in that sale: link to clevertraining.com

      (And using the above link helps support that site and makes you awesome. Unless you live outside the US, in which case no sale for you. But I’ll give you honorary awesome status just cause.)

  16. Johnathan Freter

    Has Saris updated the plastic body or does the RD cage still hit when you’re in the biggest gear? That is my biggest issue with the Hammer that I have!

    I also wish they’d make a 120mm rear axel spacer so I could chuck my track bike on it.

  17. Madcyclist

    Hi Ray,

    I know this might be at a bit of a tangent but I’ve noticed that the Elite Zuma finally seems to be available after it’s failed launch of last year. This delay however seems to have stopped any reviews from being published. Are you planning on doing one yourself? Given they’re available in the UK for £450 they would seem to be a good deal for a direct drive trainer. Any thoughts?

  18. Dan

    Might not be the right place to ask, but can/will Wahoo add cadence inclusion via firmware update?

  19. critwannabe

    I have been debating since I saw this get launched but cant decide if it is worth while! I have a Hammer 1 would it be worth going to the H3? I train exclusively indoors and pretty much only race outdoors.

    So would it be worth it? It seems there isn’t much of a difference? to make it worth it.

  20. Sean

    Hi Ray,

    I’m really impressed with your comment that the road feel on the H3 is better than that of the Tacx Neo 2. Can you explain a bit about why you feel this way?

    I’m trying to decide whether to get the H3 or the Tacx Neo 2 to replace my aging Kurt Road Machine. I was planning to go with a discounted Neo 2 – as it seems to be a relatively reliable machine. In addition, people seemed to like the ability of coast downhill and simulate road feel on the Neo 2. Now you are telling me that that H3 gives better road feel than the Neo 2 for $200 less. Given this, the H3 seems to be the best choice for an aging cyclist who simply want to ride Sufferfest and FulGaz in the basement to keep in shape during the winter.

    Is my thinking sound?

  21. dizpark

    Has anyone got their H3 yet? I am very interested in first-hand accounts, apart from excellent reviews from Ray, Shane and Tariq excellent reviews.

    • Gary

      Yeah would be great to hear. I haven’t seen a single end user review.

      No release date for the h3 in Australia.

    • kami

      A few started to pop up in EU shops (CRC got 3 last night). I wanted to order one, but found some reports about knocking sound on the down stroke during climbing (under Tariq’s review for example). So I’m waiting for now :/

    • Gary

      Hi,
      Where else did you see reports of knocking on the sown stroke?

      Regards

    • Stephen Collins

      I’ve had my H3 set up one week, did my fifth ride this morning. Yesterday and today I’ve been dealing with the knocking sound. It’s definitely my trainer, not anything on the bike. All power levels. Clunks on the downstroke. Very loud. Both sides. Exactly as others have described. Seems this is a definite issue for the H3. I’ll try a replacement from REI.

  22. Wyatt

    Have you found the same issue WRT flywheel speed vs. power that Tariq found in his review? Do you typically ride in the big ring or small ring when you’re doing your rides? I’m also heavily leaning towards finally upgrading from my KK Road Machine to the H3.

  23. nunya

    Ray, do you know if Saris is working on the power issues? Can you comment or have any data regarding the lifetime warranty? How good is Saris in this area (do they make you pay for shipping the trainer, hard to get warranty work etc)? What’s the reputation on the Saris trainers in terms of reliability? It’s not as popular as Tacx or Wahoo, and I can’t really find any complaints.

    I’ve been waiting for the 2T fixes, but the H3 is so much cheaper and ERG is apparently tops.

  24. Jeremy J Tria

    Ray,

    More for information, but I purchased a Saris H3 for my Triathlon bike. It has SRAM Force AXS and after receiving I found out it is not compatible. Even with the XD/XDR adapter, it does not work. I posted the email from Saris on this below. Frustrating for a new product to not support existing group-sets. I am forking out $140 dollars to mail it back to CleverTraining.

    I found your review to be great and this is what made me want it. I guess I will go back to Wahoo and pick-up the 2018 Kickr. At least I know it is compatible.

    Email from Saris:
    Meg D (CycleOps)
    Oct 10, 8:28 AM CDT

    Hello Jeremy,
    Thank you for reaching out and for your recent H3 purchase.
    If the Sram Force AXS is 12 speed which I think it is.
    Unfortunately it will not work on the H3 even with the XDR adapter.
    The H3 will only support a 8-11 speed cassette.
    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Thank you.

    Meg D Customer Support Specialist

    • dizpark

      I am sorry for your situation but this is a very helpful post for the rest of us.

      Can you be more specific – in what way it is not compatible? Twelve speed cassette would not fit on the Saris XD/XDR freehub body?

      Saris spec sheet is not super clear on this – i.e. no mention of speed compatibility with XD/XDR freehubs

      – Compatible with Shimano 8-11 speed cassettes
      – XD/XDR freehubs sold separately

    • dizpark

      After quite a lot of clicking on on Saris webpage I found this:

      link to support.saris.com

      And even that is not exhaustive answer. It only states that the XD/XDR driver is not Eagle 12 AXS compatible. The FAQ article only mentions H2. And what about AXS 12 speed road? And what about NX 12 speed cassetes that fit on standard shimano freehub?

    • Thanks Jeremy-

      That sucks. I’ll find a spot to stick the 12-speed specific aspects (lack of compatibility) in here somewhere. I had XDR, but not the newer 12s AXS variants.

      Thanks for the support via CT – I do appreciate it!

      Cheers

    • Jeremy J Tria

      Diz,

      The cassette touches the plastic body of the trainer. The second piece is the retaining nut at the end touches the bearing on the freehub adapter. If you tighten it as you should the cassette will not freewheel. I am sure an engineer could fix both issues quickly.

      Jeremy

    • Michael

      So what I am reading is that it isn’t possible for the H3 to run a 12 spd cassette without some modifications to the trainer body?

    • dizpark

      I sent a question to saris support, this is their answer. I was asking about both road and MTB 12 speed cassettes.

      1) The SRAM NX 12 speed MTB cassette will fit on the freehub with the spacer removed BUT you will not be able to use the largest (50 tooth) cog because you will not have enough clearance between the cassette and the trainer face
      2) You are correct in your understanding with the XD/XDR freehub body as well. It is technically compatible with the 12 speed cassette but again, mounting it is one thing while actually being able to utilize that large cog will likely cause clearance issues.

      So that is Saris line, but as per above there might be cases where the cassette touches the body of the trainer.

      On the other hand, it appears that both Kickr and Kickr Core are fully compatible with 12 speed in it various guises. At least that was the answer that I got from Wahoo.

    • Jeremy Tria

      Diz,

      Thanks for digging into this. I spoke with another representative who happened to be at Kona. He said the XDR driver should work with my setup. I explained my problem and he was going to look into it. His point was Trek Segafredo used the H3 for this past season with no issues.

      I returned my H3 and have decided on the Kickr Core. I sold my kickr 17 just a few weeks ago and now have basically the same trainer again, but compatible with SRAM AXS. Thanks for all the help from everyone and please continue to dig into these fit issues.

      Jeremy

    • Michael

      It’s shocking Saris wouldn’t design the H3 to make it fully compatible with all drivetrains. 12spd has been around for what almost 3 years now. It’s disappointing to say the least. I wanted to buy the H3. Only have 2 bikes and both with Eagle. I guess the Core will have to do.

    • dizpark

      I would buy Kickr or Kickr Core in a heartbeat (besides potential for 12 speeds, these have much better support for 3rd party rocker plates), but I really don’t want to deal with repeated returns. Hence my interest in Saris H3. All of these trainers are available locally (LBS), which is important for me

    • jim

      I’m in the same boat. If it wasn’t for the plethora of posts I’ve run across for multiple returns, even after the problems were supposed to be fixed, I would jump all over the Core. But I just don’t want to take the risk of being in that boat myself, especially during the winter when the trainer is really needed since it is a minimum 2 week turn-around with shipping. So I’ve narrowed it down to the H3 & Neo 2T since I don’t need 12 speed support and probably won’t for many years.

  25. Phil Godfrey

    I presume this can’t be used without power a la the Neo

  26. HalfManHalfMamil

    Thought I would post an update on my experience with the H3.
    I bought my H3 from Tredz here in the UK last week. Unfortunately there was a very loud creaking noise whenever I pedalled at low cadence (below 60rpm) and pushed hard on the pedals, simulating grinding up a very steep climb.
    To be clear, this noise was present all the time, not just when I started pedalling and it was easily loud enough to be heard over the music playing in my headphones. The unit was obviously defective so I returned it.
    I was going to ask for a refund, but decided to try a replacement H3 which arrived today and I have just finished testing it. The good news is that this new H3 has no creaking at all. To me, this confirms that the previous unit was indeed faulty.
    However, the bad news is that the new H3 has the same knocking noise that several others have reported on various forums. It happens at all cadences and gets louder the more force is applied through the pedals. It happens on the pedal downstroke, on both the left and right sides, at around the 3 o’clock position.
    Maybe I have just been unlucky. Maybe Tredz has a ‘bad batch’. Maybe there is a more widespread issue.
    Either way, I’ve run out of patience and the H3 will definitely be going back for a refund this time. A real shame, as there is a lot to like about it.
    By the way, I should mention that the customer service from Tredz has been first class so far. They collected the faulty unit from me and delivered the replacement unit very quickly.

  27. GH

    I just got the H3 at the REI sale price. In any case, it is indeed not as loud as my fan and has a nice smooth ride quality. I’m using it with Zwift. That said, I have a question about how to capture different cadence / speed / power on my Garmin Edge 530. I have a Quarq Dzero and want to show that power / cadence on the Garmin but want to show the speed from the H3. When I do an add new speed sensor for ANT+ it doesn’t give me an option at all. I can get the Indoor trainer pair option but not split up what pairs on the Edge. Is that even posable or is it all or nothing with the paring from the H3 on the Edge 530. I get that speed is not relevant for indoor training standpoint but with the wheel on trainer I had it as an interesting reference and a way to auto start the Edge. Thanks

    • GH

      Ok after some more looking at the data and then trying to decipher the solid / blinking light indicator on the H3, it would appear that when I wake up and pair up with the H3 smart trainer, it shows the power, cadence and speed from the H3 to the head unit with only the little trainer icon showing, then when I wake up the Quarq, the Garmin peeps and shows the little found power message and the dumbbell power icon (not the little crank power meter icon) and looks like it displays the Quarq power data from there on. Is that the right understanding of what is going on? The cadence is from the H3?? and not the Quarq it would appear when the Quarq is awake. But I can live with that as long as the Garmin shows the Quarq power data and not the H3 power.

  28. Peter Tabor

    Hi. Thanks for your review of these various products. The one issue I cannot seem to resolve is it seems that you much have Apple products to use these devices with Zwift, etc. You never mention viewing through a bluetooth connection on a regular flat screen TV or just a monitor paired with a smart phone other than Apple. Is it possible to use these products with a Google Pixel phone and a Samsung TV? Thanks so much of your response. I certainly would be willing to subscribe if I can get the info needed.

    • You need to have a trainer app of some sort. Most support Android (and thus, the Google Pixel). But none today support smart TV’s directly. Whereas you can do things like Chromecast apps to a TV once your phone is connected.

      Cheers!

  29. Kevin

    Any one else have inaccurate power? I had H1 for 2 years and the power was super accurate, neve calibrated and was always consistent with what I put out on the road. H3 is really low. Out of seat saddle I barley broke 600 watts, I’m not a great sprinter but can hit 900-1000 no problem. Erg efforts feel 20-30% off.
    It won’t calibrate on Zwift. Downloaded app, firmware update, and calibrated on that and power was still really off.

    I’m thinking of sending this back and going to h1 again. It’s not usable for me right now.

    • Have you tried contacting Saris support?

    • Kevin

      Thanks for getting back ray. Waiting on response. Sent Saturday so hopefully will get response today

    • kevin

      Update.

      After a few rides seems that the power is now in line with my other power meters. The H3 feels great for long ERG efforts, which is mostly what I use the trainer for now.

      I had the H1 for two years and it really changed my pedal stroke. Made me real smooth out on the road. Looking forward to a couple of good years on the new trainer.

      Customer service was also ver responsive.

  30. Phil Godfrey

    Anyone figured out what the light status refers to? Mine was flashing blue/white for a while yesterday

  31. Moritz Haager

    Considering this trainer. Reading over the comments section for this as well as Drivo II and Tacx Neo it actually seems the H3 has the least amount of negative comments…anyone with updates on problems with their trainer? I primarily use Sufferfest and Rouvy.

    Thanks

    • Chad McNeese

      Saris is addressing a design flaw. The smooth larger belt/fan wheel and new belt setup is allowing some slipping (and associated noise) when you hit hard power against a stopped or slow spinning flywheel.

      They are adding a texture to the outer surface of the pulley in house now. Current users can scuff the wheel with sandpaper, per their instructions. Or you can contact them for a replacement.

      Other than that, it seems to be running well for the early adopters.

    • GH

      I’ve put about 10hr on the H3 trainer so admittedly low usage to date. So far no slippage issues but it could be the lack of supper power. Tried out the ERG along with some Zwift rides / races and it’s real quiet and responsive. The first ride I took, the bike started to rock a bit and there was a clicking noise. I looked it over and turns out that the factory installed default dropout spacing were a loosing up. I used an allen wrench tightened both sides up and no issues after that. The power tracks with my Quarq so I’m happy about that. I’m happy with the product so far.

    • Rampi

      Tengo el H3 desde hace un mes aproximadamente y ha empezado a hacer ruido en pendientes pronunciadas, al hacer fuerza y con poca cadencia, parece como si patinara la correa. Por otro lado he comprobado que da mas potencia de la que corresponde, lo calibro con Rouvy, no se si esto tiene algo que ver.
      Un saludo a todos.

    • Bez

      Chad, just to be clear, this is to resolve the knocking noise that folks said they were getting on down stroke? Thanks

    • Chad McNeese

      I don’t really know if the “knock” and belt slip noise are totally connected (ore even the same thing described differently by different people). I haven’t gotten a unit myself, so I am going on 2nd hand info. The two I have seen report either fixing the wheel themselves or getting one that was fixed by Saris seem to fix the “problem” AFAIK.

    • GH

      I had too had the a clunk / knock sounds as well. Turned out it’s just the default dropout spacers that were not fully tightened from the factory. They were noticeably lose upon inspection and the fix was just an allen wrench and regular wrench to tighten up the spacers on both sides. If it loosens up again, I’ll just use a touch of Lock-tight and secure it that way. But I don’t think that will be needed. The owners manual shows how to do it if you don’t know what to do.

    • Robert McMillan

      Thanks so much for this. Took my bike off and the cassette was tight on the cassette body but the body what’s rocking back and forth about half an inch. It’s amazing that my bike shifted perfectly with that going on. Tightened both spacers what’s an allen wrench and all is solid now. Other than that is a great product. Especially when it was on sale.

    • Stephen Collins

      Turns out my dropout spacers were also quite loose, so I tightened them up as advised. It’s made a huge different. I can still get some knocking sounds out of the machine but it has to be fairly bouncy pedaling at low resistance now. Normal TR workouts aren’t causing it to make the noise any more.

  32. Narak

    OK I’m a very weak rider, could anyone tell me that if there is any problem to ride at a very low wattage on the H3, like 100w? Btw, I have a kickr 2018 and always have a hard time to try to ride at a decent cadence like 90 rpm at erg mode. Often times I can only do 60/70, what am I doing wrong? TIA everyone.

    • Chad McNeese

      If possible, try using lower gearing. Maybe you are using the big ring? If so, try the small ring to see if that get you low enough.

      Some people with lower FTP’s need to shift down to get lower resistance overall or for recovery intervals in ERG.

    • Narak

      Thanks so much for the reply, I will definitely implement your suggestions and play around with the gearing. Oftentimes i was in small ring but I reckon there must be something I did incorrectly thus causing me had to overgear all the time. Thank you!

  33. Jason

    Sooo Saris H3 or Kickr smart plus kickr climb? Please tell me the kickr climb isn’t worth it..

  34. Jared

    Any updates on the MP1?

    • One was apparently shipped to me last week, though is first going to the distribution warehouse here in the Netherlands, and then re-forwarded to me. My guess is I’ll see it this week or next.

    • Jared

      Thanks. I can’t wait to hear. I’m debating buying the MP1 and keeping my Neo 2 or buying the Kickr Bike. Part of me thinks I should just keep the Neo 2 and wait until next season for the bike.

  35. Zola

    Trying to decide between Kickr18, 2T or H3. Im 230 lbs. Never had a smart trainer but want to do Zwift and maybe Sufferfes, and can see me grinding slowly up hill. My buddies are using older Kickrs but I’m afraid of the breakdowns with the new ones. I like teh idea of the movement of the 2T but does it feel good (Road feel). H3 has that big flywheel which seems idea and I’ve not seen a lot of complaints on it. Any idea which one would be better?

  36. Tony Truong

    So is this trainer compatible with SRAM red AXS 12 speed cassette or not? Why does their website say it is compatible?

    link to saris.com

    *** Works with Hammer, H2 and H3 trainers
    *** For use with SRAM RED and Force eTap AXS™ 12 speed groups on Saris direct drive trainers

    • Check out this portion of the thread: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Folks went back and forth on it a bunch. However, perhaps something has changed in the last 60 days. Might be worth contacting Saris support again.

    • Tony Truong

      So heard back from Saris.


      Thanks for reaching out. With the XDr freehub driver, the Hammer/H2/H3 is compatible with AXS 12 speed road groups. The Trek Segrafredo team has been using this set up all summer for their warm ups.

      However, this does not work for any 12 speed mountain bike groups.
      Please let us know if you have any further questions!

    • Alex

      Have you done this and can you confirm the axs 12spd road group works?

  37. Sathya

    At $999 this appeared to be a better value than Tacx Neo Series products and Wahoo KIKR. Furthermore Wahoo KIKR is not available in Amazon. It is at that moment that I noticed that Amazon is selling this for $887. Any insights into the price drop? When I see Kinetic drop the price on their trainers I have some sense given my personal experience with their trainers? Is there something similar happening with this product?

    • Nah, that’s just a single company selling on Amazon that’s discounted it for whatever reason, it’s not an across the board price change, which is a good indicator of when Saris themselves has changed the price versus a one-off retailer.

    • Tony Truong

      I picked up the H3 for $799 last week from an online retailer.. They had it on sale for gold members at $899, and when I asked for a price match of the previous months 20% off discount, they gave it!… not bad,..

      Unfortunately, I upgraded from the Hammer (H1) and I barely notice a difference…

    • GH

      Yep, picked one (H3) up around black Friday with a price match from the REI $799 price. I am very happy with the trainer so far. It has been solid so far. Just make sure it’s not one of the older ones being moved to make room for the H3 as it were.

    • Sathya

      Thank you for your prompt response. I am trying to make a decision between Wahoo KiKR/Wahoo KIKR code/Saris H3. and I have been reading your detailed reviews. I prefer to make a purchase in Amazon. I saw reports of noise for Saris H3 (link to smartbiketrainers.com) and took that into account when I posted this inquiry. I have experienced prolonged frustration with Kinetic trainers and I am trying to make a more informed decision this time.

    • GH

      I too made the decision to go with the H3 because I didn’t want to send trainers back like we hear from the Wahoo saga. For the price, this was a much better option for me than the Neo. Noise, it’s much much quieter than the fluid trainer I was using and the fan is now louder than the trainer so I don’t hear the trainer now. I’ve never had any slipping sounds like some have talked about but sounds like a slight change in manufacturing has eliminated that issues now. I did have a clunking sound in the first few rides but that turned out to be the factory installed dropout spacers not being very tight and a quick tightening of the spacers and no more clunking sound. I’m sure the KiKR is nice and works for most people and the Neo sounds like a great option as well. But in the end, for the price and features I was looking for, I feel very comfortable and happy with what I have.

    • Randolph Scott

      I´m in the same boat as you. How do you like your H3? How well does it work in zwift sim mode and racing?

    • GH

      Randolph, It works great for Zwift. That’s what I use it for about 5 days a week. I have not used all the trainers like Ray but would have to say it is much better then the power meter & dumb trainer combo I had been on for a few years. Going up hill, more resistance and then down, less. Keeping the cadence up helps but that is no different from the fluid trainer I was on. Not sure how many people use the cobble vibration mode on the the Neo, as that’s the main difference in features I could see, which didn’t justify the extra expense at this point for me. I race a good deal and think it helps with the feel of the terrain changes, so there can be micro rests as I go down hills and feel the hills as it were. I do find that a little burst of power as the incline goes up helps to maintain the cadence and speed up the hills, but that’s true IRL as well.

    • Randolph Scott

      GH thanks for the answer. I have a wahoo snap v1, but that broke. Also it had 3-5 second delays in zwift, so group rides and zwift races were impossible.
      I bought a Elite Direto X a month ago, but i’m not too crazy about it. It kind of feels like riding through mud, and you can never get on top of the gear. Unless your going very easy. It also for short hills very often does not match the resistance on screen. It might shift to 5% before the hill, so everyone is going fast, and your going up hill.

      I don’t trust Wahoo with their defect rate, so like you, looked at the Saris H3. How is the noise level?

      Cheers,
      Randolph

    • GH

      Noise level is good. If it’s just the trainer, I hear the chain. The fan is much louder then the trainer. But I use music when I ride so I don’t notice the trainer noise at all. I know what you are saying about getting on top of the gears. With the H3, I do feel like I can get ahead of the gears even going up a hill as long as I keep the cadence around 85-90 RPMs.

    • Randolph Scott

      Sorry, i think I explained it wrong. My mistake:-)
      Instead of saying on top of the gear. I meant to say, with the Direto it always feels like i’m pushing through Resistance, even on the flats. It kind of feels like your always going up hill, as opposed to smoothly pedaling on the flats.

      Thanks to your advice, i’m going to order a H3 tomorrow.
      Cheers ,
      Randolph

    • Morgan Owens

      GH is the cadence accuracy a problem or has a firmware update solved that for you? Or do you use your power meter for cadence measurement?

    • GH

      Morgan, I don’t find it all that much of an issue. Because Zwift is about power that’s what matters. I will sometimes notice it’s off (runs a bid low) for a couple of sec in a low cadence situation like 50RPMs to a 90RPMs burst but who does that anyway. I use the power meter to the Garmin head unit and they are almost always about the same. I suppose I could use the power meter cadence to Zwift but just never have done that. For a ~30 min race yesterday, with a rough comparison my Quarq Power meter showed 86RPM and the H3 was 87RPM average. The lines are almost exactly the same.

    • Morgan Owens

      There’s a killer deal on Amazon at the moment which hopefully isn’t too good to be true for one reason or another. Hope it works out, thank you for the response.

  38. Tim Smith

    Hi,
    Question on non-drive side chain stay clearance. I’ve got a Neo 2 and my wife’s 51cm P4 has such narrow chainstay clearance that I cannot put it on the neo- it hits the plastic housing that is one step below the silver metal billet piece.
    From what I can see in pictures, the h3 seems to have a narrower frame but it’s hard to be sure. Same question for the kickr, although I like the price of the h3 better.
    Can you comment? There is not a shop around me that stocks it.

  39. Randolph Scott

    Hi Ray,

    I have a question for you or anyone else. I bought a Saris H3 and after riding it I noticed the Scraping sound on pedaling hard from a stop or slow speeds. The scrape that goes a away once you get your cadence up. I also noticed that it also vibrated on the downstroke which I wasn’t very happy with. It was however surprisingly quiet. The manufacture date was oct 9 2019

    Saris sent me a replacement H3. This one does not have the scraping sound like the first one did. It does however vibrate much worse than the first one. The vibration get pretty bad once your speed is over 20mph. It is also much louder than the first one was. I have checked to make sure my cassette is installed correctly, and that is not the problem. The manufacture date on the second one is nov.19. 2019.

    Have you or has anyone else had any problems with their trainer?

    Randolph

    • GH

      Randolph, did you check the dropout spacers. It takes an Allen wrench to tighten them. My H3 had more of a clunking type sounds so it may be different, but that was the issue. It’s one thing simple to try. The owners manual will show you what to do tighten them if you are not sure. (See above for the longer original post)

    • Randolph

      I gave it a try. The drive side was tight enough. The non-drive side was slightly loose, so I tightened it. It helped a little bit, but it still vibrates like hell. I can’t even ride it in the house with the baby sleeping because it vibrates enough to wake her up in the next room.

      So I have now tried 2 Saris H3´s, and neither worked right. They said they would send a 3rd, but i´m kind of losing hope with finding a working smart trainer.

      Randolph

    • GH

      Randolph, I would say the 3rd may be the charm. It should be smooth and not wake the baby. Clearly you have something off on the first two attempts. You may want to ask them to check the one they are sending you before they ship it just to make sure it’s up to QA standards. Let us know what happens.

    • Randolph Scott

      I do have an update.

      I put a new ultegra cassette on the trainer, and cleaned and oiled the chain. There is still no difference.
      I finally got on my knees and spun up the flywheel by turning the pedals by hand, and I can hear a scraping on every rotation of the flywheel. I Put it a smaller gear, unplugged the trainer, then pedaled up the speed, and took the bike off of the trainer while the flywheel was still turning quickly. That way i’m removing the bike from the equation. Doing this it still scraped on every revolution of the flywheel. I couldn’t hear it over the noise of the drive train when I was riding, but off the bike I can hear it. I’m guessing this is the culprit of the vibrations.

      I spoke to saris, and they are sending me another H3 to try. They were so nice I kind of felt guilty (unlike the horrible customer service I received from Wahoo). Hopefully the third time is the charm, because I don’t trust wahoo to buy one of there trainers.

  40. Kenny Massa

    Has anyone had issues with the H3 spinning out? Ex. Hard effort from an up hill to the down hill. With the hard effort still applied, the flywheel just takes off and the watts drop. One has to wait till it ramps all the way down before it starts acting normal-ish..

    • Randolph Scott

      I have had 3 H3s and the second one I had when you would first start pedaling would slip, and then a second later the flywheel would catch up.

      But worse than the flywheel spinning out, all 3 have vibrated through the belt when you pedaled hard. Kind of like the feeling of riding on destroyed bearings, or teeth slipping.

  41. Gianluca

    Hi all,
    I would like to get this trainer.
    Can someone tell me if it is possible to create a structured ERG mode workout using the Saris app (the elite, tacx and wahoo apps allow this)?
    As I usually use ERG mode, so I would like to avoid paying a monthly fee to zwift, trainer road etc….
    Thanks

    • Chad McNeese

      The Saris app can only set an ERG resistance level manually, in the moment. It cannot be used to create or run a workout.

      There are at least a couple of free workout player options like Golden Cheetah, ERGVideo, Hurts ERGO seem to be current ones, but I am likely missing others.

  42. Anthony Barron

    I just replaced my Elite Direto with the H3… and I am very disappointed with this lag issue. It’s around 3 seconds on Zwift over ANT which really screws you up on small ascents when racing, for example, Crit City and it’s small rollers. When I’m going downhill, the trainer is at 3% resistance and when I’m going uphill it’s at -3%. It really messes with your mind.

    You say it’s a small niggle… it isn’t if you’re racing. I’m usually the last on the power in a quick climb and I’m the last off the power which creates an unwanted surge to the front. I just don’t want that.

    I recommend that lag issues are seen as more important. I may go back to the Direto.

    Thoughts appreciated.

    • Randolph Scott

      Anthony that is a strange one. I had the Direto X and returned it for a similar reason. The trainer would increase tension for a hill 3 seconds before a hill, and release tension 3 seconds before the top of a hill. What that meant is that If I was in a race going hard, all of sudden i was going up hill when the others with me were still on flat ground. It would cause me to instantly get dropped.

      I have not had the delay problems you described, and I have been through 3 H3s for slipping belt issues.

      Good luck

    • Anthony Barron

      Thanks for this. Useful as I almost bought the direto x!!

      Want to buy a new H3?!

    • Randolph Scott

      Actually, would you like to buy a H3, none of the problems you described, but a vibrating belt as you pedal hard? Lol

  43. Mike

    Just wondering if with the cadence issue, one can pair existing cadence sensors instead? I guess this may depend on the Virtual Ride software being used, but would figure this would be a relatively expensive way to remedy the situation prior to the firmware being fixed.

    • Chad McNeese

      In short, Yes.

      In detail, that is more about the app you are pairing with, and making sure to select the separate cadence sensor as the source for your cadence information, in the device pairing screen.

  44. HairyBiker

    Hi Ray,

    I have to say I’m not as happy with the H3 as you have been.
    The first one made such a racket it went back in the box after just 5 minutes of warm-up and was promptly replaced by the shop I bought it from.
    That second H3 exhibits a strange behavior: decreasing cadence at a constant power. During a 20min. sweetspot interval the cadence kept going down while power stayed at 262W.
    I’m using a Sigma Rox 12.0, Garmin Vector 3 pedals and the trainer is controlled by the Android app Indoor Cycling Workout.
    Would any one of these cause interference or something similar?

    • RE: Sound

      Yeah, that sounds like some of the earlier units they had issues with here and there. I believe that’s solved (or supposed to be).

      RE: Cadence decrease.

      That looks like it’s probably more a ‘this interval hurts’ type of things. 😉 Meaning, it’s pretty natural for most people in 20min intervals to see cadence slowing down. I certainly do as my legs tire. If you’ve got another cadence source to compare against, that’d be ideal. If you do and you see one stay the same while other other goes down – then that’s cause for concern for sure.

    • HairyBiker

      Cheers for the reply Ray!
      Fair enough, I’m certainly no superman!
      But wouldn’t it be more logical for power to drop as well if it was exhaustion? Or doesn’t it work that way in ERG mode?

    • Indeed, in ERG mode the trainer controls power to maintain whatever level it’s set at. So if you set it for 250w, it’ll hold that – no matter if you’re at 120RPM or 80RPM. It basically says “I don’t care what you’re doing cadence/gearing-wise, I’m holding this wattage hell or high water!”

      In fact, in the ‘olden days’ of smart trainers, one could get themselves into a ‘death sprial’ whereby if you let cadence slip too much (say down to 60RPM), you could find yourself in a pickle that you couldn’t get out of. The trainers would overpower you and your cadence would eventually drop down to a standstill. These days trainers are much better (and more powerful to hold high power at low cadence).

    • HairyBiker

      Thank you Ray, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these question!

    • anthony barron

      Can you describe the sound? I get a loud internal clicking sound only when the trainer is warm.

      The place I bought it from (outdoor play) will not take a return so I’m on my own. Considering opening the unit, but the sound doesn’t seem to affect performance…

  45. Artyom Romanov

    Hi Ray, folks,
    Has anyone tried using this trainer on an Android device, in Zwift, connecting via Bluetooth?

    It seems that ERG mode just doesn’t work in this particular setup. It works in other apps (TrainerRoad, etc.), it works when connecting to a PC using the same Android phone as a “bridge” (Zwift companion app). It works very, very well in all setups, EXCEPT the following:

    ZWIFT, ran directly on an ANDROID device, connect via BLUETOOTH, try ERG ON.
    (it will show on screen “as if” ERG is ON, but it will behave like a stupid trainer)

    Many thanks!

    • Artyom Romanov

      Seems like a persistent bug
      I have posted this to a “Saris Owners Group” on Facebook and another guy managed to reproduce it (Samsung Android device).
      I also went to the local shop that had an H3 demo unit and tried with my phone (Huawei) – same thing.
      I even asked the guy working in store to try it with his phone (OnePlus) – same thing.
      And I have also posted this on Zwift Forums where one guy already responded that he has same problem.

      I wrote to both Saris and Zwift supports – let’s see..

  46. Kevin

    New issue today with my H3 (aside from the scraping noise during every acceleration) – about 30 minutes into a zwift race, the trainer shut off, lights on it went out and no power transmitting to zwift. Unplugged it, plug back in, came back to life. Race was obviously over. Anyone else had this issue? There was no power surge, and the green light on the power plug was still on, just the lights on the trainer were out…..

  47. Brian

    @ DCRainmaker, how did you ever get the trainer power reading to match your power meters’ readings?

    I’ve done numerous calibrations, but my H3 is massively under-reporting power, and massively overusing its resistance relative to two different pedal based power meters. It only gets progressively worse as the power rises–it takes over 500w from me to match the trainer asking for 375w, for instance.

    Waiting for an answer from Rouvy/Saris, but maybe there’s something obvious i’m missing?

  48. C.A.

    I live in the UK and I’ve just received a replacement trainer today after only having received trainer no. 1 six days ago. Before getting into the issues I can say that it rides well with great road feel and no power and cadence issues when comparing live data with my Power2Max. BUT:

    About 6 hours into doing the Full PRL 174km route on Zwift it started developing a loud knocking noise inside as if something had come loose and randomly banging against the casing. Performance did not change and everything was fine. Following the ride I found a comment in this review pointing to a loose hub spacer possibly being the cause. I checked this and found the one on the drive side completely loose which I tightened. The noise had gone for the next ride but only to reappear on the 2nd harder ride 55 mins in. This time the spacer was still tight.

    Second issue and worrying was that the rear on the trainer where it lays on the ground was not level. It seemed the chassis was warped and keeping the rear right corner off the ground when the legs were extended and feet adjusted to compensate for the lean to the right – on level floor. Having one corner off the floor would cause the trainer to rock when riding at a mid-range pace. Solution was to put a wedge under the corner.

    The packaging of trainer no. 1 had a date of Nov 19 stamped on the side. The new trainer had a date in Mar 20 stamped and seems to sit flat on the ground. I am yet to ride it but hope that being a batch from March that the knocking noise is gone. Will keep you posted.

    • Anthony

      I’ve had the knocking sound, only after it’s really warm. Sometimes it was a few per rotation and sometimes it was almost constant. Saris replaced it.

      I can say that I’m confident that it’s not unsafe and I think it’s unlikely that it impacts performance.

      I think this is well reported so it’s strange that this is not fixed.

      I will say that the support from was good in the end.

      Good luck!

    • Steve

      @C.A how did you get on with new one? I have purchased a Mar20 batch (UK based) – 6 hours in on Zwift regular controllable and Erg mode TR, I have the “death knock”….My drivetrain and all bike parts are clean as a whistle and tightened, as is the cassette, so it’s 100% the trainer. I’ve flagged with Saris and Sigma where I purchased. Will be interesting to hear how you got on and I’ll see what they say on my side. I still Need to try the dropout spacer thing mentioned by others here. Other than the click and knock that gets louder as power is laid down, the feel, shifting and erg mode performance seems very fluid.

    • C.A.

      @Steve You need to check what date is manually stamped in the side of the carton next near the serial number. My first one has a November date and the replacement is stamped March 2020 while a friend of mine received his last week also stamped March. I obtained from Sigma and I emailed a video of the knocking sound to their warranty department who were very helpful. I’ve done about 6 hours including a 3.5 hour ride and so far so good. Good luck.

    • Steve

      Cheers Claude 🙌. Yeah I’ve got a Mar26 2020. Just tightened drive and non-drive dropout spacers as suggested by people in the comments thread, so will try again tomorrow. Otherwise will see what Saris and Sigma suggest. That’s great news re your experience. Hope it continues. 🙂

    • P.L

      I got mine from Sigma a couple of weeks back – the blue ink stamp on the box is for March 25th 2020. I’ve done a good few hours on it now – including some high end sprints, a 1.5 hour under/over session and Alpe du Zwift at the weekend. So far all is well, no knocking noise and I like the really smooth transitions. I’ve yet to try it out on some of the Trainer Road VO2 sessions which have short/sharp intervals (30 secs) but I might not use ‘erg’ mode for these. Overall I’m really happy with it and I think it looks way better than the Wahoo range – it means business. A few things I’ve noticed –
      1. My bike has disc brakes and I’m using a Shimano 105 11 speed cassette. Despite instructions to the contrary, I could only get the dropouts onto the trainer by placing the 35 adapter on the non-drive side (instructions say to put this on the drive side). It just took me a while to figure this out!
      2. I echo what C.A has said – when I sprint or get out of the saddle and push hard there is a tiny lean towards the drive side as you drive doen with your right foot. I’m not sure where this is coming from though as the unit is rock solid and firmly planted to the ground. I suspect it is the ‘law of the lever’ in action. It wouldn’t put me off but it bothers me slightly that I haven’t worked out where its coming from
      3. The Saris app is cr*p, I calibrate it with either TrainerRoad or Rouvy. Zwift also has issues with calibration, but that is a Zwift issue, not a Saris issue (I just calibrate on TrainerRoad first…. when I remember)
      Overall though I love it, its a beast. The difference with my previous trainer (Cyclops Super Magneto) is incomparable. It’s way more realistic and I find my workouts are harder (perhaps because the Trainer seems to produce resistance through the full pedal stroke or something??). I have Powertap pedals so I haven’t done an exact comparison of .fit files but from a visual comparison whilst riding the power seems consistent with my pedals.

    • C.A.

      You can eliminate the lean bias to the right (drive side) by putting a small wedge under the rear right corner of the unit and lengthening the adjustment of the right foot to make it more stable. I haven’t bothered as I am not a sprinter.

      I did a 3.5 hour session on Sunday and had no knocking issues. I also discovered that I can comfortably listen to music from my laptop speakers without the need for headphones.

  49. Mike Miller

    I want the newsletter

  50. chris benten

    I purchased the H3 via REI and their 20% off.

    Exchanged for another when the power connector crapped out. I shipped the replacement to the store but due to CV19 they would not take the bad one (PS only issue) back so I now have two.

    Both exhibit the “knocking” issue that i have come across online. If I pedal smoothly it disappears but uneven pedaling due to increased watt draw it comes around. Any new ideas on this?

    Second issue has happened once. Doing Zwift and doing the main Mountain loop with the climb to the tower. I ride in the garage and it was ~90 F (big fan on me) and I did ~200 watts on the main climb. For pitch up to the tower I have to stand and I was doing ~250 watts. About 2/3 of the way the resistance suddenly gave way and max wattage was ~180 no matter what gearing. After a couple of minutes the resistance came back but soon cut out for the rest of the climb. Partway down the resistance came back (hit 900 watts on little rise 1/3 of the way down). I assume this issue is overheating protection but wanted to make sure.

    Any ideas on either of these issues? Really other than the knocking and cheap connector cable I really like the units.

    I have had ZERO response from Saris despite multiple emails. I am very tempted to return and replace with a Kickr or Kickr Core.

    Any ideas appreciated. Thanks, chris

  51. Chris Benten

    Firmware is up to date (I updated a couple of weeks ago)
    Non-drive side spacer was loose so tightened it down

    Knocking is better but still exists; primarily when the effort is lessoned: say going from a 200-250 watt effort and then easing into 100-120 watt…as the H3 ramps down with no resistance on the pedals the knocking occurs. Note I do not hear a knocking (earphones on) but feel it in the pedals. It rotates between left/right pedals at different times so not a pedal/crankarm issue and the bottom bracket feels tight but admittedly has not been serviced in a few years. I need to check my other H3 which had both spacers loose.

    • PoorPossum

      See here: link to youtu.be

      As per video – I don’t think the knock (assuming your symptoms are the same as mine) are harmful in any way. You can try a fix, as suggested in the video or at least research in a similar way.

      I think tightening the spacers will have a load effect on the inner bearings, but will not solve the root cause.

    • chris benten

      Thanks for the video. Check it out this evening.

    • Chris Benten

      Watched the video. Thanks for making. Not sure I am willing to disassemble to that degree. I do not think mine knocks to that degree and is lessened once I tightened the end caps…at least on one unit. Still need to check the other one. I feel it mostly when unloading the watts such as hitting the top of a hill and not shifting to a bigger gear.

      What I really want is the email address of the Saris person you interacted with as they have yet to respond to my inquiries going back to April.

    • poorpossum

      Makes sense. Tightening the right cap will increase load on the two bearings which I think are causing the sound, bit it won’t fix the issue.

      I checked and the address is simply support@saris.com. Tech’s name was Peter. Sorry I can’t help more. Perhaps in the end you will open it. It’s not that hard.