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Saris MP1 Nfinity Motion Platform In-Depth Review

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It’s been a year and a half since we got our first glimpses of the now named Saris MP1 platform. Back then, Saris was called CycleOps, and the platform didn’t even have a name. It was just dubbed “The Thing” (for real). But here we are in early 2020 and ‘The Thing’ is now shipping and finds itself in people’s training caves around the world.

The MP1 (an acronym for Motion Platform 1) is designed as a new take on rocker plates. The concept of adding motion to indoor training is hardly new. Kinetic has been doing it for years with their Rock and Roll series of trainer products (and more recently their R1 trainer). Atop that there’s a vibrant community of enthusiasts and smaller companies that have made home-built platforms and beyond to varying degrees of success.

Still, there’s little question that the MP1 is different than the rest – perhaps namely, its forward and back movement. Or, maybe its $1,199 price tag. Or that it came from one of the major trainer companies.

No matter the case, I’m here to figure out how well it works and whether or not it’s worth it. If you want to dive right into the video, simply press play below. It’s useful in this review due to how much of the product is about movement.

Finally, note that Saris did send over a media loaner for me to poke at. Once I wrap up this review I’ll let them figure out the fun logistics of getting it back to them. If you found this review useful, hit up the links at the end of the post. With that, onwards!

Unboxing:

Before we can unbox this beast, we need to start with getting this beast to the right place – since it was accidentally delivered to my home, and not the DCR Cave. So for that, I loaded up the platform into the cargo bike on a nice windy morning in Amsterdam, strapped The Peanut #2 to the back, and set out for a ride across town.

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Oh, and because (just because), I decided to add another sail to the bike, this in the form of a table that also went to the wrong place. See, now we’re set:

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The only caveat with this setup is that I didn’t fully think through the rotation radius of the handlebars, so…umm…I couldn’t exactly turn left very quickly. I was like a large cruise ship trying to make right turns. Thankfully, I only have three right turns to make on my route.

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Still, got it down to the DCR Cave in one piece, and P2 had a fun time too.

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With that, it was time to get it unboxed. Technically the unit came in a shell box (that you see above), and then inside of that was the prettier Saris MP1 box that you see below:

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You’ll place it on the floor and then open it up to unbox it. If you place it in what you think will be the most logical manner, you’ll find that it’s actually upside-down. Thus, apparently the correct side of the box is the other side.

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Next, remove some of the stuffs around the platform. The platform itself comes fully assembled. The only things you’ll add are the straps and wheel braces. So your job here is just getting the platform freed of the box.

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While it’s somewhat heavy, it’s not as bad as you’d think actually. The platform weighs 62lbs/28kg by itself (which, actually isn’t that much more than most 20-23KG trainers).

Next, remove some of the accessory bits. This is ultimately what you’re left with:

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You’ve got two paper things, a cleaning cloth, two straps, two riser blocks, and one wheel block. Easy peasy!

See, that was simple, wasn’t it?

Assembly & Compatibility:

The first thing to know is that yes, it’s likely compatible with your non-Saris/CycleOps trainer. In fact, Saris has an entire website dedicated to letting you not only look-up compatibility, but also the optimal placement for that trainer on the MP1.

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With that FAQ question out of the way, let’s talk about the basics (don’t worry, we’ll get back to compatibility later).

The back half of the platform has four main channels in it, plus two front wheel channels and two rear channels near the back of the platform. These channels are where you’ll attach two straps to keep your trainer on the platform. Depending on the exact trainer, you’ll use some combination of the inner and outer channels.

For example, take the Saris H3 trainer. For this unit you’ll use the inner ride-side channel, with the outer left-side channel:

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The reason being that the general goal of the platform is to keep your bike on the centerline. Whereas different trainers distribute the weight in different places, albeit, usually to the left of the bike.

The straps attach by a funky little mechanism that slides into the rail at one end, and then has these little notches the entire length of the rail:

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Once you find the right spot, you’ll tighten the bolt part, and then use the Velcro on the trainer:

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In any event, the front wheel is somewhat similar in implementation. They’ve included a wheel-block that keeps your front wheel from wobbling about. Technically speaking this isn’t 100% required, but it can feel a bit weird during sprints without it (I tried, for fun). I’d recommend using it.

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Just be sure when doing the straps that the metal bits are positioned on the side of your wheels, and not right at the center/peak of your wheels (which would be bad rubbage).

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With that, you’re done and ready to roll…err…rock..err…rock and roll. Oh wait – one more thing. There’s two riser plates. These are for the front wheel, and allow you to increase the stack height of the wheel. Some people do this because they’ve got a smaller wheel on a taller trainer so this positions the bike level, and other people do it to simulate climbing.DSC_2479 DSC_2687

I didn’t need/want either, but you do you.

Now – let’s say you’re adventurous, and want to do another trainer. No problem, you can do so. As noted, the Saris site has guidelines for plenty of popular trainers.

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So, for fun, here’s what a Wahoo KICKR looks like:

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Then a Tacx NEO 2T:

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Then the Elite Suito:

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And finally, the Kinetic R1 trainer:

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There wasn’t actually a guide for the Kinetic R1. I just freestyled it. Which, is roughly what it’s like when you combine a rocking trainer with a rock and roll plate. I’d strongly recommend against it, fwiw. I tried riding it. It was oddly actually ok feeling while sprinting (not great, but passable), but was totally wonky just riding steadily. Obviously, having two platforms double-move is bad-bad. But I had to try it for science.

Oh, wait, one more bit of sketch: The Wahoo KICKR + a Wahoo CLIMB:

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Yes, this wasn’t ideal. I had to roll my own strap combo by re-using the front block system and sticking the two ends together. The challenge here is that the KICKR CLIMB actually pivots on the base. So the straps have to have enough give to allow that pivot, which means it’s just loosey-goosey in certain positions. Plus, the alignment means the CLIMB sits a bit funky on the front metal channels.

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Somewhat interestingly, the first Saris/CycleOps prototype platform actually did work better with the KICKR CLIMB, because there was no narrow front end. When they narrowed it out (for logical reasons, namely to make it more usable indoors), it reduced the room for the CLIMB. Anyway, no biggie. Technically speaking I suspect someone could come up with a better mount for it, then you’d be mostly ok again.

In any event, what about an indoor bike you say? No problem. Here’s the Wahoo KICKR Bike:

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But, I should probably mention that on Saris’s site, they don’t recommend this. Obviously, I made it my goal to ignore this advice. All of it.

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I actually did an entire workout that way. It’s a…umm…unique experience. The motion largely felt fine, but this feels super high up, especially when the KICKR CLIMB portion goes up.

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Oh, and in case you’re curious – the max weight of the platform is 350lbs/159kg, which was technically enough for me and the KICKR Bike to bobble along safely within spec.

Meanwhile, the Tacx NEO Bike didn’t really fit, with the front end teetering over the edge:

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Nor did the Wattbike Atom:

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Ok, enough fun for now. Let’s get onto normal use.

How it works and usage:

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Before we talk the horizontal shuffle, we’re going to talk something even more exciting: Grip tape.

Yup, the platform has anti-slip grippy stuff placed in just about every area that you’d either place your feet to step, or place a trainer. All of which is in the name of minimizing a slip.

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And it works great in that sense. Though, I’m guessing that if you spilled a bunch of nutrition gel (or a piece of pizza upside-down), it’d probably be hell to clean versus a more wipeable surface. You’ll have to do that test on your own – my supply of cleaning and sanitizing tools is reserved for more important tasks these days.

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However, to spoil a bit of this review, about the only thing I’m not a fan of on this platform is the wood look. It’s just a personal preference thing, but it’s not my cup of tea for my training cave. For others, it might fit in great. Also, while the birch wood (it’s real wood) is treated to resist sweat, I can’t help but wonder how long it’ll hold up after years of abuse. It could be just perfectly fine, but I can’t test/review that one way or the other

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With the boring stuff out of the way, the platform moves in two core directions: Front/back movement, and side to side tiling.

In the case of front/back movement, the platform is essentially rolling on a shallowly curved metal track. The harder you move the further you go. Here’s a nifty little animated GIF showing that movement as I rock it back and forth:

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But by having the curved nature of it, it takes more effort to move it further, since your body + trainer + platform weight wants to drive the rollers back to the center point.

In many ways, this front/back movement is really the secret ingredient over most rocker plates that just tilt left/right. It means that every pedal stroke generates 3D movement – front/back as well as tilting side to side.

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Note though that it does not tilt front/back however (as seen in the animated GIF above). In total, the track allows you to move 24cm/9.5” forward, or 24cm/9.5” backwards from the center point.

Next is the tilting motion, which is side to side. What’s happening below is that the entire platform is actually tilting on a single piece of metal. Here are the three main positions – all the way down right, centered, and all the way down left:

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You can also see the little rollers on the underside of the platform as well here in the back, thus, there are actually four different rolling points on the trainer (one front, two sides, one center).

In the side to side tilting motion vector the platform tilts up to 6° at the base of the platform, which is most easily seen when I stand on one edge:

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Out of curiosity, I then placed the level up higher – on my saddle. Would that result in any greater tilt angle (given the higher altitude)? Not really, it recorded 7° there:

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To my satisfaction, this tilt didn’t result in any lack of stability in getting on the bike, or tipsiness while using it. In fact, I tried to tip it – and can’t. Which isn’t to say that a person with more creativeness (or balls) won’t figure out a way. But I leaned as far as I could towards the wall while on the bike and couldn’t get it to tip.

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Also, I stood on one side and pulled the bike towards me, and couldn’t get it to tip over without jerking the entire platform with me.

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Cow-tipping aside, what does the side to side feel like for riding? Well, it’s good…as long as you’re not sprinting. See, for each pedal stroke you make you’ll get a bit of that side to side movement. It’ll feel natural at this level, because it’s not overly dramatic. That movement is good.

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However, where things get a bit messier on the MP1 (and every other rocker plate) is sprints. In this scenario, the movements indoors on the rocker plates (and MP1) are opposite what happens outdoors. See, outdoors when you’re right foot/leg goes down, your bike/body will naturally lean to the left. But on a rocker plate by default, the opposite happens, the bike leans right – it’s hard to see it in a still shot like below, but super easy to see in the video at the start of the post.

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As anyone in the rocker plate community or industry will quickly remind you, you can fix this by ‘learning’ how to sprint indoors on a rocker plate, which roughly involves using your arms to counterbalance. And that’s OK– to an extent.

I think it’s completely fine that the experience of sprinting indoors is different on a rocker plate than the real world. Just like racing a crit in Zwift is different in various ways than racing a crit outside. There are things you must account for inside in Zwift that you don’t account for outside. And vice versa. So, if one wants to learn how to sprint properly indoors – that’s totally cool.

However, where I have an issue is when a company/individual represents a rocker plate product as being “just like outdoors”. Which, it isn’t. That newly learned skill to sprint/climb indoors won’t translate outdoors – because your body already knows how to ride a bike outdoors (hopefully). Thankfully, Saris hasn’t actually made any claims like that here. They’ve been open about the fact that there are differences between those two.

And again – don’t misunderstand me: Go forth (if you want) and learn how to sprint on a rocker plate. I have zero issues with that. Just don’t tell other people that they “need” to learn how to do that. Got it? Good.

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So about now you might be asking – why bother with movement at all? Aside from a cool-factor, what does it actually do? Well, in short, it keeps your butt happy and forces your core to work more. Those micro-movements the platform provides means that your contact points (primarily your butt onto the saddle) are constantly adjusting, just like they would outside on the real road. As a result, the impact to longer trainer rides is more significant.

For ‘fun’, earlier this week I did a 2hr 10min trainer ride. Just because.

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And upon stepping off that trainer ride, my butt was basically just like ‘shrug, no big deal’. Not because I do long trainer rides often (nope, this is by far the longest I’ve been on a trainer in a single session in years) – but I’m guessing because of some of that movement.

Did I back that up with a bunch of secondary non-platform 2hr and 10min rides? Nope – I’ve got better things to do than sit on a trainer again for 2 hours. But again, you do you.

Saris has shown studies they did with Trek on this concept (specifically the contact point hot spots and differences) at past media events where they talked about the MP1. I’m going to try and get them to publish some of those studies, as I think it’s interesting. [Update: Some of it posted here.]

Until then – I’ll just use my anecdotal evidence that I’d much rather have some slight movement for any long trainer rides than not. Which admittedly is hardly a very new or profound claim – that’s been the case for most trainers for years.

Wrap-Up:

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I don’t think there’s any question in my mind (or really anyone else’s) that the MP1 is a good product. It is. The subtle movement while just riding along is super nice, especially for longer workouts. But even on shorter workouts, that slight bit of movement is much appreciated. I’m going to be sad going back to more stationary situations. More specifically though, I really think the front/back movement is the secret sauce here. Having ridden a handful of other random rocker plates at trade shows/events/etc, they all accomplish some element of side to side movement.

But it’s that normally shallow front/back movement that somewhat completes the 3D aspect of this in your brain. And it’s not moving a lot. While just rolling through intervals in ERG mode, it’s only slightly rocking back and forth (forward/back) a handful of millimeters each direction. But your body notices that. Or at least, my brain does. Of course, the MP1 doesn’t realistically simulate outdoor sprints, but neither does any other rocker plate/platform either.

The primary challenge with the MP1 largely isn’t technical or product based. It’s price. It’s just too darn expensive. At $1,199 the conversation is no longer about the product, it’s about people making jokes about the price. While the same was somewhat true of the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB when it first came out (at half the price – $599), the difference with that trainer accessory is that a large percentage of people (at announcement of price) still said they wanted it. Partially because they liked riding plastic horses in grocery stores, and partially because $599 was still less than the cost of their trainer.  With the MP1, it actually costs more than the Saris H3 smart trainer you might place atop it. Or for that matter is more than the vast majority of trainers on the market (only the Tacx NEO series is more expensive, and the Wahoo KICKR is price-matched at $1,199).

So my hope is that Saris finds a way to get that price closer to the popular KICKR CLIMB ($599 or below). If they can do that, then I think they’ve got a runaway success. Otherwise, I suspect it’s going to be a hard accessory for a lot of people to get approval from their household accounting division – no matter how good it might actually be.

With that – thanks for reading (and good luck with your accounting department appointment)!

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 MP1 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 MP1 Motion Platform
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56 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review, Ray. On the subject of “studies on this concept” we can share this: link to saris.com

    We will share others as they are available.

    • Chad McNeese

      That study is an interesting start, but falls short. The most significant thing missing is a data set for “outside riding” that may serve as the baseline or goal. Rigid is great, MP1 is great, but is anyone really surprised they are different? I know I’m not.

      Without really knowing a goal, can we say that either the Rigid or MP1 are “better”? I know from experience that the motion is better from a comfort and overall use perspective. But in attempting to quantify the realities of motion on trainers (which I happily welcome), I think we need to have at least a comparison to real riding, if not setting parts of that as a goal.

      I would also include testing that isolates left-right rocking, fore-aft surging to see what each offers on its own. Then I’d add rollers into the mix, since they are an option that has been used and includes a level of comfort like the motion trainer, since its not restrained like a rigid trainer.

      I think the posted info is cool, but it’s just a start and should be added to so we can have an even better picture of the training options and how they relate to real riding outside.

    • Mitch W

      Congrats on hitting 8k in the rocker FB group!

    • Chad McNeese

      Much appreciated. It’s a nice milestone to see the growth and progression over the two+ years since we started the group. It’s come a long ways, and we’ve seen a greater expansion in rocker awareness and acceptance since I released my design in November 2017. There was some real skepticism and even pushback from some people back then.

      I’m excited to see the release of every new model from small and large makers, and can’t wait to see how these progress over the next couple of years 😀

    • Thanks Brian-

      I’d love to see some of the bits/slides that were shown to the media groups back at the launch event this summer, as well as I think someone a in 2018. It’s all a bit fuzzy some 9-18 months down the road.

      In any case, I’ve linked that link above where I previously referenced it.

      Cheers.

  2. Chad McNeese

    On the “pedal timing is wrong” topic. I am fine with it. I used to complain about it and point it out for any vids shared in our rocker plate group. But in the end, people are more comfortable and that is the key element that I have realized matters to most rocker users. Realism ranked lower than comfort in all the polls I ran a couple of years ago.

    And if we criticize rockers for their backwards movement, what about the entire lack of movement on typical rigid trainers? There is nothing natural or realistic about a bike that doesn’t move at all, in any direction. We have adapted to the odd standing that accompanies a rigid trainer, most without realizing they are doing it. But that movement is awkward to watch, and is not at all like we do outside. My point being that we’ve been doing the “wrong” movements on rigid trainers since they existed, and we’ve adapted to riding outside again just fine. Backwards rockers should be no worse in my eyes.

    And finally, how much time do we spend out of the saddle when compared to seated? It’s likely less than 5% of our total time on a trainer. I do some specific workouts that include lots of standing drills, but even the longest ones are 30% or less of the entire workout. That is an extreme and I thing most people are far less than that percentage. So, even when the standing is “wrong” it’s such a small part of the time we spend on the trainer that it is likely a non-issue (see rigid standing above).

    So, recognizing that rocker plates can be super beneficial from an overall experience, and more especially comfort standpoint, is the most important thing to consider, IMHO. Having it get us a bit closer to riding outside is nice when compared to rigid trainers, but I also don’t think an exact simulation is necessary or even what most people want. If that’s the case, motion rollers are much closer to real riding outside (despite their oddities as well). But we don’t see wide adoption of them since they are so difficult to ride in comparison. I think rocker plates serve as a happy medium that goes well beyond rigid trainers, but not so far as motion rollers. Maybe, just maybe we have something approaching the “just right” blend of motion, control and stability that is good for a majority of riders.

    • I totally agree that the main benefit here is largely seated efforts. And I think at lower price points (where most of the smaller players are), it makes total sense.

      RE: “And if we criticize rockers for their backwards movement, what about the entire lack of movement on typical rigid trainers?”

      However, one has to remember that while a static trainer with no movement is likely less ideal than a movement solution – it’s also a zero-additive price point. Meaning, with adding a $500 plate – you’re paying $500 more for a solution than not having a solution. So no-movement is ‘free’, whereas everything else costs more. Whether or not paying $500+ (or building your own for cheaper or whatever) is worthwhile for non-outdoor accurate movement totally depends on ones views/usage.

      Which is why at this stage (in early 2020), comparing trainers against other trainers, movement doesn’t tend to be a defining feature for most (since the R1 is largely a no-go due to technical/accuracy issues). Leaving really the slight movement on the NEO.

      If we get to the point where in 2025 we’re comparing a Wahoo KICKR 2025 vs a Saris H7 vs an Tacx NEO Red Pill vs an Elite Pizza Slice that all have movement – then I think it’s more valid to be critical of the movement aspects they each might have – since that was included in the baseline.

      Just my two cents…

    • Chad McNeese

      Totally agree. I think there is so much to gain from even the most simple and minimal rockers vs rigid setups. This is all still relatively new and I think there is progress to be made with separate rockers and hopefully integrated movement in the coming years.

      It’s all a bit messy really, since we are slipping these rockers under existing trainers. It probably won’t see the same level of development we’ve seen in pure smart trainers, but I hope to see some competition that will push the designs and functions more, and get them to better price points.

      Ignoring the production related issues of 2019, we have a minor stall in trainer development, since we have pretty much seen a peak in what is possible. Getting them to lower price points was the large push (and may have lead to many of the issues we saw?), so perhaps motion is an area where trainer makers can work to add function and separate themselves from others.

      Long term, I think integrated motion is the right direction for this all to go, to keep the costs, complexity, size and such a bit more optimized. The separate solutions are great for allowing people to use the existing gear they already own. But I think there are some potential benefits once it’s all wrapped up together.

  3. If it were $599, it’d be a no-brainer. At the cost of a new smart trainer alone…nope.

  4. Luis R De Freitas

    Yeah $499-599 I will order right away but at it is a no go at $1200.

    Love the idea for sure.

    • Bikeman

      I’m with John & Luis. $5-600 is a good starting point. Someone will do it. I’d just like it to be Saris.

    • Chad McNeese

      There are already a number of small US and EU builders offering various versions of rocker plates around $500 USD and less. Not all have as much fore-aft movement as the MP1 (some with none), but they are much more palatable compared to the MP1.

    • Which ones at sub-$500 have both fore-aft and side to side?

    • Chad McNeese

      Inside Ride E-Flex is $450 USD (pre-shipping) and the main one that has rock and fore-aft on par with the MP1.

      The SBR Rockr Pro is $600 USD (I thought it was closer to $500, my mistake) and includes a minor amount of fore-aft via the rubber mount flex (15mm is what I remember being quoted from SBR).

      I think the Turborocks Real plate is similar to the SBR, at £389.00

      Those are the main ones I know right now.

  5. Ian S

    Thanks Ray, great review as ever. Totally agree with the summary, I really want one but the price needs to be halved to make it work. Very few people are going to drop 1200 to make their indoor rides a bit more comfortable….

  6. David Desser

    Ray, Thank you for this and all the other great reviews.

    Did you reach a conclusion on the usability of a Kickr Climb + the MP1 Platform?

    If the rider solves the issue of the metal channels affecting the normal movement of the Climb, would the MP1 be a more compelling product (e.g. a Kickr bike at lower cost w/added feature of fore/aft movement)?

    • I don’t see it as a usable combo at this juncture. I did however use it on the prototype platform for many months as a combo.

      The key difference is that platform didn’t have the channel grooves, which bump up just a little bit above the surface (for good reason), however in the case of the CLIMB it keeps it from sitting level. So i found it seemed to want to rotate as it went up. I didn’t fiddle a ton with it, since it got kinda sketchy quick.

      However, I think it could actually be easily addressed, if one simply made a metal mounting bracket for the front. I say simply, because I have zero skills in making metal things. I can barely duct tape two things together. I also suspect if one spent enough time at Home Depot wandering the aisles they could probably find a few off the shelf parts to screw together and make a little holder for it.

      So – long story, I actually like KICKR+CLIMB+MP1 when I used it on the prototype, it’s just purely a logistical challenge on the final production model that I’m sure the internet will find a way so solve.

  7. JD

    Find and replace typos?
    “I didn’t need/want either, but you do you.”
    “But again, you do you.”

    I like the birch plywood and would considering buying if $699 or less.
    Perhaps a composite version could be made cheaper.

  8. Adam

    Ray: how does this unit compare with your experience on the InsideRide Kickr platform you previously reviewed? Thanks.

    • Eli

      That seems the best to compare to add they allow the same movement

    • I’d say price to value-wise, the InsideRide platform compares more favorably for sure. It’s unclear to me if the final models have solved for the tippiness I saw in the prototype. Plus obviously, it’s only compatible with the KICKR. I think Chad recently got one of their more recent production models, so perhaps he’s able to comment on the tip-bits.

      I won’t be able to comment on them since the company says they’ve got no interest in sending products to myself or Lama anymore for some odd reason. Actually, perhaps it’s because I called them out on faking comments/user reviews on my site and others forums.Too bad, I actually like their product and think they were/are onto something with their Flex system as a really affordable solution.

    • Chad McNeese

      Hard to say for sure, but comparing the one I got with what I see in your videos and pics, I think the design remains unchanged. Based on my use, the E-Flex is definitely more likely to tip than any other rocker I have tested (includes several rear-only and one full length rocker).

      Honestly, I think they could benefit from a longer cross tube at the rear side of the front section. I can get the unit to tip without really trying too hard. I know others have said they don’t see a problem, but it’s not setup in a way I would be comfortable selling it.

    • James

      I have the Inside Ride E-Flex and for the price value it’s fantastic (in the sense that it does exactly what I thought I would). I won’t go back to a stationary set-up and I have recommended it to multiple friends.

      That said – you have to pay attention while riding. Which, isn’t any different than riding outdoors. I almost tipped over several times when I first started using it. It just takes some time to get used to when moving from a stationary set up where you can forget about balance.

  9. Sam

    I got plenty of money in my pocket but I ain’t spending it on a $1200 moving piece of wood, looks funky tho!

  10. Mark J.

    I’ve been using Inside Ride’s rocker for a couple of months now. The front to back motion is definitely the highlight. It does make riding more enjoyable. As has been noted in the review here, it’s far less expensive. But…it only works with one trainer. I don’t do much sprinting on my inside rides, so no issues with stability. But yes, riding out of the saddle takes a bit of learning.

    • Chad McNeese

      Agreed. I’ve been testing the E-Flex for a number of weeks too. It is great value for money and offers about the best bang for buck value for a dual motion rocker: Rocking (Left-Right rotation around the Roll Axis) and Surging (fore-aft motion along the Roll Axis).

      The main caveat is restriction to the main Kickr models. I have hopes they will add the Core and even the Saris Hammer series trainers, with different trainer mounts.

    • Mark J.

      The other issue with the MP1 for me is the footprint. My “pain cave” is pretty small. I have my Concept2 rower, my trainer bike/Wahoo Kickr/Inside Ride, and then Wifey’s NordicTrack ski machine. That’s it for room, and even with that, it’s tight quarters. No way to fit the MP1 footprint in there.

      That said, I’ll join the chorus of folks who would love to hear Ray’s opinion about Inside Ride vs MP1 as far as road feel and bang-for-the-buck.

    • Patrick Myers

      yea, but that’s just rocking side to side. There are oodles of tutorials on how to make these yourself. The forward and back motion is the distinguishing feature of the MP1.

  11. Patrick Myers

    I just got mine on Wednesday and rode it last night. And to be honest, I have a bit of buyer’s remorse. It certainly makes the trainer ride more fun, and it seems to be a little easier on my knees, and it is definitely solid and well-built, but it’s a lot of cash for…. rocking. Luckily most of it is covered for me by a fitness reimbursement from my company but I’m not sure I can recommend it to others at this price point.

    • Chad McNeese

      I’d be curious to hear what you think after some more time on the MP1 (maybe 5-10 rides) and then return to rigid trainer setup for a comparison.

      I end up not being able to use a rocker when I travel for Thanksgiving and Xmas, and it’s quite an eye opener to return to a fixed setup after time adjusted to a rocker plate. This could be one of those things that is not instantly apparent how well it works until you remove it again.

    • Patrick Myers

      An interesting idea. The only reason I wouldn’t do that is because setting it up is a bit cumbersome. To take my bike and trainer off, ride, and re-set it all back up isn’t something I’d cherish doing.

  12. Rob

    How is rocker plate sprinting compared to rollers sprinting? Anyone tried?

    • Indoor Specialist (who we are partners with) did a great write up: link to teamindoorspecialist.com That post has a helpful guide to sprinting on the MP1. There is also a link to the video in the review.

      Compared to rollers, you will notice your side-to-side pivot point is now in a different place. You will also notice that the MP1 is much harder to ride off of, as Ray pointed out.

    • It’s just not possible to *really* sprint on a set of rollers. REAL sprinting at maximal watts will throw you on the floor pretty quick on rollers.

      *I’m sure there are others who’ll say it’s possible. I’ve never seen anyone unleash a full max wattage sprint on a set of rollers. I’ve seen sub maximal sprints that are more of a learned trick than useful sprint training.

    • Mark J.

      Zoiks! I probably wouldn’t end up on the floor. Most likely through the window and into the back yard. 😛

    • Rob

      Thanks. I understand real sprint is only in real race scenario when sprint finish executed. Max power interval can be very well executed on a trainer. I appreciate those all.
      My question was more about sprinting form. Some rocking trainers have interesting spring coupling behavior which resonates at certain cadence. Something non existent on rollers.
      Is it just me noticing or pro peloton has poor riding skills at the beginning stages of any grand tour? Lack of form and balance from trainer rides perhaps?
      That front and back pushes of the bike are unlikely to make a rider faster either. Just dangerous for others… the last push to the finish line : a beautiful skills to watch.
      All the best!

  13. Aar

    Does the MP1 relieve saddle pressure significantly more than the side-to-side play in the Tacx Neo series trainers? I just invested in a Neo 2 and find that it provides significant relief. So, my thought is that it probably provides 90+% of the relief of an MP1. What are the flaws in that thought process?

    • Chad McNeese

      Our pressure mapper is down right now, but I have a Tacx Neo 2, original Kinetic Rock & Roll, and Inside Ride E-Flex to add to the prior pressure testing I’ve don on my DIY rocker plate.

      Based on my testing and experience, I expect some benefit from the Neo vs totally rigid, but I’m not sure it will hit your 90% guess. But in my video, even the stiff setting rocker was a notable improvement over rigid, so the Neo may be a big improvement too. I will post a new video when our mapper runs again.

      link to youtu.be

    • The fore-aft movement is what we found significantly increased comfort and reduced pressure. Much lower pressure on the saddle, with added comfort on the bars and pedals too.
      The Neo is a good match with the MP1. Its side-to-side movement is much less than the R1’s. Ray pointed out why we do not recommend it.

  14. Heinrich Hurtz

    I want one, or something similar. Size and price have me hesitating. I’ve also been looking at home-brew solutions and there are many on the internet. There’s one utilizing plywood, tennis balls and hot glue that’s very simple, clever, and looks like it could work well giving rocking as well as good fore/aft movement. I’m kinda stuck in analysis paralysis…

  15. donrhummy

    Sorry for the random question Ray, but do you know why Tacx cloud (e.g. rides done in the Tacx Training app) still can’t share ride data with Garmin Connect? Didn’t Garmin but them?

    • Not sure. I think though Garmin is basically trying to figure out how to digest all that is Tacx. Some pieces of that digestion are turning out to be a wee bit more messy/complicated/oh crap, then they envisioned. I suspect dealing with the Tacx cloud, while technically probably one of the easiest things, is likely so far down the list of current blazing fires that it’s just not something they have the resources to tackle.

  16. Andrew Linquist

    I built a SBR Rockr plate clone in one day using diagrams and a parts list on the Facebook rocker plate page for less than $200. Is it as good as the Saris? I’d guess not. Is it better than no motion? Absolutely. And the price was right. $1200 is insane. A rocker plate is a nice add on but is not a game changer like my first smart trainer.

    • Moritz Haager

      I’m with you on this. Building one is on my to do list. Should be cheaper and it’s a fun project. I’m planning on building an incline simulator into mine…. actually I’ll probably buy a used treadmill with incline and build the rocker motion plate on top of that. Now I just have v to figure out who how to integrate fore and aft motion at well……

  17. S. Savkar

    Bummer that the MP1 doesn’t work well with the climb. I actually had thought it would – I honestly jumped the gun and got the MP1, still sitting in the box, but based on this review, I am worried that I went overboard here.

    I really like the combo KICKR+Climb and losing the climb is something I am not sure I want to do. Wonder if I can do something to retrofit the board to work better with the Climb.

  18. Jiri Kroupa

    Noticed peanut wasn’t wearing a helmet in the photo. So two things come to mind:

    1. You weren’t wearing a helmet either or
    2. You were wearing a hemet while peanuts safety was comprised.

    I sincerely hope you took off peanuts helmet for the photo shoot and you’re both wearing helmets while riding🤔

    • Moritz B Haager

      The emerg doc in me is going to have to second that 😀.

    • davie

      Noticed you made an unnecessary comment regarding helmet use in a country where such things are not legally mandatory. Two things come to mind:

      1. You get an endorphin hit lecturing adults on how they live their life and their kids
      2. You lack tact and judgement on what is appropriate to publicly write and consider Ray to be an irresponsible idiot.

      I sincerely hope you find a better means of demonstrating your virtue, purity and moral superiority than writing.🤔

  19. youpmelone

    So I was: “lets scroll down to Ray’s comparison of the pedal based, spindle and trainer based power meters on on this plate and stationary on a coincrete floor, this is going to be highly interesting”

    Unlock scrollwheel, go..

    huh.. no???

    I looked like my 3y old who loses a toy..

    There is a delta and it is interesting! (yeah only for nerds and zwift people which i am not)

    • Hmm…I recorded all the power meter data actually (because of course). Looks like I’ll be playing Go Fish in the morning.

      Here’s to hoping I can get a post out of it! 🙂

  20. Greg

    I’m using the MP1 with the Neo 2T. I’ve had it for a couple weeks. The most realistic indoor training experience I’ve had is when the Neo is in slope training mode giving the simulated inertia feeling of riding combined with the movement of the MP1. I had a full board rocker plate with the Kickr and Climb attachment which was good but I think this takes it to the next level (I said that about the previous setup). I do miss the climb’s up and down movement when riding though. The ultimate setup would be the Neo 2T, MP1 with the Kickr Climb. If only the MP1 could mount it properly and if the Neo supported it.

    Rocker boards do help but the fore and aft movement adds to the realness. I’m surprised how much energy I transfer to the bike when going from standing to sitting on the saddle. It causes me to roll back a couple inches on the MP1. Previously my saddle contacts were taking that energy and I didn’t realize it. It looks strange in 3rd person but as a rider sliding slightly backward feels real. Outdoors when transitioning to sitting the energy goes into the momentum of the bike in a similar fashion and not a dead stop like a traditional rocker plate. Do it 50 times over a long ride and you may appreciate it.

    When I’m seated riding, I move forward and back several millimeters just as I do side to side as each leg comes down. On an hour ride, doing a cadence of 90 you push down with your left and right legs a combined 10,800 times (90 * 60 * 2). Having that movement is awesome both for realness and for comfort.

    Given all that, I think $900-$1000 is a fair price. It’s definitely worth more than $600 due to all the engineering involved. I think it’s worth it. Anything that will get me to train more is good. I usually pick the treadmill over the trainer when indoors but this new setup has me leaning more to the trainer.

    I have a friend that has no problem paying this amount for several amateur races each year he knows he won’t place but gives me a hard time for purchasing something like this. He is 140lbs and I’m 220lb so I may be getting more saddle comfort improvement.

  21. NV

    At neutral, does the bike lean slightly in the direction of the flywheel? With the bike in the center and a “weight offset” trainer (like the Kickr) the bike leans left a few degrees. Have been playing with one this week and was unable to solve that, even using an “extremes test” of moving the trainer all the way to the right edge and fully extending the left support foot of the trainer. It is perceptible on the bike (or maybe I am being hyper sensitive to it). Am I doing something wrong?

  22. Troy Noel

    Great thorough review. Thank you.