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Verdict: 
Rock solid and incredibly quiet trainer that delivers a fantastic ride feel and consistent power measurement via the Kinetic inRide app
Weight: 
11,600g
Contact: 
Kinetic Road Machine Smart
9 10

Kinetic's Road Machine Smart trainer comes with Kinetic's inRide sensor technology installed, for app-based power training. Having used it at all intensities I can vouch for its excellent performance. It gives a fantastic ride feel, is rock solid, incredibly quiet, and delivers consistent power measurement via the inRide app. The only negative is that the cadence reading is erratic.

The trainer I tested came with the inRide sensor, Bluetooth heart rate sensor, Kinetic training mat and a riser ring.

It had already been put together at road.cc HQ when I received it, but I am reliably informed it is easy to assemble. Looking at the instructions it appears to be a straightforward procedure, though it's worth noting that care must be taken to get the inRide sensor as close to the right side of the flywheel as possible.

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Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2.jpg

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2.jpg

Resistance unit

The weak point of some fluid trainers is that they are susceptible to leaking, this is caused where the drive shaft enters the fluid chamber. Kinetic claims it has made an engineering breakthrough with its fluid trainers. Its patented magnetic drive system uses two sets of powerful magnets on either side of a separating wall, so there are no moving parts entering the fluid chamber and it therefore claims a lifetime of leak-proof performance.

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart - resistance unit.jpg

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart - resistance unit.jpg

I cannot vouch for the lifetime of leak-proof performance, but the resistance unit is incredibly slick and does live up to Kinetic's claims of a 'road like feel'. You can hear the fluid in the trainer gurgle as it warms up and after a few minutes it is quiet and the feel is smooth.

The resistance is realistic and increases as you go up through the gears. A consistent effort is required to maintain speed and power which is apparent when using the inRide app.

Frame

The frame is heavy, sturdy, solid and stable. I have ridden the Kinetic at all intensities, right through to all-out sprints, and it feels an extremely robust, well-built machine.

Mounting and dismounting your bike onto the trainer is an uncomplicated operation that takes a few seconds each time after the initial setting up. The initial set up involves tightening the left tensioning knob so the rear wheel is on the middle of the flywheel and then tightening the left lock ring. It is then a simple case of screwing the right tensioning knob to secure the bike and unscrewing the right tensioning knob to release the bike.

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart - clamp.jpg

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart - clamp.jpg

Noise

There is very little to say here other than it is really quiet. I have ridden it with and without the trainer mat and it is incredibly quiet either way. The real advantage of the mat is that the trainer sinks into it so helps with stability for all-out efforts.

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart - mat.jpg

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart - mat.jpg

Kinetic InRide App

The key feature of the Smart Power Trainer Pack is that it gives the trainer the ability to measure power.

Each time you use the inRide app the power needs to be calibrated. This involves warming up for 10 minutes to allow the tyre to warm up and any air in the fluid chamber to adjust to temperature, spinning up to 20mph, the app instructs you to stop pedalling, and as the roller spins down to a halt the power is calibrated and it's ready to go.

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart.jpg

Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart.jpg

The inRide sensor within the trainer linked to the Kinetic IOS app that I downloaded onto an Apple iPad; there is also an android version. Data is transferred from the inRide pod to your device via Bluetooth. The inRide pod produces data from a magnet that is inserted into the fly wheel. The inRide Sensor will measure and record speed, power, cadence, heart rate and calories burned.

Inputting various power based training sessions onto the app was easy and intuitive, although each interval segment needs to be inputted individually. Once inputted on the app the sessions were easy to follow on the trainer. During a workout the display on the app shows a bold line across the screen which is your target power output, the display also shows a large dot that displays your real time power output; hold this dot on the bold line to follow the workout. Following the power encouraged smooth pedalling to create a level reading, which will clearly be an advantage when you're back on the road.

> Check out our guide to the best cycling turbo trainers here

The app includes a number of workouts, including one to measure your functional threshold power, the essential measurement to base all other power-based sessions around.

My only criticism of the app is that the cadence measure is erratic; the reading often moves in increments of five which is annoying if you're following a cadence-based workout. The cadence measurement proved to be incorrect when compared to my Garmin. I wonder whether it's because the cadence is measured through a calculation based on the revolutions of the magnet on the flywheel; a possible solution could be for the app to connect to a cadence sensor attached to the crank.

Once the workout is finished the app can transfer your workout to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, cycling-specific sites such as Strava and Training Peaks, and via email. To upload my workouts to Garmin Connect, the inRide app emailed the workouts in .fit format.

Conclusion

I am impressed with the Kinetic Road Machine Smart indoor trainer. It's rock solid, incredibly quiet and offers a fantastic ride feel, and delivers consistent power measurement via the Kinetic inRide app.

Verdict

Rock solid and incredibly quiet trainer that delivers a fantastic ride feel and consistent power measurement via the Kinetic inRide app

road.cc test report

Make and model: Kinetic Road Machine Smart

Size tested: Fits 22-29in wheels

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Kinetic says: "The Kinetic Road Machine Smart Power Training Pack is The benchmark for indoor training. The Road Machine Smart Bike Trainer is Quiet, smooth, and 100% leak-proof. From intervals to threshold work to recovery spins the Road Machine Smart offers a wide range of workout options. There is no trainer that more accurately replicates an outdoor ride indoors thanks to our precision-calibrated fluid resistance unit."

My view is that the trainer fulfils Kinetic's claims, although other trainers also replicate an outdoor ride well.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Kinetic:

Quiet, smooth, progressive resistance precisely replicates outdoor ride feel

The most reliable fluid trainer available

Fully assembled

Pairs with Kinetic inRide Watt Meter for power training

Unmatched stability and durability

Lifetime warranty

Patented Kinetic fluid resistance provides measurable and repeatable workload

Progressive resistance from 5 to 3000 watts

Folds flat for easy storage

Ergonomic rubberized knobs grip for easy setup

Large diameter roller reduces tire wear and provides a smoother ride

Fits 22' to 29' wheels''up to 29 x 2.4' tires sizes

Lifetime Warranty & Crash Replacement Policy

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Heavy, sturdy and well put together.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

The trainer is smooth and quiet and the inRide app is an excellent power meter.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
10/10

It's heavy, which in my book is good for an indoor trainer.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

This is a top notch trainer and when you consider the competition and cost of power meters, this is a fair price. There are decent discounts available if you shop around, too.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Whether training with heart rate, power or all-out sprints, this trainer fits the bill. I did most sessions based on functional power threshold and sprints, and it was incredibly quiet, smooth and provided consistent power measurements.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The quiet resistance unit, solid build and consistent power readings.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The unreliable and erratic cadence measurement.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes - I will be purchasing the product.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The trainer alone is a fantastic piece of kit which is enhanced by the excellent Smart Power Training Pack. This would have been a 10 had the cadence measurements been less erratic and more accurate.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 6 foot  Weight: 12st 4

I usually ride: Giant TCR Advanced  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding

12 comments

Avatar
ianrobo [1213 posts] 1 year ago
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This is the one I have had for the past year. It is not a smart one but for the cost the solidity of it (use it 4/5 times a week) can not be beaten IMHO.

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TeamExtreme [104 posts] 1 year ago
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This is a quality piece of kit. The "road feel" and temperature stability of the resistance unit on this turbo is the best I've ever experienced and the frame is built like a tank. You can tell it's going to last a lifetime as soon as you haul it out of the box. One piece of advice to new owners would be to cover the leg brackets and bike mounting threads in some kind of grease and it makes it a lot easier to use. 

I've not bothered upgrading to the InRide system, not least because it only supports Bluetooth, but also it seems like a bit of a pain to have to interrupt your workout to spin down and calibrate it after 10 mins; for example if you're following a short TrainerRoad workout, often you'll be in the middle of intervals by that point.

If you use a setup that gets the 20-mph spindown around the stated 12-seconds and stick to it then you can basically achieve the same thing with any old wheel-based speed sensor and save yourself >£100. It annoys me that Kinetic say this is a Smart Trainer (it isn't) and that the InRide system measures power (it doesn't) but the Road Machine is still a quality piece of kit.

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LarryDavidJr [373 posts] 1 year ago
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The spin down calibration is interesting.  I've been pondering switching to a direct drive like the Elite Muin for consistency of virtual power (myself and the boy share the turbo with different wheel-sized bikes so consistent readings aren't very easy to set after switching).

With this being more expensive than said Elite direct drive unit, what does a 'traditional' roller based turbo really offer over a direct drive?

Avatar
TeamExtreme [104 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

First of all, you don't have to keep taking your rear wheel in and out. Personally, due to space restrictions I have to disassemble and reassemble my whole trainer trainer setup every time and it'd just be another step in an already lengthy process!

Secondly, the flywheel on the Road Machine is very weighty so you get a good "road feel"; if you've ever used a low inertia trainer you'll know that "pedalling-in-treacle" feeling where you almost have a micro-stall in your pedal stroke at 12/6 o'clock and the scrape of your stroke becomes over-exaggerated. The Elite Turbo Muin says it has an internal flywheel but I don't know how decent it is.

Obviously there are notable downsides as well, e.g. tyre wear, possibly more inconsistency in setup, possibly extra noise?

In terms of features (namely proper power measurement and ANT+ FE-C) there are probably better trainers out there for the money. If you can get a Road Machine without the InRide for a decent price and put the money saved towards an actual power meter for your bike, that'd be my preference. It's a rock solid investment as a "dumb" trainer, but only one side of the equation when it comes to indoor training with power.

Avatar
mtbtomo [246 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Has anyone compared the power reading against an actual power meter?  So you could use this indoors and a proper power meter outdoors - and be sure both were fairly comparable in their readings.

Avatar
LarryDavidJr [373 posts] 1 year ago
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mtbtomo wrote:

Has anyone compared the power reading against an actual power meter?  So you could use this indoors and a proper power meter outdoors - and be sure both were fairly comparable in their readings.

 

I believe they're pretty close . The main problem is that they are configured around speed, so, for instance, if you do a standing track start, for example, which would normally be high watts from the off, on a speed based system the power reading will slowly rise, whereas, say, in a garmin vector pedal, you can get the power reading from the force you are applying through the pedals right away.

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TeamExtreme [104 posts] 1 year ago
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The DCR review of the Kinetic InRide has a number of comparison tests against actual power meters. Long story short, yeah it's pretty accurate.

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2012/12/kinetic-inride-bluetooth-smart-power-...

As Larry says, because it's a speed based estimation, you'll get a small lag in reported power upon big accelerations/deceleration, but in reality this doesn't affect much.

The bigger question is, why not get a power meter for the bike and then you can use it indoors and outdoors?

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CXR94Di2 [1834 posts] 1 year ago
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Ignoring the physical specs, if it doesn't have interactive simulator interface, then it is just another basic turbo. I can see boredom approaching

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dave atkinson [6329 posts] 1 year ago
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LarryDavidJr wrote:

mtbtomo wrote:

Has anyone compared the power reading against an actual power meter?  So you could use this indoors and a proper power meter outdoors - and be sure both were fairly comparable in their readings.

 

I believe they're pretty close . The main problem is that they are configured around speed, so, for instance, if you do a standing track start, for example, which would normally be high watts from the off, on a speed based system the power reading will slowly rise, whereas, say, in a garmin vector pedal, you can get the power reading from the force you are applying through the pedals right away.

I've compared the Rock'n'roll which uses the same resistance unit, to the Garmin Vector pedals. And yes, the power numbers are repeatable and mirror the pedals very closely.

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mtbtomo [246 posts] 1 year ago
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I have got a power meter which I swap between bikes - including the bike I have that stays on the turbo all year round.

 

Its a basic turbo, so if I was going to upgrade at any point, turbos that are interactive or transmit power figures only make sense to me if they give comparable figures to what I'd get riding outdoors with a proper PM.

 

I appreciate the bit about the lag - I've used Trainerroad before with virtual power.  Not a massive deal unless trying to measure sprint intervals.

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nadsta [182 posts] 1 year ago
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I use the kinetic Rock n Roll with Zwift. It has a great road feel as the bike rocks underneath you when pedalling. This immediately makes it feel less like a turbo. The inRide measurements run very close to Zwift's simulated power (Zwift developed a specific algo for this trainer) once the inRide is calibrated. The calibration process doesn't get in the way of the workout, it's part of it that simply involves 10 minutes warmup then a few seconds freewheeling.  If it doesn't calibrate the first time you just spin back up to 33 kph and freewheel again. The inRide is useful for structured workouts but if you just want power and use Zwift  don't buy  the inRide, use Zwifts virtual power instead. I have found inRide cadence tracks my gcs10 pretty well. 

However I'd rather have a wheel out trainer. I swap to a turbo wheel anyway so it's a similar pain but for a smaller footprint, and ideally better Zwift integration. 

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DirkS [6 posts] 1 year ago
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LarryDavidJr wrote:
mtbtomo wrote:

Has anyone compared the power reading against an actual power meter?  So you could use this indoors and a proper power meter outdoors - and be sure both were fairly comparable in their readings.

 

I believe they're pretty close . The main problem is that they are configured around speed, so, for instance, if you do a standing track start, for example, which would normally be high watts from the off, on a speed based system the power reading will slowly rise, whereas, say, in a garmin vector pedal, you can get the power reading from the force you are applying through the pedals right away.

I use the road machine with a bontrager speed and cadence sensor, if you inflate the rear tyre correctly, ensure the pressure against the roller is consistent, I get real world power figures. +- a few %.

Zwift reads slightly lower power than TR for the same effort over ant+ and BT, I don't know why that is.