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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rock solid and incredibly quiet trainer that delivers a fantastic ride feel and consistent power measurement via the Kinetic inRide app
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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?
Quiet, smooth, progressive resistance precisely replicates outdoor ride feel
The most reliable fluid trainer available
Pairs with Kinetic inRide Watt Meter for power training
Unmatched stability and durability
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
Heavy, sturdy and well put together.
The trainer is smooth and quiet and the inRide app is an excellent power meter.
It's heavy, which in my book is good for an indoor trainer.
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.
About the tester
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