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Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer

7
£399.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Well-specced smart trainer that's simple to use and gives a realistic ride feel
Quick set up
Smooth action
Consistent power readings
Thru-axle adaptors are cost extras
Weight: 
12,000g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer is simple to use, stable and quiet, and it works seamlessly with the likes of Zwift and Bkool. I became a big fan of its smoothness and neat accessories, such as the lithium battery pack which means you aren't tied to a mains power source.

A new brand, especially in the field of electronics, can struggle to carve its way into the marketplace against more established, well known companies. It has to prove itself first.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - 2.jpg

You've heard of Bkool though, yeah? It stopped making smart trainers to focus on its simulator platform, then sold off the hardware side to Zycle – a company it was already working with on electronics.

So while the name may be unfamiliar, Zycle does have plenty of background in the industry. In fact, the ZPro looks surprisingly similar to the Bkool Smart Go Trainer we tested back in 2017.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - resistence unit 1_.jpg

The ZPro SMART is a 'wheel-in turbo', something of a dying breed with all the integrated versions available, but it's really good, and above all else, really easy to use.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - parts from the box.jpg

In the box you get the turbo, a front wheel riser block, an ANT+ USB doofer (it works on Bluetooth too), a power pack and a quick release lever.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - riser block.jpg

Included in our box was a Zycle lithium power pack – a £39.99 extra – and a couple of thru-axle adaptors made by Tacx. Zycle's own adaptors are £49.99.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - QR anf Thru axle accessories.jpg

The lithium battery pack is a neat idea, especially if you want to reduce the leads running around the place or your turbo can't be near a power supply. The charged pack can power the turbo for around five hours.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - charge power unit 1.jpg

Set up literally takes 10 minutes, if that. Clip a few bits and pieces into place and you're ready to go.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - foot.jpg

The first thing I was impressed with is how stable the platform is. It ain't light at 12kg, but that translates to a very secure unit for those high power efforts. It also has telescopic legs for even more security if you want to get out of the saddle.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - foot extended.jpg

If you do that you don't quite get a realistic road effect, but you can give it your all without tipping the thing over.

The metal roller your tyre presses gives a smooth motion. When used with Zwift, the pedalling feels realistic as you change from the flat to climbing, and the Zycle ZPro can cope with gradients up to 15% – a fair bit steeper than many of these types of trainers.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - resistence unit 2.jpg

Whether doing specific training sessions or just riding on various online platforms, I found the Zycle ZPro reacted quickly to effort or what was happening in the app. It's not as perfectly smooth as the real world, but it isn't far off.

> The stuff they don't tell you about smart trainers

When it comes to power measurement, the Zycle ZPro offers consistent results and tracks pretty close to the 4iiii power meter I fitted to the bike.

2020 Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer - QR clamp 3.jpg

For the majority of the time the readouts were pretty similar. Zycle claim an accuracy of +/- 3% and I'd say I was pretty close to that. There's a small amount of lag from the turbo compared to the cranks if you launch into a sprint, but not so much you'd notice.

Value

Not including the battery pack or thru-axle adaptors, the Zycle Zpro is £399.99. That comes in much cheaper than the majority of integrated units where you remove your rear wheel.

Elite's Qubo Digital Smart B+ trainer is a similar piece of kit and while I didn't review it, I actually owned one for a couple of years. It's a good piece of kit. If you want the ultimate precision in power output there are better options out there (they'll cost you though), but if you just want something for Zwift and so on, it can't really be faulted.

Originally £325, the Elite now costs £274.99. You don't get a front riser block, though they don't cost much, but I'd say the Zycle is arguably a smoother unit.

At the other end of the scale is the Elite Tuo FE-C Mag trainer at £424.99. It can deal with a higher output than the Zycle – 2,050W versus 1,200W – but only replicates inclines of 10%. You do get thru-axle adaptors included in the package though.

Overall

As someone who would rather take to the open road regardless of weather, I found the Zycle ZPro realistic and something I could just jump on and ride. It's a quality bit of kit that'll see you through the winter without spending a fortune.

Verdict

Well-specced smart trainer that's simple to use and gives a realistic ride feel

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer

Size tested: n/a

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?

Zycle says: "The ZPro trainer is designed to let you get the most out of your indoor workout regardless of your fitness level or experience. The Zycle ZPro Smart Trainer is a high quality 'wheel-on' indoor smart trainer. Compatible with both road bikes and mountain bikes.

"ZPro works with all of the best training software including ZWIFT, BKOOL, Sufferfest, Kinomap and TrainerRoad which means you can train or race virtually - whenever you want, and with whom you want."

It's a well made smart trainer that delivers good results, and is very easy to use.

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

WHATS IN THE BOX?

Zycle ZPRO SMART Trainer

Front wheel support

AC power adapter

Standard quick release skewer (9mm)

Instructions

Also includes 3 months of premium subscription to BKOOL

Plug & play- No major assembly or calibration required.

Wheel friendly- Fits all wheel sizes (20"-29").

Realistic training feel, outperforming many higher cost trainers and rollers.

Accurate Power - automatic calibration system.

Up to 1,200 watts (15% max slope).

Accurate within +/- 3% of wattage

Wireless connection over Bluetooth smart BLE FMST. Also works with ANT+

Compact and lightweight- Easy to store, foldable and reduced size and weight (12kg).

Telescopic legs for great stability

Reduced noise - Quiet roller and magnetic braking results in a quieter experience (75dB)

Connects to apps like ZWIFT easily and quickly.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

It gives a realistic road feel and works well with the online platforms like Zwift and Bkool.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Simple to set up and use.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Thru-axle adaptors are extras.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Zycle ZPro is a fair bit more than the Elite Qubo, but is closer to matching the more expensive Elite Tuo as I've mentioned in the review.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Taking everything into account, this is a good all-round package that delivers decent results. I would like to see thru-axle adaptors included in the price though, as some of the competition manage.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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