Kinetic Road Machine review after one year of use
Highest quality manufacturing. Resistance; even a pro couldn't
overpower the top end resistance of 3000W. Stable. Tires last
longer than trainers with smaller rollers. Smooth & quiet.
Can accommodate any bike, any wheel size.
Wide base and weight make it a bit of pain to pack to races/
indoor group rides, attachment to bike is solid, but involves
many turns of the adjuster. I counted 23 twists of my wrist
to attach/ remove - not as convenient as trainers with a quick
release attachment ("pro" model has quick release
attachment). A little heavy/ awkward to lug around.
Four out of five stars.
would make it five stars?
Made easier to carry (handle?)
Fold down to smaller dimension
Easy to adjust leg length
Higher torque resistance at beginning of sprints
retails $300.00 to $450.00 CDN Amongst the highest price for
a non computer driven trainer. It's also the highest quality
On the warranty
section of the Kurt website the warranty says, "Our
UNCONDITIONAL LIFETIME warranty:
Covers ALL parts on both the resistance unit and the frame.
Is applicable for normal wear and tear OR manufacturers defects.
Covers the original owner of a Kinetic trainer for a LIFETIME."
comment: This is my current trainer, and the best trainer
I have used. I highly recommend it.
before I ever road a Kurt I read the specs on the Kurt website
and my inner techno weenie was instantly smitten by the ingenious
magnetic coupled driveshaft. The what?
trainer gets its resistance via an impeller turning inside
a sealed chamber of heat resistant silicone fluid. The faster
your wheel drives the roller, the faster the impeller turns
inside the fluid chamber. More impeller speed = more resistance.
engineering beauty, and what separates the Kurt from other
fluid trainers is the shaft that turns the impeller is not
physically connected to the roller that your rear wheel turns.
It sits inside a completely sealed unit. The wall of the resistance
unit that faces the roller for your wheel is made of Plexiglas.
These cutaway pictures are of a Kurt Kinetic display for retail
stores (Thanks Woodcock Cycle!).
either side of the Plexiglas are very powerful magnets (12
in all) - one set inside the sealed part of the unit is connected
to the impeller, and one set outside the Plexiglas is connected
to the roller that your rear wheel turns. This makes for a
very attractive connection, if you will.
two halves of the drive unit are connected via a magnetic
field, and the housing is bolted together forming the resistance
number one reason for wanting the Kurt Kinetic was power.
The Tacx Flow trainer I was using was specked at a maximum
of 1000 Watts resistance. My best effort on the 30 second
Wingate test at the local university lab was 1558 watts in
good form and 1331 watts off season. The Tacx wasn't taxing
enough for my sprint workouts.
Kurt is rated for providing up to a whopping 3000 Watts -
apparently greater than is humanly possible to generate. Of
course you can pedal along at a mere 5 watts if you want (far
easier than a walking pace, and easier than the easiest setting
on most commercial exercise bikes), so don't feel intimidated
by the high resistance potential.
combination of genius engineering and big fat wattage sold
me on this trainer. Lucky for me I received a Kurt Road Machine
as a birthday present last year. I guess all my fussing about
how I had to buy a Kurt because my TACX didn't have enough
resistance prompted my better half to get me one for my birthday.
Which has me thinking, if fuss about my Honda Civic enough
maybe someone will gift me a Porsche 911
of the box
was fairly straight forward and the instructions were written
reasonably. The complete manual is also on line at the Kurt
webiste as a PDF
the instructions don't call for lubricating the threads on
the bolt that adjusts roller compression or on the threads
of the quick release mechanism, I have done this on my Road
Machine. After about three months the knobs became difficult
to turn. A light dab of grease keeps them turning easy. A
friend of mine recommended I use an anti seize compound instead
of grease. I haven't tried this yet.
trainer is a little on the heavy side (26lb/ 11.79 kg) and
has a big footprint (83cm/ 32.7in) even when folded (59cm/
23.2in) - measured at the widest width. The heavy flywheel
and wide platform make the Kurt Road Machine the most stable
and smooth trainer I've ridden. I found it a mild pain to
lug it around when bringing it to weekly indoor group training
rides and to races for warm up. Space is usually pretty tight
getting all your gear in a hatch back or trunk for a race
and an oddly shaped wide footprint trainer doesn't make it
any easier. It's awkward to carry as well - the freely pivoting
legs and resistance unit can flop around, there is no handle,
and no matter where you grab hold the weight is off centre.
(You can tighten the legs so they won't flop.)
get me wrong, these are minor inconveniences compared to the
overall quality and performance of this unit. I don't like
lugging the Kurt around, but the ride is so good it's worth
it. Making the unit lighter might make it less stable and
smooth, so this may be how much a quality unit has to weigh.
I'd be happier if the few very correctable bugs in the Kurt
Kinetic Road Machine didn't exist though.
the legs on the trainer for different wheel sizes requires
wrenches and removing/ reinstalling bolts - not difficult,
but not convenient if you use two bikes with different wheel
sizes on the same trainer. Also an inconvenience at a race
if you are stuck with having to put your trainer on the grass
where the tire can bottom out on uneven ground. We solved
this by putting blocks of wood under the trainer, but still,
easily adjustable legs would be a bonus.
Kurt claims the PVC feet absorb irregularities on a floor
surface, but I don't see how this can be. The PVC ends are
not adjustable and are quite rigid, having no appreciable
ability to conform to an irregular floor surface. The legs
on the Kurt are free pivoting - they don't click into a locked
position when open. It's this free pivoting that allows the
legs to have a small degree self leveling on an irregular
floor surface, which has nothing to do with the PVC ends.
Once loaded with a bike and rider, the trainer stays put except
for little 2 to 4 cm skids when sprinting all out.
feet are more hard than they are soft. They don't seem to
mark floors, but only a tiny surface area is in contact with
the floor, and the material is too stiff to conform to irregularities
on a floor surface, as the Kurt website claims.
Kurt is supplied with a few different cones that will accept
virtually any quick release skewer ever made, in addition
to supplying their own QR skewer. The Kurt skewer matches
the cones better than other skewers. My old Dura Ace 7304
skewers worked, but the Kurt spec is better. In fact I leave
the Kurt skewer in all year round for all wheels for ease
of use with the trainer. Using the skewer supplied by Kurt
makes for a more secure fit.
Spooling up is easier than it feels on the road in terms of
resistance if you're in a big gear (less torque is required
accelerating the Kurt than accelerating your mass on the road),
but you can still mash a lower RPM strength workout if you
road feel with a long cost down time is a central theme throughout
the Kurt Kinetic website, but I don't see the point. I guess
the the coast down is somewhat functional. From a training
perspective coast down time doesn't really matter because
a training stimulus doesn't occur while coasting, but it is
more convenient not to have your trainer bog down if you take
little breaks in your spin to stretch or reach for the remote.
Your trainers coast down won't matter much when you are applying
steady power. Also, there is no real "road" coast
down time to simulate anyway as wind, road surface and gradient
make for a constantly changing coast down time out in the
real world. Choosing one coast down time to represent "real
road" conditions seems arbitrary. My coast down time
on my mountain bike is shorter than on my road bike under
the same road conditions, although both coast down times are
difference between the road and indoor trainers is balance
and recruitment of core muscles and the fact that the road
is forever changing in variables of surface smoothness, wind,
and slope. The only way to make a trainer the same as the
road would be to make the resistance from the trainer somewhat
randomly variable - which virtual reality trainers do fairly
and core muscle recruitment. The Kurt Kinetic Rock & Roll
and rollers made by other manufacturer's provide a simulation
of this on road challenge, but I've never noticed a problem
with riding my bike outdoors after a winter of riding a fixed
stationary trainer. Each spring my first ride feels fine even
though I haven't been on the road for 5 months or more. I
don't wobble all over the road. Since I notice little to no
change in riding skill from riding a stationary trainer all
winter, it is unlikely an active trainer will have any significant
skill or balance training benefit, except maybe for a novice
rider who doesn't have 25 seasons under their butt (even then
benefit is questionable). My first ride this year after 5
months on the trainer was in Vancouver/ North Vancouver with
narrow bridge crossings, 70 km/h + winding descents, hair
pin turns, and narrow bike paths. I didn't have any problems.
"road feel" may not have the notable physiological
training advantage that is eluded to by those who promote
the idea. Watts are watts, no matter where the resistance
comes from, and since the fine tuning of core muscles returns
within one ride outdoors, it may be that full outdoor ride
core recruitment isn't a big deal for a trainer to simulate
or not. To really train your core muscles off-bike resistance
training is required - don't depend on or think you need to
depend on simply riding your bike to adequately train your
don't find the Road Machine feels anything at all like the
road. It feels like a stationary indoor trainer. This isn't
necessarily a negative attribute, on the contrary it's very
most efficient interval sessions you'll ever have will be
on a trainer. Having said all that, the Kurts PowerTap calibrated
power curve is meant to simulate the exponential resistance
to increased speed you'll experience riding outside. That
is, if you are the "average" rider assumed to be
165 lb., riding a 23 lb bike with 170mm crank arms up a 1%
grade, at sea level with no wind on rough asphalt.."
as stated on the Kurt Kinetic website. The next time I meet
all those criteria maybe I'll remember to check if the road
ride feels the same as the Kurt trainer.
though I'm not a match for Kurts virtual average rider, increasing
speed has some similarity to the average increase experienced
on the road. Ultimately power is power and 300 watts on Kurt
Road Machine is same as 300 watts on any other trainer, 300
watts on the road (uphill or downhill, headwind or tailwind),
and 300 watts at the high performance testing centers $50,000.00
high tech egormetre - Watts are watts.
The Kurt is much more quite than the average magnetically
resisted trainer. To me it didn't sound as though the Kurt
was much different than the Tacx Flow in terms of noise at
easy to moderate output, but I have been diagnosed as having
an insensitivity to higher pitch noises so perhaps I'm not
the best judge. My better half says it's much quieter because
she can take a nap in the next room without it bothering her
- and that's a good a testimony as you can hope for. I did
notice a big difference at the top end though, high wattage
intervals on the Tacx Flow and mag trainers like Minoura sound
like an electric motor is about to explode, but on the Kurt
it's just a moderate whirring noise.
those 3000 Watts..
trainers are notorious for slipping tires and ridiculously
easy resistance to spooling up when sprinting. I've been told
by more than one trainer manufacturer that there are technical
limitations to the design of trainers and that I'll never
see a trainer that duplicates road resistance for sprints
on a trainer. I would guess that building F1 cars, 100 story
buildings, and space stations is a little more complicated
than making a trainer for a bike, so I'm confident a trainer
that handles all aspects of sprinting can be made if the desire
who read this review might be thinking critiquing a trainer
for sprints is dumb because sprint workouts are done on the
road - everyone knows that! It might be only me, but I feel
trying to sprint on ice at 20 below zero doesn't work very
well, and here in "Winterpeg" Manitoba, there's
snow on the ground from November to April.
to say, those who live in places that have snowy winters for
half (ugh!) the year have no choice but to sprint on an indoor
trainer if they don't have access to an indoor track.
large diameter roller (5.35 cm/ 2.1in) on the Kurt reduces
tire slippage compared to trainers with skinny rollers (3
cm/ 1.2 in), but if you want to hammer hard from a slow speed
or dead stop you have to crank the roller down a fair amount
to stop tire slippage. Or better yet, get either the Tacx
or Continental trainer tires as they have better grip. The
instructions say not to over tighten the roller on the tire
as it can damage the tire or the unit, but if you don't tighten
it down, it will slip on hard acceleration. After one year
of use with weekly sprint sessions, the Kurt still works like
I just took it out of the box. Tire life is better than on
previous trainers I've used.
up is still unrealistically easy from a dead start or slow
rolling start in a 53X12, but once it's spooled up you cannot
overpower this trainer. My peak wingate watts are 1558 and
on the Kurt I peak out at around 1350W. The difference is
due to how resistance is applied in the wingate test vrs the
Kurt Kinetic. The standard wingate test done at a test lab
has a fixed torque resistance that you spin as fast as possible.
The wingate test is designed this way to allow a "true"
measurement of uninhibited power production. On the Kurt,
as on the road, the resistance increases as speed increases
resulting in your muscles fatiguing against the increasing
resistance before your "true" peak power is achieved.
Perhaps there are two "true" peak wattage values
- your lab values and your real life on the road values.
found peak torque values for a road ride are often over 50
Nm, sometimes over 80 Nm, but on the Kurt even the hardest
sprint does not go above 35 Nm (Newton metres. 1Nm = 0.7 foot
lb = 8.8 inch pounds).
wattage achieved on the Kurt is usually a little higher than
on the road. I guess this adds a third "true" peak
wattage - the Kurt peak. Under each of these circumstances
you are achieving your true best effort under the specific
load applied. Your max power achieved on a Kurt is closer
to what you will achieve on the road than with a wingate test.
anything the sales pitch for trainers ought to be that they
eliminate variability of the open road. The quality of maintaining
power on a trainer is far superior compared to the road, so
when comparing one workout to the next and monitoring progress,
the trainer is far superior.
and this is a big "however", because you can sustain
"X" wattage on your trainer, the Kurt Road Machine
or other, don't expect to sustain this wattage for the same
duration on any given section of road and have it "feel"
the same. Maintaining constant wattage outside requires constantly
changing cadence and gears to compensate for wind/ terrain.
These changes can throw your focus when you're hammering on
the rivet. The trainer allows you to simply hammer, and not
be concerned with random resistance changes.
The Kurt will still slide foward a little on a smooth floor
when sprinting like a junk yard dog is on your heals, but
for pure power it is the best machine I have sprinted on in
my over 20 years of using indoor trainers.
fade. Although the silicone fluid used for resistance is said
to be resistant to heat induced loss of viscosity therefore
always supplying the same amount of resistance for a given
speed during a ride, something in the bike/ trainer set up
does cause a slight loss of resistance during a training ride.
I think it might be tire temperature, but I haven't investigated
the source. If you're using the Kurt computer or any cycle
computer to watch your speed, you'll need to recalibrate the
trainer/ computer (coast down test) half way through your
ride so that 200 watts or whatever speed at 30 minutes is
the same resistance at 90 minutes. This means adding another
turn or so the roller adjuster half way through your ride
to pinch on the tire a little harder to compensate for the
fade. If you're using a powermeter that directly measures
power (Powertap, SRM) the slight resistance fade wont matter
because you'll simply pedal a little harder/ faster to maintain
noticed the coast down from 30 km/hr can increase by several
seconds by 60 - 90 minutes compared to the first 30 - 60 minutes
into a ride. If you don't use a powermeter that measures power
directly, you might believe your heart rate is dropping in
the second hour for the same speed; it isn't - the resistance
has decreased. Even if your HR doesn't drop, the resistance
for the same speed will have. I've noticed this resistance
fade in all trainers I've used, some to a greater degree than
others. Our team members without power metres tighten the
roller once or twice during each training session on the Kurt
due to fade in resistance.
Kurt is one of the best stand alone trainers (isn't plugged
in) you can buy. I've tried most, but not all, so I can't
say I think its #1 overall, but it is the best out all I have
tried: 1Up USA, Tacx, Computrainer, Cyclops, Various Minoura
and similar mag trainers, and various wind trainers.
has a great warranty (unconditional unlimited lifetime) and
is fairly easy to get your bike in and out.
you're a casual rider and appreciate quality, you'll like
the ease of use and quietness. If you're a competitor the
high wattage resistance is a must have - don't waste your
time with standard mag trainers that only provide 500 to 600W-
basically an average start from a stop sign is all these entry
level trainers can duplicate. If you're a category 3 road/
elite MTB or higher racer chances are you will blow out an
entry level mag trainer within a year. If you don't plan on
sprinting on your trainer, or doing 400 - 600W VO2 Max intervals,
just about any trainer will do, but none offer the smoothness
or build quality of the Kurt Kinetic.
Kurt. I suspect this is very rare, but one of our team members
had his Kurt Kinetic Road Machine explode during a team indoor
training ride. All of the sudden we heard this mechanical
shattering noise - all heads turned to see a less than two
month old Kurt Kinetic trainer blown apart with a puddle of
silicone fluid on the floor. This was this team members second
Kurt, the first one leaked.
team member had the roller adjusting knob break after about
1 year of use. None of our other team members have had any
problems with their Kurt trainers (I think six members have
the Kurt Road Machine), and mine has worked properly since
day one. But that is 3 out of 6 Kurt Road Machines having
breakdowns within the first year of use.
Kinetic provided excellent customer service and replaced the
blown and leaking units at no charge, and the broken adjuster
knob was replaced, no charge. Team members commented on outstanding
customer service from Kurt.
this review: Everything here is 100% my personal opinion
based on my experience with the trainer over one year of use.
I've listed the good and bad as I experienced them. This is
my own trainer. I've hauled it to races, group indoor training
rides, and ride it in my basement 10 hours per week in the
winter (November - April). I
have been using trainers since 1984.
2007- 2008 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness