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R1 Direct Drive Smart Trainer
We're pretty excited about the all-new R1 Direct Drive Smart Trainer from Kinetic. This is the first direct drive trainer from the brand that’s quickly becoming the preferred way to mount up a bike as it's way quieter and doesn't eat up tires like a traditional tire on a roller setup. What separates this trainer from other direct drives on the market is its use of Kinetic's patented Rock and Roll technology allowing you to jump out of the saddle for a sprint or climb and have your bike move naturally beneath you, just as it would on the open road. This side to side movement is user adjustable allowing you to tune it to your personal preference and riding style. Pair this with app-controlled resistance and you have an electronic trainer that will get you through your winter doldrums.
Besides the side-to-side movement and the ability to virtually race your buddies online, its massive 14-pound flywheel is also responsible for that realistic road feel. The R1 is able to wirelessly communicate via ANT+TM, ANT+TM FE-C, and Bluetooth FTMS to smartphones, tablets, and laptops allowing for fully interactive resistance when paired to apps like Kinetic Fit, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, Kinomap, The Sufferfest, and FulGaz. It also works using a USB port for hard-wired connectivity and reduced interference in apps that demand better connectivity or when riding in a room full of electronic signals. This makes the indoor riding experience much more fun and you might just find yourself riding it outside of just the winter months.
The folding legs and a large ergonomic handle allow for easy storage and transportation, and while it's certainly portlier than traditional trainers, it doesn't require plugging it into a power source if you want to use it for a pre-race warmup. The tool-free freehub body swap even allows for easy changes between bikes with an additional freehub kit if your teammates need to use it too.
The R1's electronically controlled resistance creates enough resistance for sprints up to 2000-watts and simulates climbing slopes of 20% and does so with +/- 3% accuracy. The R1 does not include a cassette but the freehub body works with 9 through 11-speed Shimano and SRAM cassettes and we've been told that a Campagnolo version is in the works. It's compatible with 130 and 135mm quick-release rear ends as well as 142 and 148mm Boost thru-axles but will require the Kinetic Traxle.
- An indoor trainer that's quiet and offers a realistic ride
- Direct drive eliminates tire wear and is super stable
- Responsive electromagnetic resistance adjusts with apps
- Large, stable base with foldaway legs for easy storage
- Communicates via ANT+, FE-C, and Bluetooth as well as wired USB
- Convertible to accommodate most skewer and thru-axle standards
- Large flywheel and Rock and Road base replicates a real-world feel
- Cassette not included
- Item #KIN000U
California Proposition 65
- Q & A
Great concept, poor execution
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Kinetic was late to the direct-drive smart trainer scene, but it certainly wasn't without reason. They wanted to bring something special to the table and the R1 certainly accomplished that. Instead of a rigid bike that barely flexes when riding, this trainer allows for a great deal of lateral movement that accurately mimics an actual on-road feel. It actively forces you to focus on core stability while improving your pedaling performance. Unfortunately, this most unique feature causes the R1's performance to fall short the moment you get out of the saddle.
The aforementioned genuine road feel immediately turns into a noodly wobble when you start to put the power down. The front end of the bike wanders and you no longer feel dancing up Zwift's virtual peaks.
The setup of the trainer itself is very easy and integrates seamlessly with Zwift, but until this glaring issue is addressed the R1 will take a backseat to the likes of Wahoo and Tacx.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Kinetic did a great job on their first direct-drive offering. The wheel-off trainer market is saturated with good options these days, and there isn't much daylight between the best and the rest. Kinetic's party piece is the rocking feature, and initially, I was skeptical. After a couple of weeks of use, I can confidently say that I approve! It doesn't feel 100% realistic, but it's certainly an improvement compared to a fixed trainer. I didn't like on standing efforts, but I appreciated the slight movement the rocker plate allowed when I was sitting. The trainer also linked up with 3rd party apps quickly, and never gave me an issue with power reporting.
The downsides were fairly limited. The R1 is a little louder than most of the trainers that it competes with, and the "road feel" wasn't quite on par with the Kickr/Neo in my mind. I also had a little bit of trouble getting my cassette on the freehub. It felt like the machining was slightly off, and I couldn't get it to sit down all the way on the first couple of tries.
All said, for the price, this is a trainer that I can definitely get behind!
Feel free to reach out to me directly if you'd like to discuss in more detail!
due to QC concerns can you tell me if this is one of the units after the recall?