Kinetic Rock & Roll Smart Control review£750.00

Smart by name, smart by nature?

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If you’re going to really throw yourself into the swooping hills and sudden corner cityscapes of virtual training world Zwift, why not use a turbo you can literally throw around too? Especially if it’s also one of the most smoothly visceral ‘enterpainment’ engines on the market that’s just had a whole new smart update: the Kinetic Rock & Roll Smart Control.

Kinetic trainers cost a bit more than average but they’re very solidly built so you’re unlikely to ever need to call on the lifetime warranty

By mounting the trainer on a rubber block on top of a super-stable horseshoe frame, then putting the front wheel in the rotating ‘Riser Ring’ (£44.99 extra), your bike is free to tilt to either side as you pedal. Add the height of the unit and it feels weirdly precarious at first but once you’re lost in Zwiftopia it adds a whole new level of cornering and out-of-the-saddle climbing/sprinting realism.

The new smart brake, which you can retro-fit to older Kinetic trainers, gives full speed and power information and interactivity via Bluetooth to third-party applications or Kinetic’s own Fit software/app suite.

While it’s not direct drive, the huge flywheel and massive metal roller do mean it’s incredibly smooth. It can occasionally slip when cold, but is fine once your tyre has warmed up. The suspension block keeps it impressively quiet, there’s a lifetime warranty and if you don’t fancy the rodeo aspect the static A-frame Road Machine is £549.

Kinetic trainers cost a bit more than average but they’re very solidly built so you’re unlikely to ever need to call on the lifetime warranty. Little details like the textured clamp knobs on the latest versions and double-layer stickers (so there’s a fresh one underneath if the top one gets scratched) are a really nice touch too.

The idea of bouncing around like a toddler on one of those elephants on springs you get in a kids’ playground sounds weird, but in practice even just a bit of 3D movement does an amazing job of tricking your brain into thinking that you really are riding.

• Noise level @200W: 78dB

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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