The season for riding inside has arrived. Don’t anyone cheer too loudly; it’ll disturb the neighbors. But like it or not, for many of us, inside is the only place worth riding for some months to come. The combo of a Wahoo Kickr and Zwift has revolutionized indoor training, making it tangibly fun, though maybe not quite as fun as flying down some road with a half dozen friends.
But the Wahoo Kickr isn’t the only option for using Zwift. And as attractive as the direct drive of trainers like the Kickr and Minoura’s other option, the Kagura LSD9200 are, there are riders who really need something that’s more versatile.
The Kagura LST9200 (I’m guessing T for trainer as opposed to D for direct drive), folds up into a fairly compact size. However, because it has a heavy flywheel like more traditional magnetic trainers, the LST9200 offers something I haven’t found in another unit. It is possible to use this without a source of power. That may not seem like much, but the upshot is that for everyone who wants to use a trainer to warm up before a race, this trainer can be used both with Zwift and at the race course.
The other big selling point on this trainer is that it is half of what many of the units go for, at $649.95. Even compared to some of the more budget units, it’s less expensive.
One of the things that I didn’t care for with the early smart trainers, that is, any of the trainers that were offering power measurement with some additional interface, like an iPad, was that they required a rat’s nest of cables. Thanks to Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, that problem has been eliminated. One power cable is all that’s necessary.
The LST9200 maxes out at 2000 watts; that is, it will deliver up to that much resistance, for those of you inclined to Cavendishian displays of awesomeness. History has shown me that I really don’t need a trainer that can offer more than 1000 watts of resistance. I’m built for all day, not right now. That said, the tire/roller interface is still one that is imperfect.
I found that I needed to use a tire that had some miles on it, but not too many, so that it gripped better, and I had to run lowish pressure, like 40 psi, to increase the grip just a bit more. Still, there was some slipping and when doing Zwift workouts I noticed that any time the tire slipped there was, of course, a lag between the power I was producing and the power that Zwift measured. In group riding scenarios it meant that I needed to try to anticipate accelerations by gradually getting on the power before I needed it, making sure to be as smooth as I could, rather than putting down the hammer. I put down the hammer in a different metaphoric sense—I put it away. In structured Zwift workouts I noticed that when it increased resistance for an interval, the tire would slip a bit and the software would increase the resistance further because the signal was off, and it took a few seconds before the tire held on to the roller sufficiently and the resistance and my output would stabilize.
One option is to leave open the posts that fix the height of the trainer, allowing the pressure on the tire to be adjusted with the rear tension knob. But for lighter riders and anyone willing to surrender a tire to a trainer, the posts can be left in so that the portion rider’s body and bike weight delivered to the rear wheel rest on the roller.
To the degree that there is any reason to ding this trainer and consider doubling the expense, this is it, but I have to say, it’s hard to justify spending $500 or more on tire slip, which is what makes this trainer so damn compelling. If I were racing cyclocross currently, this is absolutely the trainer I’d want to own.
Final thought: With a good marine battery or generator, a Zwift warmup prior to a race could be a thing.