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Should you buy this budget semi-smart trainer? This is what we’ll find out in todays video
What’s up guys my name is Charles and welcome back to my cycling youtube channel, if you are new here, hit the subscribe button for more cycling content.
Two months ago, Magene technologies sent me over their powermeter crank for a review and were really happy with my video, so they were kind enough to send another product for review. In today's video, we will take a deep look at this 399$ budget semi-smart trainer, see how it compares to other direct drive trainer on the market, I’ll test it on a recovery ride and on a race in crit city Category A. We’ll finish this review with my thoughts on it and my recommendation if you should or shouldn’t buy this thing.
Quick disclaimer, Magene did send me this trainer for free in exchange for this video review, but they have no control over what I’m saying and are seeing this at the same time as you guys. At the end of the video I’m sharing a sweet discount, so keep watching! Alright let’s get into this review.
So the T100 is a budget semi-smart trainer, it’s a product targeted at beginner and intermediate indoor cyclists because, first of its friendly price, and second because of its limited capabilities. It’s rated at a maximum of 700 watts, but more on that later. At only 15 kilograms, it’s foldable design is super convenient for space-saving but, there is no dedicated handle for transporting, it’s definitely a bit awkward to take in your arms. It has no power cord because it runs on AAA batteries, which maybe looks better in your living room, but is just a process keep in mind to change the batteries once in a while. They are rated for 320h of expected battery life. If you store the trainer during the summer. I’d suggest you remove the batteries to prevent any leaking.
For the assembly, it’s pretty straightforward, you have 4 bolts to tight. The white wider beam goes with the white pipe and black with black. The cassette is not included, so either buy a new one at your local bike shop for 40 to 60 bucks and install it on your trainer. Or you can also swap the cassette from your rear wheel if you have the tools. It’s both rim and disc bikes compatible, all you have to do is swap the adaptor, it’s a fairly easy process. Once you are ready to go, you have to pair first with the mobile app and register your product. It’s also from the mobile app that you can do the software updates and spindown calibration
On my first ride on it, something I realized right away, it’s how silent this trainer is. At only 60dB, this is perfect to not annoy your neighbors, your girlfriend, or even yourself if it’s your girlfriend who will ride this trainer. All the noise you hear is from your drivetrain, not the trainer
Their power accuracy claims is a plus minus 3%, which is a standard range in the industry of budget trainers and it uses either bluetooth or ant plus to communicate with your computer. Again, the Ant+ key is not included, that’s an extra 20$ if your computer doesn’t have a bluetooth antenna.
Now let’s discuss the two main drawbacks of this trainer and why this is not for experienced indoor cyclists. If you are a CAT A racer or you consider yourself as a good sprinter, forget this trainer. It’s maximum power output from the spec sheet is 700 watts. I’ve pushed it to over 1000w, but at a ridiculous cadence of 160 rpm. If your maximum power output for 10 secondes is under 800 watts, this downside doesn’t affect you at all. And if you don’t know your maximum wattage output because you are new to the sport, and you weigh under 80 kilograms, then, there are strong chances that your sprint is also under 800 watts, so this trainer can work for you.
Second drawback, being a semi-smart trainer, the resistance will not adjust automatically to the gradient in zwift or any virtual cycling software, Thus why it’s called a semi-smart trainer. So this means that your power output will be constant whether you go flat, uphill or downhill. you will never need to change gears because of the virtual environment, only if you wish so. So you can forget ERG mode. All of this reduces the overall realism and the feeling of riding outdoors. But I think this is great for beginner and intermediate cyclists because they can ride at their own pace, without changing gears whenever there is a hill.
Third drawback is the cadence is not accurate. When you do pair your devices to zwift, it will recognize a cadence sensor, it will show an estimated number, but this number is just wrong basically all the time. So if you do care about cadence, not too sure why you would care because it’s really useless, but you’d need an extra cadence sensor on your crank or pedals.
Now how does it compare to the other direct drives trainer on the market?
Let’s look the most affordable direct trainer from the three main competitors : The Wahoo KickR core, The Taxc Flux S, and The Saris H3
All of these trainers come with a higher maximum wattage, incline simulation, a more realistic feel, definitely better branding, but also more than double the price. When choosing these mainstream brands with the budget of the T100, you are getting a wheel-on smart trainer. And to have had a wheel-on trainer in the past, its so freaking bad. It’s not as stable, it make a shit ton of noise, it’s not smooth at all and you need to replace your rear tire. I definitely don't recommend going to those trainers to anyone, even beginners. Direct drive trainer should be the way to go.
Allright, let’s now jump into the test footage with the T100, I did a first test recovery ride and a race. Yes, I did test this budget trainer into a crit city category A race, and my performance on this trainer will definitely surprise you
My final word on the T100
To wrap this video, do I recommend this T100 from Magene? The answer is it yes and no. It depends on who you are, what are your capabilities and what is your budget. But I truly think that this product is great, I’m genuinely surprised by how smooth the pedaling is, way more smooth than my taxc flus s, how easy it is to build and store, and by it’s stability when getting out of the saddle. If the max power output was at 1200w, it would have become my go to trainer for racing on zwift, but unfortunately it’s not.
If you have a lot of money to spend, don’t buy this one, just go any of the mainstream one
If you are a sprinter and can easily do over 1000w, again, this is not for you
If you are really serious about e-racing, this is not for you as you will never be able to compete in a bunch sprint, only if you go for break aways like I’ve done in the test race.
But, if you are a beginner or intermediate who’s looking at buying a first trainer or upgrade to direct drive from a wheel-on without breaking the bank, this can be a good option.
Or you are tired of sharing your trainer with your girlfriend and swap the bikes all the time like I've done almost everyday for the past two months, this is a great option for her .
And as usual, I did my best to get you guys a sweet discount, if you use the code ‘’charlesouimet10’’ at checkout within the first 7 days that this video is up, you’re going to get 10% discount on the T100 semi-smart trainer, after that 7 days, the discount will go down to 5%.So, you snooze, you loose ahah! As I always mentioned with my discount code, I do receive a kick-back from that sales, it funds me to become a full time cyclist, so thank you for supporting the brands that are nice enough to work with me.