Last year, James here at TitaniumGeek HQ rigorously tested the Kurt Kinetic R1 and published his findings here on the Titaniumgeek.com. A year on, a pandemic and a global supply problem, and the Kinetic R1 has landed with me to give it a good going on.
If you read our Facebook posts, you will know what happened when I plugged it in – the PCB had frazzled. A support message to Kurt Kinetic and one week later and the spare part flew over the pond and it was quickly fitted.
Kinetic R1 – Overview of Findings
Anyhow, once refitted, the R1 worked. Power accuracy aside (please see Jame’s article https://titaniumgeek.com/kinetic-r1-smart-trainer-preview/ ), there is a lot to like about the R1:
- Heavy – you can sprint like a champion and it isn’t going anywhere. Even the best out there have crept along the floor during my sessions and I’m more cart horse than racing stallion! There is nothing quiet like creeping towards your TV and gaming PC stand mid-sprint! No feat with the R1
- Big fly-wheel – 6.35 kg and this gives a lovely smooth feeling. It’s that alive feeling that I prefer on a smart trainer
- The built in rocker plate is a great addition. If you consider the price of a smart trainer and rocker plate, then think again with this, as it’s all-in-one. Getting on the bike when attached to the Kinetic R1 makes for great core skills
- Service – well, the PCB should not have blown AND they should have sent the right tool for the job, however, one week from across the pond was good.
- Ant + and BLE transmission is great
- It supports through axle bikes and we tested this R1 on a Scott with Dura-ace Di2 and then the trusted old Cannondale with a skewer on old Shimano 105.
Talking of Shimano 105 – their cranks. I typed up above regarding global shortages of bikes and components; I decided to re-test James’s power data. Using Garmin Vector 3, the numbers didn’t seem right. Yes, calibration protocols were followed and yet the Kinetic R1 was either reading low, or high and rarely the same.
James came up with a terrific idea ‘add another power meter to the mix.’ I gave 4iiii a call ‘Rod, do you happen to have a spare crank power meter knocking around that I can borrow for a test?’ Rod confirmed that cranks are now getting like rocking horse muck and how about sending my crank and they would add the power meter to it. ‘Is this a standard service?’ I asked ‘It is!’ Rod replied. Imagine that, send your crank to 4iiii and it comes back (within 48 hours in my case) with a power meter.
Now with another power meter, things got even more interesting.
What the data shows and doesn’t show is as follows: the reaction time of the R1 to show watts on and off is slow. In a virtual racing situation and even group ride (with sticky draft), this is important. What is does show is the big variations over shorter periods of time.
As I have expressed previously, there is no international/industry standard method of calibration and therefore no recognised manner of doing this (yet). This means that you have to have your own reliable methodology and in my opinion, use the same power meter indoors that you do outdoors and calibrate it in the same manner regularly. If you think about it, having seen the data above, why would you rely on your smart trainer data indoors and then use a different power meter outdoors and then expect to be able to make good use of that data?!! Madness!
On the expressed accuracy of any power meter, as an esteemed and leading engineer in World cycling has told me ‘It’s bullshit!’
For racing indoors, chasing pixels and in a virtual cycle racing environment (esports), dual power is now required for all the serious races, on all the serious virtual cycling platforms. Therefore, having that outdoor and indoor power meter – in addition to the smart-trainer that you have – may well become not just de rigour, but standard.
4iiii Saved the Day
This started as a re-review of the Kinetic R1 smart trainer and what it turned out to be was a fantastic discovery of a service from 4iiii and a great way of getting a power meter on your bike without even needing to buy a new crank. 4iiii have a simple guide for checking crank compatibility for their power meter and it can be found here:
In the UK, here are the details for the 4iiii Power Meter fitting service:https://4iiiiuk.com/pages/factory-install
Back to the Kinetic R1
If you are in the market and you can get one at the right price, with a warranty, go for it. They are smooth, stable and the built in rocking feels far more akin to riding outdoors than a fixed smart-trainer – but… get another power meter on your bike.