VIDEO Review - Kurt Kinetic Rock And Roll Trainer
article & images by Nick Salazar
Jun 6, 2011
The easiest way to really show you how this bad boy works is with a video. So hit play below, and enjoy.
In general, the Kurt Kinetic Rock And Roll trainer is similar to other fixed-wheel trainers. It has a base to stabilize you and your bike, and a rolling resistance unit. The first think you'll notice is that this thing has a VERY large footprint. Its base is much wider, to account for the extra instability introduced by the rock and roll mechanism. Ultimately, it works very well - Kurt probably figured out they NEEDED to make the base this big, and as a result, it's quite stable. But it'll require a little more room than your standard trainer, so be aware.
The rolling resistance on the Rock And Roll is handled by Kurt's top-of-the-line fluid unit, which uses magnetically-coupled silicone-filled chambers to provide excellent resistance without any chance of a leak. It's a really great solution to the leakage problem from which some other fluid trainers suffer. The resistance is nice and smooth, and is made even better by the oversized flywheel.
But the big story here is the Rock And Roll part of the trainer. There are a couple elasomers sandwiched between metal plates, which are then secured with some big carraige bolts. This mechanism allows the resistance unit - and your bike - to float to some degree. The amount of float you get is determined by how tight you set those carraige bolts, which means it's user-tunable. If you want the unit a little stiffer, just tighten the bolts, and vice versa.
Rockin' and Rollin'
What does the float do? It's easier to show than to tell (check the video above). What Kurt demonstrates in its marketing materials is the obvious side-to-side motion you get when standing up and throwing the bike around as you would on a climb. And that definitely happens. But the BIG benefit to the Rock And Roll mechanism is actually its movement forewards and backwards, and up and down. That movement is a little harder to see, and at first glance, you might assume it's a bad thing. But this subtle suspension makes the experience on the trainer MUCH more comfortable. All that fore-aft and up-down motion you see in the video would normally be absorbed by the rider. Or more specifically, the rider's butt. Putting it into the elastomers makes for a ride that's less fatiguing, and ultimately more enjoyable. Oh, and that side-to-side motion is a plus too, even just sitting in aero. It feels more like the road.
Kurt Kinetic also cites some core strength benefits to having to keep yourself upright. Perhaps that's true, but depending on how tight you set the elastomers, you might not experience it. Adding Kurt's turntable riser though, and you'll definitely exert some enery balancing on it. But not nearly so much as with rollers - you can still zone out if you want, even on the turntable riser. In the end, this trainer is a monster. It combines Kurt's tried-and-true resistance technology and build quality with some pretty cool new tech that actually works. The downsides? Well, it's much bigger and heavier than other trainers, making it a poor choice if you want to travel to a race with it. And at $589 retail, it's the most expensive fixed-gear trainer we know of other than a Computrainer. But it's also the only trainer that provides this level of comfort. And ultimately, if it gets your butt off the couch more often in Winter, isn't that worth the cost?
Innovative trainer that really makes a difference
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