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I'm casual biker and I have been riding MTB bike mainly in a city and bitten forest / field tracks on the suburbs for many years. Almost year ago I was looking for smart trainer in order to increase level of my performance and with little help of summer prices going down I ordered Hammer on Amazon some 9 months ago and started using it about 2 months later. I have experienced several issues at the beginning: 1) dropping signal and loosing resistance after 10 or 15 minutes in all 3 apps I was using 2) uncomfortable feeling of imbalance when riding and difficulty to perfectly level my Hammer (place it evenly) on the floor 3) pain in my saddle after about 30 minutes of constant riding without any breaks in pedalling and without standing off the saddle.
Hopefully I have resolved issues no 1 and 2. Solution for the issue no 1 was buying USB 3.0 6 meters long extension cable and placing ANT+ dongle just next to the Hammer - no single signal drop since doing that, so I highly recommend this solution to anybody experiencing similar issue with the Cycleops Hammer!
It took just to get used to riding on the trainer and to better adjust legs supporting extensions in order to resolve issue no 2.
Unfortunately I have not resolved issue no 3 yet, despite ordering and using quality padded cycling shorts and reasonable quality saddle (Selle Royal Respiro Moderate - I'm using slightly higher stem than regular MTB and closer to 60 degrees than 45 position, so wider model of the saddle than my original MTB Scott which gave up couple of years ago but unfortunately wider saddle is not helping to reduce pain when riding constantly on the trainer). I just have done my research on other types of saddles recommended and just have ordered completely different type of saddle which is Brooks B17, hopefully it will finally give me opportunity to resolve issue no 3 as well.
I have also considered ordering or building DIY rocker plate which seems to be becoming popular recently. It should add some rocking movement to the still saddle position which could perhaps help to reduce pain due to changing pressure points etc. however after some research and consideration I have decided that commercially available products are not tailored well enough to Hammer's design (Cycleops guys have not released their plate yet) and attaching Hammer to rocking platform by just fabric belts / straps or similar things is not firmly enough. Similar thing with available DIY designs - Hammer seems to be much less rocking plate friendly designed than some other smart trainers. And on top of that all - I would feel not comfortable on the rocking trainer anyway, despite saddle pain, I do really feed good sitting kind of still and do not feel the need to mimic real life riding / technique nor doing any rapid accelerations with standing and rocking my bike etc.
As far as riding in Zwift or VirtueGo in regular mode is concerned (erg mode is not my thing), I can confirm that there is always few seconds delay between acceleration put on the pedals and acceleration registered and shown by the app and also between change of the elevation visible on the screen and resistance change felt on the pedals. It could be an issue for pros and ones with competitive approach but no issue whatsoever for casual riders like myself.
Overall I'm vary pleased with Hammer, giving 4 stars, not 5 due to necessity of buying and using USB extension cable (which was not that cheap). Highly recommended for casual and amateur indoor bikers and even for more serious cyclists too, perhaps just not for sprinters, real sport pros and highly competitive folks.
************2/19/18************ FINAL UPDATE - After a year of owning a Hammer, I finally gave up on Cycleops and their ability to write an effective Firmware update to solve the zero watt dropout and lag issues. Sold my Hammer in January and bought a KICKR. Spent about 500 bucks on the swap. Since then, Cycleops issued another Firmware update and supposedly fixed the dropout issue. It sounds like they finally figured it out which is great for Hammer users. I love my KICKR. Same room, same computer, same ANT+ dongle, etc... and it works flawlessly. Fun to race on Zwift again!
************11/27/17************ UPDATE - I have been asked by a few people if I am still having the zero watt dropout problem mentioned below, and sad to say I still have the problem. I always keep my Firmware up to date (currently 31.036). Search the support blog on Zwift for Cycleops Hammer and you will see that many are having the exact same issues. I still use the Hammer quite a bit during the winter but racing is almost impossible for me due to zero watt dropouts. I really hope Cycleops can resolve this annoyance. I don't want to sound too negative - it's a solid smart trainer, but it still needs some software tweaking IMO.
*******Original Review********** Put about 100 miles on this since it arrived a week ago so this is an early review. I will try to update again after a month or so.
The Hammer is built like a tank! Kind of heavy to move around but I prefer something that might survive hours of indoor "hammering". I am built like a rugby player so this is a big deal for me. I had a spare SRAM Red 11 cassette and it was honestly easy to install providing you have the tools and know how to change cassettes. The legs swing out easily and adjust well so you don't have lateral movement. Nothing else to do but jump on and ride.
I use Zwift and the experience is awesome! I have used dumb trainers in the past and I got bored really fast. The Hammer along with Zwift keeps me engaged and focused. I really prefer to ride outdoors year around but the weather has been tough this fall/winter. The watt readings seem very close to reality and the feedback on climbs and descents feels natural. My old trainers hurt my knees on the apex of the pedal stroke when dialed up to max but the Hammer flywheel seems to carry the momentum through the entire revolution - just like outside. I have peaked at 950 watts so far and sustained 500 watts several times. It doesn't heat up at all and seems to handle sprints just fine. As for noise, this is extremely quiet compared to my traditional trainer.
Everyone knows that indoor training can be boring and a pain, but the Hammer is a great tool to hopefully help the cycling maniac get through the winter months!
************3/11/17************ UPDATE - I have put just over 1000 miles on my Hammer so far. It's still solid and stable mechanically but problems have surfaced when interacting with Zwift. The reason I bought an expensive "smart" trainer is to help with the immersive aspect of indoor training. The Hammer has 2 major issues. First, there is a lag issue where the resistance (on steeper hills) in Zwift will not be felt on the Hammer for a few seconds and then will not get easier at the crest of the hill for a few seconds. It is very unnatural when in races or group rides. Secondly, there is a bad issue where wattage will suddenly drop to zero when changing gears on a climb. I have had multiple issues with this and it's extremely frustrating to come to a stop on a Zwift climb even though I am still cranking away at full effort. It only lasts for a second or so but, once again, this is a major problem when competing. Technical stuff - I have updated the Firmware to v31.31. I have verified with Zwift that my internet, ping, and ANT+ are all functioning correctly. My ANT+ dongle is directly under my left chainstay. I calibrate on the CVT app frequently. My Hammer LED light stays solid white during these adverse events mentioned above.
Search around on the internet and you will see that many others are having the exact same issues and frustrations.
Cycleops said they are aware of these issues. Hopefully they can fix it with a Firmware update soon. I am going from 5 to 3 stars for now and that might be generous.....
I bought this back in January. I wanted to give it enough time to give a fair review.
The trainer is heavy, like really heavy. Its both heavy to lift and a solid piece of machinery. I would suggest a trainer mat under it to protect your floors.
The Bad: This trainer has connection issues, Ant+ seems to drop off after 20-30 min ride and WILL NOT come back for that ride. (will connect next ride then disconnect to start the cycle over again) Can switch over to Bluetooth, but that will drop in and out during your ride, but is mostly pretty reliable. If you use Ant+ you will need a dongle and extension cable to place the Ant+ connection as close to the trainer as possible to prevent dropout.
The Good: This trainer is good, its strong, it's sturdy, it's quiet, when it works, it works great. You can go full gas on this thing and it will take it and keep going... as long as the connection hold. I have done 3 hour rides on the trainer and as long as the connection holds, have had ZERO problems. In that aspect, its great!
I think this is an amazing trainer, if you get one that doesn't have connection issues, your going to get an amazing trainer. If you're looking at this trainer, look at ALL the competition and prices prior to making your purchase, if this still seems like the best bet, go for it. But do ALL YOUR HOMEWORK first.
First off, I was transitioning from a “dummy” trainer (cycleops jet fluid pro) where I used a power meter on the bike for cadence and power. I currently subscribe to the Sufferfest and was a Zwift user for about 3 yrs before that.
I had wanted to upgrade to a smart trainer for a while but really struggled to justify the expense. My cycleops fluid trainer worked awesome for over 5yrs and I was able to do pretty much everything I needed to indoors. I also didn’t want to get a “discount” smart trainer and regret not spending a little more for a more robust wheel-off style.
After the great luck I had with my cycleops, it made sense to stay with the brand. When the price dropped on this first generation Hammer, I decided to pull the trigger. I’ve got a few rides on it with the Sufferfest and here are my thoughts:
The good: it’s really nice to just lock in and pedal. No more changing gears to get my power up. It’s quieter than my wheel-on trainer and I can use my bike without a power meter on it as well which is awesome. It also keeps cadence which some of the reviews said it doesn’t, but it does. It also came with the latest firmware update installed out of the box, but updating seems easy enough. It’s a tougher workout and allows me to be more focused on form (and suffering) than the dummy trainer.
The bad: I wouldn’t call anything really bad. It takes a little getting used to because there is some lag in big jumps in power targets up or down. It’s all about cadence, the pressure responds to that.
Does anyone else trainer gets to hot? I was riding today and after 1 hour the resistance started to drop and my trainer began to get very very hot. It didn’t smell like something burned or anything, but I stop pedaling for like 5 minutes and everything got back to normal but after a while the problem started again and now I’m to worried that my trainer it’s malfunctioning because I saved for like whole 8 months just to buy it. Please help
Out of the box in literally 60 seconds, 5 minutes to put a cassette on it (I'd never done it before), another minute or two and my bike is on it, updated the firmware with the Saris app in 5 minutes, connected to Zwift effortlessly. I just used the bluetooth on my iPhone. That comes to just 15ish minutes and I'm riding indoors.
This is the best value for money (I've decided) out of any smart trainer out there. The ONLY area this trainer is worse than more expensive smart trainers is noise. That's not to say it's loud. My chain and fan are noisier under 175 watts. Above that it slowly starts to become an audible whirring sound. And above 500 I'd say it's loud (not that you'll be doing that long). The flywheel is a bit loud but most other trainers are too. I've seen people put some grease inside the hub and it quiets down significantly so that's an easy fix if you don't like the ticking when free wheeling. I live in an apartment on the 3rd floor and no complaints yet!
The thing is a tank, super stable, just careful moving it once the bikes attached. It's very heavy.
Can't recommend it enough, no power dropouts, works like a dream. I'm surprised they're still selling it since it's so competitive with their revised models the H2 and H3. At literally half the price of those trainers you can't go wrong.
1.) It set up extremely easy. Just add a cassette and engage the bike and go. It paired with Rouvy on a PC - but a few hiccups (I am using the ANT+ And the BlueTooth (I added) on my laptop). If you keep peddling, it will pair everything. I have used Rouvy with an iPad's BlueTooth and it is flawless. 2.) The ride is far superior to the CycleOps Smart Trainer I had. You'll be changing gears frequently because the software is definitely in control of your ride. 3.) The Rouvy app is beyond wonderful with an incredible choice of rides of varying degrees of distance and grade. The software is beautifully designed: you can easily select rides that serve your biking needs. This is the best ride you'll get inside - but I haven't tried other apps except Zwift. 4.) I compared a ride I did around Saranac Lake area in upstate New York with the Smart Trainer and then the Hammer. The 20# flywheel really adds to the realism. 5.) The packaging is...TERRIBLE! You will be surprised it arrives in one piece. Simply not enough cardboard layering around this precious cargo. A cap should be covering the hub/axle so it is not stressed during shipping. 6.) It's a hefty buck, but if you are serious about getting a decent ride inside - I think that it is worth it.
I used a very crude wheel on drum trainer with viscous resistance 3 position resistance setting 25 years ago for triathlon training and hated it, with almost no use. Now resuming training for triathlon, and the Hammer is the mechanism to get training time and volume with any time slot I have available. I primarily run workouts of my own design based on percent FTP. This means no gear shifting and I can pull up any level workout I want anytime. I use Rouvy to control the Hammer. I find this form of training to be very useful. Setup is PC output to 42 inch older 1080 LCD, (2) 19 inch pedestal fans directed at me with my old competition bike (Softride powerwing) setup with aero bars and body position exactly like my Felt bike I race with. This saves wear and tear on the "new gear", essentially no chance of any trauma event, no weather limitations, no flats, pedal day or night, dial up stereo playlist, and very easy to jump off and T2 into running shoes and out the door for bike / run brick around neighborhood route. I use the Cycleops chainring power meter on Felt and the perceived effort / watts output between the trainer and real riding seems accurate. The watt output for "race pace" is known and is basis for workout design. I had read about this form of training prior to purchase, but I had to experience this over the last 6+ months and some 4k virtual miles to appreciate the value proposition it represents.