Review: Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll Trainer

The new Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll indoor trainer is one of very few indoor trainers that feels like riding a bike rather than a solid, immovable machine.

The Rock and Roll is based around a leak-free patented kinetic fluid resistance unit and a fly wheel. The resistance unit puts down a smooth, progressive power curve from 5-3000watts… if you’re pedaling your guts out.

Interestingly, the Kinetic, closely resembles what can be expected on the road. There are a few assumptions, but never the less it is close.

What makes the Rock and Roll different from other trainers is that the base is separated from the resistance unit. This allows side-to-side movement while pedaling, which in turn forces the rider to maintain balance over the bike while pedaling. Yes, there are built in safety features preventing tipping (such as the extra wide base), but that is not the point of the unit.

The Rock and Roll is designed to make you, the rider, cognizant of your body position over your bike. Keeping yourself upright while riding forces your core muscles to activate and stabilize the bike and your body.  This in turn stabilizes the pelvis, giving the rider’s legs a solid fulcrum to act against, efficiently transferring power to the pedals.

Don’t have a road bike to mount on the trainer? Not a problem. Kurt Kinetic sells various axle adapters for those of you who are not using a quick release rear. In fact, I am impressed with the range of rear axle adapters available for through-axle bikes. The adaptors retail for $49 each.

Other design features include the ergonomic tension adjustment knob that moves the roller onto your wheel. The Rock and Roll will accommodate tires from 22″ all the way to a 29×2.4″ tire. Using a tripod-style design eliminates adjustments, so the durable rubberized central pad and leg extension boots do a good job holding the trainer in place.

Out of the box, this trainer was ready to roll in about 5 minutes. Most of that time was spent going over the literature. In my case, I opted to run my road bike on the trainer. Removing my quick release and substituting it with the one supplied by Kurt Kinetic took 30 seconds. Another minute consisted of locating the supplied hex key and inserting the leg extension in the main frame, and torquing them down.

Placing the bike on the trainer was a simple matter of centering the wheel and tightening it down. The side of the fluid unit is adjusted first. You want the wheel centered on the spindle. Once that is done, just close in the other side to the supplied QR, and you’re off to the races. 5 turns on the adjustment knob applied enough friction to prevent my tire from slipping when I sprinted on the bike.

Overall, I was impressed at how smooth the Rock and Roll felt. Just out of sheer curiosity, I placed my vibration meter right next to the trainer, and went to town on it. The trainer barely registered on my meter. That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me. As far as sound is concerned, at full tilt on the pedals I barely hit 83 decibels, which is very quiet. This would be a perfect trainer for any indoor condo: you won’t have people complain about noise.

As far as performance, I can’t really say anything negative about the trainer itself. However, since it’s a fluid trainer, you can’t adjust the amount of resistance. But Kurt Kinetic does sell some accessories for those who are more serious about their training. A  heavier fly wheel will add more mass to the system, and is perfect for those who like to interval train. A swivel riser block both balances the bike better and makes the Rock and Roll more active.

I did notice that if you leave tension on the tire, a flat spot may develop that will take a few minutes to go away. To combat this, I found that after my session on the trainer, simply releasing the tension eliminated the flat spot: a good bit of advice for any bike trainer.

For $579 USD, this is a super-sturdy, well-balanced, fuss-free unit that carries an unconditional lifetime warranty. Adding the swivel riser block is well-worth the additional $45 USD.

Thanks to the folks at Kurt Kinetic for sending down the Rock and Roll for review!