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The Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer is simple to use, stable and quiet, and it works seamlessly with the likes of Zwift and Bkool. I became a big fan of its smoothness and neat accessories, such as the lithium battery pack which means you aren't tied to a mains power source.
A new brand, especially in the field of electronics, can struggle to carve its way into the marketplace against more established, well known companies. It has to prove itself first.
You've heard of Bkool though, yeah? It stopped making smart trainers to focus on its simulator platform, then sold off the hardware side to Zycle – a company it was already working with on electronics.
So while the name may be unfamiliar, Zycle does have plenty of background in the industry. In fact, the ZPro looks surprisingly similar to the Bkool Smart Go Trainer we tested back in 2017.
The ZPro SMART is a 'wheel-in turbo', something of a dying breed with all the integrated versions available, but it's really good, and above all else, really easy to use.
In the box you get the turbo, a front wheel riser block, an ANT+ USB doofer (it works on Bluetooth too), a power pack and a quick release lever.
Included in our box was a Zycle lithium power pack – a £39.99 extra – and a couple of thru-axle adaptors made by Tacx. Zycle's own adaptors are £49.99.
The lithium battery pack is a neat idea, especially if you want to reduce the leads running around the place or your turbo can't be near a power supply. The charged pack can power the turbo for around five hours.
Set up literally takes 10 minutes, if that. Clip a few bits and pieces into place and you're ready to go.
The first thing I was impressed with is how stable the platform is. It ain't light at 12kg, but that translates to a very secure unit for those high power efforts. It also has telescopic legs for even more security if you want to get out of the saddle.
If you do that you don't quite get a realistic road effect, but you can give it your all without tipping the thing over.
The metal roller your tyre presses gives a smooth motion. When used with Zwift, the pedalling feels realistic as you change from the flat to climbing, and the Zycle ZPro can cope with gradients up to 15% – a fair bit steeper than many of these types of trainers.
Whether doing specific training sessions or just riding on various online platforms, I found the Zycle ZPro reacted quickly to effort or what was happening in the app. It's not as perfectly smooth as the real world, but it isn't far off.
When it comes to power measurement, the Zycle ZPro offers consistent results and tracks pretty close to the 4iiii power meter I fitted to the bike.
For the majority of the time the readouts were pretty similar. Zycle claim an accuracy of +/- 3% and I'd say I was pretty close to that. There's a small amount of lag from the turbo compared to the cranks if you launch into a sprint, but not so much you'd notice.
Not including the battery pack or thru-axle adaptors, the Zycle Zpro is £399.99. That comes in much cheaper than the majority of integrated units where you remove your rear wheel.
Elite's Qubo Digital Smart B+ trainer is a similar piece of kit and while I didn't review it, I actually owned one for a couple of years. It's a good piece of kit. If you want the ultimate precision in power output there are better options out there (they'll cost you though), but if you just want something for Zwift and so on, it can't really be faulted.
Originally £325, the Elite now costs £274.99. You don't get a front riser block, though they don't cost much, but I'd say the Zycle is arguably a smoother unit.
At the other end of the scale is the Elite Tuo FE-C Mag trainer at £424.99. It can deal with a higher output than the Zycle – 2,050W versus 1,200W – but only replicates inclines of 10%. You do get thru-axle adaptors included in the package though.
As someone who would rather take to the open road regardless of weather, I found the Zycle ZPro realistic and something I could just jump on and ride. It's a quality bit of kit that'll see you through the winter without spending a fortune.
Well-specced smart trainer that's simple to use and gives a realistic ride feel
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zycle ZPro SMART Turbo Trainer
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Zycle says: "The ZPro trainer is designed to let you get the most out of your indoor workout regardless of your fitness level or experience. The Zycle ZPro Smart Trainer is a high quality 'wheel-on' indoor smart trainer. Compatible with both road bikes and mountain bikes.
"ZPro works with all of the best training software including ZWIFT, BKOOL, Sufferfest, Kinomap and TrainerRoad which means you can train or race virtually - whenever you want, and with whom you want."
It's a well made smart trainer that delivers good results, and is very easy to use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
WHATS IN THE BOX?
Zycle ZPRO SMART Trainer
Front wheel support
AC power adapter
Standard quick release skewer (9mm)
Also includes 3 months of premium subscription to BKOOL
Plug & play- No major assembly or calibration required.
Wheel friendly- Fits all wheel sizes (20"-29").
Realistic training feel, outperforming many higher cost trainers and rollers.
Accurate Power - automatic calibration system.
Up to 1,200 watts (15% max slope).
Accurate within +/- 3% of wattage
Wireless connection over Bluetooth smart BLE FMST. Also works with ANT+
Compact and lightweight- Easy to store, foldable and reduced size and weight (12kg).
Telescopic legs for great stability
Reduced noise - Quiet roller and magnetic braking results in a quieter experience (75dB)
Connects to apps like ZWIFT easily and quickly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It gives a realistic road feel and works well with the online platforms like Zwift and Bkool.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Simple to set up and use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Thru-axle adaptors are extras.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Zycle ZPro is a fair bit more than the Elite Qubo, but is closer to matching the more expensive Elite Tuo as I've mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Taking everything into account, this is a good all-round package that delivers decent results. I would like to see thru-axle adaptors included in the price though, as some of the competition manage.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!