CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer Review of 2018

The need for trainer bikes have been on the rise lately and just to keep up with the demand CycleOps has come up with a new machine with its electric direct drive system. The trainer known as the hammer is said to be a game changer for lovers of indoor trainers. In a nutshell, a direct drive trainer works in the absence of the rear wheel of the bike and with that comes a number of advantages which will be discussed later in this review.

The one thing that stands out when it comes to the hammer is the fact that it is versatile. How so? Well, it comes with a thru-axle that allows a wide range of bikes to be attached to it. As long as the fork of the bike is compatible with the specifications on the instructions then you are good to go. The other feature adding to the versatile nature of this machine is the ability to adapt different outdoor settings thanks to the flywheel which is 20 lb which is precision balanced.

The weight of the flywheel acts as a stabilizer so that while you are training there are no noises coming from the bike or a wobbly feel to the training. An added advantage of the Cycleops Hammer over its other competitors is how quiet it is. According to Cycleops at 20 mph the trainer produces a noise level of 64 decibels which is quite low. When it comes to resistance, an electromagnetic system is the choice since it offers a variety of resistance changes for your training needs. Once you have the bike assembled you can use your phone or laptop to access the training software of your choice. It could be Zwift, which is one of the most popular software in the market at the moment.

These are some of the features to look forward to when you are considering buying CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer. The rest of this article is meant to analyze the bike in terms of: all the features and specs it has to offer; the benefits and advantages a user can hope to enjoy; some of the pros that come with this new entrant; the cons that try to spoil the fun; the missing links that can be worked on to improve performance.

Features and specs of CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer

The remarkable features and specs of the CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer makes it one of the best performers in the indoor training arena. The manufacturers did their best to deliver the trainer of any trainer enthusiast and in all honesty they did not disappoint. The hammer is unique in every sense and this part of the review is going to delve into the many features it has and what it adds to the overall experience of the user.

  • The CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer is a direct drive system that connects the chain of the bike directly to the cassette of the hammer after the removal of the rear wheel.
  • The trainer is fitted with a 20 lb precision balanced flywheel which offers more stability and a quiet training session.
  • It comes with electromagnetic resistance that gives enough resistance changes for users, which is automatically changed and regulated by the apps that are in use.
  • The bike incorporates PowerTap technology in terms of the power meter for power readings which has an accuracy level of +-3%.
  • It features a thru-axle, which has the widest variety when it comes to compatibility. It is compatible with 130mm to 148mm forks.
  • The machine can take up to 2000 watts.
  • On purchase and delivery, the bike trainer comes with front wheel trays or rather stabilizers to keep the wheel in place.
  • The trainer is compatible with a number of apps that have the training that you need.
  • Technologically the bike trainer can connect via Bluetooth and ANT+
  • It has a Shimamo speed cassette compatibility of speed 8-11 though the cassettes have to be bought separately.
  • It is fitted with an internal cooling system that regulates the temperature of the hammer as its still in use.
  • The overall weight of the trainer is approximately 21 kg with most of it being attributed to the flywheel.
  • To prevent accidental breaking the disk brake of the trainer comes with a brake lock.

Benefits of CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer

As far as benefits go, the CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer has a lot to offer. As a consumer the question of what’s in it for me is an age old question. Well CycleOps has made sure that there is a lot in it for you if the specs and features are anything to go by. This section of the review is all about the benefits.

  • Fool proof assembly: This bike is easy to assemble with the least amount of time. Just remove the rear tire click the connect your bike to the hammer and enjoy.
  • A quiet ride: The CycleOps is one of the most silent trainers in the market now. The 64 decibels at 20 mph tells it all. You can watch TV or listen to your favorite music while you are using the trainer. No need for the use headphones to keep the noise out.
  • Versatility: When it comes to versatility no trainer can beat the CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer since it is compatible with a variety of bikes. If the fork is between 130 mm to 148 mm in width, then you are good to go. It is also compatible with a number of software and technologies such as the ANT+ to provide a wide range training.
  • Replicates any outdoor setting: Thanks to the virtual reality software, you can tackle a number of terrains in the comfort of your home. The electromagnetic resistance changes depending on the terrain that has been chosen from the apps. You can even participate in races online.
  • Easy to move around: Another notable benefit is the ease at which the trainer can be moved around. Al that has to be done is fold the legs of the hammer and move it to create space when you are not training or to simply have it around when you need to use it.
  • Stability: The fly wheel is around 20 lbs and this is perfect for stability. The weight keeps the hammer stable ,thus preventing  unnecessarily imbalances. The front wheel stabilizer seals the deal on stability as well.
  • Very light:The trainer may have a heavy flywheel but the 21 kg attributed to the entire trainer is very light compared to its other competitors.

Pros of CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer

The hammer has a number of pros to keep you coming for more. The experience is one of a kind read in this section of the review and get to understand what you will be in for once you purchase the trainer.

  • Reduced wear and tear: One of the pros of this hammer and most direct drive systems is the fact that it omits the back wheel from the training equation. This means that you do not have to deal with frequent wears and tears and making unnecessary replacements.
  • Power accuracy: As stated before the bike incorporates the use of PowerTap power meters that pride themselves in a +-3% accuracy. The accuracy of the power output meter is unrivaled.
  • The ease of use: The trainer requires no special training to use as most of the instructions are straight forward. All there is to do is to put the bike trainer together and enjoy the experience of the training.
  • Great training options: Another pro that makes CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer the bike to beat is the fact that it has a wide array of training options thanks to the preprogrammed options on the trainer and software in the market. If you find that the preprogrammed options are not enough, you can use your laptop or smartphone, download the software of your choice, connect to the hammer and train away.
  • Compatibility and flexible: This bike is the epitome of compatibility and flexibility as it can be used with most bikes. It is also compatible with a number of Bluetooth devices as well as the use of ANT+. If you have a training software on your PC or smartphone, you can connect it to the hammer wirelessly.
  • Stable training: Nothing beats a training regime that is stable. With a stable tool like the CycleOps hammer, you do not have to worry about falling off and you will be more in control than if the bike was shaky.
  • Easy to assemble: Thought the cassettes can be an issue since they do not come with the trainer, but the overall assembly should not take more than 10 minutes and probably 30 minutes if you are having problems understanding the instructions.

Cons of the CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer

To this point we have dealt with the “good stuff” that makes the CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer and everything sounds perfect right? Unfortunately, there is no such thing as perfection and this trainer also has some downside that dents its perfect look. There are number of flaws that are part of this trainer. However, it should be noted that they are not exclusive to CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer. This section identifies these cons and discusses them in depth.

  • It’s expensive: This bike comes with a high price tag which can be expensive, especially if it is compared to other competing brands. Many training enthusiasts find this too expensive for a trainer.
  • Missing parts: Some important parts are omitted in the assembly. The most notable part that many feel should be included is the cassette. You have to purchase the parts separately if you want to enjoy the full performance of the trainer. However, this means spending extra money.
  • Uses specific tools: Apart from the fact that there are parts missing, you will have to contend with looking for the right tools to assemble the machine especially the cassettes you have chosen.
  • Needs electricity: The resistance is not automatic it depends on electricity. This means you have to have a constant supply of electricity to have it working.

CycleOps Hammer Missing links of CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer

Another flaw of CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer is some of the missing links to the trainer. There are some of the features that act as a hindrance rather than enhancements. Do not take this as a go ahead not to buy this trainer, it’s just to inform you so that you can make the best decision before purchase. The following part of the review deals with those missing links and how to correct  them in the end with homemade solutions.

  • Some users have complained of noises while they are on the bike training. This is probably due to the assembly that was not done in the right way. To solve this, you can twerk some of the parts that may be the origin of the noise.

Final take on CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer

Some refer to this bike trainer as a dream come true for every training cyclist. The specs and features are one of a kind and some of them are exclusive to the CycleOps Hammer. Direct drive systems have their own advantages, but the CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive Trainer has gone a step further to improve on the experience of its customers as well as to attract new ones.

Thanks to a number of features such as the 20 lbs flywheel the trainer is sturdy and strong. Don’t let the quiet nature of this Hammer fool you, it does pack a punch as far as training is concerned. With its wide array of training program and quick to adjust electromagnetic resistance you can never go wrong. The wireless connectivity makes the deal sweeter as there is no need to deal with a network of cables to enjoy a vigorous training routine. Though the price tag can hurt the features and benefits will more than make up for it. The final verdict is that this bike trainer is value for money. Give it a try. Click here to check out this bike trainer.