madsciencenowwrote a review of CycleOps H2 Direct Drive Smart Trainer on December 6, 2018
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've been using a cycleops fluid trainer for years, first with basic garmin cadence and speed sensors and more recently (think Zwift beta time period) I added in a power meter and BT HR monitor. I was pretty happy with this setup and logged around 10k miles like this. Last year I moved from Atlanta to the Chicago area and riding indoors has become a reality throughout the week and during many weekends due to the weather.
Therefore, I was looking for something to provide motivation to get on the trainer. I started looking into smart trainers and quickly realized this is a tool that might provide the extra motivation. I looked at all the reviews on the top smart direct drive smart trainers and I went with the Hammer H2 because it has a high maximum watt output, can go up to 20% simulated slope, and other reviews I read said it has relatively good road feel. The TacX was a close second for me but the higher price point relative to performance just didn't seem worth it for me.
After owning and riding this trainer for a couple weeks I can say that I think I made the right choice. The trainer is relatively quiet (much quieter than my cycleops fluid trainer) and is barely audible over the TV and two box fans I have running while riding. I should also that set-up is super simple. rotate the crank and Zwift and Rouvy see the trainer and connect. I'm struggling to think of how it could be easier?
The difference between riding this and the cycleops fluid is night and day. I used to sit on the fluid trainer and grind away with a near constant effort for 90 minutes and beyond on Zwift. Sure it was fun but the variability that you get from riding different geography outdoors was missing. With the smart trainer and particularly this one, you get the same feel as riding outdoors and maybe more so because you get to explore places you would never ride with apps like Rouvy and Zwift. Another interesting point that I've observed is I'm able to ride in a more aggressive position (think in the drops) while on the trainer, which I was never able to do on my fluid trainer. I'm also able to ride and adjust my cadence more consistent to what I feel on the road, which was always missing with the fluid trainer (I struggled to keep a higher cadence). Ultimately, while it's a hefty price to pay, if you spend any amount of time indoors training I would highly recommend a smart trainer. I'm quite satisfied with the H2 and would recommend it to anyone who is considering buying a smart trainer. Time will tell how well it holds up. I've had great luck with my fluid trainer and I'm hoping the same quality translates to the Hammer H2.