I have spent a fair amount of time on home trainers over the years – from when I started bike racing, to riding on the WNT Pro Cycling Team in 2017. I then put even more hours in on the trainer when I rode on the Zwift Tri Academy in 2018, this culminated in competing in the World Ironman Championship triathlon at Kona.
So, when Merlin got the trainers used by Tokyo Olympic Gold medalist, Kristian Blummenfelt and current 70.3 Ironman World Champion, Gustav Iden (below) , I was keen to see how a trainer from a lesser known company would compare to the more established brands which I have used in the past.
Unboxing the trainer and setting up was about as straight-forward as it can be. The trainer freehub accepts sram and shimano cassettes and so once I swapped the cassette off my training wheel, I was almost ready to go. There’s a choice of connection, either bluetooth or Ant+, depending what’s easier for your computer to hook up to. Setting up on Zwift, pairing took just a couple of seconds and it was time to hit the roads of Watopia.
The pedalling action and feel of the trainer is pretty realistic and very similar to the popular Wahoo Kickr. The Fuego felt smooth and reassuringly solid when putting the pressure on, up those pesky little climbs of Zwift Watopia. The heavy (5.7kg) flywheel held momentum and provided a realistic increase and decrease in resistance. Apparently, it is capable of providing up to 2500 watts of resistance, so it should keep even the strongest sprinters well challenged.
Although obviously not in lab conditions, the Fuego mirrored my power meter consistantly within a few watts variation either way, which I think is pretty acceptable and on par with my usual trainer. Changes in power on Zwift were prettty much instantaneous and the trainer replicated the gradients well through the different Zwift worlds. It is capable of simulating climbs of up to 20% and feels solid enough for serious climbing efforts.
As already mentioned, the trainer feels solid and built to last. It comes with fittings for quick release 130-135mm and 12×142 / 148 thru axles too, so disc brake users won’t miss out on all the fun! The freehub fitting is Shimano / Sram and 8 through to 11 speed cassettes will be fine.
While it’s not silent, it is pretty quiet – similar to the low humming of a fan. It is around 52db at 30KPH apparently, definitely quiet enough to not annoy the next door neighbours and more importantly for me, it didn’t wake our cat.
Well, did it do the job? Yes, for the week or so I used the Fuego, it was very similar my usual trainer. In fact, if I had been blind-folded and guided to my bike, I honestly don’t think I could tell the difference. No big surprise really, given that two of the biggest names in mens triathlon choose to use the Fuego – I can fully understand why.