Saris Mag+ Review
Cons: Loud, mag resistance has limitations, assembly takes some effort, requires speed sensor purchased separately to connect to third-party apps
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|Pros||Lightweight, affordable, durable design||Does not require calibration, realistic road-feel, broad compatibility, wider support for 3rd party apps||Good road feel, accurate power, easy to carry||Lower price range for a premium trainer, good responsiveness, smooth, high power accuracy||Affordable, simple to set up, easy to take on the road, great control for a tire drive trainer|
|Cons||Loud, mag resistance has limitations, assembly takes some effort, requires speed sensor purchased separately to connect to third-party apps||Power output/response can lag, pricey, heavy, somewhat of a pain to move around and set up||Heavy, expensive||Requires calibration, heavy, slightly aggressive in ERG mode||Resistance unit is just a bit bulky and heavy, manual drum adjustment, lower responsiveness|
|Bottom Line||A solid trainer to get you spinning without the concern of buying a low-cost lemon||You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better bike trainer||A top of the line direct drive smart trainer that narrowly missed out on our Editors' Choice Award||Everything you want in a premium trainer for way less||One of the easiest smart control trainers to set up and get rolling without sacrificing performance|
|Rating Categories||Saris Mag+||Tacx Neo 2T Smart||Wahoo Fitness Kickr||Saris H3 Direct Drive||Kinetic Road Machine Control|
|Connectivity And Power Accuracy (25%)|
|Road Feel (25%)|
|Specs||Saris Mag+||Tacx Neo 2T Smart||Wahoo Fitness Kickr||Saris H3 Direct...||Kinetic Road...|
|Type||Tire drive||Direct drive||Direct drive||Direct drive||Tire drive|
|Weight (lbs)||20 lbs||47 lbs||45 lbs||47 lbs||28 lbs|
|Compatible Platforms-TrainerRoad, Zwift||Zwift, TrainerRoad||Yes, both. Also Tacx Films, Rouvy, Sufferfest, Kinomap, FulGaz, BKool, and Road Grand Tours.||Yes, both. Also Wahoo Smartphone App, Rouvy, and The Sufferfest.||Yes, both. Also Rouvy.||Yes, both. Also Kinetic Fit, Rouvy, Kinomap, The Sufferfest and FulGaz.|
|Communication Protocol||ANT+ FE-C or Bluetooth FTMS||ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth FTMS||ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth Smart||ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth FTMS||ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth FTMS|
|Dimensions L-H-W (inches)||28" x 21.5" x 15.7"||22.6" x 29.5" x 21.7"||20.25" x 18" x 28.25"||31” x 18.5” x 19.5”||32"x22.4"x16"|
|Storage Dimensions LxHxW (inches)||20.5" x 9" x 20.75"||24.4" × 10.2" × 17.3"||20.5" x 18.25" x 8.75"||8.5” x 18.5” x 19.5”||20.75"x8.25"x21.5"|
|Power Comparison||N/A||1-3 watts, 1%||3 watts, 1%||1-3 watts, 1%||10 watts, 5%|
|Decibel @ 230 Watts||66.5 dB||57.8 dB||64.6 dB||55.3 dB||55.9 dB|
|Roll Out Time @ 200 watts||4 seconds||26 seconds||53 seconds||58 seconds||17 seconds|
|Flywheel||Magnetic||Virtual||12.5 lbs||20 lbs||12 lbs|
|Additonal||Skewer||No Cassette included||Cassette Sram 11spd included, Campy freehub option available||No Cassette included||Skewer included|
|Axel compatibility||142x12mm and 148x12mm bikes||130mm, 135mm || Adaptors for 142mm and 148mm available through Tacx.||130mm and 135mm compatible only.||130mm, 135mm compatible || Thru-axle available for 142mm and 148mm through CycleOps.||130mm, 135mm || 142mm and 148mm adaptors available through Kinetic.|
Our Analysis and Test Results
To get the low-down on the Mag+, we spent hours in the saddle and just as long behind the computer researching materials, design, and claims to validate or debunk. We tested both individually and alongside other top trainers to bring you the details that matter.
Connectivity and Power Accuracy
The Saris isn't going to get a lot of points under this measure because it's not a smart trainer. Where it does get credit is that you can find good power curve charts on the Saris site. We were able to validate that against our power meter. We also easily found it on Zwift and were able to sync for a slightly more accurate ride, but it's still not true connectivity because the training programs were running off of our speed sensor (not included with this trainer), not the trainer. If you purchase and install a speed sensor separately, you can connect to popular third-party apps, but you'll still have to control the resistance.
Magnetic trainers don't do an excellent job of simulating the road (until you get to the high-end of direct-drive trainers). The Mag+ is no exception. The drum is way too smooth and the inertia you get from the small flywheel just isn't there. This is why we suggest that this trainer is ideal for getting the legs spinning, but maybe less suited to serious workouts. You get a small degree of flexibility or workout versatility with the five levels of resistance adjustment, which helps, but you're going to struggle with workouts requiring lots of standing, sprinting, or quick changes in output.
For what it is (a low-cost magnetic trainer), we think the design is pretty good. It's durable, made with tough materials, and gets the job done. We've heard complaints about the drum on the resistance unit wearing out over time, but we couldn't validate that or find good evidence for it after a few months of use. We notice that it is actually quite loud, which is something Saris explicitly says is not the case. Perhaps they can work on that.
The only other areas that really stood out were the shifter cable and the small flywheel. The flywheel is so important for these trainers to deliver adequate road feel. The Saris' flywheel is probably only 5 or 6 pounds. Future iterations might up that a bit. The shifter cable is also an area that could see improvement. Getting the cable set into the resistance unit was kind of a pain, but getting it attached to the handlebars and using it was…silly. It's not the most stable mount, and there were a few times where we were in the middle of a workout segment, and we lost the shifter mid-shift. We think this is an obvious area for easy improvement by Saris.
This is an area we wish Saris would put just a little more effort into. That's not to say that they don't make an effort, only that they could improve the setup process. The thing that was most annoying to us was the assembly of the resistance unit. Affixing it to the stand was easy enough, but getting the resistance cable aligned with the internal components and keep the tension on while stretching it out was a pain. Not impossible, but a few minutes of unexpected tweaking and tedium.
This Saris is a fairly lean model that breaks down neatly, so stowing it is pretty easy. You can even remove the resistance unit and stuff it all back into the compact box Saris ships to keep everything together and bound up. The only annoying thing is the resistance cable, which you'll have fun folding and keeping stowed up. It's excellent for any OCD or Type A people.
If you have the room in your budget and you're after an entry-level trainer to get yourself spinning, it's worth the difference between the other competing mag trainers.
The Saris Mag+ is a bare-bones trainer with the added capability of adjustable resistance. Its primary advantage over other mag trainers is that it's sturdy and comes from Saris, which has excellent customer support. That means that if you have any issues, you'll get good treatment. That can't be said for a lot of the competing low-end trainers.
— Ryan Baham