CycleOps Hammer smart trainer review

It's an absolutely beast in terms of its body weight, but the CycleOps Hammer proves to have world beating ride feel

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(Image credit: Cycling Studio)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

You feel you’re in safe hands with the CycleOps Hammer, although your own hands won’t thank you if you try to move it around too much: it’s extremely heavy and has an awkwardly placed handle that places the unit out of balance if you try to lift it. However, it had a heavyweight performance to match and was straightforward to set up and use. Ride feel was matchless. It’s a pity the yellow CycleOps stickers have already peeled off the plastic body. For £1,000 you might reasonably expect it to keep its looks for a bit longer.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Covers all bikes

  • +

    Very stable

  • +

    Best ride feel available

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    The body is extremely heavy!

  • -

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As one of the heavyweights in the power-measuring field it’s appropriate that the CycleOps Hammer, CycleOps’s range-topping smart trainer, achieves its smooth, realistic road feel via a 9kg flywheel that is claimed to be the heaviest on the market.

The complete unit weighs a monster 21kg, making unboxing it an epic feat. On the inside of the box lid is the legend ‘what will you accomplish today?’ just in case you thought lifting it out of the car was quite enough for one day.

How does it setup?

CycleOps Hammer

A very stable base
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

The Hammer comes with a Shimano freehub body and additional screw-on ‘end caps’ that allow you to run 130mm and 135mm spacing with QR hubs plus 142mm and 148mm thru-axles so standard road bikes, disc-brake road bikes and mountain bikes are all covered. There is no Campagnolo freehub replacement but if you’re running 11 speed you’ll get away with a Shimano cassette.

Two legs fold out from underneath to keep the Hammer stable. A front wheel stabilising block is also stashed under the machine, released once the legs are folded out.

Watch: Form maintaining HIIT session

The Hammer has Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity and connects to any third-party training app as well as CycleOps’s own, Rouvy. We tested it with Zwift using Bluetooth and Zwift’s Mobile Link app, which lets you use a smartphone as an in-ride remote control.

Ride feel

CycleOps Hammer

It isn't too loud – but still best placed in the garage
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

Related: Do you need a smart turbo trainer

The heavy flywheel certainly gives a very realistic ride feel, particularly noticeable when you get a ‘boost’ on virtual descents. Hitting a climb the resistance is piled on smoothly as in real life. The CycleOps Hammer’s resistance can replicate gradients up to 20 per cent and is able to handle 2,000 watts. The Hammer’s ride feel is possibly the best of all the smart turbos on the market at the moment.

Riding to power on a Zwift course on the Hammer is also very similar to riding to power on the road: the number jumps around as the road undulates, requiring you to concentrate on smooth pedalling.The Hammer has excellent stability for out-of-the-saddle efforts but there is no ‘give’ at all.

As for the noise, it’s relatively quiet but as with all the others, a garage is still the best place for it.

In summary, the CycleOps Hammer is very user-friendly with a world-beating ride feel but incredibly heavy and difficult to carry since the moulded handle is in the wrong place and the yellow CycleOps stickers have started peeling off.

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