Indoor Training: JetBlack Volt Smart Trainer Tested
JetBlack are no strangers to the smart trainer scene, the Aussie company’s offerings proving popular and indeed selling out over this most extraordinary year. JetBlack recently added another model to the stable – here we review the electromagnetic Volt.
First spied at Eurobike 2019 and later at last year’s Bowral Classic, the release of the Volt smart trainer from Aussie-based JetBlack Cycling has been a little like a drawn-out drumroll.
They say ‘good things come to those who wait’, and being a very content long-time user of JetBlack’s Whisper Drive smart trainer, the arrival of an updated model was an exciting affair. Having enjoyed those sneak peaks along the way, the first few pedal strokes proved the unit was well worth the wait.
Delivered in a compact box, four main components are neatly packaged and these include a front and rear stand, the Volt smart trainer and 240v / 24v adaptor. Assembly and getting started is a cinch, simply attach the base stands to the unit and secure, place the bike into position, plug in the power supply and pedal.
Opening Zwift and finding the Bluetooth signal for the first time was equally simple and virtually instantaneous.
Wattopia’s Hilly Loop was the location of the first ride and within moments the Volt’s major points of difference became obvious – this trainer is teflon smooth and incredibly quiet. How quiet? Well the old drivetrain on the test bike made far more noise than the Volt could ever make – nice work JetBlack!
Smoother Through Electromagnetic Drive
So other than the audible advantages of silky smooth drive and near silent operation, how else does this benefit the user? During and indeed at the end of that first review ride the legs felt fresher and I felt more involved, more immersed and more a part of the training ride. The refinement and inherent efficiencies of the electromagnetic system were obvious, no more so than when the road ramped up and gradients of 6 … 8 … 10 and more percent appeared on the screen.
One problem of smart trainers in the past has been the brick wall factor – almost coming to a sudden stop or becoming infinitely harder to pedal at the start of a climb. Jetblack have helped iron this issue out with the Volt, the trainer seems to smooth out the climbs – particularly the ramps at each end on an incline – to deliver a more realistic overall feel when the going gets vertical.
Front Turn Block
It’s said the simple ideas are often the best, and this is definitely the case with the turn block from JetBlack. A rotating base for the front wheel, the unit lifts the wheel off the ground to deliver a more natural ride position. In addition it allows natural left and right movement while underway. More importantly, the use of this simple block dramatically reduces frame twist.
Two other impressive offerings from the company are their purpose-designed Trainer Caddy – a table to hold a laptop computer, table, phone, nutrition and hydration supplies. They have also designed, engineered & manufactured a heavy duty TV stand specifically optimised, height and angle wise, for indoor training.
Completing the indoor training ecosystem, Jetblack also offer a heavy duty trainer mat to help protect the floor and absorb vibrations.
Overall and it’s obvious an enormous amount of research, development, time and testing has gone into not only the Volt smart trainer but full range of accessories across the JetBlack range. We’ve taken a close look and rigorously tested all items (other than the caddy which was unavailable), and can vouch for build, workmanship, application and abilities.
Taking on the big name multi-nationals of the booming smart trainer industry can’t be an easy feat. But the team this relatively small Aussie company have been doing an admirable job for some time now, and continue to innovate and impress.
JetBlack Volt Direct Drive Smart Trainer Specifications
11 speed cassette included (Shimano & SRAM compatible)
Electromagnetic Drive System
Flywheel weight: 4.7kg
App controlled resistance
142 and 148 Thru Axle adaptors included
Third-Party App compatible
Accuracy of: +- 2.5 % Gradient simulation up to 16 %
Max Watts: 1800
Total unit weight: 15.4 kg
Electrical requirements: 2.5m power cable supplied.
100 to 240 Volt, 1.5A, 50Hz-60Hz
ANT+ FE- C controllable trainer
Broadcasts: ANT+, Speed, Power and Cadence
Bluetooth FTMS controllable trainer
Broadcasts: Bluetooth, Speed, Power and Cadence
Connects to: Heart rate monitors via BLE and ANT+
Broadcasts connected Heart rate via BLE
Spin down calibration
JetBlack also offer three seperate ‘Trainer Suite’ combinations, a complete indoor training kit that includes the Volt smart trainer, a front wheel turn block, trainer caddy and / or tv stand. More at https://www.jetblackproducts.com/