I’ve enjoyed watching STAC – the Kitchener, Ont.-based company that’s behind silent trainers and virtual wind tunnels – refine and improve its products. Two years ago, I was mystified by the original STAC Zero with its magnets causing resistance with their eddy currents. This past summer, I was happy the company got an award for its latest, the StaC Zero Halcyon smart trainer. I was also keen to test it.
The STAC Zero Halcyon needs a bit more setup than the other trainers. Most of it I enjoyed, such as tightening down the motors on the calipers and installing the speed sensor magnet to the rear wheel, which must be aluminum to work properly with the eddy currents. Since the unit doesn’t have a flywheel to mimic road feel, you must add a weight to your wheel. I didn’t enjoy this part. While this generation of wheel weight is more refined than previous ones, I found it tricky to install. Also, do take care to turn the wheel with the weight slowly after you first get it on your frame. If you made a mistake setting up, you don’t want that mass slamming into your carbon seat stays or chainstays.
The STAC Control Panel is a well-designed app that helps you configure the trainer. With this software, you can connect to Strava and ride a course through that social-media platform. The trainer can also easily patch into Zwift via ANT+ or Bluetooth, simulating climbs (to seven per cent), drafting and descents. Its maximum wattage is 1,500 watts at 57 km/h.
The original STAC Zero is silent. I’ve heard it for myself. Actually, I would have heard the silence if it weren’t for my drivetrain that needs tuning and my clickity freehub. The Zero Halcyon, however, is noisier than its predecessor. The small motors that move the magnets closer and farther from the rear-wheel rim to adjust resistance make whirring sounds when they jump into to action. It’s a bit more sound, but nothing my noisy bike can’t drown out.
The STAC Zero Halcyon retails for $990.