Yes, You Can Change Your Smart Trainer to 12-speed

We’ve been asked this question on our Reader Forum. Can you make your smart trainer 12-speed compatible? Yes. It’s easy, and it’s not that expensive. It’ll cost between $79 and $89 to get what’s called an XDR driver body.

What’s the use case here? I’ve decided to put my gravel bike on my Saris H3 trainer. That bike has a SRAM AXS 12sp system with 10-tooth 1st position cog. The H3 trainer has what your trainer almost certainly has, if you’ve got a smart trainer: a driver body that’s made for an 11sp system, with a 1st position cog no smaller than 11 teeth. What you need to do to adapt your trainer to a SRAM 12sp system replace the driver body.

You can buy new wheels today from just about every wheel maker with an XDR driver body on the hub. You spec this when you buy the wheel. You can also change out the driver body of your existing 11sp wheelset to match the new SRAM AXS drivetrain on the bike you just bought. Probably. We’re working now on a comprehensive chart showing which wheels from every company are upgradeable to an XDR driver body.

But we’re limiting this, today, to changing out your driver body on your smart trainer. Most Saris, Tacx, Wahoo smart trainers can take an XDR driver body, and all these companies sell their version of the driver body. Just, check with your smart trainer company if that trainer is older than, say, 2 years old, to make sure it’s upgradeable.

Above is a pic of what you get when you get sent a new driver body. Below is my badly lit, badly produced video showing me changing out the driver body on my Saris H3.

Fortunately, my video isn’t very long! I hope you can see how easy this is. As for tools, basically, can you change a cassette? Do you have the tools for that? A chain whip or chain pliers. (Chain pliers better, but chain whip used in this vid.) You need a cassette spline tool. That’s it, in terms of bike-specific tools. Okay, a cone wrench. But that’s not really a requirement. You should be able to muddle through with a set of open/box-end wrenches or a crescent wrench (adjustable spanner for our UK readers).

That’s it! Simple. Happy riding.