Review: Axxion Rocker Plate

Review: Axxion Rocker Plate

When I first saw the Axxion Rocker Plate, I was intrigued because its design was unlike any rocker I’ve tried. Created by Max McAllister (a keen cyclist/Zwifter and owner of Traxxion Dynamics), the Axxion is a much simpler design than the typical rocker plate.

Most rocker plates (including the popular SBR ROCKR and CoPlate, both which I’ve put thousands of virtual miles into) use inflatable balls or bladders to allow riders to dial in the balance and “tightness” of the plate. Some (like the Saris MP1) use big metal leaf springs. But the Axxion is made of machined T60601 aluminum – nothing bends. There’s nothing to inflate or adjust. It’s really just a platform mounted to two metal “ribs” with curved bottoms that allow the platform to rock back and forth on the floor.

A super-simple design. But does it work? That’s what I wanted to learn!

Assembly/Setup

Assembly is actually quite simple, but since written instructions weren’t included I was a bit baffled as I looked at the various parts. Turns out, watching this intro video from Max is a great way to understand how the plate is built:

A simple allen wrench was enough get the ribs assembled and mounted to the plate – this can be done in 5 minutes. The more involved step is mounting your trainer to the plate.

You’ll want to purchase the correct mounting kit for your trainer, as this allows your trainer to be mounted perfectly to the platform. I was using my Wahoo KICKR Gen 4 at the time of this review, so Max sent over the aluminum plate and mounting kit that would work with my KICKR.

The solidity of Max’s mounting design for the Wahoo KICKR is something to behold. His system makes the metal straps or velcro used by other rocker plates look wimpy in comparison!

Essentially, mounting the KICKR to to the Axxion requires removing the KICKR’s feet (and legs, temporarily) so it can be directly bolted onto the Axxion’s top plate. Max’s TD Rocker Mounting Kit includes new feet, bolts, and washers. He explains how it all works in this video:

The Wahoo KICKR is not evenly weighted left to right, so a counterbalance is needed on the right side in order to give your plate an even feel. Max sells a counterbalance weight kit which allows you to dial in the amount of counter-balance you need in your setup.

Total build time was about 45 minutes.

Let’s Get Rocking

I thoroughly tested the Axxion plate over the course of approximately 75 Zwift sessions, covering over 1800 virtual miles. This included plenty of out of the saddle work in weekly races and Sprintapalooza rides! During the early rides I learned a few simple things that improved my experience with the Axxion, so I’ll share those here.

Flooring Fixes

When I first began using the Axxion, it felt as though the rocking motion was more limited and stiff in comparison to the SBR ROCKR plate I’d been using. (Mind you, I had my ROCKR set up very loose, so this wasn’t surprising!) But as I chatted with Max about this issue, he asked a simple question: what kind of floor was the Axxion sitting on?

Well duh. It was on a softish foam floor. And that was the problem. Unlike the SBR ROCKR (which has a big plywood base), the Axxion only contacts the floor with its ribs. If the floor is soft, those ribs sink into it, which effectively changes the curve/design of the ribs.

I removed the foam floor square from underneath the Axxion, and viola! A much free and more natural feel.

But now I had a different problem. When I would sprint hard, the aluminum ribs would wiggle back and forth a bit (maybe 1/2″) on the hard laminate flooring! I asked Max about this, and he informed me that this is precisely why he includes a roll of gaffer’s tape when he shipped my plate. (I was wondering what that was for. That man has thought of everything!) Strips of tape on the bottom of the ribs reduced the movement by probably 90%, so it was barely noticeable. Nice!

The ideal flooring for a plate like the Axxion would be a hard rubber surface, something like this roll available on Amazon. This would be grippy enough to keep the Axxion in place, but hard enough that the ribs wouldn’t sink into it.

Rock Solid

Once I had the flooring issue resolved, my experience with the Axxion was a very positive one. The rocking feel is natural, which is the most important thing for me. But what really makes the Axxion stand out from the rocker plates I’ve tested is the simple solidity of it all. The KICKR’s direct-bolt mounting to the Axxion plate was rock-solid, and the plate itself is made of aluminum with no moving parts. Simply a bulletproof design, obviously developed by a dude who is very experience in both indoor training and aluminum parts CNC machining!

Here’s a video I shot of the Axxion plate in action (this was done before I tested it with a hard rubber floor, so you may see it moving a bit on my laminate flooring):

Options

I was used the Axxion “Rear-Only, 2-Piece 1/4″ Anodized Aluminum Deck” kit which currently costs $525. Max also offers full-length plate designs (handy if you’re using the Wahoo KICKR Climb), and you can choose a more affordable plywood deck instead of aluminum if you’d like. (But the aluminum is super cool and solid. It’s like the Apple Mac Pro of rocker plates!)

You can also purchase just portions of the kit for a much lower price. For example, if you simply purchase the ribs ($225) and the mounting kit ($50), you can make your own platform from plywood using their mounting template ($10).

Reach out to Max over at Traxxion Dynamics if you’re interested in purchasing an Axxion Rocker Plate. Feedback I’ve heard from other Axxion users is that Max has always been responsive to questions and happy to help them order just what they need.

Question or Comments

Share below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
21 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt
Matt
11 months ago

How well would this rocker work with a smart steering plate?

Max McAllister
Max McAllister
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

They can definitely be used together, no problem.

Francis Norman
Francis Norman
11 months ago

I have just started riding on my Axxion – I bought the ribs from Max and made my own platform – aside from a bit more work to DIY it was an easy build and so far is proving to be a great platform to ride on. I built a full length version, so 3 ribs instead of 2 with 2 at the back in front and behind the trainer then one shorter rib more or less under the front wheel. Axxion don’t have a mounting kit yet for my trainer so I had to improvise, but it all works… Read more »

IMG_2473.jpg
Mike
Mike
11 months ago

Any insight on how much noise this would create for people on the floor beneath you?

I know that can be hard to gauge with so many variables

Max McAllister
Max McAllister
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike

This type of rocker is silent. It would add no more noise than using the trainer on the floor would. But you can dampen all of that sound with a heavy gauge rubber mat, which is readily available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N4CBLSN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Francis Norman
Francis Norman
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike

I would agree with Max on this. While I cant speak from experience specific to your question, I have mine on my garage floor with a heavy rubber mat to smooth the interface between the brick of the floor and the rockers. It is essentially silent aside from the inherent noise of the trainer.

Chad McNeese
Chad McNeese (@cmcneese)
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike

For clarity, some riders experience a “change” in noise from the nature of the trainer sitting on a wood or metal deck of the rocker plate. This can change the resonance of the whole system, and can make it “louder” in some cases.

Some rocker plate builders have added rubber to the deck in effort to dampen the sound issues. I can’t say it is an issue with all trainers and rocker plates, but it is something that has been seen (and heard) on more than one setup.

Ann
Ann
11 months ago

Clearly, you have to really committed to using a rocker plate. Just browsing the photos, reading the words “you have to add [and thus buy separately] a counter balance kit,” and at some point take the legs off your kickr and later reinstall, is enough for me to say, “Um, no thanks, I’m good.” Thanks for the review Eric!

Max McAllister
Max McAllister
11 months ago
Reply to  Ann

Hello Ann, you buy the counterbalance kit with the rocker, and it comes in the box on the same day. Just so you understand how easy it is, there is just one single bolt that holds each leg to the trainer. If you weren’t comfortable assembling it, I am sure your local bike shop would be happy to help, and would be glad to have the work. You can add and remove counterweights to suit your body with no tools. They are held on by a single bolt that you only need to tighten by hand, no tools necessary.

Max McAllister
Max McAllister
11 months ago
Reply to  Ann

The key element of a rocker is that it relieves saddle pain from riding indoors… which stops most people from riding longer than 45 minutes to an hour. Some people it stops them right away, and they stop riding indoors altogether, which is not what we want. The rocker makes for greater comfort and enjoyment.

Rob GZ
Rob GZ (@robgrootzwaaftink)
11 months ago

I bought a CoPlate this summer and what I especially like is the little bit of forward-backward moving. Eric mentioned it before: riding with a rocker plate takes a bit of getting used to. Especially sprinting was awkward/scary the first weeks. But now I feel more and more confident. I really like it!

Eric Kennedy
Eric Kennedy (@kennedy_eric)
11 months ago

Would love to hear a bit more about how the experience itself compares to (a) rocker plates that use a dampening system and (b) rocker plates with a bit of fore/aft movement. The simplicity of this system is appealing, but how was the ride experience compared to those other styles?

Pierre Baret
Pierre Baret
11 months ago

Thanks for this review Eric.
I’m interested in buying a rocker plate. Two questions: 1) Is the Axxion compatible with a Tacx Neo2T ? 2) I enjoy the “out of saddle” position (for climbing l’Alpe, for ex.). Is this model better than a “traditional” rocker plate with a loose inflate ?
Thank you for your answer!

Max McAllister
Max McAllister
11 months ago
Reply to  Pierre Baret

Hello Pierre, I have created a beautiful mounting kit for the Tacx Neo 2T, which was the most difficult we’ve taken on so far. Eric will post his opinion of the 2 styles, as he has tremendous experience with this topic. From a design standpoint, I chose the “Rib Style” or “Rocking Horse” style because to me, the toggle plate/spring style makes no sense. In that style, the farther you lean your bike over, the greater the rocker plate pushes back or kicks back against you. That isn’t “Real”. Your bike doesn’t lean over against a spring, ball, innertube, or… Read more »

Pierre Baret
Pierre Baret
11 months ago
Reply to  Max McAllister

Thanks for your complete answer Max!
The “rib style” is the most simple and I believe simple solutions are the most efficient. I hope it’s possible to ship it to France…

Max McAllister
Max McAllister
11 months ago
Reply to  Pierre Baret

Our Do-It-Yourself Kit was specifically designed so that it could be packaged small enough to ship around the world. Are you able to source and make a top plate locally, or did you want to buy a complete, ready to assemble kit? You can reach me [email protected] to discuss.

Dan Connelly
Dan Connelly
11 months ago

So what’s the power increase?

Max McAllister
Max McAllister
11 months ago
Reply to  Dan Connelly

The power increase comes from riding 2-3X as much as you would with your butt killing you!

Matt T.
Matt T.
8 months ago

Great review Eric- I’ve been loving my Axxion full length kit as well!

Free Zwift Trial

Newsletter Subscription

21
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x