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Tacx Bushido Trainer In-Depth Review

The Tacx Bushido Trainer has been on many of your minds over the past year.  It represents the first significant and major competitor to the RacerMate CompuTrainer – which has long held the king of the hill position in the computerized trainer market.  Thus, Tacx would not only have to match the CompuTrainer functionality, but also surpass it in other areas to have folks consider it. So how does the Tacx Bushido unit stand up to the more expensive CompuTrainer when you consider all the factors involved in such a high priced investment?  Well, stick around to find out.

Like all my reviews, they tend to be pretty in depth (perhaps overly so) – but that’s just my trademark DC Rainmaker way of doing things.  Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries.  I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more.  My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – QBP (Quality Bike Products, a distributor for bike products to Local Bike Shops) sent me a Tacx Bushido unit to try out.  The effort was the culmination of working with the Tacx folks in Europe to get a trial unit shipped over the US, so I’m thankful QBP was able to make it happen.  Once I’m done with the unit, it’ll get sent back to QBP.  Simple as that.  Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints.  If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there.  I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can.  But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out.  Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

So – with that intro, let’s get into things.

Unboxing and setup:

The box containing the Bushido is a fair bit smaller than I expected.  Nice and tidy, all in a single unit.  As you can see however, the fine folks at UPS did assist in the durability testing a bit though.

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Once I opened up the box and took off the external shell, I was left with a whole bunch of neatly arranged parts inside foam.

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The only complaint I have here is that the trainer wasn’t wrapped inside some sort of plastic bag.  Now normally I make fun of companies for extra plastic baggage.  But in this case, because UPS assisted with durability testing, the foam had crumbled a fair bit, leaving me to vacuum out tiny Nerds Candy sized bits of foam from everywhere.

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With my vacuuming checked off for the week, I got to work putting it together.  Though first, here’s all the pieces laid out:

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On the left side you’ve got the wheel holder/block.  Then in the middle is the trainer with some paperwork stuff.  On the upper right side is the load generator/brake, the Bushido head unit in the middle-right, and finally at the very bottom right a few pieces to attach the load generator to the trainer stand, as well as a trainer skewer and a wrench to tighten everything together.

Speaking of that wrench, let’s get to work attaching these two pieces together:

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After about three minutes of tightening bolts, we’re pretty much done:

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The front wheel stand will end up going under the front wheel.  This is probably one of the thinner ones I’ve seen.

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Next up we’ll get the head unit all connected up and the basics configured.  After selecting language, we’ll add in the details rider information – in many ways very similar to how you’d typically configure a sports watch with weight/age/preferences information.

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The last step is getting the Tacx head unit connected to the brake unit (the trainer part).  That only takes a second though, but does require you to get on the unit and make the Christmas lights illuminate.  We’ll talk about why in the next section.

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One last item I wanted to mention was the locking system on the trainer when you mount it.  It’s awesome.  The bottom resistance unit flops down via a blue lever, and the quick release skewer mount opens/closes via a lever.  It takes just a couple seconds to mount – perfectly, and every time.  The only trick (as you can see later on in my sound video), is remembering to lower the resistance unit.  Old habits die hard…

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So with everything set, we’re ready to ride!

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How the hardware works:

As you may have noticed, the Bushido trainer lacks wiring of any sort.  There’s not even a power cable to plug in, nor any wires for the head unit to transmit to the brake unit (trainer itself).  Instead, the power required for the trainer to operate is done via your cycling.  Once the unit is up to speed, green lights will illuminate, and the unit will automatically start transmitting information.  As my wife described it, the unit is effectively a self-gerbil.

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The unit transmits information via ANT+ to the head unit.  Note that at present, the unit isn’t transmitting that information ‘in the open’ though, which means that it’s all internal communication only between the two components.  Thus, you can’t just connect a Garmin or like device and read power from the trainer directly.  Down the road this might occur, but not yet today.  Nonetheless, it is wireless, and that’s awesome.

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The head unit (controller of sorts) being wireless does require two AA batteries.  It’s got auto-shutoff logic built in though to save batteries, and in the few months I’ve been using it, I haven’t had to replace the batteries yet.  But if you do the rear door just pops up and it’s quick and easy

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The head unit is backlit to make it easy to see what’s being displayed.  Additionally, there are five buttons on it.  Two sets of buttons that select left/right, two sets of buttons that select up/down, and one OK button.

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This is a good time to point out that while the head unit is great for (most) road bikes, it’s not terribly function for triathlon/time trial bikes.  This is because the unit is designed to wrap (via those rubber looking arms) around your handlebar – and do so in only one direction.

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In the case of aerobars, it would be 90* offset.  So my solution is using the CompuTrainer stand with a 4-Cup Oxo measuring cup.  Works perfectly.  And the measuring cup can also fit right over your aerobars as well, using that as a stand.

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The head unit can be used directly with the trainer or without a computer, just like a CompuTrainer can be ridden without a computer.  You can specify training routines and simply ride.  However, once you turn on your computer with the Tacx Training Software on it, the unit will automatically connect to both the head unit and the brake unit and take control of them.  In fact, once this occurs, you’ll see that the head unit displays a different screen – and all further display is controlled via the computer.  Only once you get into a training session (via the computer) will the head unit start displaying information relevant to the ride and allow you basic control (i.e. increase power, change views, display, etc…).  It works pretty well this way though.

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It should be noted that both the trainer (aka brake) and the head unit have firmware that can be  frequently updated.  I participated briefly in a beta program for firmware for both units, prior to it being released over the past few weeks.  Tacx does frequently update both the firmware and the software, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

Finally, also note that the unit can connect to your existing ANT+ heart rate strap.  After initial pairing, this will automatically happen every time you use the trainer.  In the future, you’ll also be able to connect to your ANT+ power meter, though it didn’t quite make the cut for the most recent software release.

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One of the cool things here with the Tacx software is the continual adding of new features – something that you don’t really see with RacerMate.

Look ma, wireless training outdoors!

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If you see any of the photos in the literature around the Tacx Bushido trainer, it largely focuses on a rider either out on their deck, out on the road, or some other odd place – on their trainer.  And while that may sound strange, it’s not as unusual as you might think.  If you go to any cycling event, you’ll likely see folks warming up on trainers, the same for some shorter distance triathlons.

But how practical is it with the Tacx?  For most other computerized trainers, they require power – but with the Bushido, it doesn’t – thus the ability to roam where you’d like is there.

First, the trainer/stand easily folds up.  Then you’ve just got the head unit, which is about the size of a CD case in width/length (and about 2” thick), and finally, the front wheel holder (not entirely required).  So really, 2.5 objects.  Easily transportable, no wires to undo.  And remember, a computer is optional in this case.  Here’s it hanging out at my front door.

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For fun, I decided to go out into the street in front of my house.  But since this wasn’t a staged marketing event, cars weren’t going to stop for me.  So instead of getting flattened by a semi truck, I decided to occupy the median.  Sorta my own edition of ‘Occupy The Median’ – aka OTM.  Oh, and why’s it night? Because this time of year, it’s dark by 4PM, and after I’m done with work…that’s the time I have.  Albeit, this was shot far later at night than 4PM…

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So with teaser pics, here’s a cool little video of me, cycling on the Tacx Bushido trainer in the middle of the street in the middle of the night, with a laptop hanging out next to me displaying the data.  I don’t have a fancy laptop stand for my trainer, so it’s just on the aerobars.  Additionally, you can see the information on the head unit/controller as well.  Enjoy!

Tacx Bushido Wireless Trainer in the middle of the road

Had I had one of those fancy camera slider systems and a bunch of royalty free music I could have probably made the video rather dramatic…but…I lack such items.  Instead, I’ve got my wife and the sound of cars out in the distance.  And further, I didn’t get hit by a car (which have previously gone flying across that very median and taken out one of the trees).

Sound and Noise Levels:

I added this section per the request of your comments, to understand what the sound/noise levels looks like.  In general I find it ‘normal’, at least compared to the CompuTrainer (which also seems normal).  I can carryout a conversation without raising my voice, while on it, or standing next to it.  As you can see/hear in the video, the sound levels aren’t terribly different – and are pretty much the same.  In this case I set it for 100w, and then put it on almost my biggest gear combination, thus it would be the fastest (and thereby the noisiest).

Tacx Noise Level Comparisons

(Never mind my inability to remember to release the resistance unit lever, as you can see – once I did that, the unit popped on very quickly.)

TTS Software Introduction:

So with the overview of the hardware complete, let’s get into the software modes.  Unlike the current CompuTrainer software, all portions of the Tacx software fall into a single suite known as the Tacx Training Software 3 (TTS3 for short).  This single program is responsible for all computer driven training that you’ll do with the Tacx application.  It also communicates with the trainer and head unit, as well as the Internet.

I’m going to go ahead and go through each of the different modes available, to give you an overview of how it all works.

First up though is a quick note that your user account is saved online.  This is pretty cool in that all your settings are stored magically up on their servers, so in case your computer dies, you can re-download it all again.

TTS Software Modes: Catalyst (coaching/graph)

The Catalyst mode is the mode with the least amount of graphical and/or entertainment distraction.  It simply gives you a real-time graph of your effort, along with data fields along the bottom.  While this may sound odd, for me, this is the mode I actually use the most.

This mode starts off with allowing you to select a training route, either from the library, or from one of your past rides.  Additionally, you can select to just start off at a base wattage, slope, or heart rate – for either a set time or distance.

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Additionally, you can create your own program, which the trainer will execute on.  Using the same goals as before, you can easily (though not quickly) create training sessions:

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And you can even create notifications as well, such as instructions on what to do for each step.  If you look in the lower right corner, you can see I added a notification at the beginning noting that it’s the warm-up.

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Once you’ve started the program, the unit will display your metrics along the button, with a moving graph up top.

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The graphics here are super clean and easy to read – even from far away.  For example, in the below shot you can still pretty much make out what’s going on.  Though, only true Mythbusters fans will also be able to explain what happens next to that little RV on the big screen.

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The same information about your current stats (speed, wattage, cadence, heart rate) is displayed right in front of you on the head unit.

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Once you’re done, the unit will ask if you if you want to save the training.  You can name the training as you’d like, and all of the information is automatically saved with it for later retrieval.

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Speaking of later retrieval, let’s talk about the Analyzer function.  This is common to all modes, but we’ll talk about it here briefly.

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In the Analyzer mode, you can dive into any rides and slice and dice the data:

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For example, the above ride you can see all of the detailed statistics along the bottom, with the graph of the different pieces over the course of the ride.

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Each one of the yellow chunks represents a separate lap – which mirrored the exact workout I was doing at the time.

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You can drag the selection line along to see details for that given point, though you can’t highlight a chunk to see the averages for that piece.

Within table view, you can see the average metrics in 1, 2, 5, 10 and 30 second increments.  Personally, I would have preferred to see the averages of my intervals/laps here instead.

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In addition to logging in, you can also export out your data.  This is all handled via the Export menu, which is the central place to get things out of TTS3.  The export menu allows you to select all rides you’ve completed, though sometimes I found it seemed to have rides missing.  Nonetheless, once you export the files they end up as TTS files.

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The problem with TTS files is that they’re essentially useless outside of TTS.  So instead, you’ll want to select the ‘Export HRM’ button, within Analyzer.

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Once you’ve got it exported that way, it’ll end up with .HRM files – which are far more portable and acceptable.  These work in applications like Sport Tracks, TrainingPeaks, and WKO+.  Here’s an example after exporting the file to TrainingPeaks:

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Perfect, can’t really ask for anything easier.

TTS Software Modes: Real Life Video

Real Life Video mode allows you to train watching integrated videos taken in real locations, with the trainer adjusting the resistance based on the terrain you see in the video.  The videos are generally recorded in conjunction with major cycling races, so they attempt to replicate the feel of being at the lead of the pack.

In my case, they sent me out a pack of five of them to try out, sorta a best hits album.

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The length of the courses varies based on the event, but in almost every case the amount of time it would have taken you to complete the course would have been into the hours (stages, etc…).  Which is good – because the general goal of these sorts of training aides tends to be to distract you from an otherwise long boring ride indoors on the trainer.

In Real Life Video mode, the ride video display speed is linked to your speed – though there’s a bit of flex there.  Meaning that I found that while it would say I was going a given speed, I was barely pedaling and somehow moving along on flats to uphills at 10-12MPH (see the ErgoVideo section for more details on how both of these work, complete with a short video I put together).  This differs a bit from ErgoVideo mode, which I’ll talk about in the next section.  In Real Life Video mode, if you reduce your effort, the video will slow, and eventually stop.  Whereas in ErgoVideo mode, the video continues – whether or not you can keep up with it.  The unit adjusts the required wattage based on the terrain – which is the same in both modes.

But back to Real Life Video, I’ve included a few screenshots I took along the way during different rides:

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Yes…that’s The King, below.  No, I don’t know why he’s there.  Rarely do we understand why people dress up the way they do while attending professional cycling events.  Thankfully, they continue to do so regardless of our understanding.

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I found that for the most part the virtual terrain matched what I saw on the screen.  Sometimes the two weren’t quite in sync, where there would either be a delay, or pre-mature initiation of the slope.  Usually though it was within a second or two.

The one oddity I found was around speeds, especially in corners.  When I would hit a corner where the car/motorcycle doing the video had to slow down, it doesn’t seem to take into account my speed.  So I’ll do the corner at say 20-30MPH, but the car clearly slowed down to 5-10MPH.  The video doesn’t attempt to compensate, but rather just keeps going.

As you can see along the bottom of the screen you have metrics around your current data.  You can also adjust the display of the screen using the controller (head unit) to display additional information such as the virtual elevation graph of the ride, or your current location:

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The nice part is this can be quickly toggled on/off by a press of the button on the controller unit.

And finally, once you’re done with the ride (either because you finished the whole course, or because you ended early), you can always save the results.  Also as a related note, you can start anywhere you’d like to on the course – though they break it up logically if you want to, in sections – most of which are the same locations that primes are within the actual races.

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Overall I found the Real Life Video mode entertaining, and a good distraction – but I also kept wishing I was in the action a bit more.  That’s one thing I like about some of the RacerMate Ironman event videos they’ve done, where you are literally coming through the entire field as if you were a racer near the back.  It makes you definitely feel like you’re part of the event, versus this you were clearly just ahead of the racers with the lead police cars.  But again, it’s certainly a welcome distraction.  Additionally, they have some new videos coming out soon, and they just announced earlier this week that they’ll be doing their first US video out in the Southwest shortly.

TTS Software Modes: ErgoVideo

ErgoVideo mode is essentially like Real Life Video mode, except with either speed or power set at a constant.  These videos tend to be with famous riders, or other individuals, and you ride along at their speed or power effort.  This is much like a group ride where you’ll have to adjust other parameters (gearing or effort) to stay on and not get dropped.

You can see in the sample video below (I just had a 6 minute one), that the average wattage required to maintain that ride is 242w.  I suppose that’s what you get for jumping on the bandwagon with the Schleck brothers.

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It’s actually fairly motivating and somewhat impressive to try and hold on in these rides – allows you to somewhat throw caution to the wind and just ride.

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You can see above where the target is set for 200w, and since I’m slightly over target, my power number is in red, the same goes if I was below target.  But, keep note that no matter what I do pace/speed/pedaling wise – the video will continue at the same rate.

To put this and the Real Life Video mode into perspective a bit, I’ve gone ahead and created the following short video clip – which shows me working in both modes, and the differences.  Enjoy!

Real Life Video vs ErgoVideo Mode

TTS Software Modes: Real Life Training (GPS file import)

Real Life Training mode allows you to recreate a course at will.  In most cases, this is going to mean that you’re going to import in a GPS file (technically a .GPX file).  GPX files are easily found through a ton of different services – but probably the quickest and most pervasive for finding ride files is the Garmin Connect site.  It’s got just about every ride ever rode.  Just use the Explorer function to find a route you like, and then click Export to download the file.

In my case, I decided to simply load up the Philly Half-Marathon course.  I know, why a running course you ask?  Because it was the first GPX file I found, and it’s in a city – so I was curious to see how things looked there.

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Once imported into the program, I can start the training program at any time.  I simply select it, just like I would any other training session.

With that complete, it was time to ride.  My course is outlined in white.

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This mode leverages the free downloadable Google Earth, where all of the data is streamed in real-time to your computer – including buildings and satellite imagery.  Because it’s leveraging that data store, the data tends to be better in more urban locations – or places where the community has spent time recreating the area.  For example, on a random road in France, it looks pretty barren:

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But in the downtown core of Philadelphia in front of the steps that Rocky once climbed, it’s rather robust, and quite frankly – downright impressive.  Yup, everything down to flags and even some streetlights is being regenerated here by computer.

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Above you can see where I can toggle the different views to make the screen show a wider view, or a tighter view.  In the case of below, I’ve gone ahead and pulled the camera in a bit more.

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You can adjust the level of detail, based on what you think your computer can handle.  The above screenshots were taken with a middle of the pack two year old laptop with an integrated graphics card.  In other words, most modern computers can easily handle it.

TTS Software Modes: Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality mode recreates a fake environment complete with landscaping, cheering (and audible) people, and other moving objects in the environment.  For those of you familiar with the CompuTrainer, this is akin to the 3D mode, which creates a game-like environment – except far more impressive.  Within the default program there are a few dozen different courses to choose from.  But again, for the most part I think you’ll probably gravitate towards the Real Life Training options instead, since it can generate 3D scenery via Google Earth.

Nonetheless, you start off by selecting which course to choose:

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Within each of the different terrain types, there’s a slew of different courses of varying lengths.  Once you’ve selected your route, you can go ahead and choose up to five computerized opponents, as well as modify the weather and wind.  Yup, you can regenerate the fog and wind of San Francisco right in your very own home.  Or you can just buy a fog machine and a cheap fan from Target and do the same thing.  I know which one sounds more fun to me…

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After configuring your settings, it’s off to the races…quite literally.  Though, before you get there the system has to load.  This step will take a bit of time, about 1-2 minutes with higher level details turned on.

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And that tremendous amount of detail literally blows away the RacerMate One suite from a graphics standpoint.

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I decided to use the above photo I took when I was gathering photos as an illustration of some of the buginess of the software (I couldn’t screenshot in this mode, due to the way it handles the graphics engine).  In this case, it couldn’t seem to find my HR strap – even though it just had worked mere minutes prior.  While restarting the software typically fixes the problem, it does tend to happen more often than I’d prefer.

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When the mode is working however, it’s pretty cool – and far more engaging than some of the other offerings out on the market today.

TTS Software Modes: Multiplayer

The latest editions of the TTS software include the ability to ride with other users, via the Internet.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to try and coordinate a ride with someone else, within my schedule.  But hopefully I’ll be able to do so shortly – perhaps a DCRainmaker online group ride is a possibility!

But, as a brief overview, the multiplayer function requires the purchase of an extra package, though not terribly expensive at under $50.  This then allows you to connect to their systems, or engage directly with other users.

When you start multiplayer mode, you’ve got essentially three choices.  The first is to just start riding on one of the half a dozen courses that are always on.  Think of these as open games that you can just join in on.

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Next, we can organize a race as well.  This is ideal for the scenario where you have a planned event – such as a ‘DCRainmaker Tacx-a-thon!’.  Or the like.  You can do any type of course, as well as create your own and race it.  Additionally, you can specify maximum bikers and entry passwords.  Very clean, and very much like most multiplayer computer game systems.

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Lastly, we’ve got the ability to join some pre-set calendared events.  Things are just sorta like your Tuesday night rides with a local group.  And in fact, if you knew enough folks – that’s a really good way of looking at it.  The only catch is that the ones that showed up there were largely focused on what I suspect were riders in Europe, since they were largely in the middle of the day East Coast time.  But, as Tacx expands more into the states, I suspect you’ll see more events at US-times.  Other times, it’s just empty:

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Again, I think there’s huge potential here – even more so beyond what they have today.  With social integration there remains a massive opportunity to integrate into Facebook, Twitter and the like to announce, schedule and initiate rides.  So much potential.

Tacx Bushido vs. RacerMate CompuTrainer Comparison:

There’s no doubt that many of you are trying to decide between different computerized trainers. The two units that I have experience with today is the CompuTrainer by Racermate, and now the Tacx Bushido – so those will be the only two I’ll detail below for now.  Once I get some more hands on time with the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro and their upcoming VR software suite, I’ll add that in.  But with that suite not shipping until Interbike 2012 now, everything will be in preview mode until then (though I will say it’s pretty cool).  The LeMond Revolution Trainer will show up any day, but that’s not really a computer controlled trainer.  TrainerRoad’s software may also be a good option, but today it too doesn’t yet control the trainer directly, but rather records data.  Down the road things may change, but again, I’ve gotta focus on the here and now.

So, onto the big question – which unit to buy (between the two)?  I’ve poked at this a few times in different posts, including my recent 2011 recommendations post.  It’s a tough question.

From the geek inside me, I’d go the route of the Tacx Bushido over the CompuTrainer.  The Tacx software is far cooler, even cooler than the upcoming but now largely stuck in legal limbo RacerMate One Suite.  The TTS3 software does more, is more flexible and definitely takes advantage of the graphical capabilities of todays computers.  Now, that’s not to say it’s perfect.  In fact, far from it.  There are numerous little bugs that I frequently run into, most don’t impact my ride – just little annoyances that pop up like squirrels darting across the road on a hot summer ride.  Another itty bitty annoyance is that you can tell it’s not written by a native English speaker.  While I slaughter English here on a daily basis, I’m also not retailing a high end cycling product – and there are small linguistically interesting phrases that pop-up in the software.  I can always understand what they mean, but sometimes it throws you for a loop due to translation funny business.

Next we look at the hardware side.  The CompuTrainer is legendary for being ‘a rock’.  I’m reasonably certain I could let it tumble down all the stairs of my townhouse, and it’d still be functioning at the bottom.  For the most part, the Tacx hardware is pretty sturdy – not throw down the stairs sturdy, but sturdy.  But it does have a plastic outer shell that protects the load generator, one that had actually popped off during shipping to me (and I popped back in place).  Not a big deal, but it does bring into question long term durability.  That said it’s been just fine for me to date.  But when we look at functionality, that’s where the tables turn.  The Tacx hardware is functionally more advanced than the CompuTrainer.  It’s fully wireless and can integrate with existing ANT+ accessories, it’s also fully end-user updatable (the CompuTrainer isn’t).  With the firmware updates comes new features, and functionality.  Even outside of that, just the simple act of not having to connect any wires is huge.  While I’ve heard the arguments of SpinScan on the CompuTrainer, you rarely see or hear of folks actually using it (productively anyway).  Thus, that’s the only hardware technology area that they have an advantage in.

Next is support and stability.  And this is where things get tricky.  Having had a CompuTrainer for a number of years (two actually, both of which I bought myself) – I can say that their support is top notch.  They have a very well defined process that seamlessly gets peoples issues resolved in a well stated and timely manner.  They also spend a fair bit of time on software QA (Quality Assurance) – some might say perhaps a bit too much, but nonetheless, their software is stable.  It can of course be frustrating to setup initially, though that’s gotten much better in recent years – but once you get it up and running correctly (and don’t touch it), it works rock solid.  On the Tacx front, my experience with their support team has been nothing but positive.  The issues I did have (all confined to some beta firmware), were jumped on by their support team immediately.  But I also fully understand the frustration I’ve heard from so many of you around lack of support (both hardware and software).  Obviously, I can’t get an accurate read on that from my position, but I think it’s worthwhile pointing out.  From a stability standpoint, the TTS3 software leaves a bit to be desired.  Most of the times it works on the first shot, but sometimes getting the computer to connect to the trainer and/or head unit is problematic.  It got much better with the recently released 3.6.0 software update, but not yet 100%.  For me, I budget/schedule my trainer rides (and my day on the whole) like a military mission, so when I lose 5-7 minutes troubleshooting it, that often hoses me elsewhere in my day – especially if I’m headed to work immediately afterwards, or trying to squeeze in a ride before a conference call that starts at a specific time.

Finally, price.  The CompuTrainer with their base software (which would include RacerMate One if/when it releases) retails for $1,650.  The Tacx Bushido costs about $900, and the TTS3 software costs about $170.  All in you’re looking at $1,650 for the CompuTrainer, or about $1,070 for the Tacx unit.  Outside of that, both RacerMate and Tacx sell ‘outdoor videos’ of sorts.  In the case of Racermate these are called Realvideos, and sell for $100 a pop, whereas in the case of Tacx they’re called Real Life Training, and sell for about $50 each.

Summary:

Without question, the Tacx Bushido raises the bar for computerized trainers.  It does so in both software and hardware, from a functionality and features standpoint.  Its wireless system is really amazing from a setup and portability standpoint, and rather easy to use.  And even the size of the trainer lends itself to movement quickly – such as taking it on the road, or bringing it to a friends house.

However, there are still issues with cleanliness of the software, resulting in occasional bugs.  I feel that the company could take advantage of the legal issues Racermate is having with their new software suite – if they can address some of the technical issues with their own suite.  If I were in charge, I’d probably put a hold on any new software development features and merely go into bug bashing mode for 4-6 months.  But, that’s just me.

In the meantime, it does represent a solid computer trainer option – and one that can very much combine entertainment with trainer rides (no easy task).  But even for the hardcore cyclist, it can still be used without the computer to merely drive the resistance unit and control wattage, something that I admittedly find myself doing more often than not, given most of my training plans are wattage driven.

As always, if you have questions on the unit – feel free to drop them below, I’m happy to help try and answer them.  And thanks for reading!

Found this review useful?  Here’s how you can help support future reviews with just a single click!  Read on…

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items).  You can pickup the Tacx Bushido from Clever Training. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10WHP at checkout.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount.  And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit or accessories (though, no discount on either from Amazon).  Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.  Though, Clever Training also ships most places too and you get the 10% discount.

Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices.  These guides are all listed on this page here.

131 Comments

  1. One thing to add regarding the transportation of the trainer.

    The design looks very much like the Tacx Satori that I have and in that there are a couple of holes in the front wheel stand. (Your pictures also seem to show this).

    These holes line up with the axle brackets on the stand and then, when clamped in, it can be used as a carry handle.

    It may seem like a minor thing, but it makes it very handy when moving the whole unit around :-)

    Reply
  2. can you compare it with tacx fortius? does bushido use motor brake?

    Reply
  3. Ray,

    Thanks for this great review. I'm using a Tacx Vortex with the TTS3 suite and didn't encounter any problems yet. The review covered a number of possibilities I did not yet use in the TTS3 software. I need to explore more ! The Vortex is comparable with the Bushido (wireless, works with TTS3). The difference is that the only wire needed for the Vortex is external AC power. Furthermore the Vortex has no memory function in the head unit. I don't know if there is a difference in the brake-unit. Keep up the good work, I enjoy all your reviews.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for your great reviews! By far the best out there. I am wondering about the noise level of the Tacx Bushido.
    Can I use it in a flat without distracting my neighbours?

    Greetings from Germany

    Bjoern

    Reply
  5. Dimitri BE

    About your 'King' in one of the screenshots...

    Notwithstanding how much many of us europeans would like him to be King, he's not.
    The figure you captured is a chap called 'Sinterklaas' (Dutch name of a character that exists under different names in many European countries).

    The myth goes that once a year he leaves his home country (spain) and visits all families with kids to bring gifts and chocolate.
    Amazingly, he delivers these goods by going from roof to roof on the back of his big white horse and descending down the chimney of each house where he drops his gifts and chocolates for the children.

    Kinda like Santa Claus, but originating back to riligious mythical figures instead of a beverage company :).

    By the way, you couldn't have timed this better as like i said this all takes place once a year, on 5 (in Holland) or 6 (Belgium) December.

    Reply
  6. in your video it looked like your bike seat was to low, looked painfull to me, other then that liked the trainer.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I've been thinking of buying this for my husband for the holidays but was very torn between the computrainer or the Tacx Bushido, I think you helped me make up my mind! Thank you!

    Reply
  8. One other thing I noticed (I have a CompuTrainer) is that it looks like there's a far more modern clamp on the Tacx unit then on the CT. I get really frustrated when I can easily drop my bike into and out of a cheap CycleOps trainer, set the resistance once and then flip the yellow level to close and open the gap, but have to basically completely redo the CT one every time. It appears that the Tacx is similar to the CycleOps - is that the case?

    Will probably stick with the CT for now, since its paid for, but it is a PITA to move around. Since its wintertime my CT is off to the side in the garage, with a mess of wires &c going to the computer and a screen that's barely visible (I park outside in the summertime and dedicate the garage to exercise gear then). Moving that setup is not worth it, but the Tacx being wireless would totally change the way that I use my trainer in the winterime. Food for thought.

    Reply
  9. Hi Ray,

    I have seen 2 primary complaints posted about the TACX Bushido.

    The first you discussed which was bugs and problems with the software.

    The second concern was related to posts concerning accuracy of the power measurement and control. People have complained that they have trained with power before and the Bushido power measurement and control did not appear to be consistently accurate. Similar to how you compare accuracy of GPS on the various watches I would be interested if you could test the accuracy of the Bushido power measurement compared to your bike power meter (and computrainer).

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks again for a great review.

    It would be really really useful if you could do a power and speed comparison test with other power/speed devices.

    A lot of people have issues with the unit going up hills in that the brake unit creates too much resistance.

    Then then spend ages fiddling with brake % and other settings trying to emulate rides more accurately.

    You haven't mentioned anything about calibrating the brake either. Did you do this?

    Have you done any of the RLV climbs? If so how did you find the resistance versus gradient?

    Thanks
    Aaron

    Reply
  11. Ray,

    About the man standing along side the road. That is Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas is the Santa Claus of holland. We celebrate this every 5th of December and it is typically dutch! Instead of presents unther the tree or in stockings we put our shoes close to the chimney. So we get presents twice, once with sinterklaas and once with christmas! I love your posts. I'm a serious middle distance runner from holland, running in the top 20.

    Please keep up the good work, its awesome.

    Reply
  12. I can't see past TrainerRoad. Particularly for the price and particularly if you already have a compatible turbo or, like me, a power meter.

    I'm interested, why would I want the head unit to control the trainer? That's Ergo mode, right? Part of the skill of riding a turbo is focussing on generating the correct power levels. I'm not sure I want the turbo to self-adjust. It doesn't self-adjust on the road.

    Reply
  13. Hey ray,

    Great review as always. Timely, too, as a friend and I are on the fence with the CT or Tacx.

    You mentioned that you connected with a 2-year old mid range computer with an integrated graphics card. Can you provide any more specs on what you would recommend?

    I ask because I have read Tacx's recommendation, but have also heard that Win7 might be necessary for any future TTS releases so I might need to upgrade OS or even the whole computer if I go this route.

    Last, the software bugs that I have seen before and some new ones that you described are what's holding me back from ordering today.

    You mention that the bugs you experienced in the software were confined to some beta firmware (was that 3.6.0). But these issues sounded like an inconvenience rather than an inurmountable problem - can you confirm?

    Thanks

    (BTW, the unit hyperlink at the end is pointing to the MOTOACTV Fitness Tracker at Amazon instead of the Bushido.)

    Reply
  14. Ray,

    very good review, thanks !!!
    I think the best feature is being wireless and ANT+, but with that said... why would the bushido not support ANT+ cycling computers.
    I agree with your assessment that the software suite ends up not being used most of the times, so it would be great to be able to read all the ANT+ metrics on a garmin or joule head unit.
    I can see why you need a proprietary protocol so that the TACX head unit can control the trainer, but all the metrics should be broadcasted in open ANT+ so I could read it on my garmin or joule.
    That would seal the deal for me !!! Any ideas when TCAX will introduce that via firmware?
    Also, I'm wondering if the upcoming cyclops will allow that?

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    I've never used a computerized trainer. How does the (laptop) computer communicate with the head unit and trainer? Wifi? Or is there some sort of Ant+ dongle?

    Reply
  16. Great review, Ray. I don't have a computerized trainer, but have been using TrainerRoad this winter for some extra metrics during my rides. I am going to be considering a computerized one in the future, and my first (and only) thought was getting a Computrainer. I'm glad to know that there are other trainers on the market I might be able to look in to. Hopefully around this time next year I will be making a decision, and Tacx has some of the bugs worked out. I loved the wireless trainer!!! And the self-gerbil power!

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    I have used the Bushido for about a year and have not experienced any problems with either the hardware or software. For the most part, the software works fine as long as your PC meets the specs recommended by Tacx.

    As far as service goes, I have never had an issue with any Tacx trainers. I have always had great customer service from the US distributor (Oschner), and wouldn't hesitate to buy another Tacx trainer (I have owned 3 over the past 10 years and currently have both a Fortius and Bushido).

    I have also made many of my own RLVs for use with Bushido and Fortius and they all work fine also.

    Yes, there is a lot of noise on the Tacx forum about the software and customer service, but for the most part I think it is a lot of the same individuals that have been complaining for years.

    The Bushido is a great and versatile product, that eliminates the boredom normally associated with a trainer. I would definately highly recommend it over the computrainer which seems rather dated.

    Reply
  18. DonQuix

    I've got a Computrainer and do like it. But honestly, the software is very dated and setup is a bear. I've use and highly recommend ctANT+, which makes setup a lot easier, but am annoyed that I needed to shell out another $50 for features that really should have been included anyway.

    I think the biggest knock against Computrainer is the way they've mangled the release of the new software, which from screenshots looks to take us to 2000 rather than 2010. They've sold units a year ago with the promise of imminently releasing the software, still no software.

    If I were in the market today I would absolutely buy the Tacx. The Spinscan isn't something I use regularly and $600 puts a nice big chunk of change towards a power meter for the open road!

    Reply
  19. Another fine review, Ray...

    But do they have the option on the riding videos to follow a female rider?

    Reply
  20. how does the unit handle cadence measurement? also, the genius model description on the tacx website makes reference to left/right power differential with their cadence device, probably similar to spinscan on the computrainer

    Reply
  21. Good review Ray, but I have not been as lucky as you and some of the folks on this thread. I do love my Bushido but I have spent a lot of time 'messing' around with it that eats into my coveted ride time.

    My BIGGEST complaint i that the elevations are not accurate. If I use google earth(the coolest) feature or import a file from my Garmin, the hills are near impossible to get up. A 8% grade for me is not that hard but a 6% grade on the Bushido is deadly. When I create known courses, they are nothing like the effort of really riding them.

    Also, I find that the Bushido brake works at an ideal cadence of 80rpm. Any thing above that gets increasingly easier. It would be nice for riders who pedal at a higher rpm to get accurate resistance.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this since I think the Bushido is the trainer of the future...its just not there yet.

    Feel free to email me. 1k2gosports@gmail.com

    Reply
  22. Ray,

    Thanks for the great review. One question that may only appeal to our U.S. counterparts, can the KPH be converted to MPH?

    Also, is the softeware Mac compatible?

    Thanks, as always.

    Reply
  23. ekutter

    Very timely review. Thank you. Just a couple days ago I started looking at trainers so my wife and I can ride at the same time.

    I have had a CT for about 10 years. Customer service isn't always great and the hardware hasn't been improved in that time frame, yet they keep jacking up the price. Software has gotten more stable but still looks like it is from the 90's and setup still is a hit or miss thing, mostly due to the serial port to USB adapter.

    The Tacx was towards the top of the list but a lot of comments on the web are negative. You put a lot of that to rest. Seems like similar issues to Garmin with their firmware problems, but they are always updating.

    As other readers commented, I am also interested in the power accuracy or the noise level compared to the Computrainer.

    Also, what about multiple users? Does it have multiple profiles like with the HR strap so if I select myself, it will pick up my strap, and for my wife it would pick up hers?

    Reply
  24. ekutter

    Just noticed on the Bushido website it claims you now can use your own ANT+ power meter to drive the resistance. link to tacxbushido.com

    Reply
  25. Ray:
    When riding in the Live Video mode you indicated that the speed of advance of the video is constant. That must mean that if your speed is slower than the video you are spending less time climbing than you would in the real world or conversely more time. This could make the time taken to ride a course quite unrealistic or am I missing something.

    Reply
  26. Tim

    I'm still waiting to find something like this (bushido or computrainer) that will work with a Mac. I'm a PC-Free household!

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    Simon Butterworth ... actually the framerate is variable based upon your speed, so if you slow down, so does the framerate and the opposite if you speed up. The actual rides take as long as they would in real life. If you ride a 20 mile ride at 20mph, it will take you an hour. Ride it at 10mph and it will take you two hours. So if you ride slowly, the video can get a little choppy due to the reduced framerate. Most, if not all of these videos are filmed by car at a somewhat constant speed that is faster than the average cyclist would ride.

    Reply
  28. Anonymous

    Hi Ray...I have had a Bushido for a couple of years now and once I sorted out all the niggly software issues I can say it has been great.

    The software issues were a real stumbling block to begin with. I was, and still am on the older TSS2 version and needed to rely on the forum to trouble shoot the problems. In general though I would say the biggest issue Tacx faced was so many different operating systems, versions of windows, graphics drivers etc. I do not know if the software is any more robust under TSS3 as now I have a stable system I'm running with it!

    Whilst there are numerous functions available I have found over time I now solely use the Catalyst function. I love the way you can set up a power based training program and know that your training session is hitting the marks. I then download the data into Training Peaks - perfect!

    I would recommend this unit - but would caution you will may need to spend some time sorting out the software - especially if your plan is to run it off that old PC you have lying around!

    Love the blogs.

    Reply
  29. Hi Ray,

    Few questions;

    1. Calibration - how does that work on the Bushido?

    2. Did you get a chance to compare the power readings with a PM e.g. PT or SRM?

    3. How loud did it get? Is it quieter than the CT?

    4. What was the 'feel' like, realistic or robot trainer?

    5. Given your hardcode use of CT via CompCS do you feel you would make use of any of the fancy s/w features over the longer term?

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    And what about Elite RealAxiom, pc-controlled trainer?

    Reply
  31. Anonymous

    Hi all...a lot of questions about accuracy of power on Bushido...It is possible to calibrate the brake through a setup process which I do everytime I put the bike back on the trainer. If you also have a power meter it is possble to manually calibrate the brake to get further accuracy.

    I can confirm that hills on the real life training modes do feel too grippy though.

    Reply
  32. Anonymous

    Do you know if Tacx trainers work effectively with 650 wheels?

    Thanks for the informative post.

    Barb

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Thanks for another great review DCR. I have the following questions:

    1. Can you please talk to the range of Tacx trainers. For instance, would it be better to wait for the genius? Why would you choose either the genius or the bushido? I realize that Bushido is power cord free but does not have the steering. The Bushido also lacks the downhill coasting of the Genius and the break is better in the Genius. Unless I am missing something, it seems to me that those extra features are nice to have but not must have. I also realize that you need to buy the PC link with the Bushido to pair it with your PC. Anyhow, some kind of comparison amongst the range would be fantastic. Tacx don't do a particularly good job of this.

    2. To run the Bushido on your PC, it looks like the PC link (including USB dongle) is required in addition to the software which you have listed as $170. The PC link is more expensive at around $280. Correct me if I am wrong but I think this should be clarified.

    3. I am about to pull the trigger on the Bushido and would like to purchase via a link on your site. However, Amazon does not deliver to my location in Australia (and does not ship free). Is there a workaround for this? Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere on your site.

    Cheers
    Ed

    Reply
  34. great review!

    i have a power meter on my bike (crank-based), so i would likely go with that, but this seems cool. did you happen to compare accuracy vs your quarq or other devices?

    i, too, am curious about the noise levels. it sounded pretty noisy in your video, but a bunch could be going on there. how do you rate it vs other trainers you have used?

    i've been using the 1upusa (which is quiet enough that i can have a phone conversation while riding on it at Endurance pace). how does the tacx stack up?

    Reply
  35. Great review, the best I have seen so far, congratulations!
    I have a Bushido, running TTS 3.6, big improvement compared to the previous versions.
    I would like to add a couple of comments/information. I am a beta-tester of the firmware, actually running 5.0.9. It reads the power from any ANT+ Power Meter (P2M in my case, but it works also with SRM and PowerTap as well). The power reading and, most important, the power used for the feedback loop, is taken from the power meter and not from the Bushido brake. It means that the power measure is by far more precise and consistent. Unfortunately Tacx decided not to release that firmware because it's still suffering from instability/lost of connection, but in my opinion is as stable (unstable) as the previous version, so I decided to stick with that firmware version.
    Multiplayer in TTS 3.6? A huge step forward compared to previous version. I loved multiplyer before, even if it was difficult to setup. Now I superlove it, and more and more people are now available to race at many times of the day.

    Greetings from Italy

    Reply
  36. nice review.

    i too am curious about noise. hard to tell from your video as much is going on. how does it compare to other trainers? i've been using a 1upusa and am able to have a phone conversation when pedaling at endurance/tempo. how quiet/loud is the tacx?

    also, did you compare the power to your quarq or other devices?

    thanks!

    Reply
  37. Hi All-

    Thanks for the all the comments, glad you found it useful.

    Just to answer a few questions (consolidated):

    A) Noise

    Many asked about this, so I went ahead and created a short video showing the noise levels between the Tacx and CompuTrainer, as well as my voice in normal talking mode. This is about 1/3rd of the way down the review, under Noise.

    B) Addition of Tacx Real Life Video vs ErgoVideo understanding

    In an attempt to clarify this a bit, on how these differ, I added a short video showing the differences and what happens when I slow/speed up, within the video. This is in the ErgoVideo section.

    C) Comparison of the rest of the Tacx models.

    I'll try and put together something this weekend. Admittedly, it's a bit difficult so I don't have them to get concrete information - and the site leaves a bit to be desired there, but I'll see whta I can gather.

    D) The 'King' (aka Sinterklass)

    Thanks all, always fun learning new things!

    E) Seatpost too low

    Actually, I was just thinking that last night when I looked at the video myself. I suspect it's slipped a bit, will pull out my fit measurements and double-check it.

    F) Clamp

    Yup, indeed - it's awesome. I added a photo to the intro area. I actually meant to do that, and had taken a slew of photos for just that purpose. Doh! There now!

    G) Power Meter Accuracy and Measurement

    That sounds like a fun weekend project. I did some initial comparisons using the Cinqo vs Bushido, but I'll pull those out and run some comparison tests on my Friday and Sunday rides. Pretty interesting.

    H) Climb and accuracy

    They depended. In some cases they felt logical, in other cases it felt either too hard or too easy. In the case of courses generated by Garmin Connect, I sometimes got oddities that resulted in big jumps in grade. It wasn't clear if this was related to GPS file inaccuracies (GPS elvation), or TTS.

    I) Controlling trainer via head unit, why.

    The primary reason is to have very set workouts for intervals at a given wattage. This allows you to focus on getting an exacting workout at a given power level, versus trying to maintain that that. That said, I agree that fundamentally a large part is understanding how to hold that level on your own.

    J) System Performance

    In my case, my laptop scores a 5.1 on the System Experiance metric (within Windows) - which may help understand your score better.

    K) Bugs

    Yes, the bugs were more of an annoyance than a show-stopper. No bug ever stopped me from training, it usually just delayed it a little bit.

    L) Firmware to broadcast power metrics via ANT+

    There's no plans that I'm aware of to broadcast the power back out as ANT+ Power Profile, but rather, the inverse, be able to attach to an ANT+ power meter. That update was planned for a week or two ago, but got delayed.

    M) Communication with computer

    The communication method is an ANT+ USB stick. I just used a generic Garmin stick, one that costs $30. I don't see why I'd spend double the software package for the additional components (that $300 package you see). That said, I'll get clarify from the Tacx/QBP guys on that. But from all the research I did I can't see any reason that I'd want to spend $100+ on a $30 USB stick.

    Reply
  38. N) Following female riders...

    I do not at present see this as an option. Sorry!

    O) Cadence Measurement

    This is a calculated measurement, very similiar to how the PowerTap does it at the hub, somewhat guess work. Like the PowerTap, it's mostly accurate for 'normal' riding - but at extremes (i.e. 150rpm+, it gets a bit wobbling).

    P) KPH vs MPH

    No problem at all to switch between the two. One my laptop it was in KPH, and on my desktop it was in MPH. A simple checkbox. :)

    Q) Multiple Users

    Yup, no problems there, you can create multiple user accounts easily and move between them. Really simple, and you can store them online too.

    R) Feel of trainer

    It feels fairly similiar to the CT honestly.

    S) Whether or not I'd use visual features over just plan Ergo mode.

    For me this time of year, I have some flexibility to 'play' in some of the other modes. But once the primary training blocks kick it, the workouts will be too structured on the trainer to be in most of the real life type modes. So I'll largely end up back in the basic mode.

    T) Elite RealAxiom

    I haven't had a chance to try that out yet...maybe someday!

    U) 650 wheels

    I'll double-check my wifes bike and see.

    V) Workout for Amazon in Australia

    Unfortunately not, I wish there was! No worries, though, I really appreciate the thought!

    W) Rikicarra

    Thanks Riki for the additional notes on the beta. Like you, I too still have 5.0.9 still running on my head unit, merely because it's what stayed on there. :)

    Thanks all!

    Reply
  39. Why no export of power over ANT+? Seems easy to send, and would make it easier to keep your training log up to date, just pull it from the Garmin as normal.

    Reply
  40. ekutter

    Thanks for the quick responses to all the questions. You mention you will also be doing a review on the Cycleops Powerbeam Pro. Any idea when you will have that available? It doesn't have all the bells and whistles with the computer but for straight power based training, it seems like it might have some advantages. You also did allude to the fact Cycleops might be coming out with software integration. Any additional information you are allowed to share with us there?

    One other unrelated question. Where was that rec center you swam at while in the Seattle area for Thanksgiving?

    Reply
  41. Great review, Ray! Very in-depth.

    You got it spot-on I think. Tacx are quite advanced in terms of embracing new opportunities and they tend to bring new things quickly to the market. The flipside of this is that it sometimes causes stability issues.

    I have a Tacx Fortius. This is basically a Tacx Bushido, but with wires and a motor brake. The difference this makes is that the Fortius (and it's successor, Tacx Genius) 'help' you during downhills. This works very well and adds to the realism during Real Life Video trainings.

    I'm using the Fortius for over 3 years now and it has never let me down. Durability is good. However, Tacx VR trainers are not something for computer-noobs in my opinion. You need some computer expertise to get it all working in my experience.

    By the way, there's a large community working on additional 'home-made' Real Life Videos for Tacx. With a GoPro HD camera and a Garmin GPS-decice with a barometric altimeter this is not very hard to do and it offers very accurate profiles.

    I created a few Real Life Videos myself, with rides from Holland, France and Italy (see: link to wagenvoort.net). Gives a little extra choice and training variety.

    Projecting videos on a large screen (I'm using a beamer) is just amazing. Holland is as flat as a pancake and these trainers just open up great and fun possibilities to prepare for mountain races like the famous La Marmotte and Maratona dles Dolomites in Europe.

    Keep on reviewing, Ray! Very enjoyable.

    Reply
  42. D

    Can you address if either the Tacx or CT are Mac compatible?

    Reply
  43. URGuilty

    Confused a little. What is the Bushido PC Upgrade Kit? If that is also needed, it adds $277.91 to the final price.

    Reply
  44. Forgive me if I missed this but I didn't see anything in the review that would prevent a iPhone/iPad with a Ant+ attachment from running the whole show.

    AirPlay the video to a AppleTV/Boxee Box(preferably) and you could have a nice little self-contained system.

    A self-contained, cheaper, system.

    I'm no athlete, I just bought a KK Road Machine simply so I could get some use out of my bike that I never did over the summer, but being able to play racing "games" on my bike sounds like a lot of fun.

    Reply
  45. D: The Tacx software is Windows-only, but if you search you can find folks who have run it on a Mac either via Bootcamp (booting to Windows) or an emulator (Parallels, VMWare).

    URGuilty: You don't need the PC upgrade. You can use the Bushido like a normal trainer. If one wants the PC upgrade, the trainer becomes a bit more like a VR trainer...at lower cost.

    Wayne: What do you mean? The VR portion of the trainer requires that the Tacx software is installed (can't happen on an iPHone or iPad). It will receive a signal from an ANT+ device (power meter) (or if that is not in this version it is in a forthcoming version). Are you saying you want the iPad/iPhone to transmit an ANT+ signal to the trainer?

    Reply
  46. What I mean is that iPhones/iPads have enough power to handle everything I've seen Tacx software throw up on screen. Just write the software for iOS.

    Throw in a Wahoo Ant+ key, which I'm told is a transceiver, then there's nothing else that would be necessary. Or if you like it, a AppleTV to have everything show up on a nice big screen.

    Make it a custom Tacx key if they insist, but imagine if all the iPhone developers out there had the ability to incorporate it into their own apps and games.

    Who'd like to race Sonic the Hedgehog?

    Reply
  47. What type of mats do you use under your trainers?

    Reply
  48. ekutter

    URGuilty, yes you need the software if you want to use the computer. There is a bit of confusion with this though. The software alone, which Ray lists a link to here is about $170. The PC Upgrade kit, for ~$270, includes the ANT+ dongle as well. Supposedly you can just use your Garmin ANT+ dongle instead, so only need the software.

    Reply
  49. Correct, you can use your Garmin ANT+ stick. That's all I have, there wasn't any special stick included in my package. One note, if you have the Garmin ANT Agent installed on your machine (to transfer workouts to/from your Forerunner) - just ensure you turn that off while you use the Tacx software. You can leave it installed, but that software will take control of the USB stick while running, so you just need to exit out of it first.

    So yeah, for me, it seems silly to pay $100 for a $30 stick. But just my two cents.

    Reply
  50. Wayne:
    "What I mean is that iPhones/iPads have enough power to handle everything I've seen Tacx software throw up on screen."

    This is true. It's not a power issue. My Mac Pro 8-core also has plenty of power to run the Tacx software, in terms of hardware.

    "Just write the software for iOS."

    It seems that Tacx have enough problems coming up with a bug-free version for Windows (which is what has me on the fence). Your statement trivializes what is involved with "just converting to iOS" (or developing for the Mac).

    "Who'd like to race Sonic the Hedgehog?"
    I'm gonna guess there's not a huge demand to race Sonic the HedgeHog. I'd bet there are a larger number who want stable software before this is added.

    Reply
  51. Sorry, what I mean by porting to iOS is not that it'd be more stable (or that it would be "easy") but that it could a) replace the other hardware that comes in the box and b) be less cumbersome then fiddling with a laptop.

    As for racing Sonic it's not that I'm suggesting adding that stuff into the Tacx software, but letting other programs access the hardware. Like how a Ant+ heart rate monitor can be used with any app that wants to support it.

    Reply
  52. wayne:
    it's a nice notion, but i suspect the majority of people will want their trainer to be independent of a device like a phone or ipad. the bushido offers that. it has a proprietary head unit, but that means everyone that has a bushido has a head unit that will work w/o additional hardware. not everyone who has a bushido will have an iphone (or android phone, or whatever). also, in a few years the mobile platform situation may be very different. this means one could get screwed based on what they chose. don't feel like paying for your iphone's monthly contract any more? oops....you need it for your trainer.

    as for more cumbersome...having an ipad is nice, but it involves another stand, just like a laptop would. it's also a $500+ expense for people that just may not want it. more people already have a laptop or desktop with windows.

    now, i'd probably actually buy the bushido right now if it worked with the ipad and didn't require a windows installation; i don't think we are in the majority -- that is not the obstacle, and it would just be a major distraction for tacx.

    Reply
  53. URGuilty

    Thanks EKutter. I will assume Eric is incorrect in stating "If one wants the PC upgrade, the trainer becomes a bit more like a VR trainer...at lower cost."

    Sounds like you do not lose functionality in NOT buying the PC Upgrade. It's the TTS 3 bundled with an ANT dongle that costs 100 more. Correct?

    Reply
  54. ekutter

    Sounds like Tacx might be much more open to third party developers than CT. The latter refused to even share the .3dp file format for proprietary reasons several years ago. Yet here you have people generating their own real live courses with a Garmin and a Go Pro.

    So the idea that third party software could be written to allow the iPhone or android phone to control the unit would be pretty cool and may be possible. We aren't too far off from the day the phone will replace the bike computer (OK already can for many). Since I always have my phone with me any ways, I agree that would be pretty nice.

    Reply
  55. sorry on the mis-statement. i was thinking of TTS3 and confused that when you said the PC Upgrade. my apologies.

    it does seem like a cool feature when one already has a power meter to allow that to communicate with the bushido.

    again, my apologies. with TTS3 (optional) the bushido becomes a vr trainer, at lower cost.

    Reply
  56. Tacx is not (yet) really open to third party developers. They don't really see the potential value this could generate for themselves in the way of selling more trainers.

    Third-party Real Life Videos have not been supported by Tacx and in fact they even don't work properly in TTS3 (there's a workaround though).

    I hope they will start to realise that third-party addons will only boost sales of trainers and TTS software (and Real Life Videos since Phil creates them with ever increasing untouchable quality).

    Reply
  57. an interesting thing to note: while the tacx software appears to have some bugs, without a doubt, i have been curious about trying it out for myself. in the process of seeking out the software, i have noticed that many of the rants against the software on various sites have a common theme -- common language. it seems like the same person (or small group of people) are relating their admittedly bad experiences EVERYWHERE. this may overstate the problems with the software. not that they're not there -- just that they are not as enormous as one might think. upon further inspection, there is definitely ONE *very* disgruntled person who has copied and pasted his rant all over.

    on a related note, does anyone have a source for just the TTS 3 software (not the "pc upgrade")? i've seen the TTS 3 software offered either in the pc upgrade package w/ ANT stick (don't want that), or as an upgrade that requires one to have TTS 2 (i don't), but i'm having some trouble finding it as a standalone.

    thanks! i'm getting closer to a purchase.

    Reply
  58. URGuilty

    Eric, go to original post, click on DCR's 'accessories' link. goes straight to Amazon.com TTS 3.0 (not pc upgrade version) 179.97

    Reply
  59. Someone asked if Tacx had an women to ride behind.. link to tacxvr.com two of the best in the world right here..Ray had a pack of rather dated films, there are a load of new ones on the way including a 235km long 2011 Tour of Flanders

    Reply
  60. thanks URG. i'd missed that link and a prior search on amazon only turned up the TTS upgrade.

    now to decide if i really want to risk the purchase. my concerns are noise (i currently run a 1upusa which is very quiet) and issues with respect to running on a mac via emulation.

    i'm wondering if the head unit fails, can the bushido still supply a basic level of resistance controlled by how close the roller is to the tire and gearing on the bike + cadence?

    Reply
  61. ekutter

    I just pulled the plug and ordered one. I have been frustrated with Racermate ever since I got my CT 12 years ago, I have been amazed at how antiquated the software is. Lots of friends have asked what they should get and I have reluctantly steered them towards CT because I didn't have experience on anything else.

    This review, and follow up comments, were just what I needed to overcome the number of negative reviews elsewhere.

    Ray, any way for you to get numbers from the Tacx distributor as to the sell rate of these trainers before and after your review? I got to imagine you have a pretty big impact.

    Reply
  62. A realy great review Ray,

    we also produce real-life videos that work well for all TTS versions. Our clients come from all over the world. We produce even more complex than Tacx.

    http://www.cycle-in-motion.de

    Reply
  63. posthumus - The difference with the breaks are

    Vortex has a break a little more like the tradition eddy current i-magic but with a little more break force & a bigger flywheel. It can simulate upto about 7-8% I think depending on the rider.

    The Bushido has a different type of break It feels smooth & it can force you into the smallest gear on a steep climb.

    The Genius will be like the Fortius but with a single cable for power. able to smoothly simulate very steep hills & also spin the wheel down.It allows the rider to really spin on a trainer, its not just a gimmick, I had 190rpm on the Fortius last week, try that on a normal trainer ;-)

    Reply
  64. Emil

    Can one software handle two trainers, ex. me and someone else racing against each other while on two trainers in the same room?

    Reply
  65. Anonymous

    You need two PCs but you can link them via a LAN or use the Internet & race against each other

    Reply
  66. Another great review. Bravo!

    I've heard that the Bushido is limited to simulating 9% gradients and I've heard that this figure might be optimistic. In your experience did you feel that it was limited in the resistance it could generate?

    Reply
  67. I think someone else asked this but I couldn't find an answer. Can you coast with the bushido (ie going downhill can you stop pedaling but still be moving forward in your programed ride)? The computrainer can't do this - it just stops. thx

    Reply
  68. Hi

    You mention this
    "First up though is a quick note that your user account is saved online. This is pretty cool in that all your settings are stored magically up on their servers, so in case your computer dies, you can re-download it all again"

    I'm using the Bushido trainer for some months now, but I cannot find this feature. Where can I find this?

    I did a traning yesterday and just after I finished to TT3 crashed, so I lost everything.

    Reply
  69. ekutter

    What do you know about the TTS 4.0 software? It is even listed on the web page for the Vortex but I don't see anything about when it will be released. I just purchased the Bushido and TTS3 software.

    In general setup has been pretty simple. One major annoyance was needing to upgrade from TTS3.0 to 3.1 to 3.2 ... to 3.6. Can't just go straight to 3.6. Also, it kept trying to install the Ant+ drivers but I just kept hitting cancel before those got installed since I am using my Garmin Ant+ stick.

    One other annoyance, can't install on my laptop and my wives without a separate code. Probably not an issue for most people.

    Reply
  70. Anonymous

    You can install it on your wife's laptop also, but it will be light mode which does not let you a lot. But you can then deactivate your version of TTS & use your code on your wifes laptop. Once you have the code on her setup also its just a case of deactivating & activating between the two (like a light switch).

    Reply
  71. Anonymous

    I have a new bushido... as of nov 1, 2011. i've already logged more time on my bike via this amusement park ride in comparison to my outdoor, seasonal riding. my comments...

    1. get a kick as gamer PC or laptop with the best graphics card you can afford. this will eliminate any display/software glitches.

    2. re-seat and recalibrate the brake everytime befor you use it for the most accurate results.

    3. kiss your spouse good bye and tell the you love them each time you disappear to your new toy - this will leave the door open for post ride affection.

    4. read up on manual resistance settings. difficult to grasp at first but once you get it, well, you get it.

    that's it for now.

    mikeonbike from ontario

    Reply
  72. Anonymous

    With the Tacx, can you compete and get instantaneous feedback vs. a previously recorded ride? That seems quite appealing as I compare the two trainers. If it's not directly available, is there a workaround - say setting the power at the average power of your previous ride? Thanks!

    Reply
  73. bc

    Does anyone have a ANT+ USB1 tick I can purchase?

    Hey everyone, I purchased the trainer the software and the Garmin ANT+ stick last week. This hasn’t worked out to well for me just yet ;)

    There is currently two generation of ant stick. USB1 and USB2 generation. link to thisisant.com . The USB stick i have tried to use from Garmin is from the new generation and thus, not using the same driver….and doesn’t work.

    If you are looking to purchase this trainer and already have an ANT+ stick check to make sure it’s a USB1 stick as TACX does not support the USB2 stick. IF you have the 2 stick you might want to look at purchasing the upgrade kit as my guess is this will still come with the 1.0 stick…which I have been unable to find separately.

    To check to see what you have go to Control Panel, Device Manager, right-click the USB Stick, choose 'Properties', choose tab 'Details', select property 'hardware Ids' from the pull-down menu and in the first PCI\VEN_ etc. line you'll see:

    PID_1008 for the USB2 stick
    PID_1004 for the USB1 stick

    When I contacted support I got the following response

    “The bushido only Works with ANT1 stick. So im no sure what you have bought but if you do not have the T1990 Bushido upgrade package I cannot help you “

    The following thread on the tacx forum outlines the issue and has a workaround…unfortunately the workaround is not working for me

    link to forum.tacx.com

    So does anyone have a spare USB1 stick I can buy? IF so send me an email at bertcord (at) gmail .com

    Bert

    Reply
  74. Anonymous

    Awesome review. I was wondering if you know if the Bushido is Mac compatible? Also, how is that power (wattage) is read on the system? Do you need an external power meter for this system?

    Thanks for all the help and great reviews.

    Reply
  75. Hi Anon-

    No, it's not Mac compatible (directly), but I believe some folks have success with Bootcamp and/or virtualization options.

    You don't need an additional power meter, power measurement is done at the Bushido trainer portion, and transmitted to the head unit and then to your computer. No power is needed if you just transmit to the head unit (that Tacx one), since that runs on batteries (and the trainer runs on your pedaling).

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  76. Just a quick THANK YOU!
    I made the purchase and LOVE IT!

    Thanks for the review.....

    Andy

    Reply
  77. URGuilty

    having the same ANT 1 problem after my purchase. still can't use!

    any suggestions?

    Reply
  78. Anonymous

    So what is your plan? Keep the CT or move over to the Tacx? If I didn't already have a CT, I have to admit the Tacx looks VERY nice.

    Also, what are your thoughts on the CT with ErgVideos

    Reply
  79. Great post Ray. Do you happen to have any information about TTS4 and when it's suposed to be available? I just bought the Bushido unit but I had read on the Tacx forums that TTS4 was reportedly coming out this month. Didn't want to spend the $$ just to have a full rev come out weeks later.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  80. bc

    tacx support told me tts 3.7 will support usb2 stick.

    3.7 was shiped with Genius...i was told 3.8 would be out this week.

    i found a garmin forrunner 50 on ebay that I bought. it came with the old usb1 stick.

    Reply
  81. URGuilty

    doh! turned off garmin ant agent, and voila! usb2 works perfectly with TTS 3.6.

    this trainer is awesome. wish my computrainer class ran them instead.

    Reply
  82. Anonymous

    The guy in picture RC4 is not the king ... it is Sinterklaas (dutch) or Saint Nicolas (french). A popular saint in NW Europe who is the patron saint of childre. He brings them presents and sweets (if they have been good during the year) on the 6th of december (Belgium) or on the 5th (Holland) ... after all the poor man can not be averywhere at the same time!
    It is the inspiration for Santa Claus.

    Reply
  83. So disapointed! I purchased Tacx Bushido and Software upgrade from Amazon because I loved the DC gear reviews.

    Bushido head unit will not save any details selected or loaded upon start up and will not pair with trainer. What a mess to deal with Amazon and its' no name bike store. This coupled with no Tacx customer service is one big headache.

    Can anyone offer insight for resolution?

    Reply
  84. Chris

    I sold my CompuTrainer and bought the Bushido based largely on your review. I appreciate all the reviews you do here, but I think you may have missed the mark a bit on the Bushido.

    I'm a software engineer, and several hours in I have yet to get the TSS 3 running. The CompuTrainer software is frustrating, but the Tacx stuff is TERRIBLE. A few examples:

    - Upon install the software asks you to download a user or create a new user. The new user box is disabled. Only solution is to connect your head unit to the software to enable new user creation

    - After a new user is created, software immediately crashes each time I boot it up

    Support is just as bad as the software. I hope I change my tune after figuring out the many kinks, but for now buyer beware.

    Reply
  85. LJP

    I've been using a Bushido for nearly a month now, purchased largely on the basis of this review. For the first two weeks I (and my wife, frequently) used it with the head unit only. And I now have about 20hours on it with the TTS software, largely in Catalyst and Real Life Video (Schlecks and Milan San Remo.. wahoo!). I log all my rides in SportTracks, using .HRM export.
    .
    Your review is pretty much spot-on. There are a few software glitches, such as TTS occasionally refusing to recognize the brake and head unit on starting up. I think this has to do with USB ports and powersaving, but the fix has been easy: I pull out and reinsert the ANT stick. Another issue is that the virtual cadence calculation, based on torque variations, is consistently low by 3-4rpm for me. No big deal.

    I can't say I've had any of the serious problems described by earlier posters. For example, my rides done with the Bushido headunit alone imported just fine to the TTS software. And creating new users hasn't been a problem.

    Great review. 'OK' product consideing glitches, but it moves firmly to the 'good' category when considering how little competition it has. I can see that the glitches might bother some folks, and I wouldn't recommend it for a non-tech person who just wants to get on the bike and pedal without a couple of minutes of fuss.

    I'd definitely purchase again.

    Reply
  86. Anonymous

    Your review says the Garmin USB stick hyperlinked to Amazon in your article would work, but every post I have scanned indicates the TTS 3.x software does not support USB2. Any thoughts or comments on how to get the USB2 stick to work with the TTS 3.x (.5 in my case) with the Garmin USB2 ANT stick?

    It does not work!

    Reply
  87. Anon-

    See earlier comments, upgrade to version 3.7 (or 3.8) to use the USB2 sticks. Previous to that, you had to do a two-step tango.

    It should display from in the software. Here's a full thread on it.

    link to forum.tacx.com

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  88. IN

    Ray,

    Thank you for this post. I was thinking about purchasing a unit but read some "not too pleasant" reviews about their earlier versions. This provides some encouragement for the new software and firmware updates. Have you ever looked at NetAthlon as a software equivalent to indoor training? In this case, you pick the trainer you have (from a list) and it calibrates to your trainer to calculate power, cadence, speed, etc. You have to purchase their sensors, but its a nice very inexpensive alternative. The only downside is the riding difficulty does not automatically adjust based on hills - unless you have a computrainer. I would be interested in your thoughts/review regarding it: http://www.riderunrow.com

    Reply
  89. Anonymous

    Hi Ray

    I am a huge fan of your site and your reviews. Without doubt you are the independent go-to guy for all things sports tech. Many thanks for providing this great resource.

    My most recent issue with my new bushido/TTS3 (and there have been plenty, USB1vUSB2 being one of those issues which is now thankfully resolved without pulling all of my hair out) is trying to get the HRM format data files converted into something recognized by strava (.GPX, .TCX or .FIT) without using any paid third party websites. If you have any suggestions in that regard I would be most appreciative.

    Cheers
    EF

    Reply
  90. Initially disturbed by the anemic customer service protocols of Amazon.com and Tacx Bushido; several postings including advertising my distress and proposing the return of the new but inoperable Tacx Bushido and software upgrade yielded favorable results.

    The Amazon seller contacted me at their convenience and sent a new Bushido head/control unit in return for deleting the denigrating review of process and sale.

    Tacx Bushido works as described as championed by DC Rainmaker. Thank You.

    Reply
  91. Hi Anon-

    I believe you can take the .HRM files and feed them through Sport Tracks and then export out a .TCX with a plug-in. Not the most direct route, but would technically work. :-/

    Hi Casey-

    Super glad to hear that you were able to get it all sorted out with them, and that it's all working now. Great to hear! Thanks again for supporting the site, I really appreciate it!

    Reply
  92. Anonymous

    Hi. Thanks for the comprehensive review. Is the Bushido suitable for use with a track bike? More specifically:

    1. Is it compatible with 110mm axle spacing?

    2. Is it capable of handling high power efforts and/or sprint standing starts?

    Reply
  93. Hi Ray,

    It looks like Tacx finally released the firmware to link the Bushido to a powermeter (Firmware 0.5.10):

    link to tacx.com

    Hopefully this works great! It will be easier to train at the right Watt!

    Vincent

    Reply
  94. Hi Ray

    What is the outcome of the Cinqo vs Bushido power comparison?

    Ellis

    Reply
  95. Concerning the Tacx Bushido, is there any advantage on getting the Genius Tacx for the competitive non racing amateur? DOes the Genius Tacx offer that much more "stuff" that it warrants its price? If not, is the Bushido still the "bomb" in your opinion as it was when you first reviewed it 6 months ago? Are there any other Trainers worth their salt as much as this?

    breakaway7@me.com

    Reply
  96. Oddly enough, Tacx reached out to me yesterday and is sending over a Genius, though, I'm not aiming for a review until late August or early September.

    I'm not 100% convinced (yet) that the additional cash is worth the price, though, probably the entertainment factor.

    Reply
  97. Anonymous

    Hello for the Bushido can I go straight to v4.0 of the software or do you have to purchase v3 upgrade for the Bushido and then upgrade to 4.0?

    Reply
  98. Hi. Can I ask what is probably a silly question? In Analyser, the screen shows columns headed Program Info and Score Info. What on earth do these mean please? I have noticed when using Analyser after I've done a power/time workout that the Ave Watts in the Program Info column is slightly different, and when I don't actually know what either means... Sorry to bring up an old thread but Tacx have been no help and your article is by far the best I have encountered while trawling the net. Many thanks in anticipation. Fiona

    Reply
  99. Should have said, I'm actually using a Genius on TTSv3. I'd currently suggest to Plastdoc above that no it isn't worth the extra money but a lot of that is because I am uncertain how to operate it because of a lack of decent User Manual info. Just MHO though.

    Reply
  100. Hi Ray,
    i notice there's a new Tacx website on http://www.tacx.com ...looking fwd for your review about the new TTS (i saw the new manual 4.2 but there's a new v. 4.3 on the support side)also know if the calories/Kj computation has been improved since was well over-estimated compared with my Edge800 (or may beis the garmin under-reading)

    Reply
  101. Hi Ray,

    I'm currently comparing prices of Tacx Bushido on various websites and I'm a bit confused about different Bushido models. All sites use the model number "T1980", but some claim they're selling 2011 model, some say 2012 model and one site says they're selling 2013 model. However, on Tacx site there's really no mentions about the different models and their differences.

    Are there, in fact, different models, and if they're are, what are the differences?

    Reply
  102. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  103. DJ

    Hi Ray,
    Can you elaborate some on your experiences using the Bushido as a resistance unit?
    What I would like to know, is the Bushido worth spending a lot of money on, compared to for example the Tacx Flow which is a lot cheaper, or the Genius, which is a little bit more expensive. First of all, I don't care that much about the VR-possibilities. I don't mind spending some money on being able to use it, but I don't intend to use it myself. To give you some idea on my training habits, I use my trainer purely for power. That's on average 350W per training with regular intervals of 5-10 minutes between 400-550W. I have an Elite Crono, and I don't know if calibration is any good, but for the sake of argument let's assume these are real numbers :-)
    So would you also recommend the Bushido if you only consider the VR-option nice-to-have, or is there no real upside compared to a cheaper model?

    Reply
  104. John Vukich

    Thank you for the excellent review. It was based on your thoughtful comments that I purchased the Bushido along with the VR upgrade software. I have no doubt that when it works, this is a great trainer. But herein lies the problem. I was never able to get my software to work. The installation stalled when I tried to register it and was told that that the Key had already been used. This was brand new, in a sealed package, software that I purchased from Amazon. The customer support at Tacx is nonexistent. They want me to purchase another Key. Seriously? I have no desire to cheat anyone or poach their software. I do however expect to be able to use what I have purchased. I feel like they have stolen $300 from me as they are refusing to provide a new Key and are saying that I am not able to return "opened" software.

    I have done quite a bit of digging to gather other reviews of user experience withTacx. It seems that people either love it or they run into problems like I have and find that the availability of assistance from Tacx is zero. I will admit to being an Apple guy for several years and I guess I have gotten used to things just working right out of the box. This is definitely not the case with Tacx. If you are considering purchasing a VR Trainer from Tacx, you should be above average on the computer "wonk" scale and expect to invest a lot of time tinkering to hopefully get it to work.

    I am returning the Bushido to Amazon for a refund. I am still trying to return the VR upgrade but it is looking like I may have to end up eating the software as a total loss. My advice: Buyer beware. This has been a most unpleasant and expensive mistake.

    Reply
    • Ken K replied

      I will second John’s comment that “you should be above average on the computer “wonk” scale” if you want to use this software. Be ready to load each software version individually (about 5-10 min each) and update the brake firmware several times before first use. To say TACX software is buggy is an understatement. The hard copy and electronic instructions are rudimentary and disjointed (separate PDF for each function). Trial and error is the only means to learn the software beyond the basic level. As Ray notes above, the heart rate loses link often and never (in my experience) reconnects automatically, even if you simply walk out of range momentarily. Once connected to the software via the PC, the control head is simply a display with no control functionality. Further, you cannot calibrate the brake or connect the heart rate strap through the PC—brake calibration and manual heart rate connection are necessary each time your use the trainer. Therefore, BEFORE initiating the PC program, calibrate the brake and manually connect the heart-rate strap to the control head; THEN start the PC program. I found it best to warm up the brake for a few minutes using the control head only before calibrating and continuing. If you forget to calibrate, the calibration is bad, you lose heart rate link or something else is not right, you must logoff, manually reconnect to the control head and then to the PC. Once it is running, it works quite nicely; getting started is a chore.

      Reply
  105. abc

    link to forum.tacx.com

    "Tacx did not change the model number, so the only way of knowing for sure is to ask if the one they have in stock has the upgraded display with the back light.

    They were very quick in their reply too. So a BIG kudos to Tacx US Sales. So basically the answer is 2012 is NO different from 2011, or even late model 2010s."

    Reply
  106. brian

    Great review, also read your review on the cycleops power beam and found useful as well. One of your comments was that you typically work off of 'written workouts and just want to be able to control wattage". I am in same boat, I have a trainer bike that I would like to use 'specialized langster' specifically for stationary riding and want to be able to control wattage at headset. Do you have a recomendation ? The videos, rides etc are not as important to me.

    Reply
  107. brian

    Forgot to mention the bike mentioned above is a single speed.

    Reply
  108. Improving the SkyLiner frontwheel support

    Look at
    <a href=http://www.derderonde.nl/Tacx.Bushido/#Skyliner<link to derderonde.nl
    if you want to improve the stability of your Tacx Bushido Skyliner frontwheel support.

    Besides that I also made a general review of the Bushido with some setup tips.
    My viewpoint is not to use a Pc/Laptop link!

    Enjoy,
    Bert van Sas

    Reply
  109. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    First of all let me highlight that I have a Bushido and TTS 3. I have been following Tacx forum since summer 2011. My comments arebelow with other examples and more emotion.

    The whole virtual reality concept is great, the new new HD videos are fascinating. That is the positive side.

    Tacx was rather nasty when they realized that they used Google maps without a proper agreement with Google, so Tacx people just shook their shoulders to get off the dirty problem and said that users have to pay USD30 p.a. No problem but they had advertised their products WITH Google maps.

    The software is still buggy (note I tried TTS3.12 too, but reverted to 3.10), sometimes it makes no sense to upgrade hoping an ultimate solution, it does not help. An instance of annoying bug is that in case of 75-90% of the RLV rides (maybe it is true for the other type of rides like RLT or Catalyst, but I typically use RLV), you have to unplug and replug the ANT+ stick at the end of your ride to make yourself able to save your ride due to some comm bug.

    Or another example of a bug which makes me mad is that it was a great idea to let your powermeter to control the brake unit through Bushido headunit and/or TTS, but it is very common that TTS/head unit loses the power signal.

    What does the stupid TTS do? Although there is a clear power (=voltage) generation showing that you are still riding, but TTS is put to paused during the temporary disconnection. In an unlucky day it means at least one minute per hour difference between the total ride time of TTS and the real total, so when you would like to merge your data from your Garmin eg and the elevation data from TTS, there is evidently a problem.

    Why do you need your Garmin at all? First because TTS tended to collapse during the ride in the earlier version. Second because it is very easy to ride without HR data (*see below). Third because Tacx was too stupid to let the pairing of a cadence sensor with Bushido head unit. They let your power meter and your HR belt to be paired, but not the cadence sensor, so the cadence data collected by the TTS is the unreliable cadence data from the brake.

    The problem above perfectly describes the inconsistency of Tacx team. If you dont have a power meter paired with Bushido you can even coast down for some seconds while you are still generating voltage, so on a flat or descent you can move your butt to get eg. your towel If you pair your power meter, you cant stop for a second, and even if you never stop you get sometimes the state paused as described above.

    And some words about their hardwares. Both Bushido and Genius seem to be relatively good hardwares, but Tacx was incompetent enough to use plastic tabs for defining the three positions, which tabs are frequently broken if you put your brake into position 2 instead of 3 assuming you have a road bike wheel. Why don't they use some metal instead? If you sell a high end tool why do you have to make users selfmade repair men who glue some metal pieces to replicate the broken position 2? Huh?

    Finally Tacx decided to clean their forum. When I realized that many posts had disappeared (my estimation is between 30-50%) and the admins clearly rejected to get it sorted out, I knew that something smells with Tacx. I can never prove that they deliberately deleted thousands of posts, but nevertheless it is a bit suspicious that they dont want them get back.

    I already know how to use my Bushido, I already used some glues, I already know the tricks of unplug+replug the ANT+ stick, and (*) the annoying protocol of pairing my HR belt each time after I switch on my head units to get HR data in TTS etc., but I would not buy another one if it was stolen from me.

    Reply
  110. octavio gomez

    Hi I live in the us and want to know where I get it and how much it cost.
    I also want to know if you have distributor in Colombia.

    Octavio Gómez

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      If in the US, you can use Clever Training or Amazon above to ship it to you (and receive a discount!). If outside the US you'd have to contact Tacx to find a distributor there.

      Reply
  111. Tisztul_A_Visztula
    Reply
  112. I very much agree with Tisztul, I've been a Tacx Bushido user since 2009. I've pretty much decided that you'll see my trainer on Ebay this fall and a new Wahoo in my basement.

    Reply
  113. Gian Claudio

    Hi, first of all thanks for your review, the best I can find around the web....

    I have one question regarding the control unit, is it able to store data after the training and show a summary ? Or the only way is to have the laptop connected ?

    Thanks, Gian Claudio

    Reply
  114. Tom

    Hi DC R, short question. is there any difference (except color) between the Tacx Bushido which is blue on the side og the fly wheel and the one which is grey (on tacx web page its all grey) they are both called T1980. I can see most dealers of tacx in Denmark sell the one whcih is blue on the side.

    noth have black legs though.

    hope for a answer soon so i can buy my new Tacx.

    cheers

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I believe it's just a yearly/branding thing. I'm not aware of any technical differences.

      Reply
  115. Christian

    Tacx has an excellent marketing department. That's all they got ! I've spend a lot of money for their machine and the software issues and bugs, and stops and etc etc....keeeps going day after day. Makes me wonder how aws possible to be stupid enough to buy this. As a new biker i was google it for the trainers. They are all over the net and first impression was that THIS IS THE BRAND. After using it i must say: VERY DISSAPOINTED. I want a virtual trainer that just works, and works, day after day and year after year. Not the case of this trainer!

    Reply
  116. Carlos FTS

    What´s the difference between BUSHIDO and VORTEX?
    Is it only the wireless possibility (Bushido) ?

    Note: Your review´s... Great job! Thanks

    Carlos

    Reply
  117. james

    is the tacx compatible with Mac hardware?

    Reply
  118. vinci

    Hello Ray,

    great review - thanks a lot.

    I am thinking about buying a Tacx or possibly a Vortex. Most notable difference is the breaking power which is 1400 W on the Tacx and "only" 900 W on the Vortex. Now I don't think that I frequently push with more than 900 W, however, it still makes me wonder what this means for the maximum slopes I can simulate with either of those trainers. Unfortunately, it seems very difficult to find any information about maximum slope for any of these trainers.

    I've also read about some people having issues with slopes above 8-10% with the Bushido as they could no longer produce enough electrical power for the device at the resulting low speed they were going. Plus I've read from other people that cycling can get choppy with the Bushido at similar slopes and low cadences.

    Can you give any information about slope limitations in the Bushido? And what would you expect from the Vortex with only 900 W of breaking power? I am planning to cycle some GPS routes to prepare for races and slopes as high as 14% are not untypical there. It would certainly be a bit disappointing if the devices would be limited to less than 10%.

    Thanks Ray
    BR
    vinci

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The challenge is that trainers don't "think" in terms of slope. In reality, it's really all just watts behind the scenes. In the case of Bushido, there tends to an element of speed, which drives the self-sufficient electrical power piece. Speed is of course driven by gearing and cadence.

      Reply
    • vinci replied

      Dear Ray,

      thanks for your reply. It unfortunately didn't quite answer my question regarding the max. slope Bushido/Genius are able to simulate. My assumption was that with a given weight of a rider and a fixed minimum speed of the wheel (fast enough so one can still keep the bike stable on the "road") there should indeed be an equivalent breaking power that pretty much only depends on the slope. With a power limitation there should hence be a slope limitation as well for each of the units.

      Anyway, I did in the meantime find some very interesting information on that topic from Tacx themselves on their Forum. I think this should be shared with your readers and that perhaps the aspect of "virtual speed" instead of true slope simulation should perhaps be an aspect of your future trainer tests. The main message is that none of the Tacx trainers but the Genius can actually properly simulate slopes larger than 10% or so. May not be so relevant to people which plan to simply do a Watt-based training. But certainly to those who care to climb Mont Ventoux under "realistic" conditions and stop the time it takes them to do so.

      Here is the link:
      link to forum.tacx.com

      cheers
      vinci

      Reply
  119. Brent

    I keep my training simple...I do not have a coach...track watts...or even have a real plan. My training plan is mainly keep fitness up by riding as much as possible. I have had fluid trainers and did not like them because they were too easy to reduce resistance. I bought a used computrainer and chose to resell it because it looked too complicated (dont laugh please...well go ahead) I then bought an upright exercise bike with I liked after changing the lounge chair seat but did not love the setup...much different than bike (sold that) What I liked were the preset programs...I could set on a level and push myself through a program.

    The bushido looks like I can do that. Easy setup and some preset programs without using a lap top. Is this true. Can you pick a program with lets say a hill profile for 2 hrs and ride.....if you need to adjust the level easily make a change? Please let me know. Is there another trainer I should think about

    Reply
  120. Brent

    Does the handlebar unit have programs to adjust the resistance automatically like most exercise bikes

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, you can adjust from there. The programs will automatically adjust resistance.

      Reply
  121. Tony Lockyer

    No more comment on this product is necessary from me, it's all been covered. I'm now scouting the cheapest retailer. However, one thing I just MUST say is...... DC Rainmaker, once again you have done a fantastic job here my friend, your attention to detail and the service and information you provide is second to none. You're a legend and I'm sure I speak for many thousands when I simply say...... Thank you very much.

    Reply
  122. nadav

    Hi All

    I use Bushido and after 10 second connection between the computer disconnects and I have to link up with the computer
    There is a way to solve the problem?

    Reply

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