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The Tacx NEO Smart Trainer: Everything you ever wanted to know

Over the past few weeks Tacx has released two new trainers, the Tacx NEO and the Tacx Genius Smart.  While both of these trainers have similar technical capabilities, the actual hardware aspects of them are dramatically different.  One (the Genius Smart) looks like most traditional trainers that Tacx has built prior, and has similar specs.  Meanwhile, the Tacx NEO is unlike anything that Tacx has previously done.  It goes in the direction of direct drive (versus a rear wheel), while also claiming to be virtually silent.

But is it really silent?  And at $1,599/€1,399 is it worth the substantial premium over other trainers on the market, including offerings from Tacx themselves?  This post is a first look at everything you might need to know to make that decision.  It’s not a full in-depth review, as I just haven’t had enough time yet on the final production unit to make that determination and to be able to have really dug into every last detail – so do keep that in mind.

The Executive Overview:

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Short on time? No problem – here’s the low-down…with a tiny bit of relevant history.  Tacx has effectively gone for gold over the last year when it comes to trainers.  They started their train last year at Eurobike (one year ago) with the release of the Smart Trainer series.  This was really their first attempt at getting away from locked in software and hardware.  That line-up included broadcasting on both open ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart channels of power, speed, and cadence.  They did this not just at the higher end products, but rather starting at the cheaper Satori Smart unit, costing $469.

Next, fast forward to this June when Tacx became the first to announce and (in the same day) implement the ANT+ FE-C trainer control protocol.  This allowed 3rd party apps to fully control the Tacx line using ANT+.  Within days the vast majority of ANT+ capable trainer apps announced adoption too.  Then, followed the rest of the higher end trainer industry – now with Bkool, Elite, and Wahoo.

Where we get to now is the Tacx NEO.  Previous to this Tacx had higher end trainers, but they never really felt higher end.  They just felt…cumbersome.  They relied upon software from the company that had a history of being buggy (albeit has improved over the last 12-18 months).  With the NEO though, they’ve made something that’s anything but cumbersome.  A beast perhaps, but a really pretty looking beast.  And one that feels more like the road than any past Tacx trainers.

The NEO weighs in at 48lbs/21kg, the heaviest trainer that I’m aware of to date.  With that weight also comes features; it’s ANT+ FE-C capable and then also broadcasts on ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart for Speed, Power, and Cadence.  This means it’ll work with any apps or devices that are compliant with those standards.

What differentiates the NEO though from something like the Wahoo KICKR are two main aspects: Downhill drive, and noise. Or rather, lack thereof.  First, the noise from the unit is pretty close to silent.  At least the NEO itself – your bike is still going to make some noise, namely the chain.

Then you’ve got downhill drive – this means the unit will actually simulate downhill sections more accurately than a trainer that will just coast to a stop when you stop pedaling going ‘downhill’.  This same functionality is also found on their new Tacx Genius Smart.  Of course, it’s not quite perfect – but it’s better than instantly stopping.

Now, all of this goodness does come at a price. Literally – some $1,600USD (or €1,400).  That’s super pricey for a trainer, and about $500 more than the Wahoo KICKR is today (depending on cassette version that’s included).  And the Tacx NEO doesn’t even include a cassette, so that’ll set you back another $50-70USD (for a basic Ultegra variant).

There are also some short-term app compatibility differences, where the KICKR has the edge in most cases (though not all), that I discuss later in the post.  I think the road feel is largely the same, though some with more refined trainer palates might have different opinions.  So really, the main thing you’re going to want to weigh is how valuable the noise aspect is to you.  Do you need silence?  Or is your standard trainer noise levels acceptable?

Availability for the NEO will be roughly mid to late September for the European markets, and the US following about 4-6 weeks later in mid-late October.  The reason for the difference is simple: The trainer is made in the Netherlands (Europe) and thus it takes about a month for the shipping containers to make it to the US via boat.

Inside the Box:

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I picked up one of the first production units from the Tacx folks while at Eurobike last week.  Actually, production unit #6 to be precise.  Like any other product I test, it’ll eventually go back to them.  I ended up unboxing it at the DCR Eurobike RV, simply because that’s what I had available.  But since it had silly-few parts, I actually put it back together nicely and unboxed it again in the DCR Cave – so I’ll give you those pictures since they a little less redneck.

Thus, this unit comes in this well structured box.  I found it travels reasonably well.  First, I had to drag the thing across the massive Eurobike show floor.  Then, we actually chucked it over an 8’ tall fence (seriously, we looked highly sketchy) since it was less work than going all the way around the perimeter.  Then I hauled it across down the road a few hundred more meters.  Then it bumped around the RV for a long weekend, before I did another fiasco of a dance getting it a thousand more kilometers on the train/uber/etc back home. And yet, it still looks pretty.

Once you remove the box you’ll see the unit folded up just like one of those space movie fighter jets:

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There’s also a small pile of boxed parts, which include the power adapter, manual, trainer skewer, and then some cassette end caps.

The power supply is dual voltage, so you can use it anywhere in the world.

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To complete your install, you’ll first just unfold the wings down.  As you do so you’ll see it’ll change from red to blue, indicating they’re locked in place.  Little buttons on the backside allow you to fold it back up.

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Then, you’ll go find a cassette for the unit and install it like installing any other bike cassette.  This piece is a bit of a pain in the ass, because most consumers won’t have the right tools to do this.  And because it’s yet one more thing you need to buy.  I’d really like to see Tacx offer models with the cassettes included for a tiny bit more.

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Once the cassette is installed you’ll slide through the included skewer.  Then, you’ll go ahead and plug it into a wall:

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With that, you’re ready to ride.

Features & Functionality:

With setup complete we’ll walk through some basic features, first on the hardware side and then on the software side.  You’ll have noticed that the unit sits up off the ground in the center.  It’s kinda neat – and feels like it’s built like a tank.  So despite effectively ‘hovering’ in the middle, I’ve got no concerns of breakage.

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As you’ll have noticed, there’s no rear wheel here.  This is a direct drive trainer, which means that you remove your rear wheel on your bike to attach to the trainer.  This reduces wear and tear on your bike’s wheel, as well as virtually eliminates slippage issues that can sometimes happen at steep grades on conventional trainers.

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However the downside to this is that it can be a bit finicky to connect the bike to the trainer, especially if you have a bike (such as my triathlon bike) that has rear-facing dropouts.  Hardly impossible or difficult, but like the KICKR it can be a bit cumbersome at times.  In general though, most folks would agree that direct drive trainers are usually preferred, but especially for harder efforts.

Next, at the front of the trainer there’s actually a light system that illuminates below the bike.  This changes based on the intensity that you’re putting out.

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Blue for less intensity, red for lots of power (and purple somewhere in the middle).  It’s perhaps a bit cheesy, but it’s also kinda sorta really geeky cool.

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Next, on the side of the trainer it has three lights showing you the state of three different features: ANT+, Bluetooth Smart, and whether it’s got power.

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When you establish a Bluetooth Smart connection, the BLE light should illuminate.  Whereas ANT+ is always broadcasting, so that’s sorta always on.  And of course, if you don’t have power connected, you won’t get that turned on.  You can actually use the trainer without power.

Now you’ll notice there’s no level or other way to manually control resistance – that all requires software and an app of some sort.  That app could be a phone app, a desktop app, or even a bike computer like the Garmin Edge 520.

The Tacx NEO supports trainer control in one of three ways:

ANT+ FE-C: This is the ANT+ Fitness Equipment Control protocol, and is the new standard for the way ANT+ devices can control fitness equipment, namely trainers.  Read up on that here.  This is mainly for 3rd party apps and devices to control the trainer.  You’ll see this mostly leveraged in desktop apps, some Android apps, and then some hardware devices like the Garmin Edge lineup.

 

Bluetooth Smart: This enables the trainer to be controlled using Bluetooth Smart.  Today this isn’t yet open to 3rd parties widely, so most of this is to allow the native Tacx applications to talk to the trainer directly, mainly from iOS and Android mobile devices.  Down the road, 3rd parties will start having access to this too (but there isn’t an open/agreed upon standard yet there for trainer control).

 

Tacx Existing Private-ANT Control: This is for existing Tacx applications to control the device, such as their Tacx Training Suite (TTS).  That suite costs extra money though, so it’s not really something I’m going to focus on here.

All of the above methods are actually supported on all Tacx ‘Smart’ series trainers (except the Satori, since it doesn’t allow electronic control).  Now when it comes broadcasting your information, that’s also accomplished via a few different methods:

ANT+ Speed, Power, and Cadence: The unit will broadcast your speed, power, and cadence as both a combined and separate channel for compatible devices to read and record.  Devices include the entire Garmin lineup, PowerTap products, Suunto Ambit2 series, and many other ANT+ compatible devices.  The appeal here is that you can record data onto devices you already have.

 

Bluetooth Smart Speed, Power, and Cadence: Just like ANT+, but with Bluetooth Smart instead.  This makes it easy to connect devices from Polar, Suunto (Ambit3), and many iOS & Android apps that support Bluetooth Smart connectivity.  Note that there can be some kinks still here due to the industry still settling a bit – especially with BLE power meters, but thus far things look pretty good on the Tacx front.

 

Tacx Existing Private-ANT: Like before, Tacx also broadcasts to its desktop apps using a different channel.  This is mostly because those apps aren’t yet fully converted to ANT+ FE-C, but I suspect in time you’ll see that.  If you aren’t using these Tacx desktop apps, this won’t really matter.

Again, the appeal to the above three options is that it basically completely covers you for any modern app/device you’ll use to connect to the Tacx Smart Trainers (i.e. the NEO).  Plus, they’re totally open and easy for 3rd parties to support.

At this point you may wonder how this differs from something like the Wahoo KICKR.  In short, it’s not much different.  The one item of note is that the KICKR doesn’t communicate yet on ANT+ FE-C, but rather a fairly similar version that they’ve had for years (before ANT+ FE-C was released).  It doesn’t matter yet much for 3rd party apps because virtually all of them support the KICKR using the Wahoo ANT variant, but it does matter for products like the Garmin Edge 520/1000, which only supports ANT+ FE-C and not the Wahoo variant.

Speaking of control, let’s talk about some of the basics.  First is controlling the unit.  By default you can just use some of the basic (free) Tacx apps, available on iOS or Android.  For example, here’s their phone iOS app, which allows you basic power and resistance control, by setting the slope and power levels.  While their iPad app expands that and allows purchasing videos at a reasonable price (about $10 per video), as well as a deeper interval/workout creator.  Not too shabby.

But I really think the strength of the Tacx Smart trainer lineup (and any other trainers that embrace openness) is the 3rd party app compatibility.  Out of the box it works with Zwift.  It works with TrainerRoad, and it works with the Edge 520.  And for that matter, any other app that’s implemented the ANT+ FE-C.

Astute followers will remember last week when I did a live Zwift session on Periscope for about 20 minutes at night during Eurobike from the DCR RV.  In fact, you can even do this without any power at all to the trainer.

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But I needn’t be in a parking lot to do that, Zwift connects right up instantly as long as you have an ANT+ USB stick plugged into your computer:

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And TrainerRoad does much the same, again, just needing an ANT+ USB stick for the PC version, or the ANT+ adapter for the iOS platform.

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With FE-C support on the Garmin Edge 520 (and soon the Edge 1000), you can also use that to control the trainer.  During both sound test videos that I did, I used the Garmin Edge 520 to control the trainer directly from the head unit.

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This allows you to do anything from re-riding a ride you’ve done outdoors, a ride you’ve downloaded, or just setting a wattage to follow a specific structured workout.

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Now the Bluetooth Smart 3rd party app side, which would be leveraged by apps such as those on iOS or Android is a bit less clear.  Major 3rd party trainer app developers have been working with Tacx to get support covered, and Tacx says they’re working on getting something more formal in place as well.  But neither have firmly put a date on things.

I suspect the reason is that there isn’t yet an official Bluetooth Smart control standard for trainers.  Wahoo does it one way, PowerTap another, and Tacx yet something else.  Today, apps like Kinomap and Trainer Road simply work with these manufacturers to bake-in support for each trainer company’s variants.  I expect to see that occur here as well, and find it hard to believe that won’t be in place prior to shipping units to consumers.

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(Just to be really clear here, you can still use Bluetooth Smart to control the trainer with the default Tacx apps.  And, you can use Bluetooth Smart to connect to the trainer and read power/speed/cadence from any 3rd party app today.  It’s only control via Bluetooth Smart by 3rd party apps that’s lacking today.)

So what about trainer feel?  Well the unit feels cleaner and more smooth than any other past Tacx trainer I’ve used (and I’ve got a boatload of them).  Because there’s no rear wheel, there’s no slippage.  Plus, the unit will simulate descents.  It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing as the rear ‘wheel’ won’t just stop when you stop pedaling.  This is obviously most notable when descending down steeper hills, such as on a real course video or on Zwift.

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It feels as close to riding on a road as other products aimed at replicating that (Wahoo KICKR, Elite Real Turbo Muin, Lemond Revolution).  I’m not sure I’d declare one a winner over the other.  I think one minor thing the NEO has going for it though is a slight bit more lateral movement than the others.  You can actually just tilt it a tiny bit side to side (perhaps 1cm), whereas the KICKR is more locked down.

This allows you a little bit more realistic feel when sprinting or climbing, as the bike sways that little bit.  But I wouldn’t really let that be a deciding factor.  It’s still not riding outside.  There’s no wind in your hair, nor squirrels to dodge.  Perhaps I’m a bit more cynical there when folks talk about true road feel on trainers, as for me…it’s still a trainer.  Just, a really nice trainer (albeit one that can sorta simulate downhill).

Noise, Weight, and Size:

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Next we’ll look at the noise.  There’s of course immense interest in this, given the claims of near silence of the trainer.  Sure, Tacx produced an emotional ad showing you out in cow fields – complete with an elegant British voice to make it sound smarter and lots of fancy manufacturing imagery.  But at the end of the day – is it really silent?

Well, mostly.

About the only thing you’re going to hear on the trainer is your bike parts moving and a very slight electronic hum.  For your bike, the chain and its interaction with your front chainring and rear cassette on the trainer will make noise.  Not much, and not enough to be heard in the apartment next door.

But rather than try to explain it in text, I’ve put together two videos showing it.  The first is a sound comparison against the Wahoo KICKR – simply because that’s what most folks are interested in.  In this video I’m in about as non-noise friendly environment as I can think of.  No trainer mats, no carpeting, just the echo-chamber of the DCR Cave:

Next, we shift over to the DCR Eurobike RV rental, where I filmed this inside to again cover noise and volumes:

As you can see – it’s pretty darn quiet.  It’d be hard to be upset with those volume levels.

About the only thing you could potentially be upset about is the weight.  It’s a beast.  It tops in at 48 pounds (22 kilograms).  You really don’t want to be moving this thing very far very often.

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It’s a bit awkward to move because it lacks a handle like the KICKR has.  Though once you get the right hold on it, it’s not too bad for short trips:

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Next, there’s the size.  The unit has precisely two positions: Folded and unfolded.  The clasps keep it firmly locked in either position, so there’s no worries about snapping your fingers in the unit.  Here’s the folded up position:

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And here’s the unfolded (trainer mode) position:

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And here’s a nifty animated GIF of everything:

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Changing the position is pretty easy and only takes a few seconds.  Finally, to compare it against the Wahoo KICKR in size, you’ll see that it dwarfs it.  Which is quite an accomplishment, since the Wahoo KICKR always felt kinda big previously (in a good way).  Now it looks sorta tiny.

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Now of course one of the things with trainers is that weight and materials are important to both stability and long term reliability.  I can’t at this point speak to how well it’ll hold up in 5 or 8 years.  But it (like the KICKR) is built like a tank.  It’s built to take a beating.  Which is what you want.  You don’t want a tipsy trainer, so you want something that can have a wide base (even if it folds up like the NEO and KICKR).  Similarly, you don’t want something with cheap materials that will break after years of placing your bike on and off (and the usual banging that comes with it).  So you want to be leery of thinner plastics or moving parts made out of thin plastic (i.e. some levers).  I’m not seeing any obvious breakpoints at this stage with the NEO.

Comparing the Tacx NEO:

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As you can see above, the Tacx lineup of Smart branded trainers has certainly grown (though, it’s got nothing on the quantity of 16 trainers that Elite has in their 2015-2016 lineup).  But I think Tacx has done a better job at creating products at different price points.  Here’s the basic levels – note that all of these trainers broadcast in dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart:

Tacx Satori Smart ($469): Basic trainer that has manual lever to control resistance, but still broadcasts ANT+/BLE and can be calibrated for accuracy.

Tacx Vortex Smart ($629): Least expensive trainer they offer that includes electronic resistance control, and support of ANT+ FE-C (plus the same ANT+/BLE broadcasting).

Tacx Bushido Smart ($959): Same as Vortex, except that it can push a quite a bit more watts and a steeper incline and doesn’t require a power cable, it’s self powered by your pedaling

Tacx Genius Smart ($1,099): Can pump out more resistance again, but most importantly is able to drive the wheel forward to simulate downhill descents on the trainer.

Tacx NEO ($1,599USD): Their top of the line direct drive trainer, the only one they have that you remove the rear wheel. Highest levels of resistance offered by them.

Now I’m sure if you read a bunch of marketing materials they’ll sell you on slight resistance/max wattage levels of each trainer.  But realistically you’re not going to need that.  Unless you’re pumping out 1,000w+ on a regular basis, it’s just not likely to matter.  If you are pumping out 1,000w – then you already know that.  The incline differences can matter if you’re replicating Alpe d’Huez on a regular basis (for slippage), but otherwise you’ll likely not often notice.

In many ways I feel like aside from the NEO, the sweet spot in the Tacx lineup is at the Satori/Vortex levels.  If you don’t need trainer control – the Satori is an excellent value.  Whereas if you want trainer control, the Vortex is very solid and well priced.  I don’t find all that much value in not having to plug in my trainer, nor do I find a ton of value in simulating downhill sections.  But that may be because much of my trainer time is with wattage-focused workouts.  Perhaps as I do more and more Zwift sessions that’d change.

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So what about comparing it to the Wahoo KICKR or the Elite Real Turbo Muin?  Well, that’s tricky.  The KICKR and Elite Turbo Muin are roughly in the same ballpark price-wise, in the $1,100-$1,200 range.  Whereas the Tacx NEO is at $1,600USD.  Note that Euro prices are a bit different, so keep that in mind – but generally the Tacx NEO is more competitively priced in Europe to the Elite units.

The biggest short-term challenge the NEO has is 3rd party iOS apps (without adapters).  They haven’t yet published a way for those apps to talk to the NEO, whereas Wahoo has.  And there’s 20+ apps today that support the KICKR, many on iOS.  You can see my massive trainer app post from last year.  Long term though, I think both Tacx and Elite will offer ways for apps to add support for Bluetooth Smart control, it’s just that’ll lag behind the KICKR which already has apps using it.

When it comes to the Elite Turbo Muin, it’s sorta in the same camp as the NEO for apps.  Both have FE-C, so you’ll see all of the FE-C apps support both at the same time (i.e. Zwift, TrainerRoad, Kinomap, and others already).  That list of ANT+ FE-C apps will only grow over the next few weeks.  I’d be blown away if there’s any apps not supporting it by October, given the number of trainers that’ll support it.

So then it really comes down to noise.  How much do you want near-silence?  Is it worth $500?  That’s up to you to decide (or perhaps, more accurately – your house mates and neighbors).

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here’s a round-up of what I expect will be frequently asked questions.  I’ll update/add as I see repeat questions.

How much does it cost, and when it’s available?

The trainer is priced at $1,599USD, and €1,399.  This does not include the cost of a cassette, which you’ll need to get elsewhere.  Availability is planned for later this month (September) for Europe, and about 4-6 weeks later for North America.  The delay in timelines is due to the product being shipped (via boat) from Europe to the US.

What is the weight of the unit?

48 pounds, or 22 kilograms.

What does power accuracy look like on the Tacx NEO?

I’m working to collect all that data, but it’s going to take a few more rides.  After getting back to the DCR studio things look good thus far based on just glancing at multiple units, but I haven’t dug into the power files yet and most of the time I wasn’t recording all units yet at once.  Expect to see me update this post with more data soon.  It’ll include multiple power meters to better understand how things line up.  Look for that by early next week.

Meanwhile, Tacx is initially claiming 2% accuracy, but is working to increase that claim to a higher accuracy level with 3rd party validation/testing.

Do you recommend the Tacx NEO or Wahoo KICKR?

I think it’s still too soon there, but see my comments in the previous section on things that might help you decide between them.

Which Garmin units can control the Tacx Smart trainers via ANT+ FE-C?

Today it’s the Edge 520, but Garmin has stated the Edge 1000 will get the update as well.  However, the Edge 510 & Edge 810 will not be updated for ANT+ FE-C control.  No other devices have been announced either.

So wait, are you saying my Garmin can’t connect to the Tacx NEO?

No, that’s NOT what I’m saying.  Rather, only the Edge 520 & Edge 1000 can control it.  All other Garmin devices can READ the data from it.  So for example, the Edge 510 & Edge 810 can pair to the Tacx NEO’s ANT+ power/cadence/speed streams and display and record that data, just like any other ANT+ sensor.

What apps can control the Tacx NEO?

Any app that supports the ANT+ FE-C.  Down the road, it sounds like Tacx will be working with 3rd party apps to get Bluetooth Smart control as well, but that’s not yet here today.  You can check out my massive trainer app guide here from last year.  I’ll be updating that later this fall.

To be clear, the apps made by Tacx today for iOS/Android can control the units directly using Bluetooth Smart.

What the heck is the Tacx “Upgrade Smart”?  And should I buy it?

The Tacx ‘Upgrade Smart’ is basically just a bundle they’ve created with the TTS4 desktop suite (Windows), a small handlebar controller, and then an ANT+ USB adapter.  The handlebar controller is specifically for the Tacx desktop suite, not 3rd party apps.  The TTS4 software includes a more advanced interval function, 3D worlds, Google Earth option (with more licenses), and the ability to buy videos.

Now normally at €180, I’d so no, it’s not worth it.  But for buyers of the Tacx NEO Smart, it’s discounted down to €80 – which makes it slightly more interesting.  I’m not a huge fan of the desktop suite in general, but at that price you’re also getting the ANT+ USB adapter and wireless remote.  So essentially you’re software cost is in the €30-40 range.  If you already have a USB stick though, it’s of less value.

After you get the trainer, look at 3rd party app options first.  Then go from there.  While the Tacx software suite has improved considerably over the years, I think there’s some solid 3rd party options out there.  If those apps don’t fill the gap, then look at Tacx TTS software.

When will an in-depth review be out?

I’m not sure exactly. Likely early to mid October is a safe bet.  With full weeks of Interbike and the ANT+ Symposium between now and then, along with every other week containing work travel, it’s going to be challenging to get as much trainer time as I’d like.  Still, I’ll be answering questions as I go along here in the comments.  So there shouldn’t be really any question as to my thoughts on the unit.

What cassettes is it compatible with?

You can use Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo.  Both 10 & 11 speed.

How does the trainer work when there’s no power connected?

Exactly like the Bushido Smart – which is to say that you power the electronic components of the trainer.  So you can be setup in the middle of the cow pastures in their add and pedal away just fine, even controlling the resistance with your mobile phone.

How do you calibrate the trainer?

Interestingly – it doesn’t actually support any calibration feature (unlike all their past trainers).  It remains to be seen how over time that’ll work.  The theory here being that there’s no moving parts and thus nothing to get out of alignment, nor to warm-up such as a fluid trainer.

Is there a ride weight limit on NEO?

Yes, 125 kilograms /275 pounds.

What is the max resistance power and incline/decline?

On the NEO it’s 2,200w and 25% incline.  Meanwhile it can simulate 5% declines (downhill).

Where’s the Tacx NEO built?

It’s built fully in the Netherlands.  It’s a small European country that has taken cycling to a potentially unhealthy national addiction and cult-like level.  But because they’re usually pretty polite about it, it’s OK.  Plus, everyone loves their waffles Stroopwafels.

Summary:

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There’s no doubt the Tacx NEO is shaping up to be a solid entrant in the higher end trainer world.  The lack of massive trainer noise levels alone will be a huge appeal to many, as well as the direct drive aspect.  There would be no issues using this trainer in any sort of noise-restricted setting, such as an apartment, or significant other who is desperately trying to watch Grey’s Anatomy re-runs in the same room.

But at the same time, there’s also no reason you need to spend that much money for a very functional electronically controlled trainer.  Tacx themselves makes some great models at almost 1/3rd the price that still do FE-C and all of the other technology focused items I discussed here (except simulating descents).  Similarly, other competitors such as Bkool, Elite, and Wahoo all are making strong competitive options at lower prices.  So definitely do your research.

I think one of the biggest strengths though of any of these trainers, especially the NEO, is the 3rd party compatibility.  While Tacx may have a rocky road on the software apps front, it’s somewhat of a non-issue here – since the trainer is being controlled by these 3rd party apps.  I do suspect we’ll continue to see some very slight teething items over the next month or two with apps, head unit, and trainer companies implementing these specs.  But I think a lot of that’s already been occurring over the summer and by and large things are cleaning up nicely.

I’ll continue to update this post as I get more time on the unit, as well as answer questions below in the comments.  Thanks for reading!

Found this post helpful? Or just wanna save 10%?

Hopefully you found this post 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.  These longer posts 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 trainers (including the NEO) from Clever Training. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF 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.

Clever Training is carrying all of the Tacx trainer lineup, but here’s the Tacx NEO link below:

Tacx NEO Smart Trainer

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!

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2,157 Comments

  1. Jaime Larenas

    Hi there. Does anyone know what differences are in terms of power measure (watts) tested in taxc neo and power2max powermeter?

    I have heard that there is a deviation, it seems that for the same effort taxc neo measures more watts than power2max. How much in terms of % or watts?

    Thanks for the help!!

    Jaime

    • Frans

      I’ve just mounted my P1’s back on my bike in the Neo and will log the power from the Tacx and the P1’s back to back the coming weeks and plot them side by side. The first few rides I didn’t see too much difference: 1 watt in average and in peak 628 (Tacx) vs 635 (P1); which is about 1%. On the total workout the Tacx was a little lower than the P1’s. I don’t see that many discussions about the accuracy of the Neo.

      Remember that all power meters have about ±1% deviation so a difference of a few watts is negligible. I.e. on 200 watts one power meter can say 198 and the other 202… Both in range of ±1% but the difference is 2% between the lower and upper limit.

    • Jaime Larenas

      Good info Frans, than you very much!

    • Liam B

      I’ve tried tonight for the first time and I would say it’s 10watts out.

    • Raul

      The Neo is? + or -? Compared to what? Constant? Etc.

    • Frans

      Well, here is a training with some intervals and compared them in Golden Cheetah. Differences are marginal and absolutely nothing to worry about. P1’s calibrated before start of the training.

      Power is not yet up to my old level due to a rough half year with marginal training and an injury.

    • Raul

      What I read worrying info about is what resistance is set (W) by TTS4. I would like to hear more about that. The accuracy of the measurements is quite logical, some variables have disappeared. (directdrive)

  2. Rob

    Hi Ray,
    I’m about to order a tacx neo and understand that apparently there can be an issue with certain frames. I also read that a new version sorted out the problem.
    Do you confirm this and if there is a new version is there a way for me to know which version I am buying??
    Thanks for the help.
    R.

    • Yes, a new version started shipping back around August. From a retailer, it’s honestly hard to figure out which version you’ll get unless you call them. The only difference is the outer shell design (barely).

      A retailer can check the label on the box, which has it in super tiny text. There’s a picture of it here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Charles

      As someone who has known and dealt with Tacx for more than 15 years now and I am on my third Tacx trainer which is the NEO, I would strongly recommend if buying a NEO you get it from a local shop and take the bike you plan to use on the trainer with you. This is a very tricky trainer to set up and for some reason your bike doesn’t fit you won’t have to buy the trainer, if you let the shop set it up. I have a cross bike I chose to use and the spacing in the dropouts is 135mm. They barely got the combination right but it took them almost 2 hours of fiddling around to do it. I was a bit worried that it wasn’t going to work and I wasn’t going to get me a NEO. Even after I got it home and put the bike back on it I noticed the chain skimming the frame when in the smallest cog. I ended up making a custom washer to fit under the freehub body mounting bolt on the trainer so it would move the mounting bolt out 1mm more and give me enough clearance so the chain would not rub the bike frame. I couldn’t move the cassette inward any more because the derailleur hanger had less than 1mm clearance against the trainer body. And this trainer is the newer version W2017. So I mean what I say telling you it’s a tricky and difficult thing to set up. But it is well worth it. I love the real feel when standing and hammering and the quietness of this trainer.

  3. GP

    Just bought a brand new Tacx Neo 2017 model. (I’m from Europe)
    And I’m sorry to tell but it have the “whine decease”. and gives a rather annoying whining tone at about 30-35 kph and again at about 50-55 kph.
    Really annoying that Tacx not got this fixed in 2017 models at least.
    And even worse if they not will admit, that the whining is a product defect and we have to live with it.

    • GP

      Yesterday when I returned my Neo to the store, the staff in the store told me, that they had never before heard of a Neo would provide whistling/whining tone, but the Neo was of course passed on as a complaint to Tacx.
      In the Store, there was established a Neo for demonstration, and for fun I tried this and oddly enough it also provided a whinning tone (but not as loud – but is was there for sure) at 30-35 kph. I did not test it by 50-55 kph – that did my fine clothes not allowed. 😉
      My guess is, that the problem is far greater than Tacx will admit.

    • Raul

      Here’s a disadvantage of good ears…. still I would have liked to have them. And a disadvantage of bringing the noise down….. Makes me think of what happened when smoking was banned in disco’s: more sweat odors 🙂
      Shop personnel never noticed?

  4. Michael Kim

    Unfortunately, I have ended up with a Neo unit that has constant metal grinding noise.
    The metallic noise has gone from a rattle initially to a consistent grinding.
    Not much help from Tacx Support as their help desk has not responded.
    Wiggle has requested the unit to be shipped back for inspection.
    Here are 2 videos –
    link to youtu.be
    link to youtu.be

    • Raul

      Did you do some reading on this? Esp. the ‘service doc’ Tacx released? Did you register your complaint or just sent a msge to the service dpt?
      BTW: in Belgium it’s more expensive that at Wiggle or are you in the UK?

    • Charles

      The response you will get from Tacx support will be the same that you got from Wiggle. The unit will need to be exchanged. This seems to me that this noise is not really a quality control issue. I think there are such close tolerances inside and some units will make this noise. It’s an engineering issue. Maybe the units that make this noise have been bumped hard or something during shipping. Tacx should be checking every single unit before boxing and then tracking these units to determine where the problem is. Or maybe they know and can’t solve it easily and just say return the unit. This is another reason I say do not buy the NEO online. This is a product that should only be purchased from a local shop where it and bike fit can be tested before you shell out the big bucks.

    • Raul

      Buying at LBS I agree. Would make service a lot easier. I like them to have the turnover too (well, kind of. Their repairs are quite mediocre, the head of the workshop’s sport is fishing!!! and they’re not too well informed)
      But the difference is twice what I would find acceptable….. and I don’t make big bucks…

    • Michael Kim

      The Neo is being returned to Wiggle. Tacx support thought the electronic brake unit is broken / mis-aligned. I didnt realize how delicate the design is on the Tacx was. I would have thought that there would be an alignment procedure through the Tacx app or at least on the unit.

  5. Raul

    FYI: first Fluxes became available here a few days ago. In the Netherlands, not a surprise….. All went to pre orders…..

  6. Liam B

    Hi Guys & Girls,

    I’ve got an Argon E119 Ultegra Di2 TT bike of which i turbo on everyday but yesterday recived my new W2017 Tacx and was very excited, the bike fits on fine and feels silky smooth there is however a problem….

    When on the big ring on the front i’m getting a knocking noise from the front crank area when in the 4 sprockets 19-25. I’ve worked this out to be chainline issue and the sound is the crank actually pulling the chain over into the middle of the crank as the chain is coming over across to the outer side of the crank.

    The chain ISN’T hitting the front mech cage, its PERFECTLY centred.

    Please also note that all was fine out on the road and always on the turbo. The chain and cassette have always been together and not worn.

    With this in mind i thought it would seem the cassette needs to come out further so i put the provided 2mm spacer behind the cassette which instantly cured this problem of the knocking of the top 4 gears on the front crank however as a result of pushing the cassette over by this far it meant when i was in Sprocket 11T the chain was rammed against the frame and wouldn’t turn (on another attempt the limit screw prevented shifting down to 11T but thats irrelevant) .

    I tried a happy medium with 0.5mm spacer but the knocking returned when in the top 4 sprockets when in the big ring on the front. This only left about 0.5 clearance between the chain/frame so in normal operation there is only about 1mm clearance.

    I cant work out what needs to happen to achieve the simulation of the cassette moving over 2mm without having the cassette 11sprocket hitting the frame when the chains on it?

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    Thanks

    • Charles

      Liam B. I had the exact same problem. I use Campagnolo Centaur 10 spd group, that is everything on the bike is Centaur. I have the W2017 Neo and when the bike was mounted the derailleur cage still hit the body of the Neo. I used a spacer behind the cassette so the cage wouldn’t hit but when I tried to ride the chain hit the frame when in the smallest gear. So here is how I fixed it. There is a black bolt that holds the free hub body on the Neo and can be removed with a Hex key. Take that off, you don’t have to remove the free hub body but you should anyway because there wasn’t any grease on mine were the paws are and you will be able to grease it while you have it off. Anyway, you need a washer the exact and I mean exact size to match the inside and outside diameter of the “end” of that black fixing bolt. Yes you guessed it, another shim that Tacx does not provide. I am good with a dremmel tool so I made one that was 1mm thick. Make sure it fits on easy and don’t booger up any threads. I installed the shim/spacer then the black fixing bolt and it has worked perfectly ever since. I’d take pictures but I don’t want to take the bike off the trainer and take it apart again. But if you examine this method it will make perfect sense and you won’t void any warranties.

    • LiamB

      Mine isn’t a rearmech issue though nothing’s hitting the trainer and nothing’s hitting the mechs.

      It’s the fact the rear cassete needs to move out but in doing so the cassete is then too close to the chain stay

    • Charles

      You obviously did not understand what I was telling you. When I put the spacers behind the cassette this moved the cassette outwards and the lockring was skimming the dropout and the chain was hitting the frame when on the smallest cog. Re-read what I disscribed. This will fix you problem.

    • LiamB

      Hi Charles, I’ve just taken out the hex bolt.

      I can’t fully understand where you put your made washer so you’re saying don’t put behind the cassette EDCO module put it behind where the black hex bolt screws on so around the skewer cylinder so it’s basically sitting on the small silver ring which is behind where the skewer goes in you can just make it out on the pic.

      Wouldn’t this then worsen the problem as it’s the opposite way or are you going to do this to counteract the needed 2mm spacer behind the cassette to straighten the chain line? Which I guess would mean my washer needs to be 2mm?

      Sorry it’s confusing.

    • (And yet Elite, CycleOps, and Tacx still don’t understand why I get so annoyed at them for not including the cassette on the units out of the box…*)

      *Wahoo includes it on the KICKR.

    • Charles

      I took my bike off the trainer and took this apart so I can show. I posted a link to imgar image sharing because apparently I can only show one pick here. There are three picks.

      link to imgur.com

    • Charles

      LiamB I know you moved the casste out by 2mm by placing washers behind the casstte, but in fact you may not need that much on the other end, using the small washer on the axle of the Neo, to get this to solve your problem. I thought I was going to need the same 2mm but I did not. I tried a 1mm thick washer and it solved the problem. You may however need to adjust the alignment of the cassette that is on the wheel of your bike so you can transfer the bike between the Neo and bike use without having to play around adjusting the derailleur every time.

    • LiamB

      Thanks for going through the effort of that, it’s incredibly useful and great skills with the washer.

      Was your problem the fact the calliper was hitting the neo body?

      As I’ve said my problem is the cassette needs to move out 2mm for the chain line to straighten up with the crank.

      This could be achieved by packing out the back of cassette with 2mm and then washer infront of the cassette behind the hex bolt to make the clearance with the frame for chain with 11th sprocket but I guess thill then make the axel dropouts greater than the usual 130 therefore I’ll need to bend my frame out to fit on?

      I have sent a ticket to tacx but they haven’t come back to me yet, the first email they just came back saying to tune gears which isn’t the answer in my case.

    • Charles

      I am reading in the Tacx forums that Tacx is aware of this issue and may have an adapter kit, the link to tacx.com I just posted a ticket myself to Tacx support to find out the answer. I suspect this will take 1 or 2 business days for them to reply. basically what I did is extend the length of the axle, that is what this kit is suppose to do also. Be patient, one of us should get to the bottom of it once and for all. To answer the other part of your question, my spacing is 135mm. So I needed the wider spacer on the opposite side of the Neo for my disc brake to clear. The bike shop that set me up did that. I assume you got two different length spacers for the non drive side of the Neo? I would think the narrow one would be for 130mm hub spacing.

    • LiamB

      This was included with my neo which arrived on Tuesday but the default is correct at 130mm. I had a spacer included to make the spacing for disc brake bikes but I don’t require that much distance.

      Ijust need to move the casssete over by 2mm but for then the 11sproket not to hit the frame and the axel to still be 130mm so I don’t need to stretch my frame open to fit in if using spacers on the hubbody

    • Charles

      Ok, you have 130mm hub spacing on your bike. You used the short spacer on the non drive side. You used 2mm of shims behind the cassette so your derailleur won’t hit the body of the Neo. And you are sure the derailleur hanger is straight. I would think then that the cassette is not compatible. But you are certain it is? Then if Tacx doesn’t help you I would say the spacer like I made should work and you should not have to spread your frame so much that it would cause damage. It is only 1mm.

    • LiamB

      Hi Charles,

      I still don’t think you’re understanding what my problem is. The cassette isn’t following against the neo nor my frame when setup how it should be. The indexing on the back cassette is true as it should be along the entire rear cassette.

      The noise is coming from the crank when on the big ring on the front and on any of the 4 top gears on the back 19-25. The problem is the cassette is to far over towards the nondrive side by 2mm which is causing an incorrect chainline meaning the front crank is pulling the chain INTO centre of the teeth which is causing the noise.

      When I put the 2mm spacer behind the cassette it solved this issue but then it pushes the cassette over to far that the Chain then fouls against the frame when in sprocket 11T or 12T.

      It’s obviously down to the way the frame is (being and aero TT frame maybe? Just hoping there was a work around.

      It’s looking like I’ll just have to retrain the mind for whenever i need a high cadence or easy spin I’ll have to go small ring on the front. Rather than normally sitting in 19/20T and big ring on the front

    • Charles

      I think I understand what you just said. Can’t figure out though how you’ll get around that. Maybe you should have purchased another type of trainer so you keep your back wheel on, that way nothing changes in the drive train. Direct drive trainers must have their limitations I would imagine. Good luck with solving this.

  7. Bob Peters

    I just purchased a Neo and after setting it up and gettng it synced to Zwift I set out to give it a go. This is my first experience with a smart trainer, coming from a KK Rock & Roll trainer which is a great unit for what it is, so this is all a brave new world to me.
    After riding for about 8 minutes the resistance cut out and the red light on the unit began to flash. The Zwift screen indicated that ERG mode had stopped working. I unplugged the unit and waited about a minute and tried again with the same result twice. Checking out the Tacx website it appears that this may be a known issue as it says that a flashing red light may indicate a problem with the fan.
    I submitted a ticket and then called the vendor set up an exchange. This morning I got a reply from Tacx telling me to do what I had already done contact the vendor. Unfortunately the vendor is in Portland and I’m in Brooklyn so this is not going to happen tomorrow. I was about to sell my R&R Trainer but fortunately I still have it. In replying to Tacx I told them that considering the obviously poor quality control and the inconvenience this has caused they should give me the upgrade software free as a good will gesture. I’m not holding my breath.

    • Charles

      Bob Peters, sorry to hear of your special circumstance and problem with the Neo. I wanted to comment because you say you asked Tacx for the free software upgrade. I hope you get it and I don’t want to get your hopes up but Tacx has been known to do things like that depending on who answers the ticket and what mood they are in. Tacx has been trying hard and doing a better job of customer satisfaction. I’ve been around the Tacx community for many years and I remember when they did not give a crap about it but now there is a lot of competition. Getting your Neo fixed will be worth the wait so hang in there.

  8. Rob

    Hi,
    I know that most times comments are for pepole having issues with there gear..
    But to make me more confident about my recent order, has someone received a tacx neo that actually works correctly??
    I have 2 cervelo frames that I will be using on it..
    Maybe we should workout some kind of list of frames that fit or don’t or need a bit a spacer fiddling. ..
    Rob

    • Cpot

      My Tacx Neo is my best purchase this year, been nothing but a pleasure from day one

      Fits my Specialized Tarmac perfectly

    • Niels

      Hi,

      I have 2 Neos, a 2016 model that works with a canyon Ultimate CF SLX and a Specialized Ruby and a 2017 model that works with a Specilized Shiv.
      The Shiv does not fit on a 2016 model due to not enough clearance on the left side, there are some screws sitting on the Neo…but if you remove one screw it fits. 2017 has more clearance on the left side.

      Both Neos simply just work and are a lot of fun. No issues.

    • Raul

      How simple life can be! (well, 3 bikes, 2 trainers……..) Removing 1 screw is enough!! Guess that just holds a plate…..
      As for the amount of owners without problems: can someone find out how many are sold? 🙂 More interesting: the return %. Shouldn’t be too difficult to get hold of some. Though it’s just like with doping: an ‘omerta’.

    • tacx support

      There will be a list on end of the week on the support page of tacx

    • Rob

      Good.to.see you guys are on the case.
      but now that my neo is ordered all i can do is keep my fingers crossed hoping my frame will be in the list..
      😉

    • Alex

      Hi Niels,
      would you mind to take a picture of your Specilized Shiv fitting on your Neo 2017.

      Thanks.

      Alex

    • Wolf

      very much looking forward to that. Specifically the Trek Speed Concept 2014 with DuoTrap Sensor installed

    • Niels

      Sure
      In the highest ring of the sproket the chain sometimes (very small gap) slightly touches the case of the neo, but usually I am in the middle of the sprocket. Smallest ring no issues.

  9. Liam Bard

    Hi folks,

    Would be interested to hear what mode people set their Tacx Neos to when doing threshold or sprint interval type sessions?

    I find ERG mode slowly pulls my cadence down to about 70 which is too slow and if I set my turbo to – 1/1.5% I find I can’t get my power high enough to hit FTP I’m in my top gearing big ring & 11T and can only get to z3.

    Maybe the answer is 0% or 1%+?

    It’s a matter of trial and error I think but would be interested to hear from others.

    • Sean

      I use Zwift or TrainerRoad for interval workouts with ERG, which use set power (wattage) for intervals, rather than slope. Tacx App also allows you to set the power.

      Don’t forget when you set target wattage, that watts = torque * angular velocity, so if your cadence decreases, it will feel much more difficult to keep the same wattage, so while in ERG you need to keep your cadence up or reassess your wattage goal.

  10. romuald Graffan

    Hi,
    I just got my neo latest version.
    I tested it with cervelo s2 as well as cervelo p2 and everything is perfect.
    I love that machine!!!!
    Just a technical question I have compared my vector output and this thing is pretty darn precise. ..
    I read your review but unless I missed it I didn’t see anything about the power gauge on the neo.
    Is it and electric gauge related to the magnetic field ?
    Thanks if you have any info on this.
    Take care.

  11. Nick

    I demoed a Neo today in search of low noise turbo training.

    I suppose it’s quiet. Most “high frequency” noise came from my bike which was fairly minimal, but it still felt like the Neo exhibited some amount of vibration, which is a deciding factor for my wood-floored house. I was mashing a 50×13 or 14, however, that was in manual mode and I completely forgot to test the trainer in the small chainring and large cassette via ERG. Can anyone else comment if that makes a difference, I believe someone mentioned that is a trick to reduced spinning of things and therefore noise?

    • rgurney

      Of all the smart trainers, the Neo is among the quietest. However it is not silent. Small chain ring/large cassette cog can reduce noise to a degree but is restrictive. You might try a thick rubber mat to help absorb some of the vibration.

    • romuald Graffan

      Yes it absolutely makes a huge difference.
      You realy only have the chain drive noise left in that Case.

  12. David

    Hi

    Have a new NEO (used to have a kickr). Struggling with trainer road (IOS and PC). This issue has been noted in previous comments – but my experience seems a bit extreme. I train in the garage and for this test I switched of WIFI etc.

    The kickr in erg mode used to reduce resistance to match target power – and increase resistance if slope increased. On the NEO it doesn’t seem to happen. What compounds that is the power fluctuates a lot (see graph).

    I will also add the settings too.

    I have similar experience when using TR on the mac.

    With Zwift – I find watts are much better.

    I use TR a lot – so advice welcome

    NEO has latest firmware.

    I seem to see similar results with Ant+ and bluetooth.

    • David

      Device settings

    • Liam Bard

      I seem to get the problem. Watts in ERG mode seems to be pretty good but I find the problem comes when setting a slope say 1% and then do efforts via the bike gearing. If I’m holding a steady 340watts and know that my effort isn’t fluctuating the power output is very much 10watts each way all the time.

      This never use to happen on my fluid 2 dumb trainer and results are we power meter or the neos power meter.

      It must be the neo fluctuating the resistance like it can’t stay at a steady 1%?

    • You can reach out to TrainerRoad support and they can pull the logs from your ides and let you know if you’re having connectivity issues. Probably worthwhile.

  13. John

    I received my Tacx Neo Smart Trainer (2017 model) today, and after reading horror stories of clunking noises on older models I thought I would give the wheel a quick turn by hand to make sure before I put the cassette on. I’m so annoyed to find out this is still an issue.
    Video of the noise is at link to youtube.com

    • Liam Bard

      Hi John,

      I had exactly the same last month when purchasing mine but I persevered and it went away. Tacx support advise sending it back for a replacement but because of the way I purchased mine it was going to be a complete headache to do that.

      I rode it and within 5mins it vanished came back for the next few rides and then went again and after about 4-5 days of hour rides etc it completely vanished.

      Find my similar sounding Video attached of when the problem was apprant.

    • Raul

      I was going to say what Liam experienced: isn’t this just ‘newness’?
      And guess you do know about the hub greasing (though I would say Tacx has taken measures on this) as far as this is the same phenomenon.
      On the chance of getting a DOA:
      An internet seller answered my question on the return%. That was 1!! Even if this is terribly coloured the realistic one would not be very bad.
      In case you don’t want to be one of this %: get it from your LBS >> try before you buy!
      I’m lucky, I have a webshop’s ‘showroom’/pickup location 10k away. A ride on the bike with cassette in the rucksack.. 🙂

  14. Robert Peters

    I just received my second Neo. First one had a defect with the resistance dropping out (Fan issue? Flashing red light) I set it up updated the firmware synced it to my Edge 820 and Zwift and did a 50 mile ride. The trainer seemed to work flawlessly but I noticed that the power numbers were higher on the Garmin than Zwift and the reported speed was much slower on the Garmin.
    My thought is that the Garmin was picking up the power from the Stages PM on the bike. Does anyone know how I can get the 820 to get in sync with the data from Zwift. As far as the speed goes I have no idea where the 820 was getting it from since the speed sensor I had been using is on the rear wheel and that was leaning against the wall while the bike was on the Neo.
    I use Garmin Connect as my log so I would really like to have consistent data.

    • Sean

      So, my edge and Zwift don’t match up either, but I figured it was doing two different things. I believe the Neo reports speed based on your calculated cadence and power. Zwift takes your power and cadence and then the data from the game (slope, CdA from bike and height, and weight) to determine a speed in game. You’ll notice if you do ERG mode in a fixed gear your speed on the edge is determined by cadence and your gearing. If you’re in your 39-19 it will be about 14 mph whereas if you’re in the 53-11 it’ll be considerably higher.

    • Robert Peters

      Your explanation makes sense but still it would be nice to have consistent data across the board. I was thinking that perhaps I could import a file into connect or just manually edit the Garmin data. Still I don’t know where the Garmin is getting the speed and distance from since the speed sensor is on the rear wheel of the bike. I’m thinking it might just take raw data from the Neo before it gets filtered through Zwift.
      This is my first experience with a smart trainer so I am still trying to sort things out. If you could indulge a foolish question it would be very helpful to me. On my fluid trainer when I do intervals I control intensity and speed the old fashioned way with gearing. You mentioned ERG mode does this control the resistance without shifting gears?

    • Sean

      Correct, if you are using the ERG mode for workouts then you do not have to shift gears to change the resistance. Zwift will do it for you. It’s rather nice. One thing to keep in mind is power(watts) = torque x angular velocity, so in ERG mode, if your cadence decreases it will make it seem considerably harder to pedal.

      If you do any free riding, Zwift will help simulate a gradient on the Neo. The gradient realism is set at 50% – which means a 6% gradient in the game will feel like 3% in the game, though you still have to put out the same amount of power no matter the setting to get up the hill. During free riding, you have to shift gears to change your resistance, like a fluid trainer, however the slope changes in the game do adjust that a bit.

    • Robert

      Thanks for the clarification. I plan on trying a workout tomorrow so I’ll see how it goes. I would really like to do one of my own workouts rather than a programmed one but I’ll take a look at what is there.

    • Liam Bard

      Write your own workouts into Zwift then, that’s what I do 🙂

    • Robert Peters

      I tried to write my own but it seems you are limited to a 60 minute workout and when I tried to set up intervals I was limited to 1 minute intervals with 5 minutes recovery.
      Do you know if there is a way to adjust the length of the workout as well as the length of the intervals. Same thing applies to warmup.

  15. Manuel

    It’s possible to use tacx neo for do a sprint test with isokinetic mode? I don’t know any app for this.
    Thanks!

  16. Stu

    After finally giving up on waiting for the Flux, I bit a big bullet and ordered a Neo. I bought a brand new Shimano 11 speed 11-28 cassette and am getting grinding noises in my hardest 3 gears on the big ring, and one of my easier gears is constantly slipping.

    I also have a new ultegra 11-28 cassette on my bike, which runs 100% fine.

    The cassette was initially very loose so I added the .5mm spacer. This tightened things up, but I still have issues.. I’ve read through the comments here and see that other people have had similar issues, but I have not found a solution. Send help.

    • Stu

      Follow up… applied the correct torque to the cassette and it works fine without a spacer on the shimano 105 11 spd.

      In my noobish defense, Tacx has a video out there where they tighten a cassette without a chain tool… using a hand instead making it appear as though not a lot of torque was needed.

  17. James

    Just ordered mine and looking forward to throwing the wahoo kickr snap in the bin.

    Happy Christmas

    • rgurney

      Would not be so quick to lose your Kickr. Hope you have good luck with your Neo and it doesn’t get added to the long and continuing list of defective units which have to be back to Tacx. This is a sad saga.

    • Raul

      If you want to present things as facts you should be able to illustrate them. Numbers!! More precisely: the return %. I bet you don’t have any…..
      Bit awkward too for someone that has no problems with it…..

  18. Beverly Franks

    Just received my tacx neo. Using zwift. Neo pairs easily. Can’t get my wahoo heart rate strap to pair. Any suggestions?

  19. Johan

    Is it only me that has problem with accuracy?
    I did 1h today and the neo watt was 300 and my p2max S showed 282 W.
    This has been the same every ride. I will test this further. Also I don’t think the feeling of the electronic fly wheel is good. I don’t use power cable and just put my edge 1000 to 300 W, could that be a problem?
    Thanks for input

    • Hi, just got my new Neo today from Clever Training. I thought I would report on it, given the comments here on how the units are performing. I finished a hard interval workout I had scheduled for today, that needed to be indoors due to weather. I have been using a 10yr old Computrainer (it will not die–I have been waiting, but gave up and it will now be my guest trainer), but today did the set on the Neo. The Neo worked great, on high cadence, one legged, low cadence/high torque and high cadence high torque sprints with no problems (or noise–just a low hum, overwhelmed by the chain and particularly the fan). I didn’t have a separate power meter, but have been doing this workout 2x per week the last few weeks, inside and out, and the power results and subjective feels are consistent. I may stick some P1 pedals on it one of these days to compare more directly.
      Best,
      Mark

    • Nice setup – and thanks for the support Mark!

      Johan – That’s going to be a tough one to troubleshoot. You’re right at the boundary of accuracy there. Measuring in two different places (crank arm vs wheel), will result in differing power levels, with the wheel being lower a few percent. So you combine 2% accuracy levels of Neo/Power2Max (thus 6w each on 300w, or 12w combined), along with drivetrain loses and you’re at the edge there.

      Still, the best bet is to start by zero offsetting the Powe2Max, to ensure it’s operating correctly.

    • Mark

      Hi Mark, thanks for your post. I too just purchased a tacx neo. I have riden twice in zwift so far. I must say I love the trianer. it is very quiet and responds quickly. I am noticing an issue with the power meter though. the power reading seems to be a bit jumpy. like +/- 30w in a few seconds. I have zwift set to 3 second average for the power display. I am doing my best to peal consistantly

      I have never ridden with a power meter before but this seems like a malfunction to me. are you seeing this sort of behavior?

    • Hi Johan, I am going to test my Neo against my P1 pedals tomorrow, and will report. If you are commenting on power jumping around in general, that is pretty normal. On all power meters I have (I don’t have as many as Ray, but I do have about 9 right now), the power is very jumpy. I remember the first time I used a power meter years ago I thought two things: 1. it was really up and down; and 2. I am not very powerful! Smoothing to 3 sec and 10-30 sec is pretty helpful. On my bike doing intervals I use 3 sec, 30 sec and lap average power displays to help hit the intervals. I would have a hard time doing it accurately with only 3 sec I think.

    • Sorry, meant to type “hi Mark” not ‘hi Johan’.

    • Mark M is correct – power numbers being jumpy is 110% normal with power meters.

      With trainers, sometimes you’ll get a bit smoother power output (either because the power is applied more evenly, or because the company fakes the output data to match the theoretical applied data).

      +/- 30 on an outdoor unit is normal, as well as normal in non-ERG mode. In ERG mode it’s OK, though I’d be doing as you noted and looking at 10s or similar power (it’s how most people look at power meters).

    • Rainer

      Hi Ray,

      I bought a Neo this week and after analyzing my first interval ride I figured out that the difference between the Neo and my Power2Max Typ S is 6% with the Power2Max as the lower figure.

      Reading a lot of comments here I’m a little bit confused, because some guys reporting deviations between the two power systems but others are telling that the numbers are quite the same. So should I be concerned about this gap or do you think it’s normal?

      Could you pls. also explain why it’s normal to have a higher number on the wheel compared to the crank? I always thought it’s the other way round, because I have to put more power on the crank to compensate the loss of it through the drive chain to bring the power on the road.

      What do you mean by “zero offsetting the Power2Max”?

  20. Johanf

    Thanks for response,
    I will do more tests at different power levels.
    But the strange thing is that the Neo is ~6% higher. if it was the reverse it would be ok.
    (2%+2% plus different ways of measuring).

    • Ahh, gotchya. Yeah, that’s odd. Should in theory be the other way.

    • Hi, just did a ride on the NEO using the P1 pedals at the same time. I rode a bit over an hour, did various intervals. The overall ride ave. power and NP and Max power were really close together (1% or less difference at 150NP for entire ride and 500 watt maximums, with no particular pattern at low or high power, sometimes the P1 slightly higher, sometime lower. The only difference I observed of any significance was when I was doing ‘Stomps’: high trainer resistance starting from zero rpm/speed for 15-20 sec. On those the NEO registered maybe 5% higher right at first as I was trying to get the cranks turning. Once the rpms were 10 or 15rpm, seemed close again.

    • Rainer

      Hi Johanf,

      I’m facing exactly the same problem that my Neo is 6% higher than my Power2Max Typ S.
      So what was the result of your further tests and did you solved the issue?

  21. Steve

    Just got the Neo up and running, purchased from clever training by the way, and I’m wondering if it matters whether the Neo stays plugged in?

    • Steve

      sorry, meaning plugged in 24/7, or is it advisable to unplug when not in use?

    • Hi, I would also like to know if it is ok to leave it plugged in routinely when not in use.

    • Robert Peters

      I don’t have the definitive answer but I do unplug mine when it’s not in use. Just makes sense to me.

    • Charles

      I never leave mine plugged in. There are two fans inside the NEO body that are no different than the fans used in PC graphics cards and some computer applications. These fans will fail at some point so I would even suggest some periodical examination to insure they are indeed running when the NEO is plugged in otherwise things could heat up and burn out during a training session.

    • Steve

      Thank you. I’m unplugging after every workout.

  22. Sebastian Peers

    Is it possible to move the Tacx Neo while it is still attached to the bike? It seems that it could be difficult at 50 lbs. I’m wondering if I need to disconnect the bike to move it out of the way every time I use it to get it out of the way. Is this easier with one of the other devices (i.e. Kickr, Hammer, etc)?

  23. Jared

    I get a burning smell under high effort sprints on zwift (1000 watts plus). They are short. I’m not that fast! I get a burning smell afterwards. Besides that the trainer seems fine. Does anyone else get this? Think there is an issue with the unit or is it normal?

    • Rom

      Absolutely normal.
      I describe it as a smell of fish.
      It will tend to smell less after a few sprints but always makes that smell it’s related to the energy you put out that is turned to heat.
      Enjoy

    • Jared

      Great. The company actually sent me a replacement and I have two NEOs for now. The replacement seems to smell slightly less but it’s still there. However the pedal stroke feels really lumpy at low cadence on the replacement and smooth on the original. The original seems slightly louder. I guess I should keep the first one they sent me? Send the second one back?

  24. Rui Fernandes

    Hi there, I wasn’t able to read all the comments, but I know that some of you question the Tax NEO accuracy, so here it goes my lates test, which make me also question it …
    I did the FTP test (short version) today in Zwift and used my vectors as well. I got the following difference:
    – 20m avg power on vector (261w). using my Fenix 3 to record data
    – 20m avg power with tax neo (235w)

    So, in terms of accuracy, considering 3% on both NEO and Vectors, we have numbers that don’t match, so one of them is much less accurate:
    – -3% Vector = 253w
    – +3% tax neo = 242w

    Any thoughts on this? Where should I look to try to match those numbers and avoid having two different FTP settings for indoor/outdoor?

    • I would start by looking at Vector as the more likely one to be wrong. Here’s a checklist:

      A) What torque did you tighten the pedal to?
      B) Did you complete all of the Vector calibration steps?
      C) Are the crank lengths set correctly on your Fenix 3?
      D) Did you do a zero off-set indoors before you started the ride?

      Cheers.

    • Rui Fernandes

      Hi Rey,
      Many thanks for your quick reply.
      Indeed I installed yesterday evening the vectors on my TT bike and follow all those steps. I use a torque wrench to match the 34nm which I think is the recommended value.
      The only thing I didn’t do was to calibrate again this morning my vectors, but I believe that doesn’t justify the big power difference.
      My previous experience between vector and tacx neo was a drift or around 10-15w between them, but this time the values are much greater.
      Thanks,
      Rui

    • Ben

      11 W of loss between the pedals and wheel/cassette? Doesn’t seem unreasonable

    • Indeed, the 11w definitely would be within the loss and accuracy precision of the two devices.

      However, the 26w difference on the other one is just at the very edge of things (barely).

      That said, I think Rui probably answered it anyway. If he just installed last night, Vector typically takes about a ride to stabilize, at which point you should calibrate again. Also, that ride assumes there was some nice short sprints in there (just 5-10s, 3-4 times will work). Many power meters require that sort of initial tightening to stabilize accuracy-wise.

      As for zero-offset, the biggest thing is really temperature stabilization. So if your Vectors stayed inside and were there all night at a relatively constant temp – there’s going to be little change and thus little reason for a zero offset. Whereas if you had them outside or something like that, then you’d definitely want to do so.

    • Rui Fernandes

      Thanks Ray,
      I will use the Vectors for a while now on the TT bike, since the weather is not that great outside anyhow.
      Just to give some answers to your points, the bike stayed indoor all night, so there shouldn’t be any temperature difference. At least big one.
      Which regards to the short sprints, I took the 20m from the FTP test, so before that there was some spikes in power in the beginning of the test. Should this be enough to make the necessary adjustments?
      As said, I will monitor closely the power on the following days and update you on the results.
      Many thanks for the answers!
      Rui

    • Would honestly depend on the FTP test. Just think of a short/hard sprint like you were racing some friends to the line. That’s what’s needed. In most cases, in outdoor riding you’ll get something like that just starting from a stop-light. 😉

      You can use the DCR Analyzer suite (almost out of beta) to create/compare sets easily btw: link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

      Because I haven’t finished the landing page yet, it won’t show the plans till after you sign-up, but they are:

      $5: Day Pass – Create up to three sets in 24 hours. Each set can have as many files as you’d like.
      $29: Annual Pass: Unlimited sets for a year.

      I’ll have the manual up soon, for more details on how to use it all. 🙂 But it’s the exact same toolset that I use for all my analysis pieces, and it also allows you to create a public URL if you want to share comparison data.

      Enjoy!

  25. rgurney

    New firmware today for Tacx Neo – 0.6.2/02.1/0.7.3
    Not sure what it adds. For anyone in the know, please inform. Thanks.

    • Charles

      Seems to me from the list of fixes it addresses are non issues. I haven’t noticed any problems with the things the list describes. One item is the speed going down hill will increase. I think some of the videos are already to fast and not realistic so it may make the problem worse. I’m afraid to update. There are reports of the locking up during the update process again in the forums only I read that the Neo is then left totally unusable this time.

    • Raul

      Guess I’ll wait. I’m only Tacx user since a few weeks. I had (& still have) piles of problems. (strange that I haven’t noticed anybody complain about the lack of info, manuals…this week I found something, by chance…..from 2013!!)
      I’m not even getting notifiers on upgrades. Where’s this fixes list? (Googling gives this: link to tacx.com nothing there)
      I don’t see the sense of downhills, trainingwise. Then a higher speed is an improvement….. 🙂

    • Mark

      Where can you find the list Of changes for the firmware update? I don’t see it anyway.

    • Robert

      I stumbled upon it on the Neo owners page on Facebook. As far as I’m concerned Tacx support and software leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Rui Fernandes

      Speaking of bad support … this is what I got, when I ask the same question I put here:

      “Dear Rui,

      If you want to compare this go to the FB page of Tacx NEO owners
      Here you will see that NEO is the accurate device compared to many
      Kind Regards

      Tacx Support

      Rijksstraatweg 52 | 2241 BW Wassenaar | the Netherlands
      support@tacx.com | http://www.tacx.com @tacxsupport

      check out the Youtube TTS4 instructions: link to tacx.zendesk.com

      Is this a great support or what?

  26. Damon

    Which wheel size do you need to select when you connect the V800 with the Neo? At the moment I’ve chosen the standard size 2070 mm, but get compared with Zwift wrong speeds through the V800.

  27. Saras

    Hi, sorry I haven’t read this thread for a while so apologies if already covered but can anyone tell me if there are any issues with Di2 ultegra fitting the new tacx neo? Re pressure on rear derailer?
    Thanks

  28. I would love to know what the primary app this Neo community is using to control the Tacx Neo. The original Tacx training app results in a flashing phone screen on my Android smartphone. So either way I need to get a new phone or a different app. 😉

  29. Dave

    Is Tacx struggling to keep up with demand or no longer making this product? I’ve been trying to find a Tacx Neo for sale for several months and every website I’ve looked at says unavailable / out of stock etc.

    • Steven Tran

      I was wondering why it was no longer available from REI. I was hoping to use the member coupon and also avail myself of local returns in case there are problems with the unit. So much for that!

  30. Cameron Craik

    Anyone have issues where the power fluctuates like mad? Sitting at a constant RPM (going to check this using separate cadence & power sensors shortly) and the power is flying everywhere. Talking jumping 20+ watts within seconds of each other – basically un-readable. I also have quarry Zero four on so i record power from that but use trainerroad to train. Generally the neo is 5-10w down which is fine when its steady and useable.

    Happens in ERG mode also, which i know is controlled by the cadence and adjusts from that but i know I’m not shifting cadence THAT much. Really annoying as the whole point of ERG mode is to make my trainer road data look nice and flat, now it looks worse than if i just used my gears!

    Recently took back my 2nd flux after multiple issues, one of which was this same issue, and bit the bullet and got the NEO, all issues bar this are solved and its a super nice trainer must admit. Can’t see any other issues of this sort but find it weird that its happened to 2 of mine. (Oddly it was pretty much the only thing that wasn’t wrong with my 1st flux)

  31. Cliff LaCoursiere

    Purchased the NEO about a year ago and after about 80 hours, the unit died – no lights, no familiar hum. Power supply tested fine. That’s fine, tech fails sometimes, the piece that stings is that Tacx insists in returning the unit through the dealer it was purchased from – so being in the US and returning it to the UK is def un-fun.

  32. Tom

    Wrote to trainer road support last nite and learned that TR can now control Neo via smart bluetooth. I won’t need Garmin FE-C enabled bike computer to have structured workouts from TR control resistance.

  33. Rik

    Total newcomer. Just purchased this and Shimano 105 11spd 11-32. What tools do I need to install it? I think I just need a Tacx Cassette Remover Campagnolo T4547, but in the UK I search for this and only 2 online shops have them (and they are dodgy shops according to online reviews). Surely somewhere like wiggle would stock a Campagnolo Cassette Remover. Help please!

    • _tido_

      Hi.
      I have exactly the same question & cassette.
      Did it worked with the campagnolo ? Did you use something else?

      Regards

      Alexandre

  34. Jarek

    Hi everyone,
    I’m just wondering about one things as I was not able to find conclusive information about that.
    a) How different trainers compare regarding flywheel effect
    b) How different trainers utilize muscles in comparison to real live ride

    Regarding point a) it’s easy to find flywheel weight for different trainers but it’s rather not
    giving to much value in my understanding. Of course if you compare low end trainer with 2kg to
    high end with 6kg you can assume that 6kg will give you much better flywheel effect. But for example TACX Neo
    do not have real flywheel and it will be interesting to hear how it compare/feel when you speed up to trainer with
    real flywheel. Elite is saying that they have double belt system so Drivo double flywheel, so again it will
    be interesting to hear how it compare to Kicr or Hammer. Theoretically Drivo should be better then 9kg in Hammer. Is it ?
    I think to check this, it’s enough to test different trainers with the same gearing and cadence (not speed as this is delivered by trainers) and then stop pedaling and measure
    how long it will take to spin down. Probably repeated with different gearing or cadences to see
    whether it’s linear between trainers. Ray is it something that you can maybe try in future ?

    b) I think this is really related to point a). At least in my case I use trainer to cover winter season, keep me fit during that time and if possible to improve in some areas. Currently I have TACX Bushio SMART and what I found is that I tend to use different cadence for the same power when using trainer then riding outside.
    For example during use of trainer it’s more 90+rpm and outside it’s more 83+ rpm (I’m not taking here
    about avg cadence from whole ride). This is why it’s interesting to know how virtual flywheel effect in NEO compare to real one, I’m really wondering how this inertia work. It’s easy to detect when you stop pedaling and continue to rotate motor but is that simulated inertia work the same as real one for muscles ? Is it giving the same feeling ?

    • Jarek

      Guys any comments on that topic ?

    • I think part of the challenge is that people find it very subjective. One person says one trainer with a larger fly wheel feels better than that with a smaller flywheel, while another says the opposite.

      What I can say though is that the inertia feel of the Neo is in a totally different league than that of the Bushdio.

    • Jarek

      Thx Ray. Yes I know that Bushido that’s different story. I’m just trying to make my mind what to choose. It’s really difficult call between Kicker, Drivo and Neo, want to avoid wrong decision as this is very expensive stuff. Probably I will try to get at least Neo for testing. I found that distributor in my country offering such possibility , at least in theory 🙂

  35. Bob

    Hi Ray, great reviews, thank you.

    Can I just use the Tacx Neo with an iPad running Bluetooth connected to zwift?

    Thanks

  36. Markus

    I try my luck here, I’m a little bit lost on this: I want to replace my Kickr Gen 1 (too loud; need for a dedicated PM to get accurate power readings) with a Neo Smart.

    However, what I like about the Kickr is its responsivenss to resistance changes in ERG mode. I often do stomps/bursts during my tempo/SST intervals (e.g. 20-30 seconds high wattage, then back to tempo/SST level). The Kickr is pretty good in dealing with these abrupt changes.

    With regards to the Neo I read a lot about being slower with these changes. It may take up to a few seconds until these resistance changes occur.

    I’m now lost if this is only related to an older firmware, or the controlling app (I often read Trainerroad in this context), or if this is just the way the Neo handles resistance changes in ERG Mode?

    I use mainly PerfPro for ERG workouts.

    Furthermore, bad timing for buying a Neo now? Can we expect a new Neo Smart 2018 anytime soon? Eurobike is not too far away.

    Thanks.

    • Joe G

      I’m exactly in your situation. I’m running a Computrainer to old PC that is on its last legs. I’m interested in the Neo, and would like to add Zwift to my regular diet of Sufferfest Videos. This seems like lousy time of year to make bike purchases.
      Does DC Rainmaker have any updates to the various technical issues that have been discussed here at the end of his review. It would be nice to get a technical update on how the different platforms are working together in 2017. The initial review is approaching 2 years old now.

  37. Cameron Craik

    Hi

    the power reading on my neo seems to fluctuate loads. I set it in erg mode and pedal evenly but the power reading on this pings about to an unreadable level. – just seems a bit un-accurate and then due to being in ERG mode, i’m concerned that as it thinks i’m suddenly pedaling hard it reduces the resistance if you see what i mean? – effectively ruining the whole emphasis of ERG mode and controlled power.

    I previously had 2 flux’s both of which died for different reasons, 1 of them did this but pretty sure the first one didn’t?

    On another note, my neo reads about 5w higher than my quarq? Seems a bit off considering the quarq if crank based ? so in theory neo should read less?

    Cheers

    • What app for Erg mode? And roughly what cadence/speed?

      As for 5w higher, would depend on the specific wattage – but in general if you’re talking +/-5w, you’re likely within the envelope of the two devices accuracy ranges (though I agree in theory, it should be lower than the Quarq).

    • Cameron Craik

      Any app! Tacx trainer app and trainerroad. Recently tried Zwift but I linked it directly to quarq.

      No idea with speed, seems to be very messed up. Speed reading only ever seems to be related to cadence. IE 100rpm at like 150 would end up reading faster than 200w at 85rpm.

      Can live with the w difference as as long as it stays that difference if you see what I mean.

      Also have some weird feedback coming from the cassette, presumably where the gears are set up for the rear wheel cassette (Di2) its just a slight positional error?
      It also seems to be a lot louder than its supposed to be, seems to really hum like an old turbo if you rank the cadence up and go into the big chainring at the front? Not sure if this is all just related to chain position etc. or if its an issue with the turbo?

  38. Bob

    Bought a Neo last week after reading your review. Best Rainer ever!
    Super expensive but no where near as painful as coming off your bike in the dark going downhill on a frosty winter morning.
    Road feel is fun and adds resistance as well which is interesting, and realistic.
    Really quiet, wife, dogs and neighbours are happier already.
    Using with Zwift and noticed that the resistance on the Neo and the the gradient on Zwift seem to have lag when abrupt changes occurred in Zwift. Always comes right though.
    Much more like road riding than say a Wattbike. Downhills are like road downhills so it’s hard to keep a constant power output and uphill, well you sure know they are up.
    Better way to spend your money than on a new bike, the Neo will definitely help you go faster, of course you will have to ride it.

  39. Fabian

    I know it the same old question but… i’m going to buy a new high end trainer, drivo or neo.
    Now i know that tacx has updated Neo with the 2017 Model that fit all TT bike (i have a cannondale slice at the moment but asap i’ll buy a Canyon tri bike).

    But (Ray in particular) don’t you think that since Neo is a 2015 Trainer, this year (maybe at interbike), we will see a new Neo/High end tacx trainer?

    Maybe july is not the right month to buy a new trainer

    • I don’t think we’ll see a Neo replacement this year. It’s still in a really good spot competitively, and I’m not sure where they’d go with it at this point to be honest.

    • Giles E

      Still true for 2018 or has anything changed yet? Still seems king of the trainers?

  40. _tido_

    Can’t wait to test mine that is arriving tomorrow. I will buy a Shimano 11v cassette.
    I read that installation requires specific tools, but on the Tacx website, in found the installation guide (link to tacx.com), i cannot see any tool for installation (just to remove). Is there something I miss ?

    • _tido_

      my bad. after another reading, i need also a cassette removal. Reading instruction, i should use a campagnolo one (even if i have a shimano cassette). this sounds strange because tacx is also selling shimano cassette removal ? Any clue ? Is there an alternative to the offical tacx material ?

  41. Jacob Martin

    I just received the thru axle adapter t2835. Super simple to install and I can verify, while tight P5x disc brake clears the neo

  42. Paulo Matos

    Did you ever compare the accuracy of the unit with other power meters? I tend to see that it seems to show higher values than the P1 pedals, which in turn shows higher than Stages. I wonder if you have any data to confirm (or not) this.

    • Paulo Matos

      Just to add to what I just said… a graph!

    • Raul

      Beautiful material! It is Stages that should worry….. That & P1 were calibrated I trust?
      I have the same 3 but Stages is on another bike.
      Yesterday’s ride showed P1 & Neo to be very equal! P1’s started 1 min. later so they missed the ‘ascent’ which can easily be the 3W diff.

    • Yeah, I’ve got seemingly endless rides to show accuracy. One of these days I’ll pull them all into a table.

      In the meantime:

      link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com
      link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com
      link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

    • Paulo Matos

      In your case P1 seems to be higher than the Neo. I always find the Neo to be higher but not by much and I have noticed that indeed, the P1 sometimes seems to start recording somewhat later than the others (~10s maybe, never a minute).

    • Paulo Matos

      DCR, your first link doesn’t show anything but the other two do. Surprising to see some PMs diverge so much. It’s quite scary. Gets you thinking what the hell you’re really measuring. I mean, the different between the Quarq and P1 is astonishing at times.

    • Link fixed.

      The P1 ‘should’ always be higher than the Neo, since it’s closer to the power source, whereas the Neo is further downstream and after drivetrain loses.

      As for divergence, indeed, it’s something I’ve often brought up.

    • Paulo Matos

      The fact that the P1 should be higher than the Neo makes sense but that’s certainly not what I am seeing. But I have only done 2 workouts at a very steady pace with the 3 PMs. All calibrated, except the Neo. I don’t think there’s calibration or zero reset for it. I wonder if over time the power measurement will worsen (used regularly for 2 years now). Any ideas?

    • I think it depends most on how much difference we’re talking.

      For example, in Raul’s plots above, being 1w (or even 3w) difference is well within the margin of error of these devices.

      If we’re talking 15-20w at something like 150w, that’s concerning. It’s less concerning if we’re talking 15-20w at 500w during a sprint of sorts. So there’s a bit of sliding scale.

      It’d also be worthwhile sharing any plots if you have them (or can create them).

    • Raul

      It was me pushing the startbutton too late. 🙂

    • Raul

      I did use the reply button of the right post but msge ends up in the wrong place. ??

    • Raul

      No calibration on the Neo. Apparently there are no parts which functioning is variable with temperature.
      Paulo: what do your reported figures say? As in over time?
      The graphics will vary as a result of reg. interval and possible smoothing. Maybe more elements that I, as an alpha guy, cannot think of…..

    • Raul

      What I was wondering: which power is what we’re always talking about? The one produced by the human or the one on the other end of the line? Where it is put into the ‘machine’?
      And who knows does any of the measuring systems apply a correction?

    • Raul

      more figures, 1:03:06 report

    • Most folks in the industry would use the value closest to your foot.

  43. Stephen Hemminger

    Is it better worse or the same than Wahoo Kickr Snap.

  44. Jon

    Hi Ray! Thanks for all the amazing reviews, which have been key in my purchases of bike computers and home trainers. I am thinking of buying the Tacx Neo, mostly for the realistic simulation of high gradients (which will be useful considering I live surrounded by Alpine cols) and for the silence, as I am afraid of upsetting my very quiet Swiss neighbors. As I do not want to use by brand new carbon road bike in it (I weight 100 kg, am 6.6 tall, and have recently destroyed two bikes…), I was thinking of buying an aluminum bike for the Neo. Now, if I buy a mountain bike that’d be ideal for me, as I do not own one and it would widen my real-world biking possibilities. Do you think that’d be a good choice? I am afraid of the gears not being enough for going fast down the hill in the Watopia mountains. Shall I stick to road bikes for Zwift? Thanks very much!!!

  45. richard

    Okay Dude, I purchased the Neo from the amazon link you have below it. I would have purchased from clever training, but they did not answer my question about providing new items when purchasing new. Yeah, I know it is possibly insulting, but my wahoo experience left a temporary scar. Anyway, I purchased from your site because your informative presentation was The reason for the purchase. I hope you get something relevant from link.

    Your effort is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Richard

    p.s. you should provide a one-off option to contribute. I am not big of annual subscriptions especially for something I may not visit for months.

  46. Deepak Rao

    With the update, now will the Wahoo Bolt work well with this trainer?

  47. specialist

    “Which Garmin units can control the Tacx Smart trainers via ANT+ FE-C?”
    Need to add 820 in there now, which came out after the article?

  48. Amo

    Can we EVER hope for a price drop on the Neo? Way too expensive for now but I’ve been holding off buying a cheaper model due to the absence of noise from the Neo.

    However, even when local shops have huge discouts (clearance, etc.), it does not even apply to the Neo because the canadian distributor won’t allow it… About a month away from going to Elite !

  49. rball

    Hi all,

    Mine started to do a ugly plastic noise, not the metallic one but really annoying.

    here’s a small video of the noise
    link to youtu.be

  50. Joakim

    Hi!
    Real Newbie here. If I install a Shimano 11sp cassette on the Neo, will I be able to use it with a 9sp or 10sp bike (I get that I wont reach all 11 gears but could it work as a “universal Shimano cassette) or is it necessary that the number of gears on the Neo cassette perfectly match that of the bike?
    Just bought a Neo but I have no bike yet and would like to “prepare” it :-).

  51. Rai A

    Hi Ray and all readers.

    I wanted to gauge opinion on the noise that my Neo makes. It’s particularly noisy at medium to high speeds and makes a low frequency noise which becomes very loud – loud enough for the neighbours to complain (i live in a flat). I did some investigating with different bikes and also a comparison to my Tacx booster trainer (i.e. a dumb wheel on trainer), and to my surprise the Neo was noisier (84 vs 70 dB)! The test was a simple ramp up of speed, 14-24 mph at 2mph intervals (trainer/wheel speed) all in a low gear (39×17). When I’m in a training session or in Zwift, the trainer speed will easily exceed this – i.e. upping gears, big ring, etc. on the flats and downhill – and thus the Neo is noisier still. I also did some powered spin tests, one without cassette and EDCO module and the trainer still tops 80dB.

    I have contacted Tacx support and they suggested that the noise was normal – based on the video with EDCO removed, and hence not much they can do. ultimately I can send it back if I think it is too noisy for exchange/repair, but if it goes to Tacx they will likely conclude it’s fine.

    I will add the email and videos below for reference. Note that the low-frequency noise is not picked up that well in the phone and camera mics.

    I therefore wanted to gauge opinions. Is the Neo genuinely this noisy when you get going, i.e. louder than a normal trainer, or have I got a dud? Ultimately I went to the expense of the Neo owing to it being quiet, but in reality it’s far from it. All I’ve read and seen suggests that it should not be this noisy. Should I send it back for replacement, or replace with something else that is quiet, or is there no such thing?

    I can readily do more tests – admittedly these are not the most scientific, but I’ve been as open as I can.

    Cheers,

    Rai.

    All tests on same bike in same gear. Same room, which is soft furnished. Bike on trainer mat on carpeted floor. I.E. Not much echo and plenty of absorbtion.

    First tests: Powered spin down tests. 1) and 2) are overly noisy owing to cassette noise.

    1) With the bike fitted (note at this point the chain needs lubing). link to youtu.be
    2) With the bike removed, but cassette and EDCO still fitted. link to youtu.be
    3) With bike, cassette and EDCO removed. link to youtu.be
    4) As (3), but moving the phone around the flywheel. link to youtu.be

    Second tests: Bike on trainer speed tests (12-24 mph @ 2mph steps) (freshly cleaned and well lubed chain)
    5) Neo speed ramp test. link to youtu.be
    6) Booster speed ramp test. link to youtu.be
    From these I noted the dB level at the speed, but just before I was talking. In the videos the peaks are higher, but my voice drives this. I can potentially do this again with better markers to denote a speed change. Graph of results attached (hopefully!)
    Final video. Different bike on the Neo. Low-frequency noise quite apparent.
    7) Different bike, good recording of rumble. link to youtu.be

  52. juan

    So recently got a Neo, 2017 model, in USA. Set it up and started riding. About 25 mins into the ride I started hearing a noise similar to a loose piece of metal in the flywheel. I googled and came across the “tacx neo metallic” noise post, videos, etc. So, I really enjoyed using it, and I am considering getting another unit in the future (I returned the noisy unit), but I am hesitant since I wonder what are the odds I’ll get a defective unit again. It does seem like issues are frequent among early and current production units? Obvious is that people that experience issues post about them, thus it may skew the visible evidence.
    For now I will stick with the Genius Smart I have been using since last season.

    • rgurney

      Shane Miller explains how to get rid of that noise on his YouTube website using a tool which one can purchase online from Tacx.

    • juan

      Right… so you are basically saying, $1.6K trainer, defective out of the box, requires you to buy a tool from the manufacturer, you have to open it, fix it yourself, in theory, What is wrong with this picture? yikes.

    • I can’t really remember the last time (aside from your post) we’ve seen someone complain about getting a unit with the metallic sounds. I’d say it seems like that issue has largely evaporated.

      As for rgurney’s comment, obviously, he’s not saying it’s an idea solution. But if someone purchases a Neo out of region (meaning from Europe but lives in the US), it’s probably a heck of a lot cheaper to buy the tool to fix it, then to ship a Neo back and forth (at a cost of $100-$150 each direction).

    • juan

      That is precisely right, that was the reason I decided to go for the Neo as I was convinced that the issue was resolved as I had not heard mention of new units with the metallic sound defect. The information I have is that this was a 2017 manufacturing date, i didn’t keep track of serial number.
      I guess the tool is an option for long time users or overseas buyers, but I would not purchase a Neo from overseas, just the weight alone would be a prohibitive return item.

      The punch line for me is that I may give the Neo a shot in the future, but that was a worrisome, even if an anomaly, event. I will keep using the Genius

    • rgurney

      Juan – Yes, that sums it up, but if you can get one to work correctly without having to ship it back, you will have the quietest smart trainer which also has road surface simulation – something you may or may not want. I think that tool should have been included with the trainer from the get-go.. That noise may be an inherent flaw in the design or a consequence of manufacturing/quality control. Regardless, Tacx seems to have been unable to consistently remove it from the Neo before shipping. The cost of the tool is minimal and the ‘surgery’ is minor. Fix your Neo and be happy.

    • Mark

      I gotta say I love my neo so much. I have had it almost a year now and had zero issues. Even it had problems I would still love it. It is that good of a trainer. But like others have said. The vast majority of customers have purchased properly functioning units. And there have the complaints of defects have dropped significantly. and also the tool is free.

    • Vince

      Ray – I got one with the metallic noise right out of the box last week (Feb 2018). I am sending it back and got the replacement today. Crossing my fingers on the new one.

  53. kel

    Can you put a trail bike on this? 27.5? 29?

  54. Stu

    Was hyped to get a Neo but not so much now, working out why there’s wheel slip on erg if it’s my weaker left knee or oval ring and it appears trek Crockett with sram force brakes don’t fit as I’ve had to loosen bolts so caliper isn’t so hard against turbo body?! Road feel not great, first impressions unhappy

  55. Mark

    I got my neo tonight and set it up, updating the software via the utlity app everything fine. However doing a workout on the tacx app, i didnt feel any resistance, got no recorded cadence and very low wattage and speed. Logged into zwift paired the trainer as a smart trainer which also paired the power and cadence, again got mo cadence on zwift (legs not moving on avatar) low power less than 100 and 4 to 7kph, power went up to 200 – 300 whenfull out. It then started making a loud noise which wasnt the grinding noise ive heard on youtube. More of a loud humming/electrical noise which disappeared for a few minutes after i turned the power off and back on. I have already started the process of returning it, but has anybody else had any similar issues.?

    • George

      Can you share the serial number?

    • Mark

      Sorry its packed up for return, having looked at the box it looks like it has been dropped on a corner and all the packaging stunk of diesel !!! So now waiting for it to be collected and checked by wiggle before they send me a new one. Downside to not using a local LBS.

  56. Ed Lee

    Tacx still includes a voucher coupon in the box, but it no longer does what you thought. From the company, when I asked why the Upgrade Smart package is out of stock:

    We are sorry to inform you that the T2990 package cannot be delivered anymore. The product will also not be available in the future.
    The discount code will be transferred to a 30% discount on all accessories on our website.
    We will try to make to change the codes in week 52. This will also be notified on the Tacx website.

    We can send you a free copy of TTS4 , if you send us a picture of the discount voucher. The 30% discount will then still be valid.
    Or we can send you 30 days free Premium cloud voucher, that can be used in https://cloud.tacx.com. This will give you access to all the films running on Tacx Desktop application. In Q1 2018 we will release the Mac version, this premium account can also be used with the Mac version. Then you need to activate the code when the Mac version has been released.

    • Mark

      I contacted them about this a couple of weeks ago and got the free tts4 advanced, however they told me the 30% off would be week 51 so it seems it will be whenever.

  57. Rainer

    I bought a Neo this week and after analyzing my first interval ride I figured out that the difference between the Neo and my Power2Max Typ S is 6% with the Power2Max as the lower figure.
    Reading a lot of comments here I’m a little bit confused, because some guys reporting deviations between the two power systems but others are telling that the numbers are quite the same. So should I be concerned about this gap or do you think it’s normal?
    The strange thing is that even with a gap the P2M should deliver the higher figures due to the drive chain loss, shouldn’t it?

    Ray,
    you mentioned somewhere “Still, the best bet is to start by zero offsetting the Powe2Max, to ensure it’s operating correctly.” Do you mean a manual calibration with the bike computer before the ride? If yes, why it’s necessary? I thought that the P2M do this automatically each time I stop pedaling.

    Johanf,
    you described the same gaps I have. Do you found a solution for it?

  58. Rainer

    my new Neo makes an annoying squeezing noise most of the time (see attached video) which is not related to speed, cadence or power. At the same parameter it is there, a few seconds later it’s off and it comes again later on.

    Anybody else who is facing this noise and if yes what could be the reason/ solution?

    Rainer

  59. Larry

    I’ve had the Neo for a around 5 weeks now and the past several rides I’m getting data dropouts with no changes to anything about my setup. The ANT+ dongle sits on the end of an extension cable between n the rear seat stays. I’ve also tried it with a different ANT+ dongle with the same results. Have also plugged the dongle directly into the computer to eliminate the cable as the problem with the same issue. My primary workout software is Veloreality videos. I’ll not only seeing data dropouts in the recorded results, but also while riding I’ll now see the software pause and put up the “starting” message to start pedaling while I’m already pedaling. As a cross check, I’ve run the Neo solely from a Garmin Edge 820 riding a pre-defined course in the indoor trainer mode. I’m also seeing dropouts here as well.

    CT is going to exchange the trainer (CT is great!), but I do have a question about Tacx support. It seems like Tacx has the dealer you purchased from handle warranty issues which is great. My question is what happens after the warranty? I may be mistaken, but it doesn’t appear Tacx has any direct support organization in the USA. Has anyone had to deal with Tacx after the warranty from the USA? What was their procedure. I could imagine shipping a Neo back to their factory would be absolutely crazy expensive and time consuming. Likewise, paying for expedited shipping of parts from Europe could also be costly. Will they hand hold you through a repair/parts replacement you can do yourself? These concerns are making me feel less confident about getting a replacement vs. doing a return/refund.

  60. Gianluca

    Great review! I would like to know if my mountain bike is compatible with Neo Smart Trainer. My bike is equipped with Shimano XT Deore 2x chainring set-up M785 SERIES. The cassette is Shimano XT M771 10 speed. The wheels are shimano XT 27.5 with 9 x 135 mm rear axle wheel.

    Thank you.

  61. James Hadfield

    Hi Ray, thank you for all your fantastic reviews. You are always my first point of call before buying a product. This question may have already been asked, but I’m having an issue with my new bought Tacx NEO. It is updated to the latest software and I use it with the Garmin Edge 520 (also up to date). When I make a workout on garmin and load onto the edge, during the workout, something’s the neo doesn’t change resistance to the reststance that I’ve input for the particular set, for example, going from 1 min at 400W to then a minute at 150W, it stays at 400W for the second minute despite the edge telling it to change. In addition it occasionally seems to lockout at 32s into a rep before correcting itself. Have you had this happen at all or know of ways to solve these issues. Thanks in advance. James

    • I’ve seen this before, and have never really been able to figure out why it occurs. It’s not limited to the Neo though, but rather something I’ve seen across numerous trainers with the Garmin’s controlling them. It’s almost like the trainer missed the first transmission, and the Garmin must only send the command once or something. 🙁

      I wish I had a good answer, but I lack one there.

    • James Hadfield

      thanks for your quick reply. I’ll get back in touch with garmin and see if they can sort this glitch out. It’s really annoying having such an expensive bit of kit that keeps missing the watt changes when doing a long workout with lots of different intervals! Will let you know how I get on!

  62. Jeff

    Hi Ray:
    Thanks for all your reviews. Now, If I am buying any new equipment I look to your reviews first. I have also encouraged anyone who asks as well.

    I just bought the new tacx neo. I have been a long time Computrainer user (since 1998) which as you said before was bulletproof. I am hoping the tacx will be as well. I have ridden the neo 2x. I noticed the metallic noise I had read about but only in the largest cog on the cassette. I don’t believe it is internal but more the derailleur hitting against the metal wheel. Ever hear of this? Should I just add a few more spacers to the cassette?

    One more thing…. I sweat a whole lot. My computrainer had a lot of rust on the front of the frame. I am training for an ironman and due to weather was forced to do my 4.5 hour ride on the trainer yesterday. I did place towels under the unit. I noticed the vent facing upward had some sweat around it. Was worried that may be an issue for us heavy sweaty people. Heard of any issues with damage to the unit from this? I didnt want to cover it but wasn’t sure if there were any precautions I should take…

  63. Jørgen

    Will a CAAD12 with disc brakes represent a problem fitting the Tacx Neo? With no possibility of checking this beforehand, how do I deal with this potential problem?

  64. Rai

    I’m seeing higher power output from my Neo than expected. I am comparing the Neo against a set of PowerTap P1 pedals. This is my second unit, the first being replaced owing to it being incredibly noisy, but it also showed the same high power. When this unit first arrived it tracked perfectly. However, it has now done the same as the previous and is overreading by a good 10+ watts.

    Although I don’t expect the two devices to track perfectly, I do expect the Neo to under-read wrt the P1. And although the power difference is irrelevant as it’s all relative, it does make a difference if you rely on one unit on the road and another on the turbo, for example. A 10+W difference is a big delta in FTP!

    I believe that the unit started to overread after I applied the latest firmware upgrade. The unit shipped with 0.2.1/0.6.2/0.7.5 and upgraded to 0.2.1/0.7.4/0.8.4.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar? It’s really bugging me now as it’s the second unit to do this and it should be a lot closer. And I have verified that the pedals are reading the correct power by running a PowerTap hub at the same time. See similar post on the P1 thread back in 2017 regarding the old unit.

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Rai.

    • Gavin McCloskey

      I’m having the same issue seemingly since that firmware update Rai. My P1s used to track fractionally higher than the Neo as I expected but a recent test shows the Neo reading 25w more. I’m very confused and not sure what to trust anymore!

    • Rai

      Hi Gavin,

      I’m pretty sure it’s the Neo that’s incorrect. I did back to back tests between the pedals and a PowerTap hub and they matched perfectly across a wide range of power and cadence levels. I’d like to get a friend on the Neo with a crank based system to do a further compare.

      Although I have not played much of late, I did note a correlation with cadence levels. In the big ring, and so with higher flywheel speeds the Neo tracking improves, but still over reads by a good margin.

      Meanwhile, I use the Neo on Zwift with the pedals as the power source and the Neo as the controlling unit. Works ok, not quite as slick as one unit. For those doing virtual races though, there’s an extra 10-25w for free relative to the the real world if you use the Neo alone :-). It has restricted the Neo as a Zwift only tool though.

      I’ve not contacted Tacx about it yet, but ought to. A little reluctant as they have been a little dismissive of issues in the past.

      On Cheers,

      Rai.

    • Gavin McCloskey

      Hi Rai

      Thanks for your reply. I unplugged my Neo for 24 hours and plugged it back in, power now seems to be tracking much more in line with my pedals. The Neo is reading ~5w higher than the pedals which isn’t necessarily what I’d expect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was!

      Cheers
      Gavin

    • Raul V.

      Can’t understand why people don’t contact manufacturer when having a problem! It will only result in a longer wait for a possible fix. With so many ‘screaming too early’/not RTFM people around companies may wait paying attention to things until they have a substantial (and well described!) amount of the same malfunction.
      I see no conclusion. This means it still isn’t solved?

  65. Ally Anderson

    DC….. I have a training peaks account that is populated by my coach. Until recently I was using a wahoo kickr and could import workouts created on TP directly to my Garmin 1000 which could control the required resistance levels on the Kickr. I have now purchased a tacx neo and wondered if there was an easy way of doing this. When you look at the import functionality on the tacx TTS4 suite the file formats differ from what is available via the export function on TP. Any ideas ??

    Many thanks for your assistance.

    Regards

    Ally.

  66. Rich Clare

    Ray, really quick one. But in the UK this is now retailing at the same price as the latest Kickr. I’m not overly interested in the Wahoo Climb and so just wanted your opinion on which is the better if cost of the units is the same and space isn’t an issue. I’m a TR user btw.
    Thanks so much if you have time to ping a few lines of advice here as I’m in a total dilemma!!

  67. Jared U

    Hello, I bought a Tacx Neo a month ago because it seemed to be the best overall trainer available. So far I’ve been impressed with it except one major issue. While in ERG Mode in Zwift everything feels fine. The ride is smooth, the power wattage seems accurate, along with speed and cadence. However, when I am in “normal mode” it is extremely difficult to pedal at a normal cadence when there is 0% incline. I end up having to move to lower gears than I should be at. Even when it gets to -2% to -5% it doesn’t really get easier at all, like it would in real life.

    It’s not just in Zwift either, but I also experience the same thing in the Tacx training app as well. It just feels very unrealistic and more difficult that it should be. I barely can keep 80 rpms at 0% incline. Like I said, ERG Mode works and feels perfectly fine.

    Am I missing something? Any suggestions on what could be wrong? It’s very frustrating spending that much money on a trainer only for it not to deliver a somewhat realistic ride.

  68. Paul Cooper

    Is this due for a make-over / update yet?

  69. Cameron

    Do you need to put the trainer on a rubber mat?

    • No need per se, but many people do for a few reasons:

      1) Contain sweat, especially if you have wood floors or carpet
      2) Reduce vibrations: Less an issue for the Neo, but may still be applicable
      3) Reduce sounds of things like cleats and stepping off on wood floors

      Again, it’s totally optional and there’s no specific requirement.

  70. pete p

    would like to know as of this point in time if tacx will be upgrading the Neo . they dont seemed to release new models as frequently as wahoo does. thanks and I have really enjoyed you blog.

  71. Pater

    Hello, The axle on Tacx Neo is fixed. So it means when the front of the bike moves up and down (as the front tyre is not perfectly stiff) does it not grind the rear dropouts? Wahoo Kickr’s rear axle is rotating so it behaves the same as on a normal wheel.

    Thanks!
    pater

  72. Andrea

    Get mine for the last black friday. 300km on it without issue so far. Realky happy abiut feeling and interaction with zwift and the tacx app

  73. I’ve killed two neos about a year apart I’m wondering if anyone else is having the same issue?

    To be a bit more specific the resistance stops working and it makes a grinding sound.

  74. Raf Luyten

    Is it a good idea to buy a neo with a good discount of is it worth to buy a neo2? Difficult decission.

    • Raul V.

      Not too difficult! Just look at the list of differences and value their importance. You can then see if it’s worth the extra bucks.

  75. so I installed the app and everything and it keeps telling me to reserve 2GB of my hard drive. I just got this laptop and I have nothing installed or and space being used. how can I get by this problem so that i’ll be able to enjoy this app?. it seems really good and I wanna switch some games from my phone as they’re taking up way to much space. I’ve seen my friends and others using Memu and it works insanely well.

  76. Marc

    I’m using the Garming 820 with training Peak programs, can I still use this trainer by downloding my daily workout…?
    Also can I use it to download the TrainingPeak program on it…?
    Thanks,