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Tacx NEO 2 Smart Trainer In-Depth Review

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While the Tacx NEO 2 was the last product of the year that Tacx announced – a mere 45 days ago – it’s actually shipping already, unlike its bigger brother the long-awaited Neo Smart Bike.  Part of that reason, as you’ll see, is likely due to the fact that the Neo 2 has relatively minor changes in comparison to building an entire indoor bike.

In some cases, keeping changes to a minimum might not be a bad thing for reliability though. And ultimately it follows Wahoo’s popular model of incremental changes to existing trainers – rather than massive shifts from model to model.

In any event, I’ve been riding a media loaner Neo 2 as my primary trainer since it announced early last month, and now have plenty of data on it to dive into.  Once I’m done with it I’ll get it all boxed back up and returned to the Tacx folks. Just like normal.

If you find this review useful, hit up the links at the end to help support the site. I appreciate it. Onwards with the review!

Technical Overview:

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While earlier this year we saw the Flux S replace the original Flux (plus a new Flux 2), the story on the NEO 2 is a bit different than that. In the case of the Flux S/Original swapparoo, the changes were virtually non-existent – features or internally.

Whereas in the case of the NEO 2, the internals have been significantly refreshed.  Albeit that hasn’t resulted in much in the way of new features for us end users. Instead, it’s more about the promise of unknown new stuff down the road.

But first, let’s talk about what it is exactly:

– Direct drive trainer: This means you remove your rear wheel
– Flywheel: It has a virtual flywheel up to 125kg, the largest of any trainer on the market.
– Downhill Drive: This is one of only a handful of trainers that drives the rear ‘wheel’ forward while going down hills, thus simulating descending inertia.
– Cassette: No Tacx trainers include a cassette, which will set you back $50-$60, plus $10-$20 in tools to install.
– Sound: Identical to the original NEO, essentially silent. Only the sound of your drivetrain is heard, and a very faint hum of internal fans/electronics.
– Handle and Folding: This unit lacks a handle, which continues to make it slightly awkward to move around. It does have foldable legs though for easy storage.
– Protocol Compatibility: ANT+ FE-C, ANT+ Power, Bluetooth Smart Trainer Control, Bluetooth Smart Power
– App Compatibility: Every app out there basically (Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, Road Grand Tours, SufferFest, Kinomap, etc…)
– Skewer Compatibility: All the skewers and adapters you could ask for: Road 130mm, MTB 135mm, 142x12mm, 148x12mm
– Max Incline: 25% simulated grade, the highest of any trainer out there
– Max Wattage: 2,200 watts resistance
– Stated Accuracy: < +/-1%
– Power Cable Required: No, it can operate powered or standalone sans-power.
– Pricing and Availability: $1,399/€1,299/£1,199 Shipping next week

Ok, so as seen above, that’s the baseline and basically the same as the NEO 1.  However, here’s what’s new/unique on the new NEO 2:

Added pedal stroke analysis: Will plot out full pedal stroke, akin to some power meters. This was added to a degree last December in a firmware update for NEO 1 users, however, the internal changes for NEO 2 makes this more accurate. Additionally, this will also be broadcast to 3rd party apps for NEO 2.
Added left/right balance information: Will show distribution of power between legs, as well as broadcast this to 3rd party apps.
Increased cadence accuracy: Uses new magnetless object detection (more on that in a second)
New microcontroller and additional memory: This will improve ERG control Tacx says, and reduce vibrations
New communications controller: This will improve firmware update, and allows faster communication with apps (which would likely be used for real-time pedaling analysis)
Added extra axle adapters: A full bag of them as seen in video
New underside color: Blue versus previously black, also changed frontside text logo color to blue
Added internals for future features: None of which have been announced

As I noted above, there’s no clarity on exactly what new features might be unlocked – or even when. As such, I can only assume there’s an ice cream machine hidden in there. If not, I’ll be deeply disappointed.

For comparison, here’s the price/feature points of some of the Tacx 2018 Trainer lineup (they have a pile of other trainers, these are the ones I’m considering most interesting/relevant):

Tacx Flow Smart – 299EUR: Wheel-on trainer with 6% incline, all standards supported.
Tacx Bushido Smart – $619: Wheel-on trainer with 15% incline, all standards supported.
Tacx Flux S Smart – $749: Direct drive trainer with 10% incline capability, no cassette included
Tacx Flux 2 Smart – $899: Direct drive trainer with 16% incline and better low-speed resistance for climbs, no cassette included
Tacx Neo Smart – $1,369: Top of the line direct drive trainer that’s virtually silent, can replicate road vibrations too, no cassette included
Tacx Neo Bike Smart – $3,199: A full indoor bike built atop the Neo. Nifty fans included too

Oh, with that out of the way let’s get into the details of setup and configuration…which won’t take too long.

What’s in the box:

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The Tacx NEO 2 comes in a box not unlike the NEO 1. Unlike the slightly lower-end Tacx trainers, this takes zero assembly of the unit itself, except for adding a cassette. It just unfolds like a typical Star Wars aircraft, and locks into place.

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First though, here’s what’s in the box:

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You’ve got a small package of various adapters for thru-axle and quick release adapters.

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In addition, it comes with a power cord applicable to the region you’re in. The power block is capable of 110-240v though, so it’ll work anywhere you take it. Note though that you don’t have to plug it in if you don’t want to.  More on that in a minute.

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There’s also some paper/warranty/etc stuff in there. The usual ‘Please don’t manage to fall off your bike while indoors on this trainer, because realistically, we know it’s your fault if you do’ type stuff.  Oh, and a front wheel block:

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But about that cassette. Despite being one of the most expensive consumer smart trainers out there, it doesn’t come with a cassette. The KICKR – which costs $200 less, does come with one. Never really understood why.  I know it’s a theoretically minor thing, but for a lot of people getting into the sport that may just want ‘the best’, it’s not a minor thing. It’ll cost them another $80-$100 in tools+cassette.

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But we’ll put that all on in a second.

In the meantime, here’s a side by side. First, with the existing Neo 1. You’ll notice the Neo 2 has a blue-bottom on it. Personally I preferred the all-black Neo 1. Like a little black dress, it matches better with more accessories (my bike).

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Weight wise the Neo 2 comes in at 47.3lbs, just below most airline’s 50lbs luggage limits.

The Basics:

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Once the Neo 2 is unfolded and locked we’ll need to add the cassette. As noted it doesn’t include a cassette, so you’ll need to pick one up. I typically buy Shimano Ultegra cassettes for my trainers (mostly for sound-testing consistency across videos), but I’ve also done a few SRAM ones and whatever else happens to be on sale from the bike shop. It generally doesn’t matter, except sometimes you’ll find some of the lower end cassettes (like a Shimano 105) don’t quite sound as quiet as mid to higher end ones.

In any case, with a cassette, you’ll need two tools. A lockring tool (or lockring + a wrench, in my case), and a chain whip. In this case, you need the chainwhip since you can’t get a good grasp on the flywheel. Whereas for a trainer like a KICKR, you can simply hold the flywheel to get the opposite tension you need.

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After sliding the cassette on, just validate it doesn’t wiggle any. If it wiggles, then something is amiss (either it’s not tightened properly or if on a 9/10 speed cassette then a spacer is likely missing).

And with that – installation is complete:

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You’ve now got the choice of whether or not to plug it in. You don’t need to – it’s fully self-generating for power, and can provide all the resistance you want. However, if you plug it in then it’s usually easier for 3rd party apps to find it when you’re not on the trainer. That’s because the trainer will go to sleep if not plugged in and nobody is generating pedal-power.

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Whereas if always plugged in then you can get yourself all ready and the apps all paired up to the trainer before you step on the bike. Again, it’s purely a personal decision – but I like to keep it plugged in so I know the tech side is fully happy before I get on the trainer. Just my preference.

Once plugged in you’ll see a small status light panel on the side of the trainer.  One is for general power (green), the next for Bluetooth Smart connectivity (Blue), and the last for ANT+ connectivity (red).

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In terms of storage and such, the Neo 2 has two positions: Folded and unfolded. It has locks that automatically engage once unfolded.

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Someone recently asked how to compare the storage footprint of something like the KICKR CORE versus the NEO 2. The thing isn’t so much the direct footprint, but the elevation profile is vastly different (to use a cycling term). The NEO 2 is a beastly skyscraper of a trainer, super tall. You can see that in this KICKR 2018 vs NEO 2 photo I took back in October:

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So if for some reason you’ve got height limitations in your storage spot in a small apartment, this may not be the trainer for you.

Once you’ve got the trainer ready/unfolded, you’ll attach your bike to it using the included trainer skewer:

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And with that, you’ll start pedaling.

Sound-wise there’s no appreciable difference between the Neo 1 and Neo 2 – they’re both silent-ish. I say ‘ish’, because there’s still the noise/sound of the drivetrain (meaning, your bike’s chain and gears), so that exists. But the sound of that will be tied directly to how clean you keep/maintain it.

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I dive into the sound/audio portions in the video below, if you want to hear that and how it sounds.  Comparison-wise, it’s basically the same as the KICKR 2018/KICKR CORE, which are also both silent-ish.  Note that on my Canyon bike with eTAP, I do seem to be running into a minor issue where if in the easiest gear on the cassette, the derailleur will slightly rub against the flywheel. I haven’t had a moment to check with the local bike shop to see if we can tweak things a millimeter or so to avoid that.

Next, while Tacx does have a mobile app for their trainer, it’s unlikely you’re going to use it much if you use other 3rd party software.  However, it is valuable for setting your correct weight so that you can get realistic grade simulation (as well as firmware updates).

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The app also allows you to test out the road file and ISOKINETIC/ISOTONIC options. I dig into road feel a bit later on. You can see below in the two side by side shows a handful of the many different road feel modes.

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Unlike most other trainers on the market (virtually all of them), there’s no calibration required – or even offered, for the Neo series. While it was initially a concern of mine with the Neo 1 (would it stay accurate?) – that’s proven unfounded over time.

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Given the Tacx NEO 2 is a smart trainer, it’ll change resistance automatically in a few different ways, primarily driven by different applications/methods.  But most of this all boils down to two core methods:

ERG Mode: Setting a specific power level – i.e., 230w.  In this mode, no matter what gearing you use, the trainer will simply stay at 230w (or whatever you set it to).
Simulation Mode: Simulating a specific outdoor grade – i.e., 8% incline.  In this mode, it’s just like outdoors in that you can change your gearing to make it easier or harder.  Wattage is not hard-set, only incline levels.

In the case of simulation (aka slope) mode, the Tacx Neo 2 can simulate from 0% to 25% incline – which is the highest out there.

The second mode the trainer has is ERG mode.  In that case, the company claims up to 2,200w of resistance at 40KPH. Although, realistically, you don’t care about that. I can only barely break 1,000w for a second or two, and even most front of the non-pro pack cyclists aren’t going to top 1,800w.  The pros would only be just a bit beyond that.  Said differently: Peak numbers don’t matter.  Instead, what matters is actually a harder metric to make clear – which is the ability to simulate high grades and lower speeds (especially if you’re a heavier cyclist).

One area that power does matter is that nifty color projected onto the floor below you. The more watts you put out, the more vibrant that color gets. Easy pedaling and it’s blue, while throwing down in a sprint and it gets angry red. I kinda like it.

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One core test I do with all trainers though is responsiveness: How quickly does it respond to ERG mode changes? I typically do that with my 30×30 test via TrainerRoad, though it doesn’t really matter what method you use as long as you’re looking at big shifts in wattage:

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In my case, there were no issues with this test from a responsiveness standpoint – and I cover the accuracy bits down below.

The one area I have seen challenges with though is if the trainer is at a low speed (such as a low-speed climb), and then I apply a significant sprint-like force to the pedals, it’ll slip. By ‘slip’, I mean it feels like for a split second you out-power the trainer. As if you pulled too fast on the toilet paper roll and things went flying.

It only lasts under a second, and *only* occurs if you’re going very slowly and apply a ton of power. It won’t happen if you’re already pedaling along nicely and then go into a sprint. So the use case is rare, but it’s the same behavior as the NEO 1 had.

Next, one of the new features on the NEO 2 is the internal left/right balance related metrics and then associated pedaling dynamics features. Specifically, in this case, the introduction of hardware inside the NEO 2 that detects your pedals passing by on both sides. So rather than a typical magnet based cadence sensor on your crank arm, they’ve actually added hardware that detects that without any required magnet. I cover the accuracy bits of that sensor down below – but so far mostly good.

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Finally, a lot of folks will ask about road-like feel, and I always say pretty much the same thing:

For me personally, it’s hard to separate the fact that I’m riding indoors from outdoors. It’s still a trainer, and I’m still looking at a wall in front of me.  My brain can only turn off so much of that.

Still, much of the road-like feel is driven by the flywheel, and be it physical or virtual, flywheel sizes tend to be measured in weight.  This impacts inertia and how it feels – primarily when you accelerate or otherwise change acceleration (such as briefly coasting). Tacx can simulate a flywheel of up to 125KG – which is by far the largest of the industry. Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone likes that simulation (as compared to a more standard physical one), but it’s definitely the largest.

I find the NEO 2 road-feel pretty good though. And I suspect that if I placed blindfolded cycling journalists on either KICKR 2018 or NEO 2 units they’d be unable to tell the difference between the two, and would likely be happy on either.

App Compatibility:

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The Tacx Neo 2 follows the industry norms as you’d expect from most trainers these days.  As you probably know, apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, SufferFest, Rouvy, FulGaz, Kinomap and many more all support most of these industry standards, making it easy to use whatever app you’d like.  If trainers or apps don’t support these standards, then it makes it far more difficult for you as the end user. Given the original Neo 1 followed these norms, it’s no surprise the Neo 2 does as well.

The Tacx Neo 2 transmits data on both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart as well, allowing interactive resistance control across both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  By applying resistance control, apps can simulate climbs as well as set specific wattage targets.

In any case, the Tacx Neo 2  supports the following protocol transmission standards:

ANT+ FE-C Control: This is for controlling the trainer via ANT+ from apps and head units. Read tons about it here.
ANT+ Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard ANT+ power meter, with speed baked in as well.
ANT+ Speed/Cadence Profile: This broadcasts the speed and cadence portions as a standard ANT+ speed/cadence sensor. This is handy for those that have devices/apps that may not support power meters, but still get some basic cycling data.
Bluetooth Smart Tacx Trainer Control: This is Tacx’s private method of controlling the trainer. At this point it does NOT yet support FTMS, but that switch-over is very near term according to the company. Most apps support this Tacx method, so it’s not a huge deal at this point in time.
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard BLE power meter with speed as well.
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Profile: Same as the ANT+ variant above.

Both Tacx and Elite lead the way when it comes to protocol standards support, with Elite having a slight edge over Tacx due to supporting FTMS already on their trainers.  Both companies (as well as Kinetic and a few others) also transmit estimated cadence data, which Wahoo and CycleOps lack in their transmissions (The new CycleOps H2 and M2 do now have cadence, and the company says it’ll add it to the original Hammer and Magnus in a firmware update).  Baked in cadence data is handy if you’re connecting to Zwift on an Apple TV, due to Apple TV’s two concurrent Bluetooth Smart sensor limitation (plus the Apple TV remote).  While you can use the Zwift mobile companion app for additional sensors, I find that can be sometimes a bit flaky.

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It’s these same standards that also allow you to connect via head units too. For example the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT as well as Garmin Edge series support ANT+ FE-C for trainer control, so you can re-ride outdoor rides straight from your bike head unit to your trainer. For example, for my accuracy testing section, I recorded the data on a Garmin Edge 520 as well as the trainer apps.  From there I’m able to save the file and upload it to whatever platform I like.

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Note that Tacx has a complete suite of training apps that they sell like other 3rd party app providers do. What’s notable about that is that’s where you’ll be able to see the pedaling metrics these days. Tacx says that’s coming to 3rd party apps soonish (and also likely via the ANT+ standards around it too).  But today that advanced data is only shown in the Tacx app – and frankly, very few of you are using that (I’m not one of those people either).

For me, in my testing, I used Zwift and TrainerRoad as my two main apps (which are the two main apps I use personally), with a side dish of SufferFest for this round of testing.  In the case of Zwift, I used it in regular riding mode (non-workout mode), whereas in the case of TrainerRoad I used it in a structured workout mode. For SufferFest it was in ERG mode.  I dig into the nuances of these both within the power accuracy section. Here you can see the NEO paired as an ANT+ FE-C trainer (and as a cadence sensor) with Windows:

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And here in TrainerRoad using Bluetooth Smart on an iPad:

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And here in Rouvy via Bluetooth Smart as well on an iPad:

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What you may notice though is that the calibration option is actually present. In reality, if you try using it, it’ll fail. The Neo basically just gives it the hand, and nothing comes of it (either good or bad). So, I’ll save you the time of trying – it won’t work.

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Now we’ll wrap up with what is arguably the most interesting feature on the NEO series which is the ‘road feel’ functionality. This functionality enables the trainer to replicate the feel of the roads as you ride them in the game. Cobblestones will feel like riding on cobblestones. Planks on a boardwalk will feel just like an actual boardwalk. It really is fascinating – and has been a draw for the Neo series since it came out a few years back.

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Now, there’s not a ton of training benefit here, per se. But that’s true of many things we do on trainers indoors. If it was all about training benefit we’d just be riding in ERG mode every day on perfectly structured workouts. Instead, we have a wide variety of apps that by and large are designed to keep us entertained.  And this feature simply adds to that entertainment factor.

And I like it.

It’s fun to have the feeling of the road kick in on certain sections of Zwift. Just like when you go from clean pavement to something dirty, there’s a realism factor there. No other trainer offers that today.

Next the NEO 2 has downhill drive simulation, which means that as you go downhill the trainer will forward spin the rear ‘wheel’ (cassette and flywheel since there is no wheel). This means that the trainer will simulate the inertia of going downhill.  This is yet another little touch that makes things feel more realistic than they are.

Finally, some will ask about Wahoo KICKR CLIMB compatibility. At this point in time, no 3rd party trainers are compatible with it. However, both Wahoo and Tacx are working together to make that happen.  In the case of the NEO, nothing is finalized yet, but it sounds like Tacx is getting closer. It’s looking like it’ll require some sort of accessory for the Neo to allow full/clean rotation of the rear axle. It’s unclear what that accessory will cost, but Tacx has other similar accessories and they aren’t too pricey. There’s also no specific timelines for this yet either, but rather only public commitments from the CEO of Wahoo Fitness and the lead engineer at Tacx.

My guess would be sometime in the spring, but we’ll see. Hopefully it’s something they’ll make backwards compatible to all Neo 1/2 units, given that’s essentially ‘free money’ to Tacx in terms of accessory upsells they wouldn’t otherwise get.

Power Accuracy Analysis:

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As usual, I put the trainer up against a number of power meters to see how well it handled everything from resistance control accuracy, to speed of change, to any other weird quirks along the way.

In my case I used one primary bike setup as follows in two configurations:

Canyon Bike Setup #1: SRM EXAKT (Dual sided), Stages LR (Dual sided)
Canyon Bike Setup #2: Garmin Vector 3 (Dual-Sided), Stages LR (Dual sided)

This is all in addition to the trainer itself.  Note that because you remove the rear wheel I can’t use something like a PowerTap hub to compare as well (which I would use in power meter testing normally).

In my case, I was looking to see how it reacted in two core apps: Zwift and TrainerRoad (Bluetooth Smart on Apple TV and iPad), but I also did some work on The SufferFest (ANT+ FE-C on Windows)  The actual apps don’t typically much matter, but rather the use cases are different.  In Zwift you get variability by having the road incline change and by being able to instantly sprint.  This reaction time and accuracy are both tested here.  Whereas in TrainerRoad I’m looking at its ability to hold a specific wattage very precisely, and to then change wattages instantly in a repeatable way.  There’s no better test of that than 30×30 repeats (30-seconds at a high resistance, followed by 30-seconds at an easy resistance).

There’s two ways to look at this.  First is how quickly it responds to the commands of the application.  So for that, we need to actually look at the overlay from TrainerRoad showing when it sent the command followed by when the NEO 2 achieved that level.  Here’s the levels being sent (the super hard to read green line) by TrainerRoad (in this case via Bluetooth Smart on iPad) and how quickly the NEO 2 responded to it:

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But that doesn’t tell us accuracy. Instead, it just tells us responsiveness – which is fantastically fast. Perhaps even a bit too fast for my legs last night. It’s funny, I haven’t done this test on the Neo in a while (like a year+), and I forgot just how fast it is compared to all other trainers out there. It’s a test I do on every trainer I get, and usually the response time is about 3-5 seconds for these wattage jumps (~150w to ~410w).  The Neo 2 though? About 1.5-2 seconds. Damn.

It’s also pretty consistent as well in terms of holding wattage – especially when I was paying attention.  The first one caught me off-guard and so it wobbled a bit in terms of holding power…because I wobbled to hold it. Whereas if you look at something like the 3rd one I kept my pedaling nice and smooth and it came out quite nicely.

In any case, what about accuracy? Well, for that we need to compare against the other units. So here it is compared against Garmin’s Vector 3 pedals and the Stages LR dual-sided system:

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As you can see, things are super close across the board. Sometimes it’s a touch bit higher than others, but not enough that I’d worry about it. It’s almost always within 1-2% of the other units. Here’s my whole post on how I do power accuracy testing and troubleshooting.

Here’s a closer look at two of the intervals:

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On the first one, it’s very very tight together, whereas the second interval above we see a bit of droppage from the Stages LR unit. It appeared one side of that unit dropped slightly more than I expected it to. A bit odd from that, but not something I saw repeated.  As an interesting aside, how’d cadence look on that test (using the special Neo 2 cadence system)? So-so.

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Sure, it gets it right about 95% of the time, but there are cases above where you see that blue line waver – primarily when I’m shifting cadences significantly (i.e. from 60RPM to 90RPM). Minor shifts and it appears spot-on. We’ll dig into this more over the other files.

Next, let’s look at a SufferFest workout I did. This was intended to be an ERG mode workout, but due to some confusion on SufferFest beta builds I was using – it didn’t set ERG mode and was more of a free-ride. No worries, the power accuracy data is still totally valid:

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Looking at things, the NEO 2 and Stages are very close together, with the NEO 2 often below the Stages LR, where it should be. The SRM EXAKT pedals? Sigh…always le sigh.

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There does appear to be a case or two where it slightly overcommits on power – such as here in going a bit higher than the others:

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But by and large, it’s pretty darn close to the Stages LR.

Here’s a look at the cadence on that ride. You can see that for the most part it’s almost identical. There are a few quirks around the 14-16 minute marker where it varies by a few RPM in comparison to the others, but hardly enough for anyone to be concerned about.  This is likely because there wasn’t much in the way of larger shifts like I had in the other file.

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Next, moving onto a Zwift ride, this was a standard simulation mode ride (meaning, not structured workout). Here it is compared against the SRM EXAKT pedals and Stages LR (dual):

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At a high level, things look pretty darn close, there are a few cases where the SRM EXAKT pedals randomly lose connection/data. It’s unclear if this was a head unit issue or a power meter issue. It doesn’t much matter here as we can easily see those dropouts and mentally ignore them.

Let’s look at one of the sprints in there:

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In this case series of a few smaller surges, we see that things are very close, though the NEO 2 does spike slightly over the others for the peak 1-second power.  This was a known issue on earlier firmware, and this unit should have been on the latest firmware at the time – so not sure why we see that. The first sprint is within acceptable limits for max 1-second sprint differences, but that later sprint at the right of the charge is a bit excessive.

To illustrate the challenge of getting good 1-second matching between units, here’s another ride from a few days earlier. You can see on this ~800w sprint that the units are all separated like airplanes flying at different altitudes.

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It’s true that sometimes I manage to get units to all properly align and almost match, though, that’s more the exception than the rule unfortunately.  Oh, and as for cadence on that last ride? Pretty clean across the board – nearly perfectly matching its power meter buddies (again, ignoring the SRM drops):

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Ultimately, I’m not seeing much in the way of anything that’s concerning here accuracy-wise for power. For cadence, there’s a few foibles when making big shifts in cadence of more than about 30RPM (i.e. 60RPM to 90RPM), but since cadence isn’t part of any power algorithm on the NEO 2, there’s no concerns of that spilling over into power accuracy.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Trainer Comparisons:

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I’ve added the Tacx NEO 2 into the product comparison tool, though honestly, you won’t see much differences here compared to the NEO 1, since for the fields I track, they don’t cover more of the nuanced changes.  For purchase recommendations, see my annual trainer buyers guide and recommendations here.

Nonetheless, here’s how it stacks up against the Wahoo KICKR 2018 and Elite Drivo II, which are the two trainers I’d mainly compare it against. For fun, I also tossed in the CycleOps H2, though I don’t really view that in the same league as the KICKR 2018 and Drivo II from an accuracy or quietness standpoint.

Function/FeatureTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 22nd, 2018 @ 1:09 pmNew Window
Price for trainer$1,399$1,199$1,199USD$1,199
Attachment TypeDirect Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)
Available today (for sale)YesYesYesYes
Availability regionsGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobal
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredNoYesYesYes for broadcast, no for general use
Flywheel weightSimulated/Virtual 125KG16lbs/7.25kgs20lb/9kg13.2lbs/6kg
ResistanceTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)YesNoNoNo
Maximum wattage capability2,200w @ 40KPH2,200w @ 40KPH2,000w2,296w @ 40KPH / 3,600w @ 60KPH
Maximum simulated hill incline25%20%20%24%
FeaturesTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerYesNoNo9EUR one-time fee
Can rise/lower bike or portion thereofNoWith KICKR CLIMB accessoryNo
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)With accessoryNoNoNo
Can rock side to side (significantly)NoNoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)YesNoNoNo
AccuracyTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Includes temperature compensationN/AYesYesN/A
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)N/AYesYesYes
Supported accuracy level+/- 1%+/- 2%+/- 3%+/- 0.5%
Trainer ControlTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YesYEsYesYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart control for 3rd partiesYesYEsYesYes
Data BroadcastTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Can re-broadcast power data as open ANT+YesYesYesYes
Can re-broadcast data as open Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYes
PurchaseTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Amazon LinkLinkN/ALinkN/A
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkN/A
DCRainmakerTacx NEO 2 SmartWahoo KICKR 2018CycleOps HammerElite Drivo II
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

And remember, you can mix and match against all trainers I’ve poked at within the product comparison database here.

Summary:

DSC_3739

The Tacx NEO 2 feels (and is) essentially a placeholder new trainer. By that, I mean that it’s a perfectly functional NEO 2, with nothing really amiss about it. If you like the NEO 1, you’ll like the NEO 2. There’s virtually no meaningful shifts between the two for consumers today. Sure, there’s the promise of something magical via firmware or what-not down the road, but there’s no substance behind that promise. Certainly Tacx has previously delivered many times on software updates. For example, there was the road-feel that came to the original Neo without notice. Then there was ANT+ FE-C that was delivered, plus the ISOKINETIC training modes too.

So it’s not like Tacx is without precedent here.

Essentially this release is mostly to keep the NEO 2 fresh in your mind as one of the top two trainers (it and the KICKR 2018). If you’ve got a NEO 1, there’s absolutely zero reason to upgrade. And similarly, if you see a good deal on a NEO 1, I’d probably save the cash and pick up that. But for everyone else, there’s also no reason to avoid it. It’s still likely to be my main daily-driver trainer going into 2019. The only competitor being a Wahoo/CLIMB combo – which is ultimately how the conversation has been for many people over the last year. I don’t have a good answer there. It’s really a practical cost thing more than anything else. They’re both great trainers, and both silent.

Found this review useful? Or just want to save 10%? Here’s how:

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

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pick up the Tacx NEO 2 trainer through Clever Training using the links below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, if your order ends up more than $49, you get free US shipping as well.

Tacx Neo 2 Smart Trainer (US folks)
Tacx Neo 2 Smart Trainer (EU/UK folks)

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.

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66 Comments

  1. Josh

    I got my Neo 2 Friday a week ago, and I love it!

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the downhill simulation, as this was a major selling point for me. It also has a very low wattage floor compared to a heavy flywheel trainer like my old Flux. Both of these things REALLY increase the “outdoor simulation” factor for me. You crest a hill and the resistance on the pedals just disappears. It really helps when it comes to recovery while riding in Zwift.

    Also, I think the fact that this trainer operates without being plugged in (without the downhill simulation) is amazing. A true modern marvel that tends to get glossed over in reviews. You are generating your own power to operate the trainer!! If only it would feed power back into the wall! 😉

    • Josh

      I forgot to mention that I ordered my trainer during Clever Training’s 20% off VIP sale at the start of November. I ordered it the morning that the sale started, so I was probably one of the first. So if anyone ordered theirs during that sale, hopefully it is going to be on its way soon. 🙂

    • Sean

      My Neo 1 also has downhill simultation and works without power – so thats not a selling point for version 2.

    • Josh

      It’s a feature of the product. Sure it’s a selling point of the Neo 2. It’s large part of the reason why I bought it.

  2. Kevin

    As of the lack of a cassette, my thought is, if they didn’t provide the gearing I wanted, I’d just end up buying another anyway. So why supply one unless you could choose, at the time of purchase, what gearing you’d be getting?

    • Frank-enstein

      While I can’t speak for all, all three of my local bike shops happily swap cassettes on trainer purchases if you prefer different gearing. One of my favorite benefits of buying local.

      I agree with DCR – the lack of cassettes on products at this price is an ongoing head-shaker.

      That’s particularly the case when remembering the $1,000+ trainer market probably uses ERG mode the vast vast majority of the time. I’m far from an expert but I believe that makes trainer cassette flavor moot for most.

  3. My question: has the improved ERG mode made the virtual flywheel heavier in ERG mode, or more specifically, as heavy in ERG mode as it is in non-ERG modes?

    As a former KICKR 1 and current Neo 1 user, the biggest issue of the Neo 1 for me is that the virtual flywheel has less “weight” in ERG mode compared with the other modes (I was told this from someone at Tacx): to me it is noticeable only when tired – but then the same watts start to feel nasty to pedal while simply switching to non-ERG modes results in much higher watts being much easier to pedal. I’d be the first to admit that this may not be noticeable to many – but it is also not uncommon to hear from Neo 1 owners that the same watts feel harder on the Neo 1 compared with other trainers – and I suspect that that might not be just be due to higher accuracy but also because of the characteristics of the virtual flywheel.

    (This could be equivalent to saying that the same watts are more tiring uphill then on flats – which digresses but could be interesting as a debate topic …)

  4. Bertram Redmeijer

    Meanwhile the Tacx Neo (1) is now available from about € 939,- (in the Netherlands, from Bol.com. Others have them at € 979,-). Makes it pretty tempting…

  5. MATTHEW YANKOW

    What was with the Neo Bike during the DCR open house? Is that a test unit or a final unit. I eagerly await mine to arrive “Sometime in early January” and check the site each day for an updated in depth review.

  6. Stefan Kasteren van

    Hi I use the Neo 2 now for almost two months ( was one of the first once that got it delivered 🙂 i upgraded from the Flux 1 to this Neo2 and live it. Only question I have is why you never use the Tacx TDA application ?

    I tried Zwift but did not liked it I prefer The Tacx app.
    What is your opinion on this ?

    Thanks,

    Stefan

    • Timo Lehtinen

      Stefan, how do you find the real life difference between Flux and Neo? What was the reason you updated your trainer?

    • Stefan Kasteren van

      Hi, the Flux is great but two things that made the decision for me.
      First of all 10% slope versus 25%
      Second, i only ride TDA real video’s so also downhil should be as real as possible.
      Last but actualy cooler than I was expecting is the road feel. I did not think that I would like it that much.
      So I have no second regreat from my buy. If you find it to expensive go for the NEO 1 as this one is now costing +/- 950€

      Stefsn

  7. Timo Lehtinen

    I’ve read quite many trainer reviews recently as I’m about to buy a smart trainer but rather spend less than 800 €. The 30×30 test using TrainerRoad seems relevant but it’s always done with quite high power numbers 150-440 W. Would it be possible to replicate that test with lower numbers? Say 80-250? I’m asking because I don’t have ftp close to 300 and with some trainers like Flux (S) resistance floor seems to be more complicated than I first thought. Most importantly ERG and resistance mode might have different limitations. Below is something I found from TR forum about Flux S:

    “If in ERG mode I would have to be in my lowest gear 34/25 for it to hold 85 watts, any bigger gears it seems to struggle. I may even have to reduce my cadence to meet those targets sometimes, resistance mode seem to work much better if you know the right gear to be in and have the resistance set correct”

    Why might that be? Changing gears during TR workout would be just fine if that saves 500 €, but if resistance floor changes even higher in erg mode and struggles to reach numbers below 100 that would be annoying.

  8. Fabio

    i’m afraid that ‘soon’ FW upgrades and new features will be only avaiable for NEO 2 even if they could be installed in both versions. I

    • Correct, the updates would be NEO2 specific, which is due to the new internal hardware of the NEO2. Essentially you’re paying for the hope of something new down the road that’ll be exciting.

  9. Aar

    Have other workout application vendors committed to deploying road feel? I’m not the least bit gamification or social media influenced which means that Zwift is lost on me. Haven’t found any trainer manufacturer’s ride software to be fun or helpful. I’m currently using Sufferfest but could be swayed to Trainer Road or something else similar by a feature like road feel.

    The Neo 1/2 is a nearly ideal trainer in my book. I don’t like that typical trainers only have “uphill” modes and love the idea of being able to fly or coast downhill and ride rough roads on a trainer (not gamification, it’s a skill that cyclists need to master).

    Is there any guidance in cassette range to use on a trainer? On the road, I use 11-23 in the summer and 14-28 in the winter. On my current trainer I’m using 12-25 and find it much more challenging to find the “right” gear than on the road. Any advice from the readership?

  10. Ed L

    PSA for those who install Shimano 11 speed cassette on a Neo1 and find the shifting impossible to adjust:

    on both mine and my friend’s units, the 11 speed Ultegra cassettes needed to have 1 mm spacers installed inside of the cassette to have the lockring engage fully to tighten up the sprockets, whereupon everything was just fine with no rear derailleur adjustment needed after taking the 11 speed rear wheel off

    YMMV, of course

  11. chup

    Great review as always.

    How about L/R balance? Does it work like a true dual-side PM or just like Quarq estimated L/R balance?

  12. Steve Short

    Ray, there’s a spacer (small washer, supplied) that needs to be fitted if your derailleur is making contact with the flywheel. I had the same problem and, as a last resort, looked at the instruction leaflet – the problem and how to resolve it is documented there.

    • Dom

      Thanks for that answer, I run Etap so was getting worried as I like the neo2

    • Mike Bielefield

      Speaking of spacers, the Neo 2 only provides one 1mm spacer, and tell you to use it for 8/9/10 speed cassettes. It wasn’t enough for my SRAM 9spd cluster – the main body was a tad sloppy on the freehub after tightening – so a visit to the LBS was in order. The Neo 1 manual mentioned a 1mm and 2mm spacer; which would’ve been nice to get. Maybe they expect everyone to run 11spd which presumably works without spacers.

      In the end, I left the 7spd SRAM cassette on (5 spacers) so I didn’t have to swap to a 9spd chain on my old Cannondale. Eventually I’ll get around to it, but for now it works just fine.

  13. Steve Short

    Ray, perhaps you’re not aware of this but there’s an incompatibility between the Neo 2 cadence signal over Bluetooth and Zwift on iOS. It’s documented here: link to support.zwift.com

    My experience with the Neo 2 is that the cadence value goes from zero to something close to reality and then maybe double that every few seconds, e.g. 0, 80, 160. You’ll see your avatar in Zwift constantly changing cadence from nothing to crazy spinning.

    The problem only seems to affect Zwift as other iOS apps such as the Tacx Utility and Wahoo Fitness apps read the cadence successfully.

    Hopefully this is something that Zwift can fix as, as you mention, one of the selling points of the Neo is that it helps get around the Apple TV limit of two Bluetooth connections by providing power and cadence on a single connection.

    • Jon

      Hum, I wasn’t seeing the crazy cadence RPMs on Zwift with my Neo2 until I ran the TACX utility and upgraded the firmware to latest version 0.0.15. Now my cadence is wonky when running Zwift on my Apple 4K TV and iPad. The cadence RPMs are ok when running the TACX utility on my iPad or running Zwift on my Windows laptop using an ANT+ dongle.

    • Steve Short

      Jon, can you remember when you upgraded the Neo firmware ?

      The crazy cadence problem started for me on 7 Dec. That was around the time I upgraded the firmware (like you) but I think Zwift released an updated iOS app around the same time so I’m not sure which change caused the problem.

      I have noticed that other iOS apps show cadence correctly so I suspect it may be a Zwift issue.

      Steve

    • Jon

      Steve,
      I think I did the NEO2 FW update on Dec 17th. This was my first Zwift ride today after the update. I have opened support tickets with both Zwift and TACX asking in both cases who owns this problem. Using the Zwift companion app or running on Windows with an ANT+ dongle to get cadence isn’t going to work for me long term. If I can’t get some answers I will return the NEO2 and go back to using my Elite Drivo 1.

    • Neil Jones

      It’s a bit concerning that this still seems to be unresolved two months after it was logged as an issue

    • I think it must be limited to iOS specifically on Zwift, and not also Apple TV Zwift. I’ve been using Apple TV Zwift without issue on it (obviously as seen by my numbers above – which are the actual files recorded from the Apple TV – no drops).

      I did hear something about it a few weeks back from Tacx or Zwift, I can’t remember who, but they had noted it was Zwift’s issue to resolve and I thought they said it was slated for update/release a few days later.

      I’ll ping some people, though, given the holidays I might not get a response for a bit.

    • Steve Short

      Thanks Jon. Zwift support has confirmed that the problem is the firmware upgrade and suggested downgrading it. The email implies that Zwift are working on a fix which would make sense as the problem only seems to affect Zwift on iOS and other iOS apps correctly report cadence.

    • Brad

      Thanks – looking forward to the update. I purchased the Neo 2 recently, updated the firmware (0.15), and experience the exact same cadence issue with Zwift on iOS. Hoping this gets resolved quickly.

    • David

      I had a slightly different issue on TrainerRoad on 12/30 using an Ant+ connection and the current firmware. The cadence increased and decreased about 10 rpm from what I was actually doing almost continuously throughout the workouts. I noticed it more at 250W+, but am not confident that’s a useful data point. I’ve attached a picture showing about 15 seconds of the issue, where I was pedaling at about 90 rpm and the cadence jumped up an down every second or two. Here’s a link to the full file in case it’s useful:

      link to tpks.ws

  14. Stefan

    I had to bring out the freewheel body as well. The Neo comes with two small spacers, this is explained in the manual leaflet.

    I own a Neo 2 for a few days now. I’m coming from an older Kickr. Noise level was the main selling point. And all the reported quality issues on the new Kickr. Didn’t want to take the risk.

    However, I’m really not impressed. And this is probably related to my set up in combination with a virtual flywheel.

    My dedicated trainer bike is my old 26 MTB. Gearing is 36-11/34. I ride mainly RLVs on Rouvy. Therefore, I need a wider gear range.

    My typical use case is:
    1) warm up on a gentle slope like AR-Svosje
    2) intervals on AR-Valparole
    3) some more endurance and cool down on AR-Grosser Arber

    Climbing in lower gears at lower/moderate wattage (200-240W) and ~80rpm is quite squishy, mushy, slippery … I don’t know how to describe it. Not round. Don’t know if this is similar to what is reported on the sprint and slippage.

    But even in higher gears, it’s not as smooth as with my old Kickr. This is especially evident when going out of the saddle (not sprinting).

    However, really, really bad got it with the Tacx app. Tried a few videos and there it is almost impossible to ride any gradient smoothly. Both Rouvy and TDA are connected via Bluetooth. But with Rouvy my bike powermeter is connected. I assume Rouvy takes this as input and controls the trainer accordingly. Hence, I assume there is some smoothing going.

    At the moment I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. The ride experience is definitely not worth €1300, feels a little bit like an old trainer with tires. Don’t know if this behaviour is normal or if I have a dodgy unit. ERG mode seems fine but I hardly every use it.

    • EOC

      Hi,

      I see comments here reflecting my own experience and I too am wondering whether Ive got a dodgy one on my hands. First I tried the cobbled climb at Koppenberg. There was nonstop slipping and it was impossible to complete. This happened twice and was much more severe than the high power slow speed slippage mentioned here.

      Next I tried a long flat ride and there was a rough sound coming from my bottom bracket. Especially in the big ring. I dont know if this is supposed to be road feel but it never happens on the real road and feels more like a loose screw beibg spun over.

      I also find that the gearing is very different to reality. On a 7% slope I’m on 34×28 when i would rarely be more than 34×21 in reality. Another thing thats disappointing is the lack of give on the rear axle when out of the saddle. I dont rock significantly but there really is no give and i am afraid to rock at all. I know its mentioned here but is this something that can damage my bike and/or trainer?

      Overall after 2 years saving for it I am very disappointed so far with it. Its my first trainer and maybe i need to give it more time but I find it hard to relate my experience in any way to the review here and elsewhere. Im starting to wonder if i need to return it which I really dont want to do after a couple ofyears looking forward to it. Has anyone else had the same experience?

      Thanks,

      EOC

  15. JCG

    Why would they introduce a Neo 2 and not focus on a Wahoo type climbing attachment in an effort to increase the entire indoor trainer experience? Having a static front end using Zwift defeats the purpose of all the amazing training opportunities that Zwift offers. Otherwise we are just using large gears on flat roads. I think Tacx have completely missed the mark with a Neo 2. As a Neo owner, I see nothing that this product adds to the indoor market. I’ve held on to my Neo with the hope that they would respond to wahoo’s climb with a similar product. I’m going to buy a full wahoo set up and sell my Neo after this announcement.

    • I would re-read the article…

    • JCG

      I did see the paragraph on potential climber compatibility. I just think it would have made the launch of this unit more valuable if it included comparability from the get go. Otherwise it’s a yawn. The Neo is already great, and introducing a Neo 2 without that feature does nothing exciting to diffferentiate it from the competition. I’m a Neo owner who would jump on this if it had that comparability.

    • Sure, no doubt Tacx could have approached Wahoo sooner. But hopefully they’ll add support for both NEO1/2, and then it’ll be a non-issue.

  16. faniel

    Hi,

    Will there come a point at which support for the Neo 1 will stop any time soon?

    Will the left/right powermeter also find a way into the Neo 1 via update or is this hardwired into the technical build up of the neo 2?

    Greetins daniel

    • So support is divided into two buckets:

      A) What happens if you break something and you need assistance: Nothing changes here – support is provided under the existing terms:

      B) New features via firmware: Some of these new features will continue. For example, FTMS support is coming (proper FTMS support) to all NEO1/NEO2 units. Whereas some features like proper left/right balance or ANT+ Cycling Dynamics support are only planned for the NEO2. Other unknown new features will likely only go to the NEO2

      But Tacx has a really good record of providing updates to older trainers.

  17. Neil Jones

    I read elsewhere (sorry, I can’t remember where!) that Garmin were already supporting the additional pedalling metrics, but you say that at this time only Tacx is. Can you confirm?

    I’m interested as I’m recovering from a badly broken leg and will be starting indoor cycling just as soon as my Tacx Smart Bike is delivered. Being able to compare my L/R balance in Garmin Connect will be a very useful resource for monitoring my recovery.

    • Sorta, they’re both supporting things the other isn’t (yet).

      A) Garmin is now supporting the new ANT+ Pedaling Dynamics standard on their newest head units (in beta). However, Tacx hasn’t implemented that yet (though, that’s roughly the plan). So you can’t view the Tacx data there unfortunately.

      B) Meanwhile, Tacx supports their new metrics on their Tacx desktop app. But those metrics aren’t displayed on any other company’s apps/devices at this point in time.

      C) As for Tacx L/R data, that could absolutely be published via the standard ANT+ power data channel data. I don’t know why Tacx didn’t include that initially, since it’s beyond trivial as they already have the data. It sounds like that’ll happen shortly though. I’d guess probably by time the Tacx bike ships anyway.

    • Neil Jones

      Thanks Ray.

      Neil

  18. Jon

    TACX support provided me with early access to firmware that is supposed to fix the Bluetooth cadence problem with IOS. Unfortunately when I installed it, the FW download to my NEO2 hung at 12%. When I restarted the download after 3-4 minutes of hang time the download finished and the install ran and finished. From that point on I get a Bluetooth connection with the TACX Utility to my NEO2 but it doesn’t read the serial number or firmware version. I unplugged the trainer and let it sit for 1 hour, which i think is the reset procedure, then tried the Utility again with the same results. Bouncing Bluetooth on my iPad doesn’t change anything. So now my NEO2 is down waiting for TACX to tell me what to do next. Luckily I still have my Elite Drivo 1 to use. So the usual pain and aggravation caused when technology fails is somewhat minimized.

  19. christina rausch

    I am very disappointed with my new Neo 2. After five years and 15000 miles on my Elite Real Turbo Muin without any problems I expected the same from the Neo.
    After the first 12 minutes at 245W the Neo stopped because of overheating. It is a well known problem concerning the Neo 1. Using a fan and installing a new firmware didn`t solved the problem. I will send the Neo an go for a Drivo 2.
    I thought Tacx had learned their lesson but years ago riding a Bushido the Tacx software was horrible.
    Simulation, videos, connectivity are working really well.
    i am sorry, Tacx never again.

    • Bruce Winkler

      The terrible software and support also drove me from the Tacx brand completely. They repeatedly resold TTS incremental updates that never did fix long standing bugs and generally introduced new ones. Who the hell is paying $70 for 30km videos.

  20. Livio

    With Swift Android App, cadences are crazy.
    Software is already updated.

  21. Kirk

    Thanks for the great review, Ray.

    I noticed the same slippage you mentioned in the review when climbing with a Neo 1. Even pedaling at low speeds on a climb I noticed the slippage if I got out of saddle or applied a quick burst of power. Very disappointing. It felt like I was using my Tacx Fortius trainer. It was enough of a hindrance to return the Neo and continue using the KICKR. KICKR has no such issues. Solid resistance

    Kirk

  22. Jon

    I wasn’t able to get my NEO2 firmware update issue fixed following the instructions I got from TACX. I am on the west coast of the US and the 48 hour lag time for TACX support response isn’t working for me. The support team has gone home by the time I see their latest email and it was taking 2 days for them to get back to me. So this morning I returned the NEO2 to my LBS and got a full refund. I have decided to ride my Drivo1 for another year and see if/how the smart trainer technology evolves.

    IMHO TACX needs to provide support during hours that coincide with their larger customer bases. I have the same recommendation for Elite.

  23. Thord

    Thanks for a real nice review of the trainers.
    I’d line to attach my TT bike (Giant trinity) and heard that the frame on some bikes might be too tight to fit a Tacx Neo.
    Do you know what bikes it might concern? Or how do I measure that it will fit before purchase?

  24. Raul V

    No device settings in my version of the (utility) app!

  25. Caiman

    I just placed an order for a NEO 2. Some might remember that I found some problems with my Hammer 1 early on. Hammer 1 is working fine now after many firmware updates. Still not pleased with Cyclops for screwing us early buyers as beta users with an unfinished firmware. Anyhow, I have decided to get a new trainer for a change. I am just fascinated with the design of the NEO, as it does not have internal mechanical parts (pulleys, belts, etc.) to wear out and degrade like others. I bet at some point, they could offer an internal gearing change so the gearing of a cassette is not needed. Nonetheless, I do not expect NEO 2 to be perfect out of the box but I hope it will not have a showstopper like the Hammer 1 initially had. Thanks.

    • Caiman

      Hi folks, I have had a chance to ride my new Neo 2 for more than a week now both in Zwift and in Rouvy. After riding my Hammer for about two years, it was definitely something different to ride my Neo 2. Neo 2 is definitely a lot more silence than the Hammer (and 2017 Kickr as well). I am just fascinated by the fact that its resistance unit is right at the hub, eliminating the need to have a belt and pulley system, something that would wear and degrade over time. With that said, with the Neo 2 spinning in a near silence operation and with its slight movement, now my metal bike seems to be more noisy, not just from the drivetrain but also from the rear of the frame, as it seem to creak at times. Neo 2’s resistance also seem different than the Hammer, perhaps feel less “heavy” due to not having a real flywheel. I am actually more appreciative of my Hammer now that I have ridden the Neo 2. I cannot say for certain I don’t like the resistance feel of my Neo 2 though. I have ridden my Hammer for so long that I am used to it. I will probably get used to the Neo 2 after spending many months on it. I also can feel a slight pulsing sensation in the resistance of the Neo 2 at times when the gradient changes drastically. Perhaps this would be like a rough pedal stroke like some of you described here. That small pulsing sensation is not there all the time so I am not sure how to make of it. Perhaps it is the nature of the beast with a simulated flywheel. I updated the firmware just out the box, which screwed up my cadence, as it was jumping all over the place, but it seems to have been fixed after another firmware update 3 days ago. The through axle kit did not work for me out of the box. I was surprised that Tacx still had not made it a real through axle after having a chance to refine the Neo for a couple of years. In order to make the through axle/quick release work, I had to make two 4 mm thick spacers, one on each side, as the included 12mm outside inserts were too long for the skewer to compress. If your bike had a very thick dropout, perhaps that would work fine. Unlike my Hammer, which turns itself off completely (plugged) after idling for a while, my Neo 2 seems to be always on standby (plugged), which does not need to wake up like the Hammer does. Nonetheless, these are my first impression comments. Despite having these issues, I plan to keep it and ride the heck out of it like I did with my Hammer. I am sure I will have more to say after using my Neo 2 for a few months. Thanks.

  26. Paolo

    Dear Ray,

    did you solve the eTap issue regarding the minimal space between derailleur and trainer wheel?

    Thx and best regards

    • With travelling the last week or so, I haven’t had a chance to try adding the spacer yet.

    • Caiman

      I forgot to mention that I have done a few sprints in Zwift with my Neo 2 and I have not been able to feel a slippage. However, I am only a 650 W sprinter so perhaps I am not strong enough to make it slip.

    • Paolo Est

      But when Adding a spacer you will need to change the shifting as the spacer is not there on your normal road wheel

      My clearance works out with A few mm. But doesn’t feel good to go big on the cassette

    • I don’t believe adding a spacer would impact that actually. The spacer would be added to the inside of the trainer cassette (the part that goes up against the trainer). As such, since the derailleur is hung from the outboard/outside edge of the bike frame, nothing there should change – and so the distances in theory should remain the same.

      We’ll see…might get it done later today.

    • Paolo Est

      You don’t mean the 10speed spacer for the cassette?! Maybe you can take a photo. Would be very interested if that works out.
      Looking forward to your reply. Thx a lot

  27. Nick Spoencer

    Great content as ever, thank you. I started riding my Neo 2 in Dec. Great unit. Transformed my experience of riding in a garage.

    I have noticed that my Stages (left-side only) power meter produces power numbers a little higher than the Neo 2; about 15-20w. Do you know if this is common with the older Stages units?

    • Josh

      Three things.

      A single sided power meter is only reading your left leg’s power and doubling it to produce the number you see on your computer. Your right leg could be stronger, which would mean that the Stages is under-reporting your power.

      Also, a crank arm power meter is measuring power closer to the source of the power than the Neo 2 is. There is a drivetrain loss between the crank arm and the cassette, which will lower the reported power relative to the crank arm. But this is a relatively low number.

      It could also be that your Stages just isn’t that accurate.

    • Nick S

      Thanks Josh.