JUMP TO:

Tacx & Garmin Increase Tacx App Integration, Plus Training Status Plans

image_thumb[9]

Yesterday Tacx (via Garmin) sent out an e-mail to users of their Tacx Training platform that on April 22nd the world will change. Or, depending on your view – end. It’s that day that the Tacx app/platform will utilize the Garmin Connect backend as opposed to the Tacx one. However, by connecting the two accounts now, activities from the Tacx apps will begin to show up in your Garmin Connect account. Additionally, your profile settings will sync between the two platforms.

And at some unnamed point down the road, your existing Tacx app history of activities will get pushed over to Garmin Connect as well. Though, it’s not clear exactly when that’ll happen – Tacx/Garmin simply say “Syncing older activities will be rolled out at a later date.” All of this is outlined in a big FAQ support page they’ve posted.

However, buried in that was one interesting line item:

“Will activities recorded using a Tacx app update my Garmin Training Status? Garmin is working to provide this enhancement at a later date.”

For those not familiar with this bit of messiness, within the Garmin world there’s the concept of Physio True-Up. Basically this means that if you have a Garmin watch (say a Fenix 6), and a Garmin bike computer (say an Edge 1030), that the two will keep your workout history in sync, and more importantly keep your training load and recovery status in sync. So you could do a run on your Fenix, and it’d impact the training load status on your Edge device. In theory. In practice this varies.

However, what doesn’t vary is that there are other activities that can end up in Garmin Connect that DO NOT impact your training status, despite showing up on your Garmin Connect app. For example, your Zwift rides show up, as do TrainerRoad rides, and now Tacx app rides. However, none of these impact training status. Thus you could spend all winter on Zwift, and Garmin would assume you’re just lazily eating pizza 24×7.

While FirstBeat has acknowledged in the past that technically it’d be possible to add training load from 3rd party apps, this is the first time they’ve ‘announced’ plans to actually do so. Albeit, Tacx is sorta now a first party app.

image_thumb[11]

Anyway, my point here is more hoping that Garmin looks to do it for the very small number of partners that they do allow to push to Garmin Connect. After all, these are people that *BOUGHT* Garmin devices (typically high-end ones), and they simply want a cohesive end user experience. It’d be totally reasonable for example that you must have an appropriate Garmin device activated on your account for Training Status to show. Just as it would also be reasonable that said device must upload a workout at least once in a while (if a bike computer), or non-workout data if a watch. Sorta like how frequent flyer miles expire. I think those would be entirely reasonable solutions to any concerns around people using the platform without having a Garmin device.

And while undoubtedly Garmin/Tacx sees Zwift or TrainerRoad or whomever as competitors, ultimately, Garmin is first and foremost largely in the business of selling devices – not software subscriptions. Of course, as usual, nobody else in the industry does anything that even approaches what Garmin has today in terms of sync inbound from Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. Hopefully, this is the first tidbit of that.

With that – thanks for reading!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

38 Comments

  1. jww

    NAre there any indications at all that Garmin will invest substantially into the Tacx app? To create some compelling reason to use it, instead of (or supplement to) Zwift, Trainerroad etc?

    Or was the app merely a throw-in for the Tacx hardware business – and thus not worth burying completely.

    • Not sure. We’ve seen minor updates since the acquisition indicating they don’t plan to kill it, but agree, nothing earth-shattering for the average user.

      I think ultimately, Garmin would have to decide if they want to be a ‘big player’ in this space, or just take the incremental revenue. Being a ‘big player’ in this realm would realistically take a shift in direction – or at least marketing power, and probably in the range of 10-15 million dollars.

      It is notable that the definition of ‘big player’ is probably jelly-like. While Zwift is probably closing in on a million paid subs, TrainerRoad is probably in the 200-300K range. However, Bkool, has likely as many subs as TrainerRoad, but just in an entirely different market that doesn’t seem to get as much press (for any number of reasons).

      My point there being that I’m sure the Tacx app sub base is a nice bit of pocket change, but if Garmin wants to get hundreds of thousands of paying users, that’s likely going to take substantial change in direction.

    • ezio

      Garmin/Tacx are looking to play a marginal role in this game.
      I have a Neo trainer since 2017 and used Tacx app for structured workout and TTS to ride some film route.
      I recently added a Suito, but the lack of support from the Tacx app is making me consider to entirely switch to a different platform (e.g. Rouvy/Fulgaz etc…).

      So… why don’t they open the Tacx app to other trainers and start playing a central role in this “game”?
      I think that many people having Garmin devices will also make Garmin Connect a more live platform other than being a “recording and routing app”

    • jww

      Think you nailed it DCR, thanks.

      There are many examples of Garmin ‘taking the incremental revenue’ over time — they just don’t kill products that are generating cash. Conversely, very few examples of Garmin making big bet investments. and potentially denting that $3 billion of net cash.

    • Tim Parker

      ezio – what problems are you experiencing with the Tacx app ? I’ve not had an active subscription since the summer, but it was working fine with my Elite Drivo then, but was considering going back for a while.

  2. Dave Lusty

    Although it feels slow at times I am actually impressed at Garmin’s direction and the changes they make. It’s good to see you’re not letting them be complacent in these reviews but also giving them kudos for moving things forwards. I just bought a Concept 2 trainer (after a 3 month wait time!!) and for the first time in a decade I realised just how good cyclists have things in terms of training tech. I hadn’t even imagined that people were out there manually entering intervals into equipment in 2021, and this is a device with Bluetooth and Ant+ that’s top of their game. It just seems that game is 8 bit and lives in the ’90s! I’d love to read a DCRainmaker reaction to the “state of the art” in rowing tech, perhaps you could invest some time when you get a slow news month? I know you’re not a rower, but as a perspective it would be nice to see.

  3. The Beeler

    Great to hear that they are working on this. I have been dual recording for years (Zwift, trainerroad, garmin devices) but what I’m looking forward is that Garmin would allow to easily remove duplicates, bc today, I keep the Garmin data in Garmin and use trainerroad or zwift for Strava and Xert. If PhysioTrup works, I would no longer need to recored my indoor rides on a Garmin devices but could sync it back.

    Last, are there any plans from Garmin to remove or merge duplicate recordings from two Garmin devices (like Fenix 6 and 520), I sometimes use both. 520 as a cycling display while riding but Fenix to collect data as the main device. At then end of the ride, I then simply discard the 520 activity.

    • jww

      I do the same — dual record on both fenix and Edge. One cool thing I’ve noticed is while both appear in Connect, **the devices do not duplicate both**. I think that’s new over the last year.

    • Correct, it’ll show dupes in Garmin Connect, but Training Load is non-duplicate. There’s a long, complicated tale on that. But in short, generally speaking, first device to upload wins which load is taken for a given activity.

    • Paul N

      A bit of a strange workaround to some of the training status and duplicate activity issue when using Zwift (and I’m assuming other third party apps as well) is that while you do need to record an activity on your Garmin you don’t have to actually save it in order for it to update training status, load, recovery, etc.

      I prefer to have the Zwift activity in Connect since it has the Zwift distance and elevation data so I have it set to sync to Connect. What I do is I start an activity on my Fenix 6 which is paired to the same sensors and then discard it at the end but the training status metrics are all still updated. The Zwift activity doesn’t get a training effect value assigned but other than that all metrics work and I don’t have to manually clear duplicates. The rider also syncs back to the Fenix so it shows it in my history. Not the most elegant solution but it works for me, though having Zwift activities able to update training metrics directly would be better.

    • Wilson C NZ

      Interesting.
      So just for clarity here, as I am looking at possibly following a similar move to this when I upgrade soon from my VA3 to a Fenix 5+/6p, you are saying I just need to have an indoor ride activity started on the watch (with the same data being fed to it) while I am doing my Zwift/indoor ride, but you don’t have to save this ride at the end of the activity for all the training metrics & load etc. to populate? Similar to how many Garmin watches will automatically count Active Minutes even without an activity started?
      I just hate the idea of duplicate activities, especially since my data is feeding from Garmin Connect to a number of other platforms…

    • The Beeler

      Yes, I asked myself if I can now just start recording and then at the end discard the activity but still get the training metrics.

    • Paul N

      Exactly. My watch is getting the same data from my power meter and my hrm strap that is being fed to Zwift. Like I said it doesn’t give a training effect for the activity itself but after discarding I go into the training status widget and my VO2 max is updated for the day, the workout shows on the training load screen, recovery time has increased, etc. It also makes sure I get intensity minutes for the workout.

      My guess for why this works is I believe as long as an activity is being recorded these metrics are calculated in real time.

      And once Zwift pushes the activity to Garmin and I sync my watch True Up even takes care of sending the activity to the watch so it has it in the history and includes the distance and elevation from Zwift (I know it’s meaningless indoors but it gives me a comparison point for my workouts). I like it this way since it means no having to deal with duplicates and deleting them.

      One thing to keep in mind is that activities pushed to Garmin from third parties like Zwift seem to not be pushed by Garmin to other sources like Strava, Final Surge, etc. The way around that would be to set Zwift to sync to any other services you use as well so it just sends that data to those services.

    • Rory

      Why not use the extended display feature on your edge 520 and connect it to your watch. Ray has a video on it. I use it when doing triathlons. Then you won’t have duplicate recordings from your watch and the 520.

  4. DerLordBS

    Do you believe that Garmin will create a copy of the Peloton Service? Should be very easy to do for them. Simply add cycling classes instead of the boring filmed routes.

    • I don’t think so, at least anytime soon. We’d first need to see them:

      A) Build a bike that’s geared and priced towards that: That’s super complicated in 2021, even with Tacx’s new production facility and everything else. It’d basically have to bike a Tacx Bike Lite, or something. Why a bike though? Because that’s fundamentally what makes Peloton successful. Sure, they offer their app, but the majority of their revenue and vast majority of their paying subs is actually bike subs. Now, app based sub numbers do grow, but it’s off the back of the bike’s popularity.

      B) They’d have to create studios, hire high quality instructors, and find a way to be inspirationally sexy cool, which is what Peloton is really good at (aside from ‘just working’). Would that cost more than the $10-15M to create a low-end Zwift competitor from where they are today? Probably not. But it’d be an equally harder cultural thing for Garmin to do. I’m also not convinced they’d be able to do it. Many have tried, most haven’t really made a dent.

  5. Wyatt

    It would be nice if the Training Status between devices could actually match as a first step. My 935 and 530 link with the Physio Trueup, but don’t actually match each other (I think because the 530 uses newer FirstBeat tech?).

  6. andre

    I have a Garmin Edge Explore and Garmin Connect on my iPhone. I use the Komoot IQ app to get Komoot routes to my Edge Explore. Never sure how exactly to do that, it involves Garmin Express on my mac and it is always a struggle. I also have a Tacx trainer at home. Zwift is connected with Strava and Garmin Connect. So my rides appear in Garmin Connect. But, there is not anything I can do with it, other than look at it, which I could also do in Strava.

    What I would be interested in is useful trainer load data. Which does not work in Garmin Connect for me since the First Beat trainer load is not licensed to the Edge Explore, not to the Garmin Connect platform. Which makes Garmin connect useless for me.

    I also have a Polar watch for running. The Polar Flow training diary does show the training load, but does not include my cycling trips or Zwift since there is no way to automatically get the cycling data into Polar Flow.

    Long story short, it is all a bit of a mess and it is not likely that this will change any time soon.

  7. Toby

    What I want is the ability to have a workout done on the Tacx app and NOT show up on GC – I double record with my watch and standalone power meter to keep it consistent with outdoors, and because the Tacx app is hooked into GC everything gets duplicated if I save it. And if I don’t save it, I don’t have a record of what I did in terms of Tacx routes and times for each, and thus can’t do competitions or anything.

    And the other reason I double record that way is because all the apps credit miles for indoor work, and I want my miles to be only actual on-road miles, so I stick with Rouvy. It’s a shame, because the Tacx routes are nice, but until I can keep my work sequestered there it doesn’t really work.

  8. Michael

    Has garmin taken any steps to unify how load is calculated across devices? When I record a ride in my 1030, the load is always substantially lower than my garmin fenix 6. I use an external hrm synced to both devices and power meter so the inputs are the same. I’ve asked garmin about this twice and can’t get a straight answer. My hrz and pz zones are the same on both devices. It’s annoying because I always have to record via the fenix which has lower batter life.

    • Richard Brassington

      I have exact same issue between my 530 and Fenix 6, same OHR source different load results!!!! I wish Garmin would fix basics and what the products supposed to do before endless adding little used features

    • Michael

      I really thought this was going to be the first issue they addressed after the firstbeat acquisition, seems like it would be pretty easy to let connect crunch the numbers after syncing and resolve this issue.

  9. Rafał Kumorek

    After first step of integration (Garmin account showed up in Tacx Training in November or December 2020) I sent them long list of bugs. Many of them are still in the apps ( Tacx Trainjng, Garmjn Connect). Before that moment almost everything was OK.
    Example: Workout in Strava don’t have name and description from Tacx. In Garmin Connect there is only the name. Luckily they quickly corrected type of workout to ‘Virtual’. First days with Garmin Account in Tacx Training app was really painful.

  10. Eric B

    Does this mean at some point I can see my Neo trainer in GC as a device?? I really like the Tacx training app but no Atv killed it for me.

  11. JD

    I was surprised that this announcement did not also open up the Tacx training app to non-Tacx trainers.

    Back when I had a Tacx trainer, I liked the app, particularly because they did a good job of having sightseeing routes in world-class cities. But I certainly am not going to limit my trainer options just to have continued access to the app.

    Wahoo is happy for anyone to pay for The Sufferfest regardless of trainer brand. Seems odd that Garmin would not be similar. Makes me wonder if the app is going to continue to exist.

  12. pavlinux

    > Of course, as usual, nobody else in the industry does anything that
    > even approaches what Garmin has today in terms of sync inbound from
    > Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc,”

    Open RUNALYZE WORLD!!! link to runalyze.com

  13. pavlinux

    Garmin’s analytics is a children’s toy in comparison with GoldenCheetah, Runalyze, TrainigPeaks.

    • Yes and no.

      It depends through what lens one is looking through. For example, if we’re talking individual workout analysis (e.g. a ride), or things like training load tracking – then of course Garmin Connect isn’t as deep as those three. It’s never intended to be.

      But, when you start looking beyond just the ride (or just the run), then all those options honestly kinda fall apart. Sure, they might purport to track sleep or even HRV values. But they aren’t actually accounting for them. To them, they’re just random data values on a row. Whether or not one agrees with how Garmin/Firstbeat (or Polar/whomever) determines things like dynamically determining recovery status based on sleep, HRV values, etc… – that’s all besides the point, because it just doesn’t exist elsewhere on other platforms with the same automated level of cohesion. Whoop is the closest, but that’s fundamentally flawed due to lack of accuracy. Perhaps Oura, but I haven’t tried that.

      I think long term, that’s going to be a key driver for more advanced training analytics. In fact, in a piece I never quite got around to hitting publish on, what then Team NTT (now TEAM QHUBEKA ASSOS) does is well beyond what those suites do – in terms of leveraging all the underlying data from a Garmin device, plus supplementing it with subjective data from riders throughout the day to form a far more cohesive picture.

      To that end, if we look at the goal of training platforms, I think it’ll ultimately shift. It’s no longer ‘good enough’ to simply track miles and training load. Because as any ‘real coach’ will remind their athlete, doing the training is only a piece of the puzzle. You can do all the training in the world, if you aren’t recovering from it, and if your body isn’t healthy, it just doesn’t matter.

  14. Shaka

    The integration occurred in the US some time ago. Initially there were hiccups – ride would freeze the computer. Those, in my experience were solved.

    More recently I purchased an apple laptop, OS Big Sur and M1 processor. After 50 min of GPS ride the computer froze. Required a download a new OS. The next day downloading the app – without opening it- was solved with another OS download.

    The cause of this issue is at present unclear to me, Garmin and Apple.

  15. Jonas

    Interesting to hear things may be moving in the right direction, though it’s in some ways kind of sad that Tacx rides don’t already affect your training load/recovery.

    As it stands, I will never buy a Garmin watch as long as it requires either dual-recording everything or only doing workouts with Garmin equipment/apps. It’s simply a user-hostile position to take. Hope they open up a little to the fact that users work out and record data in a million ways, and they just want to get the results into the Garmin ecosystem. More data for Garmin – that should honestly be a no-brainer!

  16. Alexey Goloviznin

    BTW, Physio True-Up doesn’t work well with a lot of people according to Garmin Forums – nothing helps and no garmin comments on this.

    My experience with 935 and 530 shows that in GC i always have two training load lines not correlating much (a little – yes)… Nothing helps – resets, turning on and off Physio True-Up etc. Always different scales and different numbers for 7-days training load. Yes, the shape of the line is quite similar, but not the load:-(

  17. Fred2

    So what am I merging here? I have an original Tacx Neo, but I don’t remember using a Tacx app, except for a firmware update. There won’t be any firmware updates in the future because I can’t risk bricking a Neo that is out of warranty and very likely no longer supported.

  18. Kerry Bright

    I am using the tacx app for riding previously created gpx files using my wahoo kickr. I like the map view on the tacx app whilst doing the workout. The ride however varies the reported speed according to terrain but not resistance. Is that because I am using a kickr on the tacx app and it would be fully smart if I purchased a tacx neo 2T.

    I haven’t managed to find any other software which allows me to simply load and ride a gpx file on my wahoo kickr and see progress real-time on screen.

  19. Michiel

    Is this a reason to choose the Tacx Flux S above the Elite Suito?

  20. Stergos

    I wonder if it is possible to push workouts on the Garmin calendar over to the tacx desktop app and perform the workouts in that app instead of using the edge.

  21. Steve

    >>However, buried in that was one interesting line item:

    >>“Will activities recorded using a Tacx app update my Garmin Training Status? Garmin
    >>is working to provide this enhancement at a later date.”

    This now appears to have changed to:

    “Do Activities Recorded With Third-Party Apps Count Towards Training Status?”
    with the following text, of which I can make no sense whatsoever…

    “Qualifying activities from the Tacx Training app or these select third-party apps can also contribute towards your Training Status:

    Zwift
    TrainerRoad
    Sufferfest
    When using the Tacx Training app or a supported third-party app, you must also use a compatible Garmin device with heart rate and power meter data. If you remove your compatible device from Garmin Connect, you will not receive Training Status data related to those activities.

    To process Training Status data from the Tacx Training app or a supported third-party activity, Garmin Connect must sync the activity data with your compatible device. To accomplish this, your compatible device must be powered on and fully synced to ensure that all data has been processed and your Training Status is up to date. Exercise load data from the Tacx Training app or third-party activities will be visible in your Training Status reports, but it will not be visible in your activity details. If using a compatible Edge device, you must sync your device twice with Garmin Connect before activities recorded using a qualified third-party app or the Tacx Training app will reflect in the Training Status widget on your device.”

    (link to support.garmin.com)

    Can DCR/anyone shed any light on this? Is there still a need to dual record to get TS??

    • rinusripsus

      Read that text and it is not 100% clear.
      But I don’t care anymore… I’ve given up. The whole Garmin data, sync, … is real crappy. Paid for a Strava subscription and that is even compatible with my indoor rower and elliptical.
      I have a Forerunner 245, Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and a Tacx flux 2. It is impossible to get an overview. Even the data from the Edge is sometimes not processed towards Training status.
      2021 and still big issues on data portability, compatibility, exchange, sync,…