Or is it ‘Smart? Please read on…
Okay, the headlines about this smart-trainer:
Bluetooth and Ant + compatible and therefore with most, if not all, indoor cycling training platforms
Wattage accurate to 2.5%
Sprints up to 2,000 watts
Simulates climbs up to 16% steep
With these stats, we consider this to be a mid-range unit and it’s the not so baby-sister to the Tacx Neo 2 S. Baby? Well, it’s probably the heaviest trainer that we’ve ever carried – except a smart-bike! Okay, we could drivel on for ages with charts that mean not a lot and lots of technical stuff that is, well fascinating, and in reality you will have already read this and will have gained an impression from you’ve read elsewhere. As avid indoor cyclists with a history of decades of riding in a paincave, this is our view and best done with what we like and don’t like.
- A solid unit that you can sprint on and really hoof it and it will not shift anywhere
- Great style/looks
- If you’ve never ridden a smart trainer before, you will think that this is fantastic! You will plug into a platform like RGT Cycling, Zwift, Sufferfest, Rouvy or alike and you will be in your element.
- Simple to connect and Tacx even have their own indoor training app, which is pretty good.
- For those who want to fold away a unit as you have limited space, this is not the unit for you. It takes up a fair amount of floor-space and does not fold. It’s weight, also means that it’s not great on the lower back and needs safe lifting techniques
- Mildly erratic. The power numbers appear, compared to heart rates (over weeks of testing) were as expected. However, not as expected at that very moment! What do we mean by this is that the unit can be laggy. Put the power on/off and it takes a while for the unit to respond. It’s clearly visible when riding. As eSports is becoming a proper thing (i.e. in relation to virtual cycle racing on-line), knowing that when you push on the pedals (and the opposite) means that the platform you are using responds instantly can be key when moves occur (or when you want to avoid sitting on the front of a virtual bunch). For recreational virtual trainers, you may not notice it that much. We discovered it to be a frustration when riding with the pace partners on Zwift (bots). Where in theory, the pace should be constant, the dynamics of the bunch on Zwift can turn it into an interval session. Not getting dropped at times was a real threat when we were bumbling along at the back. Hitting the power wasn’t always registered and then when it was, it was part of a hoof back into the bunch.
- The Tacx feel. For the Tacx fans, this may not be an issue. Users of Elite, Wattbike Atom and Wahoo units may be used to a smoother ‘ride.’ This is not a huge issue and one down to personal preference.
- Noise. In a sound test, the Flux 2 S may register similar to other smart trainers. However, commentators make the point that it is not purely the simple dB registered, but the spectrum of frequencies of the sound created by the smart trainer in operation. We have one reliable source of feedback here – my wife! Something is definitely not right when she enters the pain-cave and says ‘that’s noisy!!’ At first, we thought it was drive chain issues and even after checking, the Flux 2 S can be described as a ‘clattery.’ As I say, the overall pure dB registered is nothing out of the ordinary it is something that sits in the realm of psychoacoustics.
We tested the unit on both Ant + on a gaming PC and BLE via an Apple TV. For a mid-performance smart-trainer, there is tough competition out there. With the current supply and demand issues – maybe not? As we have previously written, the best smart-trainer currently is the one that’s in the store! If you have other choices in the same price range, you may wish to check those out. Spending a little more gets you a greater level of simulation of slope and accuracy. As stated at the start of this – if you have never ridden another smart-trainer before, you will really appreciate this unit. It looks good and even the largest thighs will have trouble shifting it.