My original review of the Tacx Flux did highlight a few issues with the system – namely a bricked trainer from myself and some discrepancies with the inbuilt power meter. Since then I have been furnished with a replacement trainer, new firmware, and a long phone call from Tacx HQ – read on for the Tacx Flux REDUX, Inc phone transcript!
Tacx Flux Review Issues – Tacx HQ Interview Response
If you are interested specifically in the conversation with Tacx HQ – skip to the bottom of the page
So we’ve seen a few varied stories about the new Tacx Flux. I am currently on my second, after having one unit make some odd noises and producing some slightly screwy power data, Shane Miller has managed to munch through two units!
As a result of my experiences, Tacx shipped me a new unit with the latest firmware, which I have again been testing
So far, this unit has a couple of hundred KM’s on it, and while I may not have Shane Miller’s Kilowatt legs, I’ve managed to reliably push the unit to 800-900 watts several times, without the unit throwing out smoke/dust/worrying noises.
However, (there is always a however in these stories isn’t there!), on my power meter graphs using the PowerTap C1 and the 4iiii Precision, this does not appear to be 100% in line when looking at the power meter contained within the Tacx Flux. Oh the wattage recording by the Flux is much better than during my initial review, and crucially the responsiveness has been drastically improved, which will help racers on Zwift, BUT I am still looking at a not insignificant wattage reduction to the smoothing effect, and this cannot simply be ignored
Things look okay on the larger time frame graphs.
However, if we zoom in, to a 5minute section of Zwift’s “Jon’s Mix” we can see where Tacx still has firmware work to do
Tacx HQ Conversation
But there have been enough comments and discussions behind the scenes on TitaniumGeek that I ended up with a phone call from Tacx HQ, who tried to provide some particularly related is questions from readers. So, below is a collection of Tacx responses to the questions I posed them
Some companies allow the public access to beta firmware. Things are improved in your current firmware, but is there any chance of the public being allowed access to the beta firmware you are testing currently?
There is a team of 30 riders testing out the latest Flux firmware, to make sure that it improves still on the last release. Installing beta firmware on the Flux might not actually improve things for the end-user, as each internal release may be focused on addressing one part of the Flux experience, and thus there is the potential for a user to end up with a poorer overall experience when running a test firmware. We only release publically firmware we are proud of, and which improves things for the user. We appreciate that there is work to do, but we’d prefer to do that steadily and well, rather than rush and release a beta firmware that both we and the end-user isn’t happy with
Some riders have reported black dust building up on from vents on their unit,
We are aware of those reports and were investigating internally, anyone with issues like that should contact their Tacx Flux vendor.
What about current owners who are concerned about the reliability of their unit?
All Tacx Flux units have a 2-year warranty, and we will guarantee to look after all of our customers.
(I found that response a little lacking, and pushed for some more information.)
There’s a small number of units (1,7%), which represent a very small fraction of the total first production run, may have issues with the shaft on the turbo, due to an assembly factor in the factory. When a large load is put through the Flux on those units, the Flux chassis has flexed, allowing the V-belt to jump/become misaligned. We are aware of the issue have addressed this in the factory
But what about current owners? That doesn’t address their concerns of potentially having an affected unit
We expect very few owners to be affected by this issue. We want to have the best product on the market. Part of that is recognising that some units fell below our quality standards. We will look after any Tacx Flux owner who has problems, that’s a vital point. Realistically put, anyone who is riding their Flux for about 60mins, and sees no issue is unlikely to have an affected unit – as seen with yourself and Shane, units with this assembly problem become apparent with very little time in use
Shane, I and a few others have seen a wide range of serial numbers affected, would Tacx consider a recall, to address this issue?
The problem stems from an assembly issue in the factory mainly. We don’t have a list of affected units but do not expect future units to be affected. Again, if a user has a problem unit, it will rapidly become apparent, and we ensure that we will look after that individual
So we know that there has been an issue with the belts inside some Flux units, has that now been identified and fixed?
We’ve seen two issues affecting the transmission belt:
The first issue was caused by the tensioning wheel that might be assembled too closely to the steel chassis. During a workout and especially during sprints this wheel is pushed against the steel chassis, causing internal damage and the transmission belt running off. This problem will occur within the first hours of use if it doesn’t; your FLUX is ok.
Please note this problem didn’t occur during our durability and stress tests, which was the issue with Shane’s FLUX during his sprint. After the issue was noted and resolved, we made the necessary adjustments to prevent this from happening on all future FLUX products.
The number of products that got into the market and might have this issue is small, the current return rate is 1.3% for this specific issue.
Analysing the second issue was a bigger challenge as it was more difficult to reproduce this incident in order to find out what caused the belt to run off the pulley wheel. This second issue also occurred with a FLUX sent to Shane Miller. When sending this second FLUX, we double-checked every assembly step to make sure this unit was perfect. Yet, this thoroughness has led to too much tension on the EDCO freewheel hub damaging the connector between the large metal pulley wheel and EDCO body. This weak spot cracked and caused a chain reaction displacing the large metal pulley wheel and letting the tensioning belt runoff. This resulted in the grinding noise and smell noted in Shane’s video.
In order to prevent this issue from happening, we have tested the maximum torque on all the parts and adjusted this accordingly in the production process.
At the moment we only have a few cases with the same issue as Shane’s second FLUX. The vast majority of issues within this category is coming from the first issue.
There have been suggestions of a design issue inside the Flux, rather than merely an assembly problem when people have taken their units apart, can you comment?
Part of the problem affecting the small number of users relates to factory assembly, contributing to the movement of the V-belt as mentioned. We have addressed this now.
We can offer a tour of the factory to TitaniumGeek, to see how the Flux is assembled, and allow demonstration of the previous issue, along with the resolution, which would hopefully address user confidence.
So there you have it – the answers as Tacx see’s them, and hopefully a dollop of reassurance. I am happy that the Flux here hasn’t sprouted any more issues, BUT I’m still waiting for improvements to the firmware, but I’m not hoping to be able to talk to that team in person later this month!
Tacx Flux Review Issues – Conclusion
So the Flux had a bug in the factory, and they state that the bug has been squashed.
It seems, at least from this conversation, that Tacx has taken this issue to heart, and crucially I got the very clear impression that they will not allow an affected Flux customer to be affected for long (although you’ll note that I couldn’t manage to get any qualification on how long, long is!). Hopefully, we’ll have a physical demonstration of what the issue was, and video blog from the factory, to literally put us more clearly in the picture, and reinforce the message which has come from Tacx
Any questions or comments, stick them below!
UPDATE – my tour around the Tacx factory in Holland is now up, where I talk to the chief engineer and have him explain to TitaniumGeek readers what happened to the Flux, and how they have addressed it