Gear Reviews Smart Trainers

TacX Neo Preview

For myself, one of the biggest product announcements of 2015 has been the TacX Neo. Many people have championed the devices 6dB noise level. On my first encounter with the device, during my TacX Neo preview, I think I’ve found a MUCH more important feature… and its amazing!

So the TacX Neo. So many things to say, so many things to ask…and one brilliant feature – but that will come later!

I’ve ridden a Wahoo KICKR for indoor training since my accident in Jan 2015. Its a beast of a machine. It also weighs in at a heavy 21kg.

Given the Wahoo set the bar quite low in terms weight saving for a turbo trainer. TacX didnt concern themselves much with the weight either, also bending the scales at 21kg! Basically, if you can pick this beast up, dont drop it – you’ll more like to break the floor!

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The Neo is billed as being the quietest turbo around at 6dB.

TacX have managed this, by looking at what the turbo trainer is, and how it functions. The fly wheel is the issue here. Doing 40kph on a Wahoo KICKR, the smallest cog inside the KICKR is going 30,000RPM, combined with belt friction, thats a lot of noise.

As the Neo is quite literally a direct drive, the highest RPM within the Neo will be 300RPM. Less moving, less noise.

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Direct drive mount

In addition to less noise, the unit is also buttery smooth. In comparison my KICKR feels very granular, very mechanical.

In addition, the TacX Noe has a built in lateral movement. 1cm either way. I’m sure many people will like this. Personally, give my accident, and a big confidence hit, I still like the utterly locked down nature of the KICKR, but some will certainly feel it increases the realism of the trainer – now you really will lean through the corners in Zwift!

Down hill drive

Using a KICKR, on Zwift, the down hill section simulation is limited by the KICKR. This is partly due to the resistance mechanism as to how must trainers work – even on a down hill, if you get off, the trainer will stop. Where as in real life, things would keep on rolling.

TacX have had a good crack at simulating the down hill sections, it just needs to be incorporated into training software now


  • Weight: 21kg!!
  • Communication protocols: ANT+, Bluetooth Smart, ANT+FE-C
  • Max power: 2500watts
  • Fly wheel effect:125kg
  • Accepts 10 or 11 speed cassettes…which are not included in the box!! Not a good move at this price point TacX
  • Measures cadence – through looking at power variations

Moving the beast

The KICKR has a rear grab handle to allow you to move the unit from place to place. Its still a brute to pick up, but at least they have tried.

In this Tacx Neo Preview, I wasn’t able to take the unit apart to move it, but there doesnt appear to be a simple handle to pick it up from. I guess that has been sacrificed for the ability to fold the Neo up into a smaller package, as you just have to hold onto the wings.

Its certainly a slightly ungainly picture, but hopefully you won’t have to move it much!

Direct Drive Surprise

Just look at the photos of the unit. Does anything look unusual.

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A hole, but nothing in it!

Is there anything missing?

What about if I show you the LEDs flashing away? What havnt you seen?

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Let the watts be harnessed!

A power supply!

TacX have answered a question I’ve wondered about for years – why are turbo trainer manufacturers NOT doing something with these generated watts?

You can run the TacX Neo without a power unit – you can still control it from the shop floor via ANT+, as we did today. With no power in sight.

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Bluetooth/ANT in control

  • Initially I thought that the TacX needs the power supply in order to have full ANT-FE C control. But on clarification during day 2 the power production during cycling is constant! The only advantage of being plugged in is the downhill simulation

Let there be light!

The LED’s on the side of the unit correspond to the various communication systems in use. There is also an additional light display under the unit design to illuminate the floor underneath the trainer – I wasn’t able to get a photo of this on the floor of the NEC. This is designed to get you another visual clue as to how much effort you are putting in, as the colours change the more power you put in.

Personally I just dont see the point here. Maybe when I’m using it in the depths of winter, I’ll get it. But for the moment, its just an odd inclusion, as I’m almost never going to be using the turbo without at least a head unit showing my power output.

Noisy Video

I’d argue that the greater noise is coming from the chain set here rather than the trainer! When the review until arrives, I will be able to give a direct audio test with the Wahoo KICKR


As I stated at the start of this post. This is merely a TacX Neo preview. I’ve not had long enough to form strong opinions other than I like it and I want it!

I think the ability to generate a small amount of power from the unit itself is such a simple and over due feature, but I do want to see what that voltage is limited to, and how often I do physically plug it in.

It might transpire that this is a good “first try” but not actually enough to be useful.

We’ll have to wait and see.

As ever, thanks for reading. A full review should be landing in October


James Gill

Author of TitaniumGeek, which started after smashing off my RIGHT elbow. Feel free to drop me a line about sports tech, medicine, or frankly anything that you want to chat about!!