trainerroad-tacx-kinomap-use-ant+fe-c-wireless-protocol

With products like the Wahoo KICKR taking advantage of Bluetooth’s ability to send and receive data, it’s had a bit of a headstart in terms of integrating cycling (or desktop) computers and smartphones into an overall system. For example, when we reviewed the KICKR and TrainerRoad, the training software or iPhone app could control the trainer to make for some automatic and furiously effective workouts.

Now, ANT+ is in on the game, letting multiple devices have real, two way conversations with each other. It’s geared toward indoor cycles and trainers, and TacX, Kinomap and TrainerRoad have already integrated it into their products alongside other major updates…

The TacX Vortex Smart and Bushido Smart trainers can now use TrainerRoad and KinoMap to control the resistance directly through those programs’ apps. That means both apps will now be able to automatically change the ride based on the workout or virtual ride you’re doing, making it much easier to focus on your physical output.

Other data that FE-C brings is familiar sounding: Real time speed, distance, elapsed time and power, assuming the trainer or spin bike can calculate it.

Outside of the training boost it provides, it’ll be interesting to see if this carries over to outdoor equipment, letting cycling computers send signals to other things, like lights or (please, God) garage door openers.

In addition to the new FE-C compatibility, TrainerRoad has made a lot of updates to their program. Here’s the list from their PR:

  • Ride Sync – You can now link your TrainerRoad account to your Strava, TrainingPeaks or Dropbox accounts to automatically sync your TrainerRoad workouts. You can also sync rides individually.
  • In-app training plans – This is the first step in a much bigger plan to allow athletes to find and follow the perfect training plan. For now, you can sort through over 80 training plans and see which workouts to do on which day.
  • Filter by workout duration, power zone, IF & more – Prior to this update, you had 800 workouts to sort through manually. If you’re not following a training plan but are still looking for a particular workout, this allows you to narrow things down very well.
  • Interval analysis with new zoomed-in graph – To help keep you focused on the current interval you are in, we changed the zoomed-in view on the workout screen to give you a progress bar. Once you’ve completed the interval, the next one slides into view.
  • PowerMatch (sync power meter with electronic trainer) – A discrepancy in power readings from power meters to electronic trainers is a common issue, and this resolves that. PowerMatch allows you to use the power data from your power meter to control the resistance of your electronic trainer. It also allows you to manually offset the power readings from your electronic trainer so that they are in line with your true power.

They’re also working on Video for iOS, which will allow you to watch video while doing your workout on your iPad or iPhone, and their Desktop app will be completely rebuilt soon with new back end architecture that’ll make future updates easier and provide a more consistent user experience across all platforms.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I have heard the Fe-C updates are for the Tacx smart trainers. The great news for new users is that this will open up Tacx trainers for a ton of software platforms going forward. Darryl, check out a Tacx Vortex Smart. The brake is a little less powerful than the Genius but it is a tremendous value. Especially now that this FE-C update is available. Or, better yet, pick up a Bushido Smart and cut the cord altogether.

  2. @Darryl. According to my sources, Tacx is working on a possible hardware upgrade kit for the Genius to make i compatible with FE-C. They know their customers paid a lot of money for their trainer and want to do what they can to keep it up to date.

  3. So, going by the history of bugs, updates, more induced bugs, having to update it every time I wish to use it, licensing shenanigans, useless special tyre, unanswered emails, still present runaway power when it is supposed to hold a set power level under changing cadence, a tension system that runs out of thread and then needs disassembling to restart the thread, the inability to work with a fan in the same room, software crashes, conflicts with garmin express and everything else that I just can’t remember of the top of my head but will slap me in the face next time I go to use it, what, I can expect them to get around to this sometime around 2020?

    If I look at the incredibly long list of bug fixes in each update, I can see that they are more interested in what clothing the virtual racers wear than fixing the real basic problems.
    The physical gear is good, but they sure need to hire some people with software skills and maybe somebody with good public relation skills.

  4. I wonder what is the hardware requirement to be able to update to FE-C? Aren’t all Ant+ trainers upgradable as long as the manufacturer opens up their private ANT+? I thought this is just a software limitation, I sure hope so…. as I currently use Real Turbo Muin which uses ANT+ private protocol.

  5. I got the Wahoo Kickr just over a year ago and it has worked perfectly with both TR and the Wahoo App. Pricey ..?? You get what you pay for.

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