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EB16: Smart new trainers from TacX, Wahoo, Kinetic & CycleOps – including a $10K cycling treadmill!

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tacx bicycle treadmill indoor cycling trainer

For the cyclist who has everything (and can afford anything), TacX is looking their way with the Magnum cycling treadmill. It comes to Europe in October for €8,000, which puts it around $10K or so (North American pricing isn’t set, but it might come here in 2017).

Sensors detect your speed, so as you accelerate or decelerate, it matches your pace to keep you from ramming the front or falling off the back. It reacted fairly quickly with the demo rider, but we wouldn’t jump into full sprint on it.

For the rest of us with limited space (and budgets), there are plenty of new smart trainers with a more traditional footprint…

tacx bicycle treadmill indoor cycling trainer

It can adjust from flat up to a 15% slope, which should make climbing training seem much more realistic…and harder. You can also run on it.

tacx bicycle treadmill indoor cycling trainer

The included screen can show Zwift or anything else you want to hook up to it, or create your own workouts and have that biometric data show up on it. It’s basically a monitor, hook any other device into it.

tacx flux smart indoor cycling trainers

Their new Flux smart trainer gets the same software as the much more expensive Neo (€1200/$1,600), but is quieter and cheaper at €800 / $899. It caps out at 450w/20 minutes or a peak of 1500w, down from the Neo’s 2200w peak or 800w/20 minutes…because, you know, real people can do that. It also drops the Neo’s steering input, but still works with all popular online and app training services.

tacx flux smart indoor cycling trainers

tacx flux smart indoor cycling trainers

It moves the flywheel via direct drive, creates the resistance with eight strong magnets, and controls it via BTLE and ANT+ through apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, Sufferfest, etc. Thru axles and QR skewers are all supported. Available October in Europe, Nov 1 in USA.

tacx smart indoor cycling trainers

tacx smart indoor cycling trainers

The Flux sits just under the Neo at the top of their smart trainer range, but you’ve got three more options below it: The Vortex (950 watts max), the Bushido (1,400 watts max) and Genius (1,500 watts max). What makes the Bushido the most interesting of the bunch is that it’s wireless, using the flywheel as a generator to create it’s own power. TacX.com

WAHOO

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The Wahoo Kickr, one of the original full featured, app controlled smart trainers, gets a hefty set of improvements. Functionality-wise, it’s 14% quieter (measured at just 61 decibels), improves power measurement accuracy to +/-2%, and responds to grade and power changes more quickly. The latter means it’ll feel more like riding IRL when exploring Zwift’s virtual worlds or crank up the intensity faster on TrainerRoad or Sufferfest’s intervals.

2017-wahoo-kickr-smart-indoor-cycling-trainer-02

The steel frame gets modified to look a little more streamlined and adds an oversized, rubberized handle for easier grab-n-go transport. Available now, retail is $1,199.99. WahooFitness.com

KINETIC

kinetic-smart-control-indoor-cycling-trainer-and-app01

Kinetic’s new smart trainers debuted just before Eurobike, so check that post for all the tech details (and there are a lot of them!), but the gist is this: Take Kinetic’s Rock and Roll floating trainer or Road Machine and add electronically controlled resistance and you’ve got a smart trainer that works with all the same online services and apps as the other brands’ trainers.

kinetic-smart-control-indoor-cycling-trainer-and-app03

What makes them unique, besides the Rock and Roll’s floating system that lets you rock back and forth in the sprints, is their new app that lets you stream your own video playlists, Sufferfest, etc., through the app and still see all your metrics. Watch it on the little screen, or throw it on the big screen through Apple TV or Chromecast. KurtKinetic.com

CYCLEOPS

cycleops magnum smart trainer that keeps your wheel on your bike

CycleOps dropped the Hammer, their premium direct drive smart trainer in May, and now they’ve followed it up with a more affordable option that keeps the wheel on your bike. The Magnus uses a 2″ diameter roller that fits anything from a 26″ wheel unto 700c (and presumably a 29er, but not likely to fit plus-sized tires). It spins a smaller flywheel, but they claim it’ll still create up to 1500 watts of resistance, equivalent to riding up a 15% grade. At which point it’s maxing out around 70db, about the same volume as their fluid trainers.

cycleops magnum smart trainer that keeps your wheel on your bike

The electronics know what your speed and resistance mean in terms of power, so they’re able to calculate and transmit your power output via Bluetooth Smart (BTLE) and ANT+ to any compatible head unit, or directly into the online/app programs. Electromagnets control the resistance, and they say it reacts quickly to changes in your training program.

cycleops magnum smart trainer that keeps your wheel on your bike

The frame is based on their other trainers, so it fits QR and thru axles, but won’t spread far enough to fit the newer Boost bikes. It plugs into the wall, but doesn’t require an app to control it. Without anything (app, phone, etc), it goes into “headless” mode and uses the power curve of their fluid trainers. Unplugged, it’ll only have minimal resistance from the flywheel. Retail will be $599, early fall availability. CycleOps.com

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Chader
Chader
7 years ago

“It also drops the Neo’s steering input…”

That statement implies the rocking/leaning action of the Neo has some directional impact on the riding in the sims.

The Neo features a mild ability to rock, similar to the Kinetic Rock & Roll trainer. It has no influence on any of the simulation or related functions.

Eric Hancock (@eric_d_hancock)
Reply to  Chader

I’m guessing the author was referring to the artificial road feel (cobbles, ice) the Neo added via a software update. It obviously doesn’t connect to the front wheel.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago

The road feel might be what he was referencing. Either way, it is badly written and misleading.

Mic
Mic
7 years ago
Reply to  Chader

You can steer in Tacx own VR Simulation application.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  Mic

If my research is correct, that is only possible by purchasing the “Tacx Neo Track” accessory. It does not seem to be part of the main trainer.
https://www.tacx.com/onlineshop/accessory/neo-track

Chader
Chader
7 years ago

“Rock ‘n’ Road”

It is the “Rock and Roll” trainer.
And the run-on sentence surrounding the incorrect naming should be fixed as well.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago

Magnus tire size compatibility per their specs:

2″ resistance unit roller allows for 650b, 700c, 26″, 27″, and 29″ – up to a 2.0 tire.

therealgreenplease
7 years ago

Does anyone know how the resistance works on the Tacx treadmill? Since aerodynamic resistance is zero, at the treadmill’s top speed of 18mph rolling resistance is only about 30w or so for even the slowest tires. Does it always function with some sort of an incline?

Jim
Jim
7 years ago

Put a big fan in front of you and if you want to get extra fancy add a controller to make it blow harder as you go faster.
Actually it should be an option for that kind’ve money.

Michael Wagner
Michael Wagner
7 years ago

You forget that rider weight is a huge amount of the resistance.

TheKaiser
7 years ago

I have pondered that same question. GCN did a video that might have addressed this, or else the comment thread following the vid on youtube did, but not to my full satisfaction. The rider does not gain any elevation, so there is no gain in potential energy, but the consensus seems to be, as Michael Wagner stated here, that with an incline on the treadmill you have to fight the loss of potential energy.

Also, remember that aero resistance is not zero as you state. You still experience a substantial amount of drag from the spinning wheels, even if you do not have any related to forward movement.

Even with those things, it seems like you would need to use some multiplication factor on the incline and speed to equal a given outdoor power output, like 12mph/6% grade outdoors = 15mph/8% grade on treadmill.

therealgreenplease
7 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

Aero losses from the wheels spinning would be 1-2watts at those speeds. I really hope they’re not relying on an incline to provide resistance but I cannot see any other mechanism.

AlanM
AlanM
7 years ago

“The latter means it’ll feel more like riding IRL”. You couldn’t write “in real life”? I hate nitpicking on sites that give me free news, but that’s a bit ridiculous.

Marin
Marin
7 years ago

Riding bikes on a trainer, what a waste of time. As if road biking wasn’t boring enough, and I have road bike.

The only reason to go road biking is to ride nice roads with beautiful scenery somewhere without much traffic to avoid getting killed.
Explore somewhere you haven’t been or go for a day long adventure.

I know that some people are not lucky and live in rainy and cold area where year round cycling is hard to accomplish, but riffing bike indoors? There are far better indoor sports.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  Marin

Realize that many people have different goals and desires that they get from cycling than yourself.

You ride for pure enjoyment and that’s great. Others ride to race, push themselves, etc.

For those that ride to push their limits, training in a cycling specific manner in the “off-season” is a necessity. They don’t want to roll into Spring out of shape in general, or out of cycling shape specifically.

Cross training in the off-season is a great idea to get a break from the bike and possible work on other muscle groups. But if you want to hit the coming season hard, training on the bike is required.

My point being… don’t hate on others that do something differently or for different reasons than yourself. You are not “right” and they are not “wrong”.

Ride & enjoy how you ride, let others do what they want without judgement.

duder
duder
7 years ago
Reply to  Chader

$10k buys a lot of plane tickets to some place warm…

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  duder

Sure. But I wasn’t making a case for the uber-expensive bike treadmill. I think that device is totally unnecessary and quite lacking in better features and functionality when compared to the great trainers available for $600-$1500.

I was responding to the misdirected attack (by Marin) on people who need (or even like) use trainers indoors. We all have our reasons and that doesn’t deserve the stinky-eye from narrow minded people who can’t look past their own situation.

Different strokes for different strokes, essentially.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  Chader

Darn comment system:
2nd “strokes” should be “folks”

JP
JP
7 years ago
Reply to  duder

You can’t fly a plane to an exotic place after work, nor the morning after to come back. But you could emulate a 11% climb as you grind the Mount Ventoux after work.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  JP

Yes, indeed. Ease of access and time shifting and making a workout fit into an already busy life with work, family and any other obligations is one great benefit to indoor training.

Especially if it is already at your house rather than a gym you have to go out of your way to use.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  JP

Pardon the crappy run-on sentence above. Rewrite mid-stream, lack of sufficient review and annoying lack of edit button for posts here to correct the issue.

opignonlibre
opignonlibre
7 years ago
Reply to  Chader

This is the reason we invented cyclocross and track cycling.

Trainers are great tools for warming up before a race. For training ? Just a recipe for depression and become softer. No wonder I won all those races in the wet so easily with all these (deleted) so called racers that were crying everytime it was a bit too cold or wet for their liking.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  opignonlibre

Well, at least you are open minded to other ideas and quite humble.
/s

dr_lha
dr_lha
7 years ago
Reply to  Marin

There aren’t many better sports I can do in the winter season that are available in my basement. Stuff like Zwift and TrainerRoad makes it more fun as well. It’s about the only thing that’s stopped me from loosing all fitness during the winters.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  dr_lha

Exactly. They can serve a great purpose to maintain general health and more importantly, cycling specific fitness.

I even turn inside rides into challenges from structured workouts or completing a “virtual century” like the Prudential Ride London challenge currently being held on Zwift.

Knock out over 107.5 “fake” miles in under 6 hours on that course and tell me that was “easy”… because it’s not.

opignonlibre
opignonlibre
7 years ago
Reply to  dr_lha

Why would you have to stay in your basement when you can do it outside ? Except during storms (a handful of days in a year), there is no good reason to stay inside.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago
Reply to  opignonlibre

@opignonlibre, you may live in a place with storms that only happen a few times a year, but me and many others in the northern US (not to mention lots of other places) have a true Winter. That means from November thru March, we often have lots of snow on the ground and very cold temps.

Sure, people can buy fat bikes and winter gear to ride outside, but it is NOT the same ability to train deliberately while inside.

Inside training is totally reliable and much easier to do structured workouts compared to outside riding even in the best conditions.

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