The Tacx Neo is the latest smart trainer to hit the market, and it may just be the sleekest, smallest and best looking one to date.
By using a true direct drive design without any belts, transmissions or gears, it’s able to fill a minimal space that folds up small enough to slide behind some couches. Yet it’s able to produce up to 2,000 watts of resistance and, by using the the ANT+ FE-C protocols, any compatible app can control the resistance to simulate real world riding.
Check the video and tech specs below…
Despite the narrow profile, it puts out a maximum 2,000 to 2,200 watts of resistance, available at low and high speeds to accurately replicate anything from an all-out sprint to a grindingly steep uphill climb. Up to a 25% grade, to be exact. That’s done via electronic braking by magnets, which makes it very quiet and (likely) very durable. It’ll also accelerate the wheel (or, at least, decrease resistance) up to 5% on a simulated downhill.
Built into the device is advanced software that mimics real world road feel, factoring in things such as rolling resistance, wind, air pressure, rider weight, temperature, altitude, inertia and more. All of that data is calculated against the speed of the roller 1,000 times per second to deliver the appropriate resistance. An LED beams a changing light underneath you, glowing redder as your power output increases.
The Neo comes with an Edco freehub body that’s compatible with SRAM, Shimano and most Campagnolo cassettes (there’s a compatibility chart on their website). You’ll need to supply your own cassette, though, but in our experience just about the cheapest cassette works fine on indoor trainers so long as the number of cogs matches what’s on your bike.
The only downsides appear to be compatibility with some frames’ integrated under-the-bottom-bracket brake mounts, and it won’t work with thru axles yet…an adapter is supposedly on the way. So, as forward facing as its tech and design is, if you’ve got a fancy triathlon bike or modern disc brake bike, it may not work for you. They have printable PDF stencils for both 130mm and 135mm axles to confirm.
Tacx provides free smartphone…
…and tablet apps that provide real-time power, speed and even cadence thanks to motion sensors on the trainer that figure out your pedaling speed. Their software lets you control the trainer’s resistance by selecting wattage output or desired incline simulation, and they also have virtual worlds you can ride or upload your own ride data.
The apps are free, the PC software isn’t, but provides the most robust experience. But, thanks to their use of the standard ANT+ FE-C trainer protocol, it’ll work with Zwift, TrainerRoad, Kinomap, Bkool and others.
Or, disconnect it from all that and it’ll mimic the feel of a fluid trainer, ramping up resistance the faster you pedal it…even if it’s not plugged into the wall.
Retail is about $1,600 / £1,200.