Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer with Electro Brake
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- 8 permanent-magnets & 8 controllable electro magnets
- Virtual speed outside brake range
- Integrated 2 kg flywheel
- Max. resistance 950 Watt
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|Item Dimensions||7.5 x 19.9 x 23.6 inches|
|Item Weight||0.22 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||24.69 pounds|
The Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer is the perfect option for enthusiastic cyclists who want to prepare at home for big tours or races.
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Top Customer Reviews
Also, I'm not an expert with wireless connectivity. I usually fumble through the process getting frustrated several times before getting things to work properly. I think this took me about 15 minutes to get the ANT device talking to the trainer. I believe my issue this time was that I didn't have the ANT stick plugged all the way into the computer, not the trainer's fault :) Zwift suggested buying a 6-feet USB cord, but I don't use it.
Resistance Unit Functionality - The smart trainer technology works as advertised, you feel it all to well when climbing up the hills in Zwift. The trainer allows you to ride in ERG mode which will force you to ride at a set power which I find useful for training. The resistance on the trainer should be more than enough for most riders; Tacx state on their website that it can handle 750 watts for a minute and peaks at 950 watts for 10 seconds. The inertia/spin down could be better, but for a sub $600 smart trainer I'll take it.
Connectivity - I have had zero connectivity issues, but have only been using ANT+ devices. Not sure if there are any issues connecting to blue tooth devices.
Noise - The trainer rides quiet enough. It's a noticeable hum, but nothing that will drive anyone in the near vicinity crazy. I ride in an apartment complex and haven't had any complaints from neighbors. I find that riding with a trainer tire helps with noise but maybe that just me. My previous trainer was a CycleOps Fluid 2 and it rides as quiet as it was.
Fit and Finish - The stand feels solid and is wide enough that you'd have to try real hard to flip it over when riding on it. Once adjusted, the quick release works spot on making it easy to get the bike in and out of the trainer. The mount design to get the resistance unit onto the frame is TERRIBLE. As other reviewers have noted you have to align the flimsy plastic tabs up with the frame depending on whether you are riding a mountain bike or road bike. Once you figure out which tabs to use it isn't too difficult to get everything bolted to the frame. The flimsy tabs come into play when adjusting the tension on your wheel. I believe that if you have the tension too high it can brake the alignment tabs, which is exactly what I did. I was able to bodge the resistance unit back onto the frame to make it work, but if I wanted to switch between road and mountain bikes wouldn't be able to do so.
Lessons Learned - If you are worried about breaking the mount download the Tacx utility app. It has a calibration feature which will put the wheel tension in the sweet spot and hopefully not overload anything. The utility app will also check for software updates for the trainer, which I have noticed will improve the feel of the trainer.
* Cost effective
* Despite the issues listed below, the unit works effectively with Zwift and provides an effective workout.
* Although the max resistance is rated at 950 watts max in my experience it will accurately measure power only to about 800-850 watts. Given what I know now I would buy a more expensive unit that can handle more power.
* The base of the unit is not wide enough to allow maximum efforts while standing up on the pedals with any kind of reasonable stability.
* On a Windows computer running Zwift it is necessary to first use a smart phone to connect to the Vortex with the Zwift Mobile Link App. The phone then communicates with the computer via wireless. For calibration the phone communicates with the Vortex via Bluetooth. This is annoying. The Bluetooth connectivity has a relatively short range. In order to achieve connectivity with my iPhone using the Tacx Utility app for calibration I need to hold the phone within 1-2 feet of the Vortex until the two pair and I can then move the phone a greater distance away.
* A direct connection between the Vortex and the computer by USB would be much better. Wireless communication is essential while riding outdoors but offers no advantages on a stationary trainer and suffers from poor reliability and performance as noted above.
* The rear tire and the trainer must have the correct tension between them for calibration to succeed. The mechanism for optimizing the tension involves assembling a part of the unit in certain specific positions depending on the tire size. It is made of plastic and the tolerances are not great. I would like to see a more robust mechanism that is continuously adjustable to better optimize the tire pressure against the trainer. At times I am unable to achieve good calibration.
* The noise level is high above about 300 watts.
I've had the trainer for just over a week and I have to tell you that it is so addictive! I didn't bother using any of Tacx's software other than their Apple app to update the firmware. I use the trainer exclusively with Zwift, which costs $10 a month but allows me to ride with other riders around the world. It's like an addictive video game that has the side-benefit of keeping me shape through the winter. I even find myself riding multiple times a day. I realize it's a lot of money to plunk down for a trainer but you have to believe me that it will change the way you train for the better.