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Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer w/ Electro Brake
|Price:||$569.95 & FREE Shipping|
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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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The Tacx Vortex Smart Ergotrainer is the perfect option for enthusiastic cyclists who want to prepare at home for big tours or races.
Color: Trainer with Mat | Size: Set
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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.
So first and foremost, this is based off of what arrived on my door step.
I bought this used however the quality of it is like new. If you had told me it was new I'd have believed you. Original packaging etc, including warranty information.
1. My box came with a USA power cord. So if you live in the USA, and use plugs that we use in the USA, then this does/should come with a plug that works on USA power outlets.
2. This worked, via blutooth, with zwift right out of the box. I used an iphone SE. It found the trainer via blutooth within seconds and had no issues updating the firmware.
3. I used the Zwift mobile link to pair it via blutooth. Everything worked fine. I did not have any drop outs in connection. Zwift also controlled the resistance via bluetooth. There are reviews on here saying that you must have the ANT+ dongle for this to work. It is not true. If you plan on using blutooth, go for it.
4. I had the phone multiple feet away from the trainor at times and had no noticeable differnce in performance. I even kept it in my backpocket for a while as well as browsed the internet on it and sent text messages. No issues.
5. The reviews also talk about 2 flimsy plastic tabs that are easy to break. I dont know what tabs they are as mine has no such thing i could find. Either mines an updated model and they got rid of it or they reviewed the wrong product.
6. Set up is a little confusing. My best recommendation is to just throw the instructions away and go to youtube. Search for Shane Miller Tacx vortex review or Tacx vortex how to. You'll get great results walking you through it.
Now that we have dispelled some myths, lets talk about the trainor! Its awesome. Feeling the resistance change when you go up and down is fantastic. It is a complete game changer. I do not race or compete but I like to bike enough that I do it year round. If your like me and on the fence on dropping $$$.$$ due to its more of a recreational hobby then my advice would be to a smart trainor out at a friends house or bike shop. If you like the experience, save up and wait for a great price. It is still not the same as being outside but this is as close as your going to get, but with 5,000 other people helping you along the way.
TLDR: Works fine with blutooth right out of the box. Changes resistance just fine via Zwift/blutooth. Lots of fun
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.
Don't rely on its built in cadence sensor. It shuts off occasionally when slowing from a fast cadence and takes a while to read accurately again.