Tacx Vortex Smart Training Base
|Price:||$489.98 & 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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|Item Dimensions||7.5 x 19.9 x 23.6 inches|
|Item Weight||0.48 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||24.69 pounds|
The Vortex Smart Training Base doesn't quite recreate the extremes of Tacx's pricier models, but its 7% max simulated gradient and its ceiling of 950 watts are more than most of use in an actual race--let alone an indoor training session. These numbers allow it to recreate everything from a long climb to a sprint, so the Vortex keeps up with the virtual course info fed to it from training apps like Zwift and Tacx's own options.
Color: White | Size: One Size
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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.
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.
It is well-built and works beautifully for this application. Connected to a computer, the Tacx Vortex Smart smoothly varies resistance to simulate hills, drafting or to keep your power output within a range for workout mode.
To connect to a computer, you do need to find someone with an iphone or ipad to update the Tacx Vortex Smart firmware. No, you cannot do it via Android. Yes, this is annoying, but I just brought it in to work and found someone willing to download the Tacx Utility app and it was an easy one-time update.
For the price, there's no other trainer that has the same features.