Eric Plathwrote a review of Tacx Neo Smart Trainer on March 19, 2018
Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
I was researching both the Tacx Neo and Wahoo Kickr smart trainers. Both are quiet, but for me the Wahoo had a high pitch noise while riding that was not loud, but I was annoying to me. Others may not have the same noise concerns. Ultimately, I decided on the Neo.
Please note, the Neo does not come with a rear cassette. I ordered a new cassette and chain to eliminate any potential noise from mixing old and chain drivetrain components. And I would recommend doing so if your chain is a season or two old. If you decide to use your current rear cassette, it will need to be removed and installed on the Neo.
After getting the Neo out of the box and reviewing the set-up. I was not super clear with the instructions and required a little internet searching to confirm which spacer was required for my 10 speed Shimano drivetrain. Depending if your bike has 9, 10, or 11 speeds, each requires a different spacer to get the cassette in the proper place. Thankfully all the spacers are included. I did notice some chainline issues and some extra noise from the rear derailleur not aligning perfectly, a few turns of the barrel adjuster provided enough adjustment to get it to not rub.
Next, remove the rear wheel and route the chain over the cassette and tighten the Neo’s skewer. Properly tighten and make sure the bike is securely attached to the trainer.
Also, it is recommended to update the trainer’s firmware. Simply download the Tacx Utiity app, sync it to the Neo and within a few minutes the software is updated.
There are numerous software options available to provide real world resistance and interactivity. Zwift, Sufferfest, Cyclops Rouvy, TrainerRoad, Tacx Training, and the list goes on. You can run them on your smartphone, tablet, or computer and connect to the Neo via Bluetooth/ANT+.
I installed the Zwift app on my iPad and created an account. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, and Zwift will guide you through the steps of pairing to the trainer. It is simple and reliable to connect them.
In Zwift you appear at the side of the road, and when you start pedaling you now are riding in a virtual world with other riders from around the. Since the Neo is a smart trainer it calculates your speed and power output even if you do not have a power meter.
As you pedal how does it feel? Amazingly like riding a bike outside. Obviously, riding indoors will never be a perfect simulation with the wind in your face, the scenery, and freedom.
But you can either ride the Neo with or without being plugged into an outlet. If it is not powered it will provide a static level of resistance, but it will not change resistance as it would powered and synced with a smart trainer software such as Zwift.