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  • Tacx - Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer - One Color
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  • Tacx - Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer - One Color

Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer

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    10 Reviews


    The smart one.

    The Tacx Neo Smart Trainer represents a new paradigm of training functionality. It's a true direct-drive machine that Tacx claims is the quietest, most realistic trainer to date. This realism even extends to mimicking the virtual road surface with compatible training apps, which is something that not even the Genius trainers can do. It's Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible, and it receives resistance and terrain input from Tacx's own software, Zwift, Kinomap, Skuga, Trainer Road, FulGaz, The Sufferfest, Cycleops Virtual Training, BKOOL, Golden Cheetah, Maximum Trainer, Perfpro, and VeloReality. It's also compatible with Garmin's 520 and Magellan's Mio 505 head units.

    • A cycling trainer that makes you feel the road
    • Tacx's quietest, most realistic unit to date
    • Syncs with various apps for interactive training sessions
    • Mimics gradients up to 25%
    • Compatible with most 9, 10, and 11 speed cassettes
    • Item #TAC0026

    Tech Specs

    Bluetooth, ANT+
    [base] 750 x 575mm
    Recommended Use

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    No Cassette, No Problem, FAST shipment,

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    1. I ride an older 1993 Raleigh, its uses a 7 speed cassette. This Tacx will accept an 8 speed cassette and that will work with my bike's shifters and derailed. The Neo comes with the 1mm spacer for mounting the cassette (ordered separately).
    2. I paid the $20 for two business day shipping (ordered on Sunday) and very happy it arrived Tuesday (thanks BackCountry).
    3. It works perfectly so far, only one 18 mile ride (swift).
    4. If you are on the fence, jump off and buy this Neo. I am happy with it.

    Great Trainer

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Update (March 2019) - 5 Stars:
    Backcountry really helped me out and got a new unit sent out (seriously, additional 5 stars to the customer service team). This one appeared to be brand new, and so far it’s been working great. Using it primarily with Zwift, and it’s pretty cool to ride over wood bridges and cobblestones and feel the vibration. It actually feels pretty realistic. Works well on climbs to simulate riding up a hill. For days with crummy weather, or if you just don’t feel like going outside for a ride, this is a really great alternative.

    One thing to note is that the unit is HEAVY and while it folds up, it’s difficult to maneuver around when putting away.

    I also read on a forum that it’s recommended to leave the unit plugged in for a while after use to allow the fans to cool the unit down. Not sure if that’s accurate, or if it was part of the issue with the previous unit, but I have been leaving it plugged in until the unit is cool to the touch.

    Original Review (February 2019) - 1 Star:
    Hard to know where to start.

    When the unit arrived and I opened it up, it was covered in a thin layer of dust and what looked like dog or cat hair (attached a photo of the unit right after I removed it from the box). The power strip was somewhat scuffed and was tied together with what looked like an aftermarket zip tie. Basically, what I'm saying is that the unit appeared to be used. However, I cleaned it up, got it set up and it worked fine.

    Initial Impressions:
    I used it with Zwift and it was really cool. When you ride over cobblestones or wooden bridges it provides pretty realistic feedback. It gives pretty realistic resistance when doing climbs. Overall, pretty great. Way better than just riding a standard trainer.

    The Bad:
    I was only able to use this thing for 2 hours. I did two 1-hour rides this week. Today when I went to plug it in and use it, it was dead. Fan would spin up for a couple of seconds, then quit. The indicator lights (power, bluetooth) didn't turn on, and the color-changing LED on the front of the unit wouldn't turn on either when I pedaled.

    If you do a Google search for this issue, there are a lot of reports on forums. Many of the reports mention melted wires. Several posts also mention leaving the unit plugged in for a while after use to allow the fans to fully cool the unit down.
    I called up Backcountry and they sent out a replacement unit at no charge (thanks guys, 5 stars for customer service). If the new one works better, I'll certainly update this review.

    Great Trainer

    Awesome Trainer

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Chose this trainer after major issues with another brand. Didn't try this unit to begin with due to price. Now I would say it is worth the extra money having tried other brands. Realistic road feel. Reliable. Works great with Zwift. 250 miles on it and still going strong.

    Beats my previous trainer in every way

      Coming from: Kickr Snap. General comments after a couple hundred “miles” so far:
      - It’s a direct drive trainer, not a wheel-on like the Snap. This is great because you don’t have to worry about tire pressure, wearing out tires, and noise/drag.
      - Among the different brands of direct drive trainers, the Tacx Neo seems to be the most user friendly:
      1. You never have to calibrate it or warm it up before riding – I had problems with my Snap on this. Now I just plug it in and go. This is easily my favorite feature. Even though this only takes 10 minutes or so for other trainers, it gets annoying after a while.
      2. You can use without a power source if you need to
      3. It has some other nice other options that aren’t make or break but still actually pretty cool (Tacx specific app, Zwift road feel feature)
      Shortlist of Pros:
      - Super easy to use
      - No calibrating
      - Feels about as much like actual normal riding as you’re going to get
      - Quiet
      Shortlist of Cons:
      - Price
      - There’s a new Neo 2, but the improvements seem marginal based on what I can tell.
      If I were recommending a trainer to someone, happily would recommend the Neo or Neo 2 as long as price wasn’t the biggest factor in the purchase.

      A lot to like

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      The Neo is an amazing trainer. It is very stable, has a unique design and works with all third party apps. The road feel feature is very cool, especially in Zwift. The unit is heavy and bulky. Getting the wings unfolded can be tricky, but once they are locked in place, no problems. Some have complained about carrying the unit when folded and scraping knuckles on the cassette. All you have to do is hold the unit by each end, not by the wings and it is easy to carry and much more stable. Problem solved.

      Connectivity and performance are excellent. There is a small amount of noise, but that only really shows under hard efforts. The front wheel block is beefy and makes things very stable, too. The Neo is a great choice and a good buy at the current price. Although you can use it without the power brick plugged in, to get full functionality, you'll end up using the power brick. It is just a better, complete experience when using all the features of this trainer.

      Update: I liked this trainer, but quality issues forced me to return two of them. Each unit has a recurring "whump-whump" noise that could not be resolved. One had bluetooth connection issues. I really wanted to keep and use this trainer, but at this price point, you expect perfection (and certainly no "whump-whump" noise).

      Just like riding a bike outside

      • 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.

      Expected more at this price.

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      Replaced my Computrainer based on reviews. Neo cadence is worthless. Reads either correct cadence or way over 100. Not consistent. For this price it should work perfectly. Had to add a Garmin cadence sensor to crank arm to get accurate cadence. Still trying to get PerfPro to sync and control resistance. . Zwift works fine.

      Why replace the computrainer? I bought mine on the 90’s and it continues to simulate to a T roads I have raced and riden. I can ride with my sim self in memorie from 2000.
      I suppose the online experience is the draw. Cool looking for sure!

      Why did I wait so long?

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      I am new to indoor cycling, though I have wanted to get started for quite awhile. This Tacx Neo is the perfect introduction, because I won't have to bemoan a system with better features and capabilities that comes out in the future.

      It was easy to set up. My LBS was kind enough to put the cassette on and check that it would work the way I wanted. BTW - they do not sell this brand.

      Anyway, after second-guessing myself on attaching the bike, I was up and running. I needed to update the firmware. Believe Tacx when they tell you to shut off all other applications running Bluetooth while you are updating. I figured they were just saying that, like applications tell you to shut down other applications while installing. Well, you actually need to. After a couple of false starts, I was updated.

      Then Zwift. WOW - so easy. It found the Neo and we were good to go. Well, the equipment was. I quickly discovered that indoor cycling is a whole different animal. I decided to build up my strength and endurance by gradually increasing my ride time.

      It is quiet. So quiet that I decided to rethink my plan of having to ride it in the garage.

      It is easy, especially the software part.

      This experience is, as others have said, a video game that is actually GOOD FOR YOU! Looking forward to many happy hours with my bike and Neo.

      Almost forgot - I'm using this with a 2012 Ruby Comp. She's happy to be indoors.

      Treat yourself!

      Why did I wait so long?


      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      This machine works. Biggest pro is that it is quiet. Use it with the CC Merlin, as well as a CAAD 12. No complaints with fit. Sits in one place in the house and so not a lot of moving. Have moved it to the garage (Texas) for heat acclimatization and it isn't convenient to carry, but not impossible. Has a one-up on other trainers in that you can use it without plugging it in. I use this with Trainer Road and it works. Erg mode is relentless opportunity for adaptation. Had it for about a year, putting about 4-7 hours on it a week, no issues. Strong recommendation for those looking for a quiet, reliable, accurate indoor trainer.

      Extremely nice machine

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      I had a Wahoo Kickr (1st generation) which I really liked. It was a bit noisy and I live in an apartment. My wife was complaining about the noise from the other rooms - so I decided to swap it out for the Neo. (This was before the Kickr Gen 2 came out - which is supposed to be substantially more quiet). I like this machine marginally better than I liked the Kickr.
      - Virtually silent
      - Works like a charm
      - Looks like a rocket ship - so cool
      - Realistic feel when riding over cobbles and planks - also cool
      - Feels more "life-like" due to magnet drive vs. flywheel on Kickr. Makes downhill more realistic

      - A little tougher to mount my bike than it was with the Kickr
      - Price
      - Setting up and breaking down takes longer and is slightly awkward due to a lack of a handle and the way the legs open and shut. It's not easy to break down and to move around. But if you just leave it in one place - no big deal.

      I would give it a 5 if not for the breakdown/setup issue.

      I understand Tacx has a new an improved Neo Smart Trainer? It is called the Neo Smart 2. Do you have it? I don't want to buy an outdated model.

      Does the Neo have adjustable feet like the Kickr? How do the base dimensions compare between the Neo and Kickr?

      The Neo does not have adjustable feet, so a flat, level floor is best for this trainer. The base is wider than the Kickr, but not by much. The Tacx and Wahoo web sites can provide specific dimensions.