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Tacx Vortex smart trainer makes Zwift affordable at home

By 21st October 2016 No Comments

As the weather worsens and the nights draw in, many of us turn to training at home to keep the legs turning over and of course staying dry! With so many brands and models to choose from it’s hard to know where to start. But with Zwift growing its worldwide user base by the minute, we looked for a trainer that would utilise the features but wouldn’t smash the budget. Enter the Tacx Vortex.

The Tacx Vortex is quick and easy to set up, it took me about 20 minutes before I was pedalling. You need to use the Tacx Utility App (iOS & Android) in order to calibrate the Tacx Vortex and perform firmware updates which was really no great chore.

It’s a well-built unit and is certainly stable enough to give confidence and let you put the hammer down out of the saddle every now and again, and although it’s quiet at low-to-moderate output it can be a touch on the noisy side on full gas. There’s a subdued sound from beneath it too, so you’ll want to use a mat and/or trainer tyre if you live in an apartment.

Tacx Vortex Smart Trainer

The Tacx Vortex offers great bang for your buck in the smart trainer category

The resistance changes are progressive, I personally have to ride in a higher gear than on the road to maintain good cadence, plus the accuracy of the cadence sensor is a little patchy. Sprinters might be troubled by the 900w max resistance too.

There’s no trainer software included either, a miss given the price of the Vortex. You can manually change the resistance with the free Trainer app, but for the full virtual experience you’ll need either Tacx’s pricey Upgrade Smart kit, or a subscription to a service like Zwift or Bkool. You’ll also need an ANT+ USB dongle, something else which should’ve been in included.

The @Tacx Vortex offers great bang for your buck in the smart trainer category #Zwift #Bkool #Cycling Click To TweetThe Vortex works flawlessly in Zwift though. I have no connectivity issues, and gradients and speed are replicated well. The 7% max gradient of the Tacx Vortex should be sufficient for the standard club rider but may be a limitation for the more ambitious climbers (even if it does use virtual speed for steeper hills). Bkool works equally well too if you prefer real-world video routes.

The lack of inclusive software is a shame, but the Tacx Vortex is more than half the price of some rivals. If you don’t intend to use virtual training software then I’d probably suggest a higher-spec fluid trainer instead, but if you’re simply after the Zwift experience, then I wouldn’t look much further than the Tacx Vortex.

Tacx Vortex promotional video

 

How to build the Tacx Vortex

Check Tacx Vortex Availability

Ryan Nesbitt

Ryan Nesbitt

Dad, Cyclist, Marketeer, QPR fan and lover of most things Design & Tech.A former Personal Trainer with too many injuries from Running, playing Football and Rugby; he found Cycling and never looked back.Ryan is founder and regular writer at Cycled.cc. You can find him on Instagram at @CyclingChap

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