TECHNOLOGY

Driven by innovation

Tacx trainers’ working principle

The flywheel

Brake force & brake power

Smart technology

Train Smart with a basic trainer

Virtual Power

Dynamic power control

Defining cadence

Working principle of NEO

Road feel

Plug in/Plug out technology

Dual technology

Bio-bottle

Tacx trainers’ working principle

All Tacx trainers are magnetic trainers, the resistance is caused by a magnetic field. You can set the trainer’s resistance precisely as required as the magnitude of this field is adjustable. The result is a highly functional, contact- and maintenance-free resistance unit. The magnetic field is realized differently amid the various types of resistance units, causing a difference in the trainer’s functionality and usability.

Direct drive
The bike is placed in the direct drive trainer without its rear wheel; the resistance is applied directly to the rear axle. This causes a more realistic and user-friendly trainer. There are no transmissions causing any loss of power, ensuring a very realistic cycling feeling and accurate measurements of your speed, cadence and power. In addition, there is no wear and no slipping of the tyre; the direct drive is maintenance free and your bike is easily mounted on it.

Motor brake
The motor brake is the most advanced resistance unit producing the most realistic cycling feeling. The resistance is calculated and generated by an electromotor. The motor can both hold back (brake) and drive the wheel or chain, enabling the simulation of a descent. It will keep spinning; just like outdoors you do not have to pedal. This downhill drive feature also enables a realistic simulation of the dead point in your pedal stroke. In addition, the motor brake is the most powerful and can generate high resistance at low speeds. This makes the motor brake especially suited for simulating steep climbs. Due to these features, Tacx trainers with a motor brake are ideally suited for training on mountain stages.

Wireless motor brake
A wireless motor brake is an electromotor with a generator; it generates its own energy from your pedal stroke. The trainer uses this energy to communicate and produce the needed resistance. As the trainer does not require an external power source, it can be placed anywhere you like. As its power is generated from your movement, the trainer cannot simulate a descent. You are not pedalling, so it cannot generate any energy.

Electro brake
An electro brake features one row with electromagnets and one with permanent magnets, with a rotating disc in between. The resistance is set automatically by increasing or decreasing the current through the electromagnets.

Magnet brake
The resistance is realized by permanent magnets so trainers with a magnet brake do not require power. The Booster features two rows of magnets; other basic trainers feature one row of magnets and a disc. The magnetic field increases or decreases by changing the position of the magnets, which is done manually with a lever to set the resistance. The Satori Smart is equipped with a long-life battery to enable communication.

The flywheel

To make the cycling feeling as realistic as possible, all Tacx trainers are equipped with a flywheel. When you are cycling outdoors and stop pedalling, your bike does not stop rolling immediately. The same effect is seen in the dead point of your pedal stroke. The kinetic energy causing the bike to keep rolling is simulated by the trainer’s flywheel; this is called the flywheel effect or mass inertia. The heavier the flywheel, the more realistic the cycling feeling.

Virtual flywheel
Tacx trainers are equipped with an actual or a virtual flywheel. The best experience is achieved with an exact simulation of the rider’s weight, which is only possible with a virtual flywheel. In this case, the trainer simulates the mass inertia instead of producing it with an actual flywheel. In contrast to the actual flywheel, the virtual flywheel can adjust the mass inertia to the circumstances; like speed, slope and weight. For example, when you ride up a mountain you will experience a different cycling feeling than when you are riding with high speed on a flat road. Therefore, the virtual flywheel is the best solution for an optimal cycling experience.

Trainers equipped with a virtual flywheel are the NEO Smart and Genius models. The Bushido Smart is a combination of an actual and virtual flywheel.

Brake force & brake power

The brake power of the trainer is the result of the brake force and mass inertia of the trainer and dependent on your speed. For example, a NEO Smart is capable of generating 2200W at 40km/h, while a Vortex can power up to 950W at this speed. A trainer with high brake power can generate high resistance at low speeds, so it can realistically simulate steep inclines.

The higher the brake force, the steeper the incline can be simulated at a certain weight. For example, the NEO has a brake force of 250N and can therefore simulate a slope realistically up to 25% at a weight of 75kg. The trainer’s brake force, expressed in Newtons (N), is defined by the structural architecture that causes the resistance, like the kind and amount of magnets. Which brake force is required for an accurate simulation is defined by the weight, slope, air resistance and rolling resistance. All these factors are taken into account in the simulation.

The mass inertia represents the needed energy to set the flywheel in motion or accelerate it. In contrast to an actual flywheel, a virtual flywheel can change the mass inertia precisely to the conditions; like speed, slope and weight. Therefore, a virtual flywheel is adjusted to accurately simulate the rider’s weight. This results in the most realistic simulation.

Smart technology

Smart technology refers to the Smart electronics products use to communicate. Tacx Smart trainers can be connected to any device, and several devices simultaneously, as they communicate via ANT+ and Bluetooth® Smart.

Tacx Smart trainers are characterized by the following features:
1. Open wireless communication
2. Measuring and receiving performance data
3. Upgradable firmware
4. Standalone training

Open wireless communication
The functionality of Tacx Smart trainers is improved by enabling the communication with as many devices and apps as possible. This way you can use almost any training option. This is realized by using standardized wireless communication protocols: ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth Smart open.

ANT+ FE-C protocol
The ANT+ FE-C protocol enables Smart trainers to communicate with third party software on desktops, bike computers and sport watches. The interactive trainers can be controlled by Tacx software, or other computer software like Zwift and the Garmin Edge 520.

We got to work directly after ANT+ launched the ANT+ FE-C protocol. The result: our indoor trainers are the first to be ANT+ FE-C certified and use the new language. ANT+ FE-C stands for “ANT+ Fitness Equipment Control”. Until now, trainers of various brands communicated in their own language. Therefore they did not understand each other and could not communicate. By implementing the new language – the ANT+ FE-C open profile – in trainers and software they are able to communicate and connect with each other.

Bluetooth Smart
This is also called Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth low energy and enables communication with smartphones, tablets and sport watches. With Bluetooth Smart the interactive trainers are controlled by Tacx apps and other apps such as TrainerRoad and Kinomap.

After creating the ANT+ FE-C open protocol, we started creating an open protocol for Bluetooth. Smartphones and tablets can often only receive the Bluetooth signal, not the ANT+ signal. By sending the same language as the ANT+ FE-C protocol via Bluetooth, Smart trainers can also communicate with third party apps on devices that only have a Bluetooth receiver. This protocol has been created by Tacx and is available to software manufacturers, so that everybody can link a Tacx Smart trainer to the software of their choice.

Connect to multiple devices simultaneously
As the trainer uses both communication protocols, it can connect to several devices at the same time. For example, you can ride a Tacx Film on your tablet while reading and storing your performance data in Garmin Connect on your bike computer. This way you can keep track of your performance in your favourite apps.

Measure and receive performance data
All Tacx Smart trainers measure your speed, cadence and power and transmit this via ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart so that it can be received at several devices simultaneously. The interactive trainers can also receive these signals in order to adjust the resistance.

To receive your heart rate you will need a heart rate monitor that communicates via ANT+ or Bluetooth 4.0. The monitor is connected to the app you are using, and the app communicates this to the trainer.

Upgradable firmware
Product optimizations and improving the trainers’ functionalities is a continuous project at Tacx. You can add firmware improvements, for example for the cycling feeling or an extra feature, to the Smart trainer you are already using with the Tacx Utility app. This free app is available in the App store and on Google Play. After installing the app you can test whether there is a firmware update available and if yes, directly upgrade your trainer. This way you always profit from the latest firmware!

Standalone training
Tacx Smart trainers also function without being connected to a device; they will simulate a flat road. This is perfect for straightforward, short training as you simply get on and start riding.

As soon as you start pedalling the trainer recognizes it is not connected and calculates the needed resistance for a flat road. In doing so, it takes all relevant factors into account, like rolling resistance and air resistance. This ensures a very realistic simulation of a flat road. The resistance changes progressively: the higher your speed, the higher the resistance.

Train Smart with a basic trainer

A basic Smart trainer measures your performance data and transmits this via ANT+ and Bluetooth. This enables you to connect the trainer to the desired device and receive this data in the app or software of your choice. The trainer’s resistance is changed with a lever and you can upgrade the firmware free of charge via the Tacx Utility app.

It is also possible to upgrade a basic trainer to a Smart trainer! By connecting a speed and cadence sensor to the trainer you can ride based on Virtual Power, an estimation of your power. This is possible with Tacx apps, Zwift and TrainerRoad.

Virtual Power

Upgrade a basic trainer to a Smart trainer to train with Tacx apps, Zwift and TrainerRoad. All you need is a speed and cadence sensor!

You will ride based on Virtual Power. The software estimates your power based on your speed and the resistance level of the trainer. Each trainer has its own power curve, dependent on the speed and position of the resistance unit. The various software packages have the power curves of all basic Tacx trainers. You, yourself, indicate what position the basic trainer is in and the linked sensor transmits your speed. The software then calculates your power.

Virtual Power is an indication of your delivered power and enables you to train with your favourite app, but it is less accurate than a direct power measurement.

Dynamic power control

Interactive trainers feature a dynamic control of the brake force, the resistance is continuously calculated and adjusted. When calculating the resistance, all physical formulas a cyclist encounters on the road are applied to reach a true simulation. Air and rolling resistance, slope, weight, air pressure, wind speed, temperature, altitude and inertia are all taken into account and calculated hundreds of times per second to achieve a realistic feel.

dynamic-power-control

Defining cadence

Interactive trainers of Tacx measure your cadence without the help of a sensor. The trainer is constantly aware of your speed and uses this to define your cycling movement. The speed is zero at the top of the pedal stroke and it is maximal in between. Therefore, the trainer knows when you have made a full circle and uses this to define your cadence.

Because of this calculation there is no need for an external sensor, but this is possible if required.

cadence-calculation

Working principle of NEO

The innovative working principle of the NEO is the purest form of direct drive technology. Three important elements lead to the NEO’s unique features.

Efficient power flow design
To optimize power efficiency from pedal to motor, all physical transmissions, like a belt, roller or wheel, are eliminated. There is no loss of power as there are no disruptions or imperfections that interfere with the cyclist’s power flow. This results in a very efficient system that measures your performance with an exceptional accuracy of 1%, while there is no need for calibration.

Furthermore, due to the lack of transmissions, the motor’s revolutions per minute is very low, minimizing resonance and noise. This makes the NEO the most silent indoor bike trainer to date.

Innovative motor design
The NEO derives its strength from an electromotor containing 32 precisely positioned magnets that rotate around 30 coils. The higher the current through the coils, the larger the magnetic force and the higher the brake power. Its motor can generate a maximum power of 2500 watts with a torque of 85Nm, enabling high resistance at low speeds. This means that even the steepest climbs are realistically simulated.

Intelligent mind
The innovative power flow design and motor design are enhanced by a highly intelligent mind. The electronics, and especially its firmware, create the trainer. The position of all rotating parts are specified and controlled a thousand times per second. The electronics are 100% of the time in control of the feeling in the rider’s legs.

The combination of a smart design with Smart electronics create a unique product, making the NEO the only one of its kind.

Features equipped in the NEO that contribute to the realistic cycling feeling and ease of use are:

  • Downhill drive
  • Virtual flywheel
  • Plug in/plug out technology
  • Road feel

Road feel

The NEO is the only trainer featuring road feel, enabling you to experience the sensation of cobblestones, mud and other kinds of roads. You feel the road’s vibrations just like you would outdoors. Each road has certain imperfections causing vibrations in your bike. The NEO is capable of simulating these vibrations and transferring them to your bike* by continuously controlling the motor. Therefore, when you ride on cobbles in the software, you will feel it in your legs. The NEO can simulate different road surfaces: little cobbles, large cobbles, grit, mud, concrete plates, cattle grids and pavers.

This unique feature is developed by Tacx and only available for the NEO, which distinguishes it even further from other available trainers. Road feel provides a whole new dimension to indoor cycling and is available in the Tacx Cycling app (films**), Tacx Trainer software 4.0 (films and virtual worlds) and Zwift.

* The vibrations generated by the NEO do not harm the bike
** Only a selection of films feature road feel. Check the description in the app or the Tacx website to see if the film features road feel.

Plug in/Plug out technology

The trainer can be used with and without a plug. When riding on the trainer without a plug, it functions like a wireless motor brake (like the Bushido). The permanent motor and electronics are set to generate energy from your movement, enabling the trainer to communicate with apps and control the resistance unit. It features all Smart functionalities, but you will have to keep cycling to maintain the communication and control of the trainer.

For an optimal cycling experience we advise you to use the plug. Without one, it cannot simulate descents and when you stop pedalling the trainer will soon come to a stop. Road feel is always available.

Dual technology

With dual technology you can connect a trainer or sensor to multiple devices simultaneously. This enables you to train with your preferred software while receiving your data on your bike computer or sport watch. For example, you train based on power with the Tacx Trainer app via your smartphone and receive the same wattage on your Garmin sport watch.

Tacx Smart trainers and sensors communicate via ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart®. Most smartphones and tablets can only receive a Bluetooth signal, while most sport watches and bike computers feature ANT+. You can connect one device via Bluetooth and multiple devices via ANT+. As the Tacx sensors transmit the same signal via both channels, you can connect any favoured device. This enables you to keep track of your performance via the cloud of your choice. For example, you train based on heart rate with the Tacx Training app on your smartphone while you receive your heart rate in Garmin Connect on your sport watch.

Please note: if you are using a tablet with a Bluetooth version below Bluetooth 4.0 you can use a specially developed receiver. An iPad requires the Wahoo ANT+ dongle and a tablet with micro USB input requires the Tacx ANT dongle micro USB.

Bio-bottle

Biodegradable plastics are a modern necessity since our environment is under growing pressure. Tacx has taken up the challenge to develop a biologically degradable, nature-friendly water bottle.

The Bio-bottle has the same characteristics as the standard Tacx bottles but distinguishes itself by the plastic of the bottle: biodegradable plastic. Adding a small amount of the Bio-batch material alters the molecular structure, which makes the material decompose into Biogas and Biomass. These nourish the soil and are entirely absorbed by nature.