Feeling the wind on your face isn’t the same when it’s so cold that a line of mucus is pooling in your ears. South Africans call that a snotspoed; and it’s what you get from belting downhill on a bike in the middle of a ‘crisp’ winter morning. Some people really like that experience. For everyone else, there’s Garmin’s Tacx NEO 2T.
Indoor cycling trainers became seriously popular in South Africa during the initial COVID lockdown. Since then, they’ve proved their worth. But some are more worthy than others. The Tacx NEO 2T has proved worthy, featuring improved performance across the board. This is thanks to an improved motor, more detailed analytics feedback, and a couple of other bits and pieces.
Is this the real life?
Indoor cycling trainers, as the name suggests, let cyclists take their bikes – which they didn’t pay too much for, if anyone asks – for a spin without leaving home. It’s not, as you might think, a more expensive version of the stationary bike. It’s so much more. Your lightweight, carbon-fiber beauty has its rear wheel removed and connected to the trainer. From there, it’s almost like riding on the road. Almost.
Except you’re unlikely to ride the roads available on Zwift, TrainerRoad, or the Tacx NEO 2T’s own Tacx software. Not unless you’re seriously carb-loading and chasing a yellow jersey, anyway. Sure, you can use these trainers without external software. The Tacx NEO 2T simply simulates a flat road if you do. But it’s no substitute for the experience of riding without riding. It’s a little Zen that way.
Resistance is no longer futile
The NEO 2T accurately simulates the experience you would have on the road. Whether you’re powering up an incline or keeping control of the descent, the NEO 2T’smotor provides real-world resistance to match your situation. Which situation? That’s up to you. Tacx offers routes from around the world, so you don’t need to plot along the same old course every day.
While you’re enjoying your virtual workout, the NEO 2T is measuring leg positions thanks to capacitive sensors on either side. The trainer has a new magnet configuration that reduces noise, and the motor supports dynamic inertia that accounts for weight, speed, and your current incline.
Tour de everwhere
Tacx’s software includes a library of more than 100 courses from around the world. From Cape Town to Monaco, cyclists can experience real-world locations from the comfort of their lounge. It’s not just a program of exquisitely replicated road, either. These settings can be experienced as part of training plans or live races against distant opponents. It’s possible to sort these by slope, power, heart rate, or FTP.
The data generated includes ANT+ cycling dynamics. Pedal stroke information is available and is compatible with Garmin’s Edge bike computers. Cyclists can also upload their own GPS data to create their own experiences. In these cases, 3D maps stand in for the typical video.
Never leave home without it
The Tacx NEO 2T cycling trainer is far more than a stationary bike. It’s a way to get your heart thumping when inclement weather has you groaning and reaching for the snooze button. It’s a way to experience some of the most iconic rides on the planet. Better yet, it’s a way to do this with friends and even strangers, wherever they might be.
The Tacx NEO 2T is currently available from Garmin in South Africa. It’ll set you back just R27,000. Which, if you’re being honest, isn’t the most expensive thing you’ve bought for your bike, now is it?