The second generation Tacx Neo 2T looks similar to its predecessor, but is said to be quieter and more powerful, while also offering improved ride feel over what was already one of our favourite smart trainers.
At £1,200 / $1,400 / AU$1,900 the Neo 2T is right up there in terms of top performing trainers with a high-end price tag to match. At this price it’s in competition with some quality smart trainers including the Elite Drivo II ( £1,200 / $1,200 / AU$1,600), as well as the cheaper Wahoo Kickr (£1,000 / $1,200 / AU$1,700) and Kurt Kinetic R1 ( £1,000 / $1,050 / AU$1,700).
No doubt the Neo 2T looks different to all the other direct-drive trainers available, however, and I dig its space-age looks.
If you’re not familiar with the Tacx range, the Neo 2T sits at the head of the smart trainer line-up, above the Flux 2 Smart and Flux S Smart. As a result, it’s the most accurate smart trainer in the collection, to a claimed +/- 1 per cent.
Tacx Neo 2T set up
After pulling the Neo 2T out of the box, it’s super simple to set up by simply unfolding the two legs. That’s it.
Unfolded, the unit’s footprint is 75cm long x 58cm wide x 55cm tall, and it instantly feels stable.
The unit weighs 21.5kg, which makes it heavy to lug around, but more importantly helps to give it that immediately stable platform. This is also similar to its competitors, such as the Wahoo Kickr at 22.5kg, but it is heavier than the Elite Drivo II at 19kg.
The legs fold in for storage, reducing the size to an impressive 62cm long x 26cm wide x 44cm tall, but there’s no carry handle. This makes it a little trickier to move than trainers with a handle, such as the Wahoo Kickr.
Unlike some trainers at this price point, Tacx doesn’t supply a cassette in the box, so you will need to buy and fit one, and add factor that in to your budget. The Neo 2T freehub will work with Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM cassettes, with 8-, 9-, 10-, 11- and 12-speed set-ups covered.
In terms of hub compatibility, the Neo works with regular 130mm quick release and 135mm, 142mm and 148mm thru-axles. It will also work with 135 x 10mm, but you will need to purchase an adaptor for this.
Once plugged in and ready to go, which is all quick and simple to do, you can use the Tacx Utility app to pair the unit and check firmware updates. The app is available on iOS and Android.
The Tacx Neo 2T is ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth and FTMS compatible, so will work with most platforms whether smart phone, tablet or desktop computer. Plus, there are no compatibility issues with all the main training apps, including Zwift (which I used for testing) and TrainerRoad. Connectivity here couldn’t have been quicker or simpler.
Unlike other smart trainers, the Neo 2 uses a virtual flywheel. This means that there’s no belt and the cassette directly drives the motor unit, which is used to apply resistance. This means it can be used without plugging it in to an electrical power source. Everything works without a power source apart from descent simulation (where the trainer replicates the feeling of accelerating into a decent).
Tacx Neo 2T ride impressions
Once clipped in on the bike, the unit feels extremely stable and the ride feel is superb. Not only does it feel better than most of the competition, the Neo 2T simulates a wide range of surfaces including regular roads, cobblestones, gravel and dirt roads. When used with Tacx Films or Zwift, this provides a truly unique ride experience, and in a positive way.
This simulation is largely down to the virtual flywheel and the signals the motor and resistance units send to it. It is nothing short of impressive and really adds to the ride experience, and certainly keeps you on your toes and holds interest as you train in your chosen software.
In terms of resistance, the Neo 2T offers a maximum power of 2,200 watts, which means you’re never going to have any issues even when you’re smashing out quick sprints. As you’d expect, the Neo 2T is Tacx’s most powerful trainer, with the more affordable Flux 2 and Flux S offering up to 2,000 and 1,500 watts respectively.
Power output figures when compared with Garmin’s Vector pedals were always similar and within 2 per cent of my benchmark output. Similarly, cadence figures were very good thanks to the contactless capacitive sensors built into the unit.
Tacx Neo 2T overall
It’s hard not to fall in love with the Neo 2T. It is at the top-end of the market in terms of price but delivers on so many levels.
It’s easy to set-up and use, offers a solid platform to ride on, folds up for storage and is extremely accurate. It’s also very quiet when running and I measured it at 61dB with an iPhone app. This is really impressive and, to be honest, chain noise from the transmission is louder than the unit.
What makes the Neo 2T standout above the competition is the use of the virtual flywheel. This offers a ride feel like no other and makes training more fun and realistic than ever before. Plus, the ability to use this trainer without a power source, which is great for race/time trial warm-ups (not withstanding its hefty weight), takes things up a notch.
All of these things come together to make the Tacx Neo 2T an outstanding smart trainer.