Tacx has launched the Tacx Neo Bike Plus, an upgraded version of the existing Neo Bike Smart Trainer, and has upped the price from £2,299/$3,199 to £3,499/$3,999.
Already one of the best indoor exercise bikes (opens in new tab), the new version is an evolution of the outgoing bike rather than a ground-up redesign and as such looks very similar and carries over many of its functions.
There are three main updates/refinements:
Tap-upgraded, programmable shifters
Tacx has redesigned the shifters so that users can program them to work like SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo, which sounds ideal if you want to mimic your road bike setup and avoid a misshift in the heat of a Zwift (opens in new tab)race.
Five crank length options
For extra adjustability, there are now five crank length options available from 165mm up to 175mm in 2.5mm increments. Lengths are marked on the end of the crank and you simply screw the pedal into the right one. The previous Neo Bike offered three crank lengths from 170mm-175mm, meaning smaller riders are now catered for.
More adjustable seatpost and stem
And the third update that Tacx highlights is the slimmer seatpost that gives better clearance than before and that is adjustable down to the millimetre - with the stem supplying the same fine-tunability according to Tacx.
And the things that Tacx has kept: as with the previous bike - and the Neo 2 smart trainer - the Neo Bike Plus can replicate different surfaces such as cobbles and gravel when you hit those particular sectors on indoor training platforms.
The maximum resistance remains the same at 2,200 watts with a maximum 25% gradient, and Tacx claims 1% accuracy, as before.
There’s also the dynamic inertia feature that simulates the changing feel at the pedals with speed and gradient, and the simulation of freewheeling on a descent when connected to an external power source.
At the cockpit end it still has the 4.5in display that can be used if you’re training without a tablet or other screen, plus the two built-in fans that - like the Wahoo Kickr Headwind (opens in new tab) - can be controlled by heart rate and power.
There are USB ports so that a device can be charging while you’re using it (as long as the Neo Bike Plus is plugged into the mains).
Tacx of course pushes the Tacx Training app. “With a premium subscription to the Tacx Training app, riders can better immerse themselves in their indoor training experience with more than 250 high-quality, real-life videos from around the world and can even join ‘Ride with the Pros’ challenges with exclusive Garmin sponsored team videos,” it says.
“Cyclists can also follow structured workouts, race live opponents, upload GPS data, ride with 3D maps and more.
Tacx, which is of course now owned by Garmin, also points out that progress can be followed on a Garmin Edge head unit as well as a tablet or laptop.
However, as you’d expect, it is compatible with the usual third-party apps such as Zwift, Wahoo X (opens in new tab) and TrainerRoad, which is what the majority of users are likely to run.
As for the price… the increase represents a considerable jump of around £1,000/$1,000, making it now one of the most expensive smart bikes on the market. The Wahoo Kickr Bike (opens in new tab) - which we rated 4.5/5 - costs exactly the same, which surely can’t be a coincidence, while the Stages SB20 bike (opens in new tab) that we recently rated 4.5/5 is £1,700 cheaper at the UK distributor’s RRP and even undercuts it by £700 at the full price. The Wattbike Atom (opens in new tab) rated 5/5 by CW) is £1,100 cheater at £2,399/$2,999.
We've already got one in on test - check out Andy Turner's first ride impressions (opens in new tab).
And check out Garmin's website (opens in new tab) for all the details and specs.
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