Tech of the Month December: Tacx Neo Bike Plus vs Wahoo Kickr Bike V2 and how wide will road wheels go?

We discuss the direction of road wheel design and which is best out of the two most recently updated smart trainers

Image for Tech of the Month December: Tacx Neo Bike Plus vs Wahoo Kickr Bike V2 and how wide will road wheels go?
(Image credit: )

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll have noticed the continued trend for road bikes with generous tyre clearances. As a result, the days of skinny 23s pumped up to 110psi appeared numbered, replaced instead by wider rubber, often run tubeless and at much lower pressures -  and far better for riding over rocks it turns out.

With this in mind, this month we ask just how wide road wheels and tyres may go, picking the brains of Parcours Dev Tate to help us get some answers.

We also compare Tacx and Wahoo's lastest smart bikes to determine whether they justify the price hikes and look into Silca's new chain wax that may, or may not, save you a watt or two but will certainly cost you a few quid to find out.

And last but not least is our Bike of the Month, an affordable number from Cannondale that might just be the starter road bike you're looking for.

Competition

For this month's Garmin Giveaway, we’ve got the Garmin Varia RCT715. It houses a 1080p camera and shoots at 30fps so you’ll be sure to catch any close passes and reg plates while you’re out on the road. 

It’ll be absolutely fine in the rain as it can survive being submerged up to a meter for 30 minutes. It also features Automatic Incident Capture that ensures it continues recording “before, during, and after” an accident. 

It can be controlled via the Varia app and footage will be beamed to it as well making it easy to transfer to a computer should you want to. This is all alongside the benefits of the radar system which lets you know about traffic coming up from the rear. 

To be in with a chance of winning, simply click this link or fill in the form below. We’ll get in contact with the lucky winner by the end of this month. If you don’t end up being the lucky one – don’t worry, we’ll be running it again next month.

Silca Hot Wax X

Silca

(Image credit: Silca)

Silca has developed a reputation for producing premium bike bits. Its range of stylish but expensive cycling accessories, includes pumps, bottle cages and hex wrenches, all beautifully made with price tags high enough to make you wince. 

So it should perhaps come as no surprise that its brand new Hot Wax X chain wax follows suit, retailing at $165 or €199 for 300 grams. Clearly this makes it one of the most expensive ways to lube your chain yet, but like all Silca products there is usually some justification for the cost - here it comes down performance.

Silca claim that its latest wax is 0.5 watt faster than it's existing Secret Chain Blend, while also offering improved longevity with a single coating said to last around 800km. The knock effect is a prolonged life for chain - as much as 30,000 Km or 18,5000 miles by Silca's estimation. 

Despite these claims, the price tag will be a little rich for most cyclists tastes, even those who searching for a watt here and there. A chain wax for the few not the many we suspect. 

How wide will road wheels go?

Hookless rim

(Image credit: Future)

One of the defining road bike trends of 2022 has been the continued development of wider rims and tyres. Inspired in part by the shift to both tubeless technology and disc brakes on road bikes, wheel designers have responded to the greater clearances now offered - 38mm on the Trek Domane for example - in kind, by creating wheels that are optimised around higher volume tyres.

Parcours is one such brand, with it's Disc2 wheel designed from the ground up to work with 28mm tyres while also showing no aerodynamic penalty when shod with a 30mm tyre. 

We sat down with Dov Tate of Parcours, who's an Oxford University mechanical engineering graduate no less, to discuss the future of road wheels and tyres. It made for a fascinating discussion, with Tate believing that there is a sweet spot of sorts on the road, somewhere around the 28mm or 30mm mark, with only those riding rougher terrain and gravel benefiting from going wider still

Tacx Neo Bike Plus vs Wahoo Kickr Bike V2

Image shows rider training indoors on a Tacx Neo 2T turbo trainer

(Image credit: Future)

Both Tacx and Wahoo have recently updated its flagship smart bike. Considering the hefty price tag that accompanies both the Neo Bike Plus and the Kickr Bike V2, we decided to pit them head to head, delving into the upgrades on each model.

We get into plenty of detail in the video but both perhaps the most significant change to both is the hike in price. The Tacx has increased from £2,299/$3,199 for the outgoing model to £3,499/$3,999 for the Plus. Wahoo too has raised the cost of the Kickr Bike V2 to £3,499/$3,999.

As for the changes in specification, the Tacx bike has greater adjustability than the previous model as well as two built in fans. As for the Kickr Bike it now boasts wi-fi connectivity and an increase in its maximum resistance by 300 watts.

However, given that the power, max. gradient and accuracy numbers remain largely the same, it could be argued that snapping up an old model at a discounted price might be the 'smartest' thing to do.

Bike of the Month - Cannondale CAAD Optimo 1

Cannondale

(Image credit: Cannondale)

While we're often writing about the latest super bike release it's encouraging to know that bike brands are still investing time and money in creating bikes for the masses - after all road bikes with five figure price tags won't be finding their way under to many Christmas trees this year.

Cannondale's CAAD Optimo 1 is a great example of sensibly spec'd and priced road bike that's ideal for new cyclists but also built around a quality frameset that's worthy of a few upgrades down the road.

Costing £1,300 / $1,600 it features a aluminium frame with dropped stays and a carbon fork that's equipped with Shimano's ever-reliable 105 shifting. The Tektro rim brakes undoubtably keep the cost down as do the generic wheels and FSA crankset but all are easy to replace should you so desire.

Other notable benefits include hidden rack mounts, meaning the Optimo 1 can pull double duty as.commuter during the week.

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.