Initial impressions are that the ride feel is as good as it has ever been – right at the top of the class. But then that probably is to be expected, as not much has changed in that department. The differences are mostly iterative improvements – and the addition of extra crank length options, a slimmer seat post and those updated shifters are a real improvement to the fit and ergonomics. Whether that's worth the difference is price will be down to the individual – although it is worth noting that there are currently some handy discounts on the older model...
Incredible ride feel
Updated shifters are much better
Better crank/pedal interface
Very heavy so setup is far easier with two people
Fans aren’t the most powerful
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It's fair to say that the Tacx Neo Bike Plus is quite similar to the previous iteration, the Tacx Neo Bike Smart. The main points that have changed are the shifters, which have an updated design; the customisable crank lengths, now with five options instead of three; and a slimmer seatpost, the previous one could rub on your thighs.
And also the price: the Tacx Neo Bike Plus is £3,499.99 compared to £2,299.99 / $3,133.00 for the previous Tacx Neo Bike Smart. That puts it near the top of the price bracket for even the best smart bikes on the market, matching the newly released Wahoo Kickr Bike.
For all the details on the spec, you can check out our launch story on the new Tacx Neo Bike Plus over here. Otherwise, here's our first ride review on the updated model...
Before you dive in to the first ride story, it's worth flagging that the prices of the previous model may be even cheaper. Now could be a really good time to drop in on our best Cyber Monday bike deals hub page as we'll share any not to be missed opportunities on there.
Setting up the Tacx Neo Bike Plus
Straight out the box, the Tacx Neo Bike Plus looks impressive, almost like a very fancy Lego set. Assembly was very quick and manageable as just one person, but it would have been easier still with two. All tools are supplied and the instructions are very straightforward to follow.
The differences between the Plus and the previous Tacx Neo Bike are few, but they are useful. In terms of what's the same, you've still got a claimed power accuracy of ±1%, the excellent electromagnetic flywheel, a max resistance of 2,200 watts and a max gradient of 25%.
The shifters, though, have been completely redesigned and you can now set the shifters up to mimic Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo.
The crank length options have risen from go up from just three to now five, and measurement scales on the bike are now in mm for precise adjustment when setting the bike up.
The same display unit is there as previously for those not using a third party app, which displays watts, cadence, speed, heart rate (if using a HR monitor), gearing, and gradient.
Although the rest of the front setup is much the same as before, it's just as good. I love the fans, data screen and the area to put your phone, headphones and food. There are also charging ports that can be used when the bike is switched on to top up your devices.
Although the fans and chargers are features which require the bike to be plugged into the mains to use, you can still do training sessions with power readings without the need for mains power. The set up of the gears, road feel, and fan level were all very easy using the Tacx app.
First ride on the Tacx Neo Bike Plus
The Tacx Neo Bike Plus connected very quickly and seamlessly to Zwift using an iPad. The initial impressions I got from using this bike were very positive. Firstly, the gears are fantastic! There is no worry of a miss-shift and the changes feel realistic, even including a small lag when changing from virtual little ring to big ring.
It’s a far smoother process than Di2 and really is a joy to use. There is also protection from the ERG spiral of death, as gears can be changed without needing to apply power. The next thing was just how responsive the resistance was with changes in gradient. I set trainer difficulty to 100% and rode the Titan’s Grove route, a notoriously up and down road on Zwift.
The resistance changes were instantaneous with no lag, up there with the best I've ever ridden, and really adds to the realism. When you change gear and put down the power, it really does mimic real life very nicely. The bike itself is also very stable for out of the saddle all out sprints.
It was noticeable how quiet the bike is when running. Even maximal efforts the bike remains quiet with only a small increase in whirring sound. The fans are louder than the flywheel! The LED lights that display effort level are also fun to use, which is good enough reason to include them for me.
There are still a lot of features to explore with this bike, but the initial impressions are that it is an absolute joy to ride, mimicking road feel, resistance, and gear changes brilliantly. I’m looking forward to completing the in-depth review over the coming weeks.
The new Tacx Neo Bike Plus is significantly more expensive than the previous model, £1,200 so - which makes now a good time to catch a good deal on the cheaper model. Find today's best Tacx Neo Bike deals here...
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