Review: The Tacx Neo 2T is quiet and powerful
The trainer requires a bit of setup but delivers a high-end experience
I got a quick peek at the Tacx Neo 2T at the 2019 edition of Eurobike. It features some nice upgrades on its predecessor, the Neo 2. If you have sprinter’s legs, you might have been able to make the Neo 2’s resistance unit slip a bit. Designers at Tacx worked to fix that issue on the Neo 2T. They also redesigned the magnets inside, which help to reduce the noise by rumbling less and causing less air displacement. It seems Tacx is really looking for marginal gains. But, the Neo 2T can provide a whopping 2,200 W of resistance. It can simulate inclines of 25 per cent, which is as brutal as it is infrequent in real life. (The Alto del Angliru, on which Hugh Carthy won Vuelta a España’s 12th stage this year, has a maximum gradient of only 24 per cent.)
Setting up the trainer is quite easy. You’ll need to have a few tools on-hand, especially your chain whip and lockring tool because there’s no cassette attached. The machine comes with a Shimano freehub body that works with 11-speed SRAM cassettes. For SRAM AXS and Campagnolo cassettes, you’ll need to get different freehubs. To swap out the adaptors for a quick-release axle for thru-axle adaptors, you’ll need a 5-mm Allen key and a 17-mm cone wrench. While the new Elite Direto XR and Wahoo Kickr trainers have slightly faster-to-install tool-less adaptors, the well-crafted Tacx adaptors fit into place the most cleanly and securely. You don’t need to calibrate this machine before your virtual rides.
The Neo 2T vies with the Wahoo Kickr for the smallest footprint of the trainers I’ve recently tested. Technically, by my measurements, the Kickr (75 cm x 53 cm) has the smaller footprint compared with the Neo 2T (75 cm x 57 cm). The Neo, however, only extends back 28 cm from your bike’s axle, while the Kickr has 30 cm of machine behind the axle.
When running with Zwift, the Tacx trainer works quite well in erg workouts. The real magic is in sim mode, in which you can take advantage of the trainer’s road feel feature. When you ride over pixel-built gravel roads, wooden bridges and cobblestones (to name a few road-feel supported surfaces), the trainer gives you appropriate feedback. Road feel helps you feel more immersed in your ride, and, like rumble strips on the highway, it elevates your alertness on your long sessions in the saddle. ($2,000, tacx.com)