Tacx Vortex Smart – After 1 week

Well, after my initial enthusiasm and excitement here, I wrote to Trainerroad to check I had set up the unit correctly, and they very kindly wrote to me and first told me I could download an updated app (the link to it is here) and told me how best to set up the Vortex Smart using PowerMatch, which measures the offset between my Stages power meter and the turbo trainer and keeps the power as accurate as possible.

This took only a few minutes, and I was ready to go. Unfortunately, my excitement was shortlived 😦

Ride 1 (26.4)

I was surprised to see how the power kept exactly to the zones dicatated by Trainerroad; I was not used to it and did not expect it as I expected continuous communication between power meter and turbo trainer to regulate the power but I assumed this was what it should be like. The warm-up was good, and I moved into the VO2 Max intervals for the day. The power ramped nicely up to the target power and felt good until it got there and then the tyre felt like it was slipping, and it was similar to riding on the first magnetic trainer I used to own. It was very disappointing, and I spent a lot of time getting on and off the trainer fiddling with the knob on the resistance unit to adjust the pressure on the tyre. This didn’t really help, and I felt I had spoilt my workout. The weirdest thing was that towards the end of each interval, the feeling seemed to pass whether I played with the knob adjustment or not.

Ride 2 (27.4)

After reading up on this issue on the internet, I saw I was not the only person with this problem but I decided to pump up my tyre to 110p.s.i and give it another try.

The first thing I noticed was that the power readings were completely different even though I think the settings were the same. You can see the power data at the end of this post.

The second thing I noticed was that the tyre didn’t seem to be slipping – great news! But the intervals were not quite as intense as yesterday, and I felt like it could still start happening if I had to work harder. But then I had a real shock, the power didn’t drop off at the end of the work intervals as it should,and I was left waiting for a break without getting one! So I paused the workout and waited for the power to return to zero and started again. I had limited success doing this but once again my workout was interrupted, and I felt I could no longer rely on what I was being told by the computer. I wrote to Tacx and to the shop where I bought the trainer. I had used a Kinetic Road Machine for 4 years and had never had any problems with losing training time or spoilt workouts. I was beginning to think that if my unit wasn’t faulty then I didn’t want it, and if it was faulty I would return it and ask for my money back. My ‘dumb’ trainer was a lot smarter than this ‘smart’ one!

Ride 3 (28.4)

I tried again today with the same result as yesterday. The power is not reading correctly and I decided to put it away and train on my Road Machine.

trainerroad screen print


Note: Raymond was ride 1, Beacon was ride 2. The yellow line is the power and you can see where I stopped in ride 1 to play with the dial and in ride 2 to try and allow the power to reset itself.




I have decided to try setting up the trainer and power meter differently for a short recovery ride over the weekend to see if I can get it working somehow. At the moment I am really disappointed and I realise that I would need to be more interested in technology to enjoy keep playing with all of these electronics when all I really want to do is get on my bike and train and then get off it to work or spend time with my family. I think that Saturday will be my last trial with the trainer.



1 thought on “Tacx Vortex Smart – After 1 week

  1. Pingback: Tacx Vortex Smart – Gone! | Triathlon and Running Reviews and Information

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