Strengths: Excellent for simulating the real thing, with lots of routes available, like many of the famous climbs and/or routes in Europe, as well as the US and elsewhere, which makes for a variety of engaging sessions on the trainer. The resistance can be pretty realistic, and can get extreme, say on the Mortirolo DVD. I find it excellent training for long hills, but there are also plenty of rolling and relatively flat routes for spinning. Due to the engaging nature of the Real Life Videos, this is the ticket for winter base miles, especially if you'd rather not try to distract yourself by watching old movies, football, or listening to music. Plus you can concentrate on burning a certain number of calories, or try to maintain a certain average watts, or speed, or just try to better your time on one of the many routes. All in all, I found my Tacx was darn good training for a trip to the Dolomites this last summer.
Weaknesses: -- The typical price of $1200--but this includes the steering unit, which is unnecessary for the real life training (which is what I do all the time), so I'm thinking you might not need that unless you want the Virtual Reality aspect, something like a Computrainer.
-- Real Life Video cost upwards of $50 (maybe the best place to get them is direct from Tacx in the Netherlands)
-- You need a fairly good PC to run the software. It doesn't hurt to have a large screen available.
-- The latest software tends to have "quirks", and sometimes strange things happen, videos freeze, or crash. This, for me, is relatively rare, and there is an extensive Tacx forum constantly discussing solutions to problems.
I have used my Tacx Fortius for about 635 hours in the last four years. I recently upgraded to the latest software (TTS 3.5), and now have many of the Real Life Videos. The one obvious thing to anyone who uses this trainer, especially for the first time, is how engaging it is. A friend's first ride was 3 1/2 hours, another 2 1/2, and most of my rides are 1-2 hours, and some more. All of us can barely stand 1 hour on a conventional trainer. I might, for instance, being riding a simulation of the Telegraphe, watching the route on my old 50" HDTV, noting that as the slope increases, the resistance increases, and I have to work that much harder. I get to the top, descend into Valloir, then feel the urge to continue up to the summit of the Galibier. And pretty soon I've done well over two hours.
Or I might be riding out of Bormio, Italy, up the "easy" side of the Stelvio, and realize that it's very much like the same ride I once did in real life!
(I will say that I've never really used the Virtual Reality aspect of this trainer, whereby you have what I'd call an animated course, where you have to steer, you may have opponents, etc.)
Favorite Ride: Many favorites in western Wisconsin
Purchased At: LickBike.com
Similar Products Used: I have never used a similar product. I'm tempted to say that my old software was equivalent to a similar product, because I never had problems with the software, whereas I've had a few with the new TTS 3.5. Mostly I've posted this review, because I've seen some "horror stories" regarding this trainer, whereas I think most users I having a great time with it. Me, for the last four years.
Bike Setup: A 2003 aluminum Van Dessel, with carbon rear stays, is mounted on the trainer, with an old tire of course. It's my second bike, usually confined to the trainer.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2011
Strengths: Versality, good mechanical construction many RLV available, on-line races
Weaknesses: Barelly uselles beacuse horrible quality of TTS software!!
The idea of simulation outdoor training using computer controlled trainer is great and Tack Fortius Multiplayer is equipment that help to survive usually horrible boring indoor training, and even turn it into pleasure. The mechanical and electronic parts this device are well made, frame is stable and breaking unit quite realistic simulate the slope. I noticed that that I have to put similar effort in climbing with speed 20km/h at slope about 4% on Tack than in outdoor conditions. The descends are not strong points of this machine, nom matter if slope is -5 or -15% is very difficult to reach speed over 60km/h because abnormal resistance from braking unit that starting after the speed increase over 55km/h. Although the virtual steering differs greatly from real if generally OK. In case of advantages probably the biggest is its versality. Teoteticaly this trainer enable perform any exercise that you can image well as many performance tests , and also compare it from results of your previous activity. it is possible to take a part in virtual races against computer generated oponents as well real person somewhere in the world. My favorite function is of course RLV videos, and there is vase amount of commercial or free RLV videos available in the net and many out of them were taken on the roads well known from major road races.
The Tack Fortius Mutiplaayer is computer controlled trainer, and Tacx Training Software (TTS) in version 2 or 3 were developer to teach this task.
Untortunately the TTS software total opposition to well designed mechanical and electronic components of Tacx Multiplayer. The TTS 2 is probably one out of worst piece of software that you can imagine! It has plenty of very annoying bugs, very poor stability, hard tendency to freeze the RLV during your ride, and crash itself. The quality of TTS 3 is only minor improve compared to TTS 2 and instability numerous bugs are still issue. Other disadvantage of TTS 3 is fact that many RLV working under TTS 2 does not work under this never version. Summarizing I still waiting for moment when Tack release training software that will work as it should, but today a terrible TTS 2 and TTS 3 versions make this potentially great trainer barely useless!
Bike Setup: Road Bike, tacx indor training tyre, Dell Workstation
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2010
Strengths: None. The older original Fortius software works but Tacx won't give it to. That sucks for alot of people who can't use their trainers.
Weaknesses: The program.
TTS2 version 2. Loading the software worked but the license didn't. Had to contact Tacx support for new license which took days. Once I was able to use the program it would crash with multiple bugs. I don't remember ever being able to complete rides that lasted longer than approximately 45 minutes. If you saved the rides eventually the program will not start up at all. Tacx support is the worst team of non English speaking idiots I ever had to deal with. They obviously don't care about customer satisfaction. They charge for software updates that are meant to be fixes and should be free. I tried this software on several diffent computers and each time had to totally wipe the hard drives clean to remove the ####. I will not deal with this company ever again.
Strengths: None. It crashes all the time. Nice concept though.
Weaknesses: It is a PC memory hog and crashes all the time. It will reak havic on your computer. The support is pretty much next to none unless you read for hours on the forum. Tacx's answers don't make sense. I could say alot more bad things about this product but you can read them for yourself on the Tacx Forum.
Very upset with Tacx. The Fortius didn't work correctly until version 2.0.4 came out which only took about 3 months. It is a working program but you can't get it anymore. Then, about 6 months ago the TTS program came out. I waited and got the version2. Very pissed about the way it performed. Then some updates that didn't solve any of the problems came out. I had to reload my operating system a couple of times because it trashed my computer. Finally Tacx canned the program and stated they were re-writting it. This re-write is going to be called version3. Tacx is not warrantying the faulty program. If you want your trainer to work using TTS you will have to buy V3. I allready paid $120 US for V2. This is how they treat long time customers.
Strengths: Entertaining, makes your training much more structured and measurable.
Weaknesses: Sometimes software glitches prevent from enjoying the program to the fullest. Especially new release Trainer software is not as great as previously thought.
This is a great tool to train with. Takes a boring basement workout to a completely new level. You still cannot ride it forever for obvious reasons (you are still in the basement, don't forget that) but the power based workouts make you a definitely better cyclist. Software has some flaws, but what software is perfect. My system seems to be immune to the problems other people talk about. It probably boils down to hardware installed on a particular computer. My computer is practically dedicated to Tacx program only, so that might be the key here.