Featured User Review: Tacx Fortius Multiplayer Trainer

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Featured User Review: Tacx Fortius Multiplayer Trainer Review
by Rich S

Price: $1200.00 at LickBike.com
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 3 of 5

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.

Favorite Ride:
Many favorites in western Wisconsin

Summary:
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.)

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.

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.

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About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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