Smart Trainers

I am trying to decide on which Smart Trainer is the best fit with Zwift. I am looking at the Tacx Vortex currently. Does anyone know how easy it is to connect these trainers to Zwift? Does the trainer have a built-in power meter and do you need a USB ANT Stick to connect to the laptop?  And do you need need the Upgrade Smart?

I know these are probably basic questions but I am having trouble finding anyone who uses them. Any guidance much appreciated.


If a Tacx has “Smart”  in its name, it can connect to Zwift. You only need a ANT+ dongle to get the signal to your computer. A Vortex Smart would do the job - it reports the resistance (and cadence), and Zwift can control it’s resistance as well. 

You don’t need the Tacx “Smart” upgrade. This upgrade - which predates the Smart trainers, and does something completely different - gives you software that is used to play Real Life video’s (pretty nice, if you like that, though there are alternatives like VideoReality) and is needed for admittance to Tacx own virtual Reality (not as nice as Zwift, in my opinion). You do fget a dongle, so if you want to ride this Ral Life video’s, it is an option (you need to buy the video’s separately though, and get locked in Tacx system - but that goes for all video rides).

That’s useful info. Many thanks.

I have the Vortex. Have been using it about 5 weeks.  I works great.

  1.  I installed the free software upgrade. You need an iPhone or Android.  I used Android. Remember to disconnect Bluetooth after you do the upgrade.  It blocks the Ant signal and Zwift cannot control the trainer.

  2. I calibrated it using my smartphone.  Again, disconnect Bluetooth connection after calibration.

  3. I am using a generic Ant dongle ($20).  Connection to Zwift was automatic.

  4. It does measure power, and even cadence, although I use Garmin for cadence because I think it is more accurate.

I am very happy with it.


Great. Thanks for the info - especially about disconnecting bluetooth.

Does the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro work well?  Is one trainer better/worse than the other or does it really matter? 


I too am looking to get a “smart” trainer.


I just bought the Tacx Vortex. Used it twice now. So far quite impressed, although it was slow to connect today to Zwift so missed the start of the group ride, which was very annoying. But the ride is smooth and it responds well to the change in road pitch. Crucial for getting more out of Zwift, particularly in group rides. Not sure what the other trainers are like. But for the money, this trainer seems to tick all the boxes and is fairly easy to set up.

I am trying to decide between the cycleops Magnus and the kickr snap to use with Zwift iOS on my iphone6. Any recommendations or issues that will help me make my decision?