Tacx NEO downhill resistance is high

I just went from a Gen1 Wahoo KICKR to the Tacx Neo, and while there’s a lot I love about the Neo I’m still trying to find a sweet spot in terms of resistance. I’m a bigger guy (220lb) so I tend to crank the trainer difficulty up a little so the resistance is roughly what I feel out on the road grade for grade. I have the slider set about 2/3 of the way up in my settings.

The problem is that when I’m going downhill the resistance is higher than my old KICKR, fancy downhill motor and all. It’ll coast pretty well, but when I start pedaling again it’s like there’s no compensation for the speed I’m going and starting to pedal feels like starting from a complete stop. 

It’s not normal for me to feel resistance in my 3rd largest cog and push 220W when I’m traveling 40mph. Has anyone else encountered this, and what solution did you come up with? Thanks in advance.

I have the same feeling about this. Everything feels ultra realistic but starting pedaling downhill feels much too hard! Unfortunately i don’t have any solution for this as well.

I think you should play around with the trainer difficulty setting. This is a good read about this setting:


Bastiaan–Thanks for the link. My problem is that I want the extra resistance on the climbs, but since I’m not worried about racing anyone on a “dumb” trainer and usually ride solo I would really enjoy the increased realism on the downhills. I found that if I decrease the trainer difficulty I’m not getting the realism on the climbs that I’m looking for.

I guess Tacx and Zwift might just be trying to level the playing field and keep some resistance there to compete with the dumb trainer riders, but I find the downhill feel annoying in a trainer that, as Andreas Huber said, is so realistic otherwise.

I experimented with the trainer difficulty setting tonight, and it seems that turning it down makes the downhills AND uphills feel more “flat.” I turned it up harder and noticed a definite resistance increase uphill, but the downhills were lower-resistance and felt more real. I’d be curious to know everyone else’s results from this experiment!

The trainer “difficulty” setting actually means “realism” setting. So, if you want realism, you can simply set it to 100%.  IMHO, this should be the default setting.  I have Tacx Neo Smart and set it to 100%.  In the case of Tacx Neo Smart, it can simulate up to 25% incline and %5 decline. So, it won’t be able to simulate 10% decline even with 100%, but I think %5 is good enough.

Thanks, Toshi. This certainly fits with what I’ve been experiencing after playing with the “realism” setting. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your answers but i still don’t get it. I have trainer difficulty at 100% and as mentioned before everything fells great. But going downhill is just totally different then in real life. I’m going with 80 km/h and i’m still not in biggest gear. In real life even in biggest gear there would be no chance to pedal hard anymore. I hope you understand what i mean. Unfortunately english is not my native language.


I agree, Andreas, that it’s a little strange that it’s so hard to simulate a complete lack of resistance. I’m not sure why it would be so difficult to replicate that.

Andreas, it is a limitation of smart trainer, not the Zwift setting. As I said, Tacx Neo Smart can only simulate up to 5% decline/downhill.  I think most smart trainers do not even simulate downhills since they cannot drive rear wheel forward.

I had an older Tacx Bushido (the older one with no flywheel) and often (even in the TTS4 software) had the same problem. In TTS4 randomly I would have a ride where the downhill was essentially freewheeling (about 1 in 10 rides) while most of the time the rides were making me pedal hard on downhills to not coast to a stop. In Zwift it was less like this, but still the downhills do not feel like real downhills.

I have since gotten a Tacx Bushido with the actual flywheel, and it reduces this problem but does not eliminate it. The original Tacx Bushido with no flywheel was effectively impossible to calibrate as it had no spindown at all and the TTS4 software failed to be able to run the calibration at all 95% of the time. The flywheel version lets me do a TTS4 calibration, but as others have reported in the TTS4 forums the TTS4 calibration of even the newer flywheel Tacx Bushido does not work properly and (I can’t verify) does not match at all with an iOS based calibration. Depending up my “calibration” of the Tacx Bushido I can find that downhill take a huge effort just to keep moving, or is more realistic. The lighter the clamp, the more realistic.

So… At least on the Tacx Bushido it clearly relates the so called calibration that one does in the Tacs software (for the the TTS4 on the PC). I understand that Neo does not have to be calibrated, but nonetheless it is still  some component of Tacx software doing the same thing in both cases. I would blame it therefore, given my Bushido experience, on the Tacx software and/or Tacx driver that comes between the Neo and Zwift.

My suggestion would be to experiment with a) changing rider weight (up a lot and down a lot) to see if that impacts it b) changing % slope in Zwift.

I had some settings at times where depending upon a mix of the supposed Tacx Bushido calibration and rider weight and slop that had my wattage uphill reported by the Bushido as maybe 2/3 to 1/2 of my actual power and then cresting a hill and going downhill I would pedal with little pressure and my power would be reported as nearly double what I put out on the uphill. That all seemed to relate to the Tacx software/hardware mix reporting the wrong values to Zwift more than anything. However, Zwift is also feeding things back to the trainer for resistance and seems not entirely blameless.

At least for my newer Bushido, I have finally been able to some reasonable compromise out of it by playing for a long time with the notoriously wrong (at least for Bushido) calibration, rider weight and slope. It has been a long fight to something close to acceptable. Perhaps with the Neo there is something internal that is not a parameter you can see that is locking you into one of the bad scenarios I had for years on the Bushido and in particular the old Bushido?

Is this common to all Neos?

Can other riders with Neos input the same parameters (rider wt/ht and slope %) and then report if they see the same problems?

I have a Tacx Neo and have come to accept that the downhill challenges are what they are.  I’ve only done 1 race in my 4 months of owning it (mostly do workouts on Zwift), and you will have to go extra hard on the downhills to keep from being dropped.  Yes, decreasing the “realism” and flattening out the grade by decreasing the “trainer difficulty” may help slightly, so I’ve read.  Really, all the “trainer difficulty” setting does is decrease the amount of shifting you would have to otherwise do if you decrease the setting.  It really has no impact on power or resistance per say.  The same amt. of power for your particular weight will still take you the same distance over the same amt. of time no matter what the setting is.  Lowering the setting just narrows the range of gears you would normally use.  

I’ve also found you don’t get a whole lot out of what power you put in going downhill on the Tacx Neo.  Just like in real life, at high speed, the air resistance would negate a lot of this anyway (of course, in real life, I wouldn’t be able to stand up and put out 500+watts going down a 15+% grade at 55+ MPH either!).

But even in ERG mode doing workouts, I feel I have to work a bit harder to put out the same amt. of watts going downhill vs. uphill.  Now that may all be in my noggin’ and I don’t have a separate power meter to confirm this.

With that said, I love the Neo and Zwift.  My daughters (11 and 8) have even gotten into it, which is awesome.  Especially in these long PNW winters.

I’ve recently treated myself to a Tacx Neo Smart, and at first I was somewhat underwhelmed…until I realised I was in ERG mode!  D’oh!  But once I’d actually RTFM I became almost instantly addicted to Zwift and the Neo.

But something still didn’t feel right.  Even when I maintained a constant cadence, any slight incline or decline and my speed would change accordingly.  Which is when I realised my “realism” setting was at the default halfway point.  Cranked that up to the max and went for a test ride and the ascents were definitely more realistic.

However, like others say, the descents are still a slight disappointment.  Freewheeling down anything greater than 5% and I think the motor in the Neo is definitely being driven quicker now that I’m on Max “realism”, though still not consistent with the speed I’ll be doing in Zwift.

You’d think that even though the flywheel motor driven speed might be limited, it should be that the resistance can be set to almost zero when travelling at more than about 40 mph, where most casual cyclists like me wouldn’t actually be able to impart any force through the pedals anyway, because the cadence would be too high.