Tacx Vortex Smart T2180 Trainer works but not very realistic on slopes

(Peter Hendry) #1

I am using the Tacx smart trainer. It connects up ok and displays what it should and Zwift happily changes resistance on hills and reports my watts somewhere around where I would think they would be for the work I am doing.

However, the resistance it changes to on steeper slopes - say 4%+ - is not very realistic. I am dropping only a couple of cogs on the rear to go up those hills where I would normally drop a cog on the front too (I am heavy and hills are a killer - I have my correct weight in Zwift so I assume it would do the require calculations).

I do the hillclimb on 2 cogs down on the rear. The trainer can give much more resistance as I have played around with it with the Tacx app. I have been into settings and set the slider for difficulty up to Max but that didn’t make a noticeable difference.

Is there going to perhaps be an ability at some point to scale up the difficulty where there seems to be a mismatch like this?

(Richard Young (SpaldingTri)) #2

i imagine it could be scaled up but the same as a dumb trainer, if you really wanted it “harder” up the hill, just try and increase your watts out put on screen.


example your steady at 200w and it increases to 4% and gets harder, try and maintain that 200w… or more realistically on a hill climb you would have to put out significantly more to over come gravity + weight so maybe adjust your watts goals accordingly on the climb too 300 or 400 and suddenly im sure you would be quite content with the output from the trainer as your sweating pools on the floor.  Also the tacx trainers do have percentage limits which they can simulate before slippage occurs.

(Peter Hendry) #3

Thanks for the reply Richard. That’s pretty much what I do. Being a fat guy I am used to rapidly descending through the gears when I hit a hill and it just doesn’t feel right pushing up a hill almost in top gear. I guess it’s something I’ll just have to get used to and live with feeling like someone strapped a ton of bricks to my bike when I go out on the road :slight_smile:

The Vortex has a 7% limit so should cope Ok with the hills in Zwift so far. I have pushed it much harder using the Tacx app than Zwift ever sets it without getting any slippage and with the need to push down through the gears to be able to push it at all.

Perhaps I shouldn’t look for reality but rather just be happy with the exercise. As for the pool of sweat - just finished and, yep, there is one of those :slight_smile:

(Richard Young (SpaldingTri)) #4

That’s right I’m 16 stone so in the same boat, it’s hard slog on the hills.  The the key is miles… Ultimately your training with extra weight is actually making your reach training goals quicker … It’s just harder.   It’s the principle of using a winter bike thats heavier and cheaper … It’s harder work … You pick up your summer bike and it feels quick.   For each stone you drop its the same principle. 

I try to treat the trainer as a tool, it’s not a substitute for riding.  If you have a heart rate monitor use that, start making notes of perceived effort level - heart rate at the time and wattage.   Because not every training session needs to be destroying the legs, but again the same applies your removing your body weight training bonus … So make a note of easy medium and hard and possible semi unconscious effort level.   Then you can put out regular specific training sessions based on power goals… 


You can work out your watts per kilo ratio which is your real world power out put …  That will tell you roughly where you are at verses the world based on your results from noting your effort levels.  Ideally use your medium … For me about 150 bpm is what I hold as a medium effort on triathlon, then 160 - 170 for time trial.    130 - 140 easy effort but it’s different for different people. 


(Marcus Hesse) #5

It wouldn’t feel realistic on any trainer - it’s just the nature of the paradigm. Like running on a treadmill (which pushes your feet for you), riding a trainer just won’t be the same.

(Peter Hendry) #6

This is true of course, but it should be possible to be more realistic around the amount of resistance applied making you use similar gearings as real world slopes. The trainer does support more resistance than Zwift is setting without slippage and I can manually change it to push me down into easier gears I would use on a steeper slope. The trainer does therefore support the required resistance to mimic the slopes. Zwift just isn’t pushing the trainer to those resistances.