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Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer review

The Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer is a fun app-connected machine for cyclists looking to get in-depth workout data during their indoor cycling training sessions.

Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer review
(Image: © Tacx)

Our Verdict

The Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer offers plenty of smart features with its companion app. These include data tracking from your indoor training sessions, so you can see how you're progressing, plus access to guided workouts. While you need to keep it plugged in to access the smart functions, it can be used as a standard fluid trainer too.

For

  • Front wheel riser included
  • Works with MTB and road bikes
  • Can also be used as a fluid trainer

Against

  • No downhill drive

The Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer is a compact, app-connected indoor cycling trainer designed to be used with its companion app (iOS, Android), as well as with other well-known cycling apps such as Zwift and Bkool. It's one of the best bike trainers for smart functionality, and will give you much more insight into your indoor cycling training and how effective it is, as well as guided workouts.

While you do get a decent array of fitness metrics displayed on the Tacx app, we'd also recommend wearing one of the best fitness trackers during your training sessions so that you can monitor your heart rate, calories burned and other wellness data more accurately. 

In our Tacx Vortex Smart review, we look at the indoor bike trainer's design, features, and what existing customers say about it, all to help you figure out if this is the right choice for the type of indoor bike training you want to do.

Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer: Design

The Tacx Vortex Smart is also one of the quieter indoor bike trainers on the market, and comes with a front wheel riser, which is brilliant for making your training more realistic and effective. It works with the Tacx app to give you insight into your training, and to enable you to train along with guided workouts (watch them on your tablet).

The trainer itself measures 7.5 x 19.9 x 23.6 inches, and weighs 24.86lbs, making it one of the lighter and smaller options, though not as light as the CycleOps Wind. The trainer also folds down and requires little storage room, making it ideal for smaller home gyms. In fact, in its folded state, it’s very model.

In addition to working with Tacx's own training apps and software, the Vortex Smart works with ANT+ FE-C language apps. These include the likes of Zwift, Trainer Road, Kinomap and Bkool, which you can use to adjust resistance, check your speed and view your cadence.

Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer review: an image showing a woman cycling in her living room using the Tacx indoor bike trainer

(Image credit: Tacx)

Be aware that the Tacx Vortex Smart needs to be plugged in to an outlet in order to access the smart trainer capabilities. This can be difficult if you have limited outlets or are wanting to use this model outside to warm-up before a race.

That said, although it isn't meant to be used while unplugged, the trainer can also function as a fluid bike trainer (so without the smart capabilities) when it isn't connected to a power outlet.

Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer: Features

Since it runs electronically, the Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer has a max resistance of 950 watts and uses an electric motor brake. As you ride, the Tacx program increases resistance up to 7% to simulate the feel of riding uphill, but sadly it doesn't offer a downhill drive. If that functionality is important to you, take a look at our Wahoo Kickr review.

If you ride mountain bikes, you'll be pleased to hear that the Tacx works with thru axles as well as quick-release skewers to accommodate MTB and road bikes. Tacx suggests you purchase a dedicated trainer tire for this, and offers four separate sizes for you to choose from. 

The Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer accommodates 26-inch, 27-inch, 28-inch, 29-inch and 700c wheel sizes on its cylinder. This is similar to the Bike Lane Pro offering.

Warranties are only available through the distributor you purchase your Vortex Smart Bike Trainer from, not through Tacx itself, so warranty offers do vary by retailer. If you want more accessories for your bike, Tacx offers several additional attachments. 

Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer review: the bike trainer shown in grey, white and blue

(Image credit: Tacx)

Should you buy the Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer?

With its additional smart abilities and lightweight frame, the Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer is an insightful indoor bike trainers, and would suit serious riders looking for more data on their indoor cycling training.

However, if you want to use a bike trainer outside, the Tacx Vortex Smart Bike Trainer might not be the best option for you since it requires an outlet to access its full suite of smart capabilities. You can use it as a standard fluid trainer, and we would als recommend the Kinetic Road Machine.