VR Trainer is it worth the money?

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VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby nickobec » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:18 pm

Another member PMed me as a Tacx VR Trainer owner asking is worth paying the extra to get a VR trainer?

Does the incentive/fun factor get you to ride the trainer more often?

That was the question I asked half a dozen VR trainer owners, including a guy who was selling his trainer + bike on ebay to fund a world tour, before I bought mine. The response was overwhelming yes. I asked the ebay seller after he sold it to somebody else, if he would buy another trainer, once he returned from his travels he said yes.

I have met a few more VR trainer owners since then, every one except tripstobaltimore (see his comments here) are very positive.

My mileage does vary, first 4 months of the year, I was racking up over 1000km a month commuting to and from work in good weather and light, plus weekend rides. I did not touch my trainer.

However, since then I have been using the trainer at least on a weekly basis. Weather, lack of light (and aging eyesight) and a head cold that has destroyed my sense of balance have reduced my road mileage and increased trainer time.

For me there is an incentive to get on the trainer and do a better time than my last run, which is why I like the trainer.

So would I buy a replacement if mind disappeared. Yes, but not the same model.

Lets run through the options:

VR terrain, you ride 3d terrain, either preset courses or explore if you having the steering frame. I used to like riding VR, but I now prefer the other alternatives.

RLV video, you get to ride usually famous courses or climbs. No use for steering frame. They are not cheap and they are only limited choices But they do offer different terrain than is available in flat Western Australia. Why worry about riding 50km so I can climb 250m in a few kms, when I have the Col De Tourmalet in my shed.

RLT ride courses imported from your or other people's GPS. Want to ride the full TdF course over 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years. You can find them on the web, download them and then ride them of Google Earth with the new TTS software. Graphically it is boring, but still fun to ride.

iMagic trainer the 1st VR trainer from Tacx, cost about $750 from Wiggle. Limitation, can only replicate slope to a max of X% (depending on source X = 5 or 7 or 10 )

Fortius trainer, the improved model, better quality, can replicate a bigger slope than the imagic, cost $1100 or $1400 with steering frame from Wiggle.

Bushido Wireless trainer, the new wireless model, can even replicate higher slopes than the Fortius. $800 for the trainer from Wiggle, but requires separate $250 expansion pack to run the VR/RLV/VTTS software (separate purchases and avoid GST)

If I was looking at replacing right now I would get a Bushido and the expansion pack. The steering frame is my opinion is not worth it.

Things you need to know:
The current Tacx software only runs on Windows 32bit OS.
The next version on their software is due out later this year it will be a paid for upgrade (though if you have v2 you only need to buy a new RLV to get the upgrade)
It does not all work perfectly http://forum.tacx.com/ has more that it's share of horror stories and whingers

Other things to think about:
You need a decent screen, I run a 24" wide screen 30cm in front of my bars, other people use 42"+ screens
You might need a spare wheel, with a training tire + spare cassette (I did, but then I built a bike to attach to my trainer)
Last edited by nickobec on Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:33 pm

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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby Strawburger » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:33 pm

nicko you may need to fix your link of tripstobaltimore comments.

I may add a few comments in here. If it's motivation you want, this tool is great. I got one of these machines for the missus. She likes riding through summer but hates riding in the dark or cold through winter. She is by no means a serious rider -her biggest outdoor ride to date is 30kms and her grand total of kms this year would be up around 300kms. I'm not a big fan of gym memberships hence the indoor trainer. Since getting her this i can't get her off it. She is always asking for me to set it up for her to ride, usually rides the VR courses and adds opponents including her own previous scores. We are now looking at getting the RLV's to add to the realism.

It's a great workout. I've had a couple of goes at it and after getting off, i am dripping with sweat and exhausted. If i wasn't doing huge outdoor kms per week i'd probably be on this a lot more.

One thing though, i've had a few problems with the software. It may be user error, it may not be. I'll be getting the new version once it comes out as the additional features sound great.
Last edited by Strawburger on Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby sogood » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:37 pm

VR for the weak minded. VR for those who's mind can be tricked! :wink:
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby davidk » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:30 am

When I was investigating the Tacx Fortius trainer, I didnt understand why no new VR terrains had been developed by TACX when they upgraded their TTS software from V1 to V2.
Once I had bought my Fortius trainer, and had tried the VR terrains, I could see why there wasnt much interest from users with new VR terrains.

For me, the terrains are still to sparse and spartan to be of any interest in riding. However, i didnt purchase my Fortius because of the VR terrains, I was more interested in the RLV and RLT aspects of the system.

Loading up a GPS track, either from a ride I have recorded on my Garmin, or downloaded from numerous websites has been more of an attraction for me. I have found that I get more enjoyment out of riding these RLT rides, if I have ridden the course in real life. This is because, as good as Google Earth visuals may be, I find I get more of a visual reward if I know the real area/road/path Im riding on whilst doing RLTs.
I dont get the same envelopment if Im riding a RLT taken from a GPS course in a part of the world I have never seen or visited.
Dont get me wrong, this is far more interesting that spinning away on a spin bike in front of the telly.

However, the RLV rides, where a video taken of the actual ride is presented in front of you, is probably the section of the TTS software that for me is most rewarding.
Coupled with a large screen in front of the bike, I look forward to attempting different aspects of the rides that are provided on the RLV disks.
The down side is that each RLV is quite expensive, and Ill probably need more than just the one RLV to ensure I dont get bored doing the same ride over and over again.

What I am looking into, is the possibility of making my own RLVs from real rides I do in my area - to me this would be more enjoyable than the RLT GPS/Google Earth version of the same ride.

WRT software stability, yes there have been some issues with the latest release of TTS2. I'm part of a beta test group looking at the new V3 software, and I feel confident that when released, the new verison should run without dramas on both 32 & 64 bit, XP,Vista & Win7 platforms.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby tripstobaltimore » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:10 pm

I wouldn't say I was negative about it, I just think for me, personally, it's a bit overkill. I'm more of an interval type person, so I don't really use the VR stuff. So a regular trainer would have suited me fine.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby nickobec » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:38 am

tripstobaltimore wrote:I wouldn't say I was negative about it, I just think for me, personally, it's a bit overkill.

That was what I was tryimg to say in a roundabout way. VR trainers are not necessarily for everybody.

Me I rather ride outside than on a trainer, even a top flight VR trainer.

It takes bad weather, bad light (poor eyesight) or bad health (no balance or very strict controls) to get me inside on trainer.

VR trainer just gives me a reason to get on the trainer.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby tripstobaltimore » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:19 pm

it's funny, this winter has been pretty bad, but I STILL can't force myself to get on the trainer haha
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby icoz » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:10 pm

Any info on the new software??
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby nickobec » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:13 pm

icoz wrote:Any info on the new software??

Soon

So soon it has been mentioned in some tacx promotional material like the new bushido website, but not just yet.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby jacks1071 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:17 pm

nickobec wrote:Another member PMed me as a Tacx VR Trainer owner asking is worth paying the extra to get a VR trainer?

Does the incentive/fun factor get you to ride the trainer more often?

That was the question I asked half a dozen VR trainer owners, including a guy who was selling his trainer + bike on ebay to fund a world tour, before I bought mine. The response was overwhelming yes. I asked the ebay seller after he sold it to somebody else, if he would buy another trainer, once he returned from his travels he said yes.

I have met a few more VR trainer owners since then, every one except tripstobaltimore (see his comments here) are very positive.

My mileage does vary, first 4 months of the year, I was racking up over 1000km a month commuting to and from work in good weather and light, plus weekend rides. I did not touch my trainer.

However, since then I have been using the trainer at least on a weekly basis. Weather, lack of light (and aging eyesight) and a head cold that has destroyed my sense of balance have reduced my road mileage and increased trainer time.

For me there is an incentive to get on the trainer and do a better time than my last run, which is why I like the trainer.

So would I buy a replacement if mind disappeared. Yes, but not the same model.

Lets run through the options:

VR terrain, you ride 3d terrain, either preset courses or explore if you having the steering frame. I used to like riding VR, but I now prefer the other alternatives.

RLV video, you get to ride usually famous courses or climbs. No use for steering frame. They are not cheap and they are only limited choices But they do offer different terrain than is available in flat Western Australia. Why worry about riding 50km so I can climb 250m in a few kms, when I have the Col De Tourmalet in my shed.

RLT ride courses imported from your or other people's GPS. Want to ride the full TdF course over 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years. You can find them on the web, download them and then ride them of Google Earth with the new TTS software. Graphically it is boring, but still fun to ride.

iMagic trainer the 1st VR trainer from Tacx, cost about $750 from Wiggle. Limitation, can only replicate slope to a max of X% (depending on source X = 5 or 7 or 10 )

Fortius trainer, the improved model, better quality, can replicate a bigger slope than the imagic, cost $1100 or $1400 with steering frame from Wiggle.

Bushido Wireless trainer, the new wireless model, can even replicate higher slopes than the Fortius. $800 for the trainer from Wiggle, but requires separate $250 expansion pack to run the VR/RLV/VTTS software (separate purchases and avoid GST)

If I was looking at replacing right now I would get a Bushido and the expansion pack. The steering frame is my opinion is not worth it.

Things you need to know:
The current Tacx software only runs on Windows 32bit OS.
The next version on their software is due out later this year it will be a paid for upgrade (though if you have v2 you only need to buy a new RLV to get the upgrade)
It does not all work perfectly http://forum.tacx.com/ has more that it's share of horror stories and whingers

Other things to think about:
You need a decent screen, I run a 24" wide screen 30cm in front of my bars, other people use 42"+ screens
You might need a spare wheel, with a training tire + spare cassette (I did, but then I built a bike to attach to my trainer)


The tacx units are rubbish. The hardware is unreliable, the software is full of bugs and has constant problems and there so much crap to hook up to your bike that you'd want a dedicated trainer bike. I'm interested to try a computrainer as I hear they are a lot better but I've never used a computrainer.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby nickobec » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:25 am

jacks1071 wrote:The tacx units are rubbish. The hardware is unreliable, the software is full of bugs and has constant problems and there so much crap to hook up to your bike that you'd want a dedicated trainer bike. I'm interested to try a computrainer as I hear they are a lot better but I've never used a computrainer.


Sounds like somebody got out from under the wrong side of the bridge that morning (or are you just SEO spamming the online store in your sig).

For anybody else who wanders across this thread.

Hardware reliability - go check out the Tacx forum http://forum.tacx.com/, hardware problems do occur, but are rare in comparison to software problems.

Software bugs - a big number of people are having problems with the new Tacx Training Software 2, including me with an out of memory problem. But they are developing a new version (and feedback from beta testers is very positive)
The older Fortius Software only works with 32 bit windows OS, it might be old and clunky but it is very reliable.

Hooking up your bike to the trainer, requires attaching a cadence sensor. Which is the same as a Computrainer

Computrainer - good luck finding a demo in Australia. I choose Tacx over Computrainer because:
1: Local distributor I could get a demo ride and have a local warranty
2: Software, the older Fortius software looked far superior to the Computrainer software
3: Real Life Video, Computrainer very limited compared to Tacx, + 3rd parties provide RLVs for Tacx.
4: Cost Computrainer $3k compared to $2k for Tacx, though could get away with a little over $1k for Tacx now via Wiggle + RLVs $40 for Tacx $140 for Computrainer.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby tripstobaltimore » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:33 pm

nickobec wrote:
jacks1071 wrote:The tacx units are rubbish. The hardware is unreliable, the software is full of bugs and has constant problems and there so much crap to hook up to your bike that you'd want a dedicated trainer bike. I'm interested to try a computrainer as I hear they are a lot better but I've never used a computrainer.


Sounds like somebody got out from under the wrong side of the bridge that morning (or are you just SEO spamming the online store in your sig).

For anybody else who wanders across this thread.

Hardware reliability - go check out the Tacx forum http://forum.tacx.com/, hardware problems do occur, but are rare in comparison to software problems.

Software bugs - a big number of people are having problems with the new Tacx Training Software 2, including me with an out of memory problem. But they are developing a new version (and feedback from beta testers is very positive)
The older Fortius Software only works with 32 bit windows OS, it might be old and clunky but it is very reliable.

Hooking up your bike to the trainer, requires attaching a cadence sensor. Which is the same as a Computrainer

Computrainer - good luck finding a demo in Australia. I choose Tacx over Computrainer because:
1: Local distributor I could get a demo ride and have a local warranty
2: Software, the older Fortius software looked far superior to the Computrainer software
3: Real Life Video, Computrainer very limited compared to Tacx, + 3rd parties provide RLVs for Tacx.
4: Cost Computrainer $3k compared to $2k for Tacx, though could get away with a little over $1k for Tacx now via Wiggle + RLVs $40 for Tacx $140 for Computrainer.


Are we going to have to pay for the new software? I got a new computer purely for the reason of running my tacx on it, but it has 64bit windows! It seems we have to pay for the new training software!
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby Strawburger » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:06 pm

tripstobaltimore wrote:
Are we going to have to pay for the new software? I got a new computer purely for the reason of running my tacx on it, but it has 64bit windows! It seems we have to pay for the new training software!


Yes, just like upgrading windows, you have to pay for the new version of software. 64bit windows works on tts2 & will work on tts3 as well.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby davidk » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:39 am

For existing TTS2 owners, TTS3 will be made available as a disk extra on a couple of new RLV disks to be released soon.
This means that you would have to buy one of the new RLV disks to obtain a "free" copy of TTS3.
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Re: VR Trainer is it worth the money?

Postby ttelmah » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:17 am

Hi,
New user here, currently in the UK, but my girlfriend is cycling across Australia. :)
Uncle was Australian, came across in WWII, married my Aunt, and they went back sometime later, but she did return here for the last few years of her life.

Long term user of the Tacx, so thought i'd give an opinion.

It is one of those 'nearly good' packages, which has some really annoying 'holes'.
They seem to spend more time and effort protecting the software, than actually getting rid of the bugs. Have a software 'key' based license, you are meant to be able to de-register on a computer, and then transfer to a new machine. Has never worked for me. It accepts the transfer 'off' one machine, but then try to launch on a new machine, and it says the number is still registered. Go back to the old machine, and it says it is no longer registered....

I must admit that this has really made me 'regret' buying this Package.
Versions are 'successive', so if you buy a version and it has software x.xx, and you need to upgrade, you have to step up through all the intermediate versions. Means installing on a new machine takes an age, even with fast internet.

Bugs:
The brake still intermittently hangs. Sometimes just losing communication for a moment, and producing a 'wrong' force (like hitting a pothole), but sometimes locking solid (have a couple of skid marks on my roller and the tire where this has happened) - I opine that it'd be quite possible to injure yourself badly with this.
Just occasionally the software will crash - this seems to happen most often if there is a hiccup with the broadband.
The code has an annoying thing that it'll display 'paused' if you reach the point where it cannot brake any harder. What it actually does, is 'stretch' the ride, so if you are on a 25% gradient, and it can only maintain the brake force for 20%, it stretches the length of the slope holding the 20%, and making you pedal further. But why display 'paused' to do this!.
There also seems to be an intermittent 'crash' if you overheat the brake. For me, seems to be if you aim for about 25 miles, and 'push' it fairly hard with some heavy slopes, you have perhaps a 50% chance of it deciding to crash...
The accuracy of the actual brake 'feeling' (how close it is to riding a bike), seems to have degraded with successive versions, the inertia, and change of load, as you come over a crest, or are peddling really hard on a slope, have gone 'downhill' from the older Fortius software to the current versions.

However, It can be great fun. With the RLV rides, you can do silly things (went 30 miles across part of Arizona this morning after breakfast, before starting work, keeping pace reasonably moderate). The actual energy involved is remarkably close to 'real', though lightly different (you can coast faster on a real bicycle in particular).

Overall, great fun.

The VR supports steering as well, which is also fun, but really 'worrying'. I actually found it hard to get back onto a bike after a couple of days using this, because I was steering so strangely. Then switch back to the trainer after doing some miles on a real bike, and found myself failing to steer enough. Problem is that all the steering is totally on the bars. Though sensitivity is adjustable (though this seems not to work properly on TTS4 at present), it does not in any way resemble the steering on a bike. It is perhaps closest to the steering you have at about 3mph, but without the same tendency to fall off...

It needs a good video card. Many laptop's won't have the grunt, especially on the latest versions.

On the current releases, you can also ride sections using Google Earth (but this is going to become a 'charged for' feature next month (September), but with improvements (at least in the UK), with you being able to use street-view as well. Again how well this works does seem to depend a lot on your internet performance.

The stupid thing is that despite it being the most bug ridden piece of software I have (still, after 1.5 years of updates for me), it is still such fun. Have used the Google Earth ability, to import track logs emailed to me, and been joining some of the riding across Australia 'in virtuo'. :)

If buying again, I'd really look very hard at products from other companies though, because of the level of bugs....

Best Wishes to everyone
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