The Tacx i-Flow Turbo Trainer is all about efficient cycling and optimum performance…the things that many of us aspire to. For us to achieve our goals, we need to measure our speed, power output, cadence, heart rate and distance so that we can identify our strengths and weaknesses. The ergonomically designed Tacx i-Flow Turbo Trainer is all about performance and fortunately as a Virtual Reality trainer, it keeps things interesting by offering VR terrains, races and training programs.
First things first – Assembly. Assembling this trainer is not as straightforward as we may hope it to be but a little perseverance will go a long way. The Tacx i-Flow Turbo Trainer comes flat packed and the instructions are not all that so make sure you have a cup of coffee to hand before getting started.
The display screen easily mounts to your handlebars and is the central navigation and control point. It connects to the brakes and your PC through a USB cable so there will be a few wires on the floor during your sessions.
The Tacx i-Flow Turbo Trainer measures power (in watts), speed, average speed, time, heart rate, cadence, as well as allowing you to program inclines to increase resistance from the unit. Additionally, you can set the computer to maintain a certain wattage and it will adjust the resistance accordingly depending on your speed. You can also easily mimic hill riding by increasing the slope resistance manually.
Being a Virtual Reality Trainer, the Tacx i-Flow comes with the basic version of the Tacx Trainer software 4 which includes two computer animated VR terrains and the ability to upgrade to a number of other programs. When they say basic, they really do mean basic so you can almost expect to upgrade as this package really does not come with much. As well as upgrading to the more advanced software, you will also have the option of upgrading to the Multiplayer software which means that you can race against other cyclists virtually via Tacx’s online platform. I am a huge fan of multiplayer racing as it keeps your training interesting and even exciting so if you can spare the cash, upgrading to multiplayer is a great option.
So, how does it feel to ride? Well, like all turbo trainers, it’s not quite like the road but Tacx have done a lot to make it as realistic as possible. The ergonomically designed frame allows for some movement and the VR steering frame gives the Virtual Reality experience a new dimension. You feel like you are actually in the race or on the virtual cycle track.
The trainer is a magnetic resistance turbo trainer and can therefore be classified among the quieter of the turbo trainers. The only real noise actually comes from the bike itself – the rear wheel spinning, and the chain going round the derailleur are far noisier than the turbo trainer itself.
When you have finished your training session, the trainer collapses down easily which is great for storage if you are short on space.
Overall this is a great turbo trainer and will allow you to really focus your training and progression. It closely replicates the road conditions and is well built.