Tacx Fortius Software 3 29
-- The typical price of $1200--but this includes the steering unit, which is unnecessary for the real life training (which is what I do all the time), so I'm thinking you might not need that unless you want the Virtual Reality aspect, something like a Computrainer.-- Real Life Video cost upwards of $50 (maybe the best place to get them is direct from Tacx in the Netherlands)-- You need a fairly good PC to run the software. It doesn't hurt to have a large screen available.-- The latest software tends to have "quirks", and sometimes strange things happen, videos freeze, or crash. This, for me, is relatively rare, and there is an extensive Tacx forum constantly discussing solutions to problems.
Tacx Fortius Software 3 29
I have used my Tacx Fortius for about 635 hours in the last four years. I recently upgraded to the latest software (TTS 3.5), and now have many of the Real Life Videos. The one obvious thing to anyone who uses this trainer, especially for the first time, is how engaging it is. A friend's first ride was 3 1/2 hours, another 2 1/2, and most of my rides are 1-2 hours, and some more. All of us can barely stand 1 hour on a conventional trainer. I might, for instance, being riding a simulation of the Telegraphe, watching the route on my old 50" HDTV, noting that as the slope increases, the resistance increases, and I have to work that much harder. I get to the top, descend into Valloir, then feel the urge to continue up to the summit of the Galibier. And pretty soon I've done well over two hours. Or I might be riding out of Bormio, Italy, up the "easy" side of the Stelvio, and realize that it's very much like the same ride I once did in real life!(I will say that I've never really used the Virtual Reality aspect of this trainer, whereby you have what I'd call an animated course, where you have to steer, you may have opponents, etc.)
The idea of simulation outdoor training using computer controlled trainer is great and Tack Fortius Multiplayer is equipment that help to survive usually horrible boring indoor training, and even turn it into pleasure. The mechanical and electronic parts this device are well made, frame is stable and breaking unit quite realistic simulate the slope. I noticed that that I have to put similar effort in climbing with speed 20km/h at slope about 4% on Tack than in outdoor conditions. The descends are not strong points of this machine, nom matter if slope is -5 or -15% is very difficult to reach speed over 60km/h because abnormal resistance from braking unit that starting after the speed increase over 55km/h. Although the virtual steering differs greatly from real if generally OK. In case of advantages probably the biggest is its versality. Teoteticaly this trainer enable perform any exercise that you can image well as many performance tests , and also compare it from results of your previous activity. it is possible to take a part in virtual races against computer generated oponents as well real person somewhere in the world. My favorite function is of course RLV videos, and there is vase amount of commercial or free RLV videos available in the net and many out of them were taken on the roads well known from major road races. The Tack Fortius Mutiplaayer is computer controlled trainer, and Tacx Training Software (TTS) in version 2 or 3 were developer to teach this task. Untortunately the TTS software total opposition to well designed mechanical and electronic components of Tacx Multiplayer. The TTS 2 is probably one out of worst piece of software that you can imagine! It has plenty of very annoying bugs, very poor stability, hard tendency to freeze the RLV during your ride, and crash itself. The quality of TTS 3 is only minor improve compared to TTS 2 and instability numerous bugs are still issue. Other disadvantage of TTS 3 is fact that many RLV working under TTS 2 does not work under this never version. Summarizing I still waiting for moment when Tack release training software that will work as it should, but today a terrible TTS 2 and TTS 3 versions make this potentially great trainer barely useless!
TTS2 version 2. Loading the software worked but the license didn't. Had to contact Tacx support for new license which took days. Once I was able to use the program it would crash with multiple bugs. I don't remember ever being able to complete rides that lasted longer than approximately 45 minutes. If you saved the rides eventually the program will not start up at all. Tacx support is the worst team of non English speaking idiots I ever had to deal with. They obviously don't care about customer satisfaction. They charge for software updates that are meant to be fixes and should be free. I tried this software on several diffent computers and each time had to totally wipe the hard drives clean to remove the ####. I will not deal with this company ever again.
This is a great tool to train with. Takes a boring basement workout to a completely new level. You still cannot ride it forever for obvious reasons (you are still in the basement, don't forget that) but the power based workouts make you a definitely better cyclist. Software has some flaws, but what software is perfect. My system seems to be immune to the problems other people talk about. It probably boils down to hardware installed on a particular computer. My computer is practically dedicated to Tacx program only, so that might be the key here.
I was one of the early adopters for the Fortius. Initially the software was quite buggy for the virtual reality part(would crash frequently causing a reboot). The Real life video software was more robust. Seems like they've got it running pretty well at this point after multiple revisions. I bought it with the steering and I would highly recommend that to anyone. It keeps you very engaged when you are racing with other riders and need to avoid them and stay on the road (or risk crashing). It is actually fairly easy for me to get my heart rate into up to typical real riding levels when I am racing against other real or virtual riders. With a standard trainer I need to kill myself to get a comparable heart rate. The graphics are decent, though my computer sometimes has trouble maintaining a good frame rate when there is a lot of activity on the screen. That causes the video to get jerky. The software tracks power, heart rate, speed, so you can compare your results on the same course. The documentation is pretty sparse. I used the real life videos in a small screen for months before I realized you could blow it up to full screen (d'oh). The trainer adjusts the motor brake to match the grade of the road or trail, it even spins the wheel a little as you start down hill, to make things more realistic.
The software is expensive to upgrade by itself (EUR120). I found it cheaper to buy a new trainer on special to upgrade the software.The only negative to the simulations I have is based on my own GPS recordings which seem to have a lag in terms of when you hit climbs and downhills but I suspect this may be the result of the bike computer gps recording rather than the system itself.My inability to replicate the TDF mountain stages!Parts are getting harder to find but most are interchangeable with the 2200 series. I broke the release lever for the motor brake but replaced it with a spare from ebay. Much cheaper than buying from TACX.
I was a little bit hesitant buying this given some of the experiences and reviews. However, a number of reviews relate to the older software and the fact that some of the hardware being used may not have been capable of running the software.Overall this is an Excellent trainer. Very close to real road conditions and the motor brake allows you to recover on downhill sections of the courses. I have found that the fortuis is better than the 2180/2220 in that I appreciate the downhill assistance and I find the resistance is a bit smoother. Having said that, both work well with the videos and my personalised programs. My 8yo loves it as he can ride and watch the videos so he doesn't get bored when he cycles indoors which was a challenge with our old JetBlack trainer.System is very good and allows you to transfer your own gps trip records and use google maps to train against. Not sure why people have had trouble with the software although it does not like major system changes. I have used v.204, 3.5, 4.12 with 2 trainers - the I-magic and the 2180 i-Flow. I had to build a brace for the 2180 to work on a 20" BMX wheel for my 8yo but they are brilliant and still available quite cheaply now. The key issue is having a PC that has a separate graphics card and at least 8gb (Mine is 16gb) of ram. I have run mine on both an Apple MacBook i7 Dual Core running VM Fusion and XP (for 2.04) and a Win 7 i7 Laptop with a GT520 2Gb Video Card and 16GB with no issues. TACX support have been responsive and actually sent me a full version of the 4.12 multiplayer software when the disc that came with my 2180 was the incorrect software version. So to be fair, my experience has been good. Their service centre in Brisbane doesn't exist anymore but they have one in Sydney and the support from the NL has been excellent to date.Thankfully the hardware is fully compatible with the new software. The steering frame is ok but I wouldn't worry about it if you found a trainer without it as it is more a gimmick than a training tool and doesn't really add much to the experience and requires me to change 2 wheels compared to the 2180/2220.Mounting the bike is easy using the quick release. The Steering frame makes it a little more complex as it needs to be adjusted for different frame sizes. But the steering frame removes the need for a riser and does make the bike more stable for my feeble attempts at sprinting or going up mountains.I would recommend a trainer wheel and tyre (any cheapie wheel will do and either a dedicated trainer tyre (I use a Vittoria) or any old tyre. It definitely chews tubular tyres faster than the clinchers.Other than Bluetooth capability on the newer models which gets rid of the wires - I cant see much of a functional difference between this older model and the newer genius. I'm sure you could justify the higher expenditure but I am very happy with this version even if it looks a little untidy with the cables.