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Tacx Flux S direct drive smart turbo trainer review

15 Dec 2020
Verdict:

Affordable direct drive indoor trainer with plush feel and impressive performance

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£549.99
For 
Solid feel • Quiet flywheel • Realistic response to gradient change • Fuss-free setup • Attractive price • Adaptability for most bikes
Against 
Not what you’d call portable

A decade ago, informing your nearest and dearest that you were heading to the spare room to go on the turbo trainer would usually be met with rolled eyes or a familial exodus from the house, but direct drive turbo trainers like the Tacx Flux S have changed that.

My first session on this entry-level indoor trainer in the spare bedroom finished with a sheepish entrance to the living room to enquire as to the level of disturbance caused.

The response? 'Nah, it was fine. Rather than sounding like a chinook was flying over the house, it just sounded like the neighbours taking the bins out.'

It might sound like a little thing, but when the modern direct drive turbo trainer can not only keep your fitness and power up over the darker months but also smooth the path to domestic harmony, the Tacx Flux S is already starting to pay for itself.

 

Setup in solitude

I’ve a long history of botched flatpack furniture assembly, shouting at instruction manuals and skinned knuckles. For this reason, I was left alone to put the Tacx Flux S together – after enlisting the help of Mrs Abbott to lug the 25kg box upstairs (I wouldn’t recommend trying this without a helping hand).

Simple instructions see me holding the correct tools within minutes and fitting a spare 11-30 Shimano 105 cassette to the freehub body – the Tacx Flux S is supplied with a Shimano/Sram body as standard, but Campagnolo units are available.

 

Sturdy bolts attach the wide-footprint base unit, while a T-bar and 17mm spanner swap out the quick-release end caps for the supplied 100 x 12mm thru axle adapters needed to accommodate the Focus Izalco Max Disc 8.6 that I was testing at the time.

Buy the Tacx Flux S turbo trainer from Wiggle here

Once I’ve assessed the distance from the nearest wall socket and plugged the Tacx Flux S into the mains, we’re good to go.

A note of caution: I’d suggest giving some thought to where you’ll permanently site the Tacx Flux S as you’ll not want to be lugging it about once you’ve put it together.

 

Solid efforts

The ANT+ setup and rapid calibration (simply spin up to 20mph for a few seconds) of the Tacx Flux S means both Tacx’s own app and Zwift are quickly accessed – especially gratifying when all you want to do is get on with riding.

The first thing noticeable is the stability of the trainer. Those feet might be spread wide (and even wider on the drive side, to account for the extra torque) but they don’t budge, even when you’re putting in sustained 250W efforts.

Responses of the magnetic flywheel to gradient changes in Zwift are as instant as you’d hope. Although the maximum gradient replicated by the Tacx Flux S is 10%, that’s not been a noticeable encumbrance – I’m not a fan of getting out of the saddle on the trainer, using it more for building strength over the winter than trying to keep up with an animated stranger on the screen (although, let’s be honest about this, Zwift can get you carried away with such antics).

 

Power accuracy from the magnetic resistance unit certainly feels in the right ballpark, as far as rate of perceived effort is concerned; I’ve not seen any figures on the screen that would cause me to believe it was confusing me either with a small child or a WorldTour sprinter.

Its claimed maximum readable power is 1,500W, and I’m not going to be troubling the upper reaches of that limit.

Buy the Tacx Flux S turbo trainer from Wiggle here

 

Instant gratification

The speed and simplicity of assembling the unit, and of setting it up for online training, are two of the biggest plusses to the Tacx Flux S.

Factor in that it’s quiet enough to train in peace, and costs less than half the amount of some direct drive trainers with little noticeable difference in performance, and you’re looking at a very attractive prospect for seeing out the days when it’s too dark or icy to ride outside – or for actively beginning a career in the virtual world of Zwift (or similar).

It’s a permanent fixture in the spare room that’s noticeably keeping me sharp, isn’t intrusively audible over an episode of Home and Away, and – crucially – is the most accessible and enjoyable route to enjoyment of indoor training I’ve used.

If springtime 2021 delivers the renewed freedom we’re all hoping for, the Tacx Flux S is what will see me through the dark days, and put me in prime condition to spring a surprise on my riding pals when Sunday group rides are once again a regular calendar fixture.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

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