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Tacx Boost: First ride review on new basic turbo trainer

10 Dec 2020
Verdict:

The new Tacx Boost turbo trainer is quiet, simple to operate and affordable

Price: 
£229.99 (£249.99 with speed sensor)

The new Tacx Boost is the latest turbo trainer from the Garmin-owned outfit and Tacx claims it’s the only one at its price point with a closed resistance unit.

Founded back in 1957 as a bike and repair shop, the Dutch company has become best known for its range of home training technology including a wide selection of turbo trainers.

In 2019 Tacx was acquired by Garmin, just in time for the industry to boom as a result of worldwide lockdowns enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Tacx's flagship Neo 2T trainer was used for the inaugural eSports World Championships this week, the brand has launched a new basic trainer that attempts to take the range a step forward at its more affordable end.

Fill your boost

Essentially sitting in the space between Tacx’s entry level trainers and the lower-end smart trainers, the Boost’s setup is very similar to the Tacx Flow and Blue Matic. There are a few things that set it apart, however.

Firstly, while it retains the 10-level manual resistance control and ferrite magnets of the Blue Matic, it can do a whole lot more. Tacx claims the Boost’s maximum power is 1,050 watts, compared to the Blue Matic’s 700 and the Flow’s 800 watts.

Buy the Tacx Boost from Garmin now

On top of that, the Boost’s claimed 50N max brake force also beats the 45N and 36N of the Flow and Blue Matic respectively.

 

Its dimensions are identical to the Flow though Tacx says it weighs nearly a kilogram less at 8.5kg, and a front wheel mount is included as standard.

With the option to buy the Boost with a speed sensor, it can be connected to apps including Zwift and TrainerRoad but, unlike the Flow, it doesn’t have the capacity to simulate an incline and can only be controlled through the manual resistance lever.

What’s completely new for the Boost is the closed resistance unit. Tacx says it makes the ride smoother and also minimises the noise generated by the machine.

 

Tacx says the new Boost is the only turbo trainer with a closed unit at its price point, potentially making it a better option than other similar trainers for training unsociable hours or in houses with thin floors and walls.

It fills the same gap when it comes to price too.

On its own the Boost is £229.99, £90 more than the Blue Matic and £40 less than the Flow, but that rises to £249.99 with the speed sensor, which is normally bought separately for £34.99.

As well as the Garmin speed sensor the Boost bundle comes with a month's free subscription to the Tacx training app which gives you performance data, training plans, live opponents and high quality films to mimic riding around the world.

The app can also be linked to Garmin Connect to keep your outdoor and indoor rides in the same place and upload sessions to Strava. On higher end trainers the Edge devices can even be used to change the road feel to bring off-road riding inside. 

Buy the Tacx Boost bundle from Garmin now

 

Tacx Boost: First ride review

Getting the Boost set up is pretty straightforward. There are only two screws involved – to be attached with an included Allen key – and the only thinking comes in determining the height of the resistance unit.

If the bike you use for indoor training is the same you take out on the road, it’s probably worth investing in a trainer tyre, which Tacx sells for £34.99, because like all similar trainers, the roller will wear the tyre down.

Tacx advertises the Boost as ‘ready in two clicks’, however this isn’t strictly true.

While two ‘clicks’ is what it takes to attach the rear wheel to the mount, it also requires Tacx’s quick release axle to already be in, which isn’t likely if you last rode your bike on the road.

When it comes to the ride, it does succeed in getting a properly stable feel – aided partly by the front wheel support – and feels about as natural as you’d expect.

The roller is smooth and getting into a comfortable cadence isn’t difficult no matter what level of resistance you select.

Buy the Tacx Boost from Garmin now

Like any turbo, it can feel weird not having any sort of freewheeling but unless you’re maxing out both the resistance and your gears you likely won’t notice it.

On the resistance, although having 10 levels plus all your gears to play with seems like a great idea, it’s not necessary unless you’re using the speed sensor.

You could probably do all your workouts on level 10 just going between gears and be more than satisfied with the range of difficulty.

The Boost isn’t silent but noise levels are definitely not an issue unless the surface you have it on is prone to picking up vibrations.

 

The trainer's quietness alone doesn’t set it apart a huge amount from other trainers but it is a small bonus.

Where it really is worth its salt is the feel. The resistance unit is smooth rolling and progressive, and the stable base positions the bike naturally. Consequently, the trainer remains a comfortable and effective piece of equipment to use even when you’re plugging away on the highest resistance levels or for extended periods.

Considering it’s so similar to the Flow, the space it occupies in price and performance is the right marker for what you’re getting. The only thing bringing the Boost down in comparison is the Flow’s smart integration.

For more on the Tacx Boost, visit Garmin's website here

Spec

Physical dimensions 675x650mm
Dimensions when folded 565x410x245mm
Weight 8.5kg
Height 410mm
Control by Handlebar resistance lever with 10 positions
Magnets 2x8 permanent ferrite magnets
Transmission Roller, 30mm
Electrical requirement No power required
Suitable axles Width of rear fork: Race 130mm, MTB 135mm. Adapters for other widths available 
Max power 1,050 watts
Max torque 17Nm
Max brake force 50N
Flywheel 1.6kg
Mass inertia 9.2kg

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