December 7, 2023
And why a Garmin Tacx NEO 3M may just be the perfect smart trainer for you.
Remember the old exercise bike your parents relegated to the dustiest corner of the basement — the one that sounded like it might take flight at any moment on the rare occasion it got any use? We’ve come a long way since then. In fact, we’ve come a long way since 2019, when Garmin announced the Tacx® NEO 2T Smart Trainer that, for years, has been our most high-end and feature-rich direct-drive smart trainer. Now there’s a new sheriff in town.
Tacx NEO® 3M is the new gold standard of Garmin indoor smart trainers, providing our most realistic, immersive and engaging indoor ride experience available. Each trainer in the Tacx NEO lineup is powered by a NEO magnet motor drive and a virtual flywheel. This offers several benefits over a belted trainer, which uses a gear ratio to simulate the wheel rotation generated by the cyclist and, ultimately, creates noise and undesired friction. Even a smart trainer with a traditional flywheel, while offering a smoother pedaling experience, will have limitations based on the rider’s weight for how realistically the trainer can simulate an outdoor ride.
A virtual flywheel trainer, though, will offer a quiet operation, broad working range in terms of wattage, accuracy and superior simulation — and that’s something that’s offered in the Garmin lineup of Tacx NEO smart trainers. It’s the premier option for any cyclist, whether you’re training for a grand tour, wanting a realistic but temperate ride during winter months or simply looking for an enjoyable way to raise your heart rate on a piece of equipment that won’t end up in the basement corner of forgotten dreams.
So what else, specifically, should you be looking for in a smart trainer? Let’s break it down.
1. Magnetic Braking
A magnetic motor on a virtual flywheel allows for magnetic braking — which in turn allows for higher brake force and power levels. Even during the explosive sprints up to 2200 watts, you’ll maintain maximum stability during your ride. That higher brake force allows NEO trainers to support simulated inclines of up to 25% by creating high resistance at low speeds.
2. Simulated Descents
You know the feeling — you’re at the top of a descent, and adrenaline is pumping as you start to pick up speed. NEO smart trainers will automatically accelerate as you descend a hill when riding virtually. You’ll feel a decrease in resistance, and the virtual flywheel, powered by an internal motor, will spin faster. And because the NEO 3M is built for every body, the dynamic inertia exerted when you’re riding will be based on your actual mass — meaning downhill slants are going to feel just like they would if you were actually coasting down a hill.
3. Realistic Road Feel
Because NEO 3M is controlled by a motor, it can be modified instantly, which allows it to create vibrations that mimic outdoor rides when riding in the Tacx Training™ or Zwift app. The feel of gravel, cobblestones or dirt with each pedal stroke will be so realistic you’ll forget you’re actually riding in your living room.
4. Integrated Multidirectional Movement
Where most smart trainers require the purchase of additional motion plates to achieve multidirectional movement, NEO 3M has this built in. Riders can toggle the feature on or off as needed, eliminating the need to buy a separate product to achieve a more comfortable, realistic (and still silent) ride. Intentionally designed for side-to-side flexion, the NEO 3M leaves nothing to be desired.
5. Stability and Reduced Vibrations
All the benefits of a virtual flywheel — including inertia based on your body’s mass and magnetic braking without the requirement of additional equipment — lead to a smoother, more stable ride. And real road feel can be turned off or on as you’d like — you may only want to feel like you’re riding on gravel if you need some diversity in your indoor training, or if you need to prep your legs for that next big gravel race on the calendar.
In addition to the specific benefits derived from Tacx NEO technology, Tacx smart trainers are enhanced by their connectivity capabilities. You’ll have access to a library of high-quality videos1 to ride locations around the world, or virtual GroupRides1 with friends in the Tacx Training app on your compatible smartphone or tablet. All your ride data will automatically sync with the Garmin Connect™ app for easy access along with more details about your ride, how you’re progressing, and the rest of your body’s health and wellness data from your compatible smartwatch or cycling computer. The world is now your playground.
To shop the Garmin Tacx NEO 3M or browse similar options, shop the Garmin Tacx smart trainer lineup here.
1Tacx Premium or Premium HD subscription is required