Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Bike Trainer (without Cassette) Review

The ultimate combination of accuracy, convincing simulation and noiselessness can make any model the best indoor road bike trainer for cyclists. The Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer, however, has a specific set of features you can’t find on just any trainer. Find out the specific features of this product to understand why it works quietly despite its immense power.

Table of Contents

Features and SpecificationsTacx Neo Smart Direct Driver (without Cassette)

Direct Drive

Even though this bike trainer will require you to buy a separate cassette, its direct drive design can easily convince you to choose this product. Once you have the cassette on this trainer, the motor installed won’t need extra gear. That means zero calibration, which isn’t possible with models from other manufacturers. Most turbo trainers and power meters really need constant maintenance which usually happens weekly.

However, the “zero calibration” thing is only based on the fact that you don’t need to maintain the machine. This indoor trainer can still undergo calibration, but its system will do it for you.

The direct drive has other benefits. Since it can only produce low revolutions every minute, it remains quieter than other options. It can also prevent wheel slip for a seamless performance.

More importantly, the direct drive promotes better simulation of road conditions. It’s known to be more realistic than wheel-on bike trainers.

Compatibility with ANT+ and Bluetooth

It goes without saying that this smart trainer can work through wireless connections. Whether you’re going to use your phone, tablet, or laptop (iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows) with this equipment, you can enjoy dynamic sessions and stunning graphics with the right app. And, since Zwift is probably the most popular training software nowadays, this bike trainer ensures you can connect to it. The manufacturer of this product also has its own app called Tacx Neo so don’t forget to try it.

Training software isn’t just about graphics and metrics. With models like this trainer, they can allow the app to affect the resistance to match the terrain on screen. That’s why this product is great for simulating hill climbing. It can even vibrate to match rough roads.

Meanwhile, what if the equipment runs out of battery? This trainer can still function when connected to an electrical outlet. Just make sure to check the LED light indicators to know whether the machine’s working or not.

Folding Frame

Don’t underestimate the compact design of this bike trainer. It can remain sturdy for years even if you’ll always fold it after your training sessions. You can hide it almost anywhere when not in use.

Also, a folding frame isn’t just for easier storage; it also enhances portability. You can put it in your vehicle with ease so you can transport it wherever you go. You’ll be able to train regularly even if you have to go out of town.

Additional Details

  • 4” x 10.2” x 17.3”
  • Weighs 25 pounds
  • Maximum power: 2,200 watts at 25 miles per hour
  • Maximum slope: 25%
  • Can simulate descent
  • No transmission for zero maintenance
  • Comes with a front-wheel riser and a five-millimeter quick-release for different types of bikes

The Good

Quiet Performance

Thanks to the steady platform of the Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer, you won’t make too much noise while pedaling. In fact, it’s the ideal choice if you’re living in an apartment or dormitory. You can train anytime you want even when it’s still too early in the morning. You’re more likely to have a successful training session without disturbing your neighbors.

For another noiseless option, we recommend the Minoura RDA-2429 D Bicycle Trainer. Minoura is a world-class brand so expect good things from all of its products.

Realistic Ascending or Descending Simulation

Once you see an uphill or downhill path on-screen while training with the Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer, the resistance will automatically reflect on the machine. For example, if you’re looking at an incoming steep slope on the monitor, the resistance will be so extreme that you might have to stand while pedaling. Some users are so into it that they have experienced painful leg muscles afterward.

Descending with this trainer is super-fun, too. If you’re on a sharp slope, you’ll really feel the exhilarating moment of going down fast.

The Bad


Long, heavy use can generally take a toll on small machines. So don’t be too surprised if a bike trainer gets too hot after an intense hour-long session. Unfortunately, this model can get worse than that. Some of its units, specifically the defective ones, are overheating in just a few minutes.

You can avoid that by using this trainer for at least five minutes as soon as you receive it. Once you feel the heat, contact the seller immediately for a replacement.

Too Expensive

Smart trainers are mostly expensive, but the price tag of this model is too much to handle for most people. And worse, on top of a pricey machine, you still have to buy a separate cassette.

If you just want a decent smart trainer that can connect with apps and provide resistance, we recommend affordable models like the Tacx Flow Smart Trainer and the BKOOL Smart Pro 2 Trainer.

Who Is It For?

The Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer can work quietly as long as you’re keeping things smooth. It may produce some sounds when you’re riding on rough roads or shifting gears, but it’s not too loud. It can be an effective option for residents in apartments, condos, and dorms since it won’t easily disturb neighbors.

Meanwhile, for those who are still practicing how to ascend or descend slopes safely, they can use the excellent uphill and downhill simulation of this trainer. Resistance gets very high when you’re ascending while there’s a boost on acceleration while you’re descending.


Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver (without Cassette)

Don’t let the price of the Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer make you ignore this wonderful equipment. It’s hi-tech, durable, and perfect for advanced simulation. Yes, it’s outrageously expensive for a bike trainer, but its quality surpasses a lot of options out there.

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