If you’re hunting for an indoor smart bike, you’ve probably come across Garmin’s Tacx bikes.
Both Tacx Neo Bike and the Tacx Neo Plus are excellent options. Though, some distinctions and upgrades make the higher price tag of the Neo Plus worth considering.
In this article, we’ll compare Tacx Neo Bike vs. Tacx Neo Bike Plus to help you choose which indoor trainer is right for you. Let’s dive in!
First-Look At Tacx NEO Bike Plus
The Garmin Tacx Neo Bike Plus, like its predecessor, is a fully customizable interactive smart bike compatible with various indoor cycling training apps such as Zwift, Tacx’s own training app, TrainerRoad, and Ruby. It can automatically control resistance based on the terrain in the software, replicating outdoor cycling experiences. The Tacx Neo Bike Plus features LED lights on the bottom that change color based on power output.
The bike can provide up to 2200 watts resistance and simulate a grade of up to 25%. It has a customizable fit, adjustable to the millimeter, to match the fit of an outdoor bike.
The Neo Bike Plus has redesigned dual-side levers that are more convenient to use and allow for finer adjustment. The bike also features a narrower seat post area to prevent thigh rub.
It also includes a saddle, which, in terms of comfort, appears to be perfectly adequate. Although it doesn’t quite match the quality of an Fizi:k or Specialized saddle, it has served me well for many hours without causing any discomfort. However, if you prefer, you can easily replace the saddle with one of your own choice.
The Neo Bike Plus has redesigned crank arms that no longer require a pod to adjust the crank length. It offers five different crank lengths – 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5 and 175mm, compared to the original Neo bike’s three – 170, 172.5 and 175mm.
The new shifter brake levers on the Neo Bike Plus resemble those on an actual road bike and can be customized to mirror Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo shifters through the app.
The bike comes with an integrated 4.5-inch LCD display that shows gearing, power output, cadence, and speed. It has built-in fans that can be regulated by heart rate or power zone and a tray for holding personal items. Two USB charging ports are located underneath the display.
The Neo Bike Plus does not need to be plugged in to be used, making it convenient and versatile. Overall, the Tacx Neo Bike Plus offers several improvements and added features compared to its predecessor, making it a great option for those seeking a customizable and interactive indoor cycling experience.
The bike functions smoothly even when unplugged, with the exception of USB ports and downhill simulation. This makes it suitable for use in a shed or another area without power access.
The setup process takes around 30-45 minutes and includes assembly of the front and back legs, saddle, handlebars, fans, display, water bottle and cage, and pedals. A Tacx training towel and sweat guard are also included in the package.
The Neo Bike Plus provides a smooth and realistic riding experience, simulating various road surfaces and offering downhill stimulation. Despite its smoothness, the bike remains extremely quiet, making it suitable for indoor use. Garmin claims a power accuracy of +/- 1%, which the bike largely delivers, although the data’s smoothing can lead to some underreporting of quick changes in power during rapid accelerations or sprints.
In SIM mode, the Neo Bike Plus is highly responsive and offers a natural riding experience. However, ERG mode could use some improvement, as the change in power can be abrupt, and adjustments to power output may be too drastic. The Neo Bike Plus measures cadence virtually and can also analyze left and right pedal power balance for improved pedaling technique and efficiency.
The Neo Bike Plus offers a polished, quiet, and customizable smart bike experience suitable for use by multiple people in a household. Its realistic road feel, customizability, and attractive design make it worth considering for those seeking a high-quality indoor riding experience.
Differences Between Tacx Neo Bike vs. Tacx Neo Bike Plus
|Feature||Tacx NEO Bike||Tacx NEO Bike Plus|
|Entire bike tilt||No||No|
|Decline simulation||not specified, but can simulate freewheeling||not specified, but can simulate freewheeling|
|Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo shifting||No||Yes|
|Flywheel||275lb / 125kg (virtual)||275lb / 125kg (virtual)|
|Crank lengths||170, 172.5 and 175mm||165, 167.5, 170, 172.5 and 175mm|
|Adjustable fit||Stack, reach, setback, saddle height||Stack, reach, setback, saddle height (everything is more precise)|
|Metrics||Speed, power, cadence||Speed, power, cadence|
|Connectivity||ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth||ANT+ FEC, Bluetooth|
|Weight limit||275 lb|
The main differences between the two bikes include the following:
A notable improvement in the Neo Bike Plus is the introduction of new shifter brake levers that are significantly better than the previous generation. These levers closely resemble those found on a typical road bike, enhancing the overall cycling experience. The redesigned shifter and brake levers also allow for customization of the shift buttons to mimic Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo shifters, all easily adjustable through the accompanying app.
Additionally, you can replicate your desired gearing, and the shifting experience is impressively realistic, with each shift being instant and providing a tactile, authentic sensation similar to outdoor cycling. Dedicated incline buttons are included for increasing or decreasing resistance, simulating uphill or downhill rides. However, it’s important to note that these buttons only affect flywheel resistance and not the actual angle of the bike like a gradient simulator.
The brake levers have an excellent design and feel, and since the Neo Bike Plus features a freewheel mechanism like an outdoor bike, these brake levers function in the same way, offering an authentic cycling experience indoors.
Both the Tacx Neo Bike Plus and the Tacx Neo Bike have customizable crank lengths. However, the Tacx Neo Plus surpasses its predecessor as it has two extra lengths.
The Tacx Neo Bike has crank lengths of 170, 175, and 172.5 mm. On the other hand, the Tacx Neo Bike Plus has additional lengths of 166 and 167.5 mm. Naturally, this offers more comfort.
The most noticeable difference between the bikes is the price tag! It goes without saying that the upgraded bike should cost more. That said, it costs an extra $800!
The Tacx Neo Bike Plus costs a whopping $3,999. In comparison, the Tacx Neo Bike retails for $3,199.
Similarities Between Tacx Neo Bike Plus and Tacx Neo Bike
Since the Tacx Neo Bike Plus is just an upgraded version of the Tacx Neo Bike, both indoor bikes have more similarities than differences.
These similarities include:
- Identical dimensions
- Compatibility with different smartphones and watches
- Power and incline
- Inertia limit of about 275 pounds
- Accompanying accessories
Final Verdict: Which Bike Is Better?
While the Tacx Neo Bike offers a customizable and interactive indoor cycling experience, the Tacx Neo Bike Plus builds upon its predecessor with several improvements and added features, making it the better choice for those seeking a high-quality, realistic, and immersive training experience.
The Neo Bike Plus boasts redesigned dual-side levers, a narrower seat post area, more crank length options, customizable shifter brake levers, an integrated LCD display, and built-in fans. It also has the advantage of functioning smoothly when unplugged, making it more versatile and suitable for use in various locations.
Both bikes offer a smooth and realistic riding experience, simulating various road surfaces and providing downhill stimulation. However, the Neo Bike Plus has better power accuracy and can measure cadence virtually and analyze left and right pedal power balance for improved pedaling technique and efficiency. The Neo Bike Plus also offers a more responsive SIM mode experience, although it could use some improvement in ERG mode.
The Garmin Tacx Neo Bike Plus outshines the original Neo Bike in terms of features, customizability, and overall performance, making it the preferred choice for those looking to invest in an interactive and high-quality indoor cycling experience that can accommodate multiple users in a household.
Questions You May Have
What are the main differences between the Tacx Neo Bike and the Tacx Neo Bike Plus?
The Tacx Neo Bike Plus offers several improvements over its predecessor, including redesigned dual-side levers, a narrower seat post area to prevent thigh rub, more crank length options, customizable shifter brake levers, an integrated LCD display, and built-in fans. The Neo Bike Plus can also function smoothly when unplugged, which is not possible with the original Neo Bike.
Is the Tacx Neo Bike Plus compatible with popular indoor cycling training apps?
Yes, the Tacx Neo Bike Plus is compatible with various indoor cycling training apps such as Zwift, Tacx’s own training app, TrainerRoad, and Ruby.
How long does it take to set up the Tacx Neo Bike Plus?
The setup process for the Tacx Neo Bike Plus takes around 30-45 minutes, and the package includes all the necessary tools for assembly.
Can the Tacx Neo Bike Plus be used unplugged?
Yes, the Neo Bike Plus can be used unplugged, making it suitable for use in areas without power access. However, when unplugged, the USB ports and downhill simulation will not function.
How accurate is the power measurement on the Tacx Neo Bike Plus?
Garmin claims a power accuracy of +/- 1% for the Tacx Neo Bike Plus, which it largely delivers. However, the smoothing of the data can lead to some underreporting of quick changes in power during rapid accelerations or sprints.
Does the Tacx Neo Bike Plus offer a realistic road feel?
Yes, the Neo Bike Plus provides a smooth and realistic riding experience, simulating various road surfaces, offering downhill stimulation, and replicating the inertia found in outdoor cycling.
Can multiple users in a household use the Tacx Neo Bike Plus?
Yes, the customizability of the fit on the Tacx Neo Bike Plus allows it to be adjusted to accommodate different users in a household without the need to switch out bikes on a single direct drive bike trainer.