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RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
I'm seriously considering taking the plunge and purchasing a VR trainer (something to take the mundane out of spinning and adding a little fun). Right now I'm on the fence about which of the two trainers above might be a better choice. Price-and-feature-wise, they seem to be comparable but I'm interested in what the real people out there have to say about their experiences with either or both. I like to do a lot of homework before making a purchase of this magnitude and that's why I'm interested in hearing from non-compensated users. So how 'bout it, anyone have $0.02 to spend?

Thanks!
post #2 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by drcobol
Hello all,
I like to do a lot of homework before making a purchase of this magnitude and that's why I'm interested in hearing from non-compensated users. So how 'bout it, anyone have $0.02 to spend?

Thanks!
I went with the Fortius and love the thing. The VR mode is pretty cool and works really well. When you look at the powerfile after such a ride you can barely tell the difference from a normal road file. You really have to focus on staying within your power ranges as opposed to just spinning. Further, I have found that I end up riding much harder and longer than on a normal trainer. The only negative thing are the power readings. To be honest, I haven't spent too much time figuring this out, but the Fortius reads about 5-10% lower than my PT 2.4. However, I have heard that the PT doesn't work well with the Fortius.
In any case, I love the thing because of the fun it provides.
post #3 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Do a search for the Fortius and you'll see a bunch of threads like this where people, myself included have given some pretty detailed info on the Fortius.

After finally getting to ride a Computrainer with the Ergvideos I'd lean towards the CT if you live in North America. I can't vouch for the Training software for the CT, the Fortius has a great package but limits me since I can't go over 26 MPH.

As for the Fortius and Power Average, I just did a test ride last night and it's very close to my PT now after the latest software update. It used to read about 15% lower than the PT. Makre sure to warm up the Fortius and calibrate it before doing your workout. It kinda sucks, but makes it more close to the PT. I did several long intervals at different level from 100 W to 400 W over lenghts of at least 1 minute. I was within 5 watts or so of the Fortius and the PT.
post #4 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

for what it's worth, i have heard that the TACX has a problem with wattage accuracies as the cadence gets low but the wattage gets high. i am a devoted CT user, though. It's the best money i've ever spent. Well, maybe that and college tuition.
post #5 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by TamMan
To be honest, I haven't spent too much time figuring this out, but the Fortius reads about 5-10% lower than my PT 2.4. However, I have heard that the PT doesn't work well with the Fortius.
In any case, I love the thing because of the fun it provides.
By design, the PT doesn't know/care what it attached to (as long as that device doesn't put out massive RF interference), so the problem is almost certainly with the Fortius, which doesn't have anywhere near as accurate a power measurement technology as the PT.
post #6 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanierb
By design, the PT doesn't know/care what it attached to (as long as that device doesn't put out massive RF interference), so the problem is almost certainly with the Fortius, which doesn't have anywhere near as accurate a power measurement technology as the PT.
I can't get the PT to work on the Fortius using the old style receiver. The data keeps dropping. Once I switched to the new shark fin receiver, I don't have the data drop problem.
post #7 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by drcobol
Hello all,
I'm seriously considering taking the plunge and purchasing a VR trainer (something to take the mundane out of spinning and adding a little fun). Right now I'm on the fence about which of the two trainers above might be a better choice. Price-and-feature-wise, they seem to be comparable but I'm interested in what the real people out there have to say about their experiences with either or both. I like to do a lot of homework before making a purchase of this magnitude and that's why I'm interested in hearing from non-compensated users. So how 'bout it, anyone have $0.02 to spend?

Thanks!
CT = less plastic.

1300hrs on mine in five years.

Bearings are perfect.

Power within 1% of PT.

Better than sliced bread.

Were those sentences?

post #8 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmur17

Bearings are perfect.


That is an almost perfectly constructed sentence ("The bearings?"). I don't know about the other ones.
post #9 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

The Computrainer is not 'fun.' It's a tool. Now that Hunter and the good people at CyclingPeaks are on board, it's a damn serious tool.

I never chase the silver rider. If you are looking for entertainment, you won't find it on a CT. That's my experience. I would like to hear from someone who has raced against a friend on another CT, though. That sounds like huge fun - two people racing each other on the same screen. I bought mine thinking I would be whooping it up in basements all over town. Alas, it's hard enough finding good training partners, but to find one with an extra $1,200.00 to throw around is difficult.

Anyone try a Computrainer with ErgVideo? That might be fun.
post #10 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle
The Computrainer is not 'fun.' It's a tool. Now that Hunter and the good people at CyclingPeaks are on board, it's a damn serious tool.

I never chase the silver rider. If you are looking for entertainment, you won't find it on a CT. That's my experience. I would like to hear from someone who has raced against a friend on another CT, though. That sounds like huge fun - two people racing each other on the same screen. I bought mine thinking I would be whooping it up in basements all over town. Alas, it's hard enough finding good training partners, but to find one with an extra $1,200.00 to throw around is difficult.

Anyone try a Computrainer with ErgVideo? That might be fun.
Too bad I don't live in/near GR anymore...

I rode an hour on the CT's ErgVideo for the Tempo ride a few weeks ago. I loved it. It a great concept that you use your FTP (Threshold Power) and then the ride adjusts the resistance based on your FTP. That way my wife and I could ride the same video and the ride would be a true temp ride for each of us. Oh, and my PT was 1 W different for the average of the ride.

I really wish Tacx did this with their Ergovideo. I guess they do in a way though. The ride's they have are based on a W/kg and then you can adjust the % of the ride to get into your W/kg range. They don't tell you what the ride's W/kg is though so you have to find in on their forums.

My only complaint from my very short usage of the CT is that in the MultiRider software that's needed to use the ErgVideo, you can't save your data unless you finish the ride. The Fortius lets you save even if you don't finish the ride.
post #11 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

How long do the CT owners out there typically run at steep grades on the trainer? I am planning on a race up Whiteface in the spring, which is 8% grade for about 8 miles. I was thinking about the CT because it is capable of simulating much steeper grades than my I-Magic (tops out at 5%), so that I could get used to that sort of climbing effort. Even outside, I have nothing like this terrain near me. Then I read a post on the racermate forum from one of their employees that indicated they do not recommend climbs of more than two miles without a downhill to cool off the load generator. A lot of the RLV's for the Fortius feature long climbs, so it would seem Tacx is OK with this.

On the other hand, I read a lot about choppiness on the Fortius with steep grades, speed limits, etc. Not sure which is the one for me.

The online racing thing another poster mentioned above is a blast - I ride with a friend in another state who has a CT pretty regularly using NetAthlon. Down to the basement at the appointed hour, and we're online a few mornings a week. There's a pretty healthy online population and lots of group rides during the winter months. THAT breaks up the monotony. Also pretty realistic. Lots of short tough efforts in the group, etc. Great fun.
post #12 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by grv
...Then I read a post on the racermate forum from one of their employees that indicated they do not recommend climbs of more than two miles without a downhill to cool off the load generator....
It depends on how powerful you are, not the absolute grade. Computrainers have no problem overheating when ridden for hours at 300+ watts. That's all they do, simulate a load in watts, it only translates to grade if you ride that grade sufficiently fast and hold the power above the ability of the load unit to dissapate the accumulated heat. Even that can be mitigated with a small fan pointed at the load unit.

Sure there are some subtle differences in terms of the eddy currents induced in the braking rotor when the unit is programmed to simulate steep low speed hills. If that's a concern to you then simulate a lower angle hill and ride it in a bigger gear than you'll use during your event. The bottom line as far as your legs are concerned is the absolute power you put out and to a lesser extent the cadence you ride. Your legs don't care what gear you use to achieve that power and cadence. But I still doubt the average rider will overheat the load unit.

Anyway if you're a very fit and high category racer then you might have problems overheating the load unit. But if you set it to 8 or 10% grade and then dump down into your granny gear to spin up that grade then the absolute power requirements and heat dissapation shoudn't be a problem. So it really depends on how hard you'll ride the unit.

-Dave
post #13 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming
It depends on how powerful you are, not the absolute grade. Computrainers have no problem overheating when ridden for hours at 300+ watts. That's all they do, simulate a load in watts, it only translates to grade if you ride that grade sufficiently fast and hold the power above the ability of the load unit to dissapate the accumulated heat. Even that can be mitigated with a small fan pointed at the load unit.
I think the point with the CT is that the faster your speed the faster the fan inside runs. So extended efforts at very low cadences and high resistance are not a great idea.

I have a CT after a year with a Tacx Flow. The CT is for someone serious about working with power the Tacx is a toy.

Not that I'm trying to be confrontational
post #14 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by liversedge
I think the point with the CT is that the faster your speed the faster the fan inside runs. So extended efforts at very low cadences and high resistance are not a great idea.

I have a CT after a year with a Tacx Flow. The CT is for someone serious about working with power the Tacx is a toy.

Not that I'm trying to be confrontational
Not at all My motivation for getting something else is that I'm pretty sure that the IM (Flow with a computer interface) has little bearing on reality. It won't be much help to me in what I'm trying to do.

So I'm still not clear on this. For the time being, my FTP is a whopping 270. Taking into account what Dave said, I should be OK. You said something that I've heard about the CT before, however. Their ability to dissipate heat has something to do with how fast you can make them spin. By those criteria, I guess I will be running this thing at fairly low speed for a while. Say an hour at a time or so, just for the sake of argument. Not sure if that's a problem.

Does the use of a fan skew just the reported power, or actually impact the resistance it applies? I have a PT, so I don't care too much about the former. Just being able to simulate an avg 8% grade for an hour or so while I pump less than 300 watts in is what I care about.

Thanks for any advice!
post #15 of 25

Re: RacerMate Computrainer vs. Tacx Fortius

Quote:
Originally Posted by liversedge
I think the point with the CT is that the faster your speed the faster the fan inside runs. So extended efforts at very low cadences and high resistance are not a great idea....
Good point. I'd conveniently missed the fact that they self cool the unit and speed matters. Still heating is going to be propotional to the power that you have to dissapate and you can still program a shallower slope and simply ride it in a higher gear. That way the unit still spins relatively fast but your legs will be riding at power levels and cadences representative of steeper climbs.

-Dave
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