Nowadays, you can hardly think of indoor cycling without training software. It’s more popular than ever: it doesn’t only make your training better, but also much more fun! This year we introduced our new training software: the Tacx Desktop app. In this article, we explain what it is and what the possibilities are.

What is it?

Around the year 2000, we introduced an entirely new way of training: we were the first company that started connecting computer electronics to bike trainers. It opened a whole new dimension to indoor training. Now, 18 years later, a lot of bike trainers connect with software and the possibilities are endless. This is not only because the trainers are better and easier to connect with computers, but the training software has also made a big step forward. This year we launched our new flagship: the Tacx Desktop app.

This all-round training app is originally based on Tacx Films, but more features will be added to offer a more complete software package. A big difference with our legacy software is that it’s now subscription-based. Instead of buying the films separately you’ll get unlimited access to all the films available for this app. These films are shot in high quality and vary from famous cycling classics to city trips and beautiful places around the world. While you train with this app, the resistance of your trainer is automatically adjusted to the track in the film. When you climb up a hill, your trainer will add more resistance and when you go downhill, the resistance will be reduced or the trainer will give you downhill assistance (1). Road Feel (2) is also supported to give you an even more realistic feeling.

1) Feature of the NEO Bike Smart, NEO Smart and Genius Smart
2) Feature of the NEO Bike Smart and the NEO Smart

While you train, you’ll get all sorts of data on your screen. Not only your power, speed, cadence and heart rate, but also GPS, track details and the distance to your opponents. You can compete against other riders all over the world, perform readymade training programs and FTP tests, and get access to complete workout schedules and professional training programs. After your training you can analyse all your results. It’s all there for you within reach.

What do I need?

Sounds good, but what do I need to use this app? First of all, you’ll have to download the app. It’s available for Mac and Windows 10 and you can download it for free in the App Store or Microsoft Store (the app includes two demo films you can try). Then you create a free account on the Tacx Cloud website. All your data is stored in this cloud so you can analyse it after your training.

You will, of course, need a smart trainer that communicates with the app. Connecting your smart trainer has never been easier. The app works with the Bluetooth 4.0 protocol. Just open the app, connect your trainer and sensors and off you go!

How does it work?

Because the films are shot in high quality, we don’t want you to get annoyed by a bad internet connection in your (probably remote) training cave. So, first of all, you will have to download the films on your local hard disk. In the menu you select the film that suits you most or you can just download a number of films at the same time so you can choose later on which one you want to ride.

Ok, time for action! When your bike trainer is connected, you select the Tacx Film you’ve downloaded to ride. If you don’t have time for the whole film, you can also select just a part of the film to ride. Also, in case you’re already connected to some friends, you can select in this menu their results so you can ride against them as an opponent.

When you start your training a warm-up screen pops up. Of course, it’s up to you to execute this warm-up, but our advice is not to ignore this. On your screen you see the data of your sensors: heartbeat, speed, cadence and power. After the warming-up, the training starts. While you see the route going by on your screen at your own speed, the trainer’s resistance is adjusted to the slope in the video. Road feel is also enabled in this app, which you’ll notice with the NEO Smart trainer. At the bottom of your screen you’ll see a graphics with the course and the distance of the track. On the left there’s a window that zooms in on this track below. This is especially useful while you climb because you’ll see what’s coming up next in a more detailed way. At the right of your screen you’ll see the GPS map of the track with you position on it and below is the information of your opponents. After the ride there’s time for some cooling down. Again, it’s up to you but we recommend to cool down.

When you’re done, your activity will be uploaded to your Tacx cloud account (and to Strava if you’ve selected this option) and you can analyse your results.

What does Premium offer?

When you subscribe to premium, you get access to all high-quality films (720P) available in this app, with a maximum of 30 downloads per month. Extra features like racing against opponents, a workout library and structured training plans that will help you reach your goals will be available soon. If you want to ride all films in HD quality (1080P), you can subscribe to the Premium HD account.

Where do I subscribe?

Check our website for more information, or simply download the app for free in the App Store or Microsoft Store. You can try out two demo films and, if you like it, you get full access to all the films and training plans via a monthly or yearly subscription.

Have fun with the whole world as your playground!