The Tacx Blue Motion turbo trainer is robust, easy to set-up, and comes with a useful, handlebar-mounted device to adjust resistance. It is not quiet, however.
We covered assembly in our ‘first look‘, a simple process that, because of the ease of portability and storage offered by the Blue Motion, we can now confirm is one you should need to follow just once.
Placing the bike in the frame and removing it was another simple procedure. Be sure to first install the supplied quick release mechanism in the rear wheel, however. It’s a robust unit and designed to fit snugly inside the turbo trainer’s locating mechanism.
Minor adjustments to the roller position were easily achieved. A quick release mechanism lifted the roller into its place against the tyre, and further fine adjustments were achieved with a simple dial.
A word here on the roller mechanism, which was excellent, and provided an extremely smooth pedalling action. The Blue Motion uses magnetic resistance (a Neodymium plate, in this instance, spinning in its own magnetic field) and while fluid resistance units may prove smoother still, they’re likely to be more expensive. We had no complaints about the performance of the Blue Motion’s roller, which was nicely weighted with a 1.6kg flywheel.
Out-of-the-saddle ‘climbing’ efforts and seated sprints provided evidence of the Blue Motion trainer’s stability. The roller didn’t slip, and the frame held firm even under the most determined of efforts. As a lightweight climber, however, I’m unlikely to ‘challenge’ the Blue Motion as much as heavier riders.
The resistance adjuster, a lever mounted on the handlebar, offered a rudimentary but effective method of increasing or decreasing resistance, and worked well in tandem with the finer adjustments offered by shifting up and down the cassette. The Blue Motion has ten levels of resistance, with the highest claimed to offer 950 watts.
Our sole area area of concern proved to be the noise of this trainer. We tried it with two different tyres (Tacx’s own, heavy duty rubber, and a Schwalbe Durano S) and it was noisy with both. We made fine adjustments to the position of the roller with the aforementioned dial, again to no avail. The noise wasn’t an issue for this tester, training in a garage beneath a pair of headphones, but if your training space doubles as your living space, it might present an issue.
The sweat catcher was easily installed and provided some protection for the frame and the stem, but none for the handlebar tape. I use a towel when turbo training, and draped it over the ‘tops’ of the bars from habit. Having recently seen a sweat-encrusted wrap of handlebar tape cut from the bars at my local bike shop, I prefer greater coverage. On the plus side, the Tacx sweat catcher left the resistance lever and our Garmin head unit clearly in view.
It’s perhaps still a little early to comment on the performance of the turbo-specific tyre. ‘So far, so good’ about covers it. As discussed above, it did nothing to reduce noise, but has rolled well, offering a non-slip platform for our efforts. We’ll need more time on it before we can comment on durability. Given its specific compound – one designed to run at low temperatures – and its performance to date, we’re expecting longevity.
We’ve been pleased with the performance of the Tacx Blue Motion turbo trainer, a simple unit offering a smooth pedalling action, robust frame, a range of resistance settings, and easy assembly and storage. We’d recommend it to riders with their own training space, where noise isn’t an issue.