Sunday, March 06, 2016

Tacx Satori Smart

I bought a new bike trainer! This is geeky but exciting. Somewhere around 2004 I bought a CycleOps Fluid2 trainer, and it's been fine, though I really only used it in bursts of training enthusiasm over the years, because, as we all know, riding your bike on a trainer in your basement sucks (until Zwift and a few other things came along over the last little while).

So, I now own a TacX Satori Smart.

I'll note a few comments about the trainer here, after my first use of it this morning, but I'll be clear up front that this blogger and blog post does a much more thorough review of the the Satori Smart than I'm about to.

Unboxing and assembly are pretty straight-forward, if you've used a trainer before. The "quick assembly" manual is actually fairly useless and leaves out, or only BARELY indicates, a few things that I wish they would go into more detail about.
When I had the trainer assembled, and the bike on the trainer, I was thrown for several seconds by the big gap between my wheel and the cylinder. The Satori has a dial and a lever for the adjustment of the cylinder. It is definitely not clear from the manual that you have to turn the dial a LOT to start moving the cylinder up towards your tire. Honestly... I turned the dial one way and the other several turns without it doing anything, and finally had to turn it about a dozen times to move it up to a spot where the large lever finally pressed the cylinder tight to the tire. Having done that though, engaging and disengaging the cylinder will now be a lot easier than it used to be on the Fluid2 - on the Satori you just press the lever and you're either engaged and ready to ride, or disengaged and ready to leave.

Another thing that the manual really doesn't mention is that the Satori takes batteries, and that they're pre-installed and ready to go as soon as you press the power button. I was actually expecting a power cord to be in the box, and actually I might prefer that, because one day I'm going to be riding like mad on Zwift and my power signals are going to disappear because the batteries have run out.
But... anyway, they're preinstalled and ready to go.

I'm so glad that the blogger I mention above referred to the power button on this thing. Wow, what a well-kept secret the user manual considers the power button... it's barely mentioned in there. Anyway, the LED light... the little bump where the arrow is pointing in this picture, is the power button.

TacX has two apps for iphones / Ipods / ipads (not sure about Android but probably they're available for android as well). I downloaded both but only used the "utility" one. The Satori Smart is supposed to be calibrated before each ride. You get on the bike, turn on the calibration part of the utility app, and ride at 40km for a few seconds, and then the utility tells you if you need to tighten or loosen the cylinder. Either I got lucky, or did it wrong, because I got it pretty much perfect my first go. You apparently don't need the apps to calibrate the trainer, it can calibrate just by the blinking of the LED light, but I used the app.
I was actually pretty worried about the casual reference to "speeding up to 40km" part. Wasn't sure I could actually do it, but that wasn't as hard as I thought it might be.

I had to email TacX about this, because I couldn't find any information about it online, or in the user's manual. The Satori Smart takes two double A batteries. The battery compartment is on the underside of the unit, where the lever is to tighten and loosen the drum against the wheel. Undo the top two screws and the plate comes off, replace the batteries, and replace the plate.
My batteries went dead pretty quickly... like a month or so of riding ... and I was only using this thing twice a week or so.

And it works great with Zwift, which was my main concern. The Satori broadcasts both a BluTooth (BlueTooth?) signal and an ANT signal at the same time. So, your iPhone and the TacX app will pick up the Blue Tooth signal, and your ANT dongle in your computer will pick up the ANT signal and feed it to Zwift.
Be clear though if you're thinking about buying one - the Satori Smart will broadcast your speed and cadence to Zwift, but that's all. Higher end trainers will interact with Zwift so that when you're climbing a mountain, the tension of your trainer will increase the resistance on you to duplicate the effort of the climb. The Satori doesn't do that.