Should I be mad at my smart trainer?

So I got a tacx vortex smart about two years ago and I think it just blew up on me. It won’t hold anything over 260ish for any sustained period of time (more than a minute or so). Then it starts going down from there and there’s some sort of burnt smell.

Is this the normal life expectancy of a trainer like that? I do low-volume tri plans and my FTP was between 200-275 over that time period, so no crazy watts. Should I expect a longer life out of my TrainerRoad?

I’d be mad. No way a trainer should last only two years.

Tacx has a two year warranty. So depending on what side of the two year marker you are, you might be lucky? Fingers crossed! :crossed_fingers:

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Sadly I’m on the wrong side of the 2 years… and I’m also on the wrong side of the pond. Got it from Germany because it was cheaper and I live in the USA. So I guess I’m straight out of luck! :unamused:

The Vortex has a replacement kit, where you basically replace the flywheel thingy at the back. The only problem is that the kit costs almost as much as the trainer itself, last I checked (in Norway).

I was on a Vortex myself, but sold it this autumn when i got serious about TR and indoor training. Upgraded to the Kickr Core. So if you’re on that path, I can’t recommend the Core enough. It’s basically a Kickr 2017 made quiet (my drivetrain makes the most noise now). The wheel-off simplicity is really nice.

I’ve also got a vortex and had it about 18 months. Sometimes I have to switch it off and on again as I can feel the trainer clamping up all of a sudden. I wouldn’t get one again.

I would suggest taking it to someone repairing electronics. These trainers are not made of unobtainium. If it is sound mechanically, I’d try that.


It’s highly unlikely that someone doing electronic repairs would be able to do any level of fault finding beyond the basic level without some data sheets on the cct.

My Vortex lasted about a year too. Now it’s in the dumpster and I have an Elite Driveo.

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My Vortex does this and i get massive surges of resistance randomly for about 5 seconds during workouts. its annoying but i have had it since 2015 and feel like i have had my moneys worth. I will wait for it to completely die before i get something else

Or get a cheap “dumb” trainer and a power meter. No electronics - less problems. The power meter you have use of outside as well.

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Unless you count the power meter… :stuck_out_tongue:

You’re right of course. But at least no electronics controlling an electric motor, which gets heated/cooled repeatedly and exposed to high forces.

I have no statistics to back this up - maybe someone has? - but I’d guess that complex trainers have a higher failure rate than crank or bottom bracket based power meters.

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My purchased used Vortex suffers from the occasional 2-3s surge/power drop too. It happens on both ANT+ and BT, I just assume that it is interference related. The one thing that really annoyed me was the noise that increased substantially at higher wheel speeds. It was like sitting on a swarm of angry bees. A little Google’ing turned up that the spindle is a metal sleeve with a urethane core. The sleeve is held in place by 12 (6 per side) little “posts” of urethane that fit into corresponding holes in the sleeve (you can see the little white dots around the end of the sleeve). Apparently these can wear and the metal sleeve gets a bit loose and buzzes. The fix is to drill out each post and fill the hole with epoxy. I did this, it takes a bit of time and can get a bit messy but so far it is working and my Vortex is near silent now.

My old Flow had a solid metal roller with over 21,000 Km on it and while worn, still functioned as it was supposed to. The two-piece construction of the Vortex and several others would prevent me from buying another Tacx wheel-on again.

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I like the word unobtainium. !!!

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In the periodic table it sits between the light but unstable Drillium and the attractive looking but of mysterious origins Chinesium

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I had a Kickr Gen 1 since 2014, which I had bought after only a few months of minimal usage.
It finally bailed on me a couple of months ago and I bought a Gen 4 Kickr.

The gen 1 was not repairable but Wahoo will trade it in for a re-furbished one at a pretty good price.
My nephew bought it from for me £100, got a 2016 kickr in exchange for a total of about £450 and now has a trainer valued at about £5-600.

I was happy as it cost me £700-£100 so £600 for 4 years heavy use and I gave up a gym membership which was costing me close to £1000 a year.

Maybe Vortex have something similar on offer. However 2 years doesn’t seem a long enough period before it is unusable.

No need for something that advanced to fix the roller.

Let your bike be mounted on the trainer, with high pressure between the roller and the tyre. Spin the wheel/roller slowly and let a drop of super glue sink into the holes on the roller. Capillary action and the pressure from the tyre on the roller will make the super glue fill out the gaps between metal and plastic.
I’ve done this on 3 different Tacx trainers with great success. That ticking/rattling otherwise becomes unbearable.


I emailed Tacx when mine blew up, they sent me a replacement part immediately without any questions - and mine was second hand…although I am in Europe it’s still international shipping

I tried the SuperGlue fix as well with OK results, but I had some time to do it and the epoxy, in my experience of once, did a better job. Time will tell if it stands up or not. However, it is a weak design that despite numerous accounts of it, Tacx hasn’t changed the design and for that kind of money, I shouldn’t have to hack my trainer.