Author: Eric Schlange

Looking for a sweet deal on a Zwift computer? $305 for Alienware Alpha here!

Slickdeals.net has a nice deal on an Alienware Alpha Compact Desktop. This is the same computer as the $499 machine Alienware sells on their Zwift page, except with the Slickdeals coupon code knocking off $200, plus a $45 mail-in rebate, your total cost (including shipping) comes to $305! See details/buy now > It really works–a local friend of mine bought one last night. Note: I haven’t personally tested this machine, but it should be able to run Zwift in ultra mode just fine. Again, this is the same machine Alienware recommends on their Zwift...

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Updating your Tacx Vortex Smart brake firmware

I love my Vortex Smart, but one morning I woke up and found that it had zero resistance and a solid amber-colored light instead of the happy blinking green. Fortunately a little research helped me solve my problem–now I’m sharing that solution with you. Firmware for your Tacx Vortex Smart’s brake unit is updated using a different process from updating the main computer firmware. While the main computer firmware can be updated easily via the Tacx utility app (iPhone and Android), to my knowledge the brake firmware can only be updated using the process below. You do not need to upgrade your brake firmware unless the unit isn’t operating properly. If the light on the unit is an amber (orange) color, this indicates a brake issue. Typically this can be fixed with a brake firmware upgrade. Below are instructions for upgrading the brake firmware using a Windows PC. Note: you must have an ANT+ USB dongle installed on your PC to perform this update. If you do not have TTS4 (Tacx trainer software), please download and install it here (it’s a big file which downloads slowly, so it’ll take an hour or two). Unzip the folder/extract the folder and save on your computer. Now you have the complete installation disc on your PC. Run the setup.exe in the root folder. The TTS4 software will be installed. Run the “Tacx Trainer...

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Get a smart trainer. Today.

(Note: if you’re unsure of the difference between a smart trainer and a dumb one, read this post first). Many strong riders are Zwifting right now with dumb trainers and a power meter. If this is purely a budgetary decision then so be it, but I’ve heard several such riders talk about how they’re “perfectly happy” with their current setup. All I can think is… ignorance must be bliss. Because I’m convinced that anyone who tries Zwift with a smart trainer will never go dumb again. I know this because I did it. I started on my rollers, because that’s what I had. Then I borrowed a friend’s dumb trainer as well. For me, adding the Zwift experience to my dumb trainer riding barely improved on my miserable indoor training experience. Sure, I was riding on a course–but it didn’t feel real at all. My pedaling seemed to have little connection with what was happening on the screen. I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. Again and again I see posts from folks who started Zwift with a dumb trainer, then moved to a smart one. They say things like, “Why did I wait so long? This makes the experience 100x better!” In a world where many cyclists drop hundreds of dollars on gear without blinking an eye, investing in your indoor training by purchasing a smart trainer is an easy choice....

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Smart Trainer vs Dumb Trainer – What’s the Difference?

Trainers can be organized into many different categories, but when it comes to Zwift, you’re either on a “smart” trainer or a “dumb” one. A smart trainer’s resistance is controlled by Zwift. When the incline of the Zwift course changes, your resistance changes. You “feel” the hills. Additionally, a smart trainer will broadcast your power (and usually cadence) via ANT+ and Bluetooth.       A dumb trainer is not controlled by Zwift. You may be riding up and down hills on the Zwift course, but you’ll feel no difference in the resistance because your Zwift has no way of talking to...

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