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A few Trainer setup questions

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A few Trainer setup questions

Old 01-09-24, 05:50 PM
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A few Trainer setup questions

Hi all,

I'm new to the world of smart trainers and even fitness exercising. I've kept fit and addressed minor heart issues for years with my business, which has kept me climbing, crawling lifting and generally 'working out' for many years. However, I'm now ready to move on from the business, and thus am recommended to aerobic exercise to maintain my health.

I've been Bike riding outdoors for several months now, but cold, heat (gets extremely hot and humid here) and general busy-ness keep me from the consistency I need. Thus the need for an indoor smart trainer.

I've selected the Tacx Neo 3M as the trainer of choice and have a few questions. I'll add to this thread as more occur. I also think Zwift is the app I'll be using.

I'm extremely technically adept to the extent that I test software, build computers, build and administer my own business networks, etc, but I'm having trouble finding information on how to set all of this up and what set up is best in terms of performance. I'm thinking that a high-specced computer running win 10, with both trainer and computer connected to their own router is as good as it gets.

I have a computer ready to go for the Zwift set up that exceeds their 'optimal system requirements'. I intend to use a 55" TV, which the computer will connect to via HDMI (and in fact already is).

The two questions I currently have are:

1. The Neo 3m has an adapter that allows for wifi or wired network access. Does this allows me to stream Zwift through my network or wifi connection as opposed to my mobile device connection? Are there other uses?


I've read that I should use a cassette that is the same speed/specs as my bike. My current bike is a Verve 3 Disc.

2. Do trainers require a special cassette type different from bikes or can I order the same cassette I have on my Verve 3 and use whatever adapter is required to install it? The rear cassette on the bike is a Shimano HG200,11-36, 9 speed.

If I'm wrong about a computer/network setup being the highest performing setup, I'd appreciate a nudge in the right direction. Cost isn't a factor.

The Neo 3M is supposed to be available in the US in February.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 01-09-24, 06:29 PM
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The cassettes are the same, you need one that's compatible with your bike and the cassette body on your trainer. A regular shimano/sram cassette fits on the standard cassette body, you'll need a 1.8mm spacer.

The only thing about wifi or wired ethernet is that they are uncommon communications methods for trainer apps. Bluetooth and Ant+ are far more common. Having said that, either ethernet/wifi just works or not enough people use it to complain about it. I imagine wired is the most reliable. It wouldn't surprise me if wifi isn't much better than the other wireless protocols. I think the apps need to know about it, it's beyond the trainer standard at this time.
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Old 01-09-24, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
The cassettes are the same, you need one that's compatible with your bike and the cassette body on your trainer. A regular shimano/sram cassette fits on the standard cassette body, you'll need a 1.8mm spacer.

The only thing about wifi or wired ethernet is that they are uncommon communications methods for trainer apps. Bluetooth and Ant+ are far more common. Having said that, either ethernet/wifi just works or not enough people use it to complain about it. I imagine wired is the most reliable. It wouldn't surprise me if wifi isn't much better than the other wireless protocols. I think the apps need to know about it, it's beyond the trainer standard at this time.
Hi unterhausen. That's helpful. I think Garmin includes a couple of spacers in the Neo 3M box. I'll have to check when it becomes available. I'm guessing a lot of the set up and performance results will be trial and error for a while, but I'd like to be as prepared as possible when I pull the trigger.
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Old 01-09-24, 09:24 PM
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The WiFi/Wired network connection allows a higher data transfer rate than the standard Bluetooth connection. But unless you are racing seriously then you probably won’t notice any difference in Zwift. Network connection to the trainer is also a relatively new feature so not many riders are using it. Most trainers are connected using BT or ANT+

I’m not sure what you meant by mobile device? You can use a phone or tablet to use the Zwift Companion App connected to your WiFi network. Your computer running Zwift just has to be on the same network
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Old 01-10-24, 06:20 AM
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This FB group has excellent advice for best computer to use for Zwift - https://m.facebook.com/groups/zpcmr/
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Old 01-10-24, 06:40 AM
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If the graphics in Zwift are really that important to you, a computer with a good graphics card is the way to go.
Personally, I run Zwift on a cheap Apple TV box connected to a 55" TV, and my bike is on a Zwift Smart Hub. Everything works fine (although I'm not crazy about the sensitivity of the Apple TV controller - but then again, I hate everything Apple) and setup was easy.
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Old 01-12-24, 09:52 AM
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The network connections are not needed except on the computer. When you ride outdoors do you have network connections to your bike? No, you don't, and yet I get HR, speed, power onto my handlebar computer through ANT+. At home you can use either Bluetooth or ANT+ but you'll likely need a dongle for ANT+.

The only reason to get a high powered computer is to use Zwift in 4k. Is your TV 4k? If it is, use Zwift in 4k, if not drop it down to whatever your TV is. But even "high power" is modest. I used to use my 8 years old iMac in 1440 mode and it worked fine. I now use a Macbook Air M1 computer with a 27" Dell 4k monitor and it looks spectacular in 4k. It runs circles around my old iMac.

Last edited by zacster; 01-12-24 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 01-12-24, 11:09 AM
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any connections to any devices on your bike are part of a PAN (Personal Area Network).
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Old 01-12-24, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster
The network connections are not needed except on the computer. When you ride outdoors do you have network connections to your bike? No, you don't, and yet I get HR, speed, power onto my handlebar computer through ANT+. At home you can use either Bluetooth or ANT+ but you'll likely need a dongle for ANT+.

The only reason to get a high powered computer is to use Zwift in 4k. Is your TV 4k? If it is, use Zwift in 4k, if not drop it down to whatever your TV is. But even "high power" is modest. I used to use my 8 years old iMac in 1440 mode and it worked fine. I now use a Macbook Air M1 computer with a 27" Dell 4k monitor and it looks spectacular in 4k. It runs circles around my old iMac.
I also run Zwift on an M1 Macbook Air and large 4k monitor. I just use the standard Bluetooth connection for my trainer and HRM. Looks great and is super reliable. Zwift doesn't require a high end computer to run max resolution smoothly. My much older iMac struggled above 1440, but even that looked pretty good from a few feet away on the trainer.
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Old 01-12-24, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I also run Zwift on an M1 Macbook Air and large 4k monitor. I just use the standard Bluetooth connection for my trainer and HRM. Looks great and is super reliable. Zwift doesn't require a high end computer to run max resolution smoothly. My much older iMac struggled above 1440, but even that looked pretty good from a few feet away on the trainer.
My M1 MBA has a cracked screen that shows nothing, hence the monitor. I was lucky to find someone at MicroCenter that knew what he was doing and showed me how to use it in clamshell mode and set it up. I was thinking of swapping the computers, the M1 as my main computer and the iMac as the cycling one, but I like how the M1 runs Zwift and Sufferfest so it stays with the bike until outdoor season starts. It runs everything I throw at it without glitching. My old iMac was a top end one at the time too, but it seems slow by comparison.
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Old 01-13-24, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by oldukbkr
This FB group has excellent advice for best computer to use for Zwift - https://m.facebook.com/groups/zpcmr/
I recommend looking at the files section. Although the person that runs that group has posted the "ultimate guide" on zwift insider, recently updated https://zwiftinsider.com/zwift-pc-guide-2/
It doesn't require a recent high-end gaming PC to get to the top level of Zwift graphics. Probably more benefit to getting a better monitor/TV
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Old 01-19-24, 06:52 PM
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I ran Zwift for a couple of years on a Win10 laptop, HDMI to my TV. Slow to load and often dropped connections.

Then I learned here about using an Apple TV box. On sale at Costco for $179. No expensive HDMI cable, no dongle. Super fast to load and connect to by Wahoo Kickr Snap and HR strap. Instant, predictable. And cheap.

There are sites like DCRainmaker that compare the graphics, but honestly I really can't tell. I have a 55" 4K TV, but not super high end. Also from Costco, along with a Klipsch soundbar. I synch that with my phone running Spotify and rock out while riding.

If I had to do it over, the only thing I would change would be to go for a better sound system. I also watch Netflix in the basement while the Mrs. is watching those stupid bachelor shows upstairs on the good system. Like you really need a Rose Ceremony in HD and surround sound!
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Old 01-25-24, 12:32 PM
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Hi to all, and apologies for delay in responding. From your comments, it seems like Zwift performance is an issue that, if it occurs, can be easily resolved. Good to know that.

As to the cassette, it seems that the model I have isn't available, but can find several Shimano that have the same specs. I assume these will fit. They're relatively cheap. Should I look for better options with the same specs/brand?

I tried to post a link to the cassettes, but not allowed yet. My current cassete is: Shimano HG200,11-36, 9 speed

A few of the models at the link I can't yet post are:
  • Shimano CUES CS-LG300-9 Cassette - 9-Speed, 11-36t, Black
  • Shimano Alivio CS-HG400 9-Speed 11-36t Cassette Silver, Nickel Plated

I'm partial to the silver/nickle plated, but am open to recommendation of higher quality with similar specs (to my bike).


As to the Neo 3M, still waiting. Some sites show an anticipated date of 02/18.

Also, thanks for the Zwift links. I'll be checking those out. The ultimate performance guide looks interesting. Lots of good info...I'd 'like' some of these responses, but don't see a Like button...maybe my post count isn't high enough?

Last edited by South Pa; 01-25-24 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 01-26-24, 01:53 AM
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I’ve run zwift on various hardware and windows and macos have some small advantages over iOS.

I think they’ve sorted out the bluetooth stuff now but I still use an ANT+ USB-A dongle on a long usbC-usbA cable to have it near the trainer to maximise signal.

Most integrated graphics are fine for a decent 1080p/60fps experience these days. I wouldn’t spend money on anything from nvidia in the pursuit of graphics. I use a macbook air M2.

I think the CUES cassette is a slightly different width. Not sure the shifters & RD will be compatible.
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Old 01-26-24, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
I’ve run zwift on various hardware and windows and macos have some small advantages over iOS.

I think they’ve sorted out the bluetooth stuff now but I still use an ANT+ USB-A dongle on a long usbC-usbA cable to have it near the trainer to maximise signal.

Most integrated graphics are fine for a decent 1080p/60fps experience these days. I wouldn’t spend money on anything from nvidia in the pursuit of graphics. I use a macbook air M2.

I think the CUES cassette is a slightly different width. Not sure the shifters & RD will be compatible.
If you are running a Macbook Air M2 you should check it out in 4k. The graphics are spectacular that way. I'm using an M1 with a Dell 4k monitor myself and it looks great and it never glitches. I hope that M2 MBA isn't dedicated to biking though, it is too good a computer for that. My M1 is dedicated, but it has a cracked screen that makes it unusable as a laptop.
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Old 01-26-24, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster
If you are running a Macbook Air M2 you should check it out in 4k. The graphics are spectacular that way. I'm using an M1 with a Dell 4k monitor myself and it looks great and it never glitches. I hope that M2 MBA isn't dedicated to biking though, it is too good a computer for that. My M1 is dedicated, but it has a cracked screen that makes it unusable as a laptop.
No it’s my general purpose laptop. You’re right it’s a great machine. I was a bit worried about overheating / throttling at 4k as it has no fan so haven’t yet tried it at that res. Indievelo heated it up quite quickly even at 1080p but they’ve optimised their engine a lot since then and now have native support for Apple Silicon too I think.
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Old 01-26-24, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
No it’s my general purpose laptop. You’re right it’s a great machine. I was a bit worried about overheating / throttling at 4k as it has no fan so haven’t yet tried it at that res. Indievelo heated it up quite quickly even at 1080p but they’ve optimised their engine a lot since then and now have native support for Apple Silicon too I think.
I'm running my M1 Air at 4k in Zwift and it barely gets warm, and I keep it closed since I have the monitor. Supposedly the keyboard acts as a heat release so if it gets hot it should be open but it hasn't been an issue.
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Old 01-26-24, 12:24 PM
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Shimano says the Cues cassette isn't compatible. I wouldn't bother finding out if they are being too conservative and just go with the Alivio. Or go visit a bike shop
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Old 01-26-24, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
Shimano says the Cues cassette isn't compatible. I wouldn't bother finding out if they are being too conservative and just go with the Alivio. Or go visit a bike shop
Agreed. Thanks!
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Old 01-26-24, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by choddo
I’ve run zwift on various hardware and windows and macos have some small advantages over iOS.

I think they’ve sorted out the bluetooth stuff now but I still use an ANT+ USB-A dongle on a long usbC-usbA cable to have it near the trainer to maximise signal.

Most integrated graphics are fine for a decent 1080p/60fps experience these days. I wouldn’t spend money on anything from nvidia in the pursuit of graphics. I use a macbook air M2.

I think the CUES cassette is a slightly different width. Not sure the shifters & RD will be compatible.
The PC is built from parts on hand...all I had to do was buy a case. You and unterhausen agree on the CUE cassette compatibility. Thanks.
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Old 01-27-24, 08:00 AM
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I'm using on old gaming laptop with a messed up screen hooked up to two different monitors, one for zwift(or other bike programs), and one for entertainment(movies, tv, youtube,,,,,).
Old intel I7 6700HQ at 2.6ghz
16gb of ram
Nividia 1060GTX
None of the other specs matter but that is way more than enough for zwift or even mywhoosh which is more hardware needy.
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Old 01-27-24, 08:24 AM
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I run zwift thru my IPhone. No communication issues with any of the devices, a snap to setup, and I broadcast via Bluetooth to an old TV thru my Roku.


Works fine.
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Old 01-28-24, 04:30 PM
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The ZWIFT Hub one is getting good reviews and it will work with any bike 10-11-12 speed plus you get a year of ZWIFT included. I had my Wahoo Kickr repaired once and now it is acting up again, so will probably replace it with a ZWIFT Hub One

I currently connect ZWIFT and Kickr to my iPhone or iPad and stream the display on a 65” LCD.
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Old 01-29-24, 02:23 AM
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The only downside to the iOS version is, relevant in TTTs mostly but racing in general, it doesn’t display the distance markers at the bottom of the screen to riders behind you.
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Old 01-29-24, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
The ZWIFT Hub one is getting good reviews and it will work with any bike 10-11-12 speed plus you get a year of ZWIFT included. I had my Wahoo Kickr repaired once and now it is acting up again, so will probably replace it with a ZWIFT Hub One

I currently connect ZWIFT and Kickr to my iPhone or iPad and stream the display on a 65” LCD.
I now have both Zwift trainers, one for me and one for my son. He has the Hub One and I have the standard cassette version. The One is nice as we can connect any 8-12 speed bike to it without swapping cassettes. It "shifts" using a button that you mount to your handlebars. He likes it, I've not tried it yet.

Something to consider - both of them have a max gradient of 16%. I'm 180# +/- & the trainer gets wonky at higher grades while on the 100% setting. Mostly limited to the radio tower climb in the zwift world - but some of the Surrey hill climbs are not as smooth as they could be.
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