TACX Bushido Smart Review, The Build

IMG_0121The TACX Bushido Smart is one of the most interesting smart trainers that I have taken apart.  I didn’t know what to expect at first but the design seems fairly genius.  One of the coolest elements of the trainer is the absence of a power cord.  There is a built in generator and the cyclist provide all of the power.  I did see a large heat sink built into the other side of the trainer with a cooling fan, so I’m a bit curious about that also.

This is part 1 of a 3 part review.  In part 2 we will cover the calibration and accuracy of this trainer and in part 3 we will cover the performance of the TACX Bushido Smart.  You can purchase this trainer for really cheap at Athleteshop with the link below.  Also, if you want to skip all the reading, you can watch my youtube video I have attached.  Don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel as I usually post videos up before I finish writing the reviews.

TACX Bushido Smart, The Calibration
TACX Bushido Smart, The Ride

You can purchase the TACX Bushido Smart super cheap ($549) from Athleteshop.uk.  Just navigate to cycling, trainers, then find the Bushido Smart.

Screenshot 2017-03-08 19.53.29Market Comparisons

The first thing to do is take a look at the comparable trainers in the same price range so we know how things stack up on paper.  In part three of my review, I will be verifying what the actual slope rating is for this trainer and the decibel level.  I put in the two prices for the TACX Bushido Smart because you can pick it up for different prices right now.  Clever Training is selling this trainer for $799 which I think is too much, especially since you can get the TACX Flux for just a little more.  Using my link above, you can find this trainer in the UK for $549 right now.  That is a really good price.  Plus, AthleteShop ships to US Consumers for free.

Screenshot 2017-03-02 13.53.59
Clever Training
Screenshot 2017-03-02 13.57.32
Athleteshop.uk

How does this trainer stack up on paper?  Well, not very good.  The TACX Bushido Smart has the smallest flywheel, lowest sprint power, and a +/- 10% accuracy rating.  That doesn’t seem too good.  It is advertising a 15% slope rating, but I need to validate those numbers first before I believe them.  On the plus side, it sends it’s own cadence signal and is self powered.  I love the fact that we don’t need a power cord.  This trainer can go ANYWHERE!  That is a huge plus in my book.  It is weak in some areas, but looks very strong in others.

What You Get

In the box you get a frame, trainer body, skewer, and the wheel block.  I love how TACX uses the wheel block as a multi-purpose piece of gear for storage.  You just connect it into the spot where the bike’s rear axle goes, and now it is a handle to carry around.  I love that about TACX trainers.

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Wheel block also serves as a handle to carry around the trainer.

The skewers that come with TACX Trainers need to be put on your bike.  They are rounded and designed to fit into this trainer perfectly.  Normal skewers will not work, I have tried.  There will be a lot of rocking and instability.  Make sure you install the skewer for a stable ride.

Design and Style

The frame is really no different than the TACX Vortex Smart Frame that sells for much cheaper.  The only difference is the color scheme and types of decals uses.  I can deal with that if we are talking about a trainer that sells for $549.  I think it is unacceptable for a trainer that sells for $799.  Sorry, but I like sturdy frames and painting it a different color doesn’t do much for me.

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Very similar frame design as the TACX Vortex Smart, just a different color scheme.

The TACX Bushido Smart loses a few style points for one area that just sticks out like a sore thumb to me.  The end piece that covers an arm opening is blue.  Looking at the other trainers that TACX makes like the Vortex Smart, Genius Smart, or Flow Smart, you know why the blue piece is there.  This just takes away from the overall flow of the Bushido Smart’s color scheme.  Yes, I know; I am being picky here.  You can see what I am talking about in the TACX Vortex Smart Build article, those trainers have blue color schemes.

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This blue piece just bugs me and takes away from a very good color scheme.

The one thing I do like about TACX Frames is the plastic ball they put within the leg joints. This is great idea since it stops wear and tear with metal on metal rubbing.  Anyone who has had an older trainer where the metal starts rubbing down at the leg joint knows what I am talking about.  You start getting a very loud squeaking noise.

IMG_0159
Plastic ball that protects the leg joint from metal on metal rubbing.

The last thing to talk about is the handle.  It is sturdy and there is enough space for your hand to spread across and depress under the heaviest of loads.  That helps reduce any hand pain that accompanies smaller handles.  The action was smooth and worked as expected.

IMG_0076
Just enough surface area to use well without being overly large.

Looking Under The Hood

Now it is time to look at the trainer body itself.  I was very nervous about taking this trainer apart.  No power cord means there is a generator inside.  That can make things a bit complicated when disassembling.  I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Below are some pictures of the generator side taken apart.  There are magnets in a round composite material that fit inside the generator piece which houses the copper wires.  You can also see what looks to be a motor design inside the copper wire housing.  I was very surprised that this is not only a generator, but seem to be a motor as well.  I’m assuming the TACX Bushido Smart is generating power and providing resistance at the same time.

It is easy to see from the one picture how strong those magnets are.  I put my screwdriver next to the magnets and the screwdriver was literally pulled out of my hand.  I also made sure to mark my wire connections so I got things right when putting everything back together.  God forbid I start connecting the wrong wires back together.  POOF!

Screenshot 2017-03-06 16.57.39
Big heat sink and giant cooling fan.

I found it interesting that there was a large heat sink and giant cooling fan on the other side of this trainer.  Later on, it dawned on me what this might be used for.  The user is generating power by rotating the roller and magnets within the generator.  You can see in the picture above how large that heat sink is.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the extra power generated through sprinting or high powered efforts is bled into that heat sink.  That is my assumption on why you need a heat sink that large.

Screenshot 2017-03-06 16.58.18
Another shot of the computer board and the heat sink with fan.

The flywheel sits on the opposite side of the generator with the computer board.  There is a plastic piece connected to the flywheel with notches.  That round plastic piece has gaps in between and is used to detect speed.  Another sensor on the control board sits over the top of the plastic piece in front of the flywheel, and detects the gap between the teeth.  With this, you can calculate speed.

Screenshot 2017-03-06 16.57.55
The black plastic piece is used to calculate speed.

That is it for the inside of the TACX Bushido Smart.  In the picture below, you can see the metal piece where the user makes tire contact with the roller.  That is pressed on to the main roller that runs through either side of the trainer body.  You also have the markings where the trainer is connected to the frame. I use setting 2 as I find it works best with my road tires.

Supporting Products

TACX has two main apps.  The first one is the TACX Utility app, where you can do your firmware update and spin down.  I would highly recommend doing the TACX Spin down as a baseline.  TACX takes into consideration the tire pressure and tire contact (friction) when doing the calibration.  They do that by calculating the time it takes the roller to spin down to a stop.  Most companies besides Elite use this same method.

TACX also has their own training App.  I am not spending any time on the TACX training app.  I don’t have the time really and my go to Apps are The Sufferfest Training Centre, Zwift, and Trainer Road.

Summary

Overall, I’m excited about using this trainer and pushing that generator to its limits.  I am curious to see what happens if I do a workout that requires a lot of sprints.  This is an area that needs to be tested.  Can you overload the heat sink?   I have been riding this trainer for a few months before I actually started taking it apart.  The Bushido Smart seems to under report power.  My legs can tell the difference.  I’ll put those numbers up in part 2 of my review when I cover calibration.

I will be critical on performance.  This trainer has the potential to go head to head with the KICKR Snap.  I did the head to head with the KICKR Snap and CycleOps Magnus and the Magnus didn’t fare too well.  I’m curious to see how the Bushido Smart stacks up.  Take care everyone, and thanks for reading.  I’ll add the other links to my Bushido Smart reviews below when I get them finished up.

 

 

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson

Aaron served in the military for 20 years. Multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired from the military after 20 years of service to take care of our three small children in 2013 as a Stay At Home Dad.

athletictechreview has 60 posts and counting.See all posts by athletictechreview

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