I’ve had my Tacx Fortius for a few months now and I quite frankly love it. My trainer before this one was a Tacx Flow and I’ve come to love the build quality of their trainers. The Tacx Flow is in it’s own right a very capable trainer with a digital control unit that controls the flywheel resistance. This unit also gives a digital readout of your current speed, distance, power and heart rate.
Tacx have a lot of training programs on their website that make training on the Tacx Flow a lot of fun. Being able to control the resistance from the control unit make interval training a lot of fun. The only problem that I had with this unit was that I needed to concentrate on where I was in a program while concentrating on where my heart rate was. Using a Polar S720i made this a lot easier when using the watches training features.
After using this unit for a few years it was time for an upgrade. So my search lead me to look at the Fortius. The only real problem that I had with the Fortius was the lack of clear documentation and promotional material of what this trainer could actually do. I found a lot of sites that had little bits of info about what this trainer could do in theory and what I needed to buy.
So I ended up buying my Tacx Fortius over the internet and also ordered some videos for the trainer. After a few days my trainer arrived in the post and this is where my fun started. I spent some time going through the installation manual putting all the bits together. Below are some photos just in case you’re in the same boat as I was. At least now you know now what it needs to look like when done.
- Tacx Fortius
Next I needed to install the software. I popped in the disc that came with the trainer and ran the setup programs. Everything installed fine or so I thought. I tried to startup the Tacx software and got an error message. I tried a few times and reinstalled the program with no luck. After some Googling I found out that the reason for the message I was getting was due to the fact that my PC did not have the minimum amount of video RAM that was required. So before you buy this trainer make sure that you have the following minimum PC details as per their specifications.
Minimum System Specification:
- Processor: minimum Pentium IV (3.0 Ghz)
Memory: 1024 MB for XP, 2056 MB for Vista
Hard disc space: 850 MB
Graphics card: DirectX9 compatible 3D card with 256 MB of memory (not shared) GeForce FX or equivalent
Sound card: DirectSound compatible
Various: 1 free USB port; DVD player (for use of Real Life Video & ErgoVideo only)
OS: Windows XP SP2 or Vista SP1 (32 bit)
Recommended internet connection: 2 MB downstream and 500 KB upstream (only for Multiplayer)
So I ended up at my local computer shop buying a new PC box. Beware that you may be in the same boat as I was. PC technology simply changes so quickly that after a period of time it becomes pointless to do PC upgrades.
Having received the new box I proceeded with the software installation again and this time the software started up with now hassles at all.
After some experimentation with the software I figured out what each section did. The Fortius program is divided into the following sections:
Catalyst – This section of the program allows you to setup interval training programs.
Real Live Video – This section allows you to play cycling videos of scenery that goes by as you cycle. The faster you cycle the faster it plays.
Virtual Reality – For this to really work you also need the handle bar attachment. This then gets the computer to render a 3D image of a world where you’re cycling in.
The trainer itself is amazing. When use the trainer it simply varies the flywheel resistance depending on the steepness of the hill you’re riding on. If you’re on a downhill then the trainer simply offers no resistance and in fact turns your rear wheel for you allowing you to coast.