Home > Uncategorized > TACX Satori Smart

TACX Satori Smart

When I jumped on the Zwift bandwagon a while back it was pretty clear that you needed a good trainer to match it up with. Based on DC Rainmakers 2014-2015 recommendations I soon began hunting for a TACX Satori Smart and found one on Amazon shortly thereafter.

With Tax and shipping mine ended up being almost exactly $500 Canadian so it was within my budget overall. Pricing has probably gone up a bit since I bought it due to the downward spiral of the Canadian dollar, but still those with a smaller budget will find this is a great gateway drug into smart trainers.

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This is only the 2nd trainer I have owned so it is possible that many of the features that I liked about this trainer are found on others as well but to me they were unique and very helpful.

What does it do

This is a very capable Ant+ and Bluetooth enabled power trainer. It measures speed, power and cadence. I wasn’t aware that it did cadence, and it does cadence without any additional hardware mounted to the bike, but it worked right out of the box. Satori doesn’t really do a good job of letting you know this trainer does cadence as well but it does. You can change bikes and the new bike shows cadence as well.

This is the testing dashboard that shows each of these three values.

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Slap on a heart rate monitor and you have the four basic and needed metrics to take on any training program.

Setup

I didn’t take any pictures during setup and in general I don’t really remember a lot about it. A lot came already assembled and it was about 30 minutes of effort. Then I had a bike mounted. Don’t expect much of a manual, but it’s fairly straight forward.

Next make sure you download the TACX apps. There are two that I found useful. The Training one is the general one that helps you use it for working out, but the Tacx utility is very helpful, easier and simpler to use and allows you to do the calibration and firmware updates.

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Calibration

Before you use the trainer you need to calibrate, which is pretty easy using the Tacx utility, although you can do it via the button on the trainer that is a bit of a pain, while with the utility it is fairly painless. There are visual guides as to whether or not it is working and once calibration is finished you are ready to ride.

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General Use

It is very easy to fit a bike to the trainer and I have switched bikes in less then a minute. The adjuster is very beefy and I haven’t had any issues with it. Even when sprinting this trainer is planted.

To get started there is a very small button, which is also the same colour as the bike, on the main body of the trainer. If your training area is dark its a pain to find it sometimes but once you do press it and a red light will start to flash. I only use it in ANT+ mode but the Tacx app uses Bluetooth and that has worked well too.

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This means that the trainer is now broadcasting and will be picked up by whatever device you are using. I have used it with the Tacx apps, my Garmin Edge 500 and 520 and naturally Zwift with an ANT+ dongle and never had it not be picked up.

The Fly wheel has a very convenient method to pull the fly wheel back from the wheel. Pull it back, adjust with the knob underneath, push it back on.

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It is quiet, but not silent. And if you do sprints (which are common in Zwift) it does whine somewhat. It’s much better than the last trainer I had but still not quiet enough to not be noticed upstairs. If I am doing something at night generally I do a more mild ride watching something at about 135 watts and that is pretty quiet. If I do have to go higher I find if you gear down to a smaller cog the sound gets worst, but if you adjust resistance on the bar, the sound is about the same but you can put out a lot more wattage. So that is what I have been doing lately.

Also the metal flywheel gets hot, like painful minor burns hot, after a longish ride (30 minutes or more). Do not touch the flywheel!!

The resistance control I have found hard to fit my handlebar, had to shove some old bar tape to make it not move around. Lately I have been finding that the standard sizing on these mounts, regardless of vendor, tend to be on the large size, while handlebars are getting smaller? Once I got it to stay on it is very easy to change resistance. There is a moment for the resistance to change but it is very effective. If you are doing zwift, I find that for the large hills if you set it to 5 or 6 you get pretty much the right level of resistance to keep up with most folks (if you can put out the effort).

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Use with TACX software

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I only wanted to use the Free software and only have an iPhone so this is a look into those options only. There is an Android version and a more sophisticated and paid PC version. Unfortunately this part is going to be very light. The training is pretty basic. It’s free but amounts to a workout graphic with a few prompts. The PC version is probably a whole lot better, but honestly use Zwift. I used it once then never went back.

The utility is the one that I do use a lot and if you have any problems or just want to make sure you on the latest firmware that app works great.

Use with Zwift

This was the main reason that I purchased this trainer and it has served that purpose quite well. The Satori Smart is an officially supported Trainer in Zwift as per their web site.

 

 

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In order for Zwift to really effectively figure out your “real world” speed etc you need to broadcast power. When I was using Zwift without real power (well, I was using the PowerCal heart rate monitor and that just confused the heck out of Zwift) my speed was all over the place. I did try not using power at all and that was worst. Once I started using this trainer my speed settled down and I was able to fully enjoy the experience. With the most recent workouts the trainer is certainly capable. I have joined a few group rides online and it’s very cool.

As I have stated it also provides Cadence, I’m not exactly sure how, but it works perfectly well. So with a heart rate monitor and the trainer providing power, cadence and speed you are all set. There isn’t automatic resistance but Zwift is very good at making you sense that you are heading up a hill so you do have to push hard to get up steep inclines of Zwift will simply stop your bike. It’s very effective and I think negates a portion of needing an automated trainer.

 

Some Conclusions

I am writing this almost 8 months after I picked the Satori Smart up, just haven’t been updating my blog as much, and it is still working great, I haven’t had a single problem with it, it works great with Zwift, it’s reasonably quiet. So a great and satisfying purchase.

I think I am a little bit disappointed I didn’t get a trainer that automatically set resistance, I have found that there are a few times while using Zwift that I would have liked that, but then again I don’t think I could have afforded it. Otherwise it has been a flawless awesome purchase.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Martynas
    August 17, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Very thankful for your article, it answered all my questions. Thank u so much! Good luck!

  2. George
    February 4, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Hello! My question is how you pair your Satori with Zwift? As a “classic trainer” or as “Power Source”? If i connect as “Power Source” , will Wattage change in Zwift whenever i change manually the Satori’s resistance? I have tried it only once so far and connected as “classic trainer” so wattage was changing only by changing gears on bicycle, so it was not accurate at all.For example i was at 40 kph speed while powering only 100-110 watts.

  3. Vic
    May 25, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Cadence is worked out by monitoring torque through the flywheel. The pedal stroke has a roughly sinusoidal pattern with max torque for each half revolution (you tend to press down each pedal ease off as the foot rotates past the high point)

  4. Vic
    May 25, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I also have the Satori Smart…didn’t realise I could use with Zwift app…I will be looking into that for the winter…currently UK weather is ok but as usual , changes almost hourly sometimes. Looking back on my year’s Strava calendar, its still surprises me how many days can still be ridden even through the winter months. Choosing the MTB off-road for the wet/muddy days as its all part of the fun !

    Tacx trainer was a real advantage when i injured shoulder from an MTB accident and off the bike outdoors for some months. Zwift may have made the indoor sessions a little more interesting i feel…..

    Good luck with your progress and keep up the blogging…..you seem to be winning there 🙂

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