Sitting on a cycletrainer for hours at a time can get extremely boring but with the Tacx i-Magic T1900 virtual reality trainer, there’s never a dull moment as you ride different virtual and real life video races. A virtual race is displayed on your PC and the true-to-life environments are transmitted to the bike making you feel as though you’re immersed in a real race – and all from the comfort of your own home.
The Tacx i-Magic virtual reality trainer is a similar set-up to the popular Tacx Flow ergotrainer but the special computer/interface unit connects via USB to your PC so that you can ‘virtually ride’ with Tacx virtual reality & real life video software running on your PC.
It’s strange but you really do feel as though you’re actually there riding the race! Whether you’re riding on the velodrome, climbing a French mountain stage or joining a pro Training session, you completely loose yourself in the event. The experience is almost uncanny as you feel every undulating gradient, steep climb and fast descent, keeping an eye on speed, power output, cadence, distance etc whenever you feel like it. On a climb you feel the percentage gradient through the rear wheel and you fly down a downhill run.
There’s loads of real life video software to choose from, our particular favourites being some of the classic French mountain climbs such as the Pyrenees stage and also the Milan – San Remo, AKA la Primavera, the Italian spring classic. Two of us locked ourselves away in a cold garage last winter and used some of the VR French mountain climbs to train for the Etape (stage of the Tour de France) the following summer.
We haven’t tried it yet but with the i-Magic there is also multiplayer & webracing, where you can ride with your cycling mates anywhere in the world simultaneously in interactive competition over the internet. But you need to pay for a multiplayer license to do so (6 month and 1 year licenses available).
The i-Magic trainer has become a permanent winter fixture and we’ve definitely noticed the real world benefits of our indoor training sessions. We’d love the trainer even more if Tacx decide to make some real life videos of classic Triathlon and Ironman bike courses – we haven’t seen any as yet but imagine riding Kona.
There are a number of accessories for the Tacx trainers. We highly recommend the Tacx training mat to help protect the floor surface and the Sweat cover to protect your bike from sweat.
Check out the Tacx website for their range of real life videos.
Pros: The virtual reality riding experience is amazing and there’s a great range of real life videos to choose from.
Cons: We did have issues with software compatibility with Vista but that seems to be sorted now.