Welp, tonight was a struggle.
On the one hand I want to tell you how good this Tacx Software is. And on the other, I felt incredibly frustrated by the whole experience.
Now, partly this was due to my incessant need to screenshot my rides. Without good screenshots, this blog is generally just me moaning about getting sweaty.
Try as I might, I could not get a single screenshot of the ride plus the video from the Tacx Software. Every single screenshot came out black:
Now, OK, I kinda get this. Somehow, my computer was not able to distinguish between computer rendered graphics and a actual real video being overlayed by the on-screen HUD.
That’s fine. If that’s how it’s going to be, I can make my peace with it.
I have emailed the Tacx Software support people to ask if there is a solution to this. I’m not expecting that there is, unfortunately.
Where my frustration came into it was partly because I tried so many things to get screenshots. I downloaded new drivers, I rebooted my computer, I tried 4 different screenshot utilities, I downloaded, installed, and got to grips with OBS (the defacto streaming software used by everyone on Twitch / YouTube for games streaming)…but alas, no.
In the end, I’d wasted about 30 minutes trying to get a screenshot without any success. So I took the above photo and decided to get on with the ride.
Thing is, I then hit on the next issue:
What? Really? 2019?!? The software itself is not super straightforward to configure. But after watching a YouTube video I had realised my initial mistake – it starts in “Simulator” mode. So, me pedaling had no impact at all – it was doing its own thing. A demo ride, if you will.
Back to the menu I went, and I managed to get the cadence measurement, and the speed indicator working. But no wattage.
Heart rate? It seemed to work, but neither device were named in a human readable fashion.
This is completely baffling to me. This is Tacx Software and yet it didn’t display the name of my Tacx Neo 2 device?! Instead I got the serial number (I assume).
And why wouldn’t the wattage work?
Well… no ANT+.
Yep. Even though the serial number for my Tacx Neo 2 showed the darned ANT+ logo right there in the GUI, the only way to make this work was through bluetooth. Oh, cousin Merl, really.
So, back off the bike I had to get (I’d already been interrupted once by a parcel delivery), and then upstairs I went, trudged through some old boxes of computer crap only to remember I’d left the USB bluetooth dongle right next to my keyboard on my desk.
By this time I’d burned through about 30 minutes of my riding time and was feeling dejected.
With the USB bluetooth dongle plugged in, the wattage registered and I – thankfully – was able to resume my previously aborted ride.
For what it’s worth, the in ride experience is really good. The video was decent, but for some reason I was only able to stream at 720p so it wasn’t amazing detail. This seems really odd to me, in so much as I have a 7 day demo but if I were to pay, I could download the full video at 1080p.
Why not let a demo customer demo all the premium stuff, and give me the best experience possible?
I enjoyed the small segment of riding I did actually do.
I’d have liked to have done a more structured workout tonight, and currently feel very frustrated. I’m considered just jacking my rest day tomorrow and hitting Zwift instead.
To top it all off, I couldn’t help but try again to get a screenshot and found that pressing F11 would make the game go full screen. I figured that might help. Alas, I accidentally clicked F12 which on my keyboard puts the machine to sleep. Inexplicable.
So, the machine went to sleep. Then I got lucky (I think I was due some luck by this point) and pressing F12 again brought the machine back from sleep. No need to dismount. The 21st century is here.
Of course when the PC resumed, the bluetooth connection had somehow dropped and my ride had switched back to simulator mode. No warning given. I just figured something had died when my wattage, heart rate and cadence all remained locked at their existing figures even when I eventually decided to stop pedaling.
All in all, I cannot blame the Tacx Software for the entire series of unfortunate events. These things are sent to try me, I’m sure.
However, I can say the setup / GUI experience should be better. If I’m using an official piece of software I expect it to work seamlessly with the company hardware.
The rest of the experience I continue to reserve judgement on. I’m being very harsh about my need for screenshotting, or live streaming / recording. That is vastly more niche, I feel.
It’s left me re-considering using it for this Sunday’s climb. I’m thinking RGT Cycling is a more realistic choice until I figure out a solution to recording / tracking the ride somehow.
Don’t consider this a review. It’s initial thoughts, feelings, and frustrations.
I want to love this software as those video rides are really, really appealing to me.