Tacx NEO 2T vs. Wahoo KICKR: Which One to Buy?

Tacx NEO 2T vs. Wahoo KICKR v5 on a wooden floor.

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This is my comparison of Tacx NEO 2T vs. Wahoo KICKR v5 (and v6) bike trainers.

I have used them both for some time, and in this article, I explain their differences, pros, and cons.

You will also learn which one to choose based on your preferences.

In short: Both belong among the best high-end smart bike trainers on the market. NEO 2T has a more realistic ride feel but is more expensive than KICKR v5. It can work without being plugged into electricity and can simulate downhill. Their accuracy and other features are comparable.

Continue reading to learn more.

NOTE: Wahoo KICKR v5 was discontinued, but its successor (v6) is similar.

Technical Specifications

Here is the summary of the technical specifications of Tacx NEO 2T and Wahoo KICKR v5.

FeatureTacx NEO 2TKICKR v5KICKR v6
Resistance2200W2200W2200W
Gradient simulation25%20%20%
Decline simulationYesn/an/a
Power accuracy±1%±1%±1%
Noisiness~55.5dB~58dBn/a*
Auto calibrationYesYesYes
Power requiredNoYesYes
Power consumption0 Wh (it is powered by pedaling)
44 Wh (when the downhill simulation turns on)
~6 Wh @ 200W
~10 Wh @ 300W
n/a*
Flywheel275 lb (125 kg)
Virtual flywheel
16 lb (7.26 kg)
Physical flywheel
16 lb (7.26 kg)
Physical flywheel
ConnectivityANT+, ANT+ FE-C, BluetoothANT+, ANT+ FE-C,
Bluetooth, Direct Connect
ANT+, ANT+ FE-C,
Bluetooth, Direct Connect, Wi-Fi
12-speed cassette supportYesYesYes
Cassette includedNoYesYes
Weight47.4 lb (21.5 kg)46 lb (21 kg)46 lb (21 kg)
Buy (USA)Check Price
Check Price (amazon.com)
discontinuedCheck Price
Check Price (competitivecyclist.com)
Buy (UK, EU)Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)discontinuedCheck Price (wiggle.co.uk)
Comparison of NEO 2T vs. KICKR v5 smart bike trainers features like resistance, gradient & decline simulation, power accuracy, etc.
Noisiness is measured at 200W.
*n/a - not measured, but it should be the same as KICKR v5

Pros & Cons Summary

I summarized the pros & cons of both bike trainers below.

Tacx NEO 2T Pros

  • Higher maximum resistance
  • Can simulate downhill
  • Can simulate different road surfaces
  • More realistic ride feel
  • Quieter
  • Doesn’t require power
  • Flawless compatibility with the Garmin ecosystem (Garmin Connect, Tacx Training)
  • Front wheel riser included

Tacx NEO 2T Cons

  • More expensive
  • Cassette is not included
  • Difficult to move around (no carry handle)
  • Aggressive ERG mode

Wahoo KICKR v5 Pros

  • Better price-value ratio
  • Better portability and a smaller form factor
  • Easier to move around thanks to the carry handle
  • Flawless compatibility with the Wahoo ecosystem (CLIMB, HEADWIND)
  • Cassette is included
  • Better ERG mode

Wahoo KICKR v5 Cons

  • Lower maximum resistance
  • Noisier
  • Requires power
  • Front wheel riser is not included

Features Comparison

Let me now compare both bike trainers in depth.

Ease of Setup and Practicality

NEO 2T comes without a cassette, so you must buy it separately and install it before mounting your bike.

Tacx NEO 2T freehub detail.
Tacx NEO 2T comes without a cassette

On the other hand, KICKR v5 comes with a pre-installed cassette.

Wahoo KICKR v5 cassette detail.
KICKR comes with a SunRace 11spd cassette

So, the only thing you have to do to start riding is to choose the correct adaptors for your bike. 

NOTE: I recommend checking the trainer’s firmware using the dedicated app (Wahoo Fitness and Tacx Training App) before your first ride. By having the latest version, you ensure its correct functionality and accuracy.

KICKR also has different positions for different bike types. But it takes just a few seconds to adjust them.

NEO 2T bike type (road, MTB, etc.) settings detail.
Bike type settings

From the practicality standpoint, I like KICKR v5 more because of its carry handle. It’s much easier to move around. Moving NEO 2T with a mounted bike is difficult, so it’s better for people with a dedicated training area.

Tacx NEO 2T from the rear left side on a wooden floor.
Wahoo KICKR has a carry handle

KICKR also doesn’t take up as much space when it’s folded. However, the difference is marginal.

You can store both trainers in a closet, eventually, under a bed, when you don’t need them.

Winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Ride Feel

Where Tacx NEO 2T has no competitor is the ride feel. Thanks to its virtual flywheel, it can simulate different surfaces like cobblestones, gravel, etc.

It also has a motor that can simulate downhill. This feature is called downhill drive and is not available on KICKR. However, I could live without it.

Don’t take me wrong, KICKR v5 still has one of the best ride feels, but NEO 2T is in a league of its own thanks to the simulation of the surface.

It’s not perfect, though. I noticed two things:

  1. The first is that pedaling feels more challenging. The trainer provides resistance to the entire revolution and feels like it doesn’t have as big inertia as trainers with a physical flywheel.
  2. Due to the virtual flywheel, you can experience the so-called ‘virtual tire slip.’ This phenomenon is similar to the tire slip on wheel-on trainers. It occasionally occurs, mainly on steep inclines and on low gears. Simply in situations with high torque. You can learn more in this article.

I like the simulation of different surfaces, especially in Zwift. It makes riding this trainer one step closer to riding outside.

One of the most underrated features of NEO 2T is that it can work without power. When you pedal, you supply the energy needed for providing resistance, etc.

In this state, NEO 2T has zero power consumption, and the only feature that won’t work is the downhill simulation.

However, when the downhill simulation is active, the power consumption jumps to 44 Wh (compared to about 6-10 Wh on KICKR when it provides 200-300W resistance).

Winner: Tacx NEO 2T

ERG Mode

How do these bike trainers stand against each other in ERG mode?

Both are responsive but change resistance differently. Tacx NEO 2T changes the resistance 2 seconds before the interval start/end, and the power change is rather aggressive than smooth.

KICKR v5 starts changing the power about 1 second before, but it is much smoother.

See the following charts for the results. Here is NEO 2T, and here is the KICKR v5 data set.

Screenshot of my Tacx NEO 2T ERG mode test in TrainerRoad.
Tacx NEO 2T ERG mode test (data from TrainerRoad)
ERG mode test results of Wahoo KICKR v5 (data from TrainerRoad).
Wahoo KICKR v5 ERG mode test (data from TrainerRoad)

Both trainers have decent ERG modes, but Saris H3 is still an ERG mode king.

But this doesn’t mean NEO 2T or KICKR v5 are bad. Their ERG mode will satisfy even demanding riders.

Winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Accuracy

The claimed accuracy of NEO 2T and KICKR v5 is ±1%. But what’s the reality?

I concluded a series of tests in my reviews of both these trainers where I compared the data with other power sources (like Favero Assioma DUO and Magene P505).

NEO 2T varied by 2.1% on average from Favero, so it was not within the claimed accuracy. It mostly under read my power.

I think the NEO 2T I tested was defective because sometimes, the deviation was as high as 4%. I consulted with other owners of NEO 2T, and they didn’t experience similar power issues.

KICKR varied by 0.4% on average from Favero, so it was within the claimed accuracy.

You can again see the results of my tests on my Zwift Power profile.

Winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Noisiness

Tacx NEO 2T noisiness varies around 55.5 dB (at 200 W). KICKR v5 is a little louder. It has a noisiness of around 58 dB (at 200W).

The noisiness of both bike trainers is so low that my drivetrain causes more noise.

So, if you count every dB, get NEO 2T. Otherwise, noisiness shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

Both bike trainers will allow you to watch movies or listen to music during your workout.

Winner: Tacx NEO 2T

Total score: Tacx NEO 2T (2) | Wahoo KICKR v5 (3) | It’s a draw (0)
Overall winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Tacx NEO 2T vs. Wahoo KICKR v5 FAQ

My Verdict

You can’t go wrong whether you decide on NEO 2T or KICKR v5 (eventually, v6).

These smart trainers are among the best on the market. The main reasons for KICKR are better price-value ratio.

It’s cheaper and comes with a cassette. It’s compatible with Wahoo accessories like the CLIMB and has a better ERG mode.

The price-value ratio is a little worse on KICKR v6. But it comes with a few extra features like Wi-Fi connectivity, an odometer, or ERG Mode Easy Ramp.

On the other hand, NEO 2T has a more realistic ride feel, can simulate various surfaces and downhill, and doesn’t require power.

I find KICKR more practical (it’s easy to move around, thanks to the carry handle), but the packing doesn’t include a front wheel riser.

The stability and side-to-side tilt are similar, as well as the overall riding comfort.

So, which one will you buy?

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