Tacx Bushido T1980 review
Ergotrainers are a popular preserve of the serious cyclist. Rather than a static exercise bike, these clever bits of kit allow you to put in the miles on your own bike. Tacx’s Bushido is an unashamedly high-end example of the breed, capable of emulating the ups and downs of real-life cycling.
The Bushido operates wirelessly. Ingeniously, the braking unit generates its power with an in-built dynamo, while the head unit runs off two AA batteries. This means you can set up the Bushido pretty much anywhere you please.
The real novelty comes once you add the Bushido PC Upgrade Kit, a £230 optional extra. This pack contains a USB ANT+ dongle (capable of linking to third-party heart rate and power meters) and a disc containing the Tacx Trainer Software 3. This allows your PC or laptop to take the role of the head unit, giving speed, calories used and power output in watts, while adding a whole host of extra advanced training features.
It makes for an experience quite unlike anything we’ve ever encountered. Whether you’re racing along imaginary 3D-rendered tracks, courses plotted on Google Earth or cycling famous routes in the Real Life Video mode, training with the Tacx’s software is incredibly immersive.
It’s not perfect, though – the graphics of the 3D-rendered Virtual Reality mode are far from cutting edge, and the software itself is more than a little clunky, but the potential here is immense. Being able to import and race along any course you can dream of in Google Maps is stunningly clever, and in tandem with the ingenious GPSies website, we managed to relive the horrors of the climb up Ditchling Beacon without even leaving the Labs.
The biggest issue by far, however, is the price. With the PC Upgrade kit and any extra DVDs pushing the cost close to the £1,000 mark, the Tacx Bushido is unlikely to appeal to anyone but the most dedicated of cycle nuts. So if you can’t bear the idea of donning your thermals and cycling in the bitter cold of a British winter, you’d best get saving.