Gotcha, here's another impression from a separate thread that discusses the noise in practice. I have not ridden the Neo, but it seems obvious from the first impressions, videos and common sense that of course it is not a "silent" trainer. There is no belt noise like the KICKR and there may be lower overall noise, but there will certainly still be noise from the chain, cassette, flywheel and I'm sure some amount of noise and vibration from the Neo itself.
It seems to be a big improvement but as with any product I would try to keep my expectations somewhat grounded.
I got the Neo last week and have gotten in a few short rides on it. Some initial impressions:
- Make sure you have a chain-whip and a Campagnolo cassette nut handy. Link
- The manual is very very short, and could have been slightly more elaborate regarding the cassette assembly part, as I wasn't able to find any mention of the extra spacer needed to mount a 10 spd cassette. Perhaps it's something obvious for the more experienced mechanic.
- Apart from that, everything else was self explanatory, and I was able to start riding right away.
Initial impressions while riding:
- The ride feel is very good, much better than my old Tacx Flow.
- The freewheel is ridiculously loud. I find it weird that a trainer this silent can sound like one of those ratchet noisemaker toys when coasting. Here's what someone wrote on the Tacx Forum. "The freewheel is the loudest sound the Neo makes. It's music to Campa-wheel-owners' ears. Note to others: Campa freewheels double as bicycle bell." Link
Additional note to others: While you may be able to ride the neo without waking up your family, the ratcheting sound will definitely wake them up when you stop.
- While I don't have a separate power meter and can't really comment on accuracy, the power readings are in line with what I was expecting (I've ridden with a Stages meter a few times, so I have a good idea of where my wattage was supposed to be).
- While riding, the trainer is much more silent than any trainer I've seen/ridden before. When starting with low watts and gradually increasing power you sometimes feel like you're in ERG mode with constant power, as you can't really hear the added speed. After my regular trainer rides with increasing intensity I've had to double check on Garmin Connect that both speed and power were actually going up during the ride, as I just didn't feel like I was increasing my effort during the ride.
- My first ride was on the Zwift Richmond course, really hammering away on the hill sections, and afterwards my wife complained to me that she could hear the trainer resonating downstairs. This was a real disappointment, as the main reason for buying the Neo was its lack of noise. However, when I was riding in normal trainer mode the next few times (0 gradient) at steady 200ish watts she told me she couldn't hear a thing downstairs. So perhaps the tough hill sections (=high wattage) caused some additional structural vibration, who knows. I did, however, add extra rubber feet under the trainer after my first ride, so those might have made the difference. I still intend to do additional sound testing later.
- I wasn't really able to ride out of the saddle on the Zwift Richmond hills, it felt almost like the wheel was slipping. I noted that someone on the Tacx forum had a similar experience: "When climbing (>5%) it feels as if the back wheel is slipping." Link
However, I might have been in the wrong gears or something, didn't really have a chance to do any thorough testing/optimization.
- When riding the Zwift Worlds course, I simultaneously recorded my effort with a 920XT. After the ride I was astonished to find that the 920XT was showing 15.34 km, while Zwift claimed 18.07 km! The average and max speeds were equally much off. Not sure what's going on here, as I expected the motor to accurately simulate the downhill sections, hence having both the transmitted ANT+ and Zwift speeds being more aligned. Perhaps someone with more Smart/FE-C experience can comment on this discrepancy?