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The Boost trainer from Tacx is well built, very sturdy and quiet, while the ten levels of resistance will keep any of us that aren't training for the pro peloton from spinning out. It's not cheap though for a non-smart offering, and the resistance lever has a really plasticky, cheap feel to it.
The Boost is the only non-smart turbo trainer in the Tacx lineup, but should you have your own training plans to follow outside the online training apps – yes, you can use this trainer on Zwift and so on, but more about that in a minute – then you can't really go wrong with it. This is one very easy-to-use turbo with a stable footprint.
The setup is simple and takes about 10 minutes. All you have to do is fold out the legs to stand the frame up, then locate the roller mechanism with one of three grooves on the frame – which one depends on your wheel size. Once everything is lined up, all you have to do is fit two bolts using the included hex key.
In the box you'll find a specific quick release lever. Switch it for your standard one, locate the bike between the mounting points, and push the lever down to lock everything in place. Engage the roller and you are good to go.
When you're finished, folding the legs down makes it quite a compact unit, and at just over 9kg it's plenty light enough to place in the car for race day.
Also in the box is a front wheel riser to level your bike up, which is good to see – it's often an added expense. One thing you will have to pay for is an adaptor if your bike uses thru-axles, though, which will set you back about £25.
For changing through the ten levels of resistance you get a cable-operated lever that clamps to your handlebar.
In use it feels really cheap and plasticky. It's not so bad when dropping to a higher resistance as it easily clicks into place, but the force involved in shifting through to easier settings sees it flex a fair bit. It needs clamping tightly, too, or it keeps slipping round the bar.
The resistance levels give plenty of range up to 1,050 Watts at an effective speed of 40km/h, according to Tacx, although I didn't use the upper levels that much unless I was planning some full-on efforts.
The magnetic brake and 1.6kg flywheel give a smooth feel, and the Boost's secure stance means you can really crank things up in the saddle without it becoming overly jerky or feeling unnatural.
Like most turbos, its rigid design means it isn't really suitable for hard, out-of-the saddle efforts or sprints, though.
It's reasonably quiet. There is the usual whine with everything spinning which gets louder the faster you're going, but it is certainly not unbearable for people in nearby rooms, unless you have wooden floors or similar surfaces that transmit the noise.
The Boost is also available as part of a £250 bundle, which adds Garmin's Speed Sensor 2 – this attaches to your wheel hub to give you speed and distance for your workout.
When connecting to Zwift you can get it to search for the speed sensor and then, when given the option of saying which trainer you're using, you can select the Boost from the drop-down list. Zwift will recommend you use resistance level 2 on the trainer. This way it will work out a virtual power figure for your ride.
I personally don't have a power meter at the moment so I couldn't check out how well it works, but various internet sources say it's relatively close to real power for steady-state efforts.
The Boost on its own is £229.99. That's pricier than something like the Elite Novo Force turbo, which is a magnetic unit, though the Elite only offers five resistance settings and lacks a front wheel riser block.
Saris' Mag+ Trainer is closer to the Boost at £199.99, though again there is no front wheel riser.
If you're thinking about using the Boost for Zwift and so on, it might be worth paying the extra £50 (just £30 over the bundle price) to get Tacx's own Flow Smart trainer. That's £279.99, and my review is coming soon.
If you want the versatility of a standard turbo trainer you can use away from the home/power supplies, the Boost is a good choice – especially for those pre-race warm-ups.
It's not the cheapest, but it is very well made – that lever aside – and delivers a stable platform and smooth operation. You also have the smart capability, should you want to add it, by way of the sensor.
At the pricier end of the scale, but worth it for the smooth, road-like feel and stable platform
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Tacx Boost
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Tacx says, "The Tacx Boost indoor trainer is easy, affordable and quiet. Now you can keep your training going year-round."
It's a good quality, stable turbo trainer and offers a smooth feel at the roller.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PHYSICAL DIMENSIONS 675 x 650 mm
DIMENSIONS WHEN FOLDED 565 x 410 x 245 mm
WEIGHT 18.8 lbs (8.5 kg)
HEIGHT 410 mm
CONTROL BY Handlebar resistance lever with 10 positions
Indoor training features
MAGNETS 2 x 8 permanent ferrite magnets
TRANSMISSION Roller, 30 mm
ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENT No power required
SUITABLE AXLES Width of rear fork: Race 130 mm, MTB 135 mm. Adapters for other widths available
MAX POWER 1050 Watt
MAX TORQUE 17 Nm
MAX BRAKE FORCE 50 N
FLYWHEEL 1.6 kg
MASS INERTIA 9.2 kg
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good – there's a large range of resistance settings and it's easy to set up.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Smooth ride feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Flimsy lever feel.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Saris and Elite mentioned in the review are both cheaper, but don't include front wheel risers. The Elite also offers fewer resistance settings.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, but if my main intention was training apps, I'd pay the small amount extra for a smart trainer
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a well-made turbo trainer offering plenty of resistance from the various levels. It's priced towards the top end for a non-smart trainer though, which is why I find the cheap-feeling lever a bit off-putting – plus with many bikes running thru-axles these days, you may have to add the cost of adaptors to the equation.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!