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How to Bike Indoors and Not Hate Every Minute of It

Garmin's TacX Neo 2T Smart Trainer mimics the feel of outdoor cycling surprisingly well.

garmin neo 2t bike trainer
Garmin TacX Neo 2T Smart Trainer
Height: 21.7 inches
Weight: 47.4 pounds
Max Power:
2200 watts
Price: $1,400


During my brief tenure on this planet I’ve come to believe in three unassailable truths: every day should begin with coffee, dogs are more loyal than humans, and working out inside sucks. For three-plus decades I’ve seen precious little evidence to suggest otherwise.

But lately the third pillar of that belief system has crumbled, courtesy of the Garmin Neo 2T Smart Trainer.

I should say that this pillar did not originate from a lack of effort, either. I’ve put concerted time into testing indoor trainers and various fitness machines, but nothing passed muster. Nothing felt like an outdoor workout, kept me engaged for weeks or remotely made me forget about emails coming in. From flailing on my mom’s Nordic Track to feigning interest in a Peloton to developing a visceral hatred of treadmills, I’d run the gamut (well, besides Bowflex — I never really understood those things) and come up empty.

This losing streak ended when I hopped on a Neo 2T, inside my apartment, a few months ago.

garmin neo 2t bike trainer

My beef with indoor trainers is well documented, but in case you and I are new friends, let’s recap. They are universally clunky, hellishly monotonous, and feel nothing like the outdoor experience. I’d rather spend time swinging kettlebells, or doing yoga, or binging on Netflix docs about fitness and eating a big salad. Adding more gizmos or whizbangs never seemed like the answer, either. Less is more. I value simplicity, versatility, a natural feel.

The Neo 2T Trainer delivers just that. It’s a blue-chip machine for anyone looking to get their butt kicked during the winter months without losing digits to frostbite. It’s versatile, easy to set up and use, data-driven (or not, if you just want to ride), and feels eerily similar to logging miles on pavement.

Using magnets and improved air displacement, the trainer is nearly silent. It reacts almost instantly to speed and incline changes, and allows you to move side to side, as if you were slogging around your neighborhood streets. It also is able to simulate gravel roads, cobblestone bumps and downhill descents.

For my fellow data nerds out there, the Neo 2T offers a litany of analytics from pedal strokes to speed and cadence, all measured within 1 percent margin of error. And, of course, it’s Zwift compatible. The trainer comes with a library of a hundred real-life videos of roads from all over the world as well as training plans and the ability to race live opponents. The sum of all these parts is a machine that’ll help you stay in shape year round and, dare I say it, maybe even make winter cardio workouts fun again.

Now if you'll excuse me I have coffee to drink and a dog to feed.

Price: $1,400


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