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The Tacx NEO Motion Plates are easy-to-mount motion plates aimed at NEO, NEO 2 or NEO 2T smart trainers users. Garmin claims the plates allow for multidirectional movement and offer the 'most realistic ride yet'. In fact, the plates add only forwards and backwards movement, side motion only being enabled via the few degrees of incline the NEO smart trainers already offer. With the addition of the NEO Motion Plates, the indoor ride is quieter and more fluid overall, and the plates do have the advantage of being nicely designed, easy to install and highly compact. But those factors hardly justify the £259.99 price tag.
The Tacx NEO Motion Plates add 50mm of fore/aft movement to compatible NEO smart trainers. The motion is purely mechanical: each plate has a set of bearings that roll back and forth and return to centre when movement stops. Most recent NEO 2 and NEO 2T smart trainers offer three degrees of side motion, which combines with the plates help mimic multidirectional movement for a more realistic ride feel.
Installation is easy and requires no tools – you simply remove the four rubber feet on the bottom of the NEO smart trainer and clip each Neo Motion plate in place, following the shape of the wings of the NEO smart trainer.
The plates come with a new wheel block to match, with a maximum tyre width of 28mm. The block allows the front wheel to roll backwards and forwards and an arrow indicates which way is the front.
The plates are light, weighing just 1.55kg, and they fit neatly under the trainer thanks to internal magnets. They look as if they had always been there: no added footprint and only a 25mm increase in height.
I used the plates with my NEO Smart trainer, the oldest of the NEO line of smart trainers. When installing the plates, I worried they might rock awkwardly back and forth, but once I sat on the bike, the plates did not add any instability.
The plates performed at their the best on steady endurance rides, as I was sitting in the saddle and pedalling at regular 80-85 RPM cadence. I experienced a slightly smoother ride and my pedal stroke felt more fluid.
In races or during intervals training, the bike and trainer suffered less under pressure: less creaking and fewer noises, as if the plates added some cushioning to the more aggressive pedal strokes and shoulder movements.
But the plates had their limits. When climbing out of the saddle, they did not add any noticeable advantage. In fact, the plates constantly rolled back to centre, breaking pedalling rhythm. A realistic feel when sprinting is also to be forgotten. The technical notice even alerts the user to limit the use of the plates for hard sprints with strong side motions.
From my experience, it doesn't live up to the outdoor ride feeling promised by Garmin. Perhaps because I used the older NEO smart trainer, which offers less side-to-side movement, I felt the motion – just constrained back to front – sometimes gave me the impression of being a child on a rocking horse. If the plates could allow for further lateral movement, then perhaps the real-life outdoor riding feel would be more convincing. As it stands, the ride offered a little more fluidity and cushioning, and a quieter ride, but no multidirectional realistic movement.
While this is probably the neatest and most convenient Tacx-compatible rocker platform on the market, it's not the only one.
Matt tested the LifeLine Rocker Plate a couple of years ago, which adds to your turbo's footprint. While it was more expensive than than the Tacx plates when we tested it, it's since halved in price and is now on sale for £149.99.
And there's also the Saris MP1 Nfinity Motion Platform, which not only has a much larger footprint than the Tacx, it also costs nearly a grand.
There's no doubt that while the Tacx NEO Motion Plates do add to your riding experience on the turbo, both by adding fore-and-aft movement and reducing noise, I don't feel they do enough to justify the expense, and they'll remain a luxury item for the value they add.
A lovely piece of kit that makes your ride quieter and slightly more fluid – but it doesn't do enough for the money
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Tacx Neo Motion Plates
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?
The Tacx NEO Motion Plates are easy-to-mount motion plates aimed at the NEO, NEO 2 or NEO 2T smart trainers users. Garmin claims the plates allow for multidirectional movement and offer the 'most realistic ride yet'.
In fact, the plates add only forwards and backwards movement. They do have the significant advantage of being easy to use and highly compact, adding nothing to the trainer's footprint.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Tacx NEO Motion Plates add 50mm of fore/aft movement to compatible NEO smart trainers. The motion is purely mechanical: each plate has a set of bearings rolling back and forth and returning to centre when movement stops.
Most recent NEO 2 and NEO 2T smart trainers offer a 3 degrees of side motions which combined with the plates help mimic multidirectional movement for a more realistic ride feel. This 360° feel won't however be felt as much on the older NEO smart trainer.
The technical notice does alert the user to limit the use of the plates for hard sprints with strong side motions. Installation is easy and requires no tool: simply remove the four rubber feet on the bottom the NEO smart trainer, and clip each Neo Motion plate in place, following the shape of the wings of the NEO smart trainer. The plates are light (1.55kg) and fit in neatly under the trainer thanks to internal magnets and look as if they had always been there: no added footprint, and only 25mm increase in height.
The plates come with a new wheel block to match, with max tyre width of 28mm. The block allows the front wheel to roll backwards and forwards and an arrow indicates which way is the front.
It is a very simple product, light and with a low footprint that makes it neater than other rocker platforms on the market. But for the price you would expect something perhaps more elaborate than a set of bearings and magnets.
The plates performed well in terms of back and front movement, but it would be nice to add further actual 360° motion. On the original Tacx NEO smart trainer, the ride felt more fluid but the change was only very subtle and hardly transformed the overall feeling of riding on an indoor trainer. Not worth the cost.
At first sight, the product seems robust. But it would be worth seeing how the bearings sustain intensive training over the winter months.
The weight can hardly be beaten. Compared to Tacx compatible rocker platforms like the Saris MP1 Infinity Motion Platform, the Tacx NEO Motion Plates weight 1.5kg against roughly 28kg.
The plates definitely add to comfort: the bike moves better as you move and the Tacx NEO smart trainer, already very quiet, makes even less noise.
Although it remains cheaper than other Tacx compatible rocker plates at £259.99, it is hard to justify it as a value-for-money kit.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The plates allow for a more fluid ride feel, especially when sitting in the saddle and pedalling steady. When pushing on intervals, the plates gave the impression that the bike and trainer suffered less under the strain of the exercise: less creaking of the frame, an even quieter trainer, and a slightly more regular pedal stroke. However, the outdoor ride feeling promised by Garmin is exaggerated. Proper sprinting is still out of the question, and when you're riding out of the saddle the plates constantly roll back to centre, breaking your pedalling rhythm. The main movement remains back to front. If the plates could allow for further movement left to right, then perhaps your indoor ride would feel more like the real thing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A more fluid ride, making the overall impact of indoor training easier on the bike, on the trainer and on the rider. Trainer felt even more quiet than usual.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It is only a mechanical back and front movement, with no added side to side motion. While a nice addition it's only a marginal gain in terms of real-life riding feel and I don't think it's worth the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Other compatible rocker plates compatible with Tacx Neo smart trainers are more expensive. The Saris MP1 Infinity Motion Platform sells at an RRP of £999 compared with the £259.99 for these.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
The plates are a nice idea in principle and their design and ease of use are extremely pleasing. Despite the added comfort the plates offer however, they do not truly deliver on the 360° riding feel and £259.99 seems a hefty price for only fore and aft mechanical movement.
About the tester
I usually ride: Wilier Triestina Filante My best bike is: Pinarello F8
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Ultra distance racing