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Draft – Neo Bike Compatibility

The Challenge

If Tacx Neo and Neo 2 can be said to have an Achilles heel, it is the advent of disc brakes in the professional peloton, which opened the flood gates to manufacturers around the world racing to create thru-axle bikes with disc brakes.

In this respect, Tacx has two rather serious problems to contend with, as Neo was designed prior to the disc brake tidal wave. First is the space between the brake caliper and the Neo chassis. Second is how Tacx have addressed the complexities of thru-axle bicycles.

As more and more bicycles enter this market, the ability for Tacx to collect data about whether a particular model will fit on the Neo or Neo 2 has diminished severely. Even their own compatibility matrix has not been updated since February 2018. This is a real problem, as serious athletes who’ve historically supplemented their training indoors are being joined by hundreds of thousands of recreational and amateur cyclists who are turning completely indoors, particularly with Zwift.

We should be able to determine, objectively and accurately, whether a particular bike frame will fit on Neo and Neo 2 with measurements. We know the distance from the inside of the axle to the Neo frame, and we can certainly measure perpendicular from the axle to the brake caliper, and determine whether the bike can be coaxed to fit with an appropriate spacer on the non-drive side.

So let’s hear suggestions. There are enough engineers and mechanics around that we should be able to come up with a simple, effective method of answering this question for any bike in the world.

The Workaround

The most practical suggestion is to remove the screws that hold the disc brake caliper onto the frame, allowing it sufficient movement to get clear of the Neo. However, many people are not comfortable with this option. Even on my own bike, getting that caliper back in exactly the right position so the rotor doesn’t touch when I reinstall the rear wheel is a combination of magic and sincere pleas to any deity who happens to be in earshot. Additionally, at some point, someone out there will cross thread that bolt while reinstalling it, and effectively cause a major problem for themselves.

While this workaround is functional, it’s not entirely practical.

The Cynical Answer

Get a dedicated bike frame for your trainer. Nothing expensive. Definitely not carbon. As cheap as you can find, but such that you can alter the dimensions to match your outside whip. That’s easier said than done, and of course, obligates you do spending even more money for a bike that you never really want to ride anywhere.

Personally, I’m annoyed at the whole thing. For over 40 years, I managed to get by with QR skewers and rim brakes with only the occasional moment of terror on rain=slicked descents. For the few times that disc brakes will affect my type of riding, I would rather stick with rim brakes and never have a concern about whether my bike will fit.

Updated on December 23, 2018

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