the tacx tyre and the Saris M2

Tacx trainer tyre

So there I was, plodding up some pass in the Czech republic, slogging steadily through the middle of a Rouvy server, minding my own business, when BANG! A mechanical! On a smart trainer. A blowout.

I hopped off my bike and moved to the side of the road. Fished out the tyre levers, which had conveniently appeared on a nearby workbench, and had a look at the problem.

Tacx trainer tyre – exhibit A
Tacx trainer tyre – Exhibit B

I have my doubts about the Saris M2. I miss my Tacx Vortex. It’s a pity that it fizzed and sparkled when I tried to fix it. It’s pretty much unfixable now. It’s now a perfectly functioning not-smart trainer though. The Saris M2, with its scary clutch knob, makes me nervous. So much tyre squashing involved.

Moving to a dedicated trainer tyre was definitely a good move. It’s quieter and smoother. Not sure about the battery life though. Is it connected to the trainer? Is it a co-incidence that since changing to the Saris M2 that the cracks have begun to show in my trainer tyre?

On the surface of things I certainly seemed to have a smoking gun. But I’m a bit puzzled. Admittedly the tyre is not looking its best, but I was surprised it had resulted in such a rowdy blowout. I decided that it was just a fluke, and the tyre had a bit of life in it yet.

Tacx trainer tyre

I wasn’t wrong. There was some life yet. Another 12 minutes to be precise. Then there was another loud bang, not dissimilar to the first one. Luckily I had another nearly new tacx trainer tyre, I just had to find it. I was nearly at the top of the pass too. Annoying.

The new tyre is on, and today I managed to complete the ride without a mechanical. But I’m really, really not sure about the Saris M2. Surely a tyre was never designed to be quite so squashy …

Tacx trainer tyre
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3 thoughts on “the tacx tyre and the Saris M2”

  1. Greetings from California. I’ve just purchased a Saris M2 and found your post here, in anticipation of setting this trainer up with my bike in the next couple days.

    I hope things have worked out for you, mate. A primary concern of mine is the clutch knob, having read countless mixed reviews online, as you have similarly alluded to. I appreciated the post about your experience with adjusting the clutch knob tension.

    From what I can tell, it looks like this August 2020 post was your latest regarding the M2. May I ask how things worked out for you? Has the replacement tire (or should I say, “tyre”?) lasted since the August blowout? Has your opinion of the M2 changed at all or do you have any further insights at this point about the unit, its clutch knob, or otherwise? What is the meaning of life? Okay, please feel free to ignore that last question…I’ll stop here, but your post occurs to me as somewhat of a cliffhanger and has me curious. Would be happy to hear if you might have any update to offer on your experience with the M2.

    Cheers,

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike, sorry for the cliffhanger! I kinda forgot all about this. The ‘clutch knob tension’ post gets a lot of hits, although I think judging by the search terms most don’t find quite what they were expecting and leave disappointed.

      Yes things have pretty much settled down. I’m 780 kilometres further on now on a Vittoria Zaffiro pro home trainer tyre/tire. That’s working well. And tightening the clutch knob no longer scares me. It’s difficult to be objective and I haven’t done a precise test but it looks more normal now and clicks slightly earlier.

      One interesting thing I would note is something I got from Saris Support. I logged a ticket, and while response time from Saris was patchy, the quality of the response and subsequent dialogue was good. Support told me that as long as the knob was tightened to the point that no slippage occurred, the rest could be taken care of by the calibration. It’s not nearly as important or as precise as I thought. It seems that what’s important is that you tighten it sufficiently so that you don’t get any slips then calibrate it using the app, it should be fine.

      One final observation that tallies with experiences I’ve read in the Rouvy Facebook group. It doesn’t deal gracefully with over-gradients and lowish power. I’m not particularly strong and on, e.g., a 15% + gradient in Rouvy I might be in a small gear trying to push out 200W, and rather than deal with this by maintaining a steady resistance, the trainer seems to flip between high and low resistance. Anecdotally this seems to happen at lower powers. I’ve not got the power output to test at higher power.

      It’s a nice unit and it was at a nice price-point when I suddenly needed a new smart trainer, but I’m looking forward to the day when I can afford a direct drive unit. Hope this is useful, and you have fun with your new toy. And it’s 42.

      cheers

      Dougie

      1. Hi Dougie,

        Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my comment!

        I’m really glad to hear that everything stabilized for you with the M2 and that you’ve been getting good use out of it.

        The reply you received back from Saris sounds very interesting. From a user experience perspective, it occurs to me that Saris might have been better off had they foregone the “click” feature in the tension knob and simply included instructions for users to tighten it to the point where slippage is no longer encountered. Perhaps that might not have been as definitive of an implementation for the product, and I suppose that could have resulted in its own ambiguities, but maybe that would have also reduced the number of horror stories of bent frames and the like. Either way, I’ll keep that in mind when I set up my own M2, which I’m looking forward to doing tomorrow.

        I also appreciate your anecdote about the lack of gracefulness with over-gradients and lowish power. This will be my first foray into the world of smart trainers and riding indoors. I haven’t decided on Zwift or Rouvy, but I’m thinking of giving each a try before settling on one. I’m a beginner so it might be some time before I’m ready for anything close to a 15% grade. At this point, the M2 seemed to check all the boxes for what I’m looking for. Hopefully assembly will go off without a hitch. If I enjoy and stick with it, then maybe someday I can graduate to a direct drive system like you mentioned.

        Looking forward to the new toy and thank you again for your help and insights here. I also completely agree with your response of 42.

        Cheers,

        Mike

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