Fortius Multiplayer - First Look & Opinions

Fortius, i-Magic , Cosmos, Flow , upgrade kits

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andowhy
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:52 am
Location: Whyalla, South Australia

Fortius Multiplayer - First Look & Opinions

Post by andowhy » Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:45 pm

Fortius Multiplayer – First Opinions

I received my brand spanking new Fortius Multiplayer from my LBS today and having constructed it, set up the PC and had a couple of quick rides, I thought I would write up a quick review on my initial thoughts of the system.

Just to let you know, I am situated in Whyalla, South Australia, weather is usually dry and hot, zero humidity and long flat roads with very very minimal hills. The closest towns are 75kms North and 100kms West (Coastal waters to the East and South), so we have quite a good selection of long flat roads to ride on.

I am using a Dell Inspiron 1501 Laptop, AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM and ATI Radeon Xpress 1150 256MB Video card. Eventually I will be connecting this directly to my home theatre projector (and onto a massive 120” 16x9 screen – once home renovations are complete).

Now that the formalities are out of the way, down to the review. I have split it into sections that correlate to how I had the tacx experience, from the first opening of the box to climbing the last hill on the Majorca RLV demo.

Packaging

The Fortius Multiplayer (FM) comes with the Fortius trainer as well as the VR Steering Frame. These are packaged in the same box, separated by nice thick Styrofoam, with no movement. Each section of the trainer and required nuts and bolts are provided in their own separate bags which makes construction a lot easier.

Overall I have no complaints about how it is packaged, as there were no scratches or broken parts to be seen.

10/10 – I can’t think how it could have been packaged any better.

Construction

Obviously the FM isn’t your average trainer, this is clearly visible as soon as you slide the Styrofoam pieces out of the box. I must confess, I thought the instructions left a lot to be desired. A few diagrams and one big monstrosity of a diagram were pretty much it, along with a step by step instruction process which wasn’t the easiest to follow. Luckily I had been researching quite a bit on the Tacx website in anticipation of the trainer arriving so had a good idea of how to set it all up. I found a video on one site which explained how to install the motor brake easily, and without this I imagine it would have taken quite a bit longer than it did.

Construction took approx. 1hr and somehow even after following all the instructions (and double checking them) I managed to end up with two spare bolts and two spare nuts from the steering frame section!!.

I would have preferred more detailed instructions and clearer diagrams, but at any rate, it was a relatively easy construction process once I got my head around it.

7/10 – More detail in the diagrams and clearer step by step instructions would have helped but I am nitpicking.

Documentation

Apart from the documentation mentioned in the previous topic, the FM came with the standard brochure of other tacx products, warranty info and the like. The lack of a hard copy manual left a lot to be desired in my opinion. For the price that was paid for the trainer, I would have thought a nice shiny manual would be standard fare. Instead I had to access this manual from the Installation CD, this is all well and good, except when you are wanting to set up the program, having to ALT-TAB back and forth between the Manual and the Fortius software to check the manual before trying something is a real pain. In the end I just sent it to work and printed it out there.

Something else that would have been nice is a Quick Start Guide. (eg. This plug connects here, this one here, press this and this to start riding). I had a problem by where I didn’t connect the (what I thought was an internet phone jack) to the power supply and instead plugged this into the jack on my laptop. This cause all sorts of initial problems as the software didn’t pick up the motor brake, and I couldn’t click the Start Ride buttons. After finally working the problem out and plugging the cable into the power supply everything went great from there on.
A Quick Start Guide would more than likely have solved this rookie mistake.

4/10 – The absence of a hard copy manual and quick start guide, are major letdowns in my eyes, as seen by the problem I had which had me stumped for around 15 minutes.

Software Installation

I had no problems installing the software and it installed without any errors or annoying beeps. Not much more to say on this topic, apart from maybe the software after installing the program and the test program on the PC, it could have prompted me to run the Test software straight away to make sure everything was working correctly before opening the Fortius program.

The test program worked well for me and was a breeze (once I worked out where to plug the correct cables, I wont live that one down!).

8/10 – No problems to speak of.

Navigating the Fortius Program and Getting Riding

The Fortius software is not the easiest piece of software to use when first looking at it. Once I had played around with it for a few minutes it all came together and works fine now. It’s much easier to use via mouse than the head unit and a few of the functions seem out of place and order.

I would have preferred for the software upon opening to ask for a profile to be loaded – either create new or load previous. Even a Quick Ride function would be nice just to let you get riding to make sure it works.

The fact that on some screens you need to select the function you want to perform (eg. Delete User) and then select the value (rider) to perform the function seems a bit backwards. But after you’ve done it a couple of times, it seems to work ok, new users might get a bit lost the first few times (as I did).

8/10 – A bit hard to navigate initially, but once you know you’re way around it is quite easy.

Conclusion

I have ridden a few times on the Majorca RLV demo and a few VR races (not online as I am waiting to connect my wireless network which will be done next week) and have not experienced any problems whatsoever (touch wood) – My laptop runs the program with room to spare (I forgot to turn off antivirus and other programs when I was riding tonight and didn’t experience any problems) and I am really surprised at how well the system works in conjunction with the RLVs.

We have four cyclists in our family (Dad and 2 brothers) and there is already a red hot competition for the fastest time, biggest wattage, fastest speed etc which I can only imagine will get bigger once other people start coming around for a look at the trainer.

9/10 – I am not prepared to give a 10/10 after only 1 nights riding (and small course riding at that) but overall I couldn’t be happier with the purchase, a few small quibbles re: documentation and software navigation pale into insignificance once you are riding in the VR or RLV scenarios.

I am looking forward to hooking up the online racing in the next few weeks to test that out. Now to start ordering a few more of those RLV’s – preferably the flat ones to start off with.

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Rein
Posts: 1283
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:10 pm
Location: Venray (the Netherlands)

Post by Rein » Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:03 pm

Hi
glad it worked out well for you! :D Is VR also running the way it should?

One question, just out of curiousity: you life in a very flat area as you wrote, why do you want to start with flat RLV's? :wink: Where I life is pretty flat also, and I'm very happy with my RLV's which enable me to train riding big climbs.

But if you want a flat RLV, order Green Heart Classic. It's the flattest you can get. If you ride that one, you will ride a part of my standard training-route and pass my house at about a few hunderd meters, so if you have time pay me a visit then... :wink:

Btw, would be nice if your dad and your brothers also joined the VCF-leagues. One of my brothers is probably joiniing soon too. :D

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Len Lindquist
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Location: USA, Rockton, Illinois
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Fortius Install

Post by Len Lindquist » Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:40 pm

Very nice write-up and thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us. When I got my i-Magic, the delivery guy left it outside of my garage instead of ringing the doorbell and I remember the wonderful feeling of eventually discovering it outside: "Goody goody goody!" <rub hands together>

Your description of unwrapping the product brought that back for me. Despite all of the system's issues, I'm sure pleased to have it! Enjoy your riding.

mcorn
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Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:55 pm
Location: USA, Bellingham, Washington

Post by mcorn » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:26 pm

Be sure to check back with us in a month or so to see if things are still going smoothly. In terms of documentation and information, I think Tacx faces the very difficult issue of a small company selling a product into an international market. The challenge of writing and updating manuals in various languages is daunting. I find that the best source of information on assembling and operating the products is the Tacx website. The most useful place to start is the Tacx Site Map page which has an index to quite a large quantity of materials, including Q & A's:

http://www.tacx.com/over+tacx.php?get=s ... anguage=EN

P.S. Be sure you download and install the Tacx System Test, a basic utility to check the functioning of the system:

http://www.tacx.com/service.php?languag ... tem%20Test

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rocksthehouse
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:28 pm
Location: East Anglia, England

Post by rocksthehouse » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:42 pm

Did my first multiplayer ride tonight. Overall very impressed with it.
It even handled problems when the video seized and didn't disconnect.
Well done Tacx!

The only bugs I encountered were minor:

1) When chatting you can type past the end of the text box. A multiline scrolling box would be good.
2) When finishing the "Save, cancel, warmdown" dialog wouldn't activate with the USB controller so I had to use the computer. Then the warmdown didn't seem to work as normal (no readings).
3) When finishing the run it would be good to go back to the chat run for a post-ride chat instead of just exiting. It would also be good to be able to download other riders data for comparison.
4) In the chat room it would be good to see other rider's stats e.g. Weight

Thanks!

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Tacx Video Production
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Joined: Sun May 09, 2004 11:49 pm
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Post by Tacx Video Production » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:41 pm

rocksthehouse wrote: 4) In the chat room it would be good to see other rider's stats e.g. Weight

Thanks!
In the new TTS software you will be able to upload a photo so you could see who looks fit or not (if you can tell by looking at a photo that is!)

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