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Elite Wireless 'turbo' trainer

Elite Wireless

Price: £260.00
From: Ultimate Pursuits
Tel: 08000183790

I’m sure I’m not unusual in being a bit daunted at the idea of using a turbo trainer. I always prefer to go out riding – partly because it’s more stimulating but mainly because most turbo trainers are a pain to set up and have a riding quality of a shopping bike with the brakes on. But work and time constraints added to northern European weather means we have to train inside for most of the winter, a fact that the manufacturers have noticed as sales of indoor trainers are soaring.

Very few turbos I have used have a very smooth action and one that feels like the road. One that doesn’t jerk would be good, so one that feels more like a set of track rollers (but with some resistance) or a King cycle (but doesn’t cost several thousand). Something better than the standard rear wheel ‘turbo’ with less noise and less faffing around setting it up.

The unique frame design of the Elite Wireless gives a more natural feel and with less stress to your bike frame. It’s designed to use the weight of the rider to provide the friction to keep the roller in touch with the tyre. There is also some flex built in which helsp add to the on-the-road feel of this trainer. The Elastogel roller is larger than the usual aluminium ones and has a ‘softer’ contact with the tyre and this not only wears the tyre less but it ‘feels’ little more like the road. Claimed to reduce tyre wear by 20%, it’s noticeably less agressive on the tread. They also say that you can use it with knobblies, so it will be an option for warming up for a cross race.

Fans and magnet resisting turbos tend to amplify that jerky pedalling stroke so Elite have opted for fluid power, cooled by fins. There is a progressive feel to the resistance, you also get more resistance at lower RPMs for a more climbing style simulation. The lack of noise allows you to hear the music on your headphones and reduced vibration may mean you can use it on a first floor flat without driving the neighbours nuts as it is claimed to reduce noise by 50%. You may even get away with it at the start of an early morning time trial or road race without attracting the attention of angry residents.

use a Travel block, not the yellow pages

The Travel Block allows you to get the front wheel up and keep the bike level which saves guess work and stays put unlike a phone book or a pile of magazines.

This is also the first turbo of it’s kind without any cables between resistance
unit and digital console display. Which really adds user-appeal to this quickly set-up trainer – no wires and no spring plate to fiddle with. The fixing device works really well and as long as you have got the appropriate rear QR lever you can be riding in no time at all. The frame is wide too, so out of the saddle efforts don’t see you edging across the floor like a washing machine on spin cycle. It’s steady yet compact when folded up and quite light. Elite also make a really funky carbon fibre version of the Wireless, presumably for the Pro rider to use in his funky loft apartment. They cost loads and there are no plans to bring them in to the UK as yet…

All the data is transmitted from the resistance unit to the console via a radio transmitter installed in the resistance unit and a receiver installed in the digital console. There are 16 functions; speed, gradient percentage, wattage, elapsed time… the list goes on. Add your HRM and cadence computer to the handle bars and your bike starts looks like Cape Canaveral on launch day. The main advantage is that there are no extra wires or boxes on the floor and setting it all up takes no time at all, which features you decide to use can be switched between screens, how you use it is up to you. The wattage can’t be 100% accurate as it isn’t directly linked to your cranks, however it’s a useful guide and seems to be pretty sensitive – it helps judge your effort and I can compare workouts so it has some sense.

I liked the Elite. I actually used it regularly (more than once anyway) which seems to be a first, it’s one trainer that you actually look forward to setting up, partly because it’s so easy and partly because it rides so well, just like the road really. In my opinion the Elite Wireless does more than it really needs to and the only drawback is the price, but if it’s raining outside and you need to ride you can easily justify the price. If you’re quite ‘teccy’ you’ll like the options – I just prefer my training a little less complicated. Elite and Tacx are spending a lot of energy on making the Turbo experience better. Simulated real-time rides (better than the i-magic system) with bar mounted control screens and active braking (which make you feel like you are descendind and climbing) are the next steps and they are very advanced, and very expensive – but how long do you want to spend on one before your friends start to talk about your sanity?

So I’d like to see one with less features on the readout unit, just a basic one which uses the same Elastogel roller technology and the frame design as the ride qulaity is terrific – if only it could cost the same as budget trainers. A more ‘competitive’ version in this growing market would be a great success.

Good: Works well, feels like a road ride and kept my interest

Bad: It’s still a turbo and the scenery stays the same… it’s expensive too.




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