It had arrived. A giant brown box waited for me on my front door. Packaged up and shipped off from Pushys Online the very same day it was announced – I was the lucky recipient and winner of their online competition!! And with it going over a weekend, the excitement was by now incredibly high for my eagerly anticipated Elite Direto Smart Trainer!
I had thought to do an unboxing video… but to be honest, winter had arrived in Melbourne days earlier and all I wanted to do was rip open… carefully, mind you… the box, get it set up and begin what I knew was going to be a cycling changing tool and bit of equipment.
I was surprised how heavy the smart trainer was, and, being a waif of a guy, ended up pushing the box on its side and dragging it out. Weight = quality, right? I hoped so. And I wasn’t disappointed. The manual was thrown to the side, for I was a man… and we don’t use such things. Thankfully it took four screws to attach the trainer legs and it was all but done. I’d already cleared and set up a place for it. Sweat towel down, bench in place, all that was left was to whack on a new cassette, grab my bike and get going.
I have to admit that I have never ridden on an indoor trainer. Especially not a smart one. My best indoor experience had been on a spin bike and to be perfectly honest, though excited, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The trainer came with a complimentary year subscription to the dedicated Elite My E-Training program. After downloading it and a quick two-minute simple calibration of the trainer, I began a free ride and started spinning.
It felt good. Really good in fact. Boy, was I shocked!
My review is based on zero smart trainer experience so I can only compare it to riding outside on my own bike.
I’d decided that the dedicated software that came with the trainer (My E-Training) didn’t seem all that interesting and was still being developed, so I set myself up on Zwift and began my new smart trainer experience proper.
It takes a few pedal strokes to get the flywheel moving when first starting, however once you get used to it, it’s not all that dissimilar to starting in a big gear outside. Spinning was smooth and responsive. There are no flat spots through a cadence or lag when putting power through the pedals. When rolling through Zwift courses the Elite Direto adapts quickly and realistically to gradient changes, forcing you to change down and pick up your cadence or grind out the bigger gears… just like you would up a hill.
Though the unit itself is heavy with solid legs, I did find there was some lateral movement when standing up for sprints. To be fair, it’s hard to not have a bit of this I imagine, given the power and weight being pushed from side to side of the bars, and I’ve gotten used to the small amount of rocking when close to my maximum.
The unit is surprisingly quiet. There is a quiet hum that is generated from the machine, more noticeable if you have it close to a wall, but I found that there was more noise coming from the chain and cassette… and some serious grunting and curse words at times, to mask any noticeable noise from the Direto.
I’ve been trying the Elite smart trainer now for a week (at the time of writing) and I’ve found it to be incredibly enjoyable to ride. I’m working through a Zwift 4-week FTP program currently but find when a session finishes I want to find a group ride and keep spinning.
Though it will never replicate being on an open road, exploring new places and routes and fighting the elements solo or with a group, it does have significant benefits that can’t be replicated in the outdoors.
Surprisingly, the biggest positive I’ve found is being able to be more efficient with cycling. I can get straight into a program or climbing session without having to fight cars and lights and punctures and a long ride to find some hills around me. I can put everything into the session and leave nothing behind given absolute failure happens a few seconds from all the comforts of home. There’s no need to load up on food or water with everything sitting on a bench beside me… or 10 steps away. Toilet stops… well, that’s a given. But coming in a close second – and though not the biggest positive, is the greatest comfort – is not having to fight the elements of winter. We all love conquering the wind, not letting the rain stop us, or riding through a thunderstorm, unsure if you have enough in you to get through a ride… but to be honest, the only times I’ve felt a huge sense of satisfaction in conquering these have been on specific, big rides. Do I want to train in the rain, hail and cold? No. Do I need to? No. Should anyone now, given the advent of a smart trainer? No!!
Surprisingly the winter and rain had last year managed to destroy a set of carbon wheels, completely corroding the spoke nipples. The cost of new ones is equal to that of the trainer, and so you have to wonder how even price is an excuse. Not to mention the safety offered on a trainer. Having had three accidents in the last year, I am very quickly enjoying that I can focus completely on riding and putting in maximum effort on the trainer without having to worry about accidents, weather, traffic lights breaking up my rhythm, punctures or not being available for important work requests because I’m an hour away from home.
After a week, I’ve found that I’m working harder with my cycling than I have on the bike on the road. I can put the trainer in the car and do a quick workout at the office without needing to find a spin class, or being able to justify jumping on the bike.
It is quite possibly the second best thing I own outside of my bike itself. If I had to give up a head unit, carbon wheels, fancy kit, club membership or the trainer… the Elite Direto would be the very, very last thing to go. And then… I’d probably question if there’s much point riding without it. I joke… or do I?
I’m already addicted and a lot of this is the fact that the Direto is almost like being on the road… or at least so very, very far away from being on a spin bike.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful and already treasured gift and prize, Pushys!!
No more punctures. No more colds. No more corroded wheels. No more excuses.
Much love, from a very warm and comfortable cyclist.
By Luke – Elite Direto Smart Trainer Winner
Congratulations, Luke! We love this enthusiasm, and we’re glad you’re enjoying your new Elite Direto!
For more information or to get hold of your own Elite Direto, check out Pushys range of smart trainers to keep you on the bike through winter!
Categories: Product Review