Elite Direto smart turbo trainer review

The Elite Directo is accurate, reliable and won’t break the bank – we test the mid-market option

Elite Direto
The Elite Directo is a great mid-market option
Cycling Weekly Verdict

An essential bit of kit for anyone starting out their indoor training, without paying out for the top line. Improvements could be made in reducing the noise output and making the Direto easier to pack away, but the weight does add a reassuring stability. The accuracy and reliability are surely the biggest assets for the Elite, which make it a worthwhile investment for those looking for a turbo trainer.

Reasons to buy
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    Reasonably priced

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Reasons to avoid
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The Elite Direto is the mid-market option from the Italian accessory brand, and is has quickly become the weapon of choice for pro teams and amateurs alike.

With virtual cycling and indoor training only growing in popularity, Elite has cemented position in the cycling world by embedding the Direto in every corner. Having been used as a warm-up tool for the likes of Mark Cavendish, the Elite Direto was also used to launch the Zwift Kiss Super League earlier this year.

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Currently on sale for £599.99, The Elite Direto is competing with the likes of the Bkool Smart Pro 2 and the Tacx Flux, while offering a cheaper alternative to its own Elite Drivo II and the highly rated Wahoo Kickr.

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While the Elite Direto takes some assembly, effectively screwing three legs to the main unit, it was a quick an easy process that only required a few glances at the diagrams in the manual.

After fitting the cassette (not provided) and mounting the bike, the kit was set up and ready to use within about 45 minutes - not bad for a first set up.

It does take up a fair amount of space and is heavy enough to make it a hassle to move, so finding the ideal permanent spot to avoid packing and unpacking can be tricky.

The Elite Directo is a great mid-market option

One minor gripe is that the cable to plug the device into the mains is too short, so make sure you either have a plug handy or pick up an extension cable at the same time as the turbo so you aren’t limited in your training spot.

Linking the machine with other devices is as simple as can be and even calibrating the in-built power meter took a few minutes, including downloading the Elite app.

It was another few seconds to get hooked up to my laptop and ready to roll on indoor training software like Zwift and Sufferfest.

As it’s ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible, the Direto works with external apps and your cycle computer, giving you a wealth of options to explore.

>>> Zwift: Everything you need to know

It’s also certified by Zwift, making it the perfect entry to the world of online virtual training.

With gradient simulation up to 14 per cent and a max wattage of 1,400, the Elite Direto stacks up well against the Flux, which allows up to 1,500watts but only reaches a 10 per cent max gradient.

While the Drivo II reaches a whopping 2,300w and gradients of 24 per cent, the Elite Direto is more than capable of handling anything your training software will throw at you.

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One of the most important aspects of any device measuring power is its accuracy and also its consistency, ensuring you get the most out of your training.

The Elite Direto measures your watts with a +/- accuracy of two per cent, which is less than the more expensive Elite Drive II but more than the Tacx Flux at less than three per cent.

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Based on personal experience of power meters the machine is definitely accurate and perhaps more importantly it’s consistent to itself, without any major fluctuations in power, making it an effective training tool.

Elite’s claim that the “only noise you’ll hear comes from your bike’s chain” is definitely overstated, as the Directo gives off a sizeable hum that can be heard through walls, mostly owing to the vibration on the floor (even with the Elite mat to dampen the noise). Beware anyone sharing training space with someone who might be trying to get some peace and quiet, like flat-mates or family.

There is enough movement in the base allow for sideways movement without feeling unstable or like you will snap your frame if you shift your weight wrong.

But the Direto is a brilliant piece of kit that fits perfectly into the mid-range bracket, allowing you to maximise your indoor training without maxing out the credit card.

You may want to consider a more expensive option if you’re looking for stealthy sessions but if you’re looking for reliable, accurate and affordable, look no further than the Elite Direto.

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