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Elite Direto X Eurobike Review 2019

There is a whole world of smart trainers now. With options for every person and every budget. But when it comes to budget, coming in at around £500 with offers, the Elite Direto has been the best trainer in terms of price and features. Will Elite be able to maintain that with the new Elite Direto X?

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Elite Direto X Turbo Trainer Preview

TLDRA noteworthy reworking of the Direto, once again a bargin price for the technology 

TG SCORE: pending…

Elite describes the Direto X as the evolution of their original best selling unit – at one point ELITE were not able to keep up with the demand of the Direto and had to suspend other trainer manufacturing. But now we are two years further down the line, and Elite also have their own new Suito trainer clamouring for the attention of the indoor riding crowd. So when Elite launched the Direto was that a perfect storm in the marketplace, with the only real competition for the Direto being the Tacx Flux? Or will we see the same again this year?

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Let’s take a look at the updates Elite have included with the new unit. The core of the Direto X remains the OTS power meter which has seen great service in both the Elite Drivo and the Direto. For the 2019 update, Elite have tightened the parameters on the Direto’s Optical Torque Sensor (OTS) achieving an accuracy of +/- 1.5%, not a huge change compared to the old Direto’s +/- 2%, but still closing the gap with Elite’s accuracy champion the Drivo II.

A real headline feature for then Elite Direto X has to be the beefing up of the internal brake meaning that the gradient simulation has increased from 14% to 18%. That puts the unit within spitting distance of the high end trainers able to provide rarefied heights of >20% on Zwift.

Frankly given that the new Elite Suito was able to generate a 15% grade, it was an absolute certainty that the Elite Direto X was going to increase further beyond it’s baby brother.

Which is one of the reasons that I am pleased to see that the feet of the Direto have remained unchanged

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That might seem like an odd thing to comment on but i) when you have managed to get a trainer to roll over, you DONT want it to happen again, Plus the Direto/Drivo II leg arrangement is now tried and tested, and has been proved to be rock solid. Some things shouldnt be messed with when they are perfect!

Elite is clearly happy now with the current state of the ANT-FEC and Bluetooth FTMS protocol given their unambiguous inclusion in the product information details, but I do think it is interesting the specific logos for FMTS are still absent on the Direto X, merely a Bluetooth logo. I will find out whether that is a significant omission given how long FTMS has taken to roll out..

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Power output has also increased up to 2100 watts, but at a usable speed of 40 km/h But full credit to the max power, 3250 watts at 60km/ph. Sure it’s not as though humans would be able to turn the cranks at that power, but I know someone who might… maybe

In spite of being a very good value trainer, the sound profile from the Elite Direto was always middle of the road. You can’t have your core products snapping at the heels of your halo products on every specification…

Yet it appears that this exactly what Elite is happy to do with the Direto X, given that they state this is one of the quietest trainers they have produced. I always keep a heavy level of scepticism when it comes to claims about volume and noise profiles. As noise profiles can be somewhat subjective, and volume can be dependent on the environment. SO when I have a trainer in my Zwift Cave and have a chance to run a full Zwift Gear Test, I’ll be able to give a response to the companies claims 

As the original Elite Drivo II aped the successful Direto, taking on a black or dark grey casing, perhap the Direto X is channelling a little of it’s Grandfather Drivo – or would should that be great grandfather?? I’ll leave you to determine the Elite trainer family tree! –  Either way, the Elite Direto X has become a lighter grey with added extra bling with from chrome accents.

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Personally, I think it does make a relatively subtle change. I wasn’t a great fan of the Elite Drivo in white, as all you need to do was look at it, and it became dirty.

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Seriously I think that the Drivo in white was able to draw oil to it from the very air!! BUT it did look different to all of the other trainers on the market, and that is key when you are selling a product. I think that is underscored by the lastest Tacx NEO 2T... which the company visually differentiated by putting a smooth polished slash on the side – not exactly eye catching!!

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Elite Direct X Turbo Trainer Preview – Specifications

  • Communication:
    • Bluetooth, ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, BlueTooth Smart Trainer Protocol FTMS
  • Slope Simulation:
    • 18%
      • (Direto 14%, Suito 15%)
  • Built-in sensors:
    • Power, Speed/Cadence
  • Max Wattage:
    • 2100 W @40kmph and 3250 @60kmph
      • Sutio (1900w @40kmph, 2900w @60kmph
      • Direto (1400W of power @40 kmph and 2200W @60 kmph)
  • Power Accuracy:
    • +/- 1.5%
      • Direto +/- 2%)
      • Suito +/- 2.5%
  • Flywheel: 4.2kg
    • 3.5kg Elite Suito
    • 4.6kg Elite Direto,
    • 5.4kg Wahoo CORE,
    • 6.7kg Tacx Flux S
  • Weight:
    • 15kg
      • 14.5kg Elite Suito
      • 15kg Direto 15kg
  • Size:
    • 840 x 650 mm – unfolded

So the Elite Direto X bests the Elite Suito and the original Direto in every way… except for fly wheel weight, which is interesting. As for things such as the power meter, and trainer responsiveness, we’ll have to wait until after Eurobike, to put the fashionista of a bike trainer to the test.

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The Elite Direto X does include the existing spindly strain gauge that Elite have been so proud of in the Drivo and previous Direto. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, Deutschland, has varied the accuracy of this power meter in the past. On the Elite Drivo II the engineering team have pushed the OTS as far as is economically possible. Stating the testing equipment measuring the OTS accuracy is the limiting factor, and that pushing further accuracy better than +/- <1% doesn’t return noticeable gains.

Clearly the work on the Drivo II has filtered down to give the +/-1.5% accuracy we are seeing on the Drivo X

Power meters are not quite as important in the mountain biking world as they are from the road cyclist. Finally by including a front wheel riser in the box Elite has looked to improve compatibility with long cage derailleurs. Be that from the mountain biking fraternity, or the newly growing ranks of 12-speed road bikes.

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I think that part of Elites current sales strategy links both the Suito and Direto X together. With the Suito being directed to cyclists who are mainly looking to get on Zwift via Apple TV – with as fewer road blocks as possible. Hence being ready to go out of the box. Conversely the Elite Direto X is aimed as the more seasoned cyclist, AND at mountain bikers, which is supported by the greater inclusion of chaps on MBT frames in the current press pack.

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This approach would make sense. Allowing both the Suito and Direto X to capitalise on broad swathes of the road cyclist market, without the Elite Direto X haemorrhaging too many unit sales as a result of it’s little brother

That pretty much wraps up the Direto X preview before Eurobike. Any questions and I’ll dig into with Elite this week!

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James Gill

Author of TitaniumGeek, which started after smashing off my RIGHT elbow. <br /> <br /> After learning a lot about olecranon fractures, I was introduced to the world Zwift, and slowly transitioned into writing about sports gadgets and the like<br /> <br /> Trying to keep up cycling, swimming and running whilst being a busy General Practice Doctor