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Cycling Gear Reviews Smart Trainers Zwift

Elite Fuoripista Hands-on​ and Elite Factory Visit

Autumn is upon us, and that means turbo trainers reviews. This is my first hands on impression of the stunning Elite Fuoripista as I visited the Elite Factory. So let’s get into things!

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Elite Fuoripista Hands-on​ and Elite Factory VisitElite Fuoripista Hands-on​ and Elite Factory Visit

Ok, I’ll confess, I was on a family holiday to Venice with my sister and her child/spawn/daemon/angel (delete as applicable for different parts of the day) when the opportunity to address the fact I hadn’t seen the new Elite Fuoripista in person at Eurobike came up

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Given that Elite SRL was only a little over an hour away from where we were staying (funny that!) it would be rude not to drop by and see things for myself as well as look over their 2018/2019 offerings. So I rented myself a true Italian Stallion (a Fiat Panda still technically fits that description!) and headed off in search of turbo trainers

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I was previously lucky enough to drop over to Elite to see the Elite Fly bottle production, and remain impressed by the sheer Italian elegance of the Elite Factory

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Elite is currently comprised of 50 employees, nestled in the Veneto region, on near to the banks of the River Brenta. The company has been building cycling accessories since 1979, and in 1989 moved into their current headquarters – those towers you see? They are from an old limestone furnace!

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When the company needed a new, larger site, this seemed the perfect location. Rather than flattening the old structures, they painstaking renovated the furnace, whilst maintaining as much as was possible, to render what must be some of the nicest offices anywhere to work in!

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But what of the Elite Fuoripista?? Well, I can tell you it is as jaw-droppingly beautiful as you would imagine. 

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When you see the unit for the first time, it doesn’t quite look… functional. Take the gear selectors, for example, positioned to provoke memories of classic road bike shifters. They look too much as though they have been pulled from a concept car, a feeling possibly inspired by the Italian oak. Like many features on the Elite Fuoripista they look as though they shouldn’t work – yet they do!

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The same can be said looking towards the clear front wheel, and drive mechanism.

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The clear glass support panels on the Elite Fuoripista have been tested with an artificial rider (read a selection of weights) up to 120kg currently, while attached to a rig allowing 200,000 cycles of horizontal movement to get through the materials. Currently, the final specification of the panels has not been locked in, as Elite is looking for the optimum balance between panel weight and strength.

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I utterly live the shape and design of the Elite Fuoripista there is something very… old fashioned, almost stream punk about the design of the unit.

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One of the first things which went through my mind seeing the Elite Fuoripista Smart Bike was “Mechanical Horse” – OK that isnt entirely correct. My first thought was “Wow I want this! Even if I NEVER ride it, but just sit opposite and look at it, I NEED this in my life”

As a reaction that probably isn’t too surprising when you look at the story of the Elite Fuoripista and the designer behind the asthetic Adriano Design

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The Italian design studio located in Torino already has a slew of award to its name – and I do wonder now that the Fuoripista is a full product, whether they will be adding to their trophy cabinet once more?

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The thing is the Elite Fuoripista is NOT the companies first penning of an indoor trainer. In fact, the Fuoripista was first revealed by Adriano Design back in 2017 during Milan’s Design Week with Fuoripista translating as ‘off piste” or “beyond track” depending on how you look at the etymology

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Given that the design study has been around for a while, I went digging. The original images are not difficult to find, and when you view them side by side the appearance has stayed remarkably similar to the designers original vision.

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Even after Elite came along to transform the design study (on the RIGHT) into a functional product (on the LEFT)

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Let’s look at some details of the Elite Fuoripista rather than just drooling over its lines, we’re not that shallow after all!

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Rather than using an optical sensor as is found the Elite Drivoo II and the Elite Direto, the Elite Fuoripista uses a new in-house magnetic torque system in order to squeeze the brains of the machine into the steel and chrome-plated aluminium bottom bracket case. This gives the smart bike an accuracy of 2%, which may raise an eyebrow on a unit expected to cost in the region of £14,000. Style doesn’t come cheap. On the reasons for this is that the internals are derived from the Elite Direto!

Then again, I supposed if you are putting that down that level of cash, splashing out for a pair of Italian Favero Assioma power meter pedals to chase that additional accuracy, isn’t likely to strain the bank too much. Furthermore the Fuoripista will be able to simulate a max resistance of  14%

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The magnetic system has also allowed a change to a pad braking system, ensure that the unit is quieter than the Elite Direto – as you’ll need to be able to listen to the water lapping at your superyacht, which is clearly going to be home to many Elite Fuoripista units! My Elite Fuoripista Hands On is likely the closest I’m ever going to get to one of these beauties

A magnetic system allows the Elite Fuoripista to feature virtual gears, so no need to mess around with a cassette. You can easily adjust your virtual gears to mimic different cassettes enabling you to train for different routes and setups out in the real world so you dont have to get your hands dirty with cassette swaps, but what about if you don’t want wires trailing around your hyper stylish and minimalist gym?

The Elite Fuoripista features a 2600mAh battery, which will give 10 hrs of riding time disconnected from the mains. 

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The battery sits within the structure of the smart bike, protected and out of the way, but also easily accessible in years hence for servicing

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There is a small OLED screen on the “head” of the unit, displaying your power and setting. I’m actually surprised that there is not a larger more functional display here. 

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However Elite counter than significant system interaction can be performed via the Elite app, and that the Elite Fuoripista, using BlueTooth FTMS and ANT+ FEC, has been designed to utilise tablets or connected devices for the main data display.

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Since the Elite Fuoripista has been revealed, there have been some comments about the handlebars. The unit will arrive fully assembled and will ship initially with the bars seen. In choosing the proportions for their smart bike, the Elite team looked at the position of seats on various road bikes from S to XL in size. As the gears have been removed, there is no need to have an adjustable stem length.

Seat height, fore and after movement, along with bar height and angle should ensure that all riders find the right position for them. Maybe this is a reflection on the expected clients for the Elite Fuoripista – that does mean that you will be looking at a comfortable setup for this smart bike, you are not going to be able to transfer over your TT bike positions for example

But what about sweat and water? As any Zwifter knows your pain cave, let alone your bike, tends to swim somewhat after a hard work out!

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The steel and chrome plating have been selected specifically for sweat and corrosion resistance, given there is such a lot of plating required for the Elite Fuoripista, this part of the manufacture is one of the more costly for Elite.

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A further design tweak is planned before the units ship at the end of Q4 2018, that is that exposed edges of the glass wi be repositioned so that the Italian oak has a more streamlined profile, and to prevent sweat going between the wood and the panels preventing unwanted staining

Elite Fuoripista Conclusion

As for overall first impressions following my Elite Fuoripista Hands On – it’s beautiful – in fact so much so, it might be a shame to actually sweat on it. As mentioned at length, I desire this trainer BADLY. Oh, I have reservations that there is superior technology out there, but that isn’t the point. On that note, the Fuoripista get’s an easy TG 5/5, it’s so unobtainable why not! To wrap up, I’ll leave you with my brief impressions, whilst on the machine

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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