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Living with the Rizer and I reminder that I need to eat less and cycle even more!
Our unboxing of the Elite Rizer

Background

Let’s get the mechanical elephant out of the room. £850 for another ‘toy’ in addition to the already substantial expense of indoor cycling – is it worth it the spend? Read on…

We all know how turbo training was, right? A tolerable way of training in the winter in-between a clubs weekend long rides. A turbo trainer wasn’t expensive. At the same time, cycling wasn’t that expensive. It was time too, when roads were in a ,much better condition than now, there were fewer cars and not that many people did cycling in the way that we do now.

We got from there to now and largely because of first CompuTrainer, TrainerRoad and then Zwift. The latter, arguably making indoor cycling totally tolerable and social. Elite cyclists are able to race indoors and win prize money and some have achieved higher sums than when racing outdoors (net for costs).

To immerse ourselves fully, many of us have £1,000 smart trainers, powerful fans, a dedicated space to train, a flat-screen TV, an Apple TV and some a powerful gaming PC.

What is the Elite Rizer?

It is a electro-mechanical device that your cycle’s forks fit on to (therefore the front wheel is removed). The Rizer comes ready with a fitting kit so any type of bike (within reason) can be fitted – e.g. skewer or through-axel.

On your preferred virtual cycling training platform, by moving the slider towards maximum for course simulation, the Rizer will rise and fall as the course ascends and descends.

Currently, those using Zwift, also get the advantage of steering too.

The Rizer – for connection – uses an app on a smartphone to connect to your smart trainer. This enables the smart trainer and Rizer to work in sync to provide course simulation.

During testing, we used an Elite Direto X, a Wahoo Kickr Climb and a JetBlack Volt. All connected with the Rizer. A Kinetic R1 did not connect with the Rizer.

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6 months on and the Elite Rizer showing two steady lights – meaning everything is working as it should be

Reasons to consider the Elite Rizer

Why then add the Elite Rizer and what does it add over it’s competitors, like the Wahoo Fitness Kick Climb. Let’s get the latter out of the way. The Kickr Climb works off a belt and does not have steering. Some have had issues where the belt has slipped. Where the Rizer comes in is a bot/screw system for ascending and descending and it steers.

We have tested the Elite Rizer over circa 6-months of super-regular use. It rises by up to 20% and descends down to -10% and it turns. Currently this is on Zwift, the indoor cycling platform that bought about virtual steering through the Elite Sterzo Smart. What is adds to riding indoors is two things:

1). It engages the brain far more often

2). It provides a change in position (as the course rises and falls) that is more akin to outside and in itself, makes riding indoors more fun.

Our long-term review in video form

Getting Back to Point 1 – it doesn’t have to be all about Power

An argument that can be levelled about virtual cycling and racing is that it can be all about power and not a lot is about keep the brain engaged making decisions.

An example: Riding with a pace-bot on Zwift. This is essentially an exercise of power management and virtual drafting. If you get in the right place in the bunch and keep the watts in the right zone and you are there for as long as your endurance lasts.

Add steering and you get a totally different dynamic and a level of skill is required. If you get the steering wrong and you are out the back and chasing to get back on! This means that you can steer in a group ride (where Zwift allows this) and keep in a state of being ‘on it’ throughout the ride. For rides, say, up and down the Alpe and solo, it is great fun. With the slider on 100% (in settings) and you are getting the maximum effect of the Rizer, with the front end of the bike rising and falling and then calving the corners to save time.

What About Other Virtual Cycling Platforms?

Whilst Zwift currently have the steering exclusivity, the Rizer still goes up and down (with the course) on the other platforms. We had great fun on RGT Cycling especially. This means that the Elite Rizer means that you aren’t just stuck on Zwift and you can flit between virtual cycling platforms, like we do.

In Summary

You could just put good lights on your bike, mudguards and buy decent outdoor weather gear and just ride outside.

This way you get adventure, the feeling or true movement, true risk and jeopardy in your cycling journeys.

You get to wash your bike, change parts more often and also experience the often distracted drivers of cars and other motor vehicles.

Yes, an full-on indoor set-up isn’t cheap and at £850, the Rizer ups to anti somewhat. However, you get:

  • The feeling of movement with the course
  • Steering, on Zwift, and the extra skill of having to focus and keep switched on during a ride
  • And, you get all the other benefits of riding indoors.

One last point – sprinting whilst attached to an Elite Rizer also requires a little more skill. The front end has a floating feeling and you aren’t rigidly bolted in like on a smart-bike and even with the front wheel on a block. Again, it means more finese and keeping ‘alive’ when on the bike.

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