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Elite TUO Turbo Trainer Preview – Wheel on Italian Style

The Elite TUO trainer shows that there is still life in the class bike trainer market. Given that Elite is very much committed to direct-drive units like the Suito and Direto X, what have Elite done to draw buyers eyes to the wheel-on Elite TUO?

Elite TUO Turbo Trainer Preview – Wheel on Italian Style

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TLDR: A wheel on trainer. Pretty, but still a wheel on trainer TG SCORE: pending…

Direct drive turbo trainers are the undisputed last word in indoor bike training, but the one area that they do lose out to classic or wheel-on trainers such as the Kinetic Rock and Roll is portability. Even though we are now regularly seeing direct drive turbos used in the warm up along side major cycling team trucks – something Elite was keen to highlight with the portability of the Elite Suito:

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However, you are still more likely to see ranks of Elite Qubo trainers in the warm-up areas, especially in lower leagues and public races. The reason being, they are easily transported, simple plug and play devices where you can warm up on your bike exactly as you will shortly be using in the race.

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So who is the Elite Tuo for? Well if we take a little look at the highly stylised drive unit on the rear of the Tuo – I don’t know why, but I have a sudden craving for toast – we see the name of an Italian design studio – Adriano Design

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The Elite TUO is for people who want the automatic resistance features, the ease of portability and simple setup with a heavy dosing of Italian design. And I do mean that seriously, heck the Elite Tuo has beechwood fricking legs!!!

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Whilst specifically the choice to use beech may not have an impact on the trainer noise in room, it might transpire that the Elite TUO may not transmit vibrations to the floor in the same way as Elites other classic trainers, so may make life better if you have an upstairs Zwift cave. Although that might be a little hard for me to test!

Where do we know that name from? At Eurobike 2018, when Elite showed off the Elite Fuoripista which was designed by Andriano Design. If you’ve somehow managed to miss what has to be the most elegant smart bike, heck fitness device, in the entire world, I strongly encourage you to get out my hands on at the Elite factory last year. I want a Tacx Neo Smart Bike with my head, but want an Elite Furopista for my soul!!

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The aesthetic from Adriano Design, an Italian design studio located in Torino is more often associated with slightly more mundane devices, like kitchen hoods and coffee makers, but all have a very unique twist.

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I think their glass Lungolinea ping pong ball table is great, but they do great things with wood. So it isn’t too surprising to see the of the exclusive Italian oak of the Elite Fuoripista giving way to the more attainable beech of the Elite TUO, creating a product you don’t need to be part of the jet-set to afford

Who is the Elite TUO for?

Elite already has three wheel-on, or classic trainers, in their line up, where does the Elite TUO sit? I’d suggest in a completely separate category, almost as lifestyle model

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I say this as it feel that the Elite Tuo is a slightly out of left field device, after all the argument as to which is better between the Wahoo KICKR, Tacx Neo 2 and the Elite Drivo II will rage until one of the big three releases a new unit or hell freezes over.

There is certainly less of a focus towards classic turbo trainers. But if you look at the Elite Tuo as a lifestyle device, it makes more sense. The Tuo is aimed at the person who already has a Furopista at home (or would aspire to one), and wants to be able to easily put that same style in the back of the car, to then deploy and warm-up up at their TT or local race, probably using their Cervelo Px5!

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I think that is born out by the fact that the Elite TUO has been made just about as slim as possible at 430 x 315x 560 mm when closed, with the frame going over the waffle maker resistance unit. All packed up the setup is tipping the scales at only 10.3kg. Considering the shape of the toastie maker at the bottom I think that square design may actually make transporting it easier, as you won’t have an exposed flywheel to deal with

Ok, the flywheel is exposed on one side of the unit, but it is still easier to box things around in a car, or under the stairs with a fixed rectangle rather than a spinning tube

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I’m waiting for my review unit to arrive, and part of it will actually involve testing taking it to races. As demonstrated with the Hummingbird ebike review, my boot is certainly on the tight side, so it something slips in easily, it get’s a thumbs up from me!!

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Heck, the TUO can compete with the Elite Suito when it comes to size, with the direct mount trainer coming in at 560 x 150 x 495 mm vs 430 x 315x 560 mm. If you look inside the bagel machine at the back of the Elite TUO, you can see that the roller is red. That is the Elastogel, which Elite have been using on their classic trainers for a couple of years now. Developed in conjunction with Bayer, the elastogel is advertised to reduced the noise of the roller by 50%, and reduced wear on the tyre by 20%, whilst reducing vibrations

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By changing a couple of spacers underneath the roller you can swap from using a road machine to a 29″ MBT, although I’m not sure that a mountain bike, has quite the design aesthetic to compared! Regardless of the steed you are riding of, the TUO can simulate up to a 10% hill using a magnetic brake. As with the Suito, Elite are now giving the specs with of the power out with regard to speed, as you can see below, giving a real world indication of what the trainer is capable of:

Elite TUO Turbo Trainer Preview – Specifications

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  • Communication:
    • Bluetooth, ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, BlueTooth Smart Trainer Protocol FTMS
  • Slope Simulation:
    • 10%
      • (Direto 14%, Suito 15%)
  • Built-in sensors:
    • Power, Speed/Cadence
  • Max Wattage:
    • 1250 W @40kmph and 2050 @60kmph
      • Sutio (1900w @40kmph, 2900w @60kmph
      • Direto (1400W of power @40 kmph and 2200W @60 kmph)
  • Power Accuracy:
    • +/- 3%
      • Direto +/- 2%)
      • Suito +/- 2.5%
  • Flywheel: 3.5kg (4.6kg on Direto, 5.4kg Wahoo CORE, 6.7kg Flux S))
  • Weight: 14.5kg (Direto 15kg)

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.

We do however have a little bit of information about how the unit measures power. Keeping in mind that the Elite TUO doesn’t have a power meter, instead uses an indirect measure. With the power derived from work with Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, Deutschland, who have previously been involved with Elite in developing and testing their OTS power meter in the Elite Drivo and Drivo II

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A users power is calculated from the speed, weight and slope data, but crucially in the context of the effect of the energy stored by the flywheel against sudden variations of speed, both when accelerating or decelerating.
Those in search of the ultimate accuracy with the Elite TUO can opt to use the power meter link so that resistance is determined by data taken from a users separate, bike mounted power meter.

Shortly I’ll be sitting down with Gaetano Mercante Elite’s R&D Electronic Manager to discuss more about the development of the Elite TUO generally, but specifically the new power calculation approach

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Elite TUO Turbo Trainer Preview – Conclusion

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You can clearly tell from the overall appearance and Elite’s own press blurb that the TUO looks are expected to be a core factor for buyers. Elite even describe the TUO thusly:

It’s a sophisticated designer furnishing. Beautiful during use and elegant when stored,

Elite SRL

Now we just need to see what the unit is like on the slopes of Watopia for a full Zwift Gear Test!

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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