Elite Direto – the new mid range smart trainer to beat?

The Elite Direto is a new accurate, more affordable smart turbo trainer that could be the model to beat in the second half of 2017

In all the excitement of the Tour de France over the last week, you’d be forgiven for missing the news that Elite have announced a new direct drive smart turbo trainer called the Direto.

It’s not due to hit the marketplace for a little while yet but it might well be a big hit based on it’s specs and features.

The Direto is a “mid level” smart trainer in that it brings many features of the high end market to a lower price. So in the Elite range, it slots in at a lower price point than the Drivo and competes more with the Tacx Flux than the top of the range Neo.

Elite Direto

This is a significant product release as it’s Elite’s response to the Flux and it’s a price point that Wahoo currently don’t have an offer for, although I think you can expect to see that change before too long.

The new Elite Direto will retail for £749 and stock should arrive into the UK around the end of July, so well ahead of the traditional Autumn/Winter buying season.

The Direto’s key features include:

  • Full compatibility with communication standards including Ant +, Bluetooth and FE-C trainer control protocol
  • Can deliver up to 1400 Watts of resistance at 40kmh
  • Can simulate climbs of up to 14%
  • Accuracy of 2.5% thank to Elite’s Optical Torque Sensor (OTS)
  • Compatible with all major software training platforms
  • Direct drive (rear wheel off) design
  • New wide platform for excellent stability
  • Compatible with road and mountain bike frames including 142x12mm
  • 9,10 & 11 speed compatible

It’s an impressive list for £749 retail and this should appeal to a lot of riders who fancy a full Zwift or TrainerRoad Erg mode experience but haven’t been able to justify the higher prices of the top tier of trainers.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Direto is that until now you had to spend more to get this level of accuracy. For example, the Tacx Flux offers around 5% accuracy compared to 2.5% (which is much better) on the Direto. The Tacx Flux boosts 1500 Watts of resistance, which is 100 more than the Direto but the Direto can simulate a 14% slope compared to a 10% slope on the Flux. The Direto has folding “arms” so you can pack it up after use more easily than the Flux which has fixed arms.

Considering those points and the spec list, I suggest that the Direto will tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people.

In terms of what you sacrifice over the high end, well, you get over 2000 Watts resistance on the top tier models but you’ll have to be an exceptional rider to notice that. The top trainers offer the ablility to simulate much steeper climbs at over 20%. Not having tried a Direto, I suspect that what happens in practice is that when you go over 14% on Zwift, that the Direto will just stay at max grade until the slope falls below 14% again. The Direto also can’t offer the Tacx Neo’s ability to mimic road surfaces but in fairness, no other trainer on the market can do that.

So if you’re shopping for a smart trainer for this winter to use with Zwift, Trainerroad or any other platform, you need to decide how much the extra climbing resistance offered by the top tier trainers matters to you as you’ll get as good accuracy on this cheaper Direto.

I suspect the Elite Direto could be a big hit as on paper it outguns the Tacs Flux and offers a good range of benefits for it’s £750 retail price.

Find out more here: http://www.elite-it.com/en/products/us/trainers/interactive/direto

Thanks for reading