PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Winter Warm-up 1: Elite’s Primo Fluid Wireless Trainer

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Winter Warm-up 1: Elite’s Primo Fluid Wireless Trainer
It’s the time of the year when it comes to missing miles, excuses are like (insert body cavity), everyone has at least one… Elite are known for supplying almost the entire peloton with sweet kit, from cages to body rubs. Elite are also known for their very well made trainers. We get a leg over the simple and effective Primo Wireless…


OK, so fair enough, I’m in Arizona, today’s low was a simply frigid and mostly cloudy 60df. This is the time of year in Arizona that most cyclists with regular employment can come home and ride in the afternoons without a trainer, as it’s finally cool enough to come outside… But I understand that for most of the rest of you, this is the time of year when you either ride dressed as the Michelin man, or lay on some indoor miles. With that in mind, I tossed this pool side, plugged in the Custom Crumpton and that’s pretty much all that’s required with Elite’s new Primo Fluid Wireless.


click the thumbnail at the top for a bigger view…


Now some will notice that we’re missing the little blue clicky link that we usually toss in when we mention the company and product…

Here’s something I found a bit interesting in my travels… When you go to www.Elite.it , It takes you not to bike kit, but to a model page… A nice model site where, if you choose to surf a second, you will navigate to a home page where you can choose “ELITEMILANO” which I found rather pleasant, or you can click “L’Uomoelite” and learn again that Uomo is Italian for “sausage”… Personally I could not resist clicking on a name like “Azemina Hot”, (yes, it took all my willpower to not post a pic) while my wife couldn’t seem to get past the cover page where a guy named “Giglio” pretty much ruined my opinion of myself…

But, should you make it off that page (in under an hour), you’ll find that Elite (the bicycle folks) are actually found at ELITE-IT.COM. Here you’ll find Elite’s whole slew of products including our test trainer…


Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures
Everyone reading this has seen what most folks consider the top dog in indoor training from CompuTrainer. It literally has everything you could imagine / use / want in a trainer, falling just short of having an actual revolving road pass through a Med Lab. I have one and I love it! But that level / scale of technology doesn’t apply to lots of cyclists and while it’s not a huge burden to use, it does have some set up time involved for those not having a “trainer” bike locked in to place.

It’s the simplicity of the latest from Elite that allows you to train with power, but to do so in a fashion that almost completely eliminates set up time and is far less involved while training. For folks that are not super serious about training, and for those that are serious but have a limited amount of time to get rolling, the Elite is a great combination of features in a stripped down very convenient form.

Two parts are all that is required (three with a front wheel chock) to be up and rolling…



And Elite have gone one further in the refinement of the machine by lopping off cords in a couple of places, making the new wireless unit even easier to install… In the photo below, you’d have had one cord (down facing) that went to the resistance adjuster, and another cord (right facing) that would have been the power and speed measuring attachment… The head unit case simply has the holes blocked now…




You drop the cords, but the head unit still has all of the readouts that you’ll need, including Max, Average and current read outs for Watts and Speed, as well as trip distance…



And the attachment for the wireless transmitter has been altered a bit with a longer adjustment screw, so that it will fit on today’s fatter / stiffer (sometimes less comfortable) carbon bars, without much fuss.



Another “clamp” area that got a little upgrade is the bike / trainer smashy-togethery area… You’ll still need either an older campy QR or to use the QR supplied by elite. But you might want to take more care not to over tighten the frame onto the QR as was the case with ours in shipping.



This is actually a pretty good lesson, as you shouldn’t be overly aggressive with locking your bike into a trainer either. Not too tight and not too loose…


The frame itself is a better design that does a couple of things well. Elite have tossed out the standard “A” frame designs and have decided that letting gravity do its job would make for better road like feel and also be easier on your Bicycle. Once you lock the bike in place, the frame simply swings toward the resistance unit, letting your bike settle in place.



This is a great feature, as rather than having all of your weight and energy resting on your rear drop out, the frame clamping at the QR now acts more as a balance point, moving a good portion of the load bearing down to your tire and the ground where it belongs.

Far less important, but also a nice little touch is the addition of hard, but far more finish friendly rubbers in the clamps to protect your QR’s…




The Down and Around
On the surface, the Fluid unit looks like a plain, clean piece of gear… Inside sits an oil res and a double paddle resistance fly. Also in the mix is the speed / resistance sensor and the new transmitter that lets this thing be cordless…



But sitting this side by side with older units, it’s also pretty notable that their already very quiet and super tire friendly Elasotgel roller gets “Biggie Sized” for this year. Elite take the 30 mm roller up 50% in size to 45mm…



This takes the wear and tear on the unit down quite a bit and also let em change the oil and resistance a bit as it spins a little slower… This also lets the roller shed heat a tad faster and be even more tire friendly than the already friendly unit was…

And at the end of the trial, this thing folds up completely flat, taking up maybe 20 – 30% less space than the older “A” frame sets do.

So…
Riding the thing is pretty much like you think it would be… This isn’t rocket science to operate, although a lot of thought went in to making it damn easy to use. The readouts are easy to see, the head unit is a single (mode) button navigation and very easy to set up (the second button is for set up and reset). Resistance is changed simply by changing gears…

The first thing I notice on Elite trainers is that they are whisper quiet. Both in the unit itself (and that’s compared to anything, liquid or Mag) and at the tire. You do hear a little squeak of your rubber on the elastogel from a sudden start when cold, but that’s pretty much it.

The internals function very smoothly as well, and do so without the “lumpy” stuttering feel that some trainers have as the goo inside gets heated up.

Another benefit, and I am speaking from older “Elite” model experience, is that these units simply last and keep performing well over time. I have yet to have a problem with an Elite trainer, and I have cooked a few trainers in the past… I have not had any res leaks and have not had to worry about them traveling around and getting beaten up a bit. That’s nice if you plan on using these as a warmer unit at the races… You also don’t need the head unit for the base to work, and on race day that’s a nice plus too as it’s just one less thing to worry about…

The important part of this unit, other than being exceptionally simple to use, is in its wattage option.

To be clear, this machine is not something like a CompuTrainer or other device that costs 3-5 times more than this, in that it’s not strictly measuring the power generated from your wheel. But that does not mean that its wattage readout is not both fairly accurate and useful. It is.

The power readout uses the known resistance of the flywheel traveling through the fluid based on the speed of the flywheel. And because your tire is moving the flywheel, the unit tells you what the estimated resistance would be.

Unlike some of the crap wattage “estimators” designed for use outdoors, where they can’t take wind resistance into proper account and also give a loose estimate of power based on your body weight and altitude change, the Elite trainer doesn’t have to guess at wind or elevation… So it’s accurate to + or – @2% (but that accuracy is fairly consistent, meaning you’re not going to have a 4% swing one day to the next).

What I like is that regardless of the on spot accuracy, the information is repeatable and stable, meaning you can judge your effort from one day to the next accurately. And that’s important. While the split second “ego spikes” in power may not be balls accurate, your interval training will be accurate enough to be very useful.

[Let's say you’re working out at the gym, and all the weights are marked 1lb higher than they actually are. That’s not a big deal because your gains are still gains. The problem would be if you went in one day and the weights were a pound low and went back the next and they were 3 pounds high, or vice versa… In that case, you couldn’t be sure if you were gaining or losing ground… As long as the difference is small AND consistent, you can still accurately track and use the information you get and the gains will be accurate.]


At $499.oo suggested retail (and “deals” to be found available) this is a relatively economical machine that provides good, repeatable training data. While it doesn’t hook to a PC and download it’s “stuff”, the beauty is that it doesn’t need to be hooked to a PC with several sensors (or even a single wire…) to provide usable data…

Chances are that if you’re reading Pez, you’re a fairly serious roadie anyway and I would bet dollars to doughnuts you already have a heart monitor with 10 gazillion functions (999.999 gazillion of which you might rarely use) so this is a well made, simple, next step that should find its way onto more than a few Christmas lists for people that can’t or don’t need to invest in the cream of the crop CycloPC’s…

But then why wait for Santa… Chances are you’re not standing in sunny, 85 degree weather, taking pictures of a trainer like I am. If you’re in the market, why wait…

Have Fun!

Charles Manantan

Where To Get One
WiredBike.com
ProBikeOutlet.com




Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limits that may limit their use.

Send your comments to: manager@pezcyclingnews.com

 

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