Smart trainers have become the must-have accessory for many of us in 2020. If you don’t have one already, you may be looking – and now there’s another one to add to the list of potential options. Expanding on their Direto line, the new Elite Direto XR has the best specs yet.
A quick primer on direct drive trainers – unlike other trainers that spin the rear tire on a roller, these trainers replace the rear wheel entirely. That gives you a more realistic ride feel thanks to the lack of tire slippage which also tends to make them quieter. You’re also clamping the frame just like you would when you install a wheel, rather than squeezing the outside of the frame between metal cups on the quick release. Direct drive trainers are usually more expensive than their wheel-on counterparts, but once you’ve ridden one you’ll never want to go back.
Building on the Direto X, the new XR model bulks up the specs for even better performance. Somehow, Elite was able to get more accuracy out of their Optical Torque Sensor integrated power meter, which is now capable of +/- 1.5% accuracy – a 0.5% increase over the original Direto. Elite claims this is now “one of the most accurate commercially available home trainers.”
Depending on your personal needs, the improvements in gradient simulation and quietness may be even more exciting. While the previous model topped out at replicating a 19% grade, the new XR goes all the way up to 24%!
The trainer also claims to be quieter than before which is great news for anyone trying to sneak in a workout while the rest of the family is asleep.
When in storage, the outer legs fold in to make it a bit more compact. But then those legs provide a wide stance when in use for plenty of stability. Note that Elite specifically calls out the shape of the trainer body to be compatible with 12 speed long cage derailleurs – that’s key if you’re planning to ride a modern mountain bike on your trainer. Which is totally possible thanks to the wide compatibility of both quick release and thru axle hubs including Boost 148 (no Super Boost though).
The trainers ship with a Shimano 11 speed cassette and freehub body, but it’s compatible with most other cassettes. The necessary freehubs for Campagnolo, Shimano Micro Spline, and SRAM XD/XDR are available separately.
Built with ANT+, FEC, and Bluetooth connectivity, the trainer is compatible with most apps, training software, computer models, and devices. There’s no need for an additional cadence sensor though, as the trainer calculates that on its own. To get you started, the trainer includes a free 12 month subscription to Elite’s My E-Training program, and a one month Zwift trial.
Available in September, the trainer will sell for $949.99.