Elite Tuo Interactive Trainer
Long term test by Chris Galley
Long term test by Chris Galley
I’ve owned the same turbo trainer since I met Noah in the harbour one day. He told me he was selling his turbo trainer as he didn’t have any space for it in his new boat. I took it off his hands and smugly carried it home to my pain cave where it’s been sat ever since. A huge piece of analogue iron with steel roller and a cable attached to a gearing mechanism to provide a little change in resistance. The future I thought to myself and to be honest, back then, it probably was. It has done me proud over the years but along came my Editor one day recently, lugging a heavy box from Elite Cycling. Time for an upgrade he told me and indoor cycling life has not been the same since!
Elite Cycling manufacture a spectrum of indoor cycling products and Tuo is their Adriano Designed indoor home trainer. It’s priced between £400 and £500 depending on how hard you search for a supplier. Now it may not have the bells and whistles of one of their much more expensive trainers and you do have to use the wheel which means buying a turbo trainer tyre but don’t be fouled into thinking its cheap. Far from it. This is a classy product and punches well above it’s price tag.
These are just my first thoughts and I’ll take them one at a time.
Design – Out of the box Tuo is a delight to look at. Beech wood legs, robust and weighty to hold, beautiful brushed steel housing for the roller to sit in (which is the Adriano Designed area I suspect because it says so) and this solid construction will hold up for many years of hard work. It’s compact too so when you fold it up and put away it’s both easy to do so and won’t take up too much space in a cupboard or corner of a room. To my amazement there’s no cables. All the cycling magic is done by Italian witchcraft, more commonly known as Bluetooth and/or Ant+.
Putting it together – well I’ll be honest there was some shouting and cursing but then I’m not one for reading instructions. I really didn’t fancy reading the instruction manual anyway as it’s far too confusing and long winded. A much better idea is to watch the Elite Cycling video for Tuo. It’s a video which will stop you shouting and cursing and it’s much easier to understand. Top pro tip from me to you- obtain a 10mm socket and bar as the provided spanner is not going to help things. A few minutes after watching the video it was put together. In an ideal world It would be much easier if Elite Cycling designed this in a way which was simply ‘take out of the box and go….’
Once put together I couldn’t help but immediately attach my road bike. It will take a mountain bike, but you’ll need use the other guide slots and move the housing backwards to allow space for the larger wheel and tyres. There are a number of adapters to help you fit your size of tyre too. There’s also a range of micro adjustment and the wheel is clamped in place using their Fast Fixing Locking mechanism, which uses one chunky lever to clamp the system shut. The rear dial brings the mechanism closer to the tyre as you turn, and to get the very best from this unit you will need to calibrate it to get data bang on. Calibration is thankfully quite straight forward. Noise is a difficult concept to explain as it relates directly to where you position the unit.
My Tuo is in a garage and in this space it does echo so noise is rather pronounced. On carpet or vinyl flooring and with a quality training mat noise might be reduced. Elite Cycling do make some bold claims that the materials used in this trainer do reduce noise levels by up to 50% through the use of Elastogel in the roller. Compared to my previous indoor trainer this new unit is significantly quieter even in the garage. It’s a very stable unit and very strong, with Elite Cycling claiming it can withstand up to 1300Watts of power through the device. I can’t generate that much power, so I’ll never know but it’s good to know. The beech wood legs are as stated, to soak up vibration and the large anti-slip feet do a great job of keeping the unit in one place. This is no criticism of the unit, but my only gripe is with the very small Elite Cycling front tyre stand. This is not very stable on a foam mat due to it’s light construction, and does allow some alarming movement when climbing on and off the bike. A bigger or heavier stand would be advisable and I’ll be changing to my larger, multi angle stand for the next ride.
Elite Cycling also state Elastogel also delivers up to 20% less wear on a tyre which is good to know. I can’t really comment on this claim as yet but time will tell.
The Elite Tuo can be used as is, as an isolated simple trainer unit. There’s no need to attach to any devices, computers or accessories. Just get on a ride much like my old indoor trainer. However it’s won’t be as enjoyable as a powering through a workout and noting your training data, or smashing along your chosen route with all the sneaky resistance changes this device can provide. Elite Cycling state it’s capable of delivering up to 10% slope simulation and on the some of my recent sessions these slope changes can be well and truly felt.
This device connects easily to all operating systems and pretty much all of the web based games out there but this review isn’t going down that rabbit hole just yet. The Tuo’s ability to match terrain is as I said before, like witchcraft. It’s accurate and very clever. The Tuo unit sends your Power, Speed and Cadence information to the My E-Training software (with a nice touch of 12-month free subscription) and if you don’t to pay extra for one of those web based cycle gaming systems, then My E-Training is all you need. The only hick-up was attempting to connect my Garmin heart Rate chest strap. This did take some time and installation of Ant+ adapters through Google Play Store but eventually it connected to M E-Training software. I’m still trying to get it to connect to one of those web based cycling games but I’ll get there and discuss that in another review.
In summary then, these are early days but I’m already impressed with the Elite Tuo. It’s priced well, looks great and is solid. It’s uses clever technology to provide you with an outstanding level of realism during your indoor training session. As I said at the start of this review It’s certainly changed my indoor cycling experience for the better.