This article was produced in association with Elite
Indoors or outdoors? It’s a choice that most cyclists will puzzle over throughout the year. To head into nature and face the elements, or to work through some structured efforts or races on the turbo trainer at home? There was a time when the options for indoor training were so minimal that heading outside was quite clearly the better option; turbo trainers weren’t smooth and they didn’t have the technological advancements to replicate the feeling of really riding a bike. However, that was then.
In the modern era, indoor training has been revolutionised, and Elite is a brand that has been at the forefront of this change. The Italian company has been creating innovative and groundbreaking products for the past four decades, setting an example with some of the most cutting-edge technologies for riding indoors. Elite doesn’t simply offer a turbo trainer to tick the box for its customers when it comes to a home training set-up, the Veneto-based brand has created an entire Elite Ecosystem, making indoor training comfortable, interactive and feel as similar to riding out on the road as possible.
The star product in Elite’s Ecosystem is, naturally, the Justo turbo trainer. Sitting at the very top of the pile of Elite’s varied range of indoor trainers, the Justo is the most premium smart trainer that the brand offers. It’s fair to say that Elite have considered everything when it comes to the design of the Justo trainer: it can replicate gradients up to 24 per cent and power is measured within an accuracy of one per cent due to the trainer’s new, integrated power meter.
It’s not just about the numbers, though, Elite is acutely aware of the importance of ride feel when riding indoors, which is why the Justo is self-calibrating and includes ‘Flex Feet’, which adapt to each individual’s pedalling style. This means that the pressure and natural movement of the bike outdoors is realistically replicated when indoors, the biomechanics of a rider’s muscles are respected and fatigue is reduced. Add in the fact that the Justo is Elite’s quietest ever smart trainer due to its new flywheel, and has two Bluetooth channels to connect multiple devices at once, and this is a turbo trainer that ticks all of the boxes.
But while the Justo goes a long way to keeping riding indoors realistic, this entire experience can be heightened with Elite’s Rizer simulator, which has the ability to add real-time inclines and declines when riding indoors. This means that when the gradient kicks up, the bike goes up too, just like grinding up a steep climb outdoors. The Rizer features a newly patented steering system which helps with pedalling fluidity and the feel of the handlebars when going uphill – it’s all about creating that same cycling experience as outdoors. The Rizer can even add declines as low as 10 per cent which means every muscle gets a workout – mastering varying terrain can be done from the comfort of a living room.
Another important piece of the Elite Ecosystem package is the Aria, a smart fan which features Elite’s smart air flow technology. One of the most important elements of riding indoors is keeping cool – a rider’s sweat rate will be much higher without the wind chill that you get on descents in the great outdoors. In fact, sometimes riders can lose two to three per cent of their body weight through excessive sweating, which can mean dehydration and negative long term effects. Consuming plenty of fluids goes a long way to mitigate these risks, but ensuring that there’s a steady airflow cooling down key muscles when training indoors is also of paramount importance.
Elite’s Aria smart fan automatically adjusts based on the intensity of a rider’s workout, compatible with sensors such as speed, power, heart rate and body temperature to ensure the Aria is giving the exact amount of ventilation needed. It also has ten adjustable positions to allow it to be perfectly angled to hit the right places on each individual’s shape, as well as active carbon filters which remove contaminants from the air through an absorption process. A faux leather handle makes it easy to move around, so the Elite Ecosystem is easy to set up and use whenever it’s time to complete a session.
An Elite training mat and the Elite ‘Posa’ (a stand to hold a laptop or tablet while training) are the final elements to a complete Ecosystem – one that could well have you questioning if you even want to ride outdoors again. The beauty of Elite’s advancements in indoor riding means that riders have a far better option when it comes to completing a training session. Choosing to stay inside no longer has to mean a boring, uncomfortable and sweaty couple of hours. With the Elite Ecosystem it can feel impressively close to real life riding while keeping riders cool and entertained, as well as allowing riders to complete training with unparalleled accuracy.