Although it wasn’t a bicycle, more people were staring it than Sagan’s road bike two corners away. Actually, it was in hot competition with girls dressed in latex next to a Lamborghini promoting dietary supplements. Not bad for a piece of furniture, right?
Of course, the Fuoripista is a lot more than an unassuming piece of room furnishing. Elite’s latest smart trainer is a vision of the future, the very best in Italian design, at home even in the most elegant of living spaces. Somewhat surprisingly it’s commercially available: the cost is €14,000, so it’s less expensive a Steinway piano!
The legs and the flywheel are made of glass, while the frame of the luxury trainer – the body of the “horse” – is made of surface-treated wood that is resistant to sweat and isotonic drinks. Since the Fuoripista is a full-featured smart trainer, you can adjust its saddle as well as the height and angle of the handlebar in infinitely small increments. Unlike most trainers, it comes in many “frame” sizes, all the way from S to XL!
The technical features should be familiar to those who are familiar with the Elite “turbo” trainers on the market. The Fuoripista’s resistance range is somewhere between the Drivo and Direto, and the measurement accuracy is +/- 2.5%. Thanks to the 20 kg glass flywheel, the pedaling dynamics are quite natural. An emergency stop button is positioned in the center console to halt the flywheel: a crucial feature in case something goes wrong during the training or perhaps our beloved pets of ours finds itself in a dangerous situation… Fuoripista’s unique feature is the whisper-quiet best drive, so its operation is completely quiet, our lavish home trainer exercise will not disturb anyone sleeping or studying in the adjacent room.
The retro style control levers on the wooden frame are reminiscent of the down-tube shifters from a bygone era, and they offer several functions depending on the setting. First, they can simulate gear shifting, allowing the rider to select front chainwheel and rear cog gear combinations in VR (virtual reality) mode. If the Fuoripista is used as an ergometer, the levers can reduce or increase the power, and in basic operation the rider can manually alter the resistance.
Trainer interactivity is indispensable in the 21st century and this “rocking horse” is no Luddite! It is guaranteed to satisfy even the most tech-savvy user in every respect. It supports ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart communication protocols, the chrome-plated tablet console adding class and technical functionality of the Fuoripista! So in addition to the software developed by the Italian brand, the machine is a fully-fledged smart trainer offering multitude of possibilities with various training platforms, although we doubt if Zwift actually developed a model of the “woodhorse” into virtual reality! The elegant appearance entails cable-free operation all around the machine, hence the Fuoripista is powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery, which offers approximately 10 hours of use for one full charge.
For those who are not interesting in decorating the house with their home trainer, but still want a very serious model for the winter months, the direct drive Elite Drivo II is a choice not to be overlooked. This second generation direct-drive smart trainer offers the most advanced functions and technologies, providing +/- 0.5% accuracy in power measurement, putting the Drivo II in the same category as the top-tier professional trainers on the market. It is interesting to note that Elite choose to employ an optical sensor to measure torque, as opposed to the strain gauges commonly found in bike-mounted power meters.
The resistance of the Elite Drivo II is massive: 2300 watts at 40 km/h, and a whooping 3600 watts at 60 km/h, making it ideal for practicing a track sprints. The high level of resistance also comes in handy in VR mode as it allows the rider to simulate 24% incline: hence you are able to ride – or more like suffer – the feared Muro di Sormano in complete reality. Another great feature of the trainer is its quick resistance change: the Elite Drivo II is three times faster than its predecessor, allowing perfect simulation of actual terrain conditions in VR mode. Naturally it is compatible with ANT + and Bluetooth communication protocols, and supports most current operating systems including Windows, Android and iOS devices. As an interactive trainer, it is fully compatible with the popular simulation platforms like Zwift, TrainerRoad or Sufferfest. The customer also gets a 36 month Elite MY E-Training access after the purchase. The factory app adds another rarely seen feature: the Drivo II can examine the efficiency of the pedal action by capturing power data 24 times per revolution, followed by an analysis of the information and processing a visual representation in form of graphs to facilitate training development. This makes the Drivo II the most effective training tool for the competitive cyclist on the market.
Another novelty is the addition of a more stable base support, increasing its stability and allowing more power delivery. The Elite Drivo II is compatible with quick release wheels as well as 142×12 standard rear thru-axles.
The newly introduced direct drive Elite Direto offers most of Drivo’s functionality at a lower cost. In a recent group review of smart trainers by the most well-known international cycling publications, the Direto received the best value-for-money rating. The sacrifices come in form of accuracy and resistance level: power measurement is guaranteed to +/- 2% accuracy and the Direto produces “only” 1400 Watts at 40 km/h. Mind you, this is no small feat from a home trainer: it allows simulation of a 14% uphill slope in virtual reality! Concerning connectivity and compatibility, the features are the same as its top-of-the-range sibling. The Elite My E-Training software is free of charge for a one year period after the purchase.
Elite now offers an interactive version of its most popular roller model. The new Nero offers compatibility with many different types of bicycles – concerning wheelbase, wheel size, etc. – no less than 11 different adjustment positions are available. It’s also the first roller to feature 2 flywheels which provides a fluid and natural riding experience. Drive power are also measured by these flywheels, and they are controlled via an electronic magnetic brake. The Nero “interactive” can simulate up to a 7% elevation on a virtual road. The Nero – just like the direct-drive trainer models – may be paired with ANT+ and Bluetooth devices, making it fully compatible with the most popular training programs like Zwift.
Elite is not only known for its professional trainer lineup, but also for water bottles and cages. These can be found in the stable for all cyclist worldwide, and have been used for decades by professional teams and greatest stars in cycling. To provide just one example, the legendary Elite Ciussi offers classic looks providing the perfect bottle cage setup for the early spring races through Italy, France and Belgium. The brand also offers two new carbon models which should please weight-conscious performance-oriented riders.
From these novelties, the Vico Carbon weighs a mere 23 grams, but still manages to keeps the bottle firmly in place. The Vico will be used by many professional teams, and as added bonus, it’ll be available in many colors, perfectly complementing the looks of today’s top aero road bikes.
The Prism Carbon is an ideal cage for smaller frame sizes, since it is designed to allow entry and removal of the bottle to the side as well as the top.
After the cages it’s time to look at the “bidons”! The entire World Tour peloton is supplied two bottle manufacturers, one of them being Elite. The Italians have made some important innovation this year by presenting the world’s lightest bottle, saving a whooping 40 grams from the bike’s weight for just over one dollar! The raw material is the same as on previous “bidons”, but tanks to a new injection mold process, wall thickness is greatly reduced. The bottom of the bottle and the threaded portion exposed to wear remain unchanged, the rest are considerably thinner. This new Elite model is called Fly, and it’ll be available in 550 and 750 ml versions.
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For hot summer days or winter training the manufacturer recommends the Ice Fly version, which – according to Elite – can maintain the drink’s temperature up to 2.5 hours.