Italian manufacturer Elite have poured a lot of effort and detail into their flagship Elite Realpower VR Trainer, and it shows. The trainer doesnt come cheap, but in return for your investment you’ll get a whole load of interesting and useful features on a quality unit. The Elite Realpower VR Trainer employs design innovations which make the whole training experience much more realistic. These include the unique Ritmo footpads – floor contacts on the underside of the frame which are specifically designed to move the whole trainer in-motion.
The Elite Realpower VR Trainer also uses ElastoGel, a special polymer applied to the resistance unit of the system designed to reduce noise levels, improve tyre grip and reduce wear. Another big pro must be the software and programmable race course simulators which make variation of training and performance analysis a doddle. Once you’ve set up your bike and plugged the unit into your PC, you can race a course in virtual reality. As the hills approach on screen, the trainer will respond by increasing the resistance – its about as realistic as training can get.
Features of the Elite Realpower VR Trainer
- Unique magnetic powder resistance unit which can simulate up to 20% of gradient
- Ritmo feet – specially-designed footpads which move and bounce like a suspension system to give a more real feeling when the bike is moving
- Extra large 45mm roller and resistance unit with ElastoGel – designed to reduce noise, increase grip and reduce wear on your tyre
- Strong, stable and supportive four-legged frame
- Fast-fixing adjustable mechanism and front wheel riser block
- Conconi Test software for full performance analysis
- DVD course simulators included
- Frame is maintenance-free and folds flat for easy storage
- Course creation features and internet racing bundle so you can compare your times with other Elite Realpower VR Trainer riders
The costly but advanced Elite RealPower Trainer takes a quality frame/resistance unit combo and throws an array of interactive features and software into the bargain. The system aims to give the rider a complete virtual reality cycling experience. The resistance unit when hooked up to the computer automatically adjusts resistance depending on where you are on the course simulator. Say you hit an incline on the DVD – the resistance unit will increase the load accordingly then let up when you crest the ridge and start going downhill again.
Its pretty nifty stuff. The onscreen display provides the rider with a wealth of information: time elapsed, distance covered, cadence, heart rate, wattage, percentage gradient. The software allows you to save data about one session so you can do the course again and race yourself in virtual reality. Alternatively you can compare your course times online with other Elite Realpower VR Trainer users and get the bragging rights over whos fastest.
Perhaps even cooler, you can download actual rides from a compatible GPS device as long as the route is mapped on a suitable application. The only slight drawback with this will be the lack of a screen view of course. Instead of a rolling vista of mountains or meadows shooting past, you’ll just get graphs and readouts of performance data, not quite so involving. Other minor criticisms levelled at the Elite Realpower VR Trainer have included the bulky handlebar-mounted console and that the plastic feet can tend to slip slightly on harder floor surfaces.
In terms of rider experience, interactive features and just plain fun, the Elite Realpower VR Trainer must rank highly in the world of high-end training systems. Of course you will be paying for the privilege and the more pragmatic buyer might want to compare the Elite Realpower VR Trainer to its closest rivals before committing. That said, the attention to detail and sheer versatility of unit and software make this trainer a force to be reckoned with.