Elite Direto X - is this right?

I have been using an older Cyclops Magnus that works, but is not reliable, buggy, and very painful to calibrate. I’ve miscalibrated more than once with negative impacts on my training.

I wanted something smooth, accurate, easy to calibrate, and that I could mount my MTB on… Enter the Elite Direto X. I was very excited to unbox a new Elite Direto X this morning, and after setting it up and pairing it up I played with the settings on a little bit of Colleseum, then did a spin down and launched into a ramp test.

The ramp test was terrible, the Direto was constantly oscillating above and below the target power no matter how smoothly I pedaled. The higher the resistance got, the bigger the oscillations. I punched out early and didn’t complete the test because I couldn’t imagine I’d get a good FTP measurement doing 4 second microbursts. I was in the small ring and in the middle of the cassette, as that is where I usually train to maximize the responsiveness of my previous trainer.

Here is the test: https://www.trainerroad.com/app/career/adh007/rides/77430727-ramp-test

I figured I’d check in here to see if this is something others have experienced with a direto x during a ramp test, or something boneheaded I’m doing before I start chasing tech support and/or start the return process. Thanks in advance.

I have the same trainer as well as a Tacx Flux. I find the Elite fluctuates significantly more than the Tacx unless I am pedalling in circles and this is not something I have been able to remedy.
Am keen to get the input of more technically experienced users myself because I have found the Elite to be a better (for accurate power) trainer than the Tacx overall.

Without potentially saying something that could be taken as slander, I’ll state some facts…

  • I bought Elite’s top end trainer (the drivo) a while back.
  • I used it three times, found similar problems to the ones you’ve mentioned and returned it.
  • If you search elite’s own forum you will find how common the issues are, and what their approach to fixing them is.

I have a Direto (not the X) and yes, the it fluctuates a fair amount when in Erg mode. I can regularly “override” the prescribed wattage for a given workout. You do have to stay on top of your cadence / effort in Erg mode more than other smart trainers.

That said, it doesn’t really bother me much. I have come to look at it as a good blend between Resistance and Erg mode.

one other note - Elite trianers tend to have “floors” and “ceilings” for wattage for certain gears. I would recommend using your big chainring / middle cog for an Erg test on an Elite trainer.

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I get that some variation is to be expected, but for my use, it’s definitely not going to be acceptable for a $900 smart trainer to be given a target of 312 watts and then swing from 255 to 365 every 4 seconds, even if my pedal stroke is terrible. I’m going to give Elite a chance, but if ‘pedal smoother’ is the solution, its heading back for a return.

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Yeah, that is a pretty extreme variance. Have you tried to update the firmware?

That was the first thing I did when I set it up. Since the original post, I downloaded the Elite software, re-calibrated with that, bumped up the smoothing (from 2 to 5) then tried another shot at ramp test. The increased smoothing seemed to cause more lag, but the huge swings were still there. You can feel the resistance ramping up, overshooting the target, releasing, going too low, then repeating. Definitely not cool. Seems to work ok-ish in level mode, but that just makes it a mag trainer with a nice built-in power meter.

I’m on the older Direto, but this has basically been my experience on that. Fine for steady state intervals over 2 min. Takes too long to settle in for satisfactory experience below that – e.g. your ramp test. OTOH the spin downs seem never to wander much at all, so I rarely do em.

I’ve found that I’d you ramp up your spin / power in the 2-3 secs before the interval begins, the Direto will settle in to the prescribed power pretty quickly, if not immediately.

Whatever works. I did that just because of Coach Chad’s instructions, but it seemed to make the fluctuation worse in my case. I think it was DaveWh who suggested coming into the interval at lower cadence and not raising it until you start to feel the resistance and then raise it smoothly through that. I tried that and it’s better. It still lags behind the target, but it doesn’t wobble so much when it gets there. I’m just n=1 though and never been on another smart trainer.

Here’s my most recent ramp test on the Direto. The oscillations are a lot smaller that what you have.

I haven’t updated the firmware on my Direto for probably 2 years. It’s possible they changed the calibration to make their trainers more responsive to step-changes in power. One of the results would be oscillations like you see.

If mine looked like that I would be perfectly happy with the trainer. I’m assuming you can’t feel those.

No - I can’t feel those small fluctuations. I can trigger bigger fluctuations however if I “chase the power target”. I just focus on a steady cadence and things are good.

Yeah, my fluctuations are similar to Dave’s…nothing anywhere near as dramatic as what you are describing. I’d try and contact the US importer for Elite (Todson? I forget…)

Same experience with the Direto X, those oscillations destroy me at suprathreshold. Compared to my previously owned Flux S pretty brutal (but on the other hand the direto ramp is true and tracks my pm very well whereas the flux severely underreported >FTP power, the error growing with power output.)

One thing I found did remedy the issue of oscillations a fair bit was using the small ring and big coq, thanks to a tip from @dcrainmaker .

Hi guys. I have the same feelings with ERG. I’m new owner of Direto X, so didn’t have time to check resistance mode yet.

What about resistsnce mode?
Is it the same?

Something isn’t correct with that trainer! :smiley: If you haven’t updated firmware you should definitely try that.

I use a Direto (not X). During a ramp test there are power flucuations. Never more than about +/-20W.

According to the dedicated application to update the firmware my trainer is up to date.

I will check ramp test today or tomorrow and let you know :ok_hand:

Please do give us an update, I’d be curious to know. 100 Watt swings during a ramp test like @adh007 experienced is definitely not correct.

My Direto was screwed up until Direto support got my firmware correct…but the signature was different. Power would just drop out every so often. So the Direto line does have a legacy of goofy firmware. I picked up mine for $600, though, so I was willing to accept some setup issues for the price. 100W swings in a ramp test is unacceptable for any trainer that calls itself ‘smart’ though!

I have one of the original Diretos as well as a Stages power meter. Here’s my experience.

A) I can’t use power match because there’s too much fluctuation. Maybe that’s because the Stages is single leg only and takes longer to estimate power.
B) I use ERG mode most of the time and it work OK but it’s not super great.
C) I turn off Elite’s smoothing as it seems to get in the way, but I do display smoothing - eg 3 second power on my Garmin
D) There seems to be a sweetspot of cassette and chainring position when doing workouts. I can’t use the big ring (53) for anything less than say about 100-150w as the Direto power won’t go that low reliably at my usual cadence of 90-100.
E) I usually run ERG mode in a small chainring (39) and mid way up the cassette.
F) ERG mode is a pain to use for short intervals and sprints. I can take about 10-12 secs at times to get up to the interval power. But I can ‘cheat the system’ a little by ramping up power just prior to the interval starting then backing off a little once the interval is underway
G) Power is pretty good. It’s within a few watts of my Stages if both are calibrated. The Direto needs a good solid 10 min warm up before calibrating. Thereafter it’s reliable for 2-3 weeks without another calibration.
H) It’s a fairly quiet unit which is nice. My fans are noisier than the unit.

Also note, some other brands will smooth the power output (e.g. Kickr’s) but it’s not real, it just looks that way.

I really feel it’s just a mid range trainer. One day I’ll upgrade to a higher end trainer, but for now it’s ok.