Elite Direto XR Smart Trainer: An In-Depth Review

The Elite Direto XR continues the lineage of the Direto trainer brand, but significantly ramps up the capabilities of the trainer. For example, it’ll now replicate grades of 24%. But in doing so, this more powerful Direto kills off the Drivo series trainers from Elite, which were Elite’s prior top-dog trainers. Of course, that added power comes at a slight increase in price – now $949, but it now includes the cassette pre-installed, saving you money there.

In addition to the included 11-speed cassette and ramped up internals, the unit also  increases the flywheel weight as well – from 4.2kg to 5.1kg. As usual, it comes with a front wheel block. Oh – and they’ve taken a page from Wahoo’s playbook this year: The Direto XR is shipping as of today. Depending on which region you’re in, it’s either already available to order and ship today, or it’s on a boat.

I’ve been using a media loaner Direto XR for a few weeks now on a number of workouts, including Zwift and TrainerRoad, putting it to the test to see how it handles everything from shorter rides to longer ones – including climbing Mont Ventoux in Zwift. Once I’m done with it, I’ll get it packaged up and back to Elite. Until then, whack that play button below to get the whole skinny in one tidy video:

If you need to move it around, it’s got a handle atop it, so it’s pretty simple that way:


Also, it’s not that heavy. The entire unit only weighs 16.2kg.

On the underside of the legs are two feet, in case your floor is wobbly. I found that I needed to extend them slightly, just so the trainer actually rests on them, versus the larger legs. That made it nice and stable:



And for everything else, you can continue swiping down through piles and piles of text and photos. Just the way I roll!

What's New:


Before we dive into all the usual review stuff, let’s just do a super quick recap of what’s changed between the Elite Direto X, and the newer Direto XR. Also, we’ll recap some general spec stuff too:

– Cassette now included (11-speed Shimano/SRAM compatible)
– Increased grade simulation from 18% to 24%
– Increased flywheel from 4.2kg/9.2lbs to 5.1kg/11.2lbs
– New ERG mode algorithm with increased responsiveness/stability
– Trainer is now fully assembled out of box (no attaching legs or cassette anymore)
– Now includes 1-month Zwift coupon

Update July 31st, 2020: There was a mistake in the original flywheel specs/sheets from Elite, which didn’t actually include the weight of the discs. They’re updating their specs now to conform to how it’s usually spec’d. So in reality it’s 5.1kg (not 4.5kg as originally announced), thus making it 21.5% higher than the Direto X.

Elite says this makes a 26% larger inertia amount:
Direto X Moment of Inertia = 15800 kgxmm2
Direto XR Moment of Inertia = 19930 kgxmm2
Increase Moment of Inertia 26%

In any case, that’s not a hugely long list of new things, but some of the items in it are big ticket ones – notably the inclusion of a cassette, but also the increased grade simulation. Which, in turn gets us to the quick overall specs:

– Dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart support, including FE-C and FTMS, plus power/speed/cadence broadcasting
– Axle Compatibility: Race 130x5mm, MTB 135x5mm, 142x12mm (with adapter for 135×10-12mm & 148x12mm)
– Cassette compatibility of 8 through 12 speed cassettes (adapters required for XD/XDR/NX/Campy)
– Max 24% incline
– Max 2,300w supported resistance (at 40KPH), 1,100w @ 20KPH
– Integrated Power Meter (OTS), with accuracy claim of +/- 1.5%
– Requires power cable/be plugged in

Got all that? Good. Let’s get this puppy unboxed.


Finally, an Elite unboxing that’s flawless. While the Suito was pretty darn close last year to the perfect trainer unboxing, this one just seems a tiny bit more polished somehow. Though, the box is bigger (because, the Direto XR is bigger). So much so that it actually hit my overhead camera rig I use for smaller watch unboxings in my video. I ended up having to move it out of the way. No worries, not a normal person problem.

While the box tells you to point it upwards, it’s actually going to slide out from the side once you remove the top, which, works exceedingly well. Sorry if I get excited about these things – but I’ve unboxed a lot of trainers over the years, and manufacturers come up with some pretty “special” ways of getting trainers out of boxes. None of which are usually good. This was good.

In any case, with all the things on the table you’ve got a pile of freebie codes for various apps, including a free 30-day card for Zwift, as well as some paper manuals you’ll never read.

There’s also the axle adapters for thru-axle and standard quick release, plus two spacers in the event you need to swap out the cassette.

And down below there’s the quick release skewer, and various freebies.

Also included is a 30-day trial on Zwift, and the manual you won’t read:

There’s a power cord, which measures 2.5 meters:

Atop that there’s the front wheel block, which helps keep your front wheel straight, as well as makes the rest of the bike even in height.

Oh, and yeah, there’s the trainer:

As noted, it has the cassette on it, and it also has all the legs pre-connected. So nothing further to install or dork with. Just throw it at the ground and plug it in: Done.

The Basics

Elite has taken the Suito ‘pull it out of the box and done’ concept from last year, and applied it to the XR. No cassette to install, no legs to assemble, and hopefully no foam to clean-up. Just remove the trainer, plug it in and you’re done.

After removing all the plastic stuffs, you’ve got the trainer ready to go, which takes precisely three steps:

A) Unfold legs
B) Put correct axle adapters on sides, add skewer
C) Plug it in

And I guess, if you count adding your bike atop it – then you need to do that too.

Oh, that said, here’s a before/after of the folding legs, in case you do need to fold it up and put it away somewhere:

And as for the power cord, it’s got a small trip prevention sorta thing there you’ll twist it through. In theory this keeps it from breaking the trainer power port if you trip over it and rip it out. In reality though I think it’ll just snap the power cord in half. This is the one area I’d prefer Elite adopt what Wahoo has done with a small flexible ‘tail’ plug, that will easily detach if tripped over.

Oh, and here’s the power adapter side going into the wall:

On the non-sexy side of the trainer there’s the status lights. These show the state of your trainer. Specifically whether or not it’s powered/plugged in, followed by whether or not there’s an ANT+ device, and/or then a Bluetooth Smart device controlling it.

So finally, with your bike on it, don’t forget to stick that front wheel block up there:

Or, you can throw that out the window and put an Elite Sterzo down there instead:

And now, we start pedaling.

Read the full review here.


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