Trainer Reviews

Elite Direto XR Hands-On Review

Building on the success of the previous DIRETO smart bike trainers, Elite continues to make small tweaks to make this trainer more accurate, quieter, and more powerful.

The Direto XR now supports up to 2300 watts and can measure power within +/- 1.5% accuracy thanks to that integrated OTS power meter, the Direto is known for.

Without a doubt, from the get-go, the DIRETO was one of Elite’s most successful trainers. It was priced right and was the first to successfully enter the mid-range trainer line up. So Elite is making this trainer their top tier, meaning, we might not see any new updates to the Elite Drivo, Elite’s high-end smart trainer.

While I covered everything in the video above, I will discuss the power accuracy and my final thoughts on this trainer. However, if you want to know more about the DIRETO XR and even listen to how loud or quiet the trainer is, then I encourage you to watch my video review.

DIRETO XR KEY SPECS

  • Price: $949 USD.
  • Power measurement accuracy: +/- 1.5%.
  • Maximum power output: 2,300 watts (at 40KPH), 1,100w at 20KPH.
  • Integrated dual ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS standards.
  • Measures power, speed, and cadence.
  • Simulates 24% climbing grade.
  • 11.2 lb (5.1kg) flywheel.
  • Cassette compatibility 9-12 speed. (Adapters required for XD/XDR/NX/Campy).
  • Axle Compatibility QR 130x5mm, 135x5mm Thru-axle compatible for bikes with 142 or 148mm hubs. An adapter is available for Boost 148×12 mm rear hubs.
  • Compatible with long cage derailleur.
  • Comes fully assembled with included 11-speed Shimano cassette.

POWER ACCURACY

  • The Direto measures power accurately based on my comparisons against two different power meters – Assioma Duo pedals and Power2Max crank-based power meter.
  • In ERG mode, it responded to changes in intervals within 3 seconds.
  • Avoid using a very big gear in ERG mode. You might run into wattage floor issues due to its mechanical limitations depending on your gear selection.

The DIRETO has been consistent in measuring power and measuring it accurately since the original DIRETO. The XR is no different. Power was accurate, and within range in all my testing.

The first ride was just a regular ride on Zwift in sim mode. I used my Assioma Duo pedals along with my Power2Max powermeter. The data looked really good and overall the Direto XR was spot on with my power meter. There is really nothing to point out. Everything just looks beautiful and charts like this make me happy.

Added a sprint towards the end to see how it behaves and again, it looked really good. Nothing to pick on here.

Switching over to ERG mode, the Direto XR worked well to keep me at my target watts for a midrange trainer. Not as smooth as others as you will see in the power distribution data below. But before we get into that kind of detail, let’s take a look at my 3×10 minute workout.

The first section of this workout has 3×20 second intervals to see how quickly the trainer responds to these quick changes. Overall, the Direto XR made adjustments fairly quickly and I was up from 100 to 300+ watts within 3 seconds. These intervals were all done using the small chainring.

Moving on to the longer sets. This is where I like to see how the trainer maintains ERG mode with different gearing combinations and if there are any changes in power measurements.

The DIRETO XR behaves best in smaller gears and falls short when going to a bigger gear. I personally don’t like riding trainers in the small chainring, it doesn’t feel natural to me and I usually ride in the big chainring. 

In the first 10-minutes, the trainer worked as expected. It maintained power and power measurement was very close to both of the power meters I have on my bike.

First 10-min Interval. Gear used: 39/19.

In the second 10 minute interval, I switched to the big chainring and a middle cog. Overall, the Direto continued to work well. However, I started to see some separation in power. It wasn’t big and it could be attributed to many different things but overall, it worked well and was within range. The average for the interval was also spot on and the DIRETO didn’t have any problem keeping me at my target watt for the interval.

Second 10-min inteval. Gear used: 53/17.

Going to a much bigger gear, This is where you probably shouldn’t be riding anyway. But that’s what I do here, I try to find the limitations on these trainers. 

With this gear (53/13), the Direto could not bring me down to my target watts of 234 watts. It kept me around 250 with a cadence of around 77-80 rpm. And I also noticed the power measurement was a little off. The Direto was measuring about 3.95% higher in this gear than the Assioma pedals.

Gear 53/13

So if you are like me, and like to ride in the big chainring, as long as you keep it somewhere in the middle cog, the DIRETO XR should work just fine.

ERG MODE AND POWER DISTRIBUTION

Overall, the DIRETO XR worked well in ERG mode. I also like to look at power distribution to get a good picture of how a trainer responds in ERG mode. For example, if the power target was 235 watts I look to see how much time I spent +/-10 watts of my target. This is usually where more money gets you better results.

In the table below, using the small ring, this is when smart trainers usually do their best to keep you within range. During the 10-minutes interval, the DIRETO XR kept me within +/- 10 watts from my target 77.4% of the time or 7:32min out of the 10 minutes. Only 56sec above my target and 1:16 sec I spent under my target zone. This very similar to the previous Direto X and isn’t as good as higher-end trainers. I usually see numbers in the 80%-90% range.

When going to a bigger gear, the DIRETO XR kept me within +/-10 watts of my target 55.8% of the 10min interval. That’s 5:32min. Over 21% of the time spent above my range and over 23% or 2:16min under my range. This is a little below what I like to see but not the end of the world to me. If you want something smoother, then spending a few hundred dollars more would make a difference.

During the 3rd interval, the DIRETO XR practically failed due to its mechanical limitation to keep me at 234 watts.

CADENCE

The DIRETO XR broadcasts cadence over Bluetooth FTMS and ANT+ FE-C. It tries to estimate it using a combination of power and flywheel speed. Most smart trainers use a similar method to calculate cadence. Some do it better than others.

Here is the cadence data from my sim ride. Overall it was ok. Some occasional drops which is expected when trying to calculate cadence instead of measuring it with an actual sensor.

AVAILABILITY

The Direto XR is available for $950 and can be ordered today from CleverTraining, Amazon, and most online stores that usually sell trainers.

$949.99
in stock
5 new from $949.99
as of September 28, 2020 4:58 pm
Amazon.com

FINAL THOUGHTS

Elite made tiny tweaks and improvements to the DIRETO year over year making the Direto XR the best DIRETO. This trainer simply works and ticks all the boxes for a mid-range trainer. It’s quiet, good road feel, worked well in ERG mode and measured power accurately. The floor wattage limitation can be an issue for some riders particularly lighter riders or if you enjoy riding in a really big gear. The DIRETO XR comes assembled with an 11-speed cassette and ready to ride out of the box. If you are looking for a new trainer or looking for an upgrade from a wheel-on trainer, the DIRETO XR is a great option that will serve you for many years.

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