Trainer Reviews

Elite Tuo Smart Trainer Hands-On Review

 PROS

  • Power measurement exceeded specs
  • Light weight and compact
  • Good ride feel
  • Bluetooth FTMS and ANT+ FEC
  • Cadence measurement

 CONS

  • Difficult to assemble
  • Can be loud
  • Need frequent calibration for best accuracy
  • Tire slippage issues particularly when getting out of the saddle

The Tuo is the first wheel-on smart trainer we’ve seen in a while. The first wheel on smart trainer review I’ve done in a long time. It’s called wheel-on because unlike direct drive trainers, you keep the wheel on when you attach your bike to the trainer. A roller grips to the rear wheel and apply resistance. 

The Elite TUO is an interactive wheel-on smart trainer with a magnetic resistance system and connects wirelessly to your computer, phone, or tablet and automatically adjusts resistance to simulate a GPS course or workouts.

The TUO features a compact design with an aluminum resistance unit and legs made from beechwood and steel and retails for $580.

Similar to other reviews I’ve done, I encourage you to watch my video for setup instructions, noise, and everything else really. You can also watch it by clicking the play button on the top image. In this post, I will dig deeper into power accuracy.

KEY SPECS

  • PRICE: $580
  • DESIGN: Compact design with an aluminum resistance unit and legs made from beechwood and steel.
  • MAXIMUM SLOPE: The TUO can simulate gradients up to 10%.
  • ACCURACY:  +/-5%.
  • AXLE: 130 and 135mm quick release, 12x142mm, and 12x148mm included
  • CASSETTE COMPATIBILITY: You can keep your rear wheel on so no need to get a separate cassette.
  • CONNECTIONS: Bluetooth FTMS (power, speed, cadence). ANT+ FE-C (power, speed, cadence).
  • FLYWHEEL: unknown
  • CALIBRATION REQUIRED: Yes
  • METRICS: Transmits power, speed, and cadence.

POWER ACCURACY

  • The TUO measured power accurately and performed better than I expected when comparing power data against my Assioma Duo pedals.
  • In ERG mode, it took 4 to 5 seconds to adjust the resistance to match my target for the interval.
  • In ERG mode, the TUO struggled in a bigger gear. Best to keep it in smaller gears.

Before we get into data analysis, it’s important to make sure the trainer is setup correctly. Wheel-on trainers can be a little temperamental and lack consistency because there are too many variables that can affect power measurement.

Some Tips

  • Move the resistance unit forward by rotating the knob clockwise until it lightly touches the rear wheel. Then lock the resistance unit all the way.
  • Insure tire PSI is the same before every ride.
  • Calibrate often. Preferably every other ride or so.

During my tests in free-riding on Zwift, I found the Tuo to be extremely good and even exceeded my expectations and exceeded Elite’s own power accuracy claims. 

Ride from Tour de Zwift Stage 6

The above is a ride from the Tour de Zwift. The TUO matched almost perfectly when comparing against my Power2Max and Assioma pedals. Some separation in power here and there but nothing too bad or unexpected for a wheel-on trainer.

Here is a little section around the 45 minutes mark. Nothing too major but the TUO power measurement was a little lower for some reason. But then it settled back and aligned with my other power meters. But overall, the rest of the ride was almost spot on. Like this section above, you will find some discrepancies here and there but all within the +/-5% range.

ERG MODE

Moving onto ERG mode. This is where the TUO showed some of its weaknesses as a wheel-on trainer. So let’s start with my usual trainers test workout.

TUO ERG Mode (Zwift)

The above workout I usually do on TrainerRoad but I ran into issues that I will talk about below. So the image you see above was from a workout ride using Zwift.

From power measurement side of things, everything was good. I tested it using slow and fast cadence and changing gears going all the way to the 53/13. Everything looked good from power measurement side of things. So let’s dig into how the TUO performed in ERG mode.

20 seconds intervals

Let’s start with the 20 seconds intervals. These are quick and short intervals to test how fast trainers respond. It took the TUO about 5 seconds to go from around 120 watts to around 350 watts which isn’t bad for a mid-range trainer. It did miss the target for each one but that’s typical for such short intervals.

INTERVALTARGETACTUAL
1ST 20-sec313 watts303 watts
2nd 20-sec309 watts326 watts
3rd 20-sec329 watts340 watts

Moving onto the longer stuff. The below are seven minutes long intervals. The idea behind these longer intervals is to test how the trainer responds in low, medium, and bigger gears. Also, to see how good the trainer is in keeping me within my target.

TUO Spike power at the beginning of first interval

Let’s first start by talking about the elephant in the room. I am not sure what caused this spike in resistance at the beginning of the first 7-min interval. I am just going to attribute this to a fluke in Zwift because I didn’t see this same behavior in other intervals or in TrainerRoad.

The first interval was done in a small gear (39/19). The trainer kept me within my target for 6:02min out of the 7 minutes. Meaning, the TUO did a good job keeping me within my target zone. That’s in line with some of the best trainers out there. I did adjust for that fluke spike so it’s not included in my calculation.

Moving on to the second interval and going to a bigger gear, the TUO did a solid job again and kept me within my range for 5:04min of the time. That’s 72.6% which is very good for a midrange trainer. It’s normal to see that number go down as you switch to bigger gears and increase the flywheel speed. It becomes harder for the trainer to make quick adjustments to accommodate for changes in your cadence.

The third and final 7minutes were done in a big gear. The trainer did a decent job keeping me somewhat close but as you see, it reported a much lower average for the full interval and missed my target by about 9 watts. So it struggled a bit there. But using big gear isn’t recommended and most trainers will struggle at that gear combination.

But overall, the TUO measured my power accurately regardless of which gearing combination I selected which is a win.

Back to TrainerRoad. I attempted to do this same workout using TrainerRoad. It worked ok until the rest interval after the first 7-minute section. During this interval, I usually switch to a bigger gear to prepare for the second round of my testing.

However, something caused TrainerRoad to disconnect 20-30 seconds after going to the bigger gear. I had to go back to the Devices menu and repair the TUO. Again, 20-30 seconds later, it disconnected again and had to repair it. Then I decided to switch back to the small ring and had no issues. Going back to the big ring once I entered the interval at 235 watts, it worked fine until I entered the recovery interval and it disconnected again. This sounds like TrainerRoad was disconnected the trainer once it detected a floor wattage issue during these recovery sets. This is still unusual because that doesn’t happen with other smart trainers when using TrainerRoad. Either way, I didn’t experience this using Zwift so this sounds like a TrainerRoad issue to me.

CADENCE

TUO Cadence vs P2Max vs Assioma Duo

The TUO measures and broadcasts cadence so there is no need to have a separate cadence sensor. The accuracy of that is good enough for probably most riders. You will see spikes or drops here and there when there is a sudden change to cadence or resistance applied. Standing out of the saddle or moving around the saddle can cause this too. But if cadence measurement is something you deeply care about, then you might want to consider getting a cadence sensor.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I think Elite nailed it with the Tuo, the design looks good. I don’t know how many of you will buy it because of how it looks but it’s the best looking wheel-on trainer you will find.  The road-feel on this trainer is really good. 

Accuracy is honestly better than I expected. Good job Elite on that. Responsiveness in ERG mode is also decent for a $580 trainer. 

My only criticism here is the setup and installation process. But this is can be easily remedied by remaking the setup manual and their how to setup video.

If a wheel on smart trainer is what you are looking for, the Elite Tuo is one to consider for sure just or the accuracy and road feel alone. 

Ok, if you are looking for this trainer, make sure to check out the smart bike trainers tracker on SMARTBikeTrainers.com 

To see where you can find one and best price available. 

Ok, let me know if you have any questions. I would love to know what you guys think.

WHERE TO BUY

ELITE Tuo Interactive Trainer, Elite

Price: $575.63
as of February 22, 2021 5:29 am  
Buy Now
Amazon.com
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