With the Elite Direto X, the Italian brand presents a smart, direct drive trainer with an integrated power meter that has some impressive specs for its price. But numbers aren’t everything – how well does it ride compared to the competition?

In our overview article “The best bike trainer 2020” you will find everything you need to know about indoor bike trainers for Zwift and Co.

Elite Direto X | 14.98 kg | € 729

Assembly takes a little longer than the other direct drive trainers in our test, with six screws and three feet to attach before the cassette can be mounted. The trainer makes a good impression, raising the expectations for a solid training platform. In contrast, the plastic used feels cheap and reminds us of the vinyl wrapped finish and custom alloys of 90s sports cars. Unfortunately, the overall build quality is not the best and just can’t keep up with the Tacx NEO 2T Smart or the KICKR CORE. Do you want to fit a mountain bike with Boost spacing? Unfortunately you’ll have to order a separate adapter to do so. The Elite Direto X is the only smart trainer in our test with which this adapter isn’t included as part of the package. While it doesn’t have any issues with disc bikes, we did find experience interference between a long cage Shimano derailleur and the plastic housing of the trainer. The standover height is similar to the Tacx NEO 2T, making mounting and dismounting the bike harder than on the KICKR CORE.

Key specs for this smart direct drive bike trainer

Price€ 729
Weight 14.98 kg
Weight limit 114 kg
Maximum power (40 km/h) 2,100 W
Power meter accuracy ± 1.5 %
Maximum simulated gradient: 18 %
Axle compatibility 130/135 mm quick release, 142 mm thru axle, adapter for 148 mm thru-axle adapter available separately
Available freehubs/adapters Campagnolo, SRAM XD- and XD-R freehubs
Jet engine
The flywheel generates quite a lot of noise at high speeds. That makes the Elite Direto X the loudest direct drive trainer in our test.

Like all the direct drive units in our test, more sound is generated by the chain and changing gears than the bike trainer itself. However, while this trainer is quiet when pedalling slowly, it’s the loudest direct drive option during more intense efforts at high cadences. The overall noise while sprinting is similar to that of the Tacx Satori Smart turbo trainer and when riding actively, the trainer starts to creak when putting down the power. The small engagement angle of the freewheel results in direct power transmission that compares well with the Tacx NEO 2T. The flex is relatively natural when riding in the saddle, reaches its limit in an abrupt and somewhat unpredictable way. That means sprinting isn’t as natural as on the Tacx NEO and you’ll need to get used to the “wall” in the lateral flex.

The Elite Direto X is the best example that it’s not all about the numbers

BBS alloys
The design of the flywheel splits opinion and reminds us of BBS alloys.
The quality of the plastic isn’t at the highest level.
Three-legged fail
Usually three legs offer a very stable platform. During an all-out sprint the Direto X goes from static trainer to wandering around your apartment.
Wheel stand
Unfortunately in sprint the front wheel comes out of the front wheel stand
Unfriendly for mountain bikers
While both Tacx and Wahoo include an adapter for 148 x 12 mm Boost frames, here, you’ll have to buy the adapter separately.
Coasting is simulated excellently and offers a very natural ride feel.
Lots of teeth
The freewheel has a small engagement angle which leads to a direct feel.

The Elite Direto X moves more than any other trainer while sprinting, and we had our front wheel fall off the front stand several times. If you spend a lot of time out of the saddle and ride hard, you’ll reach the limits of this trainer. The Elite Direto X is happiest on long ascents and descents and simulates freewheeling very naturally.


If you spend most of your time in the saddle, you’ll find a good and smart direct drive trainer in the Direto X. However you’ll have to accept some compromises while sprinting out of the saddle. In terms of connectivity, it has all the modern features you would expect, including a power meter.


  • above average specs for the price
  • lots of space for disc calipers
  • nicely simulated freewheeling


  • forwards movement during sprinting
  • long derailleur cages can contact the trainer body
  • loud at high speeds

More information at: elite-it.com

All turbo trainers in review

In our overview article “The best bike trainer 2020” you will find everything you need to know about indoor bike trainers for Zwift and Co.

Elite Direto X | Elite Nero | Relaxdays Rollentrainer | Tacx NEO 2T Smart | Tacx Satori Smart | Wahoo KICKR BIKE | Wahoo KICKR CORE

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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf, Jonas Müssig