The smart Elite Nero Roller will allow you to ride on Zwift with a natural ride feel and realistic movement patterns. But how does this roller compare to direct drive trainers when used with Zwift?

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 Nero | 19.18 kg | € 679.99

Setting up the Elite Nero is child’s play: open it up, attach the elasticated drive belt, adjust its length for your wheelbase and you can throw on your bike and start riding. Because you don’t have to do any setup on your bike, assuming you have slick tires fitted you’ll be pleased by the “get on and go” feeling. The design of the trainer makes it easy to fold up when not in use, making it portable and easy to stow. Unfortunately, the finishing quality is on the same level as the Direto X – lots of plastic with a comparatively cheap feel. Because of the design, power measurements on rollers are intrinsically error-prone. However, to train with more exact values, a standard power meter can be paired with the Nero. Elite calls this connectivity feature Power Meter Link (PML). If you’re not using a power meter you should be sure to do spin-down calibration to get reliable power measurements from the unit. The compatibility of the Elite Nero is limited to a wheelbase of 944–1144 mm. This measurement is relatively generous for road bikes and in limited cases may make it possible to train with cross country mountain bikes if they’re small enough. Due to the design, rollers have a significant advantage over turbo or direct drive trainers: the loads on the bike and especially the frame correspond more closely to what they would encounter in reality.

The key specs for this smart roller

Price € 679.99
Weight 19.18 kg
Weight limit 120 kg
Maximum power (60km/h) 730 W
Power meter accuracy n/a
Maximum simulated gradient 7 %
Wheelbase 944–1.144 mm

As a result of the rolling noise of the tires, the Elite Nero is a little louder than the Tacx NEO 2T Smart or the Wahoo KICKR CORE. That said, in normal use the resistance mechanism isn’t particularly loud, though it becomes more noticeable as your input increases. Overall, the stability of the unit is phenomenal and even during all-out sprints we couldn’t get the unit to wobble at all.

You’ll catch yourself grinning as sweat drips down your face, simply because the ride feels so realistic.

While sprinting or out of the saddle, the rear tire can sometimes slip on the roller.
Mounting aid
The rollers are relatively high, so the buillt in “mounting block” is pretty helpful.
While the 1144 mm wheelbase is sufficient for most road bike, if you want to use your XC mountain bike for training, the Elite Nero will struggle to fit a size L or above.
Pure freedom
The free and natural ride results in a smile that just doesn’t disappear. It also helps train your core and hones your riding technique.
The rolling noise of the tires means the Elite Nero isn’t quite as quiet as the Tacx NEO 2T Smart or the Wahoo KICKR CORE.
Get on and go
You don’t need to change anything on your bike. Just put it on the rollers and you can go.
Feels cheap
The budget plastic detracts from the otherwise good aesthetics.

For beginners, it will be a bit of a learning curve to start training on rollers. It’s almost as though you have to learn to ride a bike all over again. Nonetheless, depending on your abilities, you’ll quickly get to grips with the technique and be able to complete your first training session. It does require a little experience to start feeling comfortable on the rollers but you’ll soon be smiling ear-to-ear thanks to the ride feel. It’s possible to move naturally on your bike, though beware that steering impulses will also be transmitted directly to the roller. Because you need to keep your bike upright yourself and pay attention while doing so, you’ll find that you’re exhausted much more quickly than on other trainers. This does have the added benefit of honing your riding technique and the concentration required makes the time on Zwift go by quicker. However, for interval training, sprints and climbing while standing, you’ll need to bit of experience to really be able to go all-out. If Zwift provokes you into sprinting, as long as you keep your weight in the saddle the tires don’t slip on the rollers. More spirited riding could lead to some issues, however.

All in all, turbos and direct drive trainers do let you push your limits more easily. When the air seems too thin, your vision narrows and you start losing all coordination, the fixed position of your bike is at an advantage. On rollers, you have to maintain enough composure to keep the bike on track, while on other trainers you can push so hard that you’re close to falling off.


Relaxed pedalling with Netflix is possible with enough practice but not really what the Nero is designed for. It’s a training tool for ambitious and experienced riders who don’t want to have to disassemble their bikes and are looking for a natural ride feel while Zwifting or doing their interval training. Handily, because it’s portable, the trainer can also be used to warm up for your next race.


  • natural movement patterns
  • whole-body workout
  • easy to stow
  • compatibility with lots of bikes
  • no unusual loads placed on your equipment


  • limited feeling of security for beginners
  • noise of tires on rollers
  • limited during all-out efforts

More information at:

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