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on 28th May 2015 at 18:31 (29428 Views)
I've been itching to buy trainer the a long time.
I've had an exercise bike for a few years but I was getting fed up with it, partly because bits of it was time to wear out but also because it didn't really replicate cycling at all well.
I was looking for a trainer and although I really wanted something that is generally compatible and in the majority, I was put off by the noise tests of the Wahoo Kickr and most of the other more common trainers.
In the end, I saved up and settled for the Elite Real Muin because it was apparently so incredibly quiet.
I was also looking for a virtual trainer.
The Elite Real Muin arrived today.
Here are some initial thoughts: –
It’s well built
The instructions are rubbish
You can work it out without the instructions, eventually.
Here are my main criticisms: –
Firstly the software is extremely poor. It looks as if it was designed quite a few years ago. It’s clunky and frankly it’s badly behaved.
In particular, the Ant connection is extremely finicky. You have to use the supplied Elite dongle to get any kind of connection at all. This is fair enough of course but the connection is unreliable and constantly drops out. I don’t think this is a function of the dongle or of the trainer. I think it is a function of the software because when I tried the dongle with other software such as Veloreality and Zwift the dongle was recognised without any problem and without having to reset it. As soon as I went back to the Elite software, there were problems.
Looking at the Elite troubleshooting guide, there is so much time spent advising on Ant problems that it is clearly an issue. In fact looking around the Internet, I have noticed a number of people complaining about it.
I noticed that DCRainmaker has talked about Elite’s commitment to the Ant standard, but this is not strictly true because Elite user own private Ant standard. In fact Elite only use private Ant for their power signal. The Cadence signal is a standard protocol and for instance, Veloreality had no problem receiving it and using it.
Another nuisance about Elite’s implementation of Ant is that there seems to be no pairing. In other words the Elite software will automatically pair with whatever signal is being produced.
Nice and easy, you might think – but actually it’s just an added problem because if you already have a Garmin Ant sensor on your crank arm, the Elite software doesn’t know which signal to use and so it uses neither of them and simply stops working.
The only remedy for this is to remove your Garmin cadence sensor while you are using the trainer and then put it back when you have finished. Not a huge problem – but just a nuisance and once again points to a shabby and half-hearted implementation and lack of a customer facing approach from Elite.
Surely it would only take a small bit of programming to make the Elite software pair and recognise a particular signal – but they certainly haven’t done it yet.
Even when the software is receiving the Ant signal correctly, the stats are sometimes all over the place.
I had finished a short session and had dismounted from the bike, but there was still a substantial wattage showing and also a cadence rpm of 64 and this continued for several minutes.
The lag between cycling effort and what comes up on the screen makes it extremely difficult to ride virtually.
On another occasion, I started pedaling and produced something like 1800 W traveling at 647 km/h!
It’s not possible to know what is causing this but it might be glitches in the Ant signal. There were no such problems with the cadence readings In Veloreality or in Zwift and not only that, when I stopped pedaling, the cadence rate returned to 0 very quickly. With the Elite software, the cadence rate generally failed to return to 0 at all.
I sort of feel that a lot of these problems would be ironed out if Elite implemented a standard Ant + on its trainers.
I know that there are rumours that they are proposing to abandon private Ant – but frankly these rumours have been going on for at least a couple of years – and when I contacted Elite, they told me they had no plans.
The trainer is great, but the software is extremely poor and I think that most people are paying this level of money to use the virtual training aspects and I suspect that many people will be disappointed. Elite needs to sort this out – but maybe they’re making enough money without having to bother.
Incidentally, I have tried this on two powerful desktop computers and also a similarly specified laptop. All three of them passed the Elite tests as to whether they were suitable computers, without any problem.
I forgot to add that Elite provide their own cadence sensor, which although is on an open protocol, has to be plugged in with a wire into the trainer.
This is fine, but the problem is that for some reason or other known best to them, Elite have designed the cadence sensor in the most extraordinary shape so that is enormously difficult to get the receptor part close enough to the magnet without the rest of the body of the unit hitting the pedal.
I suppose they wanted to do something a bit individual – but it means that they have come away from all the acquired wisdom of cadence sensor manufacturers going back several years. They’ve decided to try and reinvent the wheel – or the cadence sensor in this case and frankly it is just another thing that doesn’t quite work properly or easily.