Elite DRIVO II Smart Trainer Review
The Elite DRIVO II right now stands at the top of direct-drive smart trainers with a claimed accuracy rating of (+/- .5 percent). The closest competitors are the Tacx Neo II (+/- 1%) and the Wahoo KICKR 2018 Edition (+/- 2%).
I first got a glimpse of the DRIVO II at last year’s Interbike. I had hoped to see more exciting Elite products this year, but the powers to be Canceled Interbike 2019.
ELITE DRIVO II SMART TRAINER REVIEW
- New Cool Black Color Scheme
- Accuracy +/- .5%
- Faster Response Time
- Calculates Cadence
- Improved Stability
- Doesn’t come supplied with a cassette
- No Ability to Update Firmware by Smartphone
- Requires partial assembly
What’s New For The DRIVO II?
In 2018 Elite announced the DRIVO II, a step up from the DRIVO and probably a replacement as Elite’s website doesn’t list the DRIVO anymore. Both the original DRIVO and DRIVO II can be purchased from Amazon, but I am not sure why anyone would purchase the DRIVO now that the DRIVO II is out.
I suppose if you are Star Wars fan and love the AT-AT look, you might just go for the DRIVO. Joking aside, the DRIVO II is now the one to get.
Companies love to play around with color schemes and Elite went with a stealth black vs the white of the original DRIVO. While both colors work, I think the black gives off a more professional look.
Accuracy has been improved going from +/- 1% down to +/- .5%. It’s up for some debate whether this accuracy is indeed the claimed +/- .5%, but in the accuracy wars right now, the DRIVIO II the clear winner having the most accurate smart direct-drive trainer in the market today.
The DRIVO II claims a lung bursting slope simulation of up to 24% and clearly something I don’t think most could handle on an indoor trainer.
Like the DRIVO, the DRIVO II uses magnetic resistance. The trainer’s stepping motor is fast to respond to changes and is very reliable.
Elite improved the speed of resistance during ramp ups and ramp downs, but it may not be that noticeable compared to the previous model.
Elite DRIVO II setup
Setting up the DRIVO II is pretty straight forward. The trainer comes partially assembled. Each new trainer will require some assembly including 2 leg attachments, center support, and a chainstay adapter.
The trainer doesn’t include a cassette, so you will need to either use one you already own or purchase one.
Cadence|Apple 4K TV
One very unique aspect of the DRIVO II is its ability to measure cadence. I am not sure if cadence was being measured the same way in the original DRIVO or not, but the way the DRIVO II measures it is pretty cool.
Pedal cadence is calculated via power analysis by means of the DRIVO II’s onboard power meter OTS (Optical torque sensor).
The end result means you don’t have to have an external cadence sensor like the Wahoo RPM.
Another huge benefit for those who use Zwift and the Apple TV 4Ks means you don’t have to connect to the Zwift Companion while recording both cadence and heart rate at the same time.
With trainers like the Wahoo KICKR, cadence isn’t calculated, so you need a cadence sensor. When connecting to Apple TV it currently can only handle 3 simultaneous Bluetooth connections.
It works like this.
- 1st Connection: is used for the Apple TV controller
- 2nd Connection: is used for the power/controllable (i.e. trainer)
- 3rd Connection: is used for another Bluetooth device like a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor but it can’t use both so you have to use the Zwift Companion app to send either the HR or Cadence.
The DRIVO II sends the Apple TV, Power, Controllable and Cadence stats together using just one Bluetooth connection, so heart rate can be used by the last connection without having to switch to the Zwift Companion app to receive it. Pretty cool.
Elite’s My E-Training software
The My E-Training software is Elite’s way to simulate indoor training sessions via smartphones or tablets (both iOS and Android-based), as well as Mac and PC Windows. The software connects wirelessly to the DRIVO II via ANT+™ or Bluetooth Smart protocols.
The software comes with analysis tools for conducting Pedaling Analysis and coaching.
The Pedaling Analysis is a new and exclusive DRIVO II and DIRETO feature developed by Elite to monitor the rider’s power output throughout each pedal stroke.
Drivo II | Technical Highlights
- Interactive direct drive with electronically-managed magnetic brake
- Built-in OTS (Optical Torque System) power sensor
- Accuracy: +/- 0.5%
- Wireless: ANT+ (FE-C Power and Speed & Cadence) and Bluetooth (FTMS, Power and Speed & Cadence)
- Max simulated slope: 24%
- Max power: 2300W @ 40kh/h
- Controlled by: Smartphone, tablet, cyclocomputer, Windows and Mac, sports watches, ANT+ computer and/or Bluetooth
- Compatibility: My E-Training software & app, Zwift, Trainerroad, Bikevo, Kinomap, The Sufferfest and others
- Output: Power, speed and cadence
- Flywheel: 6 kg
- Works with racing bikes, mountain and city bikes, even with carbon fibre frame, with 130-135 x 5mm hubs and with quick release and 142x12mm with thru-axle
- Shimano 9/10/11 speed, SRAM & Campagnolo 9/10/11 speed. As to the compatibility with Campagnolo, an adapter is required, available from www.shopelite-it.com
- Supply, ANT+ and Bluetooth (3 LEDs)
- Firmware update: Yes
- Includes free subscription to My E-Training software & app for 36 months
- Electrical requirements: Input 100-240 V 50-60Hz 6A – output 12V 1.5A
- Open dimensions: 800 x 850 mm
- Height: 510 mm
Is the Drivo II compatible with Garmin devices?
YES. It can communicate via ANT+ and Bluetooth.
Can the trainer’s firmware be updated using the My E-Training software?
Currently No. Right now Elite doesn’t have a mobile solution for updating the trainer’s software. Elite’s plan is to release something this summer called Upgrado.
What is the main difference between the Drivo and Drivo II?
- New stand: improved stability
- Resistance changes faster
- Drivo II has 0.5% accuracy while Drivo has 1%
- My E-training subscription for both mobile and desktop (Drivo has a subscription for desktop only)
- Drivo II doesn’t have a USB dongle
Other than accuracy what do you feel is the advantage of the Drivo II vs KICKR vs NEO?
- Better stability
- Bigger flywheel. Actually, it’s not a bigger flywheel but the energy stored into the flywheel is bigger, as it has more inertia and turns at higher speed, but it’s a value that most of the users can‘t understand.
Is there the ability to manually reduce or increase the resistance of the trainer?
My E-Training has 2 modes that can be close to the Erg mode: Power Mode and Program Mode.
Power Mode lets you set the power target and the user can freely change it at any time. In such a case, there’s no meaning to add a reduction parameter, as the user can reduce (or increase) the power while using it.
Program Mode. This likely is the closest mode to the “Erg Mode”. In such mode, the user can change the difficulty of the program during the training, with the difficulty parameter present at the bottom of the screen. This parameter has 5% steps and may vary from 10% to 200%.
The Elite DRIVO II is the real deal. The design is sound and the platform is very stable. Those who own Apple 4TVs will welcome the fact that they don’t have to use Zwift’s companion app to connect, if they are recording both heart rate and cadence.
One issue I have right now is the inability to update the firmware with a mobile device.
Elite’s cool red training mat is definitely worth purchasing. It makes the trainer pop. Just make sure you purchase the wider version of the mat.
I would also suggest purchasing the wheel block from Elite.
Bottom line, while not as popular as the Tacx NEO 2 or Wahoo’s KICKR Core, the Elite DRIVO II gets the job done and is a great trainer.
Find out more by visiting Elite’s Website