We’re constantly grateful to the Italians for good coffee, tasty (albeit carb-heavy) food and the most exciting Grand Tour every year. Also from Italy is the Elite brand of smart trainers, which has been steadily gaining South African market share for the past few years. We got to test the Suito model recently to see if the Italians can also make good smart trainers?
From 3.40% to 6.65% in a year, Elite showed the biggest market share gain from 2019 to 2020 in our annual survey. The Suito is one of two smart trainers in the Elite range in South Africa, with three more resistance trainer models and a set of rollers.
The set-up is incredibly quick. It’s essentially assembled when you get it. You just have to extend the two legs and put your bike on and plug it in. Our test unit came with a cassette already fitted (Shimano 105 11-speed), which is the norm for the Suito. But there’s a global shortage of cassettes currently, so the Suito T has replaced the Suito (for now). It’s identical, but with no cassette included.
Once you’ve got your bike on the Suito, there’s an app called My E Training that you download on your smart phone. You then pair this with the Suito to set the calibration. It requires pedalling easy for 10 minutes and then about half a minute at 30kph for it to calibrate.
We used an 11-speed road bike for our test, but if you use a mountain bike there are appropriate 142x12mm (this one is included), and 148x12mm thru axles to fit it. You can also fit a 12-speed cassette. The Suito also comes standard with a front wheel block which ‘levels’ the front of your bike with the rear.
The Suito is black and quite industrial looking with all metal casing. The collapsible legs make it super slim for storage or transporting. We like that there is a handle on the top of the trainer which makes it easy to move or carry. At 14.5kg its lighter than most smart trainers (mainly because it has a smaller flywheel at only 3.5kg), which makes it easier to move to different locations than most smart trainers.
With a power accuracy of +/- 2.5% the Suito is in line with other smart trainers in this price range. It can simulate climbs up to 15% gradient, which is fine for most, since not many climbs exceed that on the majority of virtual training rides or races. It offers a resistance of up 1900 Watts at 40kph and up to 2900 Watts at 60kph, not that we got close to either of those… It’s both Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart compatible and includes the cadence measure in the transmission, which is always beneficial. We like that it comes with a long 2.5m power cable that has a recessed channel on the back of the trainer to keep it all tidy.
The ride feel is relatively smooth, but not silky like some of the of the more expensive smart trainers and the sound is a constant low-key hum, which is a touch louder than some of its competitors, but not louder than a fan. The ‘road feel’ is good, but this is determined by the flywheel – larger flywheels give a more realistic road feel.
We did our entire review on the Zwift app with three different testers over a period of 9 weeks. On normal rides the accuracy seemed fine and connectivity was constant and reliable. But in ERG mode we experienced an occasional increasing of the resistance. A quick pause and it returned to normal resistance again. We asked the importer about this and they said the PC board needs to be exchanged, which is rare and which they do at no cost.
The Suito is very stable. Even during the hardest sprints it was super firm, which is essential if you’re a heavy rider or just a rider that can put out huge efforts.
The Elite Suito is robust, compact and stable. Besides a rare, temporary issue we had in ERG mode, it’s consistent and reliable and seems to be accurate. That it normally comes with a cassette is a big plus, although currently the global stock shortage of cycling parts means this is not an option in South Africa right now. So the Suito T is what you’ll need to get and just add your own cassette. Although not one of the big smart trainer brands, Elite is definitely up there in terms of performance and the Suito/Suito T confirms the Italians do indeed make a very good smart trainer.