Elite Real E-Motion Rollers  £1299.99

7/10

Fully featured indoor training solution with a big library of video courses and now the option to film your own

Contact  www.madison.co.uk

by Dave Atkinson   February 6, 2014  

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If you want to do some indoor training you can get a cheap turbo for less than a hundred quid, so why would you splash over a grand on the Elite Real E-Motion rollers? Well it'll depend on what kind of rider you are, how you cope with indoor training and how much data you like to collect. And how deep your pockets are, of course.

Elite's E-Motion roller bed is the basis of this beast. It's a sprung unit sat within a static chassis, so it's capable of moving fore and aft underneath you. This is a bit disconcerting at first but feels quite natural once you get used to it.

The rollers have a lip at the side, and at the front there's also a guide roller (a skate wheel set horizontally, basically) to keep your front wheel on the right track. The whole unit is very well made and reassuringly stiff. If you haven't ridden rollers before than that's a learning curve obviously, but these are more forgiving than many.

Added to the chassis is an electronic ANT+ resistance unit. That unit will talk to your computer (or phone) via an ANT+ USB stick, which will also pick up other ANT+ sources such as a heart rate monito. That means you can use your PC to both record your rides and do a whole lot more. There's no Mac version of the software, although I used a Mac running VMWare Fusion and that was fine.

If you're looking at this trainer then one of the things you're probably interested in is the Real DVD collection, which allows you to ride famous climbs and such on screen. We got a few sent down with the trainer and set to work trying to haul ourselves up the Col du Galibier and the like. The rollers can react to changes in incline by increasing or decreasing resistance, and the video speeds up or slows down depending on what you're doing with your legs.

It all works pretty well, too. The resistance unit isn't capable of accurately replicating steeper climbs (more on that later) but it does a decent job of following the contours. You can have a Google Maps window as well as the video to follow the climb that way, and there's also other ride data such as ride time, heart rate, cadence (which the rollers can deduce from your pedalling), estimated power, climbing and so on. The power estimates of the software I found to be an overestimate, although they were consistent.

If you haven't got any DVDs you can map out your own route using the software's mapping interface which uses Google Maps to create your ride. This is a bit fiddly, but works fine. Again, elevation data from the map is used to change the resistance of the roller, although it's worth pointing out that the software averages gradient between plotted points. So if one click is at the top of one side of the valley and the next is at the other side, down a descent and up an ascent, you might find yourself pedalling on the flat. In the sky, effectively. If you want to replicate all the gradient changes of your favourite climbs then you'll need lots of points, closely spaced.

There's a new string to the Real software's bow, too: RealVideo. You can go out with your iPhone or Android device – or out in your car – and record video of a ride. When you upload it from your phone it'll be available to anyone who has the Real software to download and try.

We had a go making some videos of the climbs round Bath and it works pretty well. There's a certain amount of lag between the video getting to the top of the hill and the climbing stopping on the rollers, and descents can last quite a long way into the next climb if you're going fast. It's much more noticeable on a route you know. I tried a few from Italy and Canada and it's certainly interesting to be out on someone else's training route in your spare room. The system needs a far more fully-featured interface for finding rides you might want to do – at the moment it's essentially a list – but it has a fair bit of potential.

I found on routes I know that up to about six percent gradient the Real can cope, but after that you're just doing a six percent climb, whatever you're really on, which makes Brassknocker Hill a lot less fearsome. That holds true for Alpe d'Huez too, or whatever else you want to ride on video: it's not a true reflection of the difficulty of the climb. But it is fun, and repeatable, so you can race yourself up to the ski station.

There are fairly extensive training options on the Real software too. The benchmark test that Elite use is the Conconi test. It's a ramp test which plots your heart rate against increasing speed. The classic Conconi graph is a linear relationship between effort and heart rate until a certain point where the heart rate line will flatten; that's the point at which your effort becomes anaerobic.

Multiple Conconi tests on the same setup (it's pretty repeatable on the rollers) will show if your training is affecting your aerobic threshold for the better, and also whether you're able to sustain a certain speed for less effort.

As well as the Conconi test you can also set up the software to take you through preset training programs, or design your own. You can even hook up with a friend – either over the local network, or remotely – to race over a set course. Plus of course you can try to beat your own times. All in all the software is perfectly usable although it doesn't feel quite as slick as it could at times.

You don't have to do all this on a PC either; stick a dongle into your iPhone or iPad and you can use a lot of the training functionality (currently not video) through that.

That's a huge amount of stuff you can do, and it may be that it's the thing that gets you actually using the rollers. I know plenty of people that can discipline themselves to sit on the turbo and murder themselves on a daily basis with only the wall to look at, but I like a more immersive training situation and the Real E-Motion rollers are certainly that. They're good to ride on too, and quiet, and easy to slide under the spare room bed when you're not using them.

If you're happy just going after it on a turbo or using a non-linked video like The SufferFest to train to, then you probably don't need to fork out for these. If you haven't found an indoor training regime that you can stick to, and you like to pretend you're riding somewhere sunny, and you like to keep a log of what you're doing, then these rollers might be just the ticket. They're expensive, but if that expense is the difference between regular indoor training and no indoor training then it might be money well spent for you.

Verdict

Fully featured indoor training solution with a big library of video courses and now the option to film your own.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Elite Real E-Motion Rollers

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Real E-motion combines for the first time Real software technology with the most innovative roller on the market.

The free-float frame with integrated braking system effortlessly maintains balance while pedaling, also during slopes or while standing: a whole new way of training for those who love free rides on rollers.

A new way of training for those who love the freedom and challenge of rollers. The free-float frame with integrated resistance system lets the rider effortlessly maintain balance while pedalling, even during climbs or when out of the saddle

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The most natural, fun and rewarding home training solution available! If this doesn't keep you motivated and riding over the winter nothing will!

By combining the freedom and all-body workout of rollers with E-motion stability and RealAxiom software Elite have made the ultimate in rollers

Comes with a full suite of real Axiom software for video courses, online racing and exhaustive training options

A unique double magnetic resistance unit acts on the rearmost 2 rollers giving a smooth but strong resistance that adjust automatically depending on what program you have chosen

E-motion system dampens the forces from rider movement

Rolling bump stops on front roller keep front wheel on the roller during intense sessions

Fully encompassing aluminium and thermoplastic frame ensures absolute stability in use

Improves balance and pedalling technique whilst building core strength

Parabolic roller drum profile for increased confidence

Fully sealed bearings for smooth, quiet operation

Supplied fully assembled

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Very well made rollers, should last.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Overall they're very good, the resistance tops out at about 6% and the software sometimes isn't slick, but everything works and there's masses to play with.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Rollers will last and software is constantly being updated.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Reassuringly weighty.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Sprung bed, parabolic rollers and guide wheels mean they're a shallower learning curve than many rollers.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Difficult to define: only really worth spending the money if you'll train more as a result. Certainly expensive but you're getting a lot of functionality.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Build quality, software features.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe if i was a bit richer.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they could afford it and it suited their needs.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 100kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium 853

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

18 user comments

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Wow...

only 2/3rds the price of the Canyon Ultimate CF SL 8.0 that I'm saving for.

Thinking

posted by surfer35 [21 posts]
6th February 2014 - 9:44

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Pfft - guide rollers?
Surely the 'joy' of rollers is the knowledge that at anytime you can go flying across your back kitchen destroying your bike, yourself and half of your best bone china dinner set?

posted by Some Fella [747 posts]
6th February 2014 - 10:13

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The guide rollers strike me as a bell/wheel reflector/mudguard kind of thing. Might be fitted when you buy it, but they go straight in the bin. Smile

posted by andyp [860 posts]
6th February 2014 - 10:19

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Some Fella wrote:
Pfft - guide rollers?
at anytime you can go flying across your back kitchen

I take it you've never ridden rollers if you think that coming off the side would find you magically propelled forward at the speed you were pedalling Wink

posted by Nick T [804 posts]
6th February 2014 - 11:44

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to be honest you don't touch the guide wheels much, but it's better than falling on to the spare room bed still clipped in Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7320 posts]
6th February 2014 - 11:59

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More chuff for people with more money than sense.
-get on a normal pair of rollers.
-stick on the shed wall a picture of a mountain road and maybe a cute girl in tennis gear scratching her backside
-Stick on your roller playlist - eye of the tiger and rawhide soundtrack compulsory
- let your mind wander.
-Relax & Sweat

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [290 posts]
6th February 2014 - 12:15

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Toe covers? Indoors? Turn the heating on or get outdoors!

posted by ajmarshal1 [271 posts]
6th February 2014 - 14:53

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I had a go on a set of these, I like the ramp test and preset training plans, definitely better than trying to work out what you're doing on regular rollers, but it is a hell of a lot of money, not a whole hell of a lot more saving up to do for a wattbike, although that doesn't have the interactive video and takes up a lot of space, it can do more training it seems.
Hopefully in a few years these will come down a lot more in price.

Former Fat Lad on a Bike

posted by RobD [99 posts]
6th February 2014 - 16:20

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Nick T wrote:
Some Fella wrote:
Pfft - guide rollers?
at anytime you can go flying across your back kitchen

I take it you've never ridden rollers if you think that coming off the side would find you magically propelled forward at the speed you were pedalling Wink

I ride rollers regularly, but have never come off the side. Now intrigued about how it'll work.

There's zero forward momentum in bike and me to go forward, but the wheels are still spinning fast and must be carrying a load of angular/rotational momentum. Can anyone do the numbers and tell me how it'd work out for a 80kg fella on a 10kg bike with, say, 1500g wheels, going at 45km/h on the rollers?

Or do I have to do a real life test and see if I can brake before I reach the breakfast room glass door?

PS: What's with the toe covers indoors on a roller?!

middlering's picture

posted by middlering [40 posts]
6th February 2014 - 17:52

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Also, if someone needs a set of rollers, my Tacx Galaxia rollers for little over a 10th of the price of these ones. They ain't half as fancy, though.

PM me if interested.

middlering's picture

posted by middlering [40 posts]
6th February 2014 - 17:57

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I do ride rollers and have also never come off the side, the front, the back or thankfully any other way.
If i did i would hit (in order) a dining table, a desk, a very expensive iMac, a stone fireplace and finally the floor on my way down. This tends to focus the mind somewhat.
I was just postulating that a) the guide wheels would give you a false sense of security b) that they were for wimps and c) that if you can afford to spend as much on rollers as my bike is worth you probably dont have to set them up in a cramped back kitchen like i have to.

posted by Some Fella [747 posts]
6th February 2014 - 19:27

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I would like to try rollers out but for me at the moment a Kurt Road Machine with Trainerroad.com gives me all the data and training structure I need. You can use Suffferfest videos and others in it or, as I do, overlay onto a movie and try and distract yourself from the pain in your legs. I love the fact that it tests you before each training plan so if you get better it gets harder - you know you are never letting yourself off with an easy day.....

Got to say doing Alp d'Huez against a friend on Tacx VR machines was a lot of fun when I tried it too...

posted by DanielsLeDomestique [5 posts]
7th February 2014 - 9:05

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'If i did i would hit (in order) a dining table, a desk, a very expensive iMac, a stone fireplace and finally the floor on my way down. '

you have your dining table on top of your desk, and over your fireplace?

remember, kids, if you come off rollers you just slowly tip sideways. You don't shoot across the room destroying everything in existence.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
7th February 2014 - 9:23

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A Tacx Galaxy user here Wave

Yes, I already fell on the side when I lost equilibrium but thankfully the walls where close so I kinda stopped the fall midair. You're left with a lasting shock, though Plain Face

I admit that the danger of falling from the rollers is a poignant incentive to stay alert and disciplined during my workout. Nevertheless, my rollers are one of the best gifts I ever got for my birthday.

As to the question whether you would suddenly accelerate when you got off the roller: nope. It's physics at work, the only moving mass are your wheels and their mass is significantly smaller than the mass that you'd want (?) to propell, namely the bike and its driver. In order to make those wheels propell you with your given weight the wheels ought to rotate at some crazy, inhuman speed Nerd

posted by Goodtwist [18 posts]
7th February 2014 - 14:16

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if you come off rollers sideways your only momentum is the angular momentum in your wheels. that's not enough to propel you anywhere. you'll just mark the carpet and then fall over.

the toe covers were on my shoes, i didn't bother to take them off. since i was on my own and had to do that shot on a ten second timer, toe covers were the least of my worries Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7320 posts]
7th February 2014 - 15:12

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Has anyone compared these to the Tacx products such as the fortius? I have a fortius which I have never been happy with, so would like to know how something like this stacks up...

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

Tour Le Tour's picture

posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
7th February 2014 - 16:38

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
if you come off rollers sideways your only momentum is the angular momentum in your wheels. that's not enough to propel you anywhere. you'll just mark the carpet and then fall over.

Thanks for the comforting inputs Dave & Andy. Now I can roll without the fear of crashing through the breakfast room door and into the sink Smile

Just out of curiosity, did anyone do the maths on what speed would, say, a 90kg bike+rider need to be going at on rollera, to be propelled 10m before the breaks would stop them? Or do I have to do this myself?

middlering's picture

posted by middlering [40 posts]
8th February 2014 - 2:11

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I'd like a set of rollers with resistance as I can't get above 200w on mine without spinning over 120RPM...something I cant do for long. This makes my rollers only useful for technique, short endurance efforts or recovery rides. Curious about the 'skate' wheel things. Do they help or hinder? You can ride off of a normal set of rollers if you loose you balance and thus save a fall, but if your front wheel can't roll off doesn't that mean you're more likely to hit the deck?

posted by McVittees [19 posts]
9th February 2014 - 14:08

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