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The Elite Zumo is one of the cheapest interactive smart trainers on the market and performs well above its price tag. The power data is acceptable and the impressive ride feel makes racing that bit more realistic. The price makes this a great option for occasional indoor smart training.
The Zumo is quite easy to set up out of the box, though it doesn't come with a cassette like its slightly more expensive sibling, the Suito, which Dave was testing.
You just bolt the legs to the main body and adjust the feet to suit the ground under the trainer. It's a bit of a lump, but the carrying handle makes moving it around manageable.
The legs can be tucked under the main body of the trainer, allowing it to be stored in a relatively small space if you need to pack it way after each session.
Initially, you'll need to connect the trainer to the Elite Upgrado app to check the firmware and calibrate it. I found it connected instantly via Bluetooth and the updates required only took a couple of minutes.
Next, you'll need to warm the trainer up for 10 minutes before doing the spin-down calibration. A rolling Zwift course is good for this, or you can just pedal away for 10 minutes, throwing in a few sprints along the way. The trainer then needs to be disconnected from Zwift before you open up the Elite My eTraining app to perform the spin-down calibration. Once this is done, you can pair back up with your chosen training app and you're ready to go.
The whole process took me the best part of 25 minutes but once it's done, you'll only need to re-do the spin-down test once every couple of months.
Before I excite you with data and graphs, the power numbers that the Zumo provides are more than acceptable for the money. I've been happily training on the Zumo all winter and only calibrated a couple of times. Before I recorded this set of data, both the Zumo and 4iiii Precision were calibrated after a 10-minute warm-up for the trainer.
For my testing, I did some of the efforts that I've been doing most frequently this winter. There's some very easy spinning, consistent seated 500W efforts, 10-second standing sprints, and a leadout-style effort where I ramp up the power into a sprint. Overall, the Zumo has provided entirely usable data. That said, there are a few small differences to my trusty 4iiii Precision.
At low power levels, around the 90-100W mark, was where I found the biggest discrepancy, with the Zumo reading 4.2% above the Precision. For me, this is a recovery level, so I'm not too concerned at all. If you're a smaller rider, or you regularly ride at this power, then you might want to look for something that's a little more accurate around this range.
One of my 'favourite' intervals is a series of over/under efforts with the over section sat at 500W. This 20-second over block shows pretty consistent data with the Zumo 2.8% up on the 4iiii data.
My sprint power on the road has never reached 1,200W, so I was never going to trouble the Zumo's 1,300W max. Add to that my inability to sprint when the bike is fixed in place and the best that I could manage was around the 900W mark. The trainer felt perfectly stable here and picked up the start of the sprint a bit quicker than the 4iiii. The max power read during this sprint was a touch lower from the Zumo. But it was very close.
While there's no getting away from the fact that the Zumo isn't as accurate as some of the more expensive trainers out there, the data that it provides is good enough. It's also consistent, allowing you to plan a training schedule around it.
The ride feel is very good in some areas: riding in simulation mode on Zwift, the changes in virtual gradient feel very realistic. I found that if you hit a climb with loads of speed from a steep descent, pedalling remains light until, just like out on the road, the gradient really starts to bite, forcing you to shift through the gears rapidly.
Flat roads and descents also feel good, with a high cadence needed to sustain higher power outputs. Riding on the various mountains of Watopia, I never felt hindered by the maximum slope replication of 12%, though this might limit you if you prefer apps that map real roads.
The ERG mode left me slightly disappointed during certain workouts. While it is very good at holding you in a certain power range with only a few seconds delay once an interval starts, I found that it would kick me down to a cadence that I just couldn't get out of in certain intervals. For a skinny climber like me, getting the cadence up from 40rpm when the trainer wants to hold you at 400W requires a full-gas sprint. Sometimes, at the back end of a hard interval, that just isn't in the legs.
That said, there were interval sessions that I could complete perfectly accurately. This may well take a bit of trial and error to find sessions that can be completed indoors, but once you find something suitable the Zumo works brilliantly.
I also had some issues with the ERG mode disconnecting if I stopped pedalling for a while. It will reconnect eventually, but it was very temperamental.
For racing on Zwift, I found the Zumo easily good enough. Generally, I just want to get into a race to get a hard session in. If you really care about your result you might want to look for something with a higher max resistance and power data accuracy of around 1%.
The Zumo was reactive to the gradient and bunch riding, with a noticeable change when you hit the climbs. The trainer felt responsive when following attacks and transferred from high to low resistance smoothly when going over the top of climbs into a descent.
The Zumo is a very quiet trainer, especially if you're using ERG mode. I measured 59.4dB at the handlebar with the chain in the inner ring and in the middle of the cassette at 200W. Put the chain in the outer ring and wind up the flywheel and there's a noise increase that is noticeable when you've got the trainer on a wooden floor.
That said, I've managed to avoid annoying my family, even through some of the toughest sessions.
At £450, the Zumo is one of the cheapest interactive trainers you can buy, and you certainly get your money's worth. The ride feel is spot on and the power accuracy is entirely usable. For my usage levels of mainly winter training during the week and the occasional weekend ride when the rain is falling heavily, I really can't see the need to spend more.
If you're dead keen on Zwift racing or you're a powerful rider, you might need a bit more than the Zumo can provide. The Suito will do 15% max slopes and a whopping 1,900W (yes, a full 1,000W more than I managed).
Some units, like the Elite Suito, also come with a cassette installed as part of the price. If you've not got the tools to install/remove a cassette then they have to be factored into the price, too. A cassette will set you back just over £30 and the tools another £20. That takes the Zumo up to £500, which is still £150 less than the Suito at rrp, though the Suito is available at £550 pretty much everywhere.
If you're looking to get a direct drive smart trainer on a tight budget and you've already got a cassette along with the tools to install it, the Zumo is a great pick. It's quiet, responds well to the virtual environment and provides usable power data.
Very good budget interactive trainer, offering a great performance for the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Elite Zumo Smart Interactive Turbo Trainer
Size tested: One size
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?
Elite says: "Incredibly solid and powerful, Zumo is a direct-drive bicycle hometrainer with electronically managed resistance. Effective and quiet, with a contemporary design, Zumo's distinctive feature is its wide power output interval and its compatibility with most bicycles and any of kind apps, software, computers and devices. Advanced technology at an affordable price: Zumo is the perfect interactive hometrainer for you to train whenever you want and improve your cycling prowess via effective and accurate training sessions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A realistic pedalling experience
You can faithfully and quietly replicate outdoor cycling with Zumo, which offers you the same feeling and pedalling conditions you find on the road. Its resistance unit covers a wide interval of power output and simulates slopes up to 12% with +/- 3% accuracy. It's everything you need to improve your performances and train with a valid and performing instrument while pedalling away hundreds of km on your bicycle!
PML and temperature compensation
Among the most interesting features for this hometrainer are many functions that deserve to be looked into such as the Power Meter Link (PML), a tool for you to reach even higher accuracy levels on each workout. PML is a function you can activate on My E-Training for you to use an ergometer that's already on your bicycle as a power source, thus obtaining more accurate power data. The temperature compensation algorithm also ensures high accuracy levels - it considers the decrease in brake efficiency due to overheating caused by friction while training and avoids any inaccuracy when calculating power data.
Zumo, just like all other Elite direct transmission hometrainers, features total compatibility with apps, software, computers, smartphones and tablets via iOS, Android, MacOS and Windows. Just set your course or training program and start pedalling - the double communication protocol ANT+™ FE-C and Bluetooth will do the rest. Zumo will automatically adjust resistance, managing your training session based on each specific workout requirement you have. Moreover, by purchasing Zumo, you get a free 12-month subscription to the My E-Training software, and you'll also be able to use any other indoor cycling software, such as Zwift, Trainer Road, The Sufferfest, Bikevo, Kinomap and many more.
One of the most distinctive features of the Zumo is its great compatibility with most bicycles currently sold. Zumo is compatible with bikes with 130 to 135mm hubs and quick clamping systems with 5mm diameter and bicycles with 142mm thru-axle with 12mm diameter. There are adapters such as the Boost 148x12mm and 12mm 135x10 adapters for bicycles with thru-axle. Zumo comes with a freehub body for Shimano® / SRAM® 9/10/11 speed sprocket cassettes, while a freehub body compatible with Campagnolo® 9/10/11 speed sprocket cassettes is available on our online store, www.shopelite-it.com. Did you know you can also assemble the Sram 12 speed by purchasing the XD/XDR freehub as an accessory? This is what we mean with great compatibility.
All hometrainers by Elite immediately send power, speed and pedalling cadence data, thus acting as really effective instruments to build an accurate training program and replicate outdoor cycling as faithfully as possible. Cadence is measured via the practical sensorless technology, that is no sensor to be applied to your bicycle, and is calculated as a function of speed variations on the Zumo.
So far so good, and it's well made.
It's not as powerful or accurate as more expensive trainers, but it's a great price for what you do get.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
On the whole, this performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ride feel when in simulation mode or racing on Zwift is brilliant.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The ERG mode was what I found myself using most often for specific sessions and it was a bit temperamental. For one, if you stop pedalling, it would struggle to reconnect. Then there was the cadence issue: if you can't sustain the suggested power, the trainer continues to push the power higher, causing your cadence to drop until you're barely pedalling.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's one of the cheapest direct-drive smart trainers on the market. The Suito is £200 more at rrp (though it's readily available for £100 less than that) and comes with a cassette and a slightly better spec sheet. It might be one to consider if you don't have a cassette and the tools to fit it, or you're a bigger rider who could do with the Suito's 1,900W max resistance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
While you can get more accurate data and there are more powerful trainers on the market, the price makes the Zumo a very attractive proposition. For a rainy day option or post-work training session, the Zumo is very good indeed.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.