The Elite Fluid Primo is a US only trainer that utilizes a fluid resistance unit with the company’s Elastogel 45mm diameter roller in their CRONO frame. They tout it as the smoothest, quietest and easiest to use trainer ever built. So I put it to the test.
The preliminary impression of the unit is that it is light weight and well constructed. It is also easy to carry and the unit folds fairly flat for easy stowage under a bed or in a closet. This, combined with the advertised quietness of the Elastogel resistance roller and progressive fluid resistance, could make this trainer a good choice for someone that lives in an upper level apartment that doesn’t want to bother the lower level neighbors.
The setup was also fairly straight forward. You lift the arms in place and you place the bike between the arms and tighten the adjusting knob. But be sure to read the instructions, conveniently located on the arm adjacent to the adjusting knob, on how to properly secure the bike to the trainer. The adjusting knob is nice and large making it simple to hold the bike with one hand while tightening or loosening the bike on the trainer with the other hand.
My only issue, and a very minor one, is that the width between the two arms could be a bit wider for easier install and uninstall of the bike in the trainer. The rear derailleur cable would sometimes get caught on the adjacent adjusting arm making the positioning of the bike into the trainer tricky. But again, this was a very minor bother.
Once properly adjusted onto the trainer the weight of the rider automatically adjusts the resistance of the flywheel and the flexible support legs helped lend to the realistic road feel. As advertised, the Elastomer roller was very smooth and quiet. The smoothness translated into a higher cadence which provided an excellent Vo2 max workout. The subtle clamor of the trainer was also very prevalent, as advertised. Maybe not the quietest roller ever built but certainly in the top 2 or 3. But be sure that your tire is properly inflated. An under-inflated tire can wear on the Elastomer roller and your rear tire tread.
However, the smoothness lent itself to a faster spin of the flywheel than you would on the road due to the low resistance. So my cadence was much higher than normal compared to other trainers. I averaged about 2 mph faster over a one hour training period than I usually do.
In spite of this higher cadence, it didn’t take away from the feel and high quality of the trainer. And the more I used the trainer the better I liked it. The higher cadence produced by the trainer also translated to a higher average speed on the road. Again, like on the trainer, I also averaged about 2 mph faster on the road than my previous average. And I’m your average rider still training early in the season. So the gain I saw was an unexpected bonus that I suspect that other athletes can translate to the road as well. Although as with any exercise program, results will vary, but that’s really up to you and your own training program.
A concern that was brought up during testing is that with the resistance being so smooth and low how would it simulate climbing? So we set up the bike on the trainer, put a raised block under the front wheel and threw in a Climbing DVD. Combined with my compact crank and 12-27 cassette I did have to gear down lower than usual but rest assured, the resistance was there. While the resistance was not thigh busting I still got a very good workout. And with the added Vo2 benefits I did find that my lung capacity on actual climbs was greater, hence, my improvement during the climbs. But if you are looking for a really tough climbing simulation I’d suggest maybe shorter gearing for the trainer like an 11-23 cassette. Otherwise, I believe you’ll be just as pleased with the trainer as I was.
Overall, this trainer grew on me the more I used it. The higher cadence was a little disconcerting at first but as you work longer on the trainer the more of a workout it gives, increasing your Vo2 max. The benefit of that is an increase in speed and cadence you can take to the road on your next group ride, even on climbs. Couple that along with the exceptionally quiet Elastomer roller, easy of use, light weight and the fact that it folds flat makes this trainer among the top trainers we’ve tested. It is definitely worth your consideration when you are looking for a high end trainer to use on those off days.
Value Rating: 4.5 stars
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars