The Elite Qubo Smart Digital B+ has a difficult calibration process. This could be seen as a good or bad thing depending on what you use this trainer for. Also, some of you may not be concerned about power accuracy. I have received those comments from viewers on my youtube channel and I understand them. A Smart Trainer that costs near $400 would be appealing for the cyclists that just wants to fight off the Winter doldrums. This user isn’t concerned about accuracy and only cares that they can keep up some sort of fitness over the winter. This article is aimed at helping the user who wants to get the most out of this trainer.
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Want to skip all the reading? Watch my video clip below. There is one error in my video. I used another trainers factory P values. My factory P1/2/3 are actually 265 watts, 259 watts, and 155 watts. Also, don’t forget to subscribe when you are at my channel.
This trainer is calibrated differently than most trainers. Most trainers that I have worked with use a spin down calibration to reference on an internal map. The Elite trainers use an internal map that the user can adjust using the My E-Training App. Getting into their App can be a bit of a pain and lengthy process and I’ll put links below that have alternative ways to calibrate. I wasn’t pleased with how long this process took, but I do appreciate the fact that the user is in control of the power output and calibration.
The base line power curve for this trainer is posted in the image below. You can see that it looks very similar to a standard Mag trainer’s virtual power curve. That makes sense because this is really just a smart mag trainer. I discuss how this smart mag function works in the Elite Digital Smart B+ Part 1 Review article and video. Everything below the red line cannot be achieved. That is the trainers base curve according to wheel speed.
The green shaded area is what the trainer can add for resistance. (The green shaded area is just a representation). I do not have the time to validate the upper portions of this trainer. It would be really cool if the companies did that for us. I only validate the power output at 8.5mph under slow wheel speeds and the maximum power output at high wheel speeds. Validating additional speed points would take a lot of time. I don’t have that kind of time right now.
There are a few considerations for influencing factors with the Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+. The first consideration is the way you ride this trainer. The Qubo Digital is a wheel on design much like other trainers in this price range, but the similarity ends there. This trainer has a swing arm design. Instead of moving the roller to the wheel, the users weight is pushed back on the roller. This influences the power readings on this trainer.
Rollers have a similar problem (Look at the Emotion Rollers above at only 10mph). A rider’s total weight, to include the bicycle they are riding, need to be taken into consideration when calculating virtual power curves. For instance, a rider that is 132lb/60kg on aluminum rollers will have a different power output at 20mph than a rider who is 198lb/90kg. This is something I have calculated and built myself. This difference could be as much as 4o watts. This is due primarily to increased friction the heavier rider is adding with tire contact on the roller.
This means rider weight is a consideration for this trainer. Riders that are different in weight will get different readings from the factory map. It is important to understand that and know that this trainer will only be accurate for a small slice of the people. That would be the rider Elite used to build the power map for this trainer.
My E-Training App
Getting into the My E-Training App took too long. Elite really needs to look at building a utility App that will allow users to get to work right away. Their current App requires an account which means we have to build another username and password to remember. The customer doesn’t need this if they just want to map their trainer. A utility App similar to the Wahoo Fitness Utility App would be perfect. You are in and out quickly without having to do all of this signing up.
I recommend not using the My E-Training App unless you have a power meter. Elite states that very clearly in the setup process. I posted those messages above. A power meter is required to get accurate numbers. This doesn’t mean you can’t change your power map. You can still change your map in the App, but it is better to use the windows software. The Windows programs that Elite has are much quicker. This is helpful if the user doesn’t have a power meter and adjusts power numbers from feel.
Flashing With Windows
There is an alternative to using the My E-Training App. However, you must have a Windows computer. You can use two programs. The first program helps get you into the speed window that the map uses. The second program lets you change your P1, P2, and P3 numbers. Those numbers dictate what the Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ will display for power when you are riding Zwift, The Sufferfest Training center, or TrainerRoad. Well, any cycling App really.
Elite Windows Calibration Tool FE-C Download: Helps guide you to the speed levels for P1, P2, and P3.
Elite Windows Real Trainer Calibration Wizard: Helps flash your P1, P2, and P3 on your Elite Trainer.
Understanding P1, P2, and P3
Here is how this P1, P2, and P3 basically work. You are setting wattage values for the position of the magnets on the flywheel for a certain speed of the flywheel. It is important to understand these P values if you are adjusting by feel using one of the many training Apps out there. Zwift is probably the best place to go off of feel, because they simulate hills and the flats better than anyone out there.
P1 = High Climbs wattage, riding at 20kph
P2 = Mid Climbs wattage, riding at 30kph
P3 = Flat Roads wattage, riding at 40kph
In my video, I stated that my P values where 171, 186, and 155. That was the wrong trainer I was looking at utilizing the software. My factory P1/2/3 values for the Elite Qubo Smart Digital B+ are 265, 259, 155. Again, this gets very confusing so you really need to pay attention to the details and which trainer you are selecting.
Here is what happens when you change your P values. Say you are riding in Zwift. On the flats your trainer is reporting 350 watts. You are beating the hell out of the strongest club rider in your local group. There comes the realization this is not an accurate wattage number for your capabilities. You need to drop that number to something more realistic. We must go in and change P3. We do that by decreasing the P3 value by 30 watts or more. The same goes for the climbs. I would recommend changing P1 and P2 at the same time unless you really want a more precise feel. Here is the formula below:
- Decrease the P1/2/3 numbers to decrease the reporting wattage values in Zwift.
- Increase the P1/2/3 numbers to increase the reporting wattage values in Zwift.
It is as simple as that really. The difficult part is constantly going back and tweaking your numbers. It could take up to 10 minutes each time you flash your trainer using the software. This is why I recommend the Windows software. It gives you access to your trainer’s map right away without having to go through the lengthy calibration process with the Elite My E-training App.
I found one other use for this trainer. The Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ has the swing arm design. This means you can fit a wide variety of wheel sizes on this trainer. I plan on doing the Tour of Sufferlandria on February 4th and my oldest daughter always want to ride with me. The Kids BMX BIke fits very easily. We will change out the knobby tires on her bike with recumbent bike 16 inch tires (Maybe?). This has the potential to work. I’ll update this article when I do it and possibly make a how-to-video on setting it up.
This is a decent smart trainer for the price. It takes some work to get your numbers reporting correctly. The Power Meter will take the guess work out of your power numbers. You can link your power meter to this trainer using power match. Power match negates the need to do the complicated calibration. This is why power match is a very popular capability for indoor training Apps. Of the top three Apps right now, The Sufferfest Training Centre is the only one not running Power Match. The Sufferfest Training Centre will have power match in 2017.
Stay tuned as I take this trainer through the gauntlet and see how it sounds and performs under my testing protocols. Will this trainer be competitive when looking at the TACX Vortex Smart? I will follow up in the coming weeks with a head to head match up between the TACX Vortex Smart and the Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+. Which one stands out as the better purchase for you.
Don’t forget to check out Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ Review Part 1: The Build