The Elite Rampa, along with other Elite trainers, are not the easiest to calibrate. For one, they require the user to have a power meter. Elite also has some obstacles in their App and I sent my suggestions their way via email. However, they are also one of the few training companies that give you the most control over your power curve. This isn’t as important if you are using The Sufferfest App or TrainerRoad (just increase tire tension). However, it is huge if you are a Zwift user. In this review, I am going to walk you through the process of mapping the Elite Rampa’s internal power map and what you should look out for. My goal at the end if this article is to give the reader a full understanding on how to properly calibrate this trainer for the best accuracy possible with or without a power meter.
For those of you that haven’t read part 1 of my review, you can find it here; Elite Rampa Review Part 1, The Build. In that review, I take the whole smart trainer unit apart and look at how it operates.
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This trainer is calibrated differently than most trainers. Most trainers that I have worked with, use a spin down calibration to adjust 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.
BaseLine Power Curve
The base line power curve for the Elite Rampa 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. Everything below the red line cannot be achieved. The Red Line is the trainers base curve according to wheel speed.
The green shaded area is what the trainer can add for resistance. (Rough Estimation). Elite is the only company that comes close to providing a similar reference for us. You can see in the image below, that Elite does put a maximum and minimum value on the Rampa.
Understanding the Factory Map (P1, P2, and P3)
Right here folks, is where we are going to dive into some serious information! If you have a power meter, then you can skip most of this and just calibrate your trainer with the Elite App. For those that don’t have a power meter, then this information is necessary so you can get your setup as accurate as possible (maybe even power meter accurate).
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
The factory P values for the Elite Rampa are P1=252, P2=282, and P3=170. I did some initial testing with those P values, and thing were off by a lot. I was using a Continental Gator Skin Tire with 110 psi. In my video (coming soon), I’ll show the user how I set it up exactly. Basically, I adjust the roller until it is just touching the tire. I then turn the handle on the smart unit to apply full resistance.
Factory Map Results on The Sufferfest App
I firsted tested the Elite Rampa on the Sufferfest Training Centre. I used the video “Ignitor” which is a race warmup video. Ignitor does a good job of stepping up the user so you can see how things change as you increase wattage. I then recorded my Stages power meter using my Garmin 520 to capture the data.
Factory Map Results on Zwift
The next test is to take the Elite Rampa on Zwift where the P values mean a whole lot more. It is extremely important that your P values are correct on Zwift. I’ll show you real quick, with two images below, how far off we are with the factory calibration and my personal setup.
We can see that the Elite Rampa just doesn’t report over the Stages Power Meter, there are times where it reports under. We are over reporting and under reporting all at the same time. This is a result of inaccurate P1, P2, and P3 values. If all three numbers are not correctly set with your trainer, then your power readings will be all over the place. Let’s zoom in on this Zwift ride with the image below.
On the flats, the P1 is set too high. I’m over reporting wattage by 20 to 30 watts in Zwift. On the climbs, the P1 and P2 are also not accurate. The trainer is stealing about 30 watts from me on Zwift climbs. P2 seemed to be the biggest offender here since I was moving faster than 20kph up the hills. Next, I’m going to run you through how to fix this.
My E-Training Map
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 do not recommend 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 software 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. The App makes you do the 10 minute warm up every, single, time. I really wish the user had the option to skip the warmup.
I have two big issues with the Elite Training App and the Windows software (download links just a bit further down). The first issue is you have to do this 10 minute warmup each time. This means if you want to go back and remap your trainer or make quick adjustments, it takes WAY TO LONG! The user needs the ability to skip the warmup if possible.
The other problem is the inability to confirm that your have mapped your P values correctly (The App only confirmed once out of three attempts). This is a problem with the My E-Trianing App and the Windows Software. After you map your P values, there is no way to know if it took besides riding the trainer. I hit the P Values button on both pieces of software and it just spit out the factory settings all but one time. You have to have a bit of faith that the numbers made it to the trainer.
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 Rampa 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.
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.
Here is the strange thing that I experienced with the Rampa. I decreased my P1 and P2 values which increased the reporting values in Zwift. That doesn’t make any sense since number one and two above are straight from the folks at Elite. I think there is more going on with this base map than we know.
Flashing A New Map (P1, P2, P3)
I went into the Elite My E-Training App and flashed my trainer. The values I used from my Stages Power Meter were P1=245, P2=259, and P3=140. That got me really close. I think P1 could still be adjusted by 10 watts though. I found it just slightly off in Zwift which we will talk about later.
Results On The Sufferfest App
I mapped my trainer and then hit a Sufferfest video called “The Shovel”. I didn’t do the whole workout because it is freaking brutal. You can now see that the trainer is lining up really well with The Sufferfest App. I also got to play around with Suffefest’s Beta App on iPad that allowed me to switch between ERG and Standard Mode in the workout. That’s a huge improvement for smart trainer users. Can anyone tell where I was using Erg and then switching to Standard mode?
I did see some after analyzing the Sufferfest workout. Look at the max wattage numbers for the 10 and 5 second efforts. You see that? I am going to be looking at the sprinting capabilities of this trainer a lot closer now. The Elite Rampa was heads up to 800 watts but has difficulty following my power higher. 1100 watts is not hard for me, so I’m curious to see what happens when I start to go north of 1500 watts in Part 3 of my review.
Results on Zwift
The Zwift performance was also drastically improved. It looks like I may need to move P1 up another 10 watts. The Rampa was over reporting a bit. Again, this goes against what Elite says about moving the numbers. However, if I move P1 and P2 down and the watts move up, then I must bump P1/P2 up 5 or 10 watts to hit that sweet spot.
Final P1, P2, and P3 Values
This next part, is for all of you who don’t have a power meter. I would set your Elite Rampa to P1=250, P2=260, and P3=140. That is going to get you really close to accurate reporting.
Yes it is harder to map an Elite Trainer. There isn’t a spin down function like the other trainers have. I will say that you get more control of your numbers with the Elite trainer, but this complicated process could be off-putting for new users. A new user to smart trainers could have been very frustrated about 5 paragraphs into my article here.
I have one thing to say at the end though. If you don’t really care about power numbers, then none of this matters. The trainer will still control your resistance and it will still be fun to use. Don’t forget to check out Elite Rampa Part 1 Review, The Build . Stay tuned for the performance update in a few weeks. I need to put about 100 miles on this trainer so I can truly find its strengths and weaknesses.