Elite Rampa Review Part 2, The Calibration

Here is a view of the magnets that fit into a carriage unit outside the metal plate. There is one metal plate that houses 3 magnets on the outside and one on the inside for a total of 6 magnets.
Looking closer, we see 3 magnets but spots for four magnets. I’m thinking 4 magnets on each side might have been too much.

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. The final review is in Part 3: Elite Rampa Review, The Ride.

Support the site and purchase your Elite Rampa Smart Trainer from Athleteshop.com using my affiliate link or Amazon.com Elite Rampa Smart Trainer.  I will admit, the navigation takes 10 seconds to load up (they’re the only partners I have right now).  You need to go to the website, head to cycling, then select trainers.  You can get some really good deals in Europe right now.

The video is up on my YouTube Channel that will cover all of this in detail.  Don’t forget to subscribe!  I make other videos that don’t have articles and are just for fun.  Tired of checking the website for new articles?  Just fill out the contact form to the right and I send an email with article updates every Sunday, or every other Sunday depending on how much time I have.

Overview

The Elite My E-Training App that you can use with your Elite Rampa
Taken from the Internet. The Elite My E-Training App.

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.

This is a base power map for the Elite Rampa. It shows the minimum and maximum wattage attainable for different speeds.
Validated Base Power Curve for the Elite Rampa Smart Trainer using a Stages Power meter.

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.

This is Elites factory power map from the Elite Rampa. Very similar to what I found testing this trainer.
This is the advertised power curve that Elite provides us.

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

This is the Factory P Values for the Elite Rampa using the My E-Training App.
It actually reported my mapped P values once. 

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

Factory Map

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.

We have plotted the Elite Rampa wattage with the Stages Power Meter wattage while doing a Sufferfest Workout Ignitor. You can see the Rampa consistently reports 50 watts higher than the power meter.
The Elite Rampa over reports wattage by about 50 watts with the factory P settings.

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.

Here is the Elite Rampa plotted with the Stages Power Meter while riding in Zwift. You can see that the Elite Rampa is reporting above and below the Stages power Meter. This is what makes using the Elite Rampa on Zwift so different. All the P levels need to be adjusted to work correctly.
Here is a full ride on Zwift. You can see the variance in power readings between the Elite Rampa and the Stages Power Meter.

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.

This is a closer look at the Elite Rampa wattage and the Stages wattage. Here we can see that the Rampa over reports wattage on the flats while it under reports wattage on the climbs.
You can see that the Elite Rampa is either taking away or adding too much wattage.

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.

This is a screen shot of the 10 minute timer in the Elite My E-training App.
Please let me skip this!

Difficulties

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.)

This is a screen shot of the Windows Elite program that maps the Elite Rampa much quicker than their iOS app. It only displays the factory P values and not what you flash to the trainer.
The Windows Software allows you to Map the Rampa instantly. However, you can’t confirm the numbers.

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.

Changing P1/2/3

screenshot-2016-10-13-19-22-06Here 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:

  1.  Decrease the P1/2/3 numbers to decrease the reporting wattage values in Zwift.
  2.  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?

We have confirmed that the Elite Rampa is now reporting very close to the Stages Power meter on the Sufferfest App. However, we see that the Rampa is not reporting wattage very well above 800 watts. We will look into this further on part 3 of our Elite Rampa review.
The Rampa is super accurate now after I mapped this trainer using my Stages Power meter with one exception.

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.

With our new P values set, the Elite Rampa is now working much better on Zwift. We estimate the P1 and possibly P2 might need to go up slightly for the climbs. The Elite Rampa is now over reporting by 10 watts on climbs.
Much, much better performance on Zwift. I think P1 and P2 on the Elite Rampa might need one more little adjustment.

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.

Summary

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.

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson

Aaron served in the military for 20 years. Multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired from the military after 20 years of service to take care of our three small children in 2013 as a Stay At Home Dad.

athletictechreview has 60 posts and counting.See all posts by athletictechreview

6 thoughts on “Elite Rampa Review Part 2, The Calibration

  • May 30, 2017 at 3:25 pm
    Permalink

    Aaron – you’ve done so much great work here – explaining the ELite Rampa calibration.
    Is this the same for all Elite trainers?
    If it takes a crank power meter to calibrate accurately, how much would that add to the cost of the trainer, to make it as accurate as say, a Kickr Snap? I reckon a kickr snap would be cheaper than Rampa + power crank (although you could also use crank outside..)

    Reply
    • May 30, 2017 at 6:27 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Ian, from what I can tell, it is the same calibration for most Elite Trainers. I’m looking at their list of trainers in the My E-training App and I see the Kura, Rampa, Qubo Smart, Volano Smart B+ and the Roteo with the Drivo. I think they have one trainer that has a power meter on the actually unit. It might be the Volano or Roteo. I can’t remember right now. That might not need the P value calibration.

      Yes, it gets a bit complicated. The user has the ability to get the Elite Trainers really close to a power meter, but trainers like the KICKR Snap are already within a 5% accuracy. I think it will come down to what you can get a trainer for and what the price points are. I know some of my friends in Australia have to pay significantly more for the Wahoo trainers and can probably get Elite Trainers for cheaper.

      In the end, I’m just hoping that I can get a person who doesn’t have a power meter close to accurate.

      Reply
  • May 31, 2017 at 10:00 am
    Permalink

    I wish I’d had this article. I bought a Rampa, but as Mac user without a power meter, it was too inaccurate for me to use with Zwift.
    Particularly in group rides, it was clear that sometimes I wasn’t working hard, and other times I was being dropped, despite trying to stick to a W/Kg schedule shared by the group.
    Eventually I gave up and returned it.
    Why do you think Elite don’t use the same P values as you worked it out to?
    Are you connecting via BT or ANT? Many of us seemed to have problems with the BT connection.

    Reply
    • June 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm
      Permalink

      I’m not sure why they went with the P values for calibration. It does give you more control of your trainer and it seems to provide more accurate results “IF” you have a power meter. Without a power meter, the user could be all over the place. I’m connecting all on ANT+. The Sufferfest App doesn’t have bluetooth control for Elite trainers yet, and then I use the Windows computer for Zwift which I think is all ANT+ still.

      Reply
  • June 19, 2017 at 2:52 am
    Permalink

    Hello, Aaron!
    The third day I attempt to change the parameters of P1 P2 P3 on Elite Rampa.
    Using My E-Training App, I specify 250, 260, 140 in the calibration wizard. The application saves the settings.
    But if I check these values in Windows program Real_Trainer_Calibrations or P1 P2 P3 My E-Training App the factory settings are 252, 282, 170. How can I be sure that the Elite Rampa is tuned?
    Sorry for Google translate.

    Reply
    • June 19, 2017 at 6:02 am
      Permalink

      Hello Pavel, I talked to Elite about this. You cannot verify the numbers once you flash them. You have to trust that they made it to the trainer. I asked Elite to give us a way to check our numbers in the future. Hopefully, they will add that to the App at some point.

      Reply

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