We put the Elite Rampa Smart trainer through our testing protocol in our final review of this trainer. I check the sound, how well it sprints, and how well it climbs at very low cadences. At the end, I will cover the overall rating for this trainer and how I think it stacks up against the competition. There were a few things that I didn’t like, but there were enough good things that I would purchase this trainer under certain conditions.
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I ran the Elite Rampa through multiple testing protocols using multiple apps. You will see some reviews out there that will only focus on one Indoor Cycling App when testing these trainers and I think you are missing some key elements when you do that. Zwift is good for figuring out road feel and responsiveness, TrainerRoad has an awesome workout creator, and The Sufferfest Training System is just good overall to test slope and ERG control.
I will break down the performance into a few key areas. We check how the trainer rides when it comes to road feel. The sound is tested using my sound meter and I compare that to other trainers on the market. The sprint test is next, and then I follow it up with our climbing test. The stats to the right are for your reference as we move along the review.
Ride Feel and Sound
I was extremely impressed with the ride feel and sound of this trainer. It was a surprise. If you asked me if it was the elastogel keeping things quiet, I wouldn’t know really. All I know, is this trainer is the second quietest trainer in the Mid-Range Group. At 20 mph, the noise level for this trainer is 64 Decibels. At 35 mph, the noise level for this trainer is 73 Decibels. For reference, the best Mid-Range Trainer on the Market is the KICKR Snap with noise levels at 61 and 66 Decibels.
The road feel was also impressive. The 5 pound flywheel really helps in this area. Now that I have ridden the Elite Rampa, I would consider the 5 pound flywheel the minimum weight needed to achieve marginal road feel. It still isn’t as close as the Wahoo KICKR Snap with its 10.5 pound flywheel, but I didn’t notice any gaps in my pedal stroke.
Ripping The Legs Off
Now we move on to the sprinting test. I ran this trainer on Zwift, TrainerRoad, and used the Sufferfest Training System. Each one provided a bit of a different feel. I am finding this more and more important that I check how sprint performance works in each app. We will start off with Zwift first.
I conducted my first sprint on Zwift and gave the Rampa everything I had. The Rampa was the only thing connected to Zwift during the first attempt. I also had my Stages power meter hooked up to my Garmin so I could visually check for any delays in power reporting. What I noticed, there is delay with the Rampa reporting power to Zwift. I turned around and then setup Power Match with my Stages power meter. As you can see, this trainer was more responsive and worked better sprinting in Zwift using power match.
Sufferfest Training System Sprinting
The next App I used was the Sufferfest Training System in Slope mode. Slope mode sets a predetermined load on the trainer. I set the Elite Rampa on the highest level using Slope 9. I forgot to turn on my Garmin during the first sprint, but I did capture the other two. As you can see from the image, the Rampa is delayed when reporting power in slope mode. It is very, very delayed.
TrainerRoad Sprint Test
I like using TrainerRoad because you can build your own workout profiles. For this test, I set a super high FTP like 500 watts, and then set ERG targets up to 1350 watts. This would guarantee that I could push ERG to the maximum. As you can see, sprinting in ERG mode is really good with this trainer. It is also like this with the Sufferfest, so ERG works well across those two apps. You don’t see any massive delays in power reporting. The occurrence of power delays are interesting. I imagine you get the delay a bit on Zwift because of the type of resistance signal. It is more like sending a slope signal than telling the trainer to reach 1350 watts which would happen with standard ERG control.
The max power estimate 1500 watts for the Elite Rampa is a true statement. I wasn’t able to hit my sprinting targets this day because it was leg day in the gym. I had some really tired legs, but I can hit 1500 watts usually with most trainers. My max sprinting wattage on the Wahoo KICKR last month was 1445 watts in June, so I don’t really have a problem hitting big numbers.
Low Cadence Climbing
I do a low cadence climbing test because it validates the power and range of the trainer. You put the trainer in the 39 x 27 gear ratio and then see how much wattage it can put out. This test also helps show how many gears your trainer allows you to use. With the exception of the Wahoo KICKR Snap, most Mid-Range trainers are what I call “Big Ring Climbers.” This means they don’t put out enough power at lower wheel speeds to realistically imitate true climbing. You have to use that big ring up front to increase wheel speed and hit those higher power targets.
The Wahoo KICKR Snap can put out 330 watts with the 39 x 27 gear. The Elite Rampa can only put out 175 to 180 watts at this same wheel speed. I like to use TrainerRoad for this test because I can create a custom climbing ladder. That custom climbing ladder really allows me to showcase what wattage you can put out with those lower gears. Looking at the image below, you can see we are still struggling to hit good climbing wattage even on the 39 x 19 gear.
The Climbing rating for the Elite Rampa is advertised at 10 percent. I would say that is inaccurate. The true climbing rating of this trainer is closer to 4% to 6% just like the CycleOps Magnus.
ERG Mode Control
ERG mode control works well for this trainer. I had no issues with responsiveness or control. It reacted well to target changes and it held targets fairly well without bouncing around that much. The Elite Rampa worked exactly as I would expect a good smart trainer to work. My only complaint is power accuracy and drift over time. I used this trainer for two months and after about 30 days, I needed to recalibrate the trainer again. My P values were fairly similar to my previous values, but they drifted a bit over time. I don’t know what caused this, but it reinforces the need to have a power meter with the Elite Rampa.
Here is a beef I have that I am going to keep complaining about; P value inputs on the Elite My E-Training App. I really, really want the ability to just flash my Elite trainers using the Elite Training App without having to go through this drawn out warm up process. I talk about that more in the part 2 review where I look at the calibration. Please let me skip the warm up process. For instance, I am riding on Zwift for 10 minutes and notice my power feels off. The trainer is now warmed up. I just want to get into the Elite App and start the whole calibration process without doing the warmup. That would save me 10 minutes and I need all of my minutes.
Who Should Buy It
I think this trainer is perfect if you have a power meter. We saw in the testing above, that the trainer is more responsive on Zwift when using power match. The trainer’s P values tend to drift after 30 days, so having a power meter will help with accuracy. Also, PowerMatch seems to work very well for these different Apps. It’s a great buy if you have a power meter. This doesn’t mean you have to have a power meter. If you don’t care about the numbers, then this trainer will still get the job done and do it very well. (Purchase a Power Meter)
The last part in this article I rate this trainer and make some suggestions on how to get the numbers up higher. I look at Style, Build, Performance, Supporting Apps, and the Longevity prediction. The ratings you see below are lower than they should be. With a few changes, the Elite Rampa could stand out as a serious number 2 trainer in the Mid-Range trainer group.
Average marks here with 4.0 out of 5. You cannot get great style points with the paint chipping off the frame. With a little attention to detail in this department, the Elite Rampa would get a much higher rating. This carries over to build quality also.
Average marks here with 4.25 out of 5. The frame is a key weakness with the chipping paint. The trainer resistance unit is good and well put together, but the trainer frame feels like it is flexing on me. I am a bigger rider at 90kg, and I think I slightly bent one of the frame legs on a sprint.
Average marks here with 4.0 out of 5. This trainer performs very well when you are using power match. The sound levels are great and there is solid road feel. However, the climbing capability of this trainer is just below that of the CycleOps Magnus. ERG control is solid when tracking and ERG response is decent. The P values do drift over time, so all of this adds up to an average marking.
Average marks here with 4.0 out of 5. If Elite would give me the option to bypass the warmup period, the App is really good with a 5 out of 5.
Average marks here with 4.0 out of 5. I am confident about the durability of the Smart training unit itself. However, the frame just isn’t that sturdy. As you can read, there is a trend here with the frame.
Average marks here with 4.2 out of 5. What is dragging this trainer down is the frame and the App. A better built and steadier frame would put the Elite Trainer as a solid stand out up with the TACX Bushido Smart. The frame needs to be better.
I like the Elite Rampa, I really do. I wouldn’t pick it over the Wahoo KICKR Snap, but I might if I lived outside the US. Wahoo prices can be very inflated for Australian and Euro customers. So, if money is a consideration, then purchase the Elite Rampa. Would I purchase the Elite Rampa over the Bushido Smart? That depends on you. I would pick the TACX Bushido Smart if I wanted a trainer without a power cord. Otherwise, I’m leaning towards the Elite Rampa if I’m a lighter rider. Lastly, I really think you need a power meter to get the most out of this trainer on Zwift. This trainer responds very well when using power match.
Thanks for reading everyone. I will probably not be purchasing any more trainers in 2017 unless I can get some more support from my readers with Affiliate purchases. I use all of my own money to purchase these trainers so I’m not influenced by anyone. If a company does send me their trainer to test, I’ll give it a shot and then ship it back to them. Don’t forget, support the site by making “any” Amazon purchase using my link in the top right corner. Or, just purchase the Elite Rampa with my Amazon Affiliate Link. You can also look at all of the trainers I have reviewed on the Compare Equipment Page.