Monday, February 4, 2008 10.00am
By Dave Atkinson
Elite's Real Tour is £250 cheaper than the Tacx Fortius, so how does it differ? The main technological difference is that the Elite uses a fairly standard, though impressive, magnetic unit rather than the Tacx's superb motor brake.
Frame wise, the Elite shares its chassis with the Crono Force, and it's excellent, with gravity contact and a brilliantly simple clamp. Other than that it's mostly similarities: there's a USB controller and cadence sensor that link up to the mains-powered resistance unit and the software on your PC. You can buy DVDs of many different courses for about £25 each (a 25km hilly time trial stage is included), and there's also non-video training sessions.
There's a noticeable lag between the gradient information on screen and the resistance from the trainer, but otherwise the system works well, and the set-up is capable of simulating a pretty tough climb. The Elite scores over the Tacx in that it also functions as a stand-alone trainer without the PC; you can select one of the eight resistance settings using the plus and minus keys - shame there's no display to tell you which one you're on. The Elite will pick up your HRM strap, and save all your ride data so that you can track your fitness, though the tools aren't as fully featured as the Tacx software.
The video definitely holds your interest, meaning that you can train for longer at a steady pace, but you can also do short interval sessions without having to set up the PC, meaning it's a more versatile solution than the Fortius. The Tacx wins the money-no-object race, but the Elite will probably be a better day-to-day choice for many people.
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