If you’re the type of indoor rider who prefers to just mindlessly spin away at low-to-medium resistance, you can feel free to move on right now – the Elite Power Fluid Ritmo trainer simply is not for you. Elite proudly touts the Power Fluid Ritmo as offering “100 percent more resistance than a standard fluid unit” and by our testing, that seems about right. Maintaining just 25km/h (15.5mph) requires about 200W of rider output but you’ll have to crank out over 500W to hit 35km/h (22mph) and things just continue to progress exponentially from there. As a result, it’s a natural choice for intense, high-octane workouts, particularly for stronger riders who can sometimes plateau on magnetic or wind trainers.
Fluid trainers are also rightfully touted for their low noise levels but the Elite resistance unit is almost unnaturally quiet thanks to the company’s clever Elastogel roller. You know that perfect situation when your tailwind speed matches your moving speed and all you hear is the gentle whir of your tires caressing the pavement? That’s loud by comparison. In fact, it’s so quiet that it nearly seems like nothing is happening. There’s no need to raise the volume at all on the TV, you don’t have to yell to hold a conversation, and downstairs neighbors won’t come angrily pounding on your door late at night. We even finished one trainer session in a closed room only to have someone in an adjacent room question whether we were even on the thing.
Road feel is somewhat lacking, though, with the high-resistance fluid unit and apparently low-inertia internal flywheel combining for a distinctly unnatural sensation. Unlike, say, the Lemond Revolution, which seems to coast forever when you stop pedaling, the Elite Power Fluid Ritmo quickly comes to a standstill. Some might say this actually serves as a training tool to help develop a more even pedal stroke but it feels odd nonetheless.
As with many fluid trainers, the Power Fluid Ritmo resistance unit can also get uncomfortably hot, particularly if your sessions run more than an hour. The finned casing helps dissipate heat but there’s no adjacent fan like on CycleOps’ JetFluid Pro to directly blow cooling air across the casing to keep temperatures from rising to scalding levels.
Adding to the strangeness is Elite’s unique Ritmo floating feet, which float on adjustable spring-loaded plungers. The idea is to inject a bit of movement so it feels more like riding outdoors but the motion is mostly limited to the vertical plane and the springs are wholly undamped. The end result is more akin to riding a severely out-of-round wheel accompanied by an annoying clunk as the feet top out. Thankfully, Elite also includes fixed feet with the Power Fluid Ritmo so we’d recommend going that route. They lend a more solid foundation, they slid less on hardwood floors during our test period, and they also set the rear wheel closer to the ground. They’re still not adjustable for uneven ground, however.
We have no complaints with the sturdy folding steel frame, though, with its easily adjustable quick-release mounting system and clever spring-loaded resistance unit mount. The former incorporates a giant lever that requires very little effort for a secure mount while the latter automatically applies the correct pressure on the rear wheel and also locks down and out of the way when loading and unloading.