• Clever Training

Elite Drivo II Smart Trainer In-Depth Review


Being the first company to kickoff Eurobike 2018’s new trainer parade, Elite has dropped the Drivo II upon us.  This is their high-end direct drive trainer that’s meant to compete with the best options on the market in the indoor trainer realm.  The last Drivo unit was about two years old and was due for a refresh, which this new unit accomplishes in a mostly evolutionary way.

As is the trend these days for new trainers, we’re not seeing significant jumps between model years. Instead, it’s more minor things, and Elite is the same here.  In the case of the Drivo II they increase the accuracy levels even further, to a market-leading +/- 0.5%, while also increasing the resistance speed significantly (three times faster). Beyond that, there’s some aesthetic changes (it’s no longer beige, woot!), and they changed the feet design so that it’s no longer awkward. And that’s about it (actually, that is it).

But of course, those are actually fairly important changes for the trainer, and funny enough – I think the most important one in terms of tempting buyers might actually be the color change. It was oft-complained about, and this seems to solve that.

In any case, I dig into all the changes – including resistance speed changes and accuracy in this full in-depth review. I’ve had a media loaner for a while, which will head back to them once I’ve wrapped up with it here soon.  If you found the review useful you can hit up the links at the bottom.

With that – let’s dig into it!

What’s in the box:

When it comes to the box, Elite has never been shy about going all Texas-sized with the packaging. And the same is true of the Drivo II, it’s a fairly beastly box.


Inside you’ll find all the parts reasonably well organized, with the legs arriving detached from the trainer, alongside a box of smaller parts to sort through (including a cadence sensor, thru-axle adapters and a pile of adverts/paper stuffs).


Here’s what it looks like once all that packaging is removed:


You’ll then be taking the legs and simply attaching them to the main frame.


It only takes a minute or two per leg, and I cover it in my full video I’ll upload shortly.  In the meantime, check out Shane Miller’s video on the unboxing pieces:

I would note though that when it comes to trainers, the KICKR you simply take out of the box and are ready to ride, and the same for the Tacx Neo.  So there’s a tiny bit more legwork here to be done.


Now like other Elite direct drive trainers, the Drivo II lacks a pre-installed cassette. With the Wahoo KICKR having such a pre-installed cassette, it’s definitely a bit of a downside that you’ve gotta go out and get your own. The cost ($50-$70 usually) isn’t so much the barrier, as it is ensuring you have the right installation tools for it (another $10-$25). The cost of a Shimano Ultegra 11-speed cassette runs about $65.  Of course, you can go SRAM if you have SRAM, Campy if you have Campy, and so on.  You will need a lockring tool though to install the cassette, and ideally a chain whip.

The actual installation of such parts is easy, and once you have the tools you’ll have them for life – so there’s something there.


In the case of installation of cassettes, the Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 speed cassettes don’t require additional accessories, whereas the Campagnolo cassettes do require purchase of an accessory adapter from Elite.

The Basics:


The Drivo II follows that of other Elite trainers in having status lights on the back for a quick check of overall trainer health as well as connectivity.  You’ll see individual lights for power, ANT+, and Bluetooth Smart.  The ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart lights indicate whether or not something is actively connected/controlling the device, and the power light indicates whether or not the cable is plugged in.


Like most other trainers, the Drivo does require that you supply power to it for any sort of significant efforts.  You can technically run it without power, and to my surprise it actually holds power fairly well.

I was able to hold sustained 350w of resistance without any problems (no power). I did that for close to a minute – but that just became a me limitation, not a device limitation. I was also able to throw down intervals up to about 750w of resistance, which again, became a me limitation and not a device one. I’m not entirely sure what the non-powered limits are, but I suspect for almost anyone out there that the wattage I just noted is more than sufficient for pre-race warm-up type scenarios.

Note though that while outside it’s all non-controllable mode (and without power broadcasting), so the basis here is for sitting in an isolated location (perhaps at a race site) for a quick warm-up.  In my case I measured the power using the power meters on my bike.


Back inside, the power cable is a two-part design that attaches to the back and has a small ‘maze’ arrangement to help protect it a bit as seen below, in case you trip on it.  While at first I liked this idea, I think ultimately I just prefer what Wahoo has done with the flexible and quick-detaching system for trips.  In the case of the Elite, I suspect all you’d really end up doing is snapping the cable in the event of a strong trip, versus with the Wahoo design it’ll pop-out harmlessly.


The resistance control on the Drivo II works in a few different ways, as well as by different applications/methods.  But most of this all boils down to two core methods:

ERG Mode: Setting a specific power level – I.e. 225w.  In this mode, no matter what gearing you use, the trainer will simply stay at 225w (or whatever you set it to).
Simulation Mode: Simulating a specific outdoor grade – I.e. 5% incline.  In this mode, it’s just like outdoors in that you can change your gearing to make it easier or harder.  Wattage is not hard-set, only incline levels.

In the case of simulation (aka slope) mode, the Drivo II can simulate from 0% to 24% incline – which is as high as you get in the indoor training realm.  And realistically, if you’ve ever tried riding up 24% inclines on a road bike, you’d probably fall over.  The key notable change on the Drivo II compared to the original Drivo is that it now does this change 3x faster.  So it can go from 0% to 24% in 3 seconds, realistically faster than any road/path/route I know of.


The reason the speed here matters is because technically Elite is moving a magnet electronically within the unit. So it has to physically move to adapt to changes in resistance.  Thus there’s been hardware changes to allow them to move significantly faster than before.

The second piece that Elite simulates is ERG mode.  In that case the company claims up to 2,300w of resistance at 40KPH and 3,600w of resistance at 60KPH.  Realistically though, you don’t care about that. I can only barely break 1,000w for a second or two, and even the strongest of cyclists out there can’t come anywhere near these numbers, let alone at these speeds.  Said differently: The peak resistance numbers on trainers like the Elite Drivo 1/2, Wahoo KICKR, CycleOps Hammer, and Tacx Neo are really all for show. Nobody’s touching them, and it just doesn’t matter practically.

What does matter though is whether there’s a delay or not in changes to resistance, and with the Drivo II trainer, I test that in my 30×30 test down below in the power accuracy section. So check that out.


When it comes to road-like feel, I put the Drivo in roughly the same category as the other high-end trainers I mentioned.  Much of that is driven by the flywheel, and be it physical or virtual, flywheel sizes tend to be measured in weight.  This impacts inertia and how it feels – primarily when you accelerate or otherwise change acceleration (such as briefly coasting). It’s got a 13.2lb/6kg flywheel, which is identical to that of the original Drivo.  The exact flywheel weight isn’t everything though, because companies can use differing methods to significantly enhance the effective flywheel weight (or simulated weight in other lingo).  Elite’s Drivo has two listed sizes, one is the actual flywheel size (6KG/13.2LBS), while the second is the replicated flywheel size.  This is because with its two-belt system, it actually doubles-down on that replicated feeling in the same way pulleys or levers make it easier to move a heavier load.  Other companies use similar methods, and it’s not about smoke and mirrors, but rather very simple physics here.

Either way, for me personally, it’s hard to separate the fact that I’m riding indoors from outdoors. It’s still a trainer, and I’m still looking at a wall in front of me.  My brain can only turn that off so much.  Overall I think the unit’s got a pretty good road-like feel.  I’m not sure if it’s the absolute best out there (trying to compare them all over time is near impossible), but it’s pretty solid.

Finally, the Drivo is ready to ride as soon as you power it on. In theory there’s no calibration.  However in my case I did a single calibration using the app the very first time I rode it and that seemed to address an oddity I was having.  The calibration process, if you do it, is very quick though:

IMG_1342 IMG_1345

After that point I saw no further need to calibrate it again – just like the Tacx Neo does.  I wouldn’t say the same for many other trainers, but as with the Drivo I, I’d put the Drivo II in a unique class unlike others.  Fear not though, I talk all about accuracy in a few sections.

App Compatibility:


The Drivo II follows the same app compatibility standards as previous Elite products, and essentially follows the industry norms as you’d expect from a high-end trainer.  As you probably know, apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, SufferFest, Rouvy, Kinomap and many more all support most of these industry standards, making it easy to use whatever app you’d like.  If trainers or apps don’t support these standards, then it makes it far more difficult for you as the end user.

Thankfully, that’s not the case here.  The Drivo II transmits data on both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, as well allowing interactive resistance control across both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  By applying resistance control apps can simulate climbs as well as set specific wattage targets.

The Drivo II supports the following protocol and transmission standards:

ANT+ FE-C Control: This is for controlling the trainer via ANT+ from apps and head units. Read tons about it here.
ANT+ Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard ANT+ power meter
ANT+ Speed/Cadence Profile: This broadcasts your speed and cadence as a standard ANT+ Speed/Cadence combo sensor
Bluetooth Smart Control: This transmits both the Elite variant of BLE control, as well as the Bluetooth Smart FTMS variant. In the case of TrainerRoad, they’ll use proper FTMS, and in the case of Zwift (for the next few days anyway), they’ll use the Elite variant.
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard BLE power meter
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Profile: This broadcasts your speed and cadence as a standard BLE combo Speed/Cadence sensor

It’s these same standards that also allow you to connect via head units too. For example the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT as well as Garmin Edge series support ANT+ FE-C for trainer control, so you can re-ride outdoor rides straight from your bike head unit to your trainer.  In the case of the Drivo II these easily pair up that way.  You can also use it for recording data as well too.  For example, for my accuracy testing section, I recorded the data on a Garmin Edge 520 directly from the Drivo II.  From there I’m able to save the file and upload it to whatever platform I like.

For me, in my testing, I used Zwift and TrainerRoad as my two main apps (which are the two main apps I use personally).  In the case of Zwift, I used it in regular riding mode (non-workout mode), whereas in the case of TrainerRoad I used it in a structured workout mode.  I dig into the nuances of these both within the power accuracy section.

In any case – all good there, and it’s nice that with Elite having really pushed a lot of the Bluetooth Smart FTMS control work two years ago, everything is nice and stable this go-around in terms of apps.

Sound Levels:


Everyone wants to know how loud trainers are. Unfortunately, with the move of the DCR Cave still well in the unboxing stage, I haven’t unearthed my handy-dandy sound level traffic light.  Fear not, my ears mostly still work.

The Elite Drivo II essentially follows the same sound levels as the original Elite Drivo.  It’s a tiny bit less loud than the Direto, only because the Drivo II has less of a fan/flywheel wind noise. But that’s really just an incredible nuance. Either way, your fan is still going to be louder.

Nonetheless, to give you a feel for things, I’ve put together a section within my upcoming overview video showing the new sound levels.  As with any sound level tests, there’s a lot of variables.  I outlined all these in my KICKR 2017 post in the past, but I figure it’s worthwhile noting here again.  There are a massive number of environmental factors that truly do have a huge impact:

– The room materials (which can make trainers quieter or louder due to echo, noise dampening, etc…)
– The size of the room
– The exact distance of the camera and/or decibel meter
– The mode of the decibel meter
– The type of mics used
– The sound levels of the mics used
– The exact position of the mics relative to different sides of the trainer
– How the mics capture different tones
– How I edited the audio (normalized levels)
– The speed of the trainer
– The cleanliness of the drivetrain on your bike
– The shifting accuracy (tuning) of your bike’s drivetrain
– Whether or not I remembered to turn on the @#$@# mics
– And other items I’m likely forgetting

Any one of these items can make the entire trainer sound dramatically different.  I included a look at the audio as part of my full video shortly, or currently within Shane’s video at the start of this post.

Ultimately, as you can see, it’s basically ‘ok’, but not fantastic. It’s quieter than the KICKR 2017, but not nearly as quiet as the Tacx Neo of course – which is still as of this writing the undisputed king of high-end smart trainers (the king of all trainers though is the STAC Zero).

Finally, once we get past Eurobike and I find my darn traffic light and get the cave build-out finished…I’m going to make the mother of all trainer noise level videos. Sound good?

Power Accuracy Analysis:

As usual, I put the trainer up against a number of power meters to see how well it handled everything from resistance control accuracy, to speed of change, to any other weird quirks along the way.

In my case I used two different bike setups that I have in my stable:

Giant Bike Power Meters: Garmin Vector 3, Stages R, Avio Gen 2
Canyon Bike Power Meters: PowerTap P1, WatTeam G3

This is all in addition to the trainer itself.  I did a number of rides working through some initial items on power meters actually, but I’m going to focus on my last 3-4 rides which have been rock solid.

In my case, I was looking to see how it reacted in two core apps: Zwift and TrainerRoad.  The actual apps don’t much matter (at all), but rather the use cases are different.  In Zwift you get variability by having the road incline change and you being able to instantly sprint.  This reaction time and accuracy are both tested here.  Whereas in TrainerRoad I’m looking at its ability to hold a specific wattage very precisely, and to then change wattages instantly in a repeatable way.  There’s no better test of that than 30×30 repeats (30-seconds at a high resistance, followed by 30-seconds at an easy resistance).


So we’ll start there. I did a first test using TrainerRoad and controlling things via ANT+ FE-C.  As you can see, it was so-so, but not actually that great in terms of how fast it made the change.  The accuracy itself was solid though comparing to the power meters I was specifically focused on (namely the Vector 3 in this case) since it was capturing full left/right power:


That got me pondering a bit, because I’ve always had fantastic accuracy and speed with the original Drivo, and this was less ideal than that.  So for fun, I then re-did the workout using Bluetooth Smart control instead, via FTMS:


As you may be able to see, that looks better.  But I also made one more change there, which was a gearing change to the small ring in the front for the first 6 intervals, and the big ring for the last two. TrainerRoad had popped up a message in the app suggesting this would improve responsiveness, and sure enough it did (though, not nearly as much as you can see the overall trend was far better with FTMS than ANT+ FE-C.

Which isn’t to say that FE-C is worse (or better) than FTMS. It can often be a slew of reasons why one is better than another in a given combination. Without spending all morning monitoring the packets with the TrainerRoad team, there isn’t a way for me to know why that one morning one did better than the other.  The reason I showed both though was merely to illustrate that sometimes changing the protocol helps.

In any event, to actually analyze the darn data there, you’ll notice that the accuracy side of the house is spot-on, with the units agreeing quite nicely:


Further, the reaction time was good, with it generally going from about 150w to over 400w in usually 3 seconds or so. Which is what I’d consider ‘good’, not spectacular, but good/solid. In general you don’t actually want it to change instantly (0.1 seconds) from 150w to 400w+, as it’s like hitting a brick wall.  So this was nice and functional.


Ultimately at the end of the day what I see in TrainerRoad mirrors what I saw with the original Drivo – it’s very solid for accuracy, and perhaps more importantly in some ways: The two companies play well together from a device integration standpoint.

Next, let’s take a look at things in Zwift.  For this workout I went more freestyle mode and just rode a bit.  Here’s the results of that:


Woah – what the heck? That’s massively off.


In this case I was mostly just paying attention to the Drivo numbers on Zwift, and not the other power meters, so I didn’t catch it right away.  That’s weird though, I wondered what was up?

But it brought me back to the very first ride I had on the Drivo II after unpacking it, which showed the exact same sort of high overages from the Drivo – substantially high.  In the case of the first ride, I let it sit overnight and then tried again the next morning. Worked perfectly then. Hmm, that’s odd.

In that case I had only had two done things: A) Unplugged it, and B) Powered it back on with the bike on during power up.

Pre both times I had done calibrations and it showed the same value each time (every time I’ve ever calibrated the Drivo II, it’s showed these same values).  Calibration/spindown is also significantly shorter than most trainers – lasts only 3-5 seconds. That’s it (compared to 20-30 seconds for most trainers).

So that brings me back to this and Zwift.  Next, after another warm-up and more calibrations I loaded up ERG mode on Zwift via workouts for a super quick validation test, and that worked out beautifully, it was spot on during this step test in 50w increments:


But here’s where it gets odd: After the quick ERG mode step test it brought me into slope mode (regular freestyle Zwift), and virtually immediately things went askew. While the Zwift recording continued non-stop I actually reset the head units merely to have them easy to slice and dice. I almost never stopped pedaling, and yet it immediately went all wonky (that purple line is the Drivo II, well above the others):


So at this point I was effectively fine in ERG mode (workout mode), but showing high in simulation mode.  Hmm.

Ok, then I tried for fun switching it from Bluetooth Smart to ANT+. After all, in TrainerRoad it had changed the behavior a bit.  And sure enough, as soon as I did that, it was perfect.  Well then, that’s weird.  So, it was working just fine in ERG mode for both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, but regular slope mode was incorrect for Bluetooth Smart.

So what about if I did a ride starting in ANT+ and then changing mid-ride to Bluetooth Smart?  Would that make things happy?


Well then, this is where it gets really interesting. Above I’ve started the ride in ANT+ for a few minutes, then stopped pedaling and without exiting switched to Bluetooth Smart.  While in ANT+, it was spot-on perfect.  Then, while in Bluetooth Smart it was wrong.  So continuing that I then switched it back to ANT+ mid-ride, instantly perfect again.

Huh.  So, I did what most people do, I e-mailed Elite.  And then about 12 minutes later a car pulled up, and five Elite employees (actually, the owner plus four employees) arrived at the DCR Eurobike RV and began troubleshooting:


No, I’m not kidding. This actually happened.  To top it off, I was actually eating pasta when they arrived (Elite’s, an Italian brand).

With a car full of engineers standing around they began troubleshooting and I kept riding.  We eventually narrowed it down to a very specific issue:

Power broadcast is incorrect when connected via Bluetooth Smart to Zwift in simulation (slope) mode


It is perfectly fine in Zwift via ANT+ in both simulation and ERG mode.
It is perfectly fine in TrainerRoad via ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart for all modes.
It is perfectly fine in the Elite app via Bluetooth Smart slope and ERG modes (we didn’t try ANT+ because that wasn’t the issue)

They even tested with specific Bluetooth Smart FTMS test suite tools – that too was perfectly fine. In short, it’s one very specific use case (albeit a really important one for Apple iOS and Apple TV users) that something is amiss.

With that established, Elite left for the night to try and figure out what was going on.

At this point you may wonder why neither I nor Shane Miller (GP Lama) caught this on earlier sessions.  And the answer is simple: We just happened to randomly connect via ANT+ in those sessions.  Essentially, it was just a game of luck that we selected the ANT+ side versus the Bluetooth Smart side.  With so many possible combinations and apps to test, the matrix gets surprisingly big surprisingly quick.

If we look at Shane’s data on his unit via ANT+, it’s spot-on (just as mine is). There’s actually two devices in there – it’s just so close you can’t tell:


So how does this story end? Well, we’ll find out.  But I’m actually not super concerned about it yet.  Mostly because I can fully understand the scope and limitation of the issue. If I had done everything in ANT+, I’d never have seen it. Even if I had done all workout mode in BLE, I’d never have seen it.

Elite for their part is digging into it and they’re confident they’ll figure out the bug in short order, likely in conjunction with Zwift’s engineers – since that’s the only application that seems impacted at this time. It doesn’t impact any other apps I’ve tried, nor any other devices/scenarios I’ve tried.

To sum it up – the underlying accuracy of the Drivo II is solid as it has been before, it’s just that there’s a bug preventing the broadcasting of that data from being right on one protocol type in one trainer mode [Update: Elite says that Zwift has found and fixed the issue I saw, I haven’t had a moment to re-test all this yet.]

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Trainer Comparisons:

I’ve added the Elite Drivo II into the product comparison database.  This allows you to compare it against other trainers I’ve reviewed.  For today and tomorrow I’ve compared it against the Wahoo KICKR (2017) as well as the Tacx Neo and CycleOps Hammer.  But given this weekend is Eurobike and plenty of announcements are expected, look for me to revamp this default listing in the coming days with better comparisons as new models come out.

Function/FeatureElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 23rd, 2018 @ 9:19 amNew Window
Price for trainer$1,199$1,199USD$1,369$1,199
Attachment TypeDirect Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (No Wheel)
Available today (for sale)YesYesYesYes
Availability regionsGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobal
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYes for broadcast, no for general useYesNoYes
Flywheel weight13.2lbs/6kg20lb/9kgSIMULATED/VIRTUAL 125KG12.5lbs/5.7kgs
ResistanceElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)NoNoYesNo
Maximum wattage capability2,296w @ 40KPH / 3,600w @ 60KPH2,000w2,200w @ 40KPH2500w @ 30MPH
Maximum simulated hill incline24%20%25%20%
FeaturesElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right Power9EUR one-time feeNoNoNo
Can rise/lower bike or portion thereofNoNoWith KICKR CLIMB accessory
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)NoNoWith accessoryNo
Can rock side to side (significantly)NoNoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoNoYesNo
AccuracyElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Includes temperature compensationN/AYesN/AYes
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)YesYesN/AYes
Supported accuracy level+/- 0.5%+/- 3%+/- 1%+/- 2%
Trainer ControlElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYesYEs
Supports Bluetooth Smart control for 3rd partiesYesYesYesYEs
Data BroadcastElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Can re-broadcast power data as open ANT+YesYesYesYes
Can re-broadcast data as open Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYes
PurchaseElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Amazon LinkN/ALinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programN/ALinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerElite Drivo IICycleOps HammerTacx NEO SmartWahoo KICKR 2017
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Don’t forget you can mix and match your own trainer product comparison tables using the database here.



Overall, Elite has done a nice job in making the modest hardware updates to the original Drivo that people have wanted – faster reaction time and for many – just a different color.  While I don’t think anyone actually asked for even higher accuracy than the Drivo already, they got it anyway – at +/- 0.5%, making it the highest accuracy claim of any consumer trainer I’m aware of.  And I think based on the testing I’ve seen, they’ve got the numbers to back that up.  Oh, and did I mention it’s finally black?

There are some downsides though. First is that setup isn’t quite as clean as other trainers in this price bracket. It’s not something you’ll remember more than a few hours later, but it’s no doubt an aspect nonetheless.  What your pocket-book won’t forget though is that you had to go out and buy a cassette for it, as well as potentially tools to change such a cassette.  Especially since you’re paying $100 more for this trainer than the competitors which include a cassette.  Still, the higher accuracy claims may counter those downsides for some – assuming they can sort out what I suspect is a minor communication bug with Zwift in Bluetooth Smart.

The Elite Drivo II is set to start shipping next week in limited quantities, with the company expecting to catch-up globally by the August timeframe.  This puts them in a really good spot in terms of trainer availability for 2018.  As I suspect we’ll see with various trainer announcements over the coming days, there will be a bit of a divide between the companies. Some models will be available immediately, while others won’t land till mid-fall or so. I don’t expect a lot of middle-ground there actually.  The haves and the have-nots if you will.  I think this year more than ever, companies that wait on announcements till later in the summer, or availability till later in fall will definitely fall into the losing side of the equation.

As always, if you’ve got any questions – feel free to drop them in the comments down below, and I’d be happy to try and get them answered.

Found this review useful? Or just want to save 10%? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pick up the Drivo II trainer through Clever Training using the links below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, if your order ends up more than $49, you get free US shipping as well.

Elite Drivo II Trainer

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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  1. Ralph

    I might have missed it, but since Wahoo has came out with the Kickr Climb, I guess most of us here would like to know if new trainers are “climb compatible” even without communication between trainer and Climb (just like Kickr does to Climb).

  2. “…The peak resistance numbers on trainers like the Elite Drivo 1/2, Wahoo KICKR, CycleOps Hammer, and Tacx Neo are really all for show. Nobody’s touching them, and it just doesn’t matter practically…”

    Actually there is a bit more to it. Trainers like Elite Drivo/KICKR, etc sink excess power in a form of eddy currents heating up chunk of metal so it can swallow huge peaks without any problem. In this case, as you said, claimed Max power is “all for show”. Trainers like Neo actually work as motor/generator combo and the excess power leads to so called overvoltage that is is being routed by power switching circuitry to ballast resistors, heating them up and keeping voltage in check. And instant power generated by cyclist can be very high and resulting overvoltage can actually fry the trainer. So in case of motor driven trainers the Max power does make sense. I would wager that big sprinters can pose a problem for trainers that have motors if those are not properly designed.

  3. Cranks

    I wonder when garmin will be coming with a (probably buggy for the first year or so) trainer!

  4. Jimmy

    As always, I wonder what sort of max grade simulation or power resistance you get at a more human-like 20kph.

    • JimL

      If you are only going 20kph, max power/grade doesn’t really matter since you’re only doing like 150w anyway.

    • Daniel W Sekera

      you can shove your comment since my fat ass when climbing hills at 20kph or less is definitely putting out more than 150w. I weigh 375 and anytime you want to add the necessary weight to yourself and bike to match me we can go for a little climb ace. I’m happy you’re a flyweight but others ride also.

    • Daniel W Sekera

      and oh yea my climbing is more like 10kph….

    • Speeds matter considerably on climbs. I can do 400w and still be only doing 8KPH on a steep climb.

    • MSirbu

      If you weigh 375lbs, then a 10% gradient must feel like %5 in real file for you. I think Elite simulates the gradients based on a rider weight or around 80kg or so in Zwift. You’d probably need a 150-200% trainer difficulty setting in zwift.

  5. Michael

    I have the original Drivo and I did not notice that there is a calibration feature when using this. Are the Drivo I and Drivo II different with respect to that or did I miss something?

    I just switched from a Garmin Edge 800 to a Wahoo ELMNT computer but have noticed that the speed shown using the Wahoo is totally wrong and way too high. I suspect this is due to the fact that you normally have to set at wheel circumsphere at a lower value (normal value / 3.43) on the computer when connecting it to the Drivo. I could set a value when using the Garmin, but so far the Wahoo only “see” the Drivo as a Fitness device and does not allow for setting a wheel circumsphere. Have you any experience with this?

    • Correct, the Drivo II re-adds the calibration feature that the Drivo I lacks. I haven’t seen it make any appreciable difference.

      I haven’t tried doing a spin-down with the a Wahoo device with it. Sorry!

    • Ty

      The calibration is within the Elite app that you download off their site. I only did it once so far.

  6. Torgeir

    If you take a look at the Elite and Zwift forums, youll see that there is some quirks with the original Drivo and Zwift as well when using Bluetooth. Elite blames Zwift, and claim they havent implemented Bluetooth control correctly and reccomends all users to use ANT+. So for us Drivo users, no Zwifting via Apple products. (If you want a realistic ride anyway)

    Also, Elite promised dual ANT+ and Bluetooth broadcast firmware by June 2018. Havent been released yet, could you ask them when it is to be expected?

  7. IkSi

    “12 minutes later” wise.
    I have an Elite trainer for few years now, and they have top level support team.
    Any question, problem, they answer and help.
    Ok, maybe not in 12 minutes (-:, but worth to give them thumbs up.

    • Torgeir

      From the Elite Admin over at http://forum.elite-it.com regarding ANT+ and BT at the same time:
      1. August 2017: “I can confirm you that we will release an update in fall that will enable this functionality”
      23. November 2017: “The app will be released at the beginning of 2018”
      1. feb 2018: “No official release date yet, sorry…”

      And nothing new since then. Top level support when you are a well known blogger testing their latest and greatest, not so much for the average Joe who actually spent a boatload of cash on their top of the line trainer.

    • IkSi

      That was my experience, and I’m the “average Joe”, not a well known blogger.
      Sorry to hear about yours,but I was really happy with mine, enough to put my previous comment (which I don’t do usually).
      BTW, all my help was via email with Italy support, not forum.

  8. PrA

    The old Elite Drivo (and I’ve read that also Direto) has the same problem with Zwift Bluetooth connection as this new Drivo II has. I’ve a Elite Drivo already for over a year and all this time without exception – when connecting with Zwift on Mac OS X computer via Bluetooth Smart and doing freeride (or race, groupride etc.) I have very low resistance. Because of that sprinting is basically impossible. As stated in the article above – at the same time my Drivo works perfectly fine in Zwift via ANT+FE-C in both simulation and ERG mode. Also my Drivo works perfectly fine in the Elite app via Bluetooth Smart slope and ERG modes and in Trainerroad via Bluetooth Smart.

  9. Ty

    My Drivo has worked well with Xert and Sufferfest. The only issue was with short intervals of 15sec on, 15sec rest. Towards the end of the set the Drivo seemed to not keep up and let go of the resistance and then reset itself. Took a few seconds for it to do this.

  10. Torgeir

    More people are reporting problems with the Drivo to Zwift link via Bluetooth:
    link to forum.elite-it.com

  11. Sebastien Riopel

    Which of the following trainers would you say is the fastest to respond to large power changes (like doing intervals from 150W to 500W for 15 sec then back to 150W for 15 sec – like Spanish Needle in TrainerRoad)? Tacx Neo, Wahoo Kickr or Elite Drivo II? I have an Elite Direto and I hate doing such intervals because by the time the trainer has adjusted to the higher power, the interval is almost over. I’m looking for a trainer that will respond the fastest. Which one do I need?


  12. Martin

    Hmmm… to buy drivo 1 on sale for 950€ or is it worth investing in new one. Are the differences that much. Doesnt seem so.

  13. David Pacheco

    One thing I still haven’t figured out about Elite is their “business” with the My E-Training app and it’s paid subscription. First off all do you need the app to calibrate the trainer or is it another app for calibration and maintenance purposes? And if you do need it to calibrate, are we supposed to pay for the app just to calibrate the trainer even if we don’t use the remaining features?!

    • ELITE

      Hi David,

      if you needed to calibrate your trainer, you should use our app, that’s true. However you don’t need to pay any subscription to perform a calibration. You only need to download the app. No active subscription is needed.

  14. Matt S

    Does anyone know if the erg response issues in the original drivo are fixed in the drivo 2? Just looking at Ray’s 30 second intervals, the response looks to oscillate a lot less, and with lower amplitude than the same test with the original drivo, but I’m not sure if that’s a sample of one type thing or whether they have actually addressed the erg response in this unit.

    • Patrick M.

      I just bought a Drivo II and can confirm that this has not been fixed, at least when using ERG mode in Zwift workouts using ANT+ with PC.
      The resistance when doing intervals hit way later than it should, sometimes it continuous for over 10 secs after he interval is over.
      The other issue is that if your power output is set to a specific number (eg 200W), keeping a steady cadence as possible, the average power output is always 15W short. Freaking annoyed after spending so much money in what’s supposed to be one of the “best” trainers.
      Loads of people complaining about the same thing over Elite forums.

    • That actually sounds like a different issue than what I saw. A 10s delay sounds a lot more like an ANT+ signal issue where it’s repeating the command until the trainer sees it. This could be caused by WiFi or the like in your house. Or that the ANT+ adapter on your PC is too far from the trainer.

      All of which impact all trainers.

      The 15w short is a trickier one to troubleshot. It could happen if you have another power meter set in Zwift so it controls one and shows the other. Alternatively, Zwift itself is known to be a bit wonky in terms of how it does ERG mode, which can cause actual interval levels to be lower than reality (for averages).

    • Patrick M.

      Hi Ray, that’s the first think I’ve checked but even with a USB cable extension right next to the trainer, the delay is always there. When using Zwift companion and Bluetooth it’s even worse.
      It seems to takes around 10sec to go from 145W to 300W which is just crazy. If you have sprint intervals by the time the resistance kicks in, the interval time is already over.

      Regarding the lower wattage output, playing with the Elite power smoothing values seems to help in this case.

      If Elite claims about taking 3 seconds to go from flat to 25% incline is true, then I just can’t justify taking 10seconds to adjust the resistance in ERG mode when doing a workout. It’s just unacceptable when a Kickr Core does this much quicker and is half the price.

  15. Curtis

    Hi Ray

    Thank you for the fantastic site and content.

    For the more budget-minded folks reading this thread, I’ve just discovered that the original Drivo is currently on sale at Halfords in the UK for £600, which is cheaper than you can buy the Direto from most places at the moment, and £240 cheaper than any other seller that I can find. Presumably, this is to clear stock ahead of the new model, but that seems like a genuine bargain to me for those not requiring the latest updates (to the extent that I’ve just ordered one, so I now have a trainer that’s worth more than the bike I’ll be using on it).

    Link here for info (NB: direct from the site, no affiliate links). Please remove if it contravenes any site rules: link to halfords.com

  16. Jad

    I currently have a Drivo (1st gen) and although I like the way the device works, there is something fundamentally wrong with the reading I get when my TrainerRoad workouts are posted on Strava. After completing a 1hour training ride, my stats show that I have ridden anywhere between 75-90km (depending on the workout I completed). I had gone back several times to Elite and to the retailer and no one was able to help. .TrainerRoad recommended that I adjust the wheel circumference from the default value (2096) by dividing by 3.43.
    I have downloaded the Elite app and calibrated and my trainer is connected via Bluetooth but I still get the same issue when connected through ANT+.
    Anyone have the same problem? Any help is appreciated

    • João

      you must divide the wheel circumference by 3.43.

      I had the same problem with my wahoo bolt, only when I have put in the wahoo app 627 for the wheel circumference I got true reading from the wahoo bolt!

      read this: link to elitesrl.zendesk.com

      So you must in trainer road adjust wheel circunference.

  17. Enrico Licini

    Hi Dc, is it possibile to fix a mountain bike with 12 speed, as example sram long cage (50/10)? With Drivo 1, the cage touched the body of the roller…unbelievable!

  18. Erik Versteijnen

    Hi Ray,

    About to sell my Drivo to upgrade to Drivo II. Now rethinking my initial choice, Tacx vs. Elite, and this raises a question. Any insight in when Tacx might present a new high end model or upgraded Neo Smart?

  19. João


    Have you tested the Wahoo Climb with the Drivo? Does it work? Thank you.

    • There’s no integration between the Wahoo CLIMB and any 3rd party companies currently (or yet). So with the Elite Drivo or Drivo II, you can attach a climb and manually press the buttons to go up and down, but it won’t automatically do so according to the software terrain.

      Physically speaking, my specific bike on the Drivo II will actually go up and down without any blockers, but that doesn’t mean every bike will, nor does it mean it’s good for the bike or trainer long term. That’d be something that Elite would have to test.

    • João

      Thank you Ray for such a quick answer.

      I was asking because I have a Drivo and I have just read this article from velonews: link to velonews.com

      It’s seam it work, but was unable to know if manually or automatically…

    • Yeah, that specific article’s photo and text is somewhat misleading. It’s not automatic, purely manual.

    • Eric Perrier

      Hi DC, sorry silly question!

      When you say your bike is physically going up/down, [apart from the extra resistance!] do you mean the Drivo 2 will lower the back of one’s bike from the rear axle giving the physical impression of a climb?
      Not obvious.
      Whereas the raising/lowering device which is the Kikr Climb seems more obvious.
      You seem to use the Kikr in addition, don’t you? Many thanks for your input.
      Kind regards,

    • Martin

      I have drivo II. I think if wahoo would let other trainers apps control the climb you could use it on drivo. My front wheel can go up down freely without interference from the rear side. And I have no problems with responsivnes. Works like a charm.

  20. Steph


    When you run all the tests do you leave the power smoothing setting at default (2, I believe)?

  21. Michael Sullivan


    I have the original Drivo, using Apple TV and I only use Zwift for races and simulation mode. I’ve got the exact same issues others have experienced using Bluetooth, I spin out on flats during sprints and the power won’t increase. Elite keep saying on multiple forums that a firmware update will be released, been saying this for years it seems but still no update!

    DC, could you use your leverage on this to get them to sort it? I don’t care whether it’s Zwift or Elite who’s at fault, all I care about is it’s ruining my Zwift experience. Had I known I’d never have bought an Apple TV and I’ll never buy an elite trainer again if they don’t sort this.


    • Axel

      So, is the bluetooth-Zwift issue fixed now? The edit in the review says that Elite claim it is, but these recent comments suggest it isn’t.

  22. Eric Perrier

    Dear DC,
    I have just bought the drivo 2 and an adapter hub for a Campagnolo cassette. The problem is the axle is too big for the replacement hub. Getting worried. Can you help?
    Thanks, Eric