With the expansion of apps making indoor cycling a lot more interactive, trainer manufacturers have launched a new generation products. These smart trainers communicate directly with Zwift and their resistance is managed by Zwift, allowing it to vary according to the information transmitted by Zwift.
There are two types of smart trainer: roller trainers (or “wheel on” trainers) and direct-drive (or “wheel off”) trainers. Home trainers Elite Direto and Tacx Flux are part of this second category. Positioned in the middle in the overall range of trainer prices, these trainers offer the benefits of the higher-priced direct-drive trainers at a more accessible price point.
Since these trainers are in the same price range, we found it useful to compare them on different points: connectivity, slope simulation, compatibility and noise.
The undeniable common point of these trainers is their system of resistance. Both operate using electromagnetic resistance, so the magnets brake the flywheel and create a resistance. Thus the Tacx Flux is able to withstand a power of 1500W, the Elite Direto will develop 1400W (at 40 km/h). For comparison, the big brothers of these home trainers (Elite Drivo and Tacx Neo Smart) are able to develop respectively 2000W and 2200W. Nevertheless a power of 1400W or 1500W will be more than enough for most riders.
The Direto has adjustable pads and can be folded when not in use, unlike the Flux which does not have an adjustment system and cannot be folded.
In our opinion, the biggest difference of these two trainers lies in the power sensor. The Elite Direto is equipped with a real power sensor to measure this data with an accuracy of +/- 2.5%. Conversely, the Tacx Flux does not measure the power but calculates it according to an algorithm taking into account cadence, speed and resistance of the device. Tacx claims an estimated power of +/- 5% and is therefore less precise than its competitor.
On this point both home trainers are equivalent. They both carry ANT + FE-C technology and Bluetooth Smart technology.
The ability to simulate slopes is essential for Zwifters, who may see slopes of up to 17% in the famous world of Watopia. Our two trainers are not equal on this point. While the Tacx Flux peaks at 10%, the Elite Direto home trainer can reproduce a slope of 14%. Note that neither of these home trainers simulate descent, unlike the Tacx Neo Smart, the only device to reproduce this sensation.
Here the slight advantage goes to the Tacx Flux. Indeed, it is equipped with the EDCO Multysis universal freewheel body compatible with Shimano, SRAM, and most of the recent Campagnolo cassettes (so, no need to change this freewheel body if you ride Italian.) The Elite Direto has a Shimano freewheel body which would have to be changed if you plan to mount a Campagnolo cassette on the unit.
Regarding the axles, both trainers come with a 9mm axle (quick release). You may also change this axle to mount a bike with thru axle on it. On the Tacx Flux this axle is not sold with the home trainer and must be purchased separately. At Elite, this special axle comes with the Direto.
Concerning the noise nuisance emitted by the devices, DCrainmaker.com has carried out tests on these and many other home trainers. Here the Tacx Flux wins with 63 dB at 35 km/h when the Elite Direto measured 68 dB at the same speed.
When someone plans to buy this type of connected home trainer, he wants to acquire a product that will meet his requirements but especially the requirements of the app that will be used. For this reason, at Zwift Insider we prefer the Direto. Its more accurate power sensor allows more precise training, while riders can also enjoy (or curse!) the ability of the trainer to reproduce even the most difficult percentages.