Elite have just announced their newest trainer, called the “Justo” (pronounced “joosto”).
I am in the privileged position to have tested the new trainer extensively even though it will not be available in Europe and the UK until the 3rd quarter of 2022 and the rest of the world in Q4 2022.
Origins of the Trainer
The origins of the Justo are simple: after releasing the Direto XR, Elite stepped back and analysed where improvements could be made, adopting the approach of “marginal gains” that is now prevalent across the cycling industry. As their Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Gaetano Mercante explained, “We wanted to make an even better trainer than the previous top-of-the-line (Direto XR). As you can see from the specification, we basically improved it in every aspect.”
The Justo doesn’t just take the key functionality of the Direto XR and repackage it. There are substantial enhancements.
Those who have the Direto XR will notice that the design of this new machine is noticeably changed. This is because one of the key drivers for Elite as a company is the “planet.” Elite wants to reduce pollution and waste and use renewably sourced materials and one way to help achieve these targets is to reduce the material used in production. This is a large contributing factor to the slimmed-down Justo’s design. The slimmed design is inspired by the more compact form of the Suito. In total there is a 40% weight reduction in plastic in the Justo compared to the Direto XR.
The styling was influenced by their very elegant RIZER, the only combined climbing and steering device on the market. The Justo is designed to match it and is fully compatible with it. This can be seen in the aluminium base that mirrors that of the RIZER, and a further small detail is the leather handle that has been used.
The handle is the same and has been used to create symmetry between the two products. Some may observe that it would have been better for the handle to have been positioned flat against the unit, however, this has been a point that was discussed in detail by Elite and it was not possible, as their CTO explained “we have tried many different positions and layouts. With a flat layout, the hand would have touched the big pulley.” It was also explained that due to the compact design, there was limited space under the bolt and because the trainer has some weight (as all trainers do), a bolt was used to assure a strong fix of the handle since a screw threaded on the aluminum body would have not had sufficient strength to hold the weight of the unit.
A focal point of the design is the partially exposed flywheel, which weighs 6.2kg and is 22% heavier than that used in the Direto XR to provide a smoother riding feel. This exposed flywheel also helps reduce the noise of the trainer (the plastic on Direto XR acted as a soundboard, even though the Direto XR is not noisy compared to other trainers).
In addition, the pulley and belt are visible. I personally this feature very interesting but this is purely a personal preference as I like to see the moving, mechanical parts and it’s also a nice design attribute.
The foldable legs and compact nature of the design means it takes up less storage space when packed away. The Justo is only 20cm wide, which is 33% less than the Direto.
The foldable legs include flexible feet to help mimic the side-to-side movement of the bike outdoors, making it a more natural ride and reducing fatigue. There are different stiffnesses of feet depending on your preference, and they are easily exchangeable.
Testing and Release
Elite’s testing of this new trainer was been extensive, using specifically designed equipment to test the trainer’s mechanical ability to bear loads. Elite explained, “it is tested on motorized equipment to test its strength, heat, and other aspects under boundary conditions that cannot be reached by a cyclist.”
The Justo has also been trailed by cyclists of various performance levels to ensure that this is suitable for all abilities.
It’s important to realise that there were many good features about the Direto XR and this trainer builds upon them. It can be considered more “evolution” than “revolution.” For example, the following key features from the Direto XR remain:
- Max Gradient Simulation: 24%
- Max Wattage: 2300w
- Power Meter: OTS power sensor
- Transmission Protocols: BLE FTMS, BLE POWER, BLE S&C, ANT+ FE-C, ANT+ Power, ANT+ S&C
- Max Power: 1100w (at 20km/h) / 2400w (at 40km/h)
- Weight: 17kg
- Die-casting body with folding legs
- Compatible with the RIZER
- 24 points pedal analysis
- Die-casting body with folding legs
New features include:
- New Elite Flex Feet: Flexible feet that replicate the side-to-side movement experienced while riding outdoors.
- Power Reading Accuracy: A new more sensitive sensor that improves the overall accuracy by 33% compared to Direto XR-T (from +/- 1.5% to +/-1%), especially in low torque conditions (low power at high speeds). This allows the trainer to also simulate lower slope gradients at high speed.
- Auto Calibration: Justo detects the right conditions for calibration during your training and automatically performs the calibration, eliminating the need for manual intervention by the user.
- Redesigned and Heavier Flywheel: The new flywheel is 6.2kg (22% heavier compared to Direto XR-T) for a smoother riding feel.
- Lower noise level.
- Improved ERG mode power stability: The improved brake control algorithm has reduced the power fluctuations in ERG mode.
- Double Bluetooth Connection: 2 Bluetooth devices can connect simultaneously to the Justo.
- Heart rate/Cadence Sensor Bridge Connection: The user can connect an HR and/or a cadence sensor to the trainer (both in ANT and BLE) and the value is rebroadcasted to the training software through ANT+ FE-C and BLE FTMS. “Justo” can also create a virtual HR sensor. This allows the user to use an HR sensor with a different protocol from the app. (For example, using an ANT HR sensor with a Bluetooth-only iPhone).
- ERG Mode Easy Start: Due to the high resistance that the trainer can deliver, starting in ERG mode from zero watts on a high-power segment can be very challenging. It waits a few seconds before increasing the brake, to let the user gain enough speed momentum to handle much easier the high power requested.
- Wired Connection Ready: A separate accessory (similar to the Wahoo Direct Connect) will allow the user to connect Justo to the home network using a wired connection. This will be available Q4 2022. Here are two images of the device:
One important point is that as previously mentioned, the Justo is smaller than the Direto XR. The dimensions when closed are 57cm x 19.5cm x 52cm, in contrast to the Direto XR-T of 65cm x 30cm x 56cm.
The trainer is simple to set up. Simply remove from the box, remove the protective foam that is wrapped around the flywheel and install the plastic cover using the two screws that come included. Open the feet, adjust the feet to ensure the trainer is level, and click into position, which is easy to do and simpler than its predecessor.
Once it is stable, install your cassette (the Justo does not ship with a cassette), insert the power cord and you are ready to go.
You are probably wondering “Is it that simple?” Yes, it really is.
I did observe that the trainer did feel high up off the ground and when I measured the position, the cassette sits 37.5cm from the ground, in comparison to 31.5cm of the Wahoo KICKR v5 and 37cm of the Tacx NEO 2T.
I do recommend installing Elite’s myETraining app. Although the trainer auto-calibrates, I like to make sure everything is set up correctly. Elite have informed me that their app sends relevant parameters to the trainer upon connection, so if any parameter has been wrongly set, this fixes it. It will also be useful for detecting and installing available firmware updates in the future. So I would advise connecting the trainer via the app before launching into Zwift.
How does the trainer feel?
The trainer is smooth. The large pulley which is connected to the flywheel via the belt means there is a bit more force required in acceleration to build the required momentum, but overall, it’s a really smooth and steady ride.
The rubber feet, which can be changed, ensure that there is a bit of natural movement when cycling, which makes for a more comfortable ride and provides that natural feel.
Accuracy and responsiveness
The accuracy of the trainer is impressive. The below table shows how closely the Justo compares to my Garmin Vector 2S pedals in various tests. We are literally talking the difference of a single watt in many cases!
|Sprint Test 1||Justo||706w||642w||345w||190w|
|Garmin Vector 2S pedals||703w||639w||343w||189w|
|Sprint Test 2||Justo||638w||585w||279w|
|Garmin Vector 2S pedals||637w||587w||278w|
|Climb Test 1 (Volcano)||Justo||417w||396w||371w||321w|
|Garmin Vector 2S pedals||418w||397w||372w||321w|
|Climb Test 2 (Volcano)||Justo||409w||370w||350w||324w|
|Garmin Vector 2S pedals||406w||368w||348w||324w|
|Garmin Vector 2S Pedals||424w||394w||377w||336w|
To detail this further, I have highlighted the percentage difference when I raced the Bologna TT. The variance is less than 1%.
|Justo||Garmin Vector 2S pedals||Difference %|
In terms of responsiveness, due to the size of the pulley/flywheel, there is higher resistance in acceleration. You need to develop more power to increase the speed of the flywheel. The challenge I had was being able to do this. I am sure with more time testing, I would get used to this feel, but my initial impression is that this trainer certainly lends itself more to powerful riders and not sprightly climbers like myself.
One observation, which I am unable to explain was that when I tested the “Justo” when climbing on the Volcano climb in Zwift, my times were 7:38 and 7:35 respectively. This is 40 seconds slower than what I have achieved recently.
The noise of the trainer is very much reduced from the Direto XR, making it one of the quietest trainers I have heard. The reason for this is the new, more aerodynamic profile of the elements connected with the flywheel, the reduced flywheel rotation speed, and a modified belt.
ERG mode is very precise. When I started using ERG mode, initial resistance was applied but it immediately relaxed, allowing me to start pedaling. As the session continued, resistance was applied as expected.
Compatibility with the RIZER
The trainer is fully compatible with the RIZER and is even manufactured in the same styling. A complete Justo-RIZER combination is not just the complete training package, but its elegant and uniform design would make it a conversation piece.
This is a top-end product and retails for £999 / Euro 990 /US $1,199.
It is available in Europe Q3 2022 and the rest of world in Q4 2022.
When I reviewed the Direto-XR I noted “Italy is famed for beautifully designed buildings and machinery, marrying form and function, the Coliseum and Ferrari being examples, and it would be nice to see the next version having that Italian design flare applied.” The “Justo” certainly is an aesthetically pleasing trainer, with details that tie it to the RIZER, creating a complete training platform when coupled together.
More than just looking nice, this trainer is packed full of upgrades from the Direto XR and the ability to hardwire this into a network will be welcomed by those looking for that extra stability when racing on Zwift.
One noticeable improvement is the reduction in noise. This trainer is quiet! Probably one of the quietest I have tried, so certainly no risk of waking anyone if you fancy an early morning training session.
The overall ride feel is smooth and steady and with the newly designed feet, there is a more natural feel when using the trainer, my only point to note was the responsiveness. When accelerating you do feel the flywheel resistance and this may not suit some riders, however when you have reached your speed, this trainer just goes.
When analysing the data from the trainer, I was impressed at how closely the power corresponded to that recorded on my pedals, with it being less than 1% difference. Extremely impressive.
All-in-all, the Justo is packed with new features, offers a nice ride, and is comparable to the trainers in the top end of the market. As Elite says, with the Justo, “Elite’s best just go better.” (“Justo”, by the way, is Italian for right/correct, referring to the trainer’s power accuracy.)
Questions or Comments?