Elite Rizer Gradient Simulator + Steering Device Announced

Elite Rizer Gradient Simulator + Steering Device Announced

Elite has just announced a new indoor training product, the RIZER, which allows for both gradient simulation and steering on Zwift.

Elite RIZER vs Wahoo KICKR Climb

People will immediately draw comparisons between the RIZER and Wahoo’s KICKR Climb, since the Climb was the first (and to this point only) gradient simulator on the market. Here’s how the two devices compare:

  • Compatibility: The Climb is only compatible with certain Wahoo trainers. The RIZER can work with any trainer that supports ANT+ FEC, (which is pretty much all trainers) and allows for free up/down movement of the front of your bike, rotating on your rear axle.
  • Range: both units go up to 20% and down to -10%.
  • Design: the RIZER has a very stable base, while the Climb is purposely built with an unstable base.
  • Trainer Difficulty: Elite lets you configure the RIZER so its response is not tied to your Zwift Trainer Difficulty setting. Wahoo has no such setting, so if your trainer difficulty is set to 50%, your Climb is only moving half the distance it should.
  • Drive Mechanism: the Climb uses a belt to move your forks up and down, and some users have snapped this belt (ouch). The RIZER uses a metal screw which, according to DC Rainmaker, has no ability to snap.
  • Steering Functionality: the RIZER has Zwift steering functionality built in, which Wahoo’s Climb does not support.
  • Pricing: the RIZER is priced at $1099USD, while Wahoo’s Climb is priced at $599USD. Yikes! This disparity in US pricing is mostly based on the current state of international shipping rates, though. (Elite is based in Italy, while Wahoo is US-based.) In euros, the Rizer is priced at 799€, while the Climb is 549€.

How Gradient Simulation Works

The RIZER gets its gradient simulation data from your smart trainer. If you’re on a compatible Elite trainer (the Direto XR, Suito, and Tuo) your trainer will broadcast the current gradient directly to the RIZER. Other trainers don’t currently rebroadcast the gradient, so the RIZER instead computes the gradient based on the trainer’s broadcasted speed and power.

As one would imagine, that leads to a less-than-perfect simulation experience on non-Elite trainers. Ray from DC Rainmaker says, “As far as 3rd party trainers go, as I said above, it’s not a perfect solution in terms of responsiveness of the gradient simulation, at least until other companies implement the transmitted gradient in the data stream.”

More Reviews

We don’t have a RIZER in-house, so we can’t give you a hands-on review. But here are two reviews from some trusted sources:

In-Depth Review from DC Rainmaker

Review from DesFit

Availability

The RIZER is in production at Elite, but not yet shipping. Word is they’ll arrive in Europe in August, while North American markets won’t have access until late September/early October.

Questions or Comments?

Share below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Shay
Shay
2 months ago

“Other trainers don’t currently rebroadcast the gradient, so the RIZER instead computes the gradient based on the trainer’s broadcasted speed and power.”

How can you calculate gradient from speed and power?

Henry Ashman
Super Member
Henry Ashman (@h_j_ashman)
2 months ago
Reply to  Shay

I guess the idea is rolling resistance and air resistance are relatively stable on trainers, so the major variation between power out and speed would be the gradient. It’ll get wonky with things like momentum, drafting, power ups or stopping pedalling. But I think it’s meant to be an approximation until other manufacturers start rebroadcasting via firmware.

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
2 months ago
Reply to  Shay

One would think you would need W/kg and speed to determine gradient, but maybe it’s a relative thing. At power x, you were going y speed, but now you’re going z speed so you must be going up a gradient of whatever to slow you down that much. Really though, it seems like weight is needed (and maybe rolling resistance, and CdA).

Geoff Searle
Geoff Searle
2 months ago
Reply to  Shay

High power and low speed = “i’m going up a hill”…so I’d expect it to give you a slight gradient when going over rough ground like after the bridges on Figure8 reverse (Watopia).

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
2 months ago

Curious, @eric Schlange, what your feelings are about using this. The large base makes it look like it might not fit on most rocker plates and you seem to like using rocker plates (I think I would too if my trainer setup would work with them, but I ride on rollers with a fork stand and a homemade motion setup – thinking about moving to smart trainer if I ever get the money though).

Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson (@brandon_j_585)
2 months ago

The ability to separate climb simulation from trainer difficulty is a great feature. I have a KICKR Bike and wish it had this feature.

Simon
Simon
2 months ago

I can’t take the credit for this, I read it somewhere, but with a Kickr/Climb combo you just change the wheelbase of your bike to compensate. Like riding at 50% trainer difficulty, just double the wheelbase you enter…

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

So can the Riser be used with later wahoo Kikr models?

C.L.F.
C.L.F.
2 months ago

As I’ve already experienced a Kickr Climb snapping during a race through Titans Grove (which luckily did not result in a crash or somersault), that might be a welcome alternative when time comes and the replacement Climb brakes, too… Of course, responsiveness should be improved if it is even worse than for the climb (but to be fair, the main benefit is not the rollercoaster feeling in the Esses, Crit City or Titans Grove but rather riding position simulation on the long climbs where it works just fine…). From the looks of it (I haven’t watched the videos), you maybe… Read more »

C.L.F.
C.L.F.
2 months ago
Reply to  C.L.F.

Another thought: The gradient of the Kickr Climb is limited acc. to the trainer, having a different max gradient for Kickr and Kickr Core. That made me think the limitation of the gradient was connected to the trainer. But what would be the difference which would have impact on the possible inclination of the bike? The Rizer seems to be working with all trainers and it doesn’t seem it would limit the gradient acc. to the used trainer. Maybe Wahoo is afraid that the Kickr Core isn’t as stable with the Climb as the Kickr.

matthew John
matthew John
2 months ago

Can I use my Wahoo kickr 1st generation with the either of the gradient trainers?

Matt 3595
Super Member
Matt 3595 (@straightlineboy)
2 months ago

It’s a cool idea but given that my turbo trainer is over 4 years old now I don’t feel that I want to spend a load of money on something like this right now. I’m more inclined to wait until either my trainer dies or the next gen of smart bikes hits the market and will make a decision then what is the best solution for me

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago

Beyond waiting to see if Tacx implement a firmware update to broadcast the gradient info, and the cost to come down (oof!), my main two thoughts/queries about the Rizer would be:
1) How noisy is it, since constant up/down movements on a metal screw system sounds like it could be rather annoying sound-wise
2) Can the Rizer have the steering function turned off and be used just for the gradient changes, and vice-versa can the gradient movement be turned off and it be used just with the steering functionality
Definitely looks like an interesting bit of kit in general though

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