I was in search for a new turbo trainer for this winter and ultimately decided on the Elite Qubo Home Trainer. Here’s my review and thoughts on it so far.
Let me first say that this review and my thoughts are in no way affiliated with Elite, nor In Situ. This is my own, personal home trainer and my thoughts about it. Neither Elite nor In Situ paid for or sponsored for the trainer’s purchase or review. I just thought that readers might like some ideas if they themselves are searching for a new bike trainer too.
After several years of foregoing the use of a home trainer, preferring instead to venture out on the roads and trails, no matter what the weather, I started to realize that maybe the quality of my workouts was suffering. I held on to the noble notion that it builds character to weather the elements while riding one’s bike. But in honesty, I know that I would often ride easier or shorter than I probably should have been for training purposes, especially if the roads were snowy or icy. With this recent winter being a bit more serious than usual, I decided it was time to get a new stationary trainer. (I had a old Blackburn Trakstand years ago, but it was long since gone).
I also thought about getting a set of rollers, since this was the “gold standard” that so many people seemed to tout, back when I was first getting into cycling. But the trainer vs. rollers debate is a whole different discussion. For the sake of the post, I’ll just say that I chose to go with a trainer for several reasons.
So for me, the choice of a trainer came down to one main factor: was it quiet? My previous Blackburn sounded like a plane was about to take off every time I was on it. That combined with the required fan and the television volume, made for quite the racket! This time out I was going to hopefully change all of that. After googling multiple different variations of “quiet home bike stationary trainer”, I quickly started to notice that the Elite Qubo Fluid Trainer was mentioned often. A few more clicks and a few more comparisons and I had made my mind up. The Elite was the trainer for me.
Here are my thoughts on it from first taking it out of the box, setting it up to its performance.
Set-up: It does require some! Not much, but some. You don’t just pull it out of the box and you’re good to go. A few web reviewers complained that it was not easy to set up. I disagree. It’s not difficult, but it does take several minutes (e.g. 20-30 minutes), including some minor adjustments you might have to make to ensure it’s ready to go for the first use. Pay particular attention to the diameter of resistance unit roller! It comes in two different sizes/diameters and you’ll mount the resistance unit into different holes on the trainer base depending on what resistance unit you purchased. The instructions clearly walk you through this, but take a second to double check before installing. You’ll also have to adjust the side to side position of the resistance unit, so that you rear tire sits in the middle of the drum while in use. Lastly, you’ll play around with trainer’s clamp, to make sure it sufficiently grabs your rear axle, while not being too tight or too loose. You’re also given several plastic feet that can go under the trainer to level it out, if you need it. I didn’t need them.
Initial impressions after set up, but before the first use: Set-up was straight-forward, although I definitely needed to follow the instructions. It wasn’t intuitive. When centering the the resistance unit at the rear, I needed to move it all the way over to the left so that my tire was centered on it. That seems strange to me, but it doesn’t affect the performance at all. I’m wondering though if there are any bikes out there that one wouldn’t be able to center because I don’t think of my road bike as being particularly unique, yet I need the extreme left mounting position for it to sit correctly in the trainer.
Build quality: The resistance unit seems of very high quality. The trainer frame itself seems a bit lower quality with parts being made out of high density plastic and not metal. The vertical arms are metal, but the base is plastic. Even so, the trainer feels solid and is very stable when in use.
Performance: In a word, fantastic! Compared to other trainers I’ve used this is just simply great. There are no resistance adjustments on the trainer and there is no remote resistance control. All of the resistance is automatic from within the trainer itself. This is apparently done by calculating the weight and speed of the rider and adjusting accordingly. If you need more or less resistance, simply change gears, just like on the road. Super simple. The feel while on the trainer is also super smooth, with no slippage. While it does feel a little harder than actually riding on the road, there is more than enough range to spin as a warm up and to push harder gears too. For most of my use of the trainer so far, I haven’t really felt the need to use the big ring. There is more than enough resistance for me in the little chainring and smaller cogs.
Noise Level: So this was my main concern with a new trainer. All I can say is that this trainer is unbelievably quiet. I can’t even really hear it over the sound of the bike chain and pedaling. That’s quiet! As with most trainers, there is still vibration in the floor, but it is not very much. I should also note that I’m also using a trainer specific rear tire to cut down on noise and wear. I didn’t always use to do this in the past, but I’ve heard quite a few comments how this can help with the noise as well. I’ve not tried this same trainer with a normal tire to see if it’s any louder.
Unique notes: The trainer does not come with a front wheel riser, so you’ll either make do with fabricating your own (i.e. the phonebook) or you can buy one from Elite or another manufacturer. I use a thick magazine and it works just fine. It does however come with its own rear quick release skewer to ensure a good fit while your bike is on the trainer.
Summary: I like the Elite Qubo Fluid Trainer very much. Besides a few little quirks with the setup, it performs very well. And in terms of it being quiet, it’s fantastic.