A luxe immersive riding experience for those who want to spare no expense in making their pain cave high-tech.
Supports multiple user profiles
Involves a steering component
Easy to take bike on/off
Includes thru-axle adapter
Heavy and hard to transport
Works best with an Elite-brand trainer
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While Wahoo seems to enjoy a large piece of the smart trainer market, there are other brands making a name for themselves, too, like Elite. Elite is an Italian bike trainer company that features a strong lineup of both smart and “dumb” trainers. The Elite Rizer isn’t their first foray into an immersive riding experience, as last year they had already released the clever little Sterzo steering block. But that was a little more of a toe dip test, while the Rizer allows riders to simulate ascending and descending all from the comfort of your pain cave. The Rizer is not currently available in the U.S., but plans are in the works to make it available for purchase stateside in late Fall 2021.
Elite Rizer: The Basics
While the Elite Rizer is best used with its own ecosystem (we’ll get there later), it is compatible with most Wahoo Kickrs. There can be an issue with other trainers not offering enough clearance to allow for the “descending” motion of the bike frame, so proceed with caution if you aren’t using an Elite trainer. The Rizer is practically ready to use out-of-the-box: Just plug it in, connect to Bluetooth, and either manually adjust the grade or let a third party app, like Zwift, do the work for you. It simulated inclines up to 20%, declines up to -10%, is compatible with fork quick release fork spacings and thru-axles of 12×100, 15×100, and 15×110. Also note it has a max weight limit of 264 pounds. One of the best parts of the Rizer is how stable it is—its four adjustable feet make for a secure experience while ascending, descending, and steering.
Elite Rizer: The Good
As mentioned, one of the most noticeable pros to the Elite Rizer is its stability. It has four adjustable feet and weighs just over 30 pounds, making it safe and sturdy to really lean into on those hard efforts. Considering the price, the Rizer seems to be the type of high-quality, durable equipment you’d expect to last you for many years.
The Rizer also offers a steering component. Thanks to the accordion-looking piece of rubber surrounding where the skewer sits, riders can experience even more realistic riding thanks to the Rizer’s ability to allow the rider to “steer” without stressing their bike frame. This is a much more advanced and realistic version of what the Sterzo does. Elite even claims this functionality “will improve handlebar feel and comfort, but also it helps you to use the same muscle groups on legs and shoulders that you’d be using if you were riding your bike outdoors, uphill.” And while the steering does affect your in-game Zwift avatar in some situations—allowing you to take corners tighter and pass riders—it isn’t active in all Zwift scenarios, so its usability is slightly limited.
One of the coolest parts about the Rizer, though, is its ability to house up to five distinct user profiles through the Rizer app, RIZER. Each profile contains the cyclist’s name, weight, bike weight, maximum and minimum gradients the cyclist would like to stop at, wheelbase, and a safety parameter that will bring the Rizer back to a zero tilt after five seconds of zero speed. So, if you have five friends, have them all chip in for a profile on the Rizer.
The Rizer is also compatible with most of your favorite cycling apps and is easy to set up. It involves just three buttons on the top of the Rizer to get going with your favorite cycling software. The trainer currently lists its compatible apps as: Zwift, Rouvy, Sufferfest, Kinomap, BKool, RGT, Ful Gaz, and Elite’s own training app, My E-Training.
Elite Rizer: The Not-So-Good
It’s hard to ignore the steep price tag on the Rizer – $1,100 USD. When compared to the Kickr Climb which sits at $600 and also extends to 20% max grade and -10% minimum grade, it can feel hard to justify spending double the amount on the Rizer.
The Rizer’s manual also notes that it works best with the Elite ecosystem—that is, having an Elite trainer along with the Rizer. This is because all Elite trainers capture grade data via the ANT + FE-C protocol, which is basically a backend data collection method that allows the Rizer to know what gradient to move to. Most trainers in the past few years also collect data this way, but not all—especially some first generation smart trainers.
The steering component of the Rizer is undeniably very cool. As cyclists continue to find realistic ways to train indoors, steering is one of the missing pieces, even with “steering blocks.” The Rizer’s steering combines both grade and frame movement, which is something we’ve yet to see elsewhere. However, if you are not using a Rizer with an Elite-brand trainer, you must ensure that your trainer will allow the bicycle frame to rotate freely. Otherwise, you could damage your bike frame at the point where it is locked into the trainer. Again, here Elite makes a strong case for you to invest in its entire trainer and gradient adjustment ecosystem.
Trainer technology keeps evolving and surprising us each year with how much it can simulate outdoor riding conditions, and the Rizer is no exception. The Rizer is meant for the serious triathlete and cyclist who not only has some cash to spend, but time to dig in and set up their user profile.
The Rizer’s superior stability and steering technology makes it a top contender for those who are looking to go hard on their indoor sessions, or for those who can split the bill and share the Rizer thanks to its unique user profiles.
If you’re a bit hesitant to pull the trigger with its high price tag, you’re likely just as well off purchasing the Kickr Climb and shoring it up on a level surface and mixing in a steering block when not using the Kickr Climb.
The Rizer is a fine example of how bike tech is continuing to innovate and make indoor riding just as fun and realistic as the great outdoors – minus, you know, the chances of a potential downpour, wind, a cyclist in front of you taking a whiz, or jacking up your wheels in a pothole. Sounds great to us.