This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
- Highs: A unique blend of rollers and smart training; works on ANT+ and Bluetooth; easy to use
- Lows: Inaccurate power measurement, especially at high output
- Buy if: You love riding rollers and want an immersive Zwift experience
With the Arion Digital Smart B+, Elite combines the interactivity of a smart trainer with the freedom of movement of rollers.
You can use them by themselves with the Elite app, but really the charm is to use them with Zwift or another third-party interactive software that controls the resistance.
The Arion Digital Smart B+ works on ANT+ and Bluetooth, so it's easy to connect wirelessly to laptops and smartphones.
The ride feel is nice and smooth, and the wide drums offer plenty of lateral movement.
The electric brake offers up to 400w of resistance
These rollers aren't that accurate in power measurement. When riding steadily along, the power meter tracks roughly with power meters from Shimano and Garmin, but the Arion reads high at low power and low at high power by as much as 40 percent. (And this is after doing Elite's calibration, where you ride at three prescribed speeds and enter the power required at each as measured by a power meter. This is fun on the rollers with a smartphone!)
There is a resistance ceiling of about 400w, depending on the virtual grade.
Shown in Stages Link, the Arion's measured power in dark green is overlaid with that from Pioneer and Garmin meters from the same ride
So, the Arion isn't an SRM, but it is a fundamentally unique way to experience virtual riding.
For riders wanting an immersive virtual riding experience, the Arion is a great option, as resistance changes smoothly for hills and drafts. For those wanting to do specific power-based workouts, I'd recommend either using a regular power meter for measurement or going with a direct-drive smart trainer such as the CycleOps Hammer, the Wahoo Kickr or the Tacx Neo.
The rollers fold in half for storage and transport. They are stable once you are on and riding, but the plastic frame feels a little flimsy when you put a cleated foot on the little platform as you climb on and off.
The rollers fold up for storage and transport
I measured the noise at 85dB at 200w/80rpm and a maximum of 91db. Both of those figures are a little louder than the average smart trainer measured during testing, at about 72 and 85dB, respectively.
Click through the gallery above for more sample power comparisons from my testing.
While the Arion's total average power from any given ride was close to that of the power meters, the Arion read low at higher power outputs and high at lower outputs