This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
- Highs: Most inexpensive smart trainer on the market; lightweight; folds for storage and transport
- Lows: Inaccurate power measurement; noisy; short power cord
- Buy if: You want to get into the virtual riding game without spending a fortune
Perhaps the best smart-trainer bargain, the Elite QuboDigital Smart B+ delivers great value — and you can usually find it even lower than the list price on Wiggle and Performance.
Elite QuboDigital Smart B+ overview
- Electric-motor resistance controlled by Zwift, TrainerRoad or other apps
- Can only do ANT+ or Bluetooth, but not both simultaneously
- Light and folds down
- Relies on rider weight for tire/roller contact
- Power measurement decent at steady state but poor during surges
- Noisy (80dB at 200w/80rpm; 91dB max)
Elite QuboDigital Smart B+ set up and ride impressions
To use the Qubo, you just clamp your rear axle in and — after plugging in the trainer and pairing it to your favorite app — start pedaling.
Unlike most wheel-on trainers, the Qubo does not have any mechanics for securely tightening the roller against your rear tire. Instead, it relies on your bike and body weight for the connection.
An electric motor controls the resistance, which is in turn controlled wirelessly by third party apps such as Zwift or TrainerRoad
For such a relatively light trainer with no screw-down tire connection, the Qubo is fairly stable to use when seated.
When you stand up, though, the pressure on the roller changes and so does the power measurement.
When seated and riding virtually in Zwift, the Qubo does a good job of quickly adjusting resistance to mimic hills and big drafts.
Without a large flywheel or sophisticated programming, the ride feel isn't quite as good as a high-end trainer.
But — and this is the big but — the trainer costs a fraction of most other smart trainers. And as such, the Qubo is a good tool for the price.
Elite QuboDigital Smart B+ power comparisons
When looking at the big picture, the Qubo power measurement is pretty good. For this ride, the Qubo (in boldface) tracks roughly along with Garmin Vector 3 and Pioneer power meters, with average power being just a few watts off
I tested the Qubo and nine other smart trainers with pairs of power meters.
If you just look at average power for any given ride compared to power meters, the Qubo isn't bad.
It doesn't handle changes in pace or power very well, though, being very slow to respond to increases and decreases. Also, it reads high at lower power and low at high power.
But when you look more closely at the Qubo, the power measurement (in boldface) misses the nuanced measurement of actual power meters
Elite QuboDigital Smart B+ ride impressions
The Qubo is light and super easy to set up.
It is the cheapest smart trainer out there. (Some non-interactive trainers are branded smart if they measure and transmit power data; I don't count these.)
The main trade-offs for the great price are power accuracy and noise.
If you want to use a smart trainer for short interval training, I wouldn't recommend this one. But if you want a smart trainer that delivers the virtual experience of changing resistance to mirror virtual undulations, the Qubo is a great value option.
Although not as accurate as a more expensive smart trainer, the Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ is much lighter and easier to store and transport