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Gradient simulators are a bike trainer accessory that takes your indoor cycling to the next level. For a long time, the go-to option was Wahoo CLIMB because there were no alternatives.
However, there is a new competitor – Elite Rizer.
The main difference between Wahoo CLIMB and Elite Rizer is that CLIMB is compatible with Wahoo trainers only while Rizer is compatible with Elite and third-party trainers. Rizer also allows you to steer and control it via a mobile app.
Below, you find out more differences between these two gradient simulators, whether or not they are worth your money, and much more.
Let’s dive in.
Wahoo CLIMB vs. Elite Rizer Comparison
CLIMB and Rizer don’t differ too much except for a few features (and price). To make their differences clear, I summarized them in the following table. I will explain them in-depth later.
|Feature||Wahoo CLIMB||Elite Rizer|
|Compatible with 3rd party trainers||❌ |
Wahoo trainers only
|Dimensions (H × W × L)||654 × 129.5 × 177.8 mm|
25.75 × 5.1 × 7 in
|728 × 345 × 387 mm
28.6 × 13.5 × 15.2 in
|Supported hubs||QR, 12x100, 15x100, 15x110 (included)||QR, 12x100, 15x100, 15x110 (included)|
|Maximum load||250 lb|
|Buy (USA)||Check Price|
Check Price (rei.com)
|Buy (UK, EU)||Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)||Check Price|
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into the individual differences.
Gradient & Decline Simulation
Gradient & decline simulation means how high or low the gradient simulator moves your front fork.
If this is one of your main purchasing factors, I assure you that both simulators offer the same specs. There is one difference, though.
While Rizer can compensate for 50% of Zwift’s downhill gradient, CLIMB can’t. Let me explain this a little bit further.
Zwift halves the trainer’s difficulty (it is set to 50%) by default. It means that if you climb a 10% gradient, it will feel like 5%, etc. This setting also affects the range of motion of your gradient simulator.
On the other hand, with Rizer, you can set up the difficulty in the Rizer app. For example, if you set the difficulty to 50%, you get a full range of motion but at 50% difficulty (20% gradient will feel like 10%, but the front fork moves to 20% gradient position).
As DC Rainmaker pointed out, Zwift always halves descent gradients, but the Rizer app can override this setting. How cool is that?
One of the main differences between CLIMB and Rizer is the steering ability. Your front fork will be fixed on Wahoo CLIMB, but Rizer will allow you to steer.
Rizer will allow you the same movement as you get with Elite Sterzo Smart Steerer. This feature contributes to a more realistic riding experience. For example, if you turn left, your Zwift avatar will turn left too.
There are some limitations, though. You can’t steer into other riders, ride behind the centerline, or off the road. You have to stay in your line.
The support of steering in other indoor cycling apps is very limited.
Third-party Trainers Compatibility
Probably the biggest downside of CLIMB is that it is only compatible with Wahoo KICKR trainers released in 2017 and newer. So, if you are not in the Wahoo’s ecosystem, you are unlucky.
Rizer is compatible with all ANT+ FE-C trainers (this protocol is a standard for almost all smart trainers). However, don’t forget that your bike trainer should also support rotation at the rear axle. Otherwise, you can damage your frame’s chainstay.
Due to the relatively recent release of Rizer, compatibility with third-party manufacturers’ trainers has not yet been confirmed, so I recommend asking the trainer’s manufacturer directly.
While CLIMB is controllable via remote only, Rizer doesn’t come with it. Instead, you find buttons on top of the Rizer that allow you to control the up/down position or “lock,” so a training app takes care of it.
You can also control Rizer via the Elite Rizer app. Wahoo CLIMB can be controlled via the remote only.
One small difference is in the dimensions of both simulators. Wahoo CLIMB is designed to provide only one touchpoint (and roll depending on the gradient).
Elite Rizer has a stable, rectangular platform. As your front moves up or down, it moves laterally because your rear wheel is fixed. The whole Rizer mechanism moves on rails to compensate for this lateral movement.
CLIMB wins in terms of compactness. It is narrower and fits smaller spaces. This may be an important feature for people with limited storage space.
Both gradient simulators support the same axle standards (quick-release and through-axle). Moreover, they are compatible with virtually any bike thanks to included adaptors.
The packings include:
- 12x100mm through-axle adaptor
- 15x100mm through-axle adaptor
- 15x110mm through-axle adaptor
The maximum load, e.g., your weight and the weight of your bike, differs on both devices. Although this is probably not a deal-breaker for most riders, it is worth mentioning.
Wahoo CLIMB’s maximum load is 250 lb (113 kg). Elite Rizer has a higher maximum load of 264.5 lb (120 kg).
Price is where CLIMB and Rizer differ a lot. Wahoo CLIMB is available in various online stores for around 600 USD in the USA and around 550 EUR (645 USD) in Europe.
Elite Rizer is much more expensive. It retails for around 1100 USD in the USA and around 800 EUR (940 USD) in Europe.
This price difference between the US and European markets is caused by increased shipping rates. The prices for a single container have multiplied, so it is reflected in the final price.
NOTE: Wahoo is US-based. Elite is Italy-based.
According to Elite, Rizer’s price should go down if the shipping prices fall.
Wahoo CLIMB vs. Elite Rizer FAQ
The main differences between Rizer and CLIMB are the following:
- Third-party trainers compatibility (CLIMB is not, Rizer is)
- Ability to steer (CLIMB doesn’t have it, Rizer does)
- Control (CLIMB via the app, Rizer via remote)
- Dimensions (CLIMB is more compact than Rizer)
- Price (CLIMB is much cheaper than Rizer)
The price of Elite Rizer is not very competitive, especially in the US market. However, if you want the gradient simulation and don’t have a Wahoo trainer, it is your only option because there are no other solutions on the market.
Wahoo Climb is a better option for owners of a Wahoo trainer. It lacks some features like steering or control via app, but Rizer doesn’t make too much sense considering its price.