Cadence in ERG mode


I am new to trainer road. I actually posted this question to to the podcast, but this forum may have been a better place.

I have a question regarding Working out with the ERG mode. I have been using my trainer for a few years now but only recently have been getting more out of it.

When I am doing a workout, and matching the required power; I usually find it a lot easier to spin faster so that the resistance eases off. I wonder how this translates into a real world situation.

In the real world I am not going to have the option to simply spin faster to make the pain stop. On the trainer I end up spinning at 100-110rpm. This is a lot faster than my normal 80-90 rpm on the road.

I guess my question is: For best results, should I avoid spinning faster on the trainer and just take the pain at my regular rpm?

Too an extent you can replicate the feel… until you run out of gears. You don’t have as fine of resolution as ERG mode, but you can normally hit a desired range.

I think you might … but only if you shift to a lighter gear (which is what ERG is doing for you, when you spin faster). No expert on this, but that is my experience.

Don’t you just hate that?

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I’m definitely new to cycling training, but as a “spinner” (high cadence cycler, i.e. 95+ rpm), I’ve received this advice from a few knowledgable folks (including a tri coach):

  • assuming power remains the same, in general, higher cadences will put stress on and train your cardiovascular system; lower cadences will put stress on and train your muscular strength
  • although it’s highly individual, the sweet spot for cadence for longer periods of time is 80-95, and you should try to train throughout that range

In cycling, leg strength is probably one of my weaknesses, but I’m very fit cardiovascularly. So I naturally gravitate to my strength (high cadence spinning). When I train, I’ve been trying to be more conscientious about using lower cadences within a given range to build up that muscular strength, i.e. train my weakness.


You must consider why you are training.

  • What cadence range do you need to use outside in your events?
  • Is this cadence range appropriate for my needs?

Be honest with yourself. The most important consideration is to “train how you plan to race”.

Don’t simply train at a cadence because its “easier”, especially if you don’t use that in your events.

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Thanks for all the feedback everyone. This all makes a lot of sens. Looks like I’m going to have to work a little harder and slow the cadence :+1::slightly_smiling_face:


I agree to generally try to settle into your normal realistic cadence you would keep outdoors. If your cadence is higher for an interval or two no big deal, just don’t train your body to only perform at that higher cadence.

Why can’t you spin faster on the road, do you run out of gears? Is your normal 80-90 cadence your average for the ride (which can be skewed), or what you actually pedal at consistently? Have you tried keeping a higher cadence (95+) outdoors?