Calibrating Trainer and Power Meter?

Is it necessary to calibrate both your PM and trainer when using powermatch?

Apologies if this has been covered in the past- I couldn’t find an answer.

I am not 100% positive but you should only need to calibrate the power meter before each ride since that is what is controlling the workout, you should only need to calibrate the trainer if you are using that as your power source.

Again not 100% positive so if someone else wants to chime in please do!

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The official recommendation is that you calibrate both before every ride

However, if you’re using power match and aren’t really doing anything dramatic to the trainer you can go an entire season without calibrating it. I’d still calibrate it if I moved it around a bunch - but even that is a nice to have not a must have

I’m also someone who doesn’t zero their power meter before every ride because, you know, they do that on their own all the time anyway, but everyone has their own little idiosyncrasies

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  • For Power Meters, you should run a Zero Offset each time you start a ride.
  • For Smart Trainers:
    • Wheel-On trainers should be calibrated every ride, after a 5-10 minute warm-up in most cases.
    • Wheel-Off trainers, many of then can be calibrated just every 2-4 weeks, if the trainer stays in place and conditions don’t change drastically in the training area.
  • Most power meters include temperature compensation correction, but that is not the same as Zero Offset (often called Calibration, but it is not totally correct term use)

  • This varies with each power meter. Not all do an automatic Zero Offset.

    • Some like the PowerTap Hub will do it after coasting for a period of time (4-5 seconds?)
    • Some spider based PM’s will ZO when backpedaled a number of times.
  • But many power meters DO NOT Zero Offset automatically. They should be done on a regular use to maintain best accuracy.


Fair point - the one I’m using (Power2Max) zeroes itself automatically when you stop pedaling for at least two seconds - others do not. In my opinion all should though

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Sure, but some are more difficult to setup than others.

  • Pedal based ones need absolutely not load, so you can’t be on them or clipped in, and they can’t be moving. The auto would have to happen when no shoe is in place and they are stationary for a period. Totally possible, but the firmware needs to be robust.
  • Crank arm ones usually need a very particular orientation (straight down for Stages), and no loading. So that is even more specific and restrictive than pedals.

Point being that I love the idea, but the specifics of some meters makes the auto aspect far from easy.