Cannot do Ramp Test in ERG

I’ve fully embraced ERG mode (and famously started a thread a while back questioning it) and I love how honest it keeps me. I’m finding success in all forms of workouts, but cannot nail a Ramp Test using ERG mode. I’ve tried twice and have failed to hit numbers I would expect given the FTP I’m riding my Sweet Spot workouts at (260-270).

A most recent example. This would put me at an FTP of 230w or 2.875w/kg. This is not a reality given I’m able to perform all of my workouts with an FTP set between 260-270.

Anyone experience similar “issues”? I’m going to give it another crack, but this time in slope mode to see if I’m able to go deeper. I suspect I won’t, however, I’m not understanding why I’m having such difficulties going deep in these. I haven’t touched the VO2max system in a long time, but I still don’t think that should play much a roll in Ramp Test performance.


Perhaps the 20 minute FTP test version works better for you?

If the delay in your setup causes you to over/under shoot, you need to “attack the intervals” or they will attack you as I am guessing is happening, as it does for me. Extrapolating from TR podcast, I’m guessing that that sort of burst effort is not recommended for ramp test accuracy.

Perhaps your body doesn’t respond well to snapping or short bursts, so you get exhausted sooner when you do short bursts. Whats wrong with ramp testing in resistance mode? you say you “made the switch” or something to that effect, so I assume you’ve been ramping manually?

I find that resistance mode is actually super useful for a lot of things, and I’ve challenged myself to be as consistent in resistance mode as in erg mode. its a fun little challenge, I havent tried the ramp test like this yet.

I don’t think you should need to “attack” intervals during a ramp test. The difference between steps is marginal and in fact I do 95% of the ramp test without even looking at it. My goal is to not feel the changes because I think not knowing where I’m at helps me not overthink it. I generally attack them when going from a rest valley to a VO2 or higher target only.


It plays crucial role. If you are able to do these long sustained efforts with higher FTP ramp test simply underestimates your FTP, because you are more aerobicaly inclined. You should test with longer, sustained test like Kolie Moore. If your real FTP is very close to Vo2 max, ramp test will never give you good result. The same for the people that overestimate their FTP because they have more anaerobic power.


I didn’t mean to dismiss the roll of ones vO2 in regards to how it could impact Ramp Test. Just curious if it plays as big a roll as one assumes.

I have done Kolie Moore’s test (I love it), but was pressed for time and wanted to do a quick Ramp Test.

Perhaps months of Base would make me “under perform” on a Ramp Test. Not to the degree I’m seeing, however. :man_shrugging:t2:

Right you shouldn’t have to, I think the TR coaches agree with you. An issue I have which I think OP had is the latency from power meter to ERG mode algorithm result is causing ERG mode to over-correct because it doesn’t sense your increased exertion in time to correct the loop. I took the “attack the interval” idea from GPLama’s suggestions in an old video and it mostly works for me when I want to be lazy and stay in ERG mode without it slapping me with insane resistance when I dont respond immediately :rofl:

I’ve read everyone else’s replies, and have nothing to add there…

One question - are you riding at a cadence above, even if just a little, than your self-selected? I noticed a significant improvement when I bumped my cadence up by 10-15%…

I try to keep my cadence above 90 RPM as long as I can in order to keep muscle fatigue at a minimum and keep the flywheel on my KICKR spinning.

I find that the ramp increments aren’t big enough to need to get a jump on them like I do with sprints or VO2 efforts.

I don’t suspect this is true. I race CX, have done enough structured training and don’t find that short bursts “hurt” me. I’m new to training with ERG, and didn’t think it would have any sort effect with regards to the Ramp Test, and I’m not sure it does, but I’m a big confused as to why I’m not able to hit levels in the ramp test that would align with where I’m at sustained-power wise. I guess I could chalk it up to having an under developed VO2max system at this point in the year…haven’t done any really hard efforts since last CX season (6 months ago). Perhaps that’s all it is!

Are you running the ramp test in the same gearing you use for ERG in your other workouts?

Also, It looks like you have Wahoo’s ERG Mode Power Smoothing enabled. I highly suggest turning it off.

Also, for future reference, pairing your cadence so we can see it in the workouts is valuable info, so you might consider having that available.


Follow Chad.McNeese’s recommednation… he helped me figure out a super crappy experience on my setup in ERG mode!

I found the ramp test much easier by keeping my cadence a little higher than normal… sorta getting “on top of” the slow grind.

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I didnt realize I had it on either.

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From looking at your workout history, my honest opinion is that you’ve lost fitness. Your last real training week was Jan 20. With an FTP back then of 280, you did workouts Tunemah -2, Tray Mountain -1, Antelope -5. So, I can believe your FTP estimate was at or around 280 at that time.

Then you had a couple of weeks of reduced workload or incomplete workouts, followed by 6 weeks largely off the bike (looks health related) and then the past 4 weeks coming back with what looks like only 1 decent workout per week. I’m not surprised that your Ramp Test suffered after the 3 months of training you had. I’m sure you’ll regain fitness quickly, but I wouldn’t be too stressed out about it. If you feel like you gave a legitimate effort in the Ramp Test, then that’s where you are right now. Consistent training will bring you back to where you think you should be.

I’m doing my best to keep cadence above 90 as I find RPE gets really bad at threshold wattage if I dip in to the 70s or 80s.

I had no idea about Wahoo Power Smoothing. I’ll eliminate that ASAP.

Thanks, Chad.

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Great. Yes, the first couple workouts in ERG had me perplexed, but then I realized the added weight of my new trainer’s flywheel needed to be spun up higher to compensate.

this has happened to me, but only when I’ve “lost” my top-end. In other words, my FTP (estimated from sweet spot intervals) was 88-90% of my 5-min power from ramp test. Or something like that, I’ve forgotten the details. I’ve written about it in other threads.

wow are you a robot :rofl: Just kidding around, open the Wahoo app and turn off Erg Mode Power Smoothing:

^ it looks like he has adjusted FTP down to 260-270, at least mentally if not in TR app.

I came off a lackluster CX season and ended up getting really sick in November and pretty much ended my season then. I picked it back up at the beginning of this year, had surgery, got sick again, and then really only started in earnest about 5 weeks ago. Massive fitness loss ensued. So yes, your assessment is spot on! I’ve definitely lost a lot of fitness. It’s been an interesting realization I’ve had to accept.

I suspect this could be the only answer for my embarrassing Ramp Test. Everything in is aligning to increased aerobic fitness, however, having not done any hard vO2 work in the last 6 months I have to conclude my top-end fitness is in quarantine somewhere.

The adjustments to FTP are a result of going from an old fluid trainer with “virtual power” to something more accurate in a Wahoo KICKR Snap. I wasn’t able to hold the same power figures I previously could, and that resulted in a 20ish watt FTP “loss”. DAMMIT.

I’ve done a number of Ramp Tests and have never not had them align to where I was with my Sweet Spot workouts. Everything aligned and felt as it should, power wise. This is the first test where it felt like something had to be wrong. The power just wasn’t sustainable. It doesn’t matter, must train on, but thought it was odd.

don’t focus on the absolute numbers… yeah I know, easy to say.

You know the routine, either try a different test or manually adjust FTP based on what you know feels right.

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Chad, can you explain why having power smoothing enable is a problem for the Ramp Test?

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