Customized cycle ergometer advice


I am a research scientist in the U.K, and I’m looking to develop a customized, semi-recumbant cycle ergometer. I am looking for a system which has modes which allow cycling at both a constant work-rate and constant resistance. For example, I might want my cyclists to go from prolonged constant power output exercise, and immediately have them go into a Wingate test (i.e. constant work-rate to constant resistance).

I know that this is possible with a Velotron system, but as far as I know, these aren’t available in the U.K. Is anyone aware of any home trainer systems where this would be possible?

Many thanks in advance

What do you mean by semi recumbent?

If you go to page 35 of this document you’ll see a drawing of the ergometer:

In that picture, the wheel at the back is a Velotron system. The recumbent bike is built seperately, and the chain is adapted to extend from the chain wheel on the recumbent ergometer to that of the Velotron system. You can then control resistance through the Velotron system. The novelty with the bike is that the pedals can be blocked, and using force sensors, we can measure isometric force production to assess muscle fatigue in response to cycling.

What I’m after is an appropriate system (e.g. some form of more advanced home trainer) that I can attach to the recumbent ergometer, through which I can control cycling intensity.

To word this question more simply, is there a home trainer out there that has modes for fixed power output and fixed resistance?

That’s a recumbent position no semi about it. Thought you’d be referring to a saddle with a back rest or something.

It’s in the software for smart trainers and yes but not at the same time. If it’s fixed resistance then the cadence must be fixed to fix the power. If the power is fixed then the resistance must change as the riders cadence varies, to maintain the required power aka erg mode.

I don’t think there is smart trainer app software that allows you to go from resistance mode to erg mode without a short interruption whilst you select the different mode.

Thanks. I wouldn’t want to do them at the same time, it would be switching from one mode to the other. For example two hours of fixed power output cycling followed by a Wingate (i.e. a 30 second maximal sprint), which is fixed resistance. Are Wingate’s possible using most commercially available hometrainers?

Yes. In my opinion, these are easier to do in a fixed slope mode. Slope mode simulates outside, where the resistance increases the faster the virtual speed.

Perhaps not the place to mention it but Xert Software controls the trainer in the way that I think you want. You can swap within a workout from fixed wattage to % of FTP to Slope or Resistance mode as often as you want.

Pretty much any of the higher-end trainers can do this. For example with a Wahoo Kickr, “Fixed power” = erg mode, “fixed resistance” = resistance mode. TR supports switching modes automatically, but not in custom workouts (I wish it did). For example the old 20 minute test switches modes as you hit the timed interval.

A way to do a home Wingate test on TrainerRoad with a Wahoo Kickr is:

  • Do a bit of trial and error to figure out resistance and gearing for the sprint (resistance is just 0-100%, I have no idea how you would compare that to the weight in the cradle on a traditional monark erg)
  • Start your TR workout, switch to resistance mode and set the resistance percentage (e.g.50%)
  • Switch back to erg mode and set your pre-sprint power (e.g. 100w)
  • Select the right gear, spin cadence up to 90rpm or whatever with finger hovering over the “T” key on the keyboard
  • Tap the key and smash the pedals

I’ve done a lot of sprint work on the Wahoo Kickr, and believe Level (or slope) mode is superior to Resistance mode. When you do a 30-second all-out effort outside, on flat ground, the faster you go the harder you have to pedal due to wind resistance. Level (or slope) mode emulates that inside on the trainer.

Agree 100%… but the Wingate test protocol specifies constant load (ie resistance mode).

Last time I did one in a lab (about 30 years ago… ahem) it was on something like this. The lab assistant holds the weight cradle up (slackening the belt) while you do your spin up, and then drops it to start the test.