I have a Wahoo Kickr 18 refurbished. Did I hear Pete correctly on the Podcast I should do a spindown every ride?
I always do - why wouldn’t you? It only takes 1 minute.
I always do.
That depends on several factors:
If you have a wheel-on trainer (ex: Wahoo Kickr Snap, Saris M2, Tacx Vortex), and you want best accuracy of the trainer power data, yes, you should do a spindown after around a 5-10 minute warmup. This can be done after the main TR warmup process, and then roll right back into your workout.
If you have a wheel-off trainer (ex: Wahoo Kickr from 2018 or older, Saris H3) and you keep the bike and trainer in the same environment from use to use, you can commonly do a spindown calibration about once every 2 weeks. If you move the trainer from room to room or change bikes, it is usually recommended to calibrate each time.
Some trainers like the Neo and new Kickr 20 V5 don’t require any calibration.
If you have a separate power meter mounted on the bike, and use PowerMatch in TR or via a trainer app (Wahoo and Elite offer options), you DON’T need to calibrate the trainer. This is because the power meter is the king, and the trainer is adjusted to hit the power data from the power meter.
So in your case, option 2 may apply and mean you can do calibrations less frequently.
I have a left side 4iii PM and still calibrate before every ride. Previously I have gone 6 months or so without calibrating and it was reading over 20w higher. I thought my FTP was going through the roof, sadly not…
If you are using PowerMatch, there is not much to gain or lose with respect to calibration of the trainer.
With PowerMatch, the only thing that really matters is your power meter (assuming you do a proper Zero Offset per manufacturer guidelines).
DCR has talked about this a few times, and if I remember right, you spindown if you move the trainer, the temperature in the room changes, or once or twice a month ish. I’m lazy and lucky if I calibrate my H3 once a month.
So why did Pete say it?
I’d need to listen to the full context, but I thought I gave very clear examples about when/where to apply them.
Without re-listening to his specific comments, telling people to calibrate each ride is the “safe” suggestion to make, with respect to giving them the best chance to get accurate and repeatable power data.
Get me a link and I will give it a listen and clarify as needed.
Pete said just fo it your life will be better. Just a question I have. I knew everything you said in the earlier thread. I wanted to know why he said it.
Then the “better safe than sorry” is the best I can imagine without more info from him.
Episode 283 at 1:17.
Must a different episode than 283, because that does not include Pete.
Looks like an error in that app. The TR Forum page and YT vid list 282. I will listen now.
I calibrate (ok…zero offset) my PM before every ride without fail…why spend £££$$$ on a PM or smart trainer then not make it as accurate and reliable as possible?
Direct link to the related section.
- “Should you do a spindown before your workout or after the warmup?”
- “Yadda, yadda (about how much to warmup the trainer) get it up to temp spec, um… but, just always do a spindown. Pick a time that it works, and just adhere to that. Always spindown. And always calibrate your power meter, um… your life will be so much better. I can’t say this enough. Like, all of the weird stuff that we see where, you fail a workout or you hit sweet power PR’s, sometimes it’s not you. [Implication is that many errors are bad data reported from uncalibrated devices.] And you can fix this by just calibrating and doing spindowns every time.”
Note that this was the first question presented in the “Rapid Fire” section. That point, and the greater context about concern for good/bad data he mentions, seem to indicate this is the “better safe than sorry” approach I listed.
There is no mention about specific trainers or other considerations (like Power Match), which I think was a deliberate choice in the sense of being a “Rapid Fire” Q/A. So I feel he gave an answer that will work in nearly all cases (ignoring the Neo since it is impossible to calibrate), and be “good” advice without diving into the minutia that I specified in my first reply.
I guess point #1 works for wheel-off trainer as well?
Not really. The main reason for doing a spindown calibration each time for Wheel-On trainer has to do with the variability inherent in the tire pressure and trainer roller pressure. Small changes in these can impact the calibration results.
When moving to a Wheel-Off trainer, you lose the tire and roller pressure variables. So the variation in the system of the trainer is more consistent and “known” from the calibration. Hence the difference in recommentations:
- Wheel-On = calibrate every time
- Wheel-Off = calibrate at least twice a month
Doing calibrations every time is never a bad thing, but it is a step that can be skipped in certain cases, to save time and be more convenient. That is one of the positive features when going to a Wheel-Off trainer.
I wasn’t clear at all in my message, but I was talking about calibrating during the workout (so warm-up, calibration and then continue the workout).