Does anyone with a smart trainer switch off erg mode?

Ya, I know… I’ve used it before. I just find that needing to figure out what gear I need, coupled with adjusting cadence, is more realistic for me, and better practice (even providing some mental stimulation).

Sadly, I HAVE to use resistance mode and not ERG because my smart trainer just won’t keep up. I’ll go from 130w then a 30 sec spring at 375w and if it’s in ERG the moment I start the sprint the resistance drops off and I just spin out with no power. I tried to stay with a hard interval (well hard for me) of like 275w for like a minute when this happens but no matter how long I go hard it just drops to like 30w and my cadence jumps to like 180rpm because of no resistance. It doesn’t matter if I start spinning fast or if I try to just go to a slow cadence and try to push hard.

I’ve reached out to support with the issue and they said that it may be the trainer needing a firmware update and that they didn’t know of a reason TR would be causing it, which I agree with. I’m on a Tacx Vortex Smart that I’ve only had for a month and a half. The issue started with the first TR workout I did.

I’m not sure what would cause this but it’s made it where I can only achieve these types of interval workouts by using resistance mode and shifting. I reeeeeeally wish I could use ERG for all workouts but I’ve just had to swap from it to be able to hit my power numbers.

Anyone else had issues like this with TR? Or maybe issues with the Vortex Smart/Tacx trainers in general?

Just interested but what % do you use?

I guess you’ve probably run through a few troubleshooting steps with TR support already but have you tried switching from ANT+ to Bluetooth or vice versa? Tried switching from running TR on phone to computer etc.

I use a smart Tacx (Flow I think) and it works fine. I’ll get a very occasional drop out but maybe only a few seconds every fifth workout or so.

ERG mode all the time with a KICKR.


Tacx Flux Erg mode was so bad that I returned it for a full refund. Gone back to my dumb trainer. So much better! The thing is, if I didn’t have a PM I would never have known how far off it was.

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I prefer ERG that vast majority of the time using the Tacx Neo.

Where I turn it off is when I do sprints. I do this because I may be able to exceed the specified power that ERG is set at, so I feel I get some additional benefit by turning it off.

The only other time I’ve done it is when I’m struggling with 3 min VO2 max intervals. If I’m struggling to finish, rather than grinding to a halt, I’m able to push as hard as I can and finish even if I’m falling below the specified power.

However for everything else - sweet spot, threshold, over unders, aerorides, etc, I absolutely love ERG mode and makes training much more enjoyable.


Erg most of the time but if extending a cool down I might go into resistance mode, level 3 and work a little harder.


I don’t use Erg mode, I have to switch it off every ride on TrainerRoad. I feel, I do better when I control the trainer myself.


Curious then, why get a smart trainer? Wouldn’t a regular trainer and a power meter do the job?


I have a regular fluid trainer and a power meter. It does the job if I make it do so.
Surely all of these setups have loads of inaccuracies when looking at your workout data on TR.

I’m yet to try a ‘smart’ trainer and would love to know if there are any real benefits apart from being able to zone out during a workout?

Interesting read for someone who’s considering upgrading to a direct drive trainer. Thanks.

I’m guessing most of the ‘BS’ responses are from folks with direct drive trainers.

I’d agree that 30 secs is a bit of an exaggeration but certainly some of the cheaper wheel in smart trainers will struggle to adjust in time for an 8-10 second high power sprint. Something like a tacx 2240 is going to miss those big jumps by a mile unless you switch off erg.

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When I had a Vortex a couple of years ago it was pretty useless in erg mode with TR. My NEO is pretty much spot-on and I am on power within a couple of seconds.

This is the difference between a budget trainer and a high end trainer.

If the erg trainers were also fluid trainers, would that help? I’m not sold on the mag resistance units. Although, they must be pretty cheap to manufacture.
Please bear in mind I’m only using a basic fluid trainer. The mag ones I’ve tried seem to allow you to spin up more easily when the going gets tough.
I MTB so the whole road feel thing is a moot point for me.

TBH it depends on the trainer, you’d be as well researching some smart trainers in your budget then getting some owners advice on here before purchasing

Absolutely a power meter and traditional trainer will “ do the job”. However a smart trainer is nicer for various reasons and would keep your power generally more spot on. You can’t drift off the power target with a smart trainer, it keeps you honest. This becomes more evident the longer the workouts.

I prefer erg mode. I had some initial difficulties with my new trainer bkool smartpro 2, but then I understood how to use it to avoid some problems, and even how to modify some workout to avoid incorrect power readings. Now everything is fine and the trainer works well even on tears of a few seconds.
I tried to do some sessions also in resistance mode and it is true that it is more in line with the street behavior, but the ERG mode is easier for me to handle (I just have to worry about the cadence) and at the same time harder, because forces you to the power required by the exercise.
It is only a few months that I use TR, but at the moment I remain faithful to the ERG mode.

I understand that. My question was directed to @fenderperry who says that he switches off the erg mode. Then why a smart trainer at all?

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I understand erg, but could someone clarify the difference between standard and resistance modes?