Does gear choice matter?

I was wondering, does it matter what gear you put your bike in for different intervals? I use a Kickr smart trainer so taking the power out and spinning at a set cadence, are there adaptational benefits to spinning in a bigger/smaller gear?

There are benefits to spinning at different rates.
However you are limited to the ressistance that the erg is being controlled at.
If you want to do some high cadence work go into standard mode (level 3 perhaps) and try spinning.
Generally leave it in a middle gear when in erg mode and dont change gear.


I usually do too. For the sake of variation, I’ve tried the large chainwheel and middle cog. The “theoretical” speed increases (on Strava), but it feels the same. One thing I have noticed is that the ERG has to work more when I am on the big chainwheel. The slightest variant in cadence +/- 1 or 2, affects power much more than the same fluctuation when I’m on the small chainwheel. So I have to pay a lot more attention to cadence than I’m used to (Tacx Neo trainer).


Gearing in ERG Mode

Technically, if you are doing target power training, gear selection does not affect your training. 260w is 260w in any gear. But an easier gear combo has slightly different leverage action from harder gears, and when you ride in a harder gear your flywheel has greater momentum which also factors in.

There is some validity to using appropriate gearing on the Erg trainer to better target different muscles that are triggered by different gearing. The short answer is “Ride in gears that simulate what you’re riding is like outside.”

Although I mostly use Trainer Road and do structured training, I also use VirtuGo (like Zwift) and Zwift in freeride mode so I can ride around and practice changing gears specifically for climbing. It’s an excellent way to understand your gearing combos and your wattage output so when you get outside you can ‘replay’ what is working from your training. (I don’t have power meters on my mtb bikes). I have also started shifting to harder gears when doing low cadence high power intervals so I don’t have to slow my cadence early in erg mode. It feels right to me and my Kickr reacts very quickly so it seems to be good. I keep power smoothing on most of the time so I don’t notice the power jumps unless I dig into the workout data.

Hope this helps.


thought there was already a thread on the, but couldn’t find it! really interesting thanks!

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Useful stuff to know. training for flat TT’s mostly, using the big ring has felt right.

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