Drastic Drop in FTP from Fluid Trainer to Smart Trainer

Did my first ramp test on TR about two weeks ago. At the time, had an old Elite Fluid Trainer. I was shocked when my FTP came back at 284. This is about 60 watts higher than a ramp test that I did on a IC7 spin bike at the Gym. I had my doubts and I did a few workouts and it was tough but I was able to keep up.

This week got an Elite Suito. Haven’t done a ramp test yet, but doing tempo and sweet spot intervals on Erg mode, I honestly cannot hit the same numbers. Last two workouts I had to knock down the intensity percentage to about 75% or 85% to even have a chance of finishing the work out.

Could virtual power on the fluid trainer have been that far off? I’m not sure what’s going on here.

virtual power is really kind of a crapshoot.

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Yea totally possible. My virtual power on an elite novo mag read about 20% higher than my power meter. Don’t sweat it, you did not lose anything. You just calibrated an arbitrary number, don’t sweat it and trust the ramp test.


The last time I used virtual power was a couple of years ago. I got a 4iiii power meter before starting this current block of TR. There was about a 20% drop going from virtual to “actual”. No point in trying to compare the two, just do a ramp test and see what the Suito comes back with.

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I had a Vortex that I could fairly easily ride at 400w for segment attempts back in the day, when my FTP was nearer 300. I miss that trainer :smiley:


I just checked my old FTP settings. It was 190 with my Mag trainer and virtual power. I then got my first Power2Max (still in my road bike, 6 years later …) and did a test: 265 - I was over the moon ;-). Virtual power isn’t accurate, but consistent. You’ll have to retest ;-).

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I have an Elite Elastogel fluid (dumb) trainer, and even though I’ve not used Virtual Power with it, I can say with an enormous amount of confidence that Virtual Power on this trainer will be absolutely crap. The power curve of the trainer just isn’t predictable enough.

I use the trainer with TR, but I use a 4iiii PM. As the trainer warms up, it provides less resistance so I need to gear harder or increase cadence to maintain the same power. During a normal TR interval workout, the resistance will drift quite a bit - this makes it very difficult to predict the power needed to spin the trainer at a certain speed, so very difficult to generate a representative power curve for the trainer - which is what Virtual Power is.
Your Suito will be way more accurate than VP on the fluid trainer - trust that FTP.

My advice to anyone using virtual power on a fluid trainer: If you don’t have a power meter, use FTHR rather than FTP, and look at your past workouts to get an idea of what sort of wheel speed you need to hit certain HR zones (this will reduce the impact of heart rate lag on your workouts and enable you to get in the right zone at the beginning of the interval). You’d probably even be better off holding off of TR workouts until you get a PM, and going more old school with your workouts, like the British Cycling ones (if they can still be found for free). This approach worked really really well for me for a couple of years before I moved to power, and even worked for the pros for a couple of decades before power meters got small/cheap enough to use outside the lab.

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Virtual power strives to be bottom left

A properly calibrated power meter or smart trainer strives to be top left


Uhhhh, you guys didn’t really give me any clarity … Let me try and be specific …

So I have 7 device pairings. How would I have everything read from my Garmin pedals?? Should I click “forget device” for my Tacx Neo? I never clicked the “virtual power” option in the bottom left of the TR screen.

More pointedly, I provided an actual pic of my device pairings: which are the only necessary ones for me based on my situation?

Thank you in advance.

Wrong thread, brah.


I think you want this thread instead… 6 paired devices + power never matching = BUSTED workout

So I tested last night. Went small ring / big gear.

Result… 195 :frowning: :disappointed_relieved: :sob:

My PM battery died a while back and I was using virtual power for a while during a period of very on/off training.

Recently got a new battery and re-tested as I have plenty of time to train now. My power meter result is at around 80% of my virtual power FTP.

A little demoralising but rational brain tells me it’s just a number and something to pin zones to. As long as we’re consistent in our set up the number doesn’t matter so much.

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Has anyone ever heard of a trainer messing up the gear indexing on their bike? I have a cheap Wiggle TT 02 fluid trainer and I’m sure this is the case. The two connection points on the trainer that connect to the QR skewer, always seem to be a bit wobbly, which creates and odd angle, for my bike and maybe leading to putting the indexing off.

Thoughts? Or am I mental??

Do you have a steel skewer for your trainer? I’ve heard the normal skewers can bend or they might not fit right.

I do have a steel skewer skewer, the one that came with the trainer.

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Short answer: yes. I haven’t figured out the solution yet.

When I swapped from virtual power on fluid trainer to a power meter, I don’t think I noticed much difference but I didn’t test FTP often, my coach would adjust if necessary in between 20mins tests and they were generally on the up.

What I did notice when I came back to TR with a now smart trainer (also an Elite Suito) my FTP whilst initially the same started to creep down on subsequent ramp tests.

I went back to my previous coaches 20min FTP test (a 40min version, with 2 all out 30s sprints and 1min 120% block in warmup) and my FTP rose quite a bit (I am using something in the middle of the 20min test and ramp test however, circa 92% of my 20mins max).