Equipment Check to use Virtual Power

Hey everyone.

I am about to pull the trigger on TR but want to make sure that I will be able to use TR with the budget set up I am considering. I am looking to get a set up on a budget as I don’t have the funds available to buy a power meter/smart trainer so I want to buy a trainer that will work with TR’s virtual power system.

What I have:

  • Basic road bike (no power meter)
  • Garmin 520 with: wheel based speed sensor; cadence sensor; heart rate monitor (all are ANT+)

What I want to get:

  • ‘Dumb’ trainer that’s on TR’s virtual power list like CycleOps Mag+ Trainer with Adjuster
  • ANT+ dongle for my computer

Would this system work with TR’s virtual power set up? The CycleOps Mag+ trainer is listed on their supported trainers but I just want to make sure I have all the pieces/understand what I need. Like I said I am on a budget and don’t want to buy the trainer/dongle without a better understanding of how everything works together.

Thanks for any help!

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That should do it.

You actually don’t need the Garmin 520, TR runs on the computer.

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What computer are you going to use? I’m not that tech savvy but I would recommend checking that it’s reasonably new. And in fact if it’s really new it may come with Ant+ or BlueTooth anyway, so you ‘might’ not need to buy/use the dongle. On the other hand, you might need a cheapish cable to extend where the dongle reaches (if the computer is going to be too far away.

I only use virtual power (I can’t afford a power meter). What you have described sounds absolutely fine to me. I would agree with previous response that you don’t actually need the Garmin for this setup to work.

Of course, there are some very nice people who work at TR who could probably answer your query much more technically…


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Yep – check the computer. I do everything with virtual power. When I re-arranged the pain cave, I had to use an extension cable for my dongle. Else things work well.

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I am using a fairly new computer running Win10. Unfortunately it does not have ANT+ since when I built it I didn’t have the need for it so it wasn’t a priority.


Thanks for the advice! The trainer will be close to the computer But a USB extension might also be a good idea!

Thanks guys. I think I am going to pull the trigger

Your list looks good to me. I have a pm, but still run virtual power because my pm doesn’t fit the bike that’s on the trainer.
You can also use a phone to run TR. I do that regularly when I leave my laptop at work. Just need an ant+ dongle for it as well.

That will work and as others have pointed out you don’t need the Garmin. All I have is a HRM and speed/cadence wahoo sensor. I’ve got the cheapest of the cheapest dumb trainers and am surprised by how good TR has the power curve; I had resistance set at 5 when my FTP was 301 and now I use 3 at 185 and the workouts feel exactly the same.

What trainer do you use? I am looking at the CycleOps Mag because it seems to be one of the cheapest ways to get started

Elite Super Crono. It has 8 resistance levels and the only Elite trainer that TR has with 8 levels, all the others had 5. I don’t know the exact price but it was the cheapest one I bought online from LBS, can’t imagine it being more than $200 AUD