Erg mode - pros/cons podcast

This new podcast talks about the pros and cons of different trainer modes, if you have time its worth a listen and thought provoking:

If you’ve ever wondered why some coaches encourage using sim and resistance modes, this podcast will explain. And why you might want to turn off sim/resistance, and use Erg.

Balanced discussion, they do say if Erg works for you, keep using it.


erg 4 life here. Whatever I lose in training adaptations is offset by the fact that I’m more inclined to do the work if I don’t have to click around finding the best gear for the effort and if I’m able to watch a TV show rather than look at blue bars.


I’ve been using erg mode for a week now, so I’m a newbie. So far I think it’s great for endurance rides and long sweet spot intervals on the trainer. I can see the case for Vo2max and anaerobic intervals using sim mode. When I get to those I’ll see what happens.
I think the biggest plus is not trying to find the right gear for intervals and I don’t have to pump a tire up before my rides. Set it and forget it :grinning:


Having a Kickr Bike and using TrainerRoad, we can only use ERG mode. The resistance mode doesn’t work.

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I rode ERG mode exclusively for a year and have been using Resistance mode exclusively now for about 4 months.

I first started dabbling into Resistance mode when ERG just made my VO2 max or threshold intervals way too hard. Start getting wimpy for a few seconds on ERG and there’s no way you’re getting back to the target without a monumental push. With Resistance, you can get wimpy, gather yourself, and charge on.

My workout compliance in terms of % target is worse with Resistance. However, in ERG mode some workouts would simply throw me into the spiral of death.


As someone who’s been too cheap to upgrade my dumb Kurt kinetic, I agree that erg mode is inferior. :joy:


I could be wrong, it could just be that I’m getting older, but I think I was less scared to take on harder workouts with resistance mode out of fear of being dragged into the spiral off death and getting injured again trying to get out of it. Im only really using Resistance Mode currently for VO2Max and sometimes recovery rides are on SIM mode (or whatever RGT call it). I might try to use RM more again, I am scared the gear changes are too noisy for my neighbours upstairs though, which is probably the reason I use ERG. It wasn’t a problem with the fluid trainer though as I think my cadence against its slope negated too many changes :-/

Yep. This is it for me too.

If I have to think too much about what I’m doing day in day out I’m less likely to do the work or stick to the work.

Erg makes me infinitely more consistent and motivated. That counts for a lot in my opinion.


Don’t forget to engage the clutch between shifts :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

ETA: I am interested to listen to the Pod. As far as my own experience, I bought a smart trainer thinking that the primary benefit was for Erg Mode. Turns out I absolutely hated erg mode, and much prefer to ride resistance mode using the gears. The other obvious benefit is the consistent/reliable Power Meter readings from the trainer, without that my dumb trainer at work is almost a better experience being literally 100% silent.

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Thats what I’m doing wrong. I should mount the gravel bike on the turbo. Its got a clutch and I’m pretty sure I could adjust that during shifts :joy:

Its not a 10 minute tip… :frowning: Add one to the erg 4 life for me. I tried targeting power once and went very poorly (could never really hit the right wattage) and the frustration level would make it much harder to be consistent in doing workouts and wanting to do them. I kind of agree with them that RPE being dialed in is great and probably needed to be great but feel like not everyone has that. Its kind of frustrating when people talk about RPE being useful to ride at set levels like its easy for everyone to learn just cause its easy for those who do well. Should I assume everyone should understand computers like I do cause it comes easy to me?

Though do like the mixed mode method that allowed it easy to go hard for very short intervals and wish trainer road did that:


Looked for the 10 minute tip and it’s a 1.5 hr podcast. OK.

As far as Erg mode, it seems like an issue if you can’t maintain a steady power output and should work on that instead of using a crutch. Also if it’s so hard to think about shifting what are you guys doing outside??

Color me confused, but that’s OK.


The “10 minute tips…” is more about the time they use to prep it. They hint at it here during the intro and have covered the common misconceptions in some other podcasts. Poor word / title choice on their part and commonly misunderstood (aka taken at face value and rightly so, IMO).

  • It’s about their prep, NOT the podcast duration.

vo2 isn’t actually a set % of FTP, so it makes sense that you can make it “too hard” by doing ERG mode at what TR suggests.

instead just try to get to maximum oxygen intake as quickly as possible, and dont worry about what power that happens at


Twice I heard “we spent 10 minutes preparing for this podcast” - once at the beginning, and again at the end. But I was distracted doing food prep and mobility work.

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You make this sound like its an easy thing for everyone to master. This is a bad assumption for everyone. Good assumption if you plan to turn pro, sure, maybe. Some of use are slow weekend warriors who just want to get faster. Should I assume you understand computers as well as someone whose job is computer work? What, you use a computer too and should understand how TCP/IP networks work, its easy. I mean its easy for me so must be for you like RPE…

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you sure won’t get better if its one and done on turning off erg…

Keep in mind if you are using SIM or RES mode, don’t get bogged down in the thought of having to maintain a SET particular wattage (which i’m sure quite a number of people do, which is nothing short of an exercise in frustration). When running in a NON ERG mode setting, i’ll typically let it float 10-15W either side of the TARGET and i call it good. I’m NOT a machine that can hold wattage that tight… particularly at FTP or higher.

That’s similar to what gets displayed on my head unit when I take workouts outside… where ERG doesn’t exist.


Hence why I like mixedmode:

Though prefer the way TR sets up my training overall with adaptive training so stick with TR actually doing my workouts. (love the stats it produces to track what I do during the year)

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You HAVE TO be able to maintain a steady pace if you expect to get better and do things such as not get dropped, or race effectively, so why would you train fitness but then totally ignore fundamental skills??

I can tell I’m going to get in trouble if I keep posting so this is all I have to say on the topic of Erg mode. I’m not saying nobody should use it but I’m saying it’s a crutch, and ultimately pointless at best and counterproductive at worst IN MY OPINION.