Erg mode - pros/cons podcast

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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…

1 Like

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)

1 Like

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.


Erg mode…I love it but I will say the trainer does make the difference. My old trainer was painful with wheel on and the spiral of death that I would hit… Switching trainers to a Tacx Neo 2 and all my issues went away.

I just find erg keeps me at the right power for the workout. I can ride steady power outside or inside but I have a tendency to go harder. Erg just keeps me in check. Sure I can ride without erg but I dont see the benefit when it works.


But is this truly a skill? I’ve done hundreds of races and hard hitting group rides and I don’t think I’ve ever once thought that if I maintained a steady pace, it would have improved my performance.

(I don’t use ERG but it’s not clear to me that it’s that bad of a thing. I guess you could get the odd bird who only rides indoors and then tries to do an event outdoors never having really ridden their bike outside.)


I dont see how this is a problem with Erg mode. I learned how to pace better outside from riding erg mode inside. I dont see the difference.


This “you’re not maximizing the use of your time to train your skills” statement always comes up in the Erg discussions, and it’s cherry-picking.

When you’re on the trainer, do you practice following the wheel in front of you, throwing elbows and hitting the brakes/smashing the pedals? Do you avoid the use of modern home cooling/heating technology to moderate the temperature? Do you forgo listening to music or watching video? Do you wear a jersey/gloves/helmet with all the same gear you would be carrying on the bike? If you don’t do all those things, then you aren’t using the exact identical skills you would use on the road.


for me one reason to keeping it “more steady” is about reducing the “match burn.” For example on Saturday I stood up while going over a roller, after nearly 5 hours, and hit 900+ watts for 5 seconds. If a car drives by and a dog barks, I reactively squirt out 500-700 watts. Those quick “burns” add up. Another reason is pacing an effort to chase down someone thats gone off the front. Learning to pace those well has been helpful.

its not, you have seen the number of posts on optimizing training time and return on investment, right? That was one of the primary messages on the podcast. I’m primarily training outside, and just kept shaking my head in agreement with all of the messages on the podcast.

When I’m inside, I simply try and emulate outside as much as possible. Thats why I use sim mode, the most powerful mode on my smart trainer. It simulates riding outside. And in the process of moving from inside to outside, I went from RPE-clueless to developing a finely tuned RPE. My last sim mode workout on Zwift looks like erg mode, and I was not watching my bike computer. My outside workouts generally look like erg mode. You can argue that is a skill not worth developing, and then we can agree to disagree as its served me well.

1 Like