Erg mode - pros/cons podcast


That podcast was painful to listen to, Actually only made it half way thru. Shouldve only been 15 min long instead of beating a dead horse for over an hour.


Your body/physiology doesn’t know you’re in ERG mode. It deals with resistance of the pedals, that’s it, doesn’t matter how you get there. The only thing you can train is your mind, whether you need to shift and/or alter cadence.


Re: what am I doing outside? Not worrying about precise power output. My primary (only) discipline is mountain biking and everything I ride is punchy, short climbs. I ride entirely by feel. I ride the trainer to build fitness with no expectation of emulating what I do outside.

  • 110% this ^.

They kind of did the listener questions in “hot take” style and just did a short and sweet answer. I found it short-sighted and totally misses the point as ERG mode is not the key difference there.

  • Unless they are claiming that people are constantly running over riders ahead, or slowing enough to cause issues for riders behind, ERG and the pacing they may imply are not the issue.

  • They are essentially resorting to the same stereotype of trainer riders being bad bike handlers outside. May be true in some cases, but certainly not in all. I spend more time on a trainer than nearly everyone in my area and I can still ride circles around everyone here from a skills & handling standpoint.

  • In that same vein, there are people that only show for outside rides (rarely if ever ride a trainer) and they are nothing short of scary to ride around outside. Sticking to outside does not inherently lead to good skills just like riding a trainer inside doesn’t necessarily kill them.

Point being that they are scapegoating ERG and/or active trainer users as “risky” or something similar without considering nuance. Funny to me when the very podcast from the prior week (not to mention the bulk of this cast) focus on the more intricate reality that lies within all of this stuff. I get it, they have to give short answers sometimes, but that one in particular really missed the point. Misattribution on display here, IMO.

ETA: During my second listen, I found the section of interest for the “Who has worse bike race skills, Triathletes or people who always use ERG mode?” starts at 1:25:47 on my DL’d audio file.


I’ve only listened to the first 30 minutes so far, but if anything, it has made me want to invest in a smart trainer. I’m using a KK Road Machine with a PM and it is sometimes a struggle to maintain wattage during suprathreshold intervals. Yesterday I did Loafer (4x4 @ 111% which is 273 for me). If I didn’t watch my wattage like a hawk, I would sometimes drift down to 260 and sometimes up to 285. I feel like drifting up that high really makes the rest of the workout more difficult than it’s designed to be. My average was between 272-275 for each interval.


I listened to the podcast, and I agree with their points, both in argument against using erg mode, and in support of it. I feel like it does have it’s place, but I don’t personally train with it. I feel like I get better training when I’m in control of the resistance and I can target my effort appropriately. It’s a personal choice.

But I’ve used erg mode in the past and it does make hitting the power targets easier. When I’m training, I don’t want to turn my brain off though, that’s something else I want to train.

If one has different goals though, and just getting the physical adaptations of riding at the power target are what they care most about, then ERG mode is perfect for that without any added load.


Mostly tangential, but since Kyle mentioned it 2x in the cast, there is/was a way to do ERG workouts outside. This was designed to do that and more.

I have no idea if they are really still available, but these provided that function among other things like adding prescribed resistance and such. We even see some people asking for ways to make riding with a slower rider possible, and this would be a way to do it. May not be convenient or cost effective, but an option if they are still around.

Anyone know Kollie’s background?


Oh, wait……Had to re-read that one once or twice…:crazy_face::crazy_face::crazy_face:


Tell it that, when you’re in a spiral of death.


Lot of cabin fever in recent posts. Maybe a few need to go outside for a ride? :grin:


this was the point of the podcast. I think you meant to say you can train your body, and you can train your mind. Turning off erg helps train your mind.

Everyone is going to have a different experience, FWIW it took me a couple months and then I was pedaling at power targets (ranges) without thinking.


I’ve only had erg mode for a few weeks, used only resistance on a dumb trainer before upgrading. Maybe it’s me but using resistance mode didn’t matter much when I get dropped in a race.


Free your mind, Neo

If ERG works for you use it. I’ve only ever used ERG (For threshold and below - I am a STRONG believer that it should not be used for anything above threshold), but I am going to switch. I like the idea of using resistance mode and RPE because then if you are coming back from time off or illness you can go based off of feel without re-testing FTP (or trusting AiFTP) and I personally have a hard time replicating holding wattage outside - because I’m so used to ERG mode.

I am on illness number 3 since January 3rd so have had many chunks off the bike and only have been doing endurance. I tried doing a threshold ride using ERG based on AiFTP and crashed and burned so hard. So after listening today I tried a sweet spot workout in the free ride and just went off of RPE (I did look at HR but my HR is still elevated after flu, norovirus, and now a cold). IF I would have just used ERG I would have either failed it - or done a threshold workout (which was not my goal). and then next time if I am more over my illness and the wattage is 10 higher for the RPE than perfect. It allows you to fine-tune more easily than hitting the up or down arrow in terms of changing the workout difficulty with ERG.

TLDR: Long time ERG user - trying resistance and RPE now.


Amen brother! Identical situation here. KK dumb for life!


I’d argue that ERG mode is a better training of your mind, because there is not even a bit of give. It’s like climbing a 25% grade. You either put out the power or be ground to a halt.

In resistance if it gets a little tough just dropping the rpm makes it easier. It’s an out, even if only for a few seconds. No out on ERG, you either do or do not.


Once you realise that you don’t have to hold an exact power for an interval and that the power you can hold will vary day to day even at same fitness; it frees you up. Intervals should be seen as a range, not a precise number you have to sit on. Feel the workout you are doing, and get a sense of what you can manage that day.