Help us use our trainers properly (Feature Request, ANT+ FE-C)

Dear TrainerRoad Devs,

The Ant+ FE-C spec is designed so that an electronic trainer can tell its user if their wheel speed is too high or too low to hit the target power your software is requesting of the trainer in erg mode (trainers are not perfect machines that can generate whatever resistance you want at whatever speed the wheel is spinning at, especially the inexpensive ones!). This is incredibly important information that really must be passed on to the user to allow them to shift their bike gears properly so that the trainer can do its resistance adjustment job properly to maintain the target power. Somehow it appears that this “too slow” or “too fast” info is not being made available in the user interface of any of your apps and it’s left up to the user to somehow work out why the system is failing.

Please, please, please provide this vital electronic trainer feedback mechanism in a prominent way in your UI.

EDIT: Also showing a live percentage bar (0-100%) indicating the resistance value my trainer is currently applying would do the trick nicely as well! That would give us feedback on how to manipulate our gears to stay away from the trainer’s “floor” and “ceiling.”


p.s. you can read about this feature in the ANT+ FE-C spec document, D000001231_-_ANT+Device_Profile-Fitness_Equipment-Rev_5.0(6).pdf on page 47


I am pretty sure that TR supports ANT+ FE-C at this point. However, I am not sure what you want to see on the UI.

You will either be in ERG mode or not in ERG mode.

ERG mode
Typically you should not need to shift gears! You pedal and relative to your cadence, the system will automatically adjust resistance to maintain the target power.

not ERG mode
You shift gears and adjust cadence appropriately in order to reach target power. This is no different than riding outside and trying to keep up w/someone. No one tells you the gear or cadence. In the case of TR, you aim to get the different colored lines lined up (actual power vs target power).

edit: as pointed out by @mcneese.chad below, assuming he is in ERG mode, perhaps he is hitting the trainer floor or ceiling. even so, i do not understand the need for something to tell you to shift gears. does someone tell you to shift gears when you are outside?

I think the gist is that if I’m pedalling at 85 RPM in 50:23, I’m going to be way over the 100W the workout is prescribing. Via software, the trainer can tell me to adjust my gearing.

Is that right @greyltc ?

I suspect this relates to the “floor & ceiling” that exists for some trainers (commonly the lower cost models). For many of those, you need to shift (even when in ERG) because you can’t hit the higher or lower power targets.

It has to do with the particular resistance units, flywheel weights, and functional resistance range that the trainer can provide, and the range needed for each rider (limits affect people with higher or lower FTP differently).

Many of the trainers need to be shifted down to get low enough for recovery, and others need more “wheel speed” via faster gearing to hit higher resistance levels.

That is my guess as to the reason behind the request.

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This is wrong in the context of this thread. If you’re in a gear that results in a wheelspeed that is either too high or too low to hit the desired power, you MUST shift to a gear that will allow the available resistance range to work correctly. The goal here is still to sit in a gear and let ERG do it’s thing. But your gearing and target power has to match the range that the trainer can function in.

If I’m in my easiest gear, and I try sprinting, I don’t expect my trainer to be able to put out enough resistance to cover the effort. If I’m in the middle of the cassette, I do. That’s all we’re talking about here.

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Fair enough. If it is indeed a floor/ceiling problem one might need to shift gears. I have personally experienced the floor problem w/both Kickr and Neo if using too big a gear and trying to hit really low watts in a recovery interval. However, if one knows this is an issue, one can either ride in a different gear to begin with or shift gears when necessary. Does one really need an indicator on the screen that says “shift gears” :man_shrugging:

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Sounds like maybe you’ve never experienced an inexpensive or underpowered trainer. In some cases the “sweet spot” (where the erg mode is actually working) can be very small and hard to find (think low ceiling and/or high floor). Some live feedback in the UI on what the trainer is actually doing, I think, would lead to a much better user experience.


I believe we have that feedback - it’s the power demand vs actual display. I have a trainer that has a pretty narrow power band between floor and ceiling (Tacx Flux S), and it’s easy to tell you’re riding the floor (actual power stays above demand unless you drop cadence), or the ceiling (can’t reach power demand unless you increase cadence). I’m not sure what the app could display more than that, except “floor reached” and “ceiling reached” warning messages, but those would quickly get quite annoying. I know I’m riding on the floor during recovery when the power demand is below 100W, and it’s quite fine with me.

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Flywheel weight only infuences the inertia, not the actual load at steady-state speed.

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Yep, I’m the same. I use a Tacx Flow Smart, which is lowest of all the Tacx Smart trainers. But its “easy” now I’m used to it. Took me a couple of weeks max to understand what was happening and utilise the gears as necessary. You get to quickly know what gear you may need to hit certain power targets. In some cases with large sudden power changes, yes I do need to change gear but its no biggy, you soon learn. Within a few seconds you know if you need to grab or drop another gear and when the next interval comes around you know to grab 2 gears or even just change the front ring.

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Exactly. There are like 4 settings you need to remember: recovery, endurance, sub-threshold to threshold, and all-out. Recovery is your lowest gear, endurance is probably the same, the whole close-to-FTP area is one gear somewhere, and all-out is a higher one. That’s all you need…

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You see my point then :wink:

I have this trainer as well. It’s for sure a POS compared to most trainers out there, so (clearly, judging from many of the comments so far) not many people can relate to this post (I hope the devs do though). I’m suggesting that they add some unobtrusive visual cues to the UI so that the frustration of those first few weeks that you and I endured can be collapsed down to a ride or two for folks going forward.

Now imagine you layer on the additional complication and opportunity for things to go wrong that comes with using the power match feature in auto mode with your pedal based power meters. Hopefully you can really start to appreciate the value of having the additional insight of knowing your trainer’s live resistance value would bring in troubleshooting issues with your setup!

Respectfully, not really. Its not a big deal in the slightest.

And the trainer really is not a POS. Its cheap. If you want one thats better then you’ll need to go and drop another £300. This trainer allows me to train at just as high a level and effect as the next one along, its just got a couple of tiny nuances you learn to live with.

You get what you pay for, and I’m really happy with what I paid for :slightly_smiling_face:

You mean the visual cues of the power not following the target aren’t obvious enough?

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