High Cadence in Erg Mode

I’ve been riding somewhat seriously for the past couple of years, and have historically averaged about 90 rpm while riding outside and 95 rpm on my old trainer (Cycleops Fluid 2). I recently got a Tacx Neo 2 smart trainer and have been using Erg mode for about 2 weeks now. In the last two weeks, I have noticed that I have I struggle to ride below 100 rpm and I am usually at 105 rpm while in sweet spot using Erg mode. I’m thinking this probably means my FTP is set too low (insert everyone’s sarcastic comment here). Has anyone else run into this problem starting out in Erg mode?

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Why do you struggle to ride below 100 in ERG mode?

Cadence is 100% self selected, ERG takes care of the power, but cadence is entirely up to you.

For example, if your target power is 200w, ERG doesn’t care whether you are spinning at 70,80,90,100 rpm, it will still keep you at 200w, regardless of your cadence.

What are you using for power measurement?

And has that changed from your time on the CycleOps vs Tacx?

Essentially, checking measurement device. And more importantly if you retested your FTP if you changed devices?

Same gear, same boat here. I am a washing machine. I think i just choose the higher cadence as it is easier on the joints, and it feels like less work. In the spring i will work on spinning more. Outside, i felt like i previously needed to drop cadence to 90 or so to make any decent power.

I had been using Favero Assioma pedals as my power meter previously and had used them to take my past FTP tests. I took an FTP test 2 weeks ago with NEO 2 using that as my power source and have been using that since.

For a little more background, I completed my last race of the season at the end of August and then took about 2.5 months off the bike. My FTP dropped about 20% when I retested. That was my first ride back on the bike and was done on the NEO 2. I’m wondering if its possible that I gained ~5-10% of my FTP back since I have been riding and that is throwing off everything for ERG mode.

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I guess I should have added that 100+ is the cadence that feels natural and promotes a smooth pedal stroke in ERG mode. While that same feeling used to occur at 95 rpm

Ok, so consistent power measurement and a reasonably recent FTP.

Next questions:

  1. What gearing are you using in the bike, for ERG mode?

  2. What happens when you slow your cadence to your prior rpms?

    • Do you end up fighting the spiral of death and muscle fatigue?

I’m using the little ring up front and the 7th cog of the cassette.

I just don’t feel as smooth/comfortable in that cadence zone. It just seems odd to me that I would gain about 10 rpm on the “comfortable” cadence. I guess I could test this out by going out for a ride and seeing what I ride at.

I just wonder if this is all learning to ride in ERG mode.

There is definitely something to learning ERG mode. It is a bit counterintuitive at first.

General recommend from me is to do tour absolute best to hold a steady cadence (whatever the rpm that is) when in your intervals.

Altering cadence leads to adjustments in the Resistance, but the trainer and app. If you aren’t steady, it will lead to some yo-yo actions.

If you get steady. Selecting the gearing is the next option. Higher gearing is a faster flywheel. This leads to a bit more “help” around the pedal circle and a bit “easier” feel for some (but not all) riders.

When you go to a lower gear, that requires more work around the pedal circle. It can feel “harder” to some (but not all) riders.

The Neo design also leads to a more “notched” feel in lower gears from the direct drive (no pulley like all other wheel-off trainers.

All that leads me to suggest trying some big rings work (and same gear on the back) just to see if you feel a difference, especially at lower cadence.


I have a similar thing, cadence in erg mode seems to be significantly higher (5-10rpm) than outside. Seems to be a self-selecting thing rather than a physical limitation, so I don’t worry about it. When outside my cadence seems to naturally trend higher with more intensity, with smoother roads, and with higher speeds regardless of intensity (i.e. at the same wattage I’ll spin along higher in a tail wind than I do in a head wind). My take on it is that erg mode is smooth, “feels” fast, and I’m typically doing a fair amount of intensity, so all of those things push my cadence higher. I think another aspect is that at some level I know/feel that as cadence drops the resistance rises, and that’s going to also push me towards a higher cadence.

Certainly in my case it’s had no negative impact. I’ve never really worried about cadence or done any specific cadence exercises, always just ride at a self-selected cadence which in my case seems to have a pretty broad range. Training at a higher cadence in erg mode has had zero impact on my ability to grind up a hill at 50rpm when that feels like the right thing to do. I guess if you were doing >90% of your riding indoors and/or were seeing an impact outdoors then it might be something to think about and maybe make a deliberate choice to do some sessions at lower cadence.


Same experience here. My natural cadence on the road falls in the 95-100 range, but 5-10rpm higher on the ergo feels natural. I think its independent of FTP or type of trainer used. There are several workouts where there are specific drills at cadences outside natural cadence range. I try to be diligent in following these as they are designed to develop specific aspects of form. Other than that I tend to find a higher end rpm feels better/easier as the intervals get more intense, particularly as they get up into VO2/Anearobic. (Much easier to avoid the death spiral).

Probably a question for coach Chad. Is it counter-productive to operate outside the 85-95rpm range recommended for the majority of the workouts, particularly when going to the high side (100-110)?

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When using ERG mode I used to make the error of chasing target power without looking at my cadence.

Slow your cadence and keep your pedalling smooth and consistent and let the ERG mode calibrate the power. After a few seconds you’ll find the trainer self corrects to the correct wattage as long as you’re consistent.

I’m now trying to keep the same cadence throughout a workout including recovery. It doesn’t always work but it certainly helps smooth out the power output whilst utilising the pedalling drills to keep everything as smooth as possible

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I had absolutely the same issue when started out on an ERG trainer, posted on here same as you have.

If a trainer is targeting say 200w, when you increase cadence the only way the trainer can make you output 200w is reducing the resistance - you end up putting less force out but doing it more often. Likewise if you drop cadence to make the same power it must increase resistance.

On the road this doesn’t happen. You increase cadence but gearing and resistance don’t change, if all else stays the same the resistance actually increases as speed goes up. This makes it far far easier to find a rhythm and self select.

For me I find some discipline comes into it and a big gear helps, but I forced myself to use small ring mid-cassette and over time learnt to hold a lower cadence (typically 85-90). This for me was to ensure I am pushing higher torque and not just spinning up at 105+. It has hugely improved how my pedalling feels out on the road, made me tolerant of a bit of grinding, and made my legs look more shapely in a short space of time.

Big mental challenge to overcome but worth it, if only for the sexy legs.


Yes, same problem except on a Drivo (gen 1). After playing around with the gearing, I have settled to fairly low gear (34x25) to keep my cadence at bay. I’m still spin higher than outdoors when fresh and/or at lower % of FTP (95-100 vs 90-95) but don’t drift to 110+ as easily as I do with higher gears. Also I use an external sensor for cadence (it was much more stable than the trainer). Play around with your gearing.

This helped a lot on my intervals today. I think my problem had been I started upping my power output as the interval approached before the trainer started adjusting. This would results in my upping my cadence as the trainer was “catching up” in terms of resistance. I would then be “stuck” at the higher cadence during the interval.


I find myself using higher cadence on ERG workouts than I use on IRL rides. Definitely for very short duration intervals this helps me quite a lot, to the point that it feels like cheating… After I starting noticing this, I began intentionally selecting different cadence goals for different intervals - so about half my intervals will be high (105+rpm) and half will be low (95-rpm). I feel like this give me the opportunity to ensure different energy systems are stressed.
But also I’ve thought a bit about why I tend to be lower when riding outside. At least for longish intervals, I find it easier to maintain target power with a lower (95-rpm) cadence. I think this is because higher cadence is more affected by small drops in resistance - such as brief reduction in headwind, or small negative grades.