My take is the neo is an exception to this high/low gear thing, maybe even reversed from those with large flywheels like the kickr. I find high gearing on the neo is more erratic. It feels like the trainer over/under corrects, and I’m constantly fighting with it. This shows on the power graph as a jagged line with lots of ups and downs around the called for power (+/- 10 or 15W). The oscillations are very muscularly taxing.
When I run in a lowish gear, the line smooths out a lot and I don’t feel like I’m fighting the trainer at all. The variance around the desired power is just a few watts, and doesn’t impact my cadence much. In fact, you can vary your cadence +/- 1 or 2 rpms while sticking fairly tight to the called for power (say, +/- 5W). When I slip outside of that window I can feel the resistance change, but it’s very slight in comparison.
I can go back through my old rides and see the day I figured this out. All previous rides, very jagged. All future rides, very smooth. The only downside is the “miles” figure that gets uploaded to strava is lower.
Everything you said aligns with my experiences on Kickr wheel-off trainer in Erg. Your color commentary brought to mind a few thoughts that I’ve written about in other threads:
which feels more like riding outside. Maybe you are different, but all of my hard riding on the flats and climbs has even more variance than big ring on a smart wheel-off trainer. This is one reason I prefer the big ring on trainer.
Its almost impossible to find outside rides with segments that smooth, which is why I feel that small ring on smart wheel-off trainer feels unnatural. Another reason I prefer the big ring on trainer.
I’ve found it possible to smooth out power just by applying an even/smooth pedal stroke, which seems to help with outside riding when putting down a lot of watts (flat or climbs).
This subject always seems to come down to personal preferences. A lot of people prefer the little ring.
Huh, I dunno then. Maybe I’m misinterpreting what everyone says about “inertia” on the kickr… that it feels smoother in high gears and sloggy in low gears? That’s the exact opposite of how I’d describe the neo, but I’ve never ridden a kickr to compare.
I’m going to go ahead and agree that real-life cycling is a whole other experience… I find it impossible to hold a steady power even remotely precisely outdoors no matter the circumstance (uphill, flat, downhill). To me this has everything to do with the terrain undulating. I think my style is more trying to maintain momentum, rather than hold consistent power. In a high gear on the neo, it’s like the terrain is undulating, but I can’t see it so it’s a constant up and down surprise. I guess I don’t like that.
I only have a couple of rides on my Neo 2, but I think I am feeling something similar. It’s almost as if the virtual flywheel speed and pedal feel is somehow inverted when compared to my H2 and Kickr17 (with their real flywheels).
It’s like the Kickr17 feel in 34-17 gearing feels more like my Neo 2 in 50-17 gearing. I need more testing to see if those initial impressions are consistent and “real”.
Phew, I don’t feel quite so crazy if your first impression at least maybe kinda matches mine. Ultimately this probably comes down to defining terms, and it’s soo hard to convey these qualities in words. And when we’re all starting from somewhere different, it’s really tough!
Joe just posted Part II. Interestingly he says that the only place of focus of force should be 1pm to 5pm and not on the upstroke, except for sprinting. He says that most cyclists’ problem is that they apply force 2pm to 4pm. He then goes on further to explain how to improve pedal stroke force.