Is using TR on your bike computer the better alternative to a Smartphone?


just wondering if there are others with a similar sentiment:

I am not using my smartphone for the TR sessions but push all the workouts as “outdoor” version to my Wahoo Bolt. I then complete them indoors on my rollers.
With the exception of longer Z2 rides most of TR workouts are absolutely identical indoors and outdoors, so all intensities, intervalls etc are the same in the app as on the Bolt.

So far I have enjoyed this setup for my indoor workouts very much, the Wahoo Bolt gives me:

  • clean overview of current data, very focused
  • all necessary info about the workout, upcoming sections, power levels, averages etc.
  • ability to customize data shown and include more data than given in App (speed, distance etc)
  • I can jump forward and back between intervals of the session, therefore am able to skip parts or repeat those. I have not found such function in the App
  • no disctraction (I have always switched off inride instructions which annoyed me more than they were helpful especially at higher intensity)
  • happy to put the smartphone away once a day
  • the workout data is also pushed to my Wahoo App which offers very nice analysis potential too
  • since the calendar in the App does not yet allow any manipulation and anyway always forwards you to the website there is no additional value by the App I am actually missing right now.

What I dont like:

  • Outdoor session are not registered as “completed workouts” in your “my rides” database so no comparision possible on the workout page, just manually searching and opening the session in your calender works. that is a pity.
  • the completed outdoor workouts look terrible in the Calender IMO

Now, what else? Is there something the App offers which a bikecomputer does not?


I haven’t ever used a bike cmputer to run things, just my iPad.

I like the inride comments. Having a reminder to sometimes check my knee tracking, or explaining the purpose or even just the beep that I’ve got 5 seconds before the next interval is nice.

Doesn’t sound like you are missing anything from the actual workout though.

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I have already quite some time ago suggested to have the instructions as full text attached to the workout so I could look at it before or after the session. I just felt annoyed by waiting for the next part of the sentence popping up while being on BPM 190 :slight_smile:
Unfortunately it is still not possible to read the instructions any other way than waiting for them to pop up.

The Wahoo Bolt beeps and announces the intervals too.

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Yes. I switched to using my Garmin 530 bike computer after two years of Erg mode and TR app. Wrote about it a few times, here is my perspective:

I don’t miss Erg mode, and prefer having a consistent indoor/outdoor experience. Plus I can feed the Firstbeat algorithms on my Garmin 530 which in general do a pretty good job in particular (vs WKO) while doing a lot of sub-maximal (endurance/tempo) workouts during base training.

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I’ve pushed work out to my headset but done them on the turbo so I could free up the laptop for running RGT. I would do it more often with the low tempo workouts but outdoors version annoyingly is longer.

True, that is annoying, we are discussing this here as well:

I have so far quite successfully found similar workouts as the ones which annoyingly are too long in its outdoor version. I am searching for similar TSS and IF… mostly found something.

Still: TR should fix the differences in length IMO


We’re looking into this as a team right now! :metal:


I really like running my TR workouts via my Garmin 830.

ERG mode works fine and I like that it records all my cycling dynamics data without having to dual record.

The only issue I’ve run into is that the allowed power range in the recovery intervals are sometimes stated as “below x” rather than “between x and y” for example if a recovery interval should be 130w on the Garmin it will say stay between 1 and 130w but ERG mode translates this to a value of 65w - which is far too low obviously.

Doesn’t seem to affect all workouts though.

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What do you think of using using 830 to control Erg? I’ve resisted pairing my Kickr with bike computer for several reasons, primarily to keep things simple and ensure power recorded is only from Stages power meter. Do you have an on-bike power meter?

It does a really good job at controlling the resistance of my kickr trainer. Power is recorded from my favero assioma DUO pedals.

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I used my Bolt to control my Kickr in the past (sold the Kickr then). Worked perfectly.

Thanks for both responses. While I’m a total tech nerd and could easily setup, I’m still resisting having the bike computer control trainer for two reasons:

  • to make indoor more like outdoor
  • the simplicity of my setup (KISS principle)
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Good reasons! I went the same, felt, that all this tech around me kept me distracted. Sold the Kickr, bought dumb rollers, enjoy riding in non-ERG-mode, and am very happy with the bike computer setup.

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I’ve got a lot invested in my setup, between the Kickr and the InsideRide motion thingy. If starting over I’d consider rollers of some sort, but going to use what I’ve got until its worn out.

Standard/Level mode on the Kickr is great, for everything from sprintervals to endurance workouts.

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Intervals where the power ramps up or down over the course of the interval. “Outdoor” workouts offer only a single target range.

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The phone version makes it easy to adjust the power target up or down depending on how I feel at the moment. If I feel strong, I can tap the screen to do the workout at 105% of FTP, for example. And, I am new so I really like the in-ride instructions and coaching. I do most of my workouts outdoors, so when I get a chance to read the coaching instructions, it’s a treat for me.

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I start using my 520 because my trainer was too old to register as power only in RGT and found I like it much more than TR/Zwift setup. With RGT, I can ride real courses simulated with magic road and follow the workout progression on the Garmin. I also have a couple of consistent slope routes that I use primarily for threshold & + workouts. The course imagery and bots keep me visually stimulated.


True the intervals are more precisely defined in the App/indoor workouts… but if you are not using ERG Mode it is anyway not that easy to hit the power targets exactly.

That is also very easy to adjust on the bike computer.

Did anybody find a way to skip or repeat intervals in the App? This is something I found out about only since using the bike computer. I cant find this function on IOS.

Yes in the TR app you pause and then drag to skip or repeat. Its been there for some time.

I believe the only practical ‘bike computer vs app’ differences are:

  • workout notes
  • seeing target power in TR chart (Garmin users have this in Connect)
  • TR support has access to detailed info about communication between app and trainer

The others mentioned above have no practical value in my opinion, based on using a bike computer to record indoor workouts during most of 2020.

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What do you mean by that? On my Bolt I have a field which tells me the targetpower, too. I can anyway manipulate the data fields extensively, add or reduce the data fields as I want. Much more flexible than the App.