Kickr Bike - BT, ANT+, ERG and resistance. Which one to use?

I am looking for some advice on how to set up the Kickr bike to use with TR.
Coming from a fluid wheel on dumb trainer with Favero Assioma pedals, this is my first smart trainer and I am still trying to figure out the best setup for the indoor season.
I am not concerned about power matching and/or differences between Assioma and Kickr bike, this has been addressed by many other users. My question is whether I should I use the BT or the ANT+ connection? The BT has ERG and Standard mode, while the ANT+ has ERG and Resistance modes. Also the ANT+ allows for calibration, while the BT connection does not. I have tested each of these modes using my Galaxy S20 phone + TR app. For a more accurate comparison, I did the same workout (West Vidette +1) on four different occasions, each time trying a new configuration.

  1. BT + ERG mode worked fine, with some minor fluctuations around the target power. If I increased/decreased my cadence, power was jumping around for a few seconds, but eventually settled close to the target. I assume this is normal functioning for the ERG mode.
  2. BT + Standard mode. It seemed that TR was trying to control the bike to adjust for the target resistance, but there was a lot more fluctuation in power/resistance compared with ERG mode.
    In both BT modes I deliberately decreased and increased my cadence to (subjectively) assess how TR controls the resistance to adjust for these changes. ERG mode was really nice, but Standard worked too.
  3. ANT+ ERG mode. Worked just as well as the BT+ERG mode, had zero issues in adjusting the resistance.
  4. ANT+ Resistance. Absolutely useless!! Resistance was not adjusted by the software. I tried changing my cadence, shifting through the whole gear range, but nothing helped. For all these changes after an initial small increase in resistance for a few seconds, it eventually dropped to the 60-90 watts range.

My goal is to eventually use TR on a windows 10 laptop connected to a bigger screen via hdmi cable. The laptop has a BT connection, but I haven’t tested it with TR and the Kickr bike yet.
Here are my questions:

  1. Should I buy an ANT+ dongle and use it in ANT+ ERG mode, or would the BT connection be enough? I have only used TR as a training platform so far, and from the info I gathered it seems that for structured interval training I should only use ERG mode.
  2. This winter I might venture into some occasional Zwift rides. Since those are not structured rides, what is the best mode to ride those in?
  3. If using ANT+ connection, do I need to calibrate the Kickr bike?
  4. What mode to use for a free ride where there is no target power to match?

I searched the forum for answers, but I could not locate information for these specific questions.

Thank you!

I use ERG with power smoothing set to zero.

My Kickr is connected to either my iPad or my iPhone depending on the type of workout and what I want to listen to.

I always calibrate the Kickr before each ride.

From comments in other threads, the Kickr Bike does not apparently support Resistance mode for apps like TrainerRoad. So you are likely locked in to ERG from my limited understanding.

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I have a Kickr direct-drive smart trainer, not the Bike, and used Erg for about 2 years. Erg is fine/ok but at times does not feel natural. After 2 years I tried Standard/Level mode and really prefer it, because Std/Level is closer to doing workouts outside. Mostly used level = 2 and TR to set it and forget it (my FTP is around 250W). Some details here:

FWIW for the past year I’ve done nearly all my workouts outside, mostly on flat terrain, and my power graph looks almost identical to inside using Erg and big chainring. At least on flat ground, if you have or develop a smooth pedal stroke you will also see minor fluctuations around target power. Erg made me feel like a hero on target-vs-actual power, and I found with practice the same can be achieved outside or inside using standard/level mode. When it comes to inside, I’d rather continue practicing in std/level than use Erg. Its all good, use whatever motivates you!

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First he changes his name and now this :eyes:

You think you know a guy.

I personally use ERG mode but agree that it isn’t for everyone - if I was buying something new I would like the option to choose.

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LOL, it wasn’t my choice to change name however I did keep the avatar :joy:

Erg is fine, however I’m not the only one to notice it doesn’t behave like riding/training/racing outside. Some people find Erg helps keep them honest, either during recovery intervals or work intervals (or both).

Once you have some intensity discipline its time to ask yourself if reinforcing outside riding habits is important (sim or std/level mode) or not (erg mode).

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