New Smart Trainer Workouts Harder?

Quick question. I just got a new smart trainer. I love it. While it’s great I’m struggling through the workouts on it vs my old dumb trainer. I’m going back through sweet spot in preparation for my 5 Land Run 100 (single speed) coming up in March.

  1. is that normal to go through a period of adjustment

  2. should I go through a test on the new trainer

I don’t mind the workouts being harder. But I’m just barely holding on at times. In fact tonight I just got mad and threw in the towel! That’s not like me at all.

Edit: old setup was Stages with Blackburn dumb to Cycleops M2 (still have stages but it’s current unpaired, if that matters at all).


Yes, definitely. Unless you’ve been using the same on-bike powermeter between the two trainers then they are likely different.

It sounds like you’ve gone from virtual power which is generally consistent but not accurate, to real power which should be consistent and accurate.



I went from a Stages crank arm. Which I still have. On a Blackburn trainer. To a Cycleops M2.

Same bike and gears etc. just swapped out the trainer. I turned off the stages in case that caused any oddness with TR collecting data.

Trainers and power meters collect power data differently. Definitely need to test again with the new trainer and then keep your measuring device consistent for your TR workouts. If you test with trainer power, train with it, otherwise they’ll be different, sometimes by quite a bit.

  1. Yes, it can be more difficult. ERG mode is unique and must be done properly, and when done so, is more demand than a dumb trainer.

  2. yes… ANYTIME you get new power measurement equipment, you treat.

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I went from rollers to a smart trainer and it got a bit easier for me. Still using my power meter but now power matching to Kickr Core. I am enjoying it so much more because I can maintain the same cadence throughout the workout whereas, with the rollers, I was having to constantly shift and spin higher(cadence drift) to maintain the same power level. Haven’t failed a workout since I got it.

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Rollers typically also lack a sufficient flywheel/coating effect. There are a few special ones out there that do a better job, but most have little if any “coasting” that compares to what we get with modern trainers.

That missing inertia leads to more work around the pedal circle and I feel it is a more demanding workout in some ways.

Well that’s that then. Sounds like I have another Ramp test in my near future. If my FTP turns up much less than with the Stages, I’ll try not to sit in the corner with a gallon of ice cream and cry. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m also discovering that I really need to be more aware of my cadence with ERG mode. Does that sound right?

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Aware, to a point, the most important part is to be steady. It can take some focus in the beginning, but can become more natural and automatic over time. Just one of the differences in how ERG works compared to a standard (dumb) trainer,

There is definitely a variation in technique and a learning curve associated to getting the most out of ERG mode.

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Absolutely, this would be the first thing I would do after unboxing it.

All trainers ( and power meters for that matter) have a degree of error and by using the number from the old dumb trainer and running it in your new one you could be compounding that.

I figured out the issue.

my Stages was dropping out. I think the Stages was controlling TR and then the smart trainer was acting up. Turned off Stages completely and the issue went away.

Good to go. I’ve had zero issues since then.

Thanks all.

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