Newbie Question - ERG mode or no ERG mode

Happy holidays everyone. Quick question: I’ve using TR for about 30 days and love it. I’m training for a Grand Fondo in early February and want to get the most out of my TR time: should I use ERG mode or natural resistance to get the best effect?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Warmest wishes.

ERG for the most part. I rarely use the resistance feature as I do all of my workouts in ERG mode. In ERG, you will be made to hold a wattage as set by the workout and not worry about shifting your gears as long as you continue pedaling (assuming that you have a smart trainer). Although I am aware of the difference in flywheel inertia between ERG and resistance mode, I don’t really see the benefit of resistance mode unless you want to replicate the climbs in your upcoming fondo. Here is an article that goes into greater detail about ERG mode: ERG mode explained: what it is, how to use it and when to turn it off - BikeRadar

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No ERG mode guy here. I like to purposefully target the power and shift. I do see the point of ERG tho

Do what suits/ works for you. I prefer resistance mode and being more engaged with following a power target and being able to push higher, especially on short sharp intervals. I find ERG, especially with the previous version of power match would drag me into the ERG spiral of death sometines or cut out resistance when I spun at high cadence both of which would strain things in my legs. But sometimes when I don’t want to engage and want to be restricted to a limit or held to a target (especially long SS or Endurance sessions) I’ll use ERG.
You’ll find tons of articles about the pros and cons of ERGvResistance on the forum but at the end of the day do what suits / works for you.

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I’d use erg mode until it was giving me the cadence spiral of death (you’ll know it when it happens to you) and then switch out of it. Usually that happens for me when operating at near max ability and at threshold power or higher.

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I often meet, but do not understand this term. Can you explain?

When your cadence starts to slow, in ERG mode, your trainer will increase resistance to keep the power at the targeted power level. (Power = cadence * resistance).

As resistance increases, it becomes harder to pedal so your cadence starts to slow more, which causes resistance to increase which causes cadence to slow which causes……BOOM - the Spiral of Death. You eventually reach the point where you can’t turn the pedals over anymore.


I get this effect at the end of the Ramp test

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Thanks so much for the info. I know what you mean about the spiral of death……I’ve felt it many times; I’ll give your recommendation a shot. Ride strong and safe!

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I think this is largely a personal preference thing, and most people will figure out the pros and cons of each for different types of workouts given a bit of time and experience.

I’m personally a resistance mode person, but I don’t train to power exclusively so I like to have a bit more flexibility with my wattage. In a similar vein I think all-out efforts are better suited to resistance mode, but with anything else I think the physiological differences are negligible all else being equal, so I’d go with what works for you mentally!

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Just read this article and it may be useful to those considering ERG.

Maybe dumb question, but related. I use ERG mode all the time. Recently I was trying out the SIT workouts, and they suggested not using ERG mode at first. What I found is I couldn’t get a gear range which worked during the rests AND the sprint phase. Does TR increase the resistance when target power increases in non-ERG mode, or is it entirely fixed by the setting in the device menu?

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On the Kickr direct-drive, I can set to standard mode and do endurance around 180W and then peak power sprint hit 1000W.

Standard mode is like outside, the faster you go the more resistance from the trainer. It’s also called slope mode.

No. But in standard mode the trainer will increase resistance the faster you go, as I stated above.

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I have a Tacx Neo and TR only shows ERG and Resistance, no Standard.

With a Neo, they generally adjust to new power targets quickly in my experience. I’d suggest at least trying an ERG based workout to see how it works. I still use ERG for workouts for nearly all my workouts and am pleased with the response time on all my trainers over the years (Neo 2, Kickr V3/17, H2).

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