Pairing trainer via Ant+ or Bluetooth - whats the latest 'Best Practice?

Hi guys, just looking a bit of advice after trying to sort some ‘issues’ with my smart trainer. I’ve a Tacx Neo 2T about 1yr old (ie still in warranty) which was working v well on Trainerroad - esp liked the responsiveness of the trainer adjusting resistance to reach target power, mostly harder efforts above 100% ftp. However I always though power from trainer read on the low side compared to my Powertap P1 (dual side) pedals so RPE highter on the trainer for a given effort. After following guidance from Tacx/Garmin support and updating firmware etc, since doing that the ride charateristics on Trainerroad are all over the place - overspinning when ‘ramping up’ into hard effort and trainer tacking a V long time to settle to tarret power in ERG mode compared to previous.
So have now been experimenting to see any differences if trainer is paired via Bluetooth compared to Ant+. Have googled and found conflicting answers on which is better to use - even on Trainerroad-how to have stated that if laptop/windows have bluetooth and Ant+ available then it said to only use Bluetooth - " Note: if you have Bluetooth and ANT+ enabled and see two tiles corresponding to your trainer, pair to the Bluetooth version only . as per here: How to Pair Your Devices – TrainerRoad. But another thread the opposite is advised - different devices to me but similar use case of comparision of hight RPE on trainer vs dual power pedals here: RPE different for ANT vs Bluetooth on kickr - TrainerRoad Software - TrainerRoad Bryce from TrainerRoad Team advices to use Ant+ The reasoning behind this is that when you pair your dual-sided power meter with TrainerRoad via ANT+, it measures and communicates L+R power. When paired via Bluetooth, it takes the Left power and doubles it to determine your power output.

Therefore, pairing with ANT+ gives you a more accurate measurement of your total power, and it also will more closely match your outdoor power."

So I’m confused as to which Protocol I should go with when Pairing to give me the best possible ride experience when completing workouts (mostly in ERG mode).

Any advice much appreciated…

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+1 This questions… I have been struggling with the same thing, I have a Kickr SNAP and Assioma Duo pedals. I have been mainly running in Bluetooth mode for both trainer and pedals and have not experimented really with Ant+ but if I connect pedals via Ant+ and calibrate I always get an offset of 0 however on Bluetooth I always get an offset of -1. Maybe @Pete can chime in with guidance on what they have seen regarding Bluetooth vs. Ant+ when it comes to accuracy / power match responsiveness.

Aside from troubleshooting issues, connect via which ever protocol gives you the fewest dropouts. For me that is Bluetooth. I run Zwift in parallel and recently got a set of Duos so here’s my setup.

  • Kickr paired to laptop for TR via BLE
  • Kickr paired to same laptop for Zwift via Ant+ (dongle)
  • Duos paired to head unit via Ant+ (note that I have elected to not use PowerMatch for now so that I can continue to compare power at the pedals to the trainer)

[least] ?

In some intervals, you’re praying for the connection to drop out :wink:

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So Just done a very quick test. In my case when paired to the Neo2T via Ant+ to Trainerroad, I get the poor ride characteristics with cadence ‘over-rev’ on ramp up to interval and then slow to stabilize to target power for steady cadence. When Paired via bluetooth this seems much better - more like what it was like before firmware upgrade. So seems to align with the TR how-to advice of only pairing with bluetooth if both protocols are available. I then done a bit of a side by side test workout having the my head unit (elenmt bolt) paired to Powertap Pedals via Ant+ - and getting similar readings, ie not so much difference between the two sources at higher power efforts.

As long as I can get back to the consistent connection between the Neo2T and Trainerroad that I had before. The reason for the original faff was actually more relating to performance on zwift!! I always reckoned my Trainer was reading a bit low for power compared to the pedals (prob 10-15% lower and more than could attribute to drive train losses) - but that was fine in Trainerroad workouts as at least efforts were comparable to those low readings. But when on zwift the races and workouts are all based on Watts/kilo - so with lower w/kg (based on the low figures from Neo) - I was very much struggling in races/group rides that I know if should be able to keep up with. trying to ride at 4w/kg is a hard job if from the Paowertaps I’m pushing 320Watts but from the Neo I’m having to ride at 350 watts for same w/kg output - extra 30 watts is hard to find!.

Just I never normally ride with the Powertaps indoors. But due to the lockdown and no racing going on, turning to zwift etc is more likely. But I was feeling very guilty about amending power sources just to get some ‘free watts’ - bit like those who dont put their correct weigh in to start with.

Anyway aside from that, I’ll continue to do some more testing and hopefully get this resolved with the Tacx/Garmin ticket I’ve open. Just wanted to know the deal on the best Protocol for pairing with Trainerroad - for me it looks like bluetooth is working best…

Cheers

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Correct - least - goofy autocorrect on the phone. I’ll fix my post. Thanks!

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Since you subscribe to Zwift, you can use the ZwiftPower site to compare two power sources for the same ride. ZwiftPower --> Profile --> Analysis.

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Detailed guide:

I will have to give this a go.

I’ve been struggling, lately, with ANT+ on my Neo 2T. I’ve been getting lots of dropouts. It could be my ANT+ dongle or extension going bad, though.

That said, I did do a BT workout on my phone this past weekend, and do recall seeing trainer dropouts but not my HRM.