I am coming back to TR after being gone for about 2 years. During that time I’ve been using Zwift for my coached workouts. I never used ERG mode with Zwift.
My first two workouts back on TR make me feel like I’m pedaling through mud. I’m using the same trainer that I used with Zwift, a 2020 Kickr. After fiddling around with the TR iOS app on my iPad, I finally settled on “standard mode level 0”. It feels better than resistance mode but it still feels like I’m churning butter with my legs. TR powermatch is turned on.
Is this all in my head or is there a significant difference between Zwift and TR’s power matching protocols?
There may well be differences in PowerMatch between the two, but I don’t think that is your issue. Zwift workout mode when not in ERG mode is something like the Standard / Level / Slope mode that TR offers for some trainers and device combos.
This largely comes down to what is called the “power curve” where you get a relationship between the “wheel speed” of the trainer and the relative level of resistance applied by the trainer. The Standard / Level / Slope modes typically aim to have a non-linear or progressive power curve that is more like riding outside. It is what most of the old fluid trainers attempted to provide, like the Kinetic Road Machine that was lauded for having the most accurate “road feel” back in the day.
All that to say, that each app can have their own take on these modes and the related power curve you get. It leads to the gearing you may need to use for various power levels and the basic feel of the power around the pedal circle and what it feels like when you ease off or coast.
So, it’s a real thing where they can and do feel different. It’s one reason that it’s important to test appropriately with each app and not cross-reference power data because of these potential differences.
Thanks @mcneese.chad ! I did another search and saw that this is why TR recommends ERG mode as it takes away the issues with using slope mode. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of ERG mode as it makes me feel disconnected from my legs, if that makes any sense at all.
Sure, not everyone likes ERG and that’s totally fine.
You can experiment with the Standard setting if you haven’t done so. Some people like it around 2-3 (0-9 total setting range) from what I have seen and think that gives a decent feel overall that is more like riding outside.
I don’t know if you will have access to Resistance mode with your trainer and iOS device, but if so, you can try that too. It is a “flatter” power curve that may feel better to you. It has a 0-100% setting range, and I think most people and trainer combos end up between 20-40% setting. Just another option that might be worth a test if it’s available to you.
In any event, the differences between apps and trainer feel is a real thing. Testing and setting FTP relative to whatever you plan to use for most of your training is a good idea, in the hopes of consistency at least.