Ramp Test + Dumb Trainer = I HATE IT

Thanks. I am considering getting a new cassette with 1 tooth jumps. Right now I am on the road bike with a compact chainring so that is done. And I do start in the small and move the big.

I tested on my road bike as the gearing is better for the ramp test than on the MTB. The MTB is a 2x10 setup already and I have not found larger chainrings to put on it. I run out of gears as it is fine … fine … fine … GRIND.

Nope – got 2x running. 1x did not exist when I got my bikes and can’t get $$$ to change both over at once (a HT and FS setup nearly identically).

Pretty much anything under 60% of your FTP is active recovery. A good way to tell that you are recovering during rest intervals within high intensity workouts or during a cool down period is to monitor your HR. If you know your functional threshold heart rate (FTHR), then roughly 69-83% of your FTHR during RIs is a good target (from Allen/Coggan zones for Endurance; particularly if you can be there for a few minutes) and 68% and below for cool down (Active Recovery zone).

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I don’t hear a lot of people talking adjusting the roller tension knob on the KK road machine to fine tune the cadence range ( maybe because it is obvious to everyone but it took me a little while to start doing this). If you’re careful about tire pressure and tension, you can dial in a desired cadence range to a certain degree, especially for things that don’t vary a lot like sweet spot intervals. For the ramp test, it might take a little playing around to keep it within a desired cadence range since it is such a wide range of power outputs but it works for me.

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That is fine to do, but has consequences that should be considered.

  • If you are using the trainer and Virtual Power, you better figure out and use that same adjustment all the time. If not (and you vary it from time to time) you will be getting different results for the reported power. As with any VP setup, be consistent to get consistent power.
  • This is not an issue if you are using an external power meter. Feel free to adjust and get the best feel for the test.

@dprimm I use a Kurt Road Machine and road bike with compact chainrings, but I have a 10-speed 12-23 cassette (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23) on the trainer wheel for tight spacing. Helps a ton with cadence selection in all workouts, not just Ramp Test.

For Ramp I find I shift gears at some points every step, at others after 2nd step. Able to keep my cadence throughout (until I crack anyway) in about a 5 rpm range.

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Oh man! You just solved the mystery of my poor ramp test results. I still have a 11-32 cassette on my bike from a hilly 240km race last year!
I just failed the ramp test for the 3rd time since starting Trainer Road in December. I consider myself a mentally tough person but my legs were toast before the 19minute the last 2 times.

Instead of trusting the poor ramp test results, i have been nudging my FTP gradually upwards by 3-5% every few weeks ensuring the hard workouts stay tough but still just about manageable. So far I have improved from an FTP of 196 (first attempt at ramp test so likely an underestimate) to 245 after completing sweet spot base II (65kg female).

I will try the 8 minute test in place of the ramp test next time! I’ll get around to swapping the cassette back to an 11-28 at some point :slight_smile:


If you can find a way to get a cheap dedicated trainer wheel, then you can go much tighter than 11-28 and you’ll like that even more. 11-23, 12-23.

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I have a similar experience; I use a cadence of 89-92 for the entire ramp test, on 53/39 with a 12-25 11s cassette.

I’m wondering if you need more gear choices, OP?

I might be missing something here. Are you saying when you have to push more power to hold the next level, at some point your cadence drops and THAT is the reason you can’t push higher power? If so, while gearing might help a handful of watts for a short period of time, I don’t think so. Cadence drops at a constant power when you can’t generate the torque needed to sustain power. Ride your FTP for as long as you can (dumb trainer or outside). When you start to fail I can almost guarantee the first thing you will do is shift gears to try and adjust torque to stay on top of the gear. If it was a matter of gearing I’d be the first to admit it. No free lunch IMO. Again perhaps I misunderstood the op.

Thanks. I’ll go shopping. Will have to get 2 – one for the MTB wheel and one for the Road bike wheel.

Did Kaweah at 4:45am today with a 5% boost for the start of SSB2. About broke me, but figured that would happen. (I am trying to get long rides done during the week as long runs + long rides destroys me over a weekend.)

Okay, so I attempted the Ramp Test again this morning before the start of build and I am a lot clearer on what my strengths and weaknesses are.

I feel after completing both SSB modules I am no better at performing in the latter stages of “the ramp test” where I need to be sustaining 400+watts at 85rpm. This is after breaking power Pr’s in the base phase.

It seems the fitness I have cultivated lends itself better to efforts like Lamark rather than the high force production it takes in the late stages of the ramp test.

I might actually use this as my FTP test in the future.

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Last minute on Ramp Test, I can’t handle those watts at 110 rpm. Shift and I loose like 25-30 rpm



What exact gearing and shift are you making that is that much change in rpm?

That seems very unnecessary, but maybe its right depending on your setup. I suspect we might have some thoughts if you can share your setup.

Micro adjustments on a fluid trainer can be me made by increasing/ decreasing tire on the drum pressure.
Obviously, not in the middle of a ramp test.

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Well I guess taking me as an example I use an 11/28 cassette with compact chainrings.

I use a Kurt Kinetic road machine with a stages.

When taking the cassette ratios in to account it is only the final five cogs that are single tooth jumps from 15-11. The rest are two tooth jumps. I believe I am either going from the 19-17 or 17-15 in the final rounds.

It doesn’t sound like much but when you are already pinned the decision to either raise leg speed to 100+ rpm or shift is a pretty tricky one. I normally shift and and it takes me back to sub 90 rpm and I can’t see myself getting past the 400w step on the test.

How do you know that the cadence is limiting your performance rather than the increase in power requirement causing your body to fail? I am in the same boat as you, with a dumb trainer and have to change gear around 400 watts but I wouldn’t say it is the reason I top out, the reason I stop is because I have nothing left and having more intricate control of my cadence might add a watt or two but nothing significant I suspect.

Plus, if you are failing early, surely all your subsequent workouts should be easy because your ftp is too low, if they feel correct then the test is probably working for you, it just isn’t a pleasant way to do it.

I may have missed if these points were covered previously in the form so excuse me if they have, I didn’t see them being raised when I ran through the posts.

I’m curious about that too… perhaps then the trainer is too tight on the tire. Admittedly I’m on a 12-28 10 speed with a compact crank (50-39) and all high power situations with my dumb trainer are like 5 rpm on the 50, so the increase in power is only a 3-5 rpm jump, so once I get past the current FTP, it will be between 95-105. Also keeping the cadence above 100 in the ramp is really hard… much harder than doing that power as an individual interval at over 100 rpm.

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Adjust the tension of the drum on your rear tire to move your “working” position on the cassette.