Ramp test went too great? Big ring problem?

Hi, I ve just done a ramp test and I guess it went to great. Normally I was doing it on a small ring but today I thought I will try to do it on a big ring because I found doing a vo2 power much easier on a big ring. I am using a tacx Vortex wheel on trainer. Result today was 280 watts which is for me 4.4 w/kg.
Last test I was only a 250 watts so it is an increase of 10%. I am on a beginning of a speciality phase. My training was quiet consistent but damn It feels overestimated. I’ve done 10 min warm up and do calibration on a trainer via tacx app and then via trainer road.

Do you think I should give it a try and see if I could finish workouts or I should retest on small ring in 2 days or so?

I ve just read all the posts about big ring vs small ring. Sorry for spam. Still not sure the answer. What do you think?

My experience is this. Small ring is more muscularly taxing vs big ring. I test in the big ring and then if I try to do workouts with longer efforts of SST to LT I can’t do them. If I try them in the big ring they are more manageable.

My decision has been to phase in doing more actual intervals in the small ring as I’m a Mountain biker so my races are slower speed, more like the small ring. When I start to struggle with intervals I’ll go to the big ring to finish them out.

My recommendation is if you test in the big ring you should be careful and when doing over unders, long LT efforts, etc. also do them in the big ring so you’re more likely to be able to finish the workout.

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If you’re going to do your workouts in the big ring, I think you’ll be fine. If the small ring, I think you’re in for a rude awakening. Spoken from experience. Even if you do workouts in the big ring, if you did the test in the 11t cog and move up the cassette to the 17t cog and try to do the workouts there, I think you’ll be surprised at how much harder it is.



  1. Test the way you plan to train.
    • If you plan to use the big ring for most (all?) of your training, then test in the big ring.
    • If you plan to use the small ring for most (all?) of your training, then test in the small ring.
    • Keep the gearing consistent for proper evaluation of efforts.
  2. Consider mixing up gearing usage a bit to keep the legs and strain more varied.
    • Each trainer can offer a varied amount of flywheel inertia, and that may or may not mimic your specific needs. As such, choose what makes sense the most of the time.
    • But keep in mind that shifting that loading of the muscles and overall feel can be good to keep your body “guessing”.
  3. There is no real data showing high or low gearing as being superior to the other. It is largely up to user preference.
    • Any differences are likely to fall into the “marginal gains” territory, so don’t lose sleep over the choice.

Thanks for answers. I guess the best option for me is to keep it consistent and retest on a small ring in 2 days. Vortex is a little jet plane with big ring so, I am using a small ring most of the time.

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Im surprised you can ftp using the small ring on the vortex. I just upgraded from one. It was my understanding and experience that I needed to use the big ring to have enough inertia to keep the wattage floor high enough during resistance variation.
But if it works it works. I upgraded to a slowly dying kick core so that I could train small and ftp on small ring.

Did you use big ring all the time on vortex?

Let us know the results. My guess is you won’t produce as much power in the little ring. But, who knows?

vortex user as well. i have to use the big ring. the little ring has too much deadspots for me.

Yes exclusively. In small ring I could not maintain wattage. My tire was older and maybe a little bit slippery.

Unless your PM is miscalibrated, you can’t overtest. You did the performance, that isn’t wrong. The math to arrive at your ftp is what is at fault. The math to arrive at ftp is merely a ballpark calculation, it’s not optimized for you. I think you should try training at your new ftp and see how it goes. If you find it too hard, then adjust a couple percent down.

  • While I agree with the sentiment in general, I disagree depending on what a person may choose to do.

  • If they test on the big ring (with high inertia), and achieve a “good” FTP value… and they switch to the small ring (with lower inertia) for subsequent workouts, they may well have trouble completing workouts at the “good” FTP.

  • It’s not at all what I or others recommend, but I have seen some people test that way because they like the bigger FTP value. So, if that approach was applied, it would effectively be an “over-test” situation, even if it’s not right in the true sense that they actually got the value in the test itself.

  • This all depends on the assumption that higher inertia is easier vs low inertia. That is a point that is very debatable, and will vary with trainers and riders. It is not an absolute property, but commonly felt by many riders (higher inertia = somewhat easier).

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I guess that with smaller flywheel the difference is greater. Vortex ve got only 1,7 kg flywheel where kickr is 7,2 kg. I can’t wait to retest tomorrow and see what the differences are.

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Ok, results are in. So today at a small ring I was tested 255 ftp compared to 280 on big ring it is a huge difference. 25 watts to be exact. However I give it all today and get a 5 watts increase from my last " accurate " test. 255 puts me in a magical 4 watts per kg so I am happy about it and I will keep on looking for improvements in speciality phase.


Yes small is much harder for me on the vortex in fact I really couldn’t do it. BUT!!! If you train in big ring I think you should test in big ring. If you train little and sounds like you can than test little.

Just one guys opinion though!

But your tests mimic mine.

I went from 292 on large vortex ring to 256 on small ring on kickr and then trained on small ring on kickr and now yesterday I tested on small ring after just 3 weeks of general build is 273. I had more in the tank but had trouble breathing a little with a sinus issue. Was not the best day to test but today I had Surgery and am off the bike for 2-6 weeks so I wanted to get it done. It will just take a little time to adapt to little ring if you switch that way. But it will be quick if you decide to.

Keep your head up and its just a number. You WILL get it back!

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I’m glad I’m testing and training in the small ring on the trainer (due to noise problems at high speeds), that means I will get a automatic 25W bump in FTP once I go outside in the big ring. No? :wink: One can wish.