Ramp test without a smart trainer

Is it possible to do a ramp test and get a FTP result without a smart trainer?

You’d need a power meter of some kind.
Whether pedals, crank, hub. Some type to tell you what power/watts you are generating. So yes you can do a ramp test without a smart trainer.

I did my first ramp test on a dumb trainer CycleOps with Assioma Duo power meter pedals.

I have Garmin Vector 3 pedals. Did you set your pedals to 3 sec smoothing when doing the test or something else?

I honestly can’t recall what setting I had them on. The 3’s smoothing sounds familiar now that you’ve mentioned above.

I’ve being doing ramp tests on a dumb trainer (and a dumb roller) since the very beginning of my TR times (finishing up the 2.5th year). Using the vector 3 pedals smoothing to 7 seconds. The smoothing won’t affect your actual results anyways since the power smoothing doesn’t influence the recording of the data, it just makes you look at a more consistent number!

Hope this help!


You can do a ramp test with a dumb trainer and without a power meter - using TR’s Virtual Power. It will be what it is - an estimation, with a strong dependency on your setup for repeatability, but it should be good enough to set training targets on that bike/trainer/app configuration. Make sure you always keep the tire pressure at the same level, that’s the biggest variable in the estimated vs actual power on a dumb trainer.


You don’t need a power meter. You can use the VirtualPower option with most dumb trainers.

Yes, I have always used a Stages power meter on a set of dumb rollers for the Ramp Test and all TR workouts. I use 3s power smoothing just because I always have. If this is your situation I have three tips for the ramp test:

  1. Unless you have a very narrow range cassette (mine is wide, 11-32) be prepared to vary your cadence quite a lot during the test as the steps are quite narrow. In this situation you could try to just commit to a gear for each two steps, i.e. click up every other step, with a change up at the front and two changes down at the rear about halfway through. That’s what I do it seems to keep things between 85-100rpm. Or, you could tell yourself you’ll match target power and you’ll only shift if cadence goes above e.g. 105, or below 85. Decide on this and stick to it, I have found you can waste a lot of psychological effort fiddling around with gears during the Test so it helps me to have a gearing strategy like that. You can keep the gearing plan the same test to test for consistency

  2. Start with a quicker cadence than you think you need, I have found that allows for the smoothest power delivery, fewer spikes. That is probably a personal thing though.

  3. Don’t ‘kick’ too hard between steps, try to move the power up smoothly rather than kicking up and settling back down. (I do think 3s smoothing helps with this.) The kicks won’t feel like anything to start with but you’ll know about it by the end, a smoother ramp seems more in the spirit of the test as well.

Keeping it consistent for yourself from test to test is the most important thing.

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Thanks for the correction. Seems the OP does have a power meter source in the way of Vector pedals either way. Again thanks for the correction, I am learning more and more as I go :+1:

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