I am using a simple spinning bike with a heavy front flywheel, with Favera Assioma pedals, to measure my output. I have been a consistent Trainerroad user for almost 3 years, and had a typical FTP progression:
-started with an over-ambitious FTP of 240 when I first started riding;
-dialed back to 180 which was more realistic, and which allowed me to progress;
-rode my first Ramp Test after 7 months (220);
-rode second Ramp Test after 18 months (251)
I have been at 251 for more than a year now. Up until February 2022, I was still able to modestly improve my performance at various exercise durations, even though I didn’t increase FTP.
After using the same very simple friction-resistance home trainer for more than 7 years, I wanted to upgrade to a new spinning bike which has magnetic resistance. The old trainer was becoming rough to pedal due to degrading drive belt, so I assumed that this updgrade would - if anything - make it easier to produce same power at any given level.
Unfortunately this is totally not the case. I have experienced a substantial (25-35 watts) decline in my output and am frankly unable to do some workouts that I did before. Overall I feel that my heart rate is higher at corresponding wattage levels, which is surprising to me. I checked/adjusted the following parameters without great success in restoring wattage output (although each adjustment was worthwhile):
- saddle and handlebar positions
- cleat position
- TrainerRoad pedal calibration
- Favera calibration
I am out of ideas for any possible quick fixes. An additional aspect that makes me unsatisfied with this new bike, is that ergonomics are poorly thought out. Handlebars are too large and wobbly, and also block the ventilation provided by a front mounted fan I have installed. Bottle cage is too far to reach. All of these things are probably fixable, but combined with the sense that this bike is a step backwards mechanically - for some unexplained reason - make me look for another model.
Any thoughts about what else to try to ‘correct’ my wattage output? I suppose I could just re-run a ramp test, but that feels unfair. I probably shouldn’t care so much about my FTP considering it’s just a number, it will undoubtedly drop at some point anyway (I just turned 55) but I feel it’s something I earned and want to keep it as long as I can.
I have found zero references to this phenomenon, but could it be possible that watts which are measure at the pedal can can be influenced by some mechanical aspect of the resistance system, which makes it the case that ‘not all watts are the same’? I ask that with the observation that it could be something about friction vs magnetic resistance application and pedalling technique. In that sense, I notice a very subtle improvement after 6 weeks of using the new trainer, but it’s definitely not going to get me back my 25-35 watts,