Riding trainer vs riding outside. The Differences?

Besides no coasting… I feel like riding the trainer is WAY harder than in real life. LIke 250 watts feels like 300 to me. That is with my quarq and hammer trainer showing accurate numbers.

I can tell riding the trainer is a great tool vs riding outside. Looking forward to making gains with this thing.


I feel the trainer to be more efficient time wise. It is unforgiving. On output, I don’t think it is harder to reach a certain power level, maintaining it on a trainer does feel much difficult especially as durations grow.

Both are very different beasts: on a trainer, you don’t have to mind the traffic and terrain, so if your interval lasts 1:30, then nothing is preventing you from pedaling 1:30 (except for your legs, of course ;)). Riding on the road, there can be many reason why you can’t or shouldn’t put the power down in certain situations. But on the other hand, riding on a trainer can be much more monotonous.

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I find this to be the perfect summary of riding on the trainer. You really can’t let up while still riding the workout, so you get such a higher quality workout in a short amount of time. I can feel more tired after 1hr on the trainer than 2hrs outside.


I am about 15-20 watts seeker on the trainer, average power. This is for TR or SS wk.

Kinetic, fluid, dumb

It definitely is more time effective on an indoor trainer.

There is no caosting down hill for example.

Because of this, don’t overdo it on the trainer over the coming weeks, if you aren’t used to it.

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I just recently installed a PM on my MTB. On the first ride I rode for nearly 3 hrs at 155 bpm avg and only put in 76 TSS. When I looked at power file it appears I was coasting for nearly an hour. You can’t coast on trainer so that is a huge difference. Agree with term Unforgiving to describe.


Seriously?! vs Fun…? :man_shrugging:

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Wow, you were costing for 1/3rd of your ride, that’s crazy. I guess that’s why @Nate_Pearson says that 2 hours on the trainer equates to 3 hours outside.

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I think my garmin not pausing when I stopped twice to chit chat with fellow riders may have contributed to that. I have since turned back on the auto pause feature. Will be doing nearly same ride again this weekend. Curious to see if I get different results on time coasting.

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The crit analysis showed @Pete coasted for ~10% of his race. Just ridin’ around your bound to do it even more. On a road bike anyway; can’t see coasting being an issue with MTB or CX.


I’m on Neo for last 8 months training regularly. I’m a new user of on bike power meter (Assioma Duos).

I see appr 5-10% higher FTP when riding outside - comparing between “fresh” FTP ramp test (done on Monday) vs a race done on Saturday (NP was exactly 5-10% higher than my indoors FTP). I’m not sure how to handle this, perhaps I will have to maintain different FTP in TR and Garmin.

However, definitely, I see that quality of my outdoor workouts is lower. What I mean by that is: it’s much more difficult to force myself for producing constant power when in intervals at higher FTP %. I see I tend to fade during the interval. When notice it, trying to bump up. But eventually, my interval power is not consistent and typically - lower than average I’d like to have.

I was having high hopes when purchasing the power meter but now I’m kinda disappointed:

  • I wanted to get out of home for workouts but now I see my training quality suffers as it’s not consistent and I’m either overshooting or undertraining (in terms of TSS and sometimes duration)
  • I need to spend 10-20 minutes to manually create the workout in my Garmin (this will be addressed when TR → GC sync is done, see Garmin Training API - TrainerRoad outside workouts coming to Garmin Edge headunits - #139 by Adrian_Williams)
  • Even when racing I did not find it significantly increases my chances for win. Was thinking it will be good for pacing but what I see now is you just ride as quick as the pack and if I cannot - I just drop off… Of course, I’m numbers junkie and I love post-ride analyses hence more numbers makes me more happy… But during the ride, the use is limited (BTW: need to explore W’ balance data field).

Perhaps I need more learning curve how to use the PM (it’s just my 2nd week). But as for now it does not look like I will switch all my trainings indoor → outdoor; just 1 maybe max 2 sessions per week.

Best regards,

I have the same issue. Lock the trainer into erg mode and you just need to turn the pedals, outside particularly on the flats, I find I’m just chasing the target power.
It’s obviously a lot more effort outside (cognitive, upper body muscles, terrain, etc) all make it harder outside. In my opinion anyway.

I was facing the same issues when I first got my powermeter. However, with a lot of practice I am now to put constant power even on the flats or downhill. You also need to find a route that does not have any stops, lights, etc. Finally, I always use 5 seconds avg power on my Wahoo even on short VO2 intervals.

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I get a similar thing when I MTB as well. I think there is inherently a good deal of coasting as you are doing downhills, getting through tech features etc. Some of that is going to be terrain dependent of course though. Generally speaking my AP is lower, but my NP is about the same as a road ride of similar length, intended intensity etc.

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The differences?..

  1. Fresh air
  2. Fun
  3. Being outdoors
  4. Enjoying the scenery
  5. Vitamin D
  6. Strava bashing
  7. Group rides
  8. Company
    9 Bike handling skills

etc, etc, etc, etc