Saying goodbye to erg mode - advice please

Hi all,

I’m starting the journey of extracting myself from the erg mode for everything population (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Over the past few weeks I have been practicing and I think I have enough ‘data’ to make the jump full time.

So i’m looking for any advice that can help me get the most out of standard mode that differs from what I have below:

  1. Set the proper % (trial and error has allowed me to dial this in at 27%)
  2. Use cadence and gears to hit power numbers keeping in mind,
  3. Not to be cross eyed about the exact watt number, pick a ± 5 w range and try and keep it in that range
  4. Remember to shift / raise cadence gradually rather than spiking as you want the watts to come on slowly rather than over the top and be in a constant yo-yo

I think that has covered it - If I have missed anything please feel free to chime in. Also if you are a non-erg mode aficionado I’d be happy to hear from your experience as to when you maybe do use erg mode - as in what type of workouts

thanks in advance

Which trainer? Sim is best, then standard mode, then resistance.

Wahoo Kikr V6 - I tries sim and didn’t like the feel. Is there a reason you say Sim is best? And I made a mistake in my original post I should have wrote standard mode.

My preferences are based on the notion of making inside more like outside. To develop versatility to better perform on hard rides/races. Sim mode excels at that. Then sim mode because accelerations and sprints are more natural versus resistance mode.

I think you are overcomplicating things. I spent the first few years on a direct drive, dumb fluid trainer (an Elite Volano). I would still be on that trainer if it hadn’t broken. I replaced it with an Elite Suito.

  • I use Erg mode only for endurance workouts or sometimes longer rest intervals.
  • Everything above Z2 is done in standard mode. You should tweak the base resistance so that rest intervals fall into the easiest 2 years of the cassette at your preferred cadence. You just need to experiment. And adjust a little as e. g. your FTP changes.
  • Most trainers will “lose” resistance as they get warm, i. e. you need to up your cadence a little in the same gear to put out the same power. I reckon this has to do with grease getting less viscous as it warms.
  • Shift gears as needed. To go from 40 % FTP to 90–110 % FTP, I need to shift from 1st to 4th or 5th gear. So not a lot.
  • With the Suito I cannot engage sim mode on the TR app. And I am too lazy to use two apps simultaneously. He is right that sim mode, which tries to emulate how resistance changes with (flywheel) speed to the cubic law you have in fluid trainers and, importantly, outdoors. I liked how my Elite Volano felt in that respect.
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A close ratio cassette helps too, I like to use 12-25 on the trainer. With 1 tooth jumps it’s easy to go from endurance to tempo to threshold.


Never thought about this as a solution to my difficulties finding the right cadence/gear combination on the trainer. Thank you for the great suggestion.


going on a tangent here: what’s the state of Zwift Cog compatibility with TR?

That’s quite a long Z2 endurance session :grin:


I think you’re on the right track here! Your list is looking solid to me.

Just remember that it’ll take some practice. Reminding yourself not to obsess over an exact wattage target is a good call, too. Even if that number is closer to ±10W rather than ±5W as you start out – the more you ride without ERG mode, the better you’ll get at dialing in your power!

Keeping your gear/cadence changes gradual is key as well. In my experience, trying to “rush” into changes to hit power targets results in a spiky power graph.

Stick with it over time, even if your power is a bit jumpy at first – I’m sure you’ll start to get the hang of it pretty quickly!

@jn92 as for the Zwift Cog, it will work just fine in ERG mode, but virtual shifting is incompatible with TR at this time.


I use the lap button on my garmin and then just do my best to keep the average power for the lap/interval in the target range. This could be anwhere from 30 seconds on up. For short sprints I don’t bother. I just give it my best and look at the timer to know when to stop.

Also, I usually use slope mode. I select free ride on my Garmin and select either 0% or 1% based on my workout and then change gears for the rest of my resistance changes.

To extend this topic a little, What’s the benefit of moving away from ERG mode?

I’ve trained outdoors exclusively for a couple of months now, feeling fantastic, loving the ability to push beyond target power stuff like vo2 workouts when I’m feeling good and while longer efforts are hard, I don’t find them nearly as mentally taxing.

Got back on the trainer last night for 2x8min at 105% and it was miserable, mentally taxing and more difficult than 23mins at >105% I did on the road recently (TT). I theorised at the time that sim mode might be an improvement because not only does it give my mind something else to do, but isn’t quite as relentless when my cadence drops for a moment.

Is that the case?

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I’m even lazier than you: I just created a page on my Wahoo for indoor workouts. The top-most field is a 20-second average of power. I know this won’t give you exactly the same thing, but I’m usually +/- 2–3 W of the target power.

  • Yup, ERG can be a royal pain when on the limit since it won’t let up. Dropping cadence a bit from fatigue results in more resistance being added which can lead to the “spiral of death” if you can’t rally and get back on top of the cadence.

  • With Standard/Slope/Level & Resistance modes, when you slow your cadence you get less resistance. That can be a good thing or bad thing depending on your situation, just like ERG with it’s power target lock.

  • Sim is a bit different since it is more like outside in that it is presenting a “road profile”. If you are on a flat or shallow grade, letting up a bit will be a relief with less power/effort. If you are on a steeper grade, it may not help… just like outside.

To switch gears a bit (pun intended), what gearing are you using inside on the trainer?

  • I ask because flywheel speed is sometimes overlooked as one of the factors that can make inside feel harder than outside. Seems that most people like and benefit from a faster flywheel speed in the sense of “road feel” at least.

Little ring (34) and mid cassette, which I think TR advises for “responsiveness” somewhere

I have felt previously that the inertia from higher flywheel speeds feels better, I don’t think I felt it was materially less difficult though.

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Yeah, the lower gear is recommended for various reasons:

  • Trainer response is usually faster with less inertia to overcome.
  • Noise is definitely lower since it comes from RPM (not resistance as some expect).
  • Simulate lower inertia riding like long climbs, MTB & maybe gravel.

I have no science to back this either, but I do think that between extremes in flywheel speed, some people will likely show different eFTP (effective FTP) when identical tests are performed at least. It may not matter to everyone, but I think there is something hiding in the effective load and maybe efficiency between extremes. No idea for sure but my own testing and that relayed by others here seems to favor higher speeds as more like outside at the very least, and may be “easier” RPE to some (I hesitate to use that word, but I think it captures the essence of deltas expressed by some around here), or just plain more “realistic” expressed in another way.

Dr. Coggan mentioned that even on the fastest gearing, modern trainers fall short in replicating the inertia we get outside. I never saw any numbers but can envision that being correct.


For what it’s worth, I’ve found that a faster flywheel speed (higher gear) results in more inertia as @mcneese.chad mentioned, which to me feels like I’m pedaling on a sort of “false flat” downhill. It doesn’t feel like I’m working through the entire pedal stroke which does feel easier.

I typically use a 34t chainring and mid cassette like @mikehhhhhhh and I definitely feel like I need to muscle through the pedal stroke more. Since I’m using the trainer to simply get more fit, I feel like this is the better option for me. I’m sure I could achieve higher numbers in a higher gear, but what’s the point of that?

I totally agree though @mikehhhhhhh, ERG can make intervals feel particularly hard, especially those suprathreshold efforts. Maybe it’s just the trainer vs. riding outside, but I think @mcneese.chad is on to something.


When I train indoors, I only use a wheel on dumb trainer. I just ride like I’m outside, but more miserable.


hmm, well, you could turn off the fans too! :rofl: In the past the podcast was always harping on cooling in order to achieve higher power numbers.

I dunno about the rest of you, but on the trainer and on pancake flat ground I’m always working on my pedal stroke. Very little difference in my pedal stroke between climbing and riding on pancake flat terrain. @mcneese.chad and I had some long conversations about Erg mode back in the day, I won’t resurrect that thread.

Back when I was using erg my preference was running a big gear, something like 50x14.

Long sustained climbs don’t feel like erg in a small gear, at least to my legs, at my W/kg.

Long sustained climbs feel highly muscular (90 minutes tempo/SS). Well matched to running a big gear, at least to my brain.

In erg, a small gear like 34x14 feels more like I’m going down a small -1% grade, having to chase the pedals. It feels aerobic - puts more demand on breathing than on the muscles.

This is a very subjective matter, everyone is going to have a different opinion. Thats mine.

When I trained indoors, in erg, it was not like outside and I was miserable :rofl: Then I used sim mode, and used my bike computer to prompt for power targets, and I was a lot happier.

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I’m sweating plenty on the trainer – don’t worry!

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