Shifting while using ERG Mode for the Ramp Test

I am willing to bet I can see the shifts. It may be a bit tougher if they are using “ERG mode power smoothing” on a Wahoo trainer (or any others with totally unrealistic smoothing), and it will also be best to see cadence data as well, but if they are achieving what they aim to do… (brief respite from resistance), there will be a power dip and a cadence jump within seconds of each other and the shift.

IMO, shifting is a clear “cheat” against the testing process, and is aimed at inflating FTP, not getting an “accurate” result.

ERG can be a beast, especially so in the Ramp test. It grinds us down and eventually we can’t maintain it any more. Not all Ramp end points are muscular, and this may not make that much of a difference in more cardiovascular or mental failures.

But it is likely a crutch for those fighting muscular fatigue, and I think it’s a mistake to shift. You are failing and that is an important sign to recognize and accept. Shifting to extend and rally tired muscles via a short relief is not how this test is meant to function.


That’s why I said look at a power meter output as those don’t have a clue what it should be and update much faster then trainers

In no way I intend to cheat the test. I want to eke out every last drop of physical and mental ability until none of my energy systems or muscle fibre types can get me any further. Of course I don’t know how the ramp test is thought to be working from the beginning, but if I was in a finale and the cadence begins to go to a grind, which will definitely mean that I loose speed, of course I will change a gear down to get forward motion.
I’m under the impression that the ramp test takes the last minute’s avg power and does “something” to it.
Whether this power has been achieved by a constant or fluctuating cadence I really can’t see changing anything.
If the test has to stop because of the cadence getting too low, in my view the ramp test would always favour low cadence monsters…

I’m actually not trying to create a mini break. If I could make a magical candence change in 1/100th of I second, I’d prefer that.
My point mentioning the few seconds break was more about that the “trick” can be counter productive, if the trainer over compensates by applying a lot more resistance after the mini break.

Sounds like the wrong way to take a ramp test. You’re supposed to pedal until you can’t anymore and then stop. If you can extend the time by 5 seconds by changing to an easier gear, you’re just cheating the test protocol, like the people who stand up out of the saddle while doing it because they can go a little further that way.

You’ll only be shooting yourself in the foot for the work to come. If you’re just finding a way to push past where you can if you did the test properly, you’re only cheating yourself really


A ramp test needs to be done consistent. Everyone needs to do it the same way. It’s less about getting the best number you can it’s more about getting the number the same as everyone else as the way the results from the ramp test are used are based on the population as a whole

  • Riding / Racing is one thing.

  • Testing is something else entirely.

The original intro discussion:

This is about adhering to power targets, that increase at 6% of FTP with each minute. Ideally, you hold that power target until you can’t, and when you fall short of that power (or fail to have the muscular or cardiovascular ability to do so), the test is OVER, regardless of the cadence.

  • So you aren’t trying to do it, but you recognize it does happen?
  • Based on your comments above, I think you are missing the objective of the test in an effort by using shifting in this way. Check out the vids above and see if that makes it more clear as to why we think shifting is a “cheat” and should not be used as you describe.

It’s not cheating the ramp test (and I don’t even do this) but it’s just a method to get around a short coming of erg mode.

If you want to shift…
do the test on non ERG…


How well does the resulting number work in setting appropriate training intensities for you?

If the end result works, then fine.

The reality is that the “accuracy” of the ramp test in setting the right training intensities varies quite a lot across people.

For example, I reduce my ramp test result by 5%. So if I was to use the technique you describe above, I might end up with a slightly higher ramp test result, but then I’d have to decrease that number by a bigger amount, maybe 6 or 7% to get the right training intensities. So there’d be no point in trying to game the ramp test just to get a higher number.

As long as your cadence comes back up as fast as it should (1 pedal stroke max) then there is nothing wrong with what your doing despite what everyone else is saying, you basically making erg mode memic resistance mode. I think some people here don’t understand physics.

Any chance we can see a test with this shifting applied?

You realize he’s shifting towards the easier gears, so his cadence would actually be INCREASING with each shift, right? Best to have that figured out before claiming people don’t understand physics

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I also think it’s a kind of cheating. And the cheating does not take place during or after shifting to get the higher cadence back. It occurs before when you gradually ‚slow down‘ by decreasing your cadence. The rest you get there is opposite to the extra effort you feel when you try to increase cadence in erg mode.

That’s the whole point is to increase the cadence. No, some of the comments here do not match the physics, I have an MS in mechanical engineering, I know what the physics are.

Oh, ok :pray:


How can it be a shortcoming of ERG?
The increased resistance is to make up for your falling cadence, if it didn’t do this your power would be dropping.
If you can’t keep the cadence, you can’t do the power.

I dont know about your trainer but mine (first gen hammer) but a couple second slow decrease in cadence won’t result in a power drop, but will result in a big resistance increase, which I combat by just really focusing on cadence during the test.

because it becomes virtually impossible to increase cadence, you have to go way over the power target to increase the flywheel speed… you don’t have to do this in resistance mode.

This is a test protocol…

The protocol calls for all intervals be made the same way…

If on ERG, TR is the changing factor. When you also add gear changes, you are changing the inputs…

I do understand physics…maybe you dont understand testing protocols…


And I call bullshit a 2 second drop in cadence can happen for a variety of reasons, lack of focus, shifting on the saddle, whatever, getting back up to speed can be overly punishing.

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