Standard mode for threshold workouts

I feel like I’ve just had an epiphany after 3+ years of strictly using Erg for all workouts. On Tuesday I finally tried standard mode for Vo2 and was really happy with how I felt and the results of the workout.

Recently, I’ve been dreading threshold workouts and struggling with them. Completing them, but seemingly working too hard. Today I did 3x15 at threshold in standard mode and felt amazing. Didnt struggle and my legs felt just right for what I expect from threshold. I didnt change anything about my nutrition or sleep etc, so I know that wasn’t a factor. I don’t think I’m due for a major increase in FTP, if anything maybe 5 watts so I don’t think thats an explanation either. I really think I just perform better in standard mode because its more like riding outdoors.

Are there any downsides to using standard mode moving forward for threshold and even sweet spot?

Do you know the gearing you used in ERG mode and how it compares to the gearing in Standard mode?

  • Obviously you will shift and use different gears in Std, but looking at the gear you used in the main intervals (especially around Threshold) are worth comparing to your ERG gear used.

  • Comes down to the potential for flywheel speed impacting road feel in addition to the resistance unit feel.

Interesting, but I’m not sure I understand if this is bad or not? I use an 8 spd cassette. For erg I always use 2nd gear (2nd easiest) and today i was using 6th for my intervals and just keeping my cadence steady to hold the specified power. And not sure if it makes a difference, but i always calibrate in 6th gear as well.

Edit – i use a hammer direct drive trainer

I would say there are zero downsides to using standard mode. I too find it more like riding outside. Upsides include being able to easily increase/decrease compared to target depending on how you are feeling.

Erg mode always feels like pedaling thru mud to me. Very unnatural.

  • I am not making a claim either way. I am starting with questions and a supposition that it might matter due to the comments I have read about trainers and gearing driving flywheel speed over the years.

Not sure exactly what cassette you have to identify exact gearing (number of teeth for each cog), so that is still an unknown even with the “gear” number as a starting point. Also knowing which front gear you used (again, tooth count) is useful for at least general consideration. Here are some general guesses just to try and show the possible impact:

Shimano 8-speed cassette CS-HG51 = 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28

  1. ERG with 34t x 24t = 1.42 drive ratio (typical small ring and your 2nd easiest gear)
  2. STD with 34t x 15t = 2.26 drive ratio (typical small ring and your 6th gear)
    • 2.26 / 1.42 = 1.59 = 159% increase in flywheel speed

  1. ERG with 50t x 24t = 2.08 drive ratio (typical large ring and your 2nd easiest gear)
  2. STD with 50t x 15t = 3.33 drive ratio (typical large ring and your 6th gear)
    • 3.33 / 2.08 = 1.60 = 160% increase in flywheel speed

Pure examples above that may not match your actual use, but the delta in drive ratios above sure could lead to a different “feel” with the notably faster speed at the rear axle from your STD gearing in use. Most people find that a faster flywheel feels “more like outside” with some claiming it is “Easier” as well when compared to lower gearing (like your ERG use).

I won’t make a claim to better/worse or harder/easier, but I will state that the differences of that magnitude are likely to be felt by the rider in one way or another.

Your calibration gear will not impact results in any way. What might matter is how you are setting you FTP since if you test in one gear range and training in a different one… that delta could impact your RPE and “feel” between testing and training.

To be honest, I think trainer mode matters a lot less than gearing. I’d bet more money that deltas between max/min gearing (and related flywheel speed) will make more difference for people than the actual trainer mode. So pick the mode you like best but pay attention to gearing if/when you try to compare modes. Not matching them within reason means you introduce another variable besides the mode alone.

PS, another factor that may come into play (and is often overlooked or straight up unknown by many) is that many trainers will have more power data deviation as flywheel speed increases. The key testers have shown that there is more power tolerance range at higher flywheel speeds. So on top of the actual flywheel speed delta, there could be a power data reporting issue that skews the results of what it “feels” like at higher speeds.

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I’ve only recently switched to standard form erg and then resistance.

The name does not do it justice as it seems the most basic but to me it feels the most effective.

Out of them erg is the worst Imo and will never get back to it again.

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