Tacx Neo 2T Gets Harder on Bigger Gears...?

Hello team,

I started using PowerMatch two weeks ago and I instantly noticed “more power for less effort.”

During the past two weeks, I ended Sweet Spot workouts feeling unusually strong. I rated all of them between Easy and Moderate, whereas in the past, I would normally rate them between Moderate and Very Hard.

Fast-forward two weeks and I got the bike out for a race, and when I returned it to the Taxc Neo 2T, I placed the chain in a smaller cassette cog, but didn’t notice this until today, after I had a rough week finishing all my Sweet Spot workouts…

Today, I was about to backspin on the last 11-min interval which was feeling too hard (like all the previous intervals today). It didn’t feel like Sweet Spot, it felt like Threshold. So, I shifted two gears up and the power felt much more doable right away. It finally felt like I was doing Sweet Spot.

So, I can’t help but wonder if this week’s workouts felt much harder than last week’s because I was on a harder gear…? Have you, Tacx Neo 2T owners, felt this way?

This is odd, because I understand that on Erg Mode, it shouldn’t matter which gear you’re on, but I swear, there was a very significant change in the “feeling” as soon as I shifted those two gears today.

I feel I will start failing workouts if they continue to feel like the workouts I did this week prior to making that change in gears today, which is odd, because I have only failed a very small number of Sweet Spot workouts over the last four years since I started training indoors with TR.

Please advise :slight_smile:

Daniel, what you’re experiencing is a change in inertia, and it is completely normal. While the Tacx Neo has a slightly different flywheel technology than say, a Wahoo Kickr, it is still important to get the flywheel spinning as fast as possible if you want to replicate riding on the road. On the road, you have momentum. If you’re pedalling at 20mph and then start coasting, you will roll for quite a ways before coming to a full stop (given a flat surface). However, on a trainer, replicating this forward motion is very tricky. As soon as you stop pedalling, the flywheel begins to slow down quite drastically. Therefore, the feeling of “conserved forward motion” or inertia is less than on the road.

In erg mode, using a bigger gear will make the flywheel spin much faster than using a smaller gear. However, as the trainer also adjusts the resistance to match power target, you aren’t actually having to push harder on the pedals. This is a much more “natural feeling” to the low inertia riding you will experience in a smaller gear, and therefore, you’re able to produce the same power with greater comfort and/or lower RPE. A lower inertia more closely replicates riding on a climb where if you stop pedalling, the bike almost immediately comes to a stop. A higher inertia more closely replicates riding on a flat road where you can take a break from pedalling for a few seconds but lose very little speed and momentum.

In summary, for indoor riding in erg mode, it is often recommended to ride in the biggest gear to create the most “realistic” road feel and inertia. Nate has talked at length about this on several episodes a few years back. You’re not cheating - you are simply maximising the training experience. If you can do the same power at a lower RPE, that is only good. If you can do the power - you can do the power. Low inertia is a big reason as to why a lot of people struggle to train indoors, and why their “outdoor FTP” is higher than their “indoor FTP”.


+1 on what Calle said. It took a few sessions to understand the N2T operation in workouts. Cadence and gearing is your friend.

Hey, Calle :wave:

So, if I understand correctly, riding on a big gear simulates “road life,” which should lower RPE? Did I get that right?

If so, that’s odd, because I feel lower RPE when I ride lower gears and higher RPE when I ride on bigger gears, which seems to go in the opposite direction to what you explained :sweat_smile:

In any case, are you saying that if I feel better (lower RPE, higher power), I’m not fooling myself and it’s OK to use those gears to train?

While I highly appreciate getting work done at lower RPEs, I also don’t want to compromise fitness gains by making work easier than it should be.

Thanks for such a comprehensive explanation, Calle. If you have any idea of how I can search for and find the podcasts you’re referring to, I’d appreciate it if you could please share it with me, so I can do more research on the topic :innocent:

I can’t believe I’ve been working out indoors for four years not knowing all of this…

I like to match my inertia to my workout/fitness goals. Training for long steady states at speed? High intertia. Training for short punchy MTB climbs at 3mph? Low inertia. Might only be a psychological difference in terms of gains, but I see value in trying to match things as best I can in general.


Oh wow I must have misread the question, sorry! In any case, power is power. If you’re doing the watts, you’re doing the work! While this is true, I wouldn’t recommend going extreme. If you grind every interval at 50 rpm or spin at 150 rpm, it actually does tax the body in different ways. However, this doesn’t seem to be a problem for you!

Just so I get this right - you feel that intervals on the Tacx Neo are easier in the small chainring up front and further up the cassette in the back? I used to have a Neo 2T, and I rode mine in the 50-11 all the time to get as much inertia as possible and lower rpe.

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I noticed a much lower RPE on SS and threshold intervals with the small chainring on the Neo 2T lately as well. Vo2+ needs big ring though.

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It’s been years since I rode my Neo 2, but I also think there is a different feel with their virtual flywheel vs a physical flywheel on the Kickr and Hammers I used at the same time.

I could never quite figure out a better way to say than “it’s different”. Not better or worse, but I could tell the difference if given a blind test on each trainer in the same gear and ERG wattage.

As such, I am not entirely sure the usual gearing comments apply in the same way with Neo’s. The theory makes sense, but it feels to me that the magic they put into that virtual flywheel changes things a bit.


I ride a Neo 2t and I agree that bigger gears feel different. To me it feels like riding a flat rough paved road in a big gear and a brand new smooth as silk 10% grade in a small gear. Doing threshold intervals I favor smaller gears and doing anything else I favor middle gears. I think the power output is the same but my rpe does change which really only matters on the intervals with high rpe which for me are threshold.


I’ve been riding my Neo2t for 2 years or so, and can’t say I’ve ever noticed a difference, maybe I just have to play around with it more? I’ve also never ridden another trainer except my old Kurt Kinetic which I got rid of when I got the Neo.

Generally when I’m in Erg mode I’m small ring up front, and middle of the cassette. Hard efforts where I’m using resistance mode I just switch out of erg, pop up to the big ring and hammer away.

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I have a MTB with only one chainring at the front, a 34 oval ring, which BTW made the power on the Taxc 2T feel super weird when I installed it (the bike came with a rounded 32 chainring). And I have a 11-52 cassette on the back.

I was following TR advise riding on the middle of the cassette to keep the chain aligned:


Always used the same gear on the back until two weeks ago when I replaced my chain and put the bike on the trainer on a different gear than I normally do because the same old gear is worn out and does work well with the new chain.
That’s when I noticed a big change on RPE (easier).

Then, this past Sunday, I came back from a race and put the bike yet on another gear, and felt horrible the entire week (harder - higher RPE). First, I thought I was just fatigued from the race, but last night still felt horrible (5.5 days after the race). I struggled from the first interval, which is very unusual for me, but I kept grinding until the last interval. That’s when out of desperation, I decided to shift up two gears, as though I was out on the road on a hard climb. I did this in hopes of raising my cadence, to hopefully survive the last interval, and it worked!

Maybe it confused the trainer like you mentioned on your first reply, but things got manageable (not easy, because at that point I was already cooked, but manageable enough to finish without failing the workout or backpedaling).

That’s what prompted me to open this forum discussion :slight_smile:

Thanks to your valuable input and your confirmation that “power is power” I now feel more compelled to experiment.

I am still baffled as to how those things work (the magnets on the trainer and how inertia plays a role). I can’t understand why spinning faster would make the trainer easier. After all, I’m using power match, so shouldn’t my Quarq Power Meter measure power based on how hard I push the pedals and then transfer that data over to the trainer for it to make things hard/easy depending on where I am on the workout…?

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Imagine riding at 200w on a dead flat road and then coasting. Then think of that same 200w effort on a steep climb.

The power is identical, but how and when you apply power through the pedal circle will likely be different between those efforts.

This is more about the inertia of you and the bike outside, and the similarly that can be had with similar gears on the trainer. The trainer flywheel is meant mimic the feel and pedaling power pattern to outside.

This article talks about the differences outside, but the concept is similar for trainers.

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I’m on an original Tacx Neo, and have definitely noticed a difference in feel with gearing. In resistance mode, or just riding along in Zwift, the harder gears do feel more road-like. Climbing a hill in Zwift in a small gear feels a bit like pedaling through mud - the resistance is not smooth at all.

However I’ve found that using big gears in erg mode can be more difficult if I’m above sweet spot. I’m pretty sure that it’s because if cadence drops even a little bit, it’s much more difficult to get back “on top” of the pedals. Much like climbing a steep hill in too big a gear. If you slow down even a little, you’re gonna have to kick hard to get back to speed. Eventually those hard kicks (even if really short, and not too much harder) take their toll and fatigue sets in much faster. Conversely, with the lower gearing, even if it feels a bit mushy, it’s much easier to get back on top of if cadence sags. The erg mode death spiral is easier to avoid in lower gears.

It’s the only smart trainer I’ve ever had, so can’t compare to others.



Power is Force x Velocity. The faster you spin, the less force you have to apply to maintain the same power, you’re just doing that lower force more times / over a longer distance. But that’s why a faster cadence can “feel” like it’s less work.

Conversely, if you let cadence drop, the trainer has to raise the resistance against the pedals to maintain the same target power, which is why things get so damn hard if you stop paying attention and let the cadence drop on a hard interval when you have it in erg mode.


Training with smaller chainring ever since I noticed ERG mode power was more stable with the smaller chainring on my neo2t and it felt more responsive. Wasn’t aware of any RPE difference.

compared to

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Tell me about it. I’ve been cooking myself all week, and fatigued creeped in to the point where I failed today’s Threshold workout. A bummer. I did all I could but it got to a point where I had to choose between backpedaling or throwing up.

Sure. Thanks to this discussion, I used a smaller chainring and kept a high cadence today, but it was too late. The damage had already been done througout the week…

So you constantly switch between erg and resistance modes? When exactly do you use each one? And do you see a significant difference between the two?

To that point, since I’m a MTBer, often going on steep hills with low cadence, high force, should I intentionally lower my cadence while working out? The problem is that this fries my legs heavily, but the question is: will it make me a better rider in my discipline?

Depending on the workout, yes. For example, VO2 Max intervals I do resistance mode and am shooting for high cadence (115+) and getting my breathing rate and heart rate as high as I can for the biggest training effect. It’s less about maintaining a steady power, and going out harder and letting the power drop through the interval / intervals can better. Sprints and any other high power anaerobic are better resistance too.

But, if I’m doing an endurance, sweet spot, or threshold block, I leave those in erg. Although, in my endurance workouts I’m paying attention to heart rate and keeping it below a certain value, and also may have to keep power levels low as I’m trying for volume there without impacting other workouts.

If I just want to add endurance at the end, just extend your cooldown, throw it in resistance mode, and ride at whatever power target you want. You don’t always need to, nor is it always beneficial to exactly hit TR’s power targets.

So, that’s a long answer to, yes I switch back and forth during a workout depending on goals.

There’s a place for training different cadences, and strength training which is really what that high force work is, but at the same time you might be better off in races to try to gear down a little bit and spin faster where possible to save the legs. I get it’s not always possible.

I personally don’t like grinding away in workouts at 70 RPM, I do squats, deadlifts, and then sprint / neuromuscular workouts for strength / peak force production.

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That was not a long, but a complete answer, my friend. Thank you for sharing those details. I’ve been working out indoors for four years without knowing I could switch between erg and resistance modes. I thought switching back and forth would alter how the trainer works, impacting my workouts. I’ll give resistance mode a try :slight_smile:

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