No problem - here’s my most recent VO2 Max workout combined with Endurance at the end where you can see a lot of what I’m talking about. High Cadence and Resistance mode for the Work Intervals, with actual power trending down through the interval and interval-to-interval, even staying in resistance mode into the beginning of the recovery interval before I switch back to Erg, and then Erg for the Endurance interval.
Probably better if we take this into another thread if this goes too much beyond this, but In my opinion - you can achieve a better result for some workouts by altering what TR provides and riding them slightly differently. I think VO2 Max is one of those. High cadence, power target is “rough” most importance is leg speed, driving up breathing rate.
When you get a struggle survey at the end of a workout, you do have the option of selecting “I did not struggle” as a response if what you did was on purpose, but you still have to make sure that you’re not telling TR you can do a workout that’s harder than you actually can.
I only do MTB, and most climbs are indeed at an average speed of 3 mph give or take. However, when I try to replicate them on my Tacx Neo 2T, I struggle a lot. The flywheel gets stiffer and stiffer and I’ve finished threshold intervals at 20 RPMs on the last couple of pedal strokes, killing my knees / legs and feeling way above threshold level.
I recently changed my 34t oval chainring for a 32t round chainring in preparation for my next event, which has a one-hour extremely steep climb.
But this change was absolutely brutal on my trainer. Looks like the Tacx didn’t like that change at all and moving the flywheel above 80 RPMs was crazy hard. I was meant to do a 5 x 5 threshold workout, but I only did one at that Intensity, and had to lower to 80% for the remainder four
I’m afraid the FTP detector might start to decrease my FTP and I wonder if I should go ahead and do so right now. Or if I should stop using ERG mode…?
That’s interesting. Well first off, I defer to @mcneese.chad because I have only ridden a 2T a few times and didn’t realize there was the difference that he feels. So, I might just outright be wrong.
That said, yeah, the tldr is that I try to match my gearing to my workout and my goals. Long endurance effort? I’m not going to be in 34/25. Short spiky stuff? Well, then I often do go little ring up front because I find that on my Kickr, it responds faster to changes. And if I was training 20 second high force, low speed real world stuff, I’d replicate that in gearing.
I think the high level takeaway for me is that, just like how TSS isn’t the end all be all of how hard a workout is, wattage and cadence aren’t the only inputs to how a workout ‘feels.’ I am very confident that I can feel a difference between very high and low flywheel speed, even with the same power and cadence. Logically, it then tracks to me that if you’re training for real world benefits, it makes sense to try to match what you’ll get IRL.
The only time I feel any “inconsistency” in my 2T is at lower RPM. It’s like it has a slightly harder time modulating the power there, but then again, I don’t know if I ever really go below 50-60 rpm and that’s rare. I spend most of my time 80-110 and I’ve never had an issue with maybe 4-5 different ring combinations over different bikes on the same trainer.
If moving the flywheel above 80 RPM getting crazy hard for you makes me almost wonder if there’s something wrong with yours. Effort for me (for a given power) always gets considerably easier as cadence goes up. That’s what the Power equation says the relationship should be too.
I use the same setup as you do - I think. Quark on a mtb outside and Tacx neo 2t inside. There is plenty already said about cadence and gearing. I use my roadie inside on the trainer in small ring front midish rear straight chainline configuration. It just feels best. I have noted a near 30 watt difference in inside and outside power even with all the fans/nutrition/hydration etc on point inside. So moving from inside to outside is tough. I think you use power match. I have done that and still think there is something about the Tacx flywheel that simply feels like glue and makes indoor workouts much harder regardless of gearing. Something about how the trainer gives you even resistance at all points of the pedal stroke whereas it is much easier to ‘coast’ through the weak points of your stroke outside. Anyway, I think these differences can be tough for AT to accomodate. I’d love to hear more folks chime in on the Tacx v outside differences.
Agreed that using gearing with deliberate choice and an eye towards our real needs is worthwhile. I’ve fought the “watts are watts, gearing doesn’t matter” myth for years. It is a worthwhile detail has multiple considerations and should be chosen with any/all of those in mind to meet needs of the rider, like we’ve covered for years.
The key issue in this context, is that the virtual flywheel of the Neo trainers seems to offer some different feel when compared to all other trainers with a true, physical flywheel. Tacx uses the “motor” function to spin the rear axle forward at the same time it applies a resistance load. It’s an interesting math problem where it is trying to apply a torque load while it also mimics the inertia that would be present from a weighted flywheel.
It’s been forever since I set mine up, but I think applying the rider weight in the Tacx app gets considered and used for the function of the virtual flywheel. If that memory and assumption about function are both correct, it means that the essence of using a Neo is perhaps better (or at least more accurate to each rider case) when compared to the fixed weight real flywheel trainers.
The issue here is that the basic assumptions and expectations for feel of the Neo’s seem to differ when contrasted against physical flywheel trainers. As I said above, it’s hard to pin down but it just feels different to me even when you match gearing and power between trainers.
I wish I had test equipment sensitive enough to capture and review pedal power phase and such, to see if there is something really measurable here. As of now, all we have are some interesting anecdotes that seem to point to a difference in the function. And that may or may not relate to the methods Tacx applies in their attempt to replicate the action of a flywheel with their fancy magnets and math
It’s probably obvious but just to be clear, you mean you can produce 30w more outside compared to riding at the same RPE inside, correct?
And yes. You got it. The flywheel feels like glue! I don’t have a road bike so I have to use my MTB on the Tacx Neo, and with the 32t round chainring, it feels super hard to complete the workouts I use to complete when I had a 34t oval chainring. So frustrating as keeping a 90 RPM cadence feels extremely challenging (even for z2 workouts).
The 34t oval chainring seems to move the flywheel much easier. And on top of that, I checked a video on GCN where they say that oval chainrings may trick Power Meters to read a false 4% additional wattage.
I am doing 3 hours inside workout today. I’ll first decrease my FTP by 4% to see how I feel. Yesterday’s threshold workout almost killed me
With all that said… And in your opinion would I be better off with another trainer like a Wahoo Kickr? I get that you have anectodal, not scientific data, but still, you have plenty of experience so your opinion works for me).
After all, I just want to maximize my training experience and be able to smoothly live between the virtual world (ie TrainerRoad) and real life (outside).
Having an outside FTP higher than the inside FTP makes training and planning more difficult. For example, I have to plan my races based on the Outside FTP, so I have to adjust all my zones to hone in my strategy, which is not a huge deal, but it adds cognitive load and it feels plain ineficient.
I am NOT at a point where I would make hard financial recommendations for others. I did enough testing for my general knowledge to find there might be some difference present. But I have no idea if there is enough difference there to lead to any alteration of training impact on a rider with one system over another.
Indeed, and that delta seems to be rather common unfortunately. Even with the best of attempts to narrow that gap, it still exists for plenty of riders.
Your case may be partly the functional action of the trainer (still a guess at best), but many others deal with this daily from different power data devices not to mention different bikes and fit. So there are several ways that people are having to juggle various “FTP” values for training, racing and other planning purpose.
All that said, I’d consider playing with gearing a bit more on the rear if you haven’t tested the range already (might have missed it over time in the string above).
In your current setup, with an eye towards your prior 34t ring, I’d try using a smaller cog or two (higher gears) and see if you notice any real difference. If straighter chain line is desired, I’d hope those 2 gears harder would still be decent and might feel better.
And since the Neo is an odd duck, I’d also test with 2 gears easier just to see that end as well. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if you found one or the other to be an improvement over the current state.
I’d certainly test those right now since it is “free” before considering a different trainer. And if you happen to have a friend in the area with a trainer that has a physical flywheel, I’d beg to try a test on that just to see if you can compare both side by side.
Good luck. It also seems you may be carrying some fatigue. And yes 30 watts is about right. I think the bigger gear on the road bike feels better. And I took the advice of another rider on this thread and tried resistance mode. Placebo maybe but it felt way better to hit higher power intervals in that mode.
Hope the workout goes well.
I’m going to ask a seemingly dumb question and this not is not to insult you but only because this has happened to me before on my 2T (note: I use an Elite most of the time. The 2T is the wife’s but I used to use it for short/short workouts and similar that need fast reaction time).
…is it plugged in? The Neo can power itself from the resistance and it seems like everything works fine but does tend to feel different. The flywheel spins down MUCH quicker when it’s not plugged in.
Really??? I’ve always used it plugged in, in case I need to backspin on a hard workout, so I don’t get thrown out of TR (because it gets disconnected, so TR thinks I quit)… I’ll try it unplugged next Tuesday and will report back to you. Thanks for sharing that tip