Trainer speed vs real world

I am curious why there is such a large discrepancy between the speed Strava says I do on the trainer vs riding on the road.

Other than my fragile ego, it really doesn’t matter but I am curious.

Covered here.


Forget about speed and distance on the trainer. “Virtual distance” is a function of flywheel speed. And with a smart trainer you can ride 300 W at low fly wheel speed (= low virtual speed) or at your top gear and 60 km/h virtual speed. Yes, the two will feel differently, but it really means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I just ignore it and my Strava goals are just time-on-bike.


Because you don’t move on the trainer - speed is zero…anything else is a lie and a (fairly) random number! Lol


One thing I would add to the article @mcneese.chad linked is that recent wahoo trainers do have an optional “Speed Simulation” function that allows them to report a calculated speed that is based on the power applied rather than the flywheel speed. This produces speeds and distances far more in line with what you would expect from on outside ride with a similar effort.

Not sure if other brands offer something similar.

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