Wahoo KICKR Bike ERG mode ramp test

I just signed up with TR yesterday and did my first FTP test ever. It was the suggested ramp test. I kept the KICKR in ERG mode as the software suggested. Couple things happened towards the end:

  1. When I hit about 350w inn the test the resistance seemed like it was just too damn hard. I still had some energy in my legs and could have spun at a higher cadence to hit the power target I believe, but the resistance was so hard it was just like i couldn’t move the pedals without standing up - which the instructions say not to do.

  2. When I stopped I tried to click accept results but I must have missed because it just started the test again. I didn’t notice for about 20 seconds and then started pedaling. Hit the power target, and it went up to 360w which I also hit. At this point the resistance was lower than when I stopped so I was able to spin faster at do the minute at 360. It then popped up over 370 and I gave up. So I got a 260w FTP which is pretty close but slightly underneath my estimate of where I am at.

When I read online everyone seems to concur that I should stay in ERG mode. I’ve only ever used Zwift before and have never done an FTP test on it. Only just the virtual riding.

Is the behavior I describe above normal? Are there any suggestions on how to not have it raise the resistance so hard so I can keep my cadence higher? Or do I just need to switch to resistance mode?

I signed up for a training plan after the test yesterday and it has me repeating the ramp test again today so wanted to see if I could figure this out. Thanks.

  • Ignoring your whole point #2 which (was a mistake), yes.

  • Per #1, the test is meant to add resistance at each 1 minute step, until you hit a point of failure where you can no longer pedal and maintain the power target.

  • In that sense for #1, that is exactly what happens. It’s all easy until it’s not, and then you struggle for a few minutes to a point that your legs, lungs or head says ‘STOP’. That is precisely how the test is meant to operate.

  • Cadence in ERG mode is entirely up to you. You must pedal against the power and keep the cadence you want. I suggest watching the video below, that covers how ERG works, and covers the “spiral of death” which is related to what you describe in #1.
  • You are free to use ERG or Resistance modes to your preference in the Ramp test as you can for any workout in the TR catalog.
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Thanks for the quick reply and the video link. It helped explain to me what happened. If I pull off even a little bit the ERG intentionally kicks the resistance up a ton which is what made it feel like it was seizing. I reached for a drink of water and slowed down just a tiny bit and I guess this made it lock up when I failed the first time.

If this happens, is it okay to stand up for a brief second to help your legs get going again or does this somehow mess up the test?

It might be OK, but I’d suggest trying to recapture cadence while seated if possible. The “no standing” aspect of the Ramp Test is about not “cheating” the power, as well as not overloading your physical system from the higher load that is present when we stand (from more overall muscular engagement compared to seated).

So, you may be able to do it on a rare occasion, but I would avoid standing with any regularity in the Ramp test.

Thanks for your tips.

I just redid the test using ERG again (no standing) and reached the same level as yesterday on the second time I stopped with the knowledge of the death spiral the guys described in the video. Just can’t let up at all even for two seconds.

Bumped up the estimated FTP from 260 to 271.


Nice work. Yeah, ERG won’t allow for any slacking. That is one aspect that makes people love or hate it. It can be very demanding in that way.