Weird one - Garmin 530 took control (ERG) of my Kicker while running a workout file (Not TR)

Normally, I use my Kickr in resistance mode. I do it manually and record to my Garmin 530. I control the Kickr with the Wahoo app and mostly I just change gears for resistance or occasionally use the +/- resistance on the Wahoo app.

My normal setup is to take power from my bikes power meter and I seem to get the speed sensor from the Kickr so I get some simulation of mileage and speed.

So I tried to do a workout that was loaded on my Garmin 530 and the Garmin controlled the Kickr in ERG mode. I still seem to have gotten power from the bike’s power meter. I was also controlling the trainer with the Wahoo app so I was surprised that the Garmin could also control it simultaneously.

For some reason ERG mode sucked big time run off the Garmin head unit. It was not as smooth as the Wahoo app. It was also hard to maintain cadence and easy to find the spiral of death.

I’d like to do these workouts in resistance mode. Is this possible? I have searched google. I found a lot of people with the same problem.

  • Having two apps/devices paired to a smart trainer (especially if you have not told one of them to see the trainer for “power only” or similar option) is a recipe for disaster.

    • You are using the trainer with two apps that are each telling the trainer to be at the wattage they want (which is different from the other). It creates a tug-of-war even if you only have a workout running on one device, with the other just connected and not actual wattage target active.
    • I’ve seen and experienced this exactly when I accidentally launch and pair an extra TR instance while already connected to another, even though one TR was just open with the trainer paired, but doing nothing.
  • First rule here is to use only one app/device connected in the first place, or be absolutely certain that the secondary app/device.

    • Many of us do this when running a workout in the TR app while also using Zwift for distraction. But the key is that the trainer in Zwift is NOT set in the “Controllable” box, just the “Power” box.

Once you make that separate, you should get normal ERG function. But with a double connection like I think you had, your devices will be fighting and give a terrible result.

My Garmin 530 and 840 have never been paired to my Kickr. Not paired = bike computer can’t control the Kickr. Never had a problem.

Well, I didn’t realize that running a Workout on the Garmin would trigger it controlling my trainer since I always get power from my bike’s power meter. And, the 530 still recorded power correctly from my power meter.

My guess is that the Wahoo app is using bluetooth and the 530 ant+.

Actually, I don’t want ERG at all. I found many on the Garmin forms with the exact same issue and unable to turn off ERG.

I don’t even think I did it intentionally. I do want the speed sensor from the Kickr though.

I’m going to try deleting the trainer from the 530 and then manually pairing the speed sensor.

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FWIW my setup last winter:

  • Wahoo RGT (free) connected to Kickr, controlling in sim mode
  • Garmin 530 connected to power meter and HRM, workouts loaded on 530 and run just like outside

Same power meter inside and outside. Pretty simple setup. But I don’t care about “speed” for inside rides.

If you want the Garmin connected to the trainer at all, I think you need to connect it as a “Power Meter” not a trainer. Been doing some limited testing of this lately myself, and I don’t think there’s a way to turn Erg On / Off within a single workout like you can in TR.

Edit: This also appears to be an advantage of the Wahoo Head Units over Garmin if you are looking to have your Head Unit control the trainer. I believe they can easily switch between the modes where with the Garmin if it’s a Power Based workout / Interval connected as a “Trainer” then it’s going to be in Erg.

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So, I did find the Kickr paired to the Garmin 530. It’s interesting, I get power and cadence from my Stages but it still takes the speed from the Kicker. When running the workout file, it did seem to base the power off of the Stages.

The weird thing was that ERG was difficult to use on the 530. I’d have to rev up cadence high at the start of an interval and then focus on maintaining that cadence. No way could I pedal through an interval at 75 rpms. It would just grind to a halt and go into a death spiral.

So, I removed the Kickr from the Garmin and I lost the speed/dist sensor. I tried to just add it’s speed sensor manually, and nothing shows up when scanning.

I’m wondering if you had something strange going on with multiple devices trying to control the trainer, or if it’s a Wahoo / Garmin thing.

Erg mode on my Edge 1040 controlling my TacX Neo 2T is at least close to the control I get through Trainerroad controlling the TacX. No weird death spirals or anything like that, so I don’t think this is an issue just limited to the head unit.

I haven’t tried this, but the rumor is you can add the trainer as a “Power Meter” and the Edge won’t try to control it, just use it as a sensor.

I may try it again without the wahoo app connected. But what I really want is:

workout played on the 530
resistance mode
power taken from the bike’s power meter

After researching this on Garmin forums and elsewhere, it seems like you cannot change to resistance mode during a workout. Seems weird that you cannot.

I haven’t found any way to switch back and forth. I haven’t tried all of this, but I think you can make the whole thing erg, the whole thing resistance, or pre-program which intervals are erg and which are resistance (I think Power based intervals get erg, HR based intervals get resistance).

I haven’t tried to get power from an on-bike PM yet, that’s even another complicating factor. I was using TR to control the workout using the trainer internal PM, and dual recording with my garmin connected to the quarq on my bike and that worked fine. I could then compare power outputs afterwards to see what the difference was. You could do something like that but you need two head units, or TR plus head unit.

Other option, just get a Wahoo Elemnt for the trainer…

Make sure the Edge has no idea of the KickR: removed as a sensor and in “Training” menu even actively told not to pair with the trainer.

Then use Wahoo app to select resistance mode.

Run workout from Edge, paired to bike-PM.

Works for me with the difference of having a Tacx Neo but same issue that even connected to trainer, Edge sends workout targets as ERG command no matter the mode you selected beforehand.

@Kofi or others - which Wahoo app are you using, Wahoo fitness? And, is there a way to get workouts into it from a source like TrainingPeaks without a Wahoo device?

I am currently a Tacx Neo 2T / Garmin Edge 1040 user and trying to find a better way to control the trainer when I’m not using TR (TR works great when I am).

I thought that the feature of the Edge allowing the rider to ride a workout on it was implied to use ERG mode. Also it is not very usable, in my short experience. I did a race/tour on two tracks and swamps in November, and did it connecting my then Kickr Bike, and it was kind of bizarre. It was ERG mode only, and the transitions were rough, awkward, inelegant. (I then tried to convert the route to a Zwift workout, and that was even worse.

But the Edge controlling a trainer took part of a weekend and I’ve never done it again since. It CAN control a trainer, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD have it control a trainer. I was disappointed, but it was a learning experience.

It would be interesting if you could stop the Edge from controlling the trainer, but then why do it then. If you can replay an existing real world ride, not using ERG mode seems like an odd thing. I just don’t understand. But I usually ride ERG mode. Maybe I’m in a rut?

The issue (for me anyways) is workouts like Max Power Tests, VO2 Max Intervals are much better run in Resistance (Won’t get into it here, but there’s been plenty of discussion on this in other threads). When I’m doing one of those type of workouts I’ll do the Test / VO2 Intervals in Resistance, and then switch to Erg for the rest intervals or the endurance at the end.

I’m currently using my Edge 1040 to ride workouts created in TrainingPeaks, and it works perfectly fine, but everything is Erg mode right now because I’m not doing any VO2 or testing for the next couple months.

My experiment was with an Edge 8xx, probably 6 years ago, so I would hope they improved things. I just ended up not seeing the need to do that with an Edge. It works for some people, and that’s great. I should probably experiment again with it too. It’s nice to have options when doing something so if things go sideways, you can still do it, get it done.

I tried it again today. I ran the workout from the Garmin and didn’t have the Wahoo app running. It was a lot better. I still prefer resistance mode but I’ll probably just continue to do it this way in ERG mode. The workout is a ton of short/short intervals and it’s otherwise hard to keep track of them.

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Resistance or level mode? Level mode = 2 and I can hit the entire workout including sprints with only 3 or 4 gear changes. Resistance mode is too fiddly and sprinting is like trying to sprint downhill. Open the Wahoo app at the beginning, set level = 2, force quit the Wahoo app, and start working out.

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I don’t even know. The default mode is what I typically use. Maybe it’s actually slope or “level” mode.

I do noticed that in the Wahoo app that if you change to the page with the +/- the resistance eases up too much (goes to 0 I guess?) and then I usually set it to 2.

I believe resistance goes from 0% to 1% to … 96%, 97%, 98%, to 99%. Its like a resistance knob on a spin bike.

And level mode has 10 levels, from 0, 1, 2, …, 8, 9

On level mode, many riders can set it to 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 at the beginning of the workout, and then use that setting for entire workout. In level mode the ‘faster’ you go, the harder it gets, just like outside.

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I’m a Garmin/Tacx user, no idea about Wahoo.

I don’t use TR anymore but get my workouts scheduled to Trainingpeaks, which is connected to Garmin Connect. Or I create workouts in, which is also set to sync with Garmin Connect.

End result for both: I have the scheduled workout on my Edge.

I then use Tacx Training app to set a certain slope for the Neo. Bike powermeter paired with Edge (or could alternatively pair Neo as power meter, but not as trainer!). Not interested in ERG any more.

Run workout on Edge, switch gears on bike as desired, don’t touch the Tacx training app after initial setup (I make sure that with a certain slope I can hit the “on” and “off” power targets for the workout).

Or, if I have an endurance ride and want some distraction, I load a Zwift route gpx file onto the Edge (paired as trainer now) and let it follow that course/simulate the elevation changes. Power is measured by Neo then, I don’t mind the power difference to my power meter in that case.

Full-on Zwift I find way too distracting…

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