Zwift vs TrainerRoad Ramp Test

I just finished 6 weeks of training in Zwift followed by 6 weeks of training with TrainerRoad and I am trying to interpret my FTP gains over this 12 week period. I went from a zero training baseline FTP of 165 to 211 with Zwift. This was a pretty huge jump and I think it was in part due to Zwift’s ramp test being in 20 watt intervals. When I tried to transition this FTP over to TrainerRoad’s Sweet Spot Base 1 plan, I got destroyed. I almost failed recovery rides and could not complete threshold workouts to save my life.

Due to this, I decided to drop my FTP down to 195 in TrainerRoad so that I could actually complete the workouts. After finishing Sweet Spot Base 1, I re took the FTP test (this time in TrainerRoad which has 10 watt steps) and got a new FTP of 215.

So my question is what was my actual FTP gain from Sweet Spot Base 1? Did I see a 10% gain or a 2% gain. Does the difference in wattage jumps per step really matter that much? Thinking back on the last time my FTP jump by a large margin, I am a bit scared for Sweet Spot Base II

  • For clarity: TrainerRoad’s Ramp test is not set on a fixed wattage increase.
    • It is actually calculated for each rider, as 6% of your FTP as set at the beginning of the test.
    • So, it can be 10 watts steps, but only if the starting FTP is set around 166-167 watts.
    • The nature of this scaled step is one point that I think TR’s test is better than the Z version.

Since you are attempting to compare between tests of different protocols, I don’t think you can expect quality results. In a way, you are comparing between different tape measures that may or may not be in sync with each other.

Best to ignore the old test and simply make sure to keep the same testing process as you move forward. If you hope to compare test, you need to use the same test, in as similar of conditions as possible. Every new or different variable that you introduce will potentially skew the results.

The best we can say is “maybe”. As mentioned, the difference may well lead to a change in how you react to each step. Ideally, the results would match, but I think it is very likely that the difference between the tests will give different FTP for some users.

I think you should ignore the differences. You tested how you tested with the TR Ramp test, plain an simple. All else being equal, that is your FTP right now. Apply that for use as you move into the next phase.

You can make adjustment to your FTP based on how you react to the workouts. That is common and recommended for each rider as they move from test to training.


Whats your power source? Are you using virtual power by any chance?


All rides have been done indoors using a Tacx Vortex for all power numbers.

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Fair enough. The flow would be reasonably setup sensitive… mainly tyre pressure and spin down. If you aren’t careful for every ride it’s hard to achieve consistency. I battled this for ages on a vortex until I got sick of it and bought a direct drive trainer.

Additionally most of the tacx products (havent ridden a neo or flux2 yet) have pretty narrow power windows where the resistance unit needs you to be in a specific gear to work smoothly (power floor and power ceilings).


very inaccurate trainer, need to make sure you calibrate after a few mins of riding, correct tire pressure, etc, etc.

I also have a vortex smart, btw. but I have a PM.

too difficult to measure between TR and Z. stick to one and keep consistency.

I had/have a vortex (my wife now uses it). Incredibly sensitive to calibration changes. She had some huge issues with calibration over the winter with failing workouts she really shouldn’t be failing. Never really did work it out but just keep the same method.

Ended up getting a flux 2 myself and new to TR having used it on zwift in the past, I make sure I calibrate that on the TR spin down before every ride (after 5min gentle spin). First ride didn’t calibrate, used my zwift recorded FTP and it was tough, fyi! Failed 3/4 way through.

So long as you’re testing and training on the same platform, calibrating the same each ride, you should be ok

Ps. Good jump from your untrained state, keep it up!!!