ERG Mode: Tips and Tricks


Using your smart trainer in erg mode makes Suffering err...  easy? The trainer will increase the resistance to match the training target in the workout.  There are a few things that you need to know in order for this to work properly.

  1.  The trainer will try to match the resistance target-no matter what. You can expect that if you drop your cadence, the trainer will add resistance making pedaling harder. If you increase your cadence, the trainer will release the resistance. It is important to keep the cadence steady and on-target during the workout.
  2.  If your target power is too high and you're unable to keep the cadence target, the trainer will continually add resistance until it locks down and you are no longer able to turn the pedals. If this happens, simply stop pedaling and allow the trainer to release the resistance. You might want to reduce the target intensity if this keeps happening.
  3.  Unlike level mode, where you're trying to meet the power targets, in erg mode, you want to meet the cadence targets. The trainer will meet the power target for you.
  4.  Every smart trainer is a bit different in its response time. Some of the higher end trainers such as the Wahoo Kickr or the Tacx Neo will be able to meet the power target in 3 to 5 seconds.  Other trainers might take 5 to 10 seconds. Just keep the cadence steady and wait for the resistance to add on.


Wheel-on  smart trainers

Wheel-on smart trainers need smart need some special care to ensure that they are properly calibrated to report accurate power measurement. We recommend the following before each ride:

  1. Check tire pressure.
  2. Perform a spin down calibration in your trainer's native app.
  3. Adjust the tension knob on the trainer to ensure the spin down calibration numbers are always the same.

If you remove the bike from the trainer, be sure to set it up exactly the same when you put it back on. Depending on the trainer, a quarter turn on the tension knob can add a significant amount of resistance to the power reported. 

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