Could my 4DP results be incorrect due to not using a smart trainer?

Good afternoon,

I'd like to ask about my 4DP test results and whether the equipment I'm using could give me incorrect results.

I'm using an Elite ElastoGel trainer with my Cannondale perched on top. Fitted to my Cannondale is a Stages power meter and a Garmin speed sensor. I wear a Garmin HR monitor too. All of these sensors are linked up to my MacBook via ANT+, connected directly to The Sufferfest app.

I did the 4DP test roughly a month ago. It was one of the toughest things I've done on a bike, took me days to recover! Anyway, my results are:

  • 5 Sec (NM): 1041
  • 1 Min (AC): 550
  • 5 Min (MAP): 400
  • 20 Min (FTP): 318
  • LTHR: 158

This is my Strava entry for the 4DP -

Talking to friends who have done other FTP based tests, my results appear far more impressive which makes me ask the question, could they be wrong? Would using a smart trainer be more accurate? I have a second Stages power meter on my other bike and the outputs are virtually identical. Until now I've put it down to physique, I'm 6' 4" with a rugby background, not your typical cyclist shape! My general fitness is good too.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.





  • Official comment

    Hey Will,


    I don't see any reason to think that your results are inaccurate.  Make sure that you calibrate your power meters before your test but otherwise your setup seems as solid as your results.

    Ultimately, your results are yours and as long as they are consistent with your abilities then you can use them to train with.  Don't get caught up comparing your numbers with others.

    Happy Suffering!!

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  • Thanks Cody, that’s what I was hoping the answer would be!

    The power meters are both calibrated correctly so I’ll suffer away as I have been until I buy a smart trainer for the winter.



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  • Will,

    I compete against guys all the time with number higher than yours, and get beaten by a lot of them.

    Big guys just generate more power and you are big.

    Are you new to this kind of training? Is that a first result? If so you can expect to gain quite a few watts using Sufferfest. You might want to try racing or time trialling. You might find out you are quite good.

    By the way I've had 2 Stages in the past. A left only and then a dual sided. Both read low (15 to 20 watts in the 300 watts region). You may find your numbers are actually better. If you do buy a smart trainer break the bank and get a Tacx Neo - they are worth it. They are accurate on power and the virtual flywheel is excellent. Good for Sufferfest videos too. Sufferfest advise not using ERG mode on certain quick power change videos like Half is Easy, but the Neo handles them. Violator is no good though. That one needs slope mode.

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  • Thanks for the reply. That was my second 4DP test, my first attempt I didn’t really know how hard to push or how to pace so the results were low.

    Since asking the question I’ve bought a Wattbike Atom which I’m loving. My wife has somehow fallen off the turbo twice so as a compromise we went he Wattbike route. I’ll do the test again sometime between now and Christmas and see how I fair.

    Never thought about racing, I literally cycle for fitness and dropping weight although it’s turned into quite the hobby now!

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  • racing is good!!!

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