A Stupid Noob

Hey all,

I am so keen to get going a really improve my cycling after years sitting on a trainer with fulgaz, Zwift and now SYSTM I have never followed a plan. Head down I have now started.
Question is how do you know what level to set and when to use this vs erg.
Also when completing a ride I try and match cadence with suggested wattage but this means I have to go into a pretty high gear I thought my kickr would adapt regardless of gearing.
I truly hope that someone can explain this minefield.

Depending on your smart trainer Erg mode should be OK for everything but all out sprints based on your NM power (pinky red coloured sections on the workout profile)

When in Erg mode you shouldn’t need to change gear, ideally stay in the inner ring, middle of the cassette. Don’t try and chase the power target by increasing and decreasing your cadence, just stick to the cadence targets in the workout and your trainer will settle at the correct power in 3-5 seconds.


There is some information here with a list of workouts where Level mode is recommended:

See the “When to use ERG mode/ When NOT to use ERG mode” section.

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This takes some experimentation. When doing Full Frontal, I’ll usually set my KICKR to Level 3 (out of 10) and then adjust gears to get the right combination of cadence and power output. You will have to change gears in Level mode to get the right power target. One thing that can be worth doing is running one of the easier workouts (e.g., an Inspiration or one of the Open: xx workouts) in Level mode and experimenting with the variations in power/cadence/level without the pressure of a hard workout.

If you’re using a laptop and can reach the keyboard, there are convenient shortcuts using the number keys (1-9,0) to select different levels, and the backtick (on US keyboards, right of the 1 key) to select ERG mode.

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The other posters gave good info here but I’ll also add, the good news is it’s not as complicated as it seems. If you’re on erg you just ride and the kicker will adjust, although it takes a second, and chasing it using cadence makes it take longer to adjust. If that’s not working, I think there’s support for troubleshooting bc it’d mean something’s wrong (eg, maybe head unit controlling trainer vs app, etc)

Level mode is just like riding outside. You shift gears to get the combination of power and cadence you want and the levels themselves are kinda like grades of a hill.pile outside, if you’re trying to do 20 minutes at certain watts abd you run out of gears, what would you do? You’d go find a gentle hill, and if you still spin out, you’d find a steeper one. The levels are like that, if you play with them a bit you’ll find a level or levels that work for you and your gearing.


Great info thanks for that I’ll try it on my next outing with erg see the difference it makes


Thanks for the support