Cadence vs Power in Cadence Builds using Concept2 BikeErg

Hi all,

This is my first message in the forum! I am glad to have joined the Wahoo X team as I am certainly enjoying the different SYSTM and Sufferfest workouts.

I have now completed my Full Frontal 4DP prep week and taken the test, and I am now one week into a general fitness program.

My questions is regarding my “Cadence Builds” section that is scheduled today later in the day. I completed this session while in my 4DP prep plan and the only issue was that when matching the requested cadence, my power was way above the suggested one (and cannot be reduced since I am in the lowest setting of my trainer, a Concept2 BikeErg). I understand that this is precisely a session to hit cadence and not power, but was concerned about a significant increase in fatigue due to this discrepancy (original workout had a TSS of 22 and IF of 0.61, and my workout resulted in a TSS of 55 and IF of 0.96).

Any thoughts about how you generally address this issue? Should I just try to hit cadence regardless of the power I generate?

Thanks a lot!

Hopefully you’ll get a response from one of the coaches.

The point of this session is to build cadence capacity and recruiting/controlling different muscle groups, so in the absence of a coach response I would suggest you continue to try targeting the cadence and TSS of 55 isn’t murderous, but if you find it is fatiguing you too much to manage later sessions then this would be the one to drop. Additionally, just see anything over 100 rpm as ideal, but not essential if it helps.

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I agree with @Jon: target cadence, but slow it down if fatigue is too high.

I did some research about the BikeErg. I suspect that you are dealing with limitations of the equipment. While I can’t find specifics, I speculate that because it uses air resistance, that there is a minimum power for any given cadence and that minimum power is too high for the very high cadences in cadence builds. This is probably because the mechanism was designed for rowing and adapted for use with a bike. Bikes have wildly different power profiles than rowing and I suspect cadence builds is outside what the machine can do. It will probably be fine for most other workouts.


Welcome to forums @JotaBg !

As above, I’d guess this is a limitation of the Concept2 BikeErg. Likely not built for highest attainable cadence. My 2 cents (not a coach) is to find a nice balance between a much higher than normal cadence, like Sir @Jon mentioned (100 rpm or higher) but not by going too close or too far over what would be your threshold (FTP) power. Otherwise it becomes a sprint session and that’s not the intent. If you have the opportunity to ride outside, this is something that can be done fairly “easily” outdoors with your chain on the small front ring and larger cogs on the rear.

From what I recall, the intent of cadence builds is to recruit those fast twitch muscle fibres that generally don’t get a lot of opportunities to show their stuff but come in very handy when you need to attack, or if you ride cyclocross, or criteriums etc.

There’s a Knowledge Podcast worth checking out when you have some time


Thanks a lot guys, this is extremely helpful feedback that I will implement in my session later today.

@Jon: I will try to keep hitting cadence. It is not a very big deal because I am not putting up crazy watts either, but will make sure I don’t go overboard either

@AkaPete: Indeed, this is a limitation of the BikeErg. The only one really that I have encountered when doing any of the workouts. For the rest, it works wonders and have no issue in meeting my Power/Cadence targets (even though you have to manually change the damper as needed)

@Glen.Coutts: Thanks a lot for the insights as well, I will certainly check out that podcast episode!

Just another silly question: when using a “dumb trainer” as mine that will not adjust resistance automatically, is there any diffrence if I configure the workouts in “Erg” or “Level” mode (Level 0 - Grade 0.5%) ? I don’t really think so, and have so far just left them as pre-set (Erg mode, and changed it to level in the 4DP test just in case it had any effect) - But was just curious if this set-up will make any difference in the Watts reported in the app somehow

Thanks again!


I didn’t know you could configure the workouts in ERG on a “dumb” trainer. I’m surprised you’re even able to see it as an option in settings.

As for FF, it is recommended that should always be done in Level mode (even though it’s possible to do it ((and some people do)) in Erg mode).

If the setting is just showing but doesn’t actually change the resistance then I’d be surprised if it made a difference.

For “science”, I suggest you immediately do FF again in ERG mode and report back on your findings :smiling_imp:

evil laugh

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Just saw this @JotaBg, have you read it?

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Thanks @Glen.Coutts!

Yes, I saw that article and follow those recommendations - I am connecting the Bike using a Desktop ANT+ dongle and it works like a charm.

Can’t notice any differences between Erg and Level mode (indeed I can see both modes) but will report if it happens!

Thanks :slight_smile:

That was my failed attempt at humour. Suggesting you do FF again after just having done it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::nauseated_face::face_vomiting:

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Haha yes!
I am not that desperate to know just yet, I can wait some time until I get the answer :grin: :grin:

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