ERG mode

this is a SNAP question…so…a little new to this power trainer game…in ERG mode I seem to run out of gear, especially on efforts that go above FTP…spindown is correct, doesn’t seem to be any problem there…am I missing something?, should I be in standard mode?, and what setting should that be on?..thanks

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As a general rule, ERG mode should not require changing gears. It is intended as a mode for you to more closely follow the cadence and the trainer itself will adjust the wattage required. It may also in part depend on the particular workout you are doing eg. really short sprint efforts like in Violator or Half is Easy are generally best done in level mode where you select the gear while most of the other workouts can be done effectively in ERG mode. The Fitness test Full Frontal should be done entirely in Level mode, and the Fitness test Half-Monty uses both ERG and Level mode so you just follow the on-screen instructions.

Here is a good article on ERG mode

Usually, when I am in ERG I keep the chain on the small front ring and stay about mid cassette to keep as straight a chain line as possible.

Here is a good article on Level mode and how best to use it


Thanks Glen this answered a bunch of my questions


I’m always happy to help others suffer @jimiblue. Welcome to the forums where everyone knows your pain :wink:

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Finding this old post, I have a question about the climbing type video. Sometime we are required to have a low cadence. Do you change the gear for a low cadence in ERG mode? or just spin less? Or go in Level mode?
Also I do remember there was a list of erg or not erg on the sufferfest forum. I can’t find it anymore. Anyone can share it?

Hi @rafberger , I posted a list here: Elements of Style - #5 by Thomas
I typically don’t change gears in ERG mode and just change my cadence.

But there are reasons to change gears in ERG Mode because of the momentum saved in the flywheel or force needed to speed it up:
If it is a climbing or technique specific training like you asked I change into a lower gear so it is less forgiving and closer to climing in the real world. You can’t really coast uphill.
If it has sprints or surges I change into a higher gear so I have more resistance, ERG has more time to respond better and I don’t spin out that fast.

Low cadence work on my new smart trainer in 39:25 is a wholly different experience compared to when I used to to do it on my dumb trainer when I’d have to use 53:11 to get enough resistance to meet the power targets at 50-60rpm, but the inertia in the wheel was so high I could stop pedalling for a second and still keep going. In ERG mode it’s a battle against the spiral of death to keep the pedals turning below 60rpm.


@Thomas many thanks for your answer and the link.

Thanks Sir @Glen.Coutts, much appreciated.

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