Finding Kickr V5 giving too much resistance/hard... with comparisons

Hi all,

I have 3 “setups” I am comparing that I could use some help on, where the first setup feels really difficult and I’m struggling to complete workouts on it.

A) 2023 Trek Domane SL6 on a Kickr V5

B) 2011 Trek 2.1 on a Kickr Core

C) 2023 Trek Domane SL6 Outdoors (no trainer)

(SETUP A - Indoor) In particular, I am finding it really hard to pedal on the setup (A) Domane SL6 + Kickr V5 or find a gear that I can find like ~200-220 watts with a cadence around 75-80. On one higher gear, I’m getting a lot of resistance to keep a good cadence and I start dropping to 70 or lower. On a lower gear I’m shooting up to 85 with what I feel like is very little to no resistance. I feel like I’m missing something ‘in-between.’ I find it hard to ride on that higher gear and keep a consistent rotation, and yet not enough resistance on the lower gear. This results in what I feel like is lower power output from me, where because I struggle to obtain a good strong consistent rotation on setup (A) my legs tire against what I feel like is a lot of resistance or not enough. My last 5 rides on setup (A) have the following Zwift stats: 185W/73rpm averages, 203W/74rpm, 198W/71rpm, 190W/71rpm, 190W/73rpm.

Note for Setup (A) I do have power meter pedals on my bike and I have confirmed the power reported by the Kickr V5 and the Garmin power pedals are the same.

(SETUP B - Indoor) I find I am able to hit a gear where I get resistance but not so much I feel like I’m constantly pulling and tiring, and as a result am able to get better power and not tiring as easily. This is the 2011 Trek 2.1 on the Kickr Core. For comparison, its last 5 rides are: 212W/72rpm, 207W/70rpm, 213W/74rpm, 219W/75rpm, 198W/72rpm.

(SETUP C - Outdoor) Here are some statistics from my last 5 rides: 209W/77rpm, 196W/79rpm, 215W/75rpm, 198W/78rpm, 200W/74rpm.

Would greatly appreciate any help/thoughts on this. There’s so many variables in each setup. Kickr vs. Kickr Core. Domane 11 speed gearing vs. Trek 2.1 9 speed gearing. Indoor, outdoor. But overall I have just felt like Setup A I in particular struggle with to not feel so much resistance to get this feeling of constantly pulling. Even on 0% or -1% grade in Zwift I feel like I’m really hard to just achieve the lower power output than I am in the other setups.

Try disabling power meter. Had an issue where trainer and pm were both trying to control resistance. Also try removing and reinstalling both.

SYSTM doesn’t do power matching. When riding in Level mode, you could use either your pedals or the KICKR to report power. If using ERG mode both power control and reporting should come from the KICKR.

I’ve found that the KICKR is more conservative that my Garmin pedals. But it’s reading power at the end of the drivetrain so I’d expect it to be a bit lower.

Hey when in the zwift devices screen I select the kickr as the Power meter. I don’t think I have both reporting to zwift. I had my power meter on my pedals just reporting to a garmin head unit to just sort of visually verify both systems were reporting similar power output

Sorry, missed you were riding on Zwift. Sounds like you’re riding near the top of your cassette, getting larger jumps because of the 11-34 spread. Putting the front on the 34 tooth ring would allow you to ride mid-cassette in the rear where the jumps are two teeth between the cogs.

I should note that I have a 2021 Domane SL7, also with an 11-34 11-speed cassette. The jumps at the top four cogs are 3 or 4 teeth per cog. That’s going to cause larger changes in cadence to hold the same power.

Gear Steps: 11-13-15-17-19-21-23-25-27-30-34T

Trainers provide a different sort of resistance to riding outdoors, an almost constant torque throughout the pedal stroke, whereas outdoors you can get away with mashing on the pedal, only applying torque on the downstroke and free-pedaling through the top and bottom of the stroke.

I suspect a combination of the more powerful brake in the Kickr V5 (2200w 20% max gradient) vs the Core (1800W 16% max gradient) plus the different gear ratios is why setup A feels more difficult. You could test this out by riding both setups in the same gear ratio?

Garmin pedals have advanced cycling dynamics, I suspect if you look at your pedal stroke analysis you may find it is not very round and this is why you are able to generate more power outdoors.