Hitting cadence and power levels in level mode

When I’m in level mode, I have trouble hitting both cadence and power targets at the same time. I can hit the power target but then my cadence is over or under target. I’ve tried switching gears but I still can’t match both at the same time. Is there some trick to this?


I would say there’s no trick, there’s just practice and experience - which is what level mode is great for! Power vs. Cadence is a balancing act - there’s a chart floating around somewhere that addresses which is more important for individual workouts - but at the end of the day, SUFF/SYSTM is power-based, so in level mode I generally default to matching power, then playing with my gears to get as close to cadence targets as possible.

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In level mode, you will never be able to match both cadence and power (except by coincidence maybe). Power in level mode is a function of speed. Since speed = cadence x gear ratio x wheel circumference (the last is probably a setting on your trainer–at least it is for a KICKR), for any given power and gear, there is exactly one cadence that will work. Because gears are discrete, you’ll have to pick the one that works best, but you’ll often find that even if you’ve picked the optimal gear, cadence will have to be several RPM higher or lower than the cadence target to hit the power target. The further apart the gear ratios, the bigger the variation.

I usually ride in ERG (except for Full Frontal and all out efforts). If you ride in Level, you’ll have to pick a cadence/power compromise that works for you. If I were riding Level, for most workouts, I’d probably compromise more on the cadence target and try and hit the power.

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I agree with what @AkaPete says.

If I’m in level mode, I’ll aim to hit the power targets as closely as possible, and adjust gearing to get cadence relatively close to the target. But I’ll only rarely be able to get both exactly on target.

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Thanks everyone for the info. I’m really impressed with the SYSTM forum, lots of friendly people with great advice/information.


I find that I can estimate pretty well my ride profile type and varying the Level. I can come close on matching cadence and power on Level 2 for a Tempo Ride. But if I am doing a Sub-Threshold, I am closer with a Level 1. Obviously not always in the same gearing.

When I am doing a new ride type, it is a trial and error experiment. Keep at it and you will get there.

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As above, trying to get power and cadence right would involve altering the level and gearing to try and find a combination that might work. In reality just concentrate on power and use a gear that gets you close to the desired cadence. With practice it gets easier knowing what gear to jump to.

I take it back: did my ride today and paid attention to what I was doing. I apparently tend to approximate power while getting my cadence as close as possible to the workout guidelines. Usually my power output is a little high.

I guess my thought with this would be I want to target the right system that the workout is setting as my target (muscular, cardiovascular, mixed) by matching cadence, while generating enough power to meet or exceed the benchmark effort level.

Interesting, didn’t even know I was doing that!

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