Kickr Bike gear selection

Hi everybody,

Santa brought me a Kickr Bike for Christmas this year. I have been a very good boy all year, after all.

The wife couldn’t be ar$ed wrapping it up as it comes in a big heavy box, so I got to unwrap and assemble it. I did Recharger today to test it out: awesome. It’s much better than my old system with a Kickr and an old Mountain Bike chassis.

In particular, the gear selection simulation is superb, and this brings me to a question. With the old system, when in ERG mode I would never change gear. I’d just have it in a fairly central gear and just huff and puff power and cadence up and down. Changing gears would send the ERG lock spinning and it could take 10-20 seconds to re-establish lock. But on the Kickr bike that’s not the case: like a real bike you get a momentary easing/worsening of the torque but the power you’re putting out doesn’t change, and the bike doesn’t lose ERG lock.

So it seems to me that with the Kickr Bike you can change gear without losing the power lock. Does anyone with more knowledge than me agree or disagree? I won’t change gear when they tell you explicitly not to, like in ramp tests etc, but in general it seems I can use the gears like I was outside. Is that right?

  • Mark

No. It’s not at all like outside. But yes, you should be able to change gears without power changing—except perhaps for a moment.

Outside, when you change gears you have to significantly increase or decrease cadence (typically by around 10% on a road bike) to maintain constant power. In ERG mode on your KICKR bike, while there might be a momentary adjustment as the bike adjusts resistance to the new flywheel speed, neither gear nor cadence matter: power will be constant.

If you want it to be like outside, you should put it in level mode.

Hey Pete, thanks for that. You’re right, level mode would be like the real bike. I guess my question is better phrased as, can I now change gears in Erg mode (except when explicitly advised not to, like the tests)?

Got it. You can….but except in a few very specific circumstances, there really isn’t a reason to. You will quickly end up at the same power either way.

The main circumstances where you might want to shift while in ERG mode (I never do) would be when the workout calls for rapid power changes and your trainer can’t keep up. The KICKR bike mostly can, but there’s a thread somewhere about upshifting for big changes up to help the trainer along (I think I got that right). But the big takeaway is that for your excellent trainer, you shouldn’t have to and it won’t make any difference for more than a second or two.