Noob question: The 'real' mountain experience?

Hi all - and thanks for reading my question here… I’m relatively new to the Home Trainer experience. I got myself a Tacx Flux 2 and changed to Wahoo Systm after a few months on another home trainer software.
On the other software, I could do simulated ‘real world’ mountains - the simulated percentages as I rode up a mountain.

For some reason I can’t figure out how to do that in Systm?
If I use ERG I ride way farther than the course is (sometimes double the distance on the summary) and never have the same level of resistance that I should have from the steepest parts of the climb.
If I use Level it seems I need to manipulate it several times during the ride, to make it feel about right.

Am I doing it all wrong? If so how? Or is it just not possible to have the Systm software tell the Home trainer which percentages to simulate? :thinking:

Thanks for any and all help :star_struck:

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Hi @CarstenCD and welcome.

SYSTM is a little different to the likes of Zwift, RGT and other trainer software.

Other software like Zwift simulates the gradient in the terrain you are riding…so when the terrain gets steeper, the trainer resistance goes up to simulate the gradient. This is what Zwifters call “Level Mode” but is probably better described as “Slope Mode” because it simulates slopes. SYSTM does not really do this on terms of trainer resistance.

In other software and SYSTM, you can run the software in Erg Mode to do intervals training. The trainer resistance changes to force you to hold a pre defined power target (based on your own 4DP power profile). This ignore the terrain you see in the video, tho to be fair, the SYSTM videos, particularly the Sufferfest videos do tend to match the video to show climbing with the hard intervals.

SYSTM doesn’t aim to simulate specific courses because power targets are specific to individuals and so videos would have to speed up/slow down to match to simulate the terrain and the interval durations would be all wrong. View it as an intervals tool (like Trainer Road but better) rather than pootling round a virtual world (like Zwift)

In SYSTM, level mode is simply setting a fixed resistance on the trainer, and you adjust the perceived resistance and your power by changing gears. Typically this is used for the Full Frontal and parts of the Half Monty power tests. Plus a couple of other sessions.

And then to change from Erg to Level mode in SYSTM, when you are in an actual running workout, click the wee gear symbol in the top right, go to the Sensors tab and there will be a dropdown menu for your connected trainer where you can select erg or the level you want. For power fitness tests like Full Frontal, most people seem to ride at level 2, but you can experiment and see what level works best for you, I’ll depend on your power range. The TacxFux 2 has a fabulous power range and a low floor power as well. I do Full Frontal at Level 2 on my TacxFux. That gives me a recovery power as low as 60 watts, and using gears I can hit 800 watts on level 2. If your sprint power is higher, you might need level 3.

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@DameLisa Thank you so much for your reply.

I appreciate the Systm is focused on optimal training, but would it not make sense to request the ‘Slope Mode’ as a feature some time in the foreseeable future?
I think it would also get people to join who would not accept the absence of ‘Slope Mode’?

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Possibly, but it’s objective is to offer a training solution, which is does so much better than say Zwift, where the main purpose is racing and virtual riding. So some platforms try to do it all, but aren’t anywhere near as good at say the training aspect, both Zwift and RGT are classic examples of this. Others like Trainer Road are ace at training…but its like SYSTM No Vids and you have to provide your own videos or stare at the wall…some people are fine with that, personally I hate that.

A lot of us also have multiple subscriptions as we race or ride virtually on Zwift or RGT.

There doesn’t seem to be one platform that does everything. People who use SYSTM seem to be people who want to get fit in the best optimised way possible given the average time commitment the average person can give (plus there is THE BEST communityhere). Plus be entertained while doing it. If you want to race, or virtual ride use RGT/Zwift. If you want to ride actual terrain simulations, Zwift, RGT, Rouvy and Tacx/Garmin platforms have you covered. If you want to train AND die of boredom at the same time, Trainer Road is just the ticket.

Level Mode might be something in the pipeline for Wahoo and SYSTM but I’ve not seen anything in the Wahoo posts on this. You can send it in as a feature request and others can vote on it and perhaps they will add it. Personally, I get my level mode kicks by riding outside but I appreciate weather, traffic and proximity to ace climbs is differentfor everyone. Experiencingam an epic climb virtually is as close to the real thing as some of us will ever get. There are tons of different use cases and priorities so really hard for a single platform to cover absolutely everyone’s needs. I get the sense they’re not trying to out compete every other platform, just to offer something the others don’t.

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Thats why I have 3 subscriptions and considering on ditching at least one :roll_eyes:

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I took up a Zwift subscription in November at the bequest of my outdoor cycling group for winter group rides.

I used it daily for two weeks trying to “get” what it is people like about it.
I’ve not cancelled my subscription yet, mostly due to forgetfulness, but I’ve not used it since and I have to say, I really don’t “get it”…

It’s an exceptionally poor simulation of outdoor riding (for what could be achieved by a competent developer for their subscription fees) that produces nonsense figures to put into Strava, has none of the positives of outdoor riding (actually being outdoors for a start) and isn’t a very good focused training platform.

I know this is a completely personal thing, but I see Sufferfest and Outdoors as the perfect combination. Sufferfest is focused training for when that’s what you want or when it is too nasty to go outside, then outdoors is when you enjoy riding.
For me, Zwift isn’t as good at giving me training to know I’m improving myself, but just cycling round a simulated environment seems so very “why?”

(I will note I did not and have no intention of participating in Zwift racing, I can see how that could be a “thing” (but also very easy to “dope”))

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@Jon : In that case please look at:

I added it as a feature request. Give it a like / comment :wink:

Have a look at On Location and Pro Rides. These are so much better than riding up Alpe de Huez (or others) in FulGaz. With On Location you’ve got a personal tour guide, spectacular scenery and a solid workout tailored to your physical abilities. Pro Rides put you into the Peloton of actual races! All of the Sufferfest videos have footage of pro races. As far as I know, it’s a unique feature of SYSTM. I don’t think any other software has licensed UCI footage.

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This is why I have a subscription to both Rouvy and SYSTM.

On Location rides are great, but sometimes I want to ride at my pace. Further, Rouvy has more locations than SYSTM does.

SYSTM needs to fix many things on its own platform, before it tries to expand its reach to outside simulations, or TP-like calendar functions.

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Put the trainer in level mode (if applicable) and you can ride at whatever pace you like.

I assume that this won’t automatically control a Climb (or equivalent), though.

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Yes, I agree with this, too.

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I also use SYSTM for training exclusively. I used Rouvy last year when I first purchased my Kickr (did not like Zwift) and really liked their videos/application; however what I needed to improve (not just maintain) was structured training. Rouvy started to get boring too since I was repeating rides over and over (to try to improve/beat my times), but was just plateauing. Once it gets warm I will shift to outdoor MTB rides (unless its raining). This is when I will start trying out pro rides in SYSTM vs the structured plans.

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Then the effort would be much less because the time of the SYSTM workout remains the same.
In a simulated ride with less effort the ride would take longer.

As far as the gradient is concerned, that depends on the trainer, not Level or Erg mode.

Rouvy does have workouts, but the SYSTM ones are better. Rouvy does have TP integration so rides from a coach can be done in Rouvy.

I understand how doing the same ride over and over again could be boring, but that is not a limit of Rouvy. It has many rides for you to chose from, even if you only include the curated ones.

Doing the same rides over and over was more because I was overwhelmed by the quantity to choose from (too many choices is like none) and in many cases was a bit timid with the amount of climbing on many of the rides, ntm, I had never done a interval workout before so was not sure where to start there.

SYSTM has proven to be a great coach/guide for me.

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Yes there is a lot of climbing in some Rouvy rides, but they do have rides under the category of flat. I often do ROUVY rides when SYSTM has scheduled an outside ride, when I want to rehearse a long ride I am going to do outside, or ride some place that I have never been or will be able to go.

I generally do not get paralyzed by a lot of choices because I can use my training goals to help pick out the rides that I would want to do.

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