Smart trainer power/cadence Q

Considering switching from my dumb trainer (Cycleops phantom 3 w/power) to a kickr. Fed up with constantly adjusting the friction knob to meet workout power changes. Question is, in smart trainer erg mode do you have to meet the prescribed cadence to obtain power goal or can I just shift into a harder gear to make the power at an rpm that is comfortable for me? If I do that does the trainer just change the resistance? I have metal parts in my upper femur now from a bike accident and spinning 110-120 rpm when it says too just isn’t happening. I try to get close to the cadence targets but beyond 105 it’s just uncomfortable. Thanks for advice.

Hi @farva, welcome!

With a smart trainer in ERG mode, the trainer will adjust the resistance to meet the power target, regardless of your cadence or gear selection. So if you increase or decrease your cadence, the trainer will adjust resistance to maintain the power. Same if you shift gears. The only qualification to that is that trainers have a floor and ceiling resistance, so if you are in a big gear and the app is calling for a low (e.g., recovery) power target, the trainer may not be able to go low enough to meet the power target - in that case, you would shift gears to get the trainer back into range.

The nice thing with a smart trainer in ERG mode is you can adjust your cadence to what is comfortable or achievable for you, and the trainer will handle the power side of things for you.

For me, going to a smart trainer was a game changer in terms of the experience riding these workouts.

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thank you for the explanation. Just the answer I was looking for. Like the sturdy feel of the phantom spin bike but trying to make power changes during short intervals almost impossible. Cheers

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The Don wide of this is the ERG mode death spiral where your legs start to go and your cadence drops a little. Helpfully your smart trainer knows just what you need at that point… more resistance!

Did you mean “downside”?

Hahaha yes. That’s a weird autocorrect!

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Yes - I was going to mention @MattB that downside as well. It is easy to maintain a cadence that is higher than what is posted but if you choose a lower cadence you can get into the death spiral - depending upon the workout. This is most pronounced on the speed workouts but I think I have encountered it in some of the climbing videos as well - especially if the target cadence is lower.

I have the Kickr Core - previously I had the Fluid 2. As @way9e0 said ERG mode has really been helpful - very different to my previous trainer.