Setting up a smart trainer/changing gears?

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Setting up a smart trainer/changing gears?

Post by TacxMan2017 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:09 am

I'm fairly new to the world of smart trainers. My old trainer was a basic mag resistance type so I had to use the handlebar lever or change gears to adjust the resistance. I'm a little unsure of how things should be on a smart trainer.

I have the Flow T2240 trainer which is fairly modest compared to others. The initial setup was a breeze and I calibrated it easily enough, but I'm wondering if it is set up correctly. I'm getting a decent workout from the trainer, my heart rate on 'hilly routes' is up and averages are not too far off what I would expect on similar climbs in the real world...perhaps a little lower inside the house as the lack of a breeze or fan to cool me down puts me off from going flat out. I have the windows open which helps but it's still not ideal.

I'm aware the Flow is limited to a 6% slope and that's fine even though I regularly ride steeper climbs in the real world, but what concerns me is that on most rides I feel the resistance isn't that great even though TTS4 is putting out a believable speed for the climb. When I'm riding steep hills on the road, there's a definite difference in effort.

What gear should I set the trainer up with for the calibration?

Also, should I be changing gears on a smart trainer? If I feel my cadence is higher than it should be for a steep climb, should I go up a gear or two to simulate the increased effort and lower cadence?

I rode a virtual route from Bedoin to Ventoux the other day and whilst it felt like a proper workout (probably because I decided to sprint finish the last 300-400 metres...I was shaking when I got off the bike), I still felt the majority of the ride wasn't a true reflection of the journey.

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Re: Setting up a smart trainer/changing gears?

Post by thebigoneinfront » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:50 am

Sounds like you are feeling the effects of "virtual speed". From the Tacx FAQs: "Different trainers are capable of producing different levels of resistance and can simulate different gradients of slope. A Vortex Smart can simulate a 5% slope, whereas a Genius Smart can simulate a 20% slope. Virtual speed is used to compensate for these different resistances so that the same amount of energy is expended climbing a slope regardless of the model of trainer being used. If the gradient of the slope exceeds the maximum resistance of the trainer, the virtual speed is lowered so the climb takes longer. This means that a climb using a Vortex Smart will take longer than using a Genius Smart, but the same amount of energy is expended."

It's a pity that the power/speed graphs are no longer available on the Tacx website. The amount of power you brake can take depends on your speed. So if you change to a gear that makes you go faster, the ride may indeed become a bit more realistic.That "6%" figure isn't absolute. What really counts isn't incline, but power. So one needs to make assumptions to convert power to incline and I guess the assumption of a rider of average weight and uphill speed is hidden in that 6% figure. A strong and lightweight rider may get more in terms of simulated gradient out of the brake than one who just starts training to lose weight.

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Re: Setting up a smart trainer/changing gears?

Post by malfukt » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:45 pm

Setup calibration just use any mid range gear (usually its just quick downstroke of pedal, can't remember if flow requires you to get up to a certain speed ) but make sure before calibrating you have warmed up trainer & tyre with 10 min ride before..

Use your gears as you wish to increase or decrease your cadence/effort usual advice climbing is try not to use gear where cadence would drop below 60 (not great on the knee's)
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