The ERG mode setting is a tool to control your power output on the basis of your cadence. If you perform a workout on a percentage of your FTP, the ERG mode makes sure you will hit the desired power output by adjusting the resistance of the bike trainer, regardless of your cadence or your gearing selection. Whether you ride with a high or a low cadence, the target power and thus the faced resistance will remain the same. So with ERG mode you’ll keep training with a steady power output.
If you’re training for a specific goal, it’s important to break it down into the essential ‘ingredients’. For example, if you want to ride a cyclosportive event like La Marmotte, you’ll need the strength to conquer steep climbs, an extreme endurance stamina to ride your bike for about 9 hours or even more, a high aerobic threshold and, last but not least, you’ll need a high FTP. You can improve your FTP through steady intervals on your FTP. To train at the exact intensity (FTP) for the exact amount of time required, the ERG mode setting is your best friend. In the ERG mode, a Smart bike trainer controls your power output by adjusting the resistance on the basis of your cadence. With every change in your cadence, the trainer automatically adjusts its resistance so that the power output remains at the required level. Your Smart bike trainer delivers more resistance at a low cadence and less at a high cadence in order to keep your power at the needed value.
Here are 6 tips for a workout in the ERG mode:
- Keep your eyes on your cadence, not on your power. You only have the control over your cadence so keep it at a desired value and keep it steady.
- When your cadence drops, it takes a lot of strength to get it up again. Also with a low cadence the power per pedal stroke and therefore the muscle strain is high. If this isn’t your training goal, don’t let your cadence slip.
- There is a small delay in the cadence you adopt and the resistance that is set by the trainer accordingly. If you change your cadence every second it will be nearly impossible for your trainer to keep track on what the resistance level should be. So aim for a steady cadence.
- ERG mode doesn’t teach you to properly use your gears, which is also an essential task in riding your bicycle. So use ERG mode for the right specific training sessions and don’t ride all your workouts in the erg mode if your training for La Marmotte.
- Training in ERG mode is mentally a lot easier than when you have to pace yourself. ERG mode is like a team time trial in which you’re not the best rider. It means that someone else is setting the tempo and you basically just follow. This is exactly what you need after a long exhausting day at the office, but also try to do some high intensity intervals by disabling the ERG mode whenever you feel you are up for the task.
- Your body is not a machine. Some days you easily hit the targeted numbers and other days even the warm up feels like someone has put the brakes on your rear wheel. ERg mode doesn’t know how you feel it just keeps on time trialing. So if you feel you can’t handle the intensity, just use your common sense and tone it down a little before you completely crush yourself.
With these tips in the back of your mind you will find the erg mode the best invention since sliced bread. Enjoy and keep it specific!