Anyone try turning off the ERG Power Smoothing?


#1

Tried turning off ERG power smoothing in the Wahoo App after watching GP Lama’s little video. Almost seemed too easy to hit the wattage targets. As long as I kept the cadence up it was almost an easy spin. It just didn’t feel realistic at all.


#2

Erg power smoothing is just a polite way of saying that Wahoo Kickr is lying… It should be off by default IMHO.


#3

Yup, turned off right from the start. More realistic power reporting.


#4

More realistic reporting for sure but the resistance seemed way too easy.


#5

It shouldn’t change the resistance at all - are you sure something else wasn’t going on?


#6

Not sure…I never felt the resistance ramp up if my cadence dropped or if the power fell below the required wattage of the interval…once I got the flywheel wound up it almost seemed like I was cheating.


#7

The ride looks ‘off’ for a smart trainer. You aren’t dropping all the way down to the target power in the recovery valleys - but the valleys are targeting 94 watts, so it shouldn’t be below the power floor of the trainer. It’s hard to say - just feels like something else was going on.

Is the only thing you changed the power smoothing setting?


#8

That was the only thing I changed and I do a spindown before every ride. I’ve had the issue with recovery valleys before…its hard to get below 100 watts unless I stop pedalling then start up again.


#9

Do you warm up for a few minutes before you do the spindowns? Just curious, I definitely don’t do one everyday, I don’t even do one every week. When I do one now I usually wait till I’m done with a workout.

Still none of that would explain why the power level is higher during the recovery intervals.


#10

Yeah…I do a 10 minute warm up workout that I made in workout creator…then I do a spindown…then on to the main workout. The valleys in my warm up are 117 watts…seems to work ok there.


#11

Can anyone give a good explanation of:

  1. What power smoothing in the Wahoo app actually does
  2. What Power Smoothing in the TR app does
  3. What happens if both are turned on
  4. What to expect if both are turned off

For example, if I’m doing a TR workout, what will be different under each of the 4 scenarios?

I should add that for 1), I’ve watched the GP Lama video. Since it’s on by default, I must have always had it on, but I don’t see the kind of smoothing in the TR app that is in the video. I use Stages with Powermatch, so it makes sense to me that whether I have Kickr smoothing on or not would make no difference in TR since it’s Stages that is reporting the data. I’ve tried different TR smoothing settings, but honestly I don’t notice any difference. There are two places smoothing could occur; the number that’s being reported on the screen and the chart of your power line. It’s possible it’s just the number that’s smoothed and not the line - but wondering if anyone has a definitive answer to this.


#12

It’s a display setting, to make you feel good. It’s fake. It has no impact on your workout.


#13

I have never played with this setting, but it seems to me that there should be smoothing/low pass filtering or power fluctuations over a pedal stroke would make hitting a power number very difficult. Power meters must do this on a bike. I have a Joule and a PT and the power doesn’t fluctuate significantly over a pedal rotation, which I know is not a true measure of instantaneous power for me.


#14

On my Kickr Snap…with power smoothing on it feels like the resistance is locked in at a given wattage…if I slow my cadence it clamps down harder…with power smoothing off it feels like it lets me float above and below the wattage by a good 10-15 watts before it adjusts…feels much more realistic…one bug the snap has with erg mode and power smoothing on is sometimes no matter how hard I pedal I will fall 1 or 2 watts short of the target…which is very annoying and unrealistic…with power smoothing off this doesnt happen.


#15

How is that unrealistic?

I’d suggest that it is far more realistic with the ERG smoothing off. When you have a real power meter, you see much more actual variation in the power. We are not machines and do not deliver power “smoothly” as we might think.

As such, the smoothing is the false picture that pretends to be near perfect. It is the lie. The reality is that there is always variation and the little shortage in an interval real means nothing.

The single-digit “loss” that you mention is FAR LESS than the actual tolerance in the power data measurement (plus or mins 2-5% depending on the device). If you want to be upset about 1-2 watts, you have far more to worry about, especially with a wheel-on trainer that can report wide variance when compared to a real power meter.

The overall point being that it is totally NOT worth worrying about in either case. Choose the mode that suits your preference and knock out the workouts regardless of the variances.


#16

I was saying that when I fall one watt short of a target in erg mode and I increase my cadence by 10 rpm and my heart rate increases but I cannot get that one or two watts…it is annoying and obviously a shortcoming in the software because given the increased effort I should have increased the wattage.


#17

That’s not how ERG works. The whole point of ERG is to hold a power.

Pedaling faster in effort to raise the power is counter to the whole idea of ERG.

There may a software adjustment that could lead to a closer match, but again, were talking about mere watts.

If it bothers you that much, bump the workout Intensity setting up 1% for some or all of an interval and you will get what you are “missing”.


#18

So basically “smart” trainers really are not that smart.


#19

LOL, that’s not the takeaway, IMHO. You have to recognize what they actually do.

In ERG, it has a power target. It looks at the flywheel speed (which is driven from your pedaling input via cadence and consistency, or lack there of) and adjusts the level of resistance in effort to match the power target. Also recognize that the app involved also plays a big part in the process. So it’s 3 main items (Trainer, App and Rider).

Key to this is steady pedaling input.

  • If you are super smooth and consistent, the trainer (via the training app) will not have much adjusting to do.
  • If you are variable and inconsistent, the trainer (via the app again) will be attempting to increase or decrease resistance to reach that power target.

Think of it like this. You are sitting in the passenger seat of a car, holding a glass full of water. Your goal is to hold that glass and not spill water. As your buddy drives the car, he is either holding a smooth speed with cruise control, or driving with his foot and more variable. All this while driving over rolling roads that will require adjustment to throttle control.

It will be easier for you to hold the glass with him on cruise because the system can maintain smooth transitions of the throttle. Let’s say he’s not as smooth with the throttle when using his foot. You have to work harder and more frequently to keep that glass level and not spill.

  • In this example, you holding the glass (and trying not to spill) is the same as the app and trainer trying to adjust resistance to hit the power target and not over or under shoot that value.

  • This is like you inputting the cadence and if you are smooth, things are great. If you are not, things are rougher for the app and trainer.

ERG is great, but you have to understand what it does (and more importantly does not) do.

  • It’s not magic, and requires proper use, like any tool.
  • Here are some other explanations that may do a better job than me

#20

I don’t think that they are “smart” per se, but it sounds like it is working as it was intended. Your HR does rise with increased cadence, but the wattage is set by either you or TR in erg mode. As mentioned above, you can manually increase the resistance by adjusting the relative percentage in TR, but I would be interested to learn what metabolic adaptations you are chasing that require an extra 1 or 2 watts. The precision of the power meters are sufficiently low that if you do the same workout 2 days in a row you might see the exact same output, but could have done 2 percent more work or less work. Something to think abou.