Dumb Trainer Resistance



So I’m working on a dumb trainer, yeah I know, that’s sooo 1974! Whatever.

Question is regarding resistance, mainly while doing bursts/sprints. I’ve read the linked topic but doesn’t quite answer 100%.

Problem comes when doing things like short sprint efforts, the 5-15s stuff. I have the resistance set to ‘real road’ but I max out on gears before ever maxing out on power (because there is no wind resistance).

If I notch up the resistance, does that effect the whole power profile/FTP setting etc.? Or is it simply a matter of power is power and I should do what allows me to physically max out vs mechanically max out?

Finally, if I notch up for my next ramp test – not that I need to, but if I do, will this give me a kind of false FTP reading because the settings/conditions are not the same as previous tests?

TIA to all.

  1. What exact trainer are you using?
  2. Which resistance setting (if more than one)?
    • You mention ‘Real Road’ which I am guessing is related?
  3. Are you using Virtual Power or a real power meter?


It’s a Minoura MagTurbo. None of the specs detail resistance levels so I have no idea of the watt increments.

There are 8 levels, I have it set on #4; which through trial and error testing, replicates the resistance of actual riding on the road.

Using PM, Stages L-only.


I have a dumb trainer that is a fluid trainer, and I can do intervals just fine. It usually takes me the warm up efforts to figure out what gears I have to jump up to, and then I can usually drop to the little ring for the valleys and it works out closely enough. The lag time sometimes makes the efforts look like I’m punking out on short bursts, but I know that isn’t the case because I’m in the right gearing and cadence. I’ve done this with VP and a real power meter. The only place I’ve run into trouble is with a magnetic resistance trainer, where you can’t change resistance without effecting the whole power profile and messing up Virtual Power. No problem if you’re using a power meter with a dumb trainer.


I think you are free to increase resistance as needed, because you have a power meter.

Mag trainers tend to have a very linear power resistance curve. As such, increasing the resistance setting should not have a major effect on your overall training.

If you are concerned, you can restrict the use of the “non-real-feel” resistance settings to those particular intervals and/or workouts at the anaerobic levels.


Yup, I know all too well the linear resistance feeling:

I guess all upping the trainer resistance is doing is basically giving me more gears, making my smaller gears bigger, in a sense, without throwing the baseline power profile out of whack too much.

Thanks for the suggestions/answers. I’ve been reading Why upgrade to a smart trainer? to try and convince myself to splurge for some fancy new equipment!