Ramp Test Tips & Tricks



I just did a test this AM in the small ring on a Kickr in erg mode. All previous tests have been done in the big ring on a Kickr in erg mode. Did small ring because of cross, where I spend most of my races in the small ring.

It felt much more sluggish, sticky…probably due to slower freewheel speed. End result was an FTP much lower than I expected. I’ve been wondering if the little ring had that much to do with it. I’ve also taken a few weeks with lower intensity and volume, but I didnt expect a 7+% decrease in FTP just from that.

Anyone have any thoughts or experienced the same?


Not sure if this belongs here but, I’m going to do the Ramp Test soon and I use a Dumb Trainer. Just wanted to know if anybody else has done the test using a Cyclops Fluid2? If you have, did you complete it with the resistance wound off or keep it the same as you would for other sessions? I’m guessing you’d keep it with the resistance applied.


I think I prefer “Ride the Lightning” starting with the title track! :smiley: :metal:


I guess I’d need to try this, but would it be too much to do two ramp tests in one day?! Reason being, I use a Wattbike to train at lunchtimes [at our work gym] and my TT bike with Garmin Vector 3s on the turbo at home at other times. I have done ramp test on both [but never on the same day!] and get quite different FTP’s on each (WB=296 and TT=274 non-aero/268 aero). Obviously, the plans require an FTP test at the start of each block but I don’t want to have to test on separate days and disrupt the planned workouts for that week. You may say just deduct 20 watts off the WB FTP for the home setup, but I don’t want to miss any changes as I use the home setup more. @Nate @Jonathan @Chad - maybe a question for the podcast?


Yes, 2 ramp tests in one day would be a lot! Not recommended.


I’ve done the ramp test on a Cycleops Fluid 2 and assuming you’re using a powermeter instead of virtual power it shouldn’t matter the resistance. However, you’d want to keep the resistance knob fairly tight to avoid tire slip.


Thanks everybody for the tips and tricks on the ramp test, I just completed mine.
It was actually the first (smart) trainer workout I have ever done.

I scored a 279 ftp, which I am happy with considering I started road cycling somewhere mid April this year.
Plan on following the SSB LV 1 & 2 followed by sustained power build LV and the climbing road race as speciality.

I did notice some things that felt odd to me during the ramp test, somehow I was always 1 watt under the target power, I thought the ERG mode would ensure I would be always on par with the target.
In addition, it felt like I had a higher cadence than I would normally have when I am riding outside.
Outside I mostly ride on the big ring, I did the ramp test on the middle ring (I have 3 up front) and middle on the back.

The cadence difference might just be my inexperience with the smart trainer workouts.


not for long after the 2 cups of coffee! :rofl:


I just burst out laughing at work


I’ve a similar consideration, with an indoor bike with power at work for weekday sessions, then weekends at home with my bike on the turbo.

I went through a few cycles of testing one week on one, the next on another, instead of A/Bing on the same day. From there on I could correlate the differences and figure out how much the indoor bike over-estimated by. Next I loaded up a workout and played with adding intensity so that I could compensate. Turns out it’s 6%, so I just go to 106% intensity for my weekday sessions now, feels accurate.


I believe that it’s been pretty well established that using the big ring is “easier”. However, I would advocate using roughly whatever gearing you intend to use for your block of training in the test. I see no point in using the big ring just to get a few extra watts in the test, only to to increase RPE (either real or imagined) during training. I do my tests in the small ring, because that’s what I use in training. I know once I get my test number that I’ll (should) be able to perform to that in workouts.


Understandable. I use the big ring for the majority of my training/racing, so will stick with that on ramp test.


aboaz, that’s what I always suspected, but never could confirm because I didn’t want to change my FTP ramp test protocol to keep things consistent. I guess we should try and test in the same gear we train in to keep the consistency now that we know there’s a difference in power output.


A must watch from GPLama for this topic!


Yup. I was going to post this as well.

The “gearing doesn’t matter in ERG” myth is dead.

Gearing DOES matter.


Thanks for this video! I had seen this before but forgot about it.

This confirms what I felt…but why did it impact my ramp test so significantly?!? When I tested 6 weeks ago I tested at an FTP of 325w. When I tested yesterday it was 299w! Like I said, I’ve lowered some volume and had a week of travel, but I’ve had that in the past without seeing that type of decline. I was expecting some decline, but not that much.

I’m wondering if the smaller ring test “bogged down” the inertia of the flywheel and fatigued my legs earlier than in the big ring.

What does this imply for FTP on flat roads vs. climbing…does it imply there are theoretically two different FTPs?

I do seem to recall a podcast episode a while back where this was discussed and @Jonathan said that he trained in the little ring due to mountain biking and @Nate was always in the big ring…probably because he’s always in the big ring (even on climbs! :wink: ).

If I’m training for cross, should I do it in the small ring? Or keep it in the big ring like I’ve always done my TR workouts?

I have more questions than answers now…

  • That is very likely. The basic difference is that the lower gearing and lower flywheel inertia will likely demand more muscle engagement for the same power and the same duration. In this case, it took more out of you than a higher gearing option that maintains more flywheel inertia (and therefore is less demanding no your body).

  • We only have “one FTP”. What varies is our ability to express that in any given situation. We often “lose power” in a TT position compared to a road position. The reality is we haven’t changed, but the limitations based on our body from the positioning is the limiter, not our body itself.
  • That also applied to climbing vs flats. We may have better ability with one type of inertia than another. It could come from training history, muscle type distribution or other factors.
    • We all know people who prefer one type of riding over another. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that preference show up in testing.

  • Yes, they have discussed flywheel inertia on a couple of occasions. The rule of thumb is to try to match the flywheel inertia to the majority of your events.
    • Flat and fast road riding = large gearing and faster flywheel inertia
    • Hilly and off-road = small gearing and slower flywheel inertia

  • They core idea being to ride and train close to the conditions you expect to experience outside.
    • In this case, I say that you should also do the Ramp Test in the same gearing as you plan to train.

ERG needing higher cadence

But I don’t think it’s so much that you want to match your outdoor gearing per se to your erg mode indoor gearing. What chainring or cog you ride in outdoors doesn’t matter. It’s the inertia of your outdoor target riding you want to match. So if you do time trials, crits, high-speed, etc. that’s higher inertia and you’d want to use bigger ring/smaller cog in erg mode to get high inertia training and testing on your trainer. For big climbing, maybe CX (?), MTB, etc. maybe you want to train for lower inertia, so smaller ring/bigger cog.


I completed my “Aero” ramp test entirely in the aero position. That said, for my upcoming base work, I’m shifting to my road bike and thus my next ramp will not be. I’ll train the position again come build or possibly specialty time.

FWIW, as mentioned on last week’s podcast, I’m going to compare FTP from road to TT bike to see if my position is any kind of limiter. The “limit” they mentioned was about 5% difference. I’ve had road bike FTP of 255W in the recent past, but this year during build I tested at 235W on the TT bike. Granted, I’d been out of training for a little while prior to the season, but I’m wondering if my position is robbing me of too much power. Only one way to find out…


Does anybody have any tips for doing the ramp test on a dumb trainer and having to switch chainrings mid-way through? If I start in the big chainring, the cadence is way too low for my taste (I usually ride around 105rpm), but if I stay in the small chainring, I run out of gearing before the end of the test. I always struggle with that switch (also because in finding the right cogs in the back for the switch means pretty drastic power fluctuations that might influence the test?)