FTP Test on MTB 1x11

I’ve been looking online in the forums and I am trying to understand how best to perform the standard ftp test on my Wahoo Kickr with Zwift. The support articles suggest that the 20 min free ride/all out segment, erg is will not add resistance, the idea being you should use the gears (ftp-test-HypJnI_NH). The issue is that on my MTB, there is too little resistance to achieve meaningful sustained watts because of the gear ratio.

I am sure this question has been asked plenty, I can’t seem to find a definite answer/recommendation.


While you “can” ride a MTB with Zwift, on an indoor trainer, your MTB is a long way from the environment for which it was optimized.
It might just be the wrong tool to provide you with the info you are asking under that circumstance.
A standard FTP test won’t work with a MTB.
MTB are designed to make exceedingly hard terrain easier to ride.
Indoor trainers do the exact opposite, making a stationary ride feel like there are hills.
I’m not sure, but perhaps you can do a ramp test or design your own work out that makes you push for a maximal 20 min effort.
No matter what test you do, the first couple times you do it will not give your best reading because there is a learning curve to know how to pace yourself for a max 20 min effort that doesn’t leave anything in the tank yet keeps you from blowing up at 15 min.
They are hard and no one likes to do them.
If you hate it, then you did it right.

I probably am not grasping the issue, but if you’re doing a free ride, could it be done on say the Alpe du Zwift climb? While erg isn’t going, won’t it adjust resistance for the gradient?

Hi @Jerome_Carron

Welcome to the forum.

When you are in the 20 minute free ride you can ajust the resistance using the companion app incline buttons or you can use the ± buttons on your keyboard.

The terrain won’t make a difference it doesn’t matter if you go up or down the alpe. Free ride will not simulate the terrain.

Ramp tests are super popular and work with MTB’s without issue as they use ERG @Jerome_Carron

As others have highlighted, you just have to steer away from free-ride based tests given your gearing. Also, when comparing improvements, use the same type of test each time.

Thanks for the info. Yeah, I knew when I bought the device, it would not be ideal for an MTB, but I am hopeful this will help somewhat in the colder month. It seems to work reasonably well with erg mode (feel like I am getting a work out), doing the 1x15 or 1x20 training, the erg kicks in and applies some resistance, it just seems that it is “off” when doing the ftp.

I would also recommend a smooth tire.

Thanks @Dean @Tim_Camden_C @Gerrie_Delport_ODZ , I’ve tried a number of the workouts, focusing lately on the 2x15 FTP interval workout, setting my own FTP to gauge my own FTP in lieu of running the actual FTP.

I’ve tried not to be too random in the beginning as I learn the mechanics of the trainer and zwift, sticking mostly to the workouts (60-90 Min Burn and Le Col). I will give the ramp test a shot for sure.


He has s direct drive trainer, no need for a smooth tire if there is no wheel :wink:

I need to get one of those new fangled trainers.
I assume everyone has 2 wheels.

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