Hard tail MTB pedalling efficiency

Hi, I ride a hardtail MTB on Zwift Hub trainer. I can’t lock out the front suspension and I’ve been trying to research if I’m losing peak watts through pedalling efficiency as some of my upper body strength goes into damping. I’ve read on other forums all sorts of different opinions .

I’ve added bar-ends which helps me get more leverage and in a more forward (yet still fairly upright) position

I know the MTB will be slower on the road as the tyre, suspension, and aerodynamics will all reduce kinetic energy. But on the trainer none of that matters except power at the cassette.

So question, has anyone done a back to back comparison on an indoor trainer with peak watts at the cassette/trainer.

Thanks in advance.

When I first started Zwifting I used my hard tail MTB. I found the front shock “Stole” a lot of power, especially when standing on the pedals but even in the seated position.
So I bought myself a road racing bicycle. The difference is huge !

If you don’t want to invest in a new bicycle, I’d suggest at least increasing the air pressure in your shock to minimize this power loss.

thanks for sharing your experience. I have increased the air pressure.

I’m in two minds as to whether to buy a gravel bike I can play with outside, or put some rigid forks on my old 26" and turn it into some sort of mutated gravel bike.

I wonder if you could fit some kind of prop between the fork crown and the floor…

But a used rigid fork is pretty cheap if you can do the install yourself.

Thanks Paul, I’ve done just that, wedged between the crown and the arch, (not floor). I might do some comparison vids.

In terms of peak power, I only managed an extra 2%, but it was a much smoother experience.

I might have been holding back a little, as not entirely sure how stable/safe my prop was.

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If you’re handy, with a bit of fabrication you could (I think) build a chock that could wedge between the bottom of the fork and the front tire… as long as the tire pressure is kept up it might eliminate movement