Help me understand, smart trainer use?

Why should I use a smart trainer as opposed to the power meter on my bike?
If I’m using a smart trainer in erg, when elevation increases I’ll need to downshift – Ok, a bit more realistic, Versus now in the game with a power meter I just see speed drop off
What am I missing – thanks

I have been using just a power meter for years and see no reason to switch to a smart trainer.

I think the big difference with a smart trainer is when NOT in erg mode. In this case you feel the feedback of the gradient change, similar to IRL, which you won’t get on a dumb trainer with a power meter. With just a power meter, if you hit a climb in-game you can just continue on at the same pace on your bike. Your avatar will slow down in-game, but you don’t feel any change yourself. Whereas with a smart trainer you will definitely know that you have hit a climb and would likely need to change gears to accommodate that change.

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With a smart trainer there are two modes.

SIM - the application controls the resistance of the trainer to reflect the virtual terrain. The rider will need to change gear in response to the terrain.

ERG - Primary use is for workouts. The trainer controls the resistance for power targets provided by the application. The rider should not change gear.

I previously used a dumb trainer with a power meter for workouts only. It was good. However i now have smart trainer which opens up the full portfolio of usage on Zwift (free rides/ group rides/ races/ workouts).

I must note that i continue to use the bike power meter for output as i use the same bike out on the road. The smart trainer is used only for resistance.

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When you hit a hill it will make it harder to turn the pedals so you end up pushing back harder.

ERG mode allows the trainer to force you to stay at a specific wattage regardless of your cadence as well. This makes workouts much better in my opinion. Not to mention, depending on the trainer, feeling not only the climbs but also the descents.

Hey speaking of Smart trainers. Does anyone know if I am still eligible for jersey unlocks on a wheel hookup trainer? I’m a C-6 quad riding a handcycle with a front drivetrain that makes hooking up to a smart trainer impossible. I use to score the swag, but the last few rides, no Bueno on the jersey. Just checking to see if Zwift changed things to cut down on the sandbagging able bodies?

I haven’t heard anything to suggest that but maybe that’s something they wouldn’t advertise.

Hi Andy. I’m a new Zwift user, and recently invested in a smart turbo trainer. I can honestly say it’s been a delight to use, and I’m really liking the realistic variation in resistance, as I cycle around the virtual world. When you hit an incline, you really believe you’re going uphill.
I was wondering about how accurate it would be, but judging by my reported speed, and effort to pedal, then, I’m convinced it compares nicely to my road rides. And of course the clincher was that I get loads of people passing me, just like on the open road :rofl:

Just learning about that ERG mode. It can be fairly brutal can’t it? Just to add here that ERG mode means the turbo trainer maintains a constant power. So if you set the controlling app to 300W, you will be cycling at that power, regardless of your cadence. This means if you slow your pedalling, then the resistance of the trainer will ramp up dramatically, so it becomes like pedalling through treacle!