Not the Usual Trainer Difficulty Question

I have an old Trek 520 I now use on a Kickr SNAP on Zwift just about 100% of the time. I find that on flat to rolling rides I am always on the big ring up front and the smallest cog on the back - the top gear on the 3x7 drive train. The Trainer Difficulty setting is on the default 50%.

Outdoors on flat to rolling I would rarely be in that high of a gear. Maybe big ring on front, but not smallest on back. Recently the chain started skipping, check the cassette and the small cog in back looks like a jack o’ lantern - missing teeth and sharp teeth galore. Checked chain wear - it is well within specs, doesn’t need to be replaced.

On any hills above 3-4% I’m downshifting already. Would increasing the Trainer Difficulty setting have any effect on flat to flattish roads such that I’d really only be in the top gear on downhills, which is more realistic? It is always described as only kicking in on inclines.

Once I replace the cog, I’ll just try it out but figured I’d check.

My belief is no. Trainer difficulty will not change resistance on the flat. However, changing from Bluetooth to ant+fce will increase the base resistance (if they are options on your trainer and device) and hence you’ll require a different gear for same wattage.

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Why would Ant+ use increase base resistance? I’m connecting to Zwift on Apple TV via Zwift companion app on iPad but I do have an Ant+ sensor somewhere.

Different protocols created by different people at different times. 30 w difference on the kickr Wahoo KICKR Tests: Connecting via Legacy ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth | Zwift Insider

However you won’t be able to use ant+ with iPad or Apple TV.