Smart trainer, dumb?

Ok, considering my first smart trainer – I currently use a dumb trainer w/ a power meter

Here it goes – do you race in Zwift w/ a smart trainer in ERG mode?

If training does it apply resistance to match whatever cadence you choose to reach the desired power ?

If you cannot sustain the goal how do you turn resistance down in game or during a workout ?

What other in Zwift examples should I consider to switch from a power meter to a S T ?

time & feedback is appreciated

No you can’t race in ERG

Yes it changes the resistance to require the same power as cadence changes.

If you get into the spiral of death as it’s known where the cadence slows to a stop by overwhelming resistance just tap the app to turn of ERG

Not sure I understand the final question, sorry

Thanks, just looking for Zwift examples as reasons to switch to smart trainer

From your explanation it seems that using a power meter when you are just below or above the target might be just as or more effective allowing for the actual work you can produce on that given day?

There is a bias up or down button on the companion app for workouts, you can increase or decrease the interval by 10%. If it is too hard you can decrease by 10%, if that isn’t enough you can skip the rest of the interval.


Smart trainers have other benefits than ERG mode like being able to replicate hill feel on a free ride.

As said above, you can adjust the power too if the target isn’t quite right, and you can turn it off for a bit if you want to be without it.

If you’re staying ‘wheel on’ then it’s not a huge upgrade over a power meter. If you’re looking at wheel off then the ride feel is so much better it’s worth it anyway


I don’t think there’s anything stopping you doing a race in ERG mode. Whether it would be a good idea is another matter though.

If its of any help I use to zwift with a power meter and dumb trainer, changed to a direct drive smart trainer, for me brilliant.

For workouts having that resistance automatically provided in ERG mode is so much better, its the connectivity between the workout and the power requirements. The trainer sets the level required and you just need to match/hold that. It’s doing the controlling for you.

For just riding in Zwift the feedback you get as the resistance increases as you climb makes so much of a difference.

For me riding with a power meter and dumb trainer is like 2D as compared to 3D with a smart trainer.


Thanks, very helpful

On the other side.

Smart trainers pack consumer electronics in with a resistance unit that converts rider power to heat with 100% efficiency.

Basic trainers are simple, very reliable and inexpensive. No electronics to burn out.

Rollers (with a load cell) have been very good for me. No rocker plate, no sore bum.

Combined with a power meter they do everything I need.

And many people turn the terrain simulation (difficulty setting) down to zero or a very small setting when racing so that they are in affect riding a basic trainer.