Which gear to set your bicycle in?

Hi there,
I am totally new to Zwift and my first question is regarding gear. Not the gear of the trainer, but the gear on the actual bicycle.

I use a Tacx satori smart but as a bicycle (sorry, don’t laugh), I am using - at least currently - an old Dutch city bike, which has an internal hub gear. Even if I finally manage to fit the bicycle I want to use, an Idworxs, it would still be a Rohloff internal hub gear.

I know that I can change resistance manually with the Tacx satori smart, but what is the basic gear I should put on the bicycle? Lowest ? highest? middle? (It does actually matter. I tried changing the gear on the bicycle (and not the trainer) and it become harder to cycle, as is to be expected.

Thanks for the help!

Hi @Susanne_Kaiser
Welcome to the Zwift forums!

How many gears does your city bike have? If it’s 7 or 8 internally-geared speeds, it’s typical for them to have closer-spaced gear steps in the middle of their range, and bigger jumps in gearing at the extremes to help you climb or descend hills.

Because your Tacx trainer’s resistance is manually-controlled, I’d say start with a middle level of resistance on the trainer, and a middle gear on the bike, and see if that feels too easy or too hard for the pedaling cadence you prefer.

Using that as a starting point, I’d see if one “click” on the trainer provides a change in resistance that feels good (not-too-big, not-too-small), or does one click on your gear shifter feel better in comparison?

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Thank you. The bicycle has 4 gears. (the idworks has 14)

Does the gear I set the bicycle in have any impact on the numbers shown on Zwift? I tried today in the lowest gear of the bicycle and then shifted on the trainer and I can essentially ride all the 10 tacx gears.

I had the impression that I was going too fast. Sometimes I hit 40 km/h, and unless that was a steep descent, I am not normally hitting anywhere close to 40 km, unless I have a very good Dutch tail wind. But on the other hand side, shifting on the tacx only gave quite a nice range of gears while the bicycle was set at gear 1.

Thank you!


The specific gear ratio you choose is one factor in the numbers shown on Zwift, but there are other factors depending on the type of trainer.

For a wheel-on trainer like your Satori Smart, the tire’s measured circumference matters quite a bit. For a given rim size, (I’m assuming 700c), tires of varying height can be mounted. Since a taller tire has a larger circumference, it will travel a greater distance for every pedal stroke than a tire with smaller circumference. Assuming cadence and bike gearing remain the same, the larger diameter tire will also yield a (slightly) higher speed than the smaller diameter tire.

Calibrating your trainer would be the next step to see more realistic speed & distance numbers. I’m not that familiar with the Tacx Satori Smart, but at the bottom of their web page, a utility app is described as able to “…test and calibrate your Tacx Smart trainer.” Would you try that and report back?

Also make sure to pair the trainer as a Power source.