Indoor Training

VIDEO: Is ERG Mode Harder?

If you’re new to ERG mode or have been using ERG mode for a while and switch between erg mode and slope mode or manual mode, you might have noticed that ERG mode might feel a little bit harder for the same effort.

In this video, I took a detailed look at ERG mode and why it might feel harder to do a workout in ERG mode when indoor cycling than slope mode, resistance mode or ride outside.

You will also see how a smart trainer reacts differently when in ERG mode when in the small chainring compare to the big chainring.

For this experiment, I did a 3×15 minutes workout twice using two different trainers.

  • The first 15 minutes was done in the big chainring with ERG mode turned ON in Zwift.
  • The second 15 minutes was done in the big chainring with ERG mode turned OFF.
  • The final 15 minutes was done with ERG mode turned ON but switched to the small chainring.

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  • Interesting – thanks for posting. I’ve seen on other forums where several coaches are vehemently against their athletes using erg mode. Their reasoning ranging from erg mode causing knee issues to “riding the trainer vs. the trainer riding you”.


    • Yeah, that’s interesting. I don’t understand it and there is nothing out there to support their claims. I think just like everything else in life, it’s best to mix things up and don’t get hooked in ERG mode. But even if you do 100% of the rides in ERG mode, I haven’t seen one case where you suddenly can’t ride your bike outside or developed knee issues. If someone develops knee issues, it’s probably more related to their riding style or fit than ERG mode.