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  1. #1
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    Tacx Neo v Kickr2

    I now have a kickr2. I have had at least 3 kickrs. Considering getting a neo. However, I would like some input on whether the Neo is actually better than the kickr for my particular issues with the kickr.

    Over all of the kickrs I have owned, none of them actually hold a constant power in erg mode.

    Here are a couple examples from trainerroad workouts. These are both in erg mode, power matching to my quarq elsa and a pretty constant 85-95 cadence for the about 80 minute and 90 minute rides. Small chain ring, center of cassette, no shifting.

    The power data lines (yellow) are from a quarq PM.

    As you can see power over the long intervals is not constant (normal is about +/- 15 watts or a 30 watt spread; the larger jumps are around +/- 25 watts or a 50 watt spread). The two workouts below have long interval lengths.

    The top one is 10 minutes per step. The bottom one is 8-12 minutes on the longer blocks.

    Tacx Neo v Kickr2-tpjgdpu9pzfiojbmluoi8taqlehuyfnktbmvxufb4e8-2048x1365.jpg

    Tacx Neo v Kickr2-ktmbjmyvef_f7ehlomatgo4xdn-eko6hgvo8hjxlfyu-2048x1365.jpg

    If I turn off power matching, I get the same type of power fluctuations from the kickr. So, it is not caused by the two (crank PM and the kickr) trying to match to each other.

    Same thing happens whether or not I do a spin down.

    The fluctuations get frustrating. If I come off a long interval barely alive, I want the power to drop right now. If I want to ride at 250 watts for an hour, I don't want bouncing up and down between 230 watts to 280 watts for an hour.

    I have also noticed that the flywheel gets HOT. After 45 minutes or so, the flywheel is very hot to the touch. I don't have a temp on it. But, I wouldn't want to drink coffee that is that hot.

    If I just rely on the kickr power alone, I get perfectly straight lines. Those perfectly straight lines are not what is really happening. IOW, the kickr thinks it is giving level power, but it is not.

    If you have a Neo and a crank based power meter, do you get similar results or does the Neo actually hold more constant power?


    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I can't compare to a KickR, but I do have a Neo. And I had a Hammer before. Pretty much with any smart trainer, there will be some fluctuation in erg mode. It's not going to keep a perfectly steady power of say 250 watts. It will go up or down 10-15 watts. The trainers do a very good job overall, but since our power output is not exactly steady, and our cadence is not exactly steady, and it's trying to compensate, there's no way any trainer can make it stay at the exact wattage.

    Thre Neo is very good, but from your description, I think you won't find it much different. And your graphs really don't look that bad, looks like kickr does a pretty decent job in erg.
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  3. #3
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    Not looking for perfect. Be great if they could hold tighter than +/- 10%. Love erg mode for what it does. But, I could hold power levels with much less power variation on an old mag trainer.

    Sucks when power fluctuations kill your interval.

  4. #4
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    I've had K1-2(borrowed 3) and now the Neo... sorry but it will be the about the same.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
    I've had K1-2(borrowed 3) and now the Neo... sorry but it will be the about the same.
    Guess that saves me some money.

  6. #6
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    Check if your trainer smoothing is turned on through the Wahoo app. FWIW, it's just a pretty graph (great psychological boost) and power data transmitted is heavily messaged. I don't have one but suspect under the hood it's behaving the same with or without the smoothing. General response time based on reviews tend to favor Kickr at about 1 second. Feedback I have read for Neo put it at 1-2. I have a Drivo and it's a 2-3 second delay.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Not looking for perfect. Be great if they could hold tighter than +/- 10%. Love erg mode for what it does. But, I could hold power levels with much less power variation on an old mag trainer.
    Does it matter if your power fluctuates 5% instead of 10%?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
    Does it matter if your power fluctuates 5% instead of 10%?
    Good question, and it depends on your objectives. If you're on the limit of interval repeatability, then a diff between 5% vs 10% could mean completing your intervals or not. A follow up question is, would the ability to consistently complete your intervals translate to improved performance? And to this, I'd say in the shorterm, especially if you're working on a very specific 10-12 week block to improve your performance, then you'd want to be able to consistently repeat and finish all your intervals. This probably matters for racers looking to peak for period of time.

    For non-racer cyclist, but still somewhat performance oriented, but not looking to peak at any particular time, then strict repeatability isn't too important in the grand scheme of things.

    Personally, I think erg mode is more the geeky minded people, or people who would like to validate their efforts on charts. I use a dumb trainer with a powermeter and my 10-20 steady efforts usually have no more than a 5% variation in wattage reading. At this point, my "perceived effort" gauge is quite on par with powermeter reading

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    I see similar variability on my Drivo so I never do erg mode for intervals, it just doesn't work well for me. Instead I set the resistance to get to a cadence I want in the power output range I want. I use my Garmin workouts set to zero target to let me know when an interval is over etc. Once I get that set I can keep the power pretty steady just focussing on the rhythm of my cadence, glancing at 10 second power average from my crank based power meter. Where Erg mode works great is for ramp tests, or an app like Zwift.
    Last edited by Srode; 03-10-2018 at 12:40 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Good question, and it depends on your objectives. If you're on the limit of interval repeatability, then a diff between 5% vs 10% could mean completing your intervals or not. A follow up question is, would the ability to consistently complete your intervals translate to improved performance? And to this, I'd say in the shorterm, especially if you're working on a very specific 10-12 week block to improve your performance, then you'd want to be able to consistently repeat and finish all your intervals. This probably matters for racers looking to peak for period of time.

    For non-racer cyclist, but still somewhat performance oriented, but not looking to peak at any particular time, then strict repeatability isn't too important in the grand scheme of things.

    Personally, I think erg mode is more the geeky minded people, or people who would like to validate their efforts on charts. I use a dumb trainer with a powermeter and my 10-20 steady efforts usually have no more than a 5% variation in wattage reading. At this point, my "perceived effort" gauge is quite on par with powermeter reading
    I don't know if there is any research on this, but I question whether small variations in power would negatively impact the training benefit. Holding power to within a very narrow range certainly isn't something that happens in the field. To me, ERG mode seems very unnatural.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I don't know if there is any research on this, but I question whether small variations in power would negatively impact the training benefit.
    Its a pretty big deal for me when doing harder workouts like long steady state and VO2max and it bounces up 10% even if just for a few seconds, then down - the result is I can't complete as many intervals and have as much time as planned in that zone working on that energy system. For an endurance pace it's not as much of a problem, because that's a pretty wide zone to start with.
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  12. #12
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    My issue is that the devices are sold with an accuracy of +/- 2% when they seems to be more of +/- 10% to 15% under steady state pedalling.

    Didn't want to begin a discussion of erg mode or interval training.
    Last edited by crit_boy; 03-10-2018 at 06:13 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    My issue is that the devices are sold with an accuracy of +/- 2% when they seems to be more of +/- 10% to 15% under steady state pedalling.

    Didn't want to begin a discussion of erg mode or interval training.
    I believe that spec applies to power readings, not holding a level during ERG. I think it would be very hard to create a spec for that because the riders ability to hold power steady is part of the equation

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I believe that spec applies to power readings, not holding a level during ERG. I think it would be very hard to create a spec for that because the riders ability to hold power steady is part of the equation
    Yep, the accuracy claim is for the power reading not ability to maintain a constant watt resistance. The Drivo I have is pretty much dead on my crank based PM numbers when the chain is lubed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I believe that spec applies to power readings, not holding a level during ERG. I think it would be very hard to create a spec for that because the riders ability to hold power steady is part of the equation
    yeah good point. Erg mode is basically a feedback mechanism, and like all feedback mechanism, there's going to a delay eh. And the more stochastic the person's effort is, the more this feedback mechanism will have to react to, thus the more delay, thus the wider variation in power reading. I can see this happening if a person sets the wattage a bit too high for his ability, causing person to pedal in square, when in Erg mode

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    yeah good point. Erg mode is basically a feedback mechanism, and like all feedback mechanism, there's going to a delay eh. And the more stochastic the person's effort is, the more this feedback mechanism will have to react to, thus the more delay, thus the wider variation in power reading. I can see this happening if a person sets the wattage a bit too high for his ability, causing person to pedal in square, when in Erg mode
    I've never tried erg mode on my Kickr, so I have no experience with it. As a feedback system, however, I don't see how it could be very effective since there isn't any direct feedback to the component (i.e rider) generating the power. For instance, what can the trainer do if a rider is only producing 80% of the targeted power? (A few voltage spikes to the saddle rails maybe?)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
    I've never tried erg mode on my Kickr, so I have no experience with it. As a feedback system, however, I don't see how it could be very effective since there isn't any direct feedback to the component (i.e rider) generating the power. For instance, what can the trainer do if a rider is only producing 80% of the targeted power? (A few voltage spikes to the saddle rails maybe?)
    It keeps adding resistance until you either get to the target power or it grinds you to a stop.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    It keeps adding resistance until you either get to the target power or it grinds you to a stop.
    The latter scenario is the "death spiral" I imagined, since adding resistance has the immediate effect of decreasing your cadence, not necessarily increasing your output.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
    I've never tried erg mode on my Kickr, so I have no experience with it. As a feedback system, however, I don't see how it could be very effective since there isn't any direct feedback to the component (i.e rider) generating the power. For instance, what can the trainer do if a rider is only producing 80% of the targeted power? (A few voltage spikes to the saddle rails maybe?)
    Maybe the Kick3 will add the electric shock feature

  20. #20
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    Fluctuations in ERG are normal. Power is a function of torque and speed. It had to constantly adjust to your pedal stroke and cadence.

    ERG smoothing is only a visual thing. It's there to keep you from wanting to compensate for those fluctuations.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
    The latter scenario is the "death spiral" I imagined, since adding resistance has the immediate effect of decreasing your cadence, not necessarily increasing your output.
    I don't know if it's trainerroad or the kickr firmware, but it doesn't seem to death spiral as bad any more. I have some workouts where I thought I was doing ok while not looking at the power level, but then it turns out I was only putting out 80% of target power. I suspect this is because of complaints about how a straight up PID controller works in this application, it's a little too rigid.

    I complained to trainerroad last summer that if you ever get behind, it's impossible to catch back up, because pedaling faster just caused a huge spike in power because the resistance didn't let up fast enough. This seems to have gotten better since then. It's definitely a compromise, because most of us would really like to hold a steady power level. One thing I found was that the traces look a lot better on android vs. Ant+ because of the way they are smoothing the data.

    I think that using a power meter instead of the kickr power measurement is going to make the power control worse, just because of delays.

  22. #22
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    Below is a graph of a 25 min segment from an ERG mode workout using Peripedal and my 2012 CycleOps PowerBeam Pro trainer. The graph does not have any smoothing applied to it and shows a deviation between readings of about a 5 watt max. This was part of a 105 minute long ERG session and is typical of what an ERG mode workout looks like.

    Tacx Neo v Kickr2-erg-power.png
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tacx Neo v Kickr2-erg-power.jpg  

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I don't know if it's trainerroad or the kickr firmware, but it doesn't seem to death spiral as bad any more. I have some workouts where I thought I was doing ok while not looking at the power level, but then it turns out I was only putting out 80% of target power. I suspect this is because of complaints about how a straight up PID controller works in this application, it's a little too rigid.
    Do you think it just limits how much it increases or decreases the resistance? In other words, if you are generating 80% of the target power does it raise the resistance xx% and remain there until you get back in the game?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnt Toast View Post
    Below is a graph of a 25 min segment from an ERG mode workout using Peripedal and my 2012 CycleOps PowerBeam Pro trainer. The graph does not have any smoothing applied to it and shows a deviation between readings of about a 5 watt max. This was part of a 105 minute long ERG session and is typical of what an ERG mode workout looks like.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Is the graph generated from the trainer or a crank/pedal based PM separate from the trainer?

    A kickr graph looks that good when generated by the kickr itself.

  25. #25
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    Hi. I ride a first generation Kickr using Trainer Road and have used it with both a quarq and a stages PM in erg mode. If I use power matching I get a nice smooth graph and a smoother ride. If I ride with power matching, my graph looks like yours. Any chance you are not getting out of power matching mode? I remember having a problem like that once early on.

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