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  1. #1
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    Wattage on trainer check

    Hey Everyone,

    So someone I follow on Strava, has been posting indoor trainer rides lately that look suspect and Iím trying to determine if maybe his power meter or setup is flawed.

    Basically, this friend of mine is about 53, good shape and has been cycling for years. Probably 1-3 times a week in season but does maybe 1-2 trainer rides a week in winter, and just started that up after a big break.

    His setup is a basic older Kurt Kinetic Fluid trainer and I think an old Powertap hub and older (500?) Garmin.

    Most recent ride stats:
    Time 1 hour
    Distance: 21 miles
    Speed: 20mph avg
    Power: 519 w avg

    My question is, doesnít that average power seem way high for an hour of riding? Am I missing something here? This is a non competitive recreational/enthusiast in his 50s. Iím asking to see if Iím missing something and if I need to tell him to calibrate or something?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Am I missing something here?
    Maybe. Has he won any of the Grand Tours in the past year or two?

  3. #3
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    He has most likely set something up wrong, but it's indoors and on Strava, I wouldn't worry about it. If he keeps the same set up he can compare his own stats which is all indoor training is really good for in the end.

  4. #4
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    I too, think there's something wrong but you can't compare trainer numbers to on-the-road numbers.

    Engineers design trainer resistance based on certain numbers for instance; I think the Kurt Kinetic is based on a 160lb. rider, was well as a 1% grade. I could be wrong about the latter but I'm pretty sure about the 160lbs. .

    That means my 130lb. self isn't going to reach on-the-road speeds on a KK because the resistance is calibrated for a much larger rider.

    Arguing such minutiae with the other rider seems a little too controlling. If you try to police everyone you watch on Strava you'll go crazy and wind up with a bad reputation. I'd let it go and merely shatter his trainer fantasies once you hook up with him on the road this spring

  5. #5
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    Not arguing or anything, Iím simply in awe if he actually was putting out those numbers. Isnít averaging 500 Watts an hour extremely difficult? I thought I read the world record for an hour was in the 3-400 range. And if the setup is off, I assume itís way off.

  6. #6
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    No f'in way a 53 year old (or probably anyone else) is doing 519 watts for an hour. End of story.

    I thought jens voigt's hour record was in the 430 watt range.

  7. #7
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    Yeah thatís what I figured. Maybe his Powertap is way out

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Yeah thatís what I figured. Maybe his Powertap is way out
    Yeah, he might need the PT recalibrated. Wattage on Zwift is recorded either from a power meter or a speed sensor and a known trainer that Zwift has the power curve for. The Kurt Kinetic is one they have for 'synthetic power'. If he has it set up using a speed sensor and has 2 spoke magnets it would more than double the power because the KK Fluid trainer power curve isn't linear. If he has a KK magnetic or wind trainer (think they made those) and is using the fluid trainer setting in Zwift it would also be high because of different power vs speed curves for those. The Zwift synthetic power is a bit on the high side from my experience, maybe 10 percent, but not that bad.

    Ask him which method he is using and have him switch to the alternate method and see what he puts out. If the KK is more accurate then the hub is the problem. He can try doing the zero offset calibration on the hub using the garmin and see if that helps - just unclip and use the garmin to recalibrate.
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  9. #9
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    If the OP's Strava friend is not concerned about it, it's not an issue.

  10. #10
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    Itís not an issue for me either, I am new to the power game and wondering if that seemed high to everyone. Also no Zwift being used, just grinding in his garage.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Not arguing or anything, Iím simply in awe if he actually was putting out those numbers. Isnít averaging 500 Watts an hour extremely difficult? I
    Yes. That's basically impossible.

    200w average for an hour is well above average in the general cycling population, so I'd be surprised/impressed if he's even around that level.

  12. #12
    tlg
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    Your friends power is extremely off.

    For reference, putting out 519w on a flat road with no wind calculates to 28mph. If you were in your drops, it'd be around 30mph. And on a TT bike it'd be 33mph.

    I have a friend who's 30ish. He's a Cat2 racer. State champ.
    He just put up an FTP test on Strava. 360w over 20min.

    I'm pretty sure your 53yro casual riding friend wouldn't put out 519w for 60 seconds.
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  13. #13
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    If his power meter checks out fine... do you by any chance have his doctor's card? Asking for a friend...

  14. #14
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    Talked to him. He knows its way high. Said the power meter is messed up. He's not really the techy type.

  15. #15
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    Only 520w for an hour? If he wants to be internet forums caliber he needs to be doing at least 700w.

  16. #16
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    Wiggins' power for his Hour Record (which still stands) was repored to be 440w. And I think Wiggins was on some juice when he did that (but that's another argument). The Powertap hub is way off. Usually when these Powertap hubs go off, they tend to report lower wattage. But in your friend's case, it's like doubly higher. Man, guys following him on Strava will be like, "dude, how come you're avg speed on the road is so much lower than your trainer wattage indicates"

  17. #17
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    This is what makes riding indoors so awesome. If set up properly, you can be competitive with pro numbers well into your 60's.

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    This guy isn't that cycle-tech savvy. He knows its off and wants to fix it. I told him to try calibrating but he says he does and it won't work. Who knows. Who cares. I think I just wanted confirmation that thats way high... almost impossible high since I'm new to power training.

  19. #19
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    I think I just wanted confirmation that thats way high... almost impossible
    No, not almost impossible. It is unequivocally impossible.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    This guy isn't that cycle-tech savvy. He knows its off and wants to fix it. I told him to try calibrating but he says he does and it won't work. Who knows. Who cares. I think I just wanted confirmation that thats way high... almost impossible high since I'm new to power training.
    he can't calibrate a powertap hub at home. He probably mean "zero'ed out" on the Garmin, and zero'ing is not the same as calibrating (although the verbiage on the garmin says "Calibrate" it's not actual calibration but zero'ing). He will need to send it back to Powertap to have it calibrated, and I belive it'll cost something like $150 (just for recalibration). Complete hub overhaul will be like $300

  21. #21
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    For comparison I am 53 yrs old and here is some stats I pulled off my Garmin 520 I don't do strava I don't do indoor Zwift video game cycling this is my regular training loop out in flat as a board but windy Hockley Texas.

    Time - 1:53:23
    Distance - 43.3 miles
    Average Speed - 22.91 mph
    Max Speed - 34.19 mph
    Ave Watts - 179
    Max Power - 942
    Normalized Power - 214
    Ave HR - 149
    Max HR - 169

    I consider myself a "decent" cyclist and can do this solo training loop consistently under two hours and even with my Saturday morning hammerfest group and Tue/Thurs "worlds" group I'm just hanging on for dear life at the speeds those 30 yr olds go. Nowhere ever am I seeing 300,400 or 500 watts for more than just a few seconds at a time therefore a casual cyclist riding a few times a week pushing 500+ watts is preposterous.

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