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My Non-Smart Trainer Is Not Listed — Can I Still Use TrainerRoad?

If your non-smart trainer is not listed in the Equipment Checker and you don't have a power meter, there’s a good chance you can still train with TrainerRoad using VirtualPower. You can do this by using the power curve from a different trainer.

How to Train with Your Unlisted Non-Smart Trainer

Use VirtualPower. VirtualPower allows riders to train with power reading derived without a power meter or smart trainer. You will only need a speed sensor and a non-smart trainer.

How it all works: Every make, and model of a trainer has a unique speed-to-power ratio — this is known as the trainer's "power curve." TrainerRoad takes the speed readings from a rider's speed sensor and uses those to calculate VirtualPower based on the trainer's unique power curve.

Your Solution: When you own a non-smart trainer we do not have listed, you can use a power curve of another trainer we support to train with VirtualPower.

Will using a different power curve make my power less accurate?

Yes; however, when it comes to training with VirtualPower, consistency is much more important than data accuracy. Even if your VirtualPower readings are not 100% representative of your outdoor power, you can still reap the benefits of training with power as long as you use the same trainer and power curve for each workout. Doing so means your results will be comparable, and you'll be able to track your progress.

How to Find a Compatible Power Curve for Your Unlisted Non-Smart Trainer

Non-smart trainers come in three varieties classified by how they apply resistance: fluid, magnetic, and wind. The three different types of trainers have slightly different power curves.

When it comes to finding a compatible curve for your trainer, the most important thing is to choose a curve that matches the type of trainer you have.

For example, if you have a magnetic trainer, you'll want to use the power curve from another included magnetic trainer.

This quick guide should help:

Fluid Trainers:

These trainers use fluid chambers to produce resistance. They have non-linear, exponential power curves, which means that as the rider increases their speed, they will encounter more resistance.

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Compatible power curves we commonly recommend are:

  • CycleOps Fluid 2
  • Giant Cyclotron Fluid
  • Kurt Kinetic Road Machine

Magnetic Trainers:

These trainers use a magnetic flywheel that creates resistance for the rear tire. These trainers have multiple resistance levels that you can usually change by using a tethered hand brake. They have linear power curves, which means that the same amount of resistance is applied regardless of how fast you're pedaling.

MagTrainerCurve.png

Compatible power curves we commonly recommend are:

  • Elite Mag (5 resistance levels)
  • Tacx i-magic (7 resistance levels)
  • Kurt Kinetic Mag (9 resistance levels)

Wind Trainers:

These trainers use a fan that is powered by the cyclist’s legs. Similar to fluid trainers, wind trainers have non-linear, exponential power. This means that they provide more resistance the faster you pedal.

WindTrainerCurve.png

Compatible power curves we commonly recommend are:

  • Kurt Kinetic Cyclone
  • CycleOps Wind

How to set up VirtualPower (Desktop)

Step 1: Open the TrainerRoad app, and go to the Devices section.

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Step 2: Select Turn On in the VirtualPower section at the bottom of the window.

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Step 3: Enable VirtualPower, select your trainer manufacturer/model, and select Save.

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How to set up VirtualPower (Mobile)

Step 1: Enter the Devices tab and tap VirtualPower at the bottom of the screen.

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Step 2: Enable VirtualPower

Step 3: Select your trainer's manufacturer

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Step 4: Tap on 'Model' and find your trainer from the list.

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Step 5: Select the correct resistance level (if applicable)

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What to Do After You’ve Found a Compatible Power Curve for Your Non-Smart Trainer

Test your chosen power curve with a “Free Ride.” Free Rides are workouts that do not have power targets. You can find one in the app by searching the Workout Page for “Free Ride.”

Note: It can take a little trial and error to find a good power curve for your non-listed, non-smart trainer. Before diving into a training plan, we recommend you doing a couple of Free Rides to test out a few different curves to discover which one is best for you.

Once you’ve found a power curve that works for your unlisted non-smart trainer, it’s important to stick with it. Using the same power source, and thus the power curve is critical in training with power. Without this kind of consistency, the precision and effectiveness of your training will be greatly compromised.

Worried This Solution is Not for You?

If you start training with your unlisted non-smart trainer and discover this solution is not right for you, you have 30 days upon signing up for TrainerRoad to get your money back. No questions asked.

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