Is this your first Smart Trainer? Here’s a summary of what you need to know to get started.
Part 1: Introduction to Smart Training
Smart Trainers adjust your resistance dynamically, allowing you to focus on your ride and ensuring you get the workout you have planned. They can add fun, variety, challenge and accountability to your indoor bike workouts.
You will need:
- Your bike mounted on your Fliiiight Smart Trainer.
- A training app, which tells your trainer what to do, running on a device such as a smart phone, tablet, laptop or personal computer.
To control the Fliiiight Smart Trainer, you’ll download your chosen training app to your device, start up the app and the trainer, and then connect to the trainer within the app.
Types of Smart Workouts:
There are two main types of Smart Trainer workouts.
ERG mode keeps you accountable during interval workouts, making sure you hit your power targets by increasing resistance if you slow down too soon, or easing up if you pedal faster. ERG mode apps often come with libraries of personalized interval workouts and show your training data onscreen. Gearing doesn't change the difficulty of your workout here, so leave your bike in your fastest gear for the best road feel.
SIM mode simulates an outdoor ride: tougher on the climbs than the downhills. SIM mode apps often come with realistic graphics and allow you to race with other app users and participate in challenges. Use your gears as you would outdoors.
Part 2: Power and Speed Indoors
An introduction to some common measurements cyclists use to track their workouts, and what they mean in the context of indoor training.
The most important data a smart trainer sends to your app is Power, measured in Watts.
- In ERG mode your interval targets are set in Watts.
- Watts are at the core of the calculation that determines how fast you travel in a Simulation.
Power is a measure of your work or the energy you're putting into the pedals at any given time.
Wheel Speed x Force = Power
There are different key metrics using power to measure performance, such as functional threshold power (FTP) or Watts/Kg. As your fitness improves you'll achieve a higher average power over a given segment of time, and find you're able to maintain a given power target for longer. Those gains will translate into gains in speed on the bike.
Force and Resistance
Throughout the guide we'll use "Resistance" to describe the force the trainer applies to your wheel, making it tougher to pedal. More resistance creates the feeling of biking uphill. The force you apply to your pedals to overcome the trainer's resistance is the "Force" part of your power calculation.
Speed can mean one of two things in indoor training:
Wheel Speed is measured by your trainer's speed sensor. It's an important part of the trainer's power calculation, but don't rely on it as a measure of your training: your wheel speed indoors doesn't predict your speed outdoors at the same effort. Learn more.
If you use a simulation, the app will calculate virtual speed using your power output, your weight, the grade of the virtual terrain, and other factors the app developer considers important (such as drafting simulations). It should approximately match what you'd achieve outdoors on a similar course at a similar effort.
How do I know which speed my app displays?
- Simulation apps display your virtual speed, not your wheel speed.
- ERG mode apps sometimes choose not to display speed at all, given its lack or relevance in indoor training, but if you see a speed reading, it will be wheel speed.
- You may see your wheel speed reported over headsets bike computers and smart watches, in data from paired speed and cadence sensors, or in a log of your ride.
- Some apps and devices designed for outdoor cycling may use GPS based speed, in which case your speed may be reported as 0.
Just like with virtual speed, a simulation can calculate a virtual distance you've travelled. Your ERG mode rides don't translate into a distance, because there's no virtual course.
Cadence is how fast you pedal. Most cyclists have a cadence they'll settle into naturally, while some workouts target cadence specifically. Fliiiight detects cadence accurately. This measurement is the same indoors and outdoors.
Part 3: Connectivity
Control your smart trainer using a smart training app, running on a smartphone or other device.
You can run training apps on smartphones, tablets, PCs, Macs, or Apple TV. All apps may not be available on all devices.
Your device will need either Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ in order to communicate with the trainer. Smartphones, tablets and Macs have Bluetooth built-in, whereas you'll need to insert an ANT+ dongle in the USB port of a Windows PC or older laptop to connect with it.
Devices like smartwatches, headsets and bike computers typically receive data from the trainer but don't run smart training apps or send commands.
Compatible Training apps:
In order to send commands, training apps must communicate with the smart trainer using one of two standard protocols:
- ANT+: FE-C (fitness equipment controlled)
- Bluetooth Smart [BLE]: FTMS (fitness machine service)
Popular training apps like Zwift and TrainerRoad follow one or both of these standard smart trainer connection protocols. See a list of known compatible apps.
Apps created for a specific trainer brand may not follow the standard protocols, while older apps may read power, but not offer smart trainer control.