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The Differences Between Cycling ERG Mode and SIM Mode — Official Instructions | Zwift

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Here, we dive into the differences between ERG and SIM. If you have a smart trainer, knowing when to use each mode will make Zwifting more effective and more fun. If you’re into that sort of thing. Just follow these steps and you’ll learn all you need to know in no time.

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Knowing the difference between SIM mode and ERG mode makes Zwifting more fun and efficient. Learn all about both as well as when to use them.
1. Smart trainers have multiple modes. They affect how resistance is applied when you ride. The most common modes are ERG and SIM.
2. ERG is great for workouts because it applies specific resistance. Whether you’re going uphill, downhill, or rolling hills, the resistance is consistent. That’s why it’s is the default for workouts and intervals.
a. Let’s say your Zwift workout includes a 10-minute interval at 250 watts. You’ll want to be in ERG mode.
b. Start at your desired cadence because the smart trainer will adjust your resistance based on your cadence. No matter how fast those pedals are going, ERG holds you at the target wattage.
c. Resistance changes based on your relation to the desired wattage: if you’re going above your desired wattage, resistance will decrease. Not hitting your desired wattage? Resistance will increase.
d. For example, if you start at 90 rpm and drop to 60 rpm, the trainer will increase resistance due to your slowed pedal stroke. If you start at 80 rpm and increase to 100 rpm, the resistance will decrease due to your higher cadence.
e. The takeaway? When you’re in ERG mode, your only job is to manage cadence. You don’t even have to shift if you don’t want to. Some folks in ERG mode even use cogs they don’t often use to squeak a few more miles out of their cassette.
3. SIM, or simulation, is phenomenal for free rides—rides where you’re just cruising around—because the resistance mimics the road you’re on. Going up means more resistance. Going down means less. And flats translate to consistent resistance.
4. Want to switch between the two modes? Zwift does it automatically. Sign up for a workout and ERG is the default.
5. Now you’re ready to ride and play with SIM and ERG modes. Have fun!

Zwift is the app that makes indoor training fun. Connecting cyclists and runners around the world, Zwift mixes the intensity of training with the immersive and engaging play of gaming. Ride or run virtual worlds with a community that motivates you at every mile. You'll get faster and stronger and have a blast doing it.

You can become the undisputed king of the mountain, leave your competitors in your wake to become the sprint jersey holder, or simply join your friends for a leisurely run on a Sunday morning.

And you can make fun fast day or night, even if it’s raining, snowing, or just plain awful outside. Got goals? We’ve got a training plan for you that adjusts automatically depending on your schedule. Just want a workout? We have more than a thousand to choose from, or you can build a custom workout.

Just download our app, connect your bike to your indoor trainer, and start your 7-day free trial. And if you want to run, you can do that for

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