Managing Resistance and Intensity

The BikeErg offers you two ways of managing the resistance you feel and the resulting intensity of your workout: the damper setting and your pedaling cadence. An increase in either one will raise the resistance that you feel, and if you increase both, the resistance will go up even more quickly.

Try these two exercises:

  1. Varying Damper Setting:
    1. Set the damper to 1, and pedal at a cadence of 60 rpm for 30 seconds.
    2. Move the damper to 5, maintaining the same cadence of 60 rpm, and pedal for 30 seconds, paying attention to your output in pace, watts or calories.
    3. Bring the damper back to 1, and pedal for another 30 seconds, again watching your output.
    4. Back to damper 5, 30 seconds at 60 rpm.
    5. This can be repeated multiple times to create an interval workout. You may choose a different cadence to maintain if 60 rpm is too slow, but keep the same cadence throughout the exercise.
  2. Varying Cadence:
    1. Set the damper to 3 and leave it there for the entire exercise.
    2. Pedal at a cadence of 60 rpm for 30 seconds.
    3. Keeping damper at 3, increase cadence to 80 rpm for 30 seconds.
    4. Return to 60 rpm, still at damper setting 3.
    5. Back up to 80 rpm for 30 seconds.
    6. This can be repeated multiple times to create an interval workout. You may choose a different damper setting if you prefer, but keep it the same throughout the exercise.

You should now have a sense of how both cadence and damper setting affect the resistance that you feel and the intensity of your workout.

This is a bit different from an indoor rower or SkiErg.

On the indoor rower and the SkiErg, cadence (spm) and power output are not directly related. Rowing or skiing at a higher stroke rate does not necessarily mean you are producing more power. This is because of the reciprocating nature of the work—the fact that there is a recovery phase in the stroke. You can put a lot of power into your stroke whether you are rowing at 22 spm or 30 spm—you just get a bit more time on the recovery with the lower spm.

The BikeErg is different. The work is continuous, with no recovery phase. So the faster you spin, the more power you will be producing. In fact, the power rises exponentially with the rpm. On the BikeErg, if you pedal twice as fast (if you can!), you’ll be producing eight times the resistance!

Resistance on the BikeErg is very much like resistance on a bicycle, where you have both gearing and cadence to vary in order to achieve a level of intensity and speed that are most efficient for your ride.