Understanding Virtual Watts
Using Virtual Watts can help you train at the right efforts during your workouts and—with hard work and a smart approach—improve your power and fitness objectively.
As a rule, we've got all the answers in our Help Centre. But let me be your guide...
setting your bike up for Virtual Watts
Make sure you've configured your bike and device correctly to get the most out of the Virtual Watts feature. Here's a short video on how:
... and let's rewind a bit. In order to understand Virtual Watts, let's first look at power.
Simply put, power, which is measured in watts (w), refers to how much work you're doing on the bike - how much energy you're putting through the pedals. The harder you work, the more watts you're generating (with some exceptions). It also means you're going FASTER, assuming you're on flat terrain or on a bike trainer.
The relationship between speed and power output is where Virtual Watts comes in.
First, make sure you're using one of our compatible trainers. Next, make sure you set up you bike with the appropriate speed sensor. Make sure to read the setup instructions here. Lastly, make sure you sync those sensors to our app! Here's how. Now you're ready to start training with SUF Power. You'll be accountable to hit some objective numbers - lucky you!
OK, but... what am I capable of?
Good point. It's all well and good to have a power meter, but how do you make sense of the numbers? Is 100 watts (w) good? What about 200w? 862w? 1437? These numbers, in isolation don't mean much. The next step is to determine how long you can hold a certain wattage over various periods of time. To do that, you need to ride our fitness test, Full Frontal, and get your Four-Dimensional Power Profile.
After you've ridden that test and have your 4DP profile, the app will set all your power targets for you based on your fitness. To ensure that your results are consistent, you'll need to keep the variables that determine the speed of your back wheel (as it spins in your trainer) consistent. The rolling resistance is the factor that will determine this consistency. There are two key things that you can do to keep your rolling resistance consistent and your Virtual Watts accurate over time:
- Keep your tyre pressure consistent. If your tyres were at 90 psi for your 4DP test, make sure your tyre pressure remains as close to 90 psi. This is done best using a pump with a pressure gauge.
- Keep your 'trainer pressure' consistent. Trainer pressure refers to the contact between the turbo trainer and the rear tyre. To achieve consistent trainer pressure, make sure you adjust the 'roller' equally every time you install in the bike on the trainer.