Accidental cheat discovered

Remember sticky watts and microbursting are two different things.

Sticky watts - You do repeated sprint and coast exploiting that powermeters and some trainers stick to the high wattage you were doing for 3 seconds after you dropped you power. Very clear cheating, but most people doing it don’t know that they a gaining an unfair advantage

Microbursting - More or less the same riding style but on equipment that does not report sticky watts. Might be cheating, at the very least weird and non-logical pedalling style

I am pretty sure that the OP was helped by sticky watts



It’s funny the perception differences. Some were “complaining” in another thread about how they feel that they immediately get braked/stopped if they stop pedalling for 1 or 2 seconds.

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Yeah I get where you are coming from, but one is at normal riding pace, the other is at high watts.

So whilst similar, they are very different inputs as you are talking about being auto braked which doesnt kick in if over X % of effort… but you know all of that more than anyone else.

We always return to the same conversation, if it wasnt advantageous, people wouldnt be doing it - Its not a normal effort, its use uphill sets it out as not normal - Its not new, it was highlighted 2/3/4 years ago and is an exploit. ZHQ seem determined to not even recognise this and try to counter it or fix it.

I have that trainer - Im doubtful its sticky watts as in 4 years of owning it not seen them but its possible. I did get micro bursting to work on that trainer though - Sprint & coast and watch the speed stay super high

Wattbikes and especially the earlier versions have been notorious at sticky watts, with some having problems where the power would just stick for 10-20 seconds. This also depends on what you are using as ANT is more likely to produce sticky compared to bluetooth

Your talking about Wattbike Pros & Trainers which is correct. The atom is completely different machine in every sense.

Found the race OP did. This is power from the race and very clear sticky watts


Lots of flat tops there tbf

@Phil_Read1970 If you look at the screenshot above from your ride you can see all those flat sections after you have accelerated. In reality your power should be dropping straight down after each acceleration, but for some trainers and power meters you will see this behaviour, where the power sticks for a few seconds even though you are not pedalling. Not sure if its confirmed but most likely it happens because Zwift have some build in feature to help people with dropout problems, so if you have small dropouts it dosn’t completely kill your speed.

Anyways great job you figured out something wasn’t right, thats more than a lot of people do. If you just ride as you normally would it shouldn’t be a problem in the future


Hi mate,

That’s very interesting indeed, thank you. You mentioned earlier that I was “helped” by sticky watts. I see it as being “hindered”!! I really don’t want any dodgy results/readings. I came across this completely innocently, in fact trying my hardest to keep up with the fast riders. I’m going to resist sprinting like that during races from now on. That’s the only way I can see that it will help me. I’ve just got 60 days in A races to contend with first though :woozy_face:

Thanks again for all the help and support, and really appreciate that nobody has moaned at me for doing this! Like I said, I’m just in it for fitness and I’m a reasonable “C” or very mediocre “B” at best!


Curious, without digging into all of the related threads on the topic, can you easily spot someone else doing this in a race or would you have to look at their stats after the fact?

There are some clear signs that point to it. Usually you see the people doing it flashing orange number in the riders list and then drop down to nearly no power, back to orange then no power and so on. For some you also see that they are constantly flying through the group and then dropping back again even sometimes getting a gap on the front. Sometimes you will also se their avatar constantly shifting from normal to sprinting position, but this might just be a wrongly set FTP.

To be totally sure you probably need to check data afterwards, but can be almost certain if you fan view the rider and see the sprint, and then their watts just staying the same for a few seconds afterwards


Sticky watts is clear as day with flat tops it would be good if Zwift could auto detect this like it does with unrealistic power and flag riders. once or twice in a ride is hard to account for but if a rider has n sections of flat power that could be detected I’m sure.

Some hardware is just bad like the elite direto that produces it’s own version of sticky watts by holding power longer than it should. Can’t get away from that hopefully they all blow up sometime soon.

Hardware issue with a solution solution to counter sticky watts it is probably the only way you can prevent/flag but I’m unclear if the micro bursting is a thing or not.

Certainly ZHQ and WTRL have DQ riders in the past for it so somebody must be off the opinion it’s gaining and advantage but it’s all a bit unknown leaving community organisers in a difficult spot as we regularly get questions about it but hard to judge what is or isn’t acceptable

from what you are saying then with a internet drop out Zwift would instantly kill the riders power? it would not auto push them forward hoping the drop out is brief.

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From the SB20 manufacturer on the difference between pairing to the bike vs directly to the power meter

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I was doing a TT last week and the B racer in front of me was clearly exploiting this to an extent. 5-5.5 w/kg for a few seconds then 2.5 for a few seconds. I thought he was dying but then I realized he was microbursting and just slowly easing away from me doing a steady 3.9-4.0 w/kg for the 11 min effort.

On a Kickr Bike I have ANT+ (to avoid having to use steering which is totally silly) and never see the sticky watts issue, so it must be particular trainers and smart bikes.

Unfortunately I cannot do enough power to attempt this these days. I have a 241w FTP but my maximum power is just a little over 500w which I can’t do very easily.

Yeah its very equipment and connectivity specific. Power meters are generally the one where it happens most frequently. If i were using my Quarq DFour on Zwift i get 3 second sticky watts, but if i use my Kickr V5 with either bluetooth or ANT+ it can stick for 1 second.

Then using Dircon connected with ethernet cable directly to my pc and race mode activated, which is my primary setup i have no sticky watts at all

I think this is a Bluetooth issue, not ANT+ - since sticky watts are a kluge for Bluetooth dropouts - the problem is for me that Zwift doesn’t recognize my PM via ANT+ only BLE !!

Not sure if shifting to ANT+ will help you, but might as it seems different from PM to PM what affects the amount of sticky watts that happens. My Quarq will do 3 second sticky watts on both ANT+ and Bluetooth

Isn’t the 3-second grace period for accommodating event-based power meters (that transmit power readings once per crank revolution rather than at a constant 1 Hz (or something else)) entirely a design choice on the software side? Strictly speaking it is not necessary at all as long as the cadence is above 60 rpm, and the full 3 seconds extra is needed only for the 15…20 rpm (i.e. one revolution every 3…4 seconds) range.

One fairly easy solution would be reducing the 3 second margin to a single second and add an extra second or two if the cadence is low enough for the past 2…3 revolutions that the expected interval between successive readings will be longer. If you think there are many people experiencing too many additional dropouts because of this (entirely possible since this now also serves to mask some sensor interface issues), then implement it only for racing.