Hi fellow Zwifters,
I’ve been enjoying Zwift racing for quite some time now. It’s a fun challenge and an amazing community. That said, I’m finding the widespread rollout of steering is taking away from the experience and desire to race. It’s disheartening to enter a race knowing that no matter how hard I go or how strategically I race, I’m at a fundamental disadvantage because I don’t have a play controller.
I am hoping that Zwift will offer events without steering for those of us who want a level playing field. This would provide an option for riders who prefer racing in a more traditional format, without the added variable and expense of steering.
Are there any events without steering that I just don’t know about?
For more context:
One of the things I love about Zwift racing is that is more accessible and safer than IRL bike races. Zwift offers a great venue for the fun of racing with greater accessibility. If offers equal opportunity (at least relatively speaking) for participants to compete and push themselves in friendly competition.
With steering becoming a factor, there seems to be a growing divide between riders with expensive setups and those without. In most races, I only see a handful of users with steering but they have an outsized influence on the race, and I can only imagine there are many others who also find it a frustrating experience.
Steering has introduced a dynamic that reminds me of the ‘breakaway burrito’ power-up but without a time limit. It becomes a big advantage in at least three key scenarios:
- During switchback climbs (taking decisive seconds of the climb)
- During sprint finishes by preventing others from drafting you
- During breakaways be moving off the line so others can’t participate in the tactical cat and mouse that defines races
This has led to a change in the race dynamics where the advantage is less about fitness and strategy but also on the availability of additional hardware.
I’m interested to hear what others think. Is steering a better experience? Do you feel steering has changed the dynamics of racing? Does it create an uneven playing field?
I would also love some non-steering races.
The fun of Zwift for me is in getting a good workout with a bit of friendly competition and camaraderie. Racing up switchbacks and having someone cut the corner and take a shorter line than I am able to (since I don’t have a controller) feels like they have an unfair advantage. And having someone swerve so I am unable to follow in their draft is disheartening since I don’t have a way to respond and play in the way they are.
Check out https://zwifthacks.com/app/events/?key=6563c913ddc41 or consider joining a team for Dirt Racing Series… steering is turned off for those and races are Tuesdays and great fun!
Thanks Dave! That’s exactly what I was looking for
There are various other “technological” variances too - including trainer types. Without everyone being on the same kit, calibrated regularly, some are always going to be at an advantage.
Minor point, but there are other devices other than the Play that can steer. And, fwiw, steering was launched in some form or other over 3 years ago I believe? I would think this is plenty of time to have gotten used to the idea that it was coming.
i think Zwift play is way over rated , i am still winning and doing good with out.
Race your own race. put your ego to the side. @Cameron_Raynor
I’m all for racing your own race, but would like to be able to race with the same gameplay mechanics as others
Yeah I hear you on that. That said, steering seems like a different category here. Having more accurate calibration or faster refresh rates could be an advantage, but it doesn’t change the gameplay mechanics the way steering gives you a tangible advantage, especially in the three situations above. I’d think more parity, not less, would be a better direction?
I thought the same way about steering, until I bought a Sterzo Elite. Now I enjoy racing as I can be more competitive, only downside is my legs are giving up.
Sure, but we’re never going to get parity.
10Hz Race Mode would be a good example of another technical advantage only open to a subset of the users.
Or the bikes you can only buy once you get to a certain level
Go to zwifthacks.com and search for races with the “steering_disabled” ztag.
I wish we could see clearly whether it’s on or off but above all to see how many users are in the pens with steering on. If pack is large and there are just a few, I don’t bother with it as it’s mostly annoying. When group is small and most have it… you can’t do without. Now I always join without connecting steering but had to stop once to turn it on mid race which is really annoying. If I had an option to see it before race started, in the pens, that 80 percent had it I would be prepared.
For the game itself, it looks utterly ridiculous to see people at the side of the road and pack behind in the middle. Just is silly and doesn’t reflect well on the game.
Technically that is true … but then wheel on trainers tend to have much longer lag between putting down the power through the pedals and having that reflected in the software, as well as generally being less accurate.
However you slice it, unless Zwift chooses to make the software work only on one specific hardware setup and nothing else, there will always be riders with technical advantages or disadvantages in various aspects of their setup.