Are Zpower users second class citizens on here?

I’m new to Zwift and really like it. I can’t afford a smart trainer right now but i set up my “dumb” trainer with a speed and cadence sensor and heart rate monitor. I’m seeing all of these rules where zpower users cannot compete in A level  or cannot get a podium spot, etc. If everyone is afraid of zpower cheaters then why isn’t there a separate zpower class or zpower only races?


zPower is just an estimation of watts based on the rear wheel speed and the trainers power curve. If you are going to classify yourself as an A Racer then you should be required to have a power meter or smart trainer to compete in Zwift races to ensure everyone is somewhat on a level playing field. 

Most of the rules you are seeing are coming from ZwiftPower which Zwift does not own or control.

I can setup zPower and put out the same watts I put out with my power meter, but at much lower HR by loosening the tension on the read wheel.

zPower is not looked on as a second class rider, most are just very skeptical of them based on what we have seen over the years. 

BTW, I started on Zwift using zPower.

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I also ran zpower when first trying Zwift. Great numbers, was flying around like a boss. Power numbers were not so special once I got a decent smart trainer though.

Oh well.

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“Second class citizens” – If you’re trying to race or even set lap/KOM records, yes, Z-power riders are automatically suspect, especially if you’re successful.

The suspicion is well-grounded. Anyone who has used the platform since the early days remembers many instances where riders using poorly/non calibrated setups went zooming past showing 8 watts/KG and more.

If you just want to ride the courses and get good exercise, no one will pay any attention to you, whatsoever, no matter what your equipment is.


About a third of my races have been botched by users on ZPower, they’ll sit and the front and tow everyone along, races turn into group rides; or you attack, make a break, and there’s a ZPower in the chase group (who always seem to miss the break) towing everyone back, this is incredibly frustrating considering the work some riders put into preparing for their races (and how seriously they take them), though I’ve come to think that it’s not so much the users using ZPower, the problem is the algorithm and that there’s no anti-cheat mechanism built into it that enables people to abuse the system (yes, you can flag riders, but in a race, who has time to flip through the app, and even then you need so many people to kick them).  The algo as it is allows users to put minimal resistance on their wheels and pretend to be Froomey, this ruins the event for everyone and gives ZPower a terrible name, that’s what much of the resentment towards ZPower comes from, but in the end, IMO, it’s Zwift that has little to no detection to boot these abusers.  My suggestion to ZPower has been to essentially limit Zwift to demo mode where maximum watts are say 300w and/or 4w/kg, and disable entry to races, disable ability to claim jerseys (the wattage cap alone would do that anyways).  If the user finds they like Zwift enough, they can purchase a power meter or smart trainer like everyone else to unlock that function of Zwift and compete, as it is now, Zwift is a game where a minimum investment setup can easily outperform high investment setup (ie. dumb trainer with zero resistance will beat a smart trainer any day).  I think a wattage cap would deny them from being a pace car yet allow them to experience Zwift on a minimum investment setup and then they can decide if it’s for them before taking a $600+ plunge of for a power setup.
It just amazes me a ZPower rider can just park their trainer at 400w and go all day, with or without HR data; what I don’t understand is how, after all this time, there isn’t an algorithm in place that goes “if w/kg >4.0 and HR <%80maxHR, then boot”, that seems like a very simple solution to me that would cut much of the abuse out.  There are some riders that if I see them going into an event, I’ll just pass on it now, I don’t want the stress and headache I know will come with that event.  I truly have a hard time seeing the case for allowing ZPower to have access to high (sustained) watts, low watts (demo mode), no problem, all for it.


Am always suspect of zpower users. There are just too many pushing out massive wattages. The way I see it, if you’re that good a rider you’d most probably have a smart trainer or power meter. 

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There’s no correlation between the watts you put out and your wallet!



‘‘what I don’t understand is how, after all this time, there isn’t an algorithm in place that goes “if w/kg >4.0 and HR <%80maxHR, then boot”, that seems like a very simple solution to me that would cut much of the abuse out.’’

This is the most cheapest way for Zpower users, but don’t give them limited excess to the game. It will demotivate them (myself) and most likely stop riding zwift. I just don’t do any races and put in the right numbers, so that what I see is most close to people who do have a smart trainer.

What also could be an option is that some races are only for non Zpower users. As a user of Zpower I can totaly understand that people are frustrated by people who cheat at their settings. So if a few races are for the more realistic experience, I can totaly feel that. Just so, that only that will be a few on a day bases.

And just from a economical point of view. If you want to be Zwift to be growing and giving you the best experience possible, it would be terrible to lose a lot of people that also pay for the game. Let everybody unite on the bike and Zwift a little!