Baseline Resistance in Settings

Hi everyone,

this post is inspired by the problems some people noticed while riding their Smart Trainers with different connection methods (Standard Bluetooth FTMS, Proprietary Trainer Bluetooth, legacy ANT+, ANT+ FE-C) and different bikes with different gearings.

Basically there’s different baseline resistance being sent from Zwift to the smart trainer in the SIM mode via different connection methods. Also, each bike has a different gearing and thus different potential to generate the desired power via torque/cadence couple. While the second problem is of course normal in the real life, we have different bikes to choose from in Zwift, which should effectively make the choice of the bike hooked up on the trainer in the real life less important or irrelevant.

The result is - while the rider might be perfectly capable generating the desired watts/cadence, his trainer, bike used on the trainer and connectivity setup might not be able to properly translate that potential in its full range on the virtual Zwift road. Think of your TT race when you’re whirring “in the groove“, suddenly being completely whacked out of tune when you swap ANT+ for BT and the result is 2-3 gears up for the same watts and with different cadence.

So here’s a proposal:
New trainer setup menu in Settings, where you’d be able to create and select “Baseline Resistance Profiles”, which could be fine tuned for your particular trainer, connection method, bike and gears you’re going to use. So for example you could add more baseline resistance for your low geared MTBs and Bluetooth connections, and lower baseline resistance for your 54/11 TT specials. Also, this way you’d have a virtual choice of a different bike (or chainring/cassette if you like) for flat/hilly courses. For a start, just the generic slider for the resistance (same as we have for trainer difficulty which is not the same thing) would probably do, but the configurable profiles would be perfect.

Please note this has nothing to do with any modifications to generated power, it’s purely the initial resistance being sent to smart trainer, which you have to overcome with your power. This is to avoid low geared bikes (think 1x12 MTBs) to have to constantly ride in the highest gear, lose half the watts with every shift change and also to level out the differences that have been observed between different connection methods (see https://zwiftinsider.com/wahoo-kickr-tests-connecting-via-legacy-ant-ant-fe-c-and-bluetooth-ftms/ ).

Please upvote if this is any use for you. Both Zwift and Wahoo suggested this is more of a feature than the bug, so unless desired, probably won’t be implemented.