Best way to Zwift without controllable resistances?

I’m using a IC4 which doesn’t allow Zwift to control the resistance. Is there a best practice for how to compensate? Obviously, I can turn the resistance up/down but I wonder if there’s a pseudo-scientific way to make the right adjustments. I just started so maybe I’m missing something obvious.

Hi @winterminute, welcome to the forums!

There aren’t any obvious clues on how to adjust the resistance on a non-smart trainer other than the gradient number on the mini map in the upper right hand corner of the screen. As the gradient goes up, increase the resistance so your power goes up accordingly. More power on the hills will make you go up them faster, otherwise you will spin at 2 mph up the hill.


If you have access to try a smart trainer, it would be good to get a feel for what 5%, 10%, etc. feel like and then replicate on your non-smart trainer. I’ve having this exact issue because I am using a spin bike with PowerTap pedals. So I get good power readings but have to “guesstimate” the resistance to use on the hills.

also there is the trainer difficulty slider in settings. If you have a smart trainer you can increase the difficulty to 100% or lower it to 0%. At 100% a 10% hill will feel like a 10% hill, at 50% it will feel like 5%, at 0% it will feel like flat road. So, just having a smart trainer doesn’t mean you will get the exact feel for the hill, as default is set at 50%.

With Zwift not controlling the resistance you are in charge and can adjust the resistance to suit your desired power and cadence. I suggest simply turnIng up the resistance when you wish to increase power, for example for sprints and climbs, and turning down the resistance when you wish to spin easier.

On a flat road is there a good power target that a reasonably athletic ~40yr male should hit? I’m thinking that I find my “ideal zone” and then can increase/decrease based on hills. Or is that the wrong way to think about?

That’s a good way to go about it. Your ideal zone will vary based on the desired intensity of the ride. To find your zones I recommended doing a ramp test. That will establish your power zones to a level that’s appropriate to you.

You can still do structured training plans or workouts if you want to follow some structure. You can still race to have a bit of painful fun. If you are concerned about missing out on climbing see some of the hints from Phil Gaimon 4 Ways to Train for Climbing if You Live Somewhere Flat (or on a Stationary Setup) - YouTube

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