Can’t keep up with friends

I can’t keep up with my friends on Zwift but can easily keep up with them on the road,I have a watt bike Atom!Help?

A few possibilities:

  • Is your weight and height set correctly? E.g. You haven’t accidentally entered 180kg instead of 180lbs or something like that…
  • Same as above, but for your friends - have they magically lost a bunch of weight in Zwift?
  • Are your friends using smart trainers (so giving actual power readings to Zwift), or dumb trainers which might be over-estimating their power?

There are probably more possibilities but those are easy to check for now…


Also, if you have a power meter for your road bike, have you tested your outdoor FTP? If so and it’s not comparable to your FTP on the Wattbike, that would also tell us something.

Or even estimated power figures from Strava, which are usually in the right ball park.

I haven’t checked my FTP on my road bike,its now away for the winter.
My weight is ok,not seeing any weights of my friend far of the mark,they are mostly using smart meter.

I have estimated power figures from Strava, 230 watts

Are your power figures from the Wattbike consistent with Strava’s estimated figures?

I’ve only done Zwift,Never done anything on the wattbike app

No, I mean the power figures that Zwift is saying you’re generating know your Wattbike. Are they roughly in line with Strava’s estimated power from your outdoor riding?

Almost certainly this just reflects differences in accuracy among the different machines you and your friends are using. For example, my overall power went from consistently in the 230/240’s in Crit City races when I was riding a wheel-on trainer (Kickr Snap), to where now I’m on a direct-drive Tacx Neo 2T and I often can’t break 190w in the same races. The output I’m getting on the new trainer also matches almost exactly my real-world rides, and the wheel-ons are well known to be very unreliable. So my experience is completely expected. I think you’ll all have to buy the same trainer if you want to be as matched in silico as you are IRL…

Hi Steve
I only rode the bike on a few occasions as I’d just purchased it,I did seem to think that 200 Watts wasn’t very hard on the road(HR was around 130),on the Watt bike I would say it feels harder (Hr in the 140’s)

Hi Justin
I agree,my only issue is I’m usually pushing at the front on the road but am now pretty much last in every time trial and road race. :slight_smile:

I feel your pain! I was expecting a drop in performance when I got the new trainer, but not this big, so its been a blow to my ego to be previously approaching mid-pack in B races, to now finishing in the bottom 20% of C… :grimacing:

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Some other random thoughts. These may be things that you’ve already thought of, but we are kind of shooting in the dark here.

  1. If you don’t have a fan blowing at you, you need a fan. Forgive me if this is obvious, but moving air when you’re outdoors dissipates your heat very well. When I first got my smart trainer, I tested my FTP at 176W. I forgot to turn my fan on (plus I also had pulled a back muscle the week before, so that wasn’t really a good time to test, but I was feeling healed up and I didn’t have anything else to do that day). About 3 weeks later, I retested myself at 216W. Granted that being back on the bike (if virtually) had improved my condition, but if you aren’t adequately cooling yourself, you will seriously impair your output. Plus you will be dripping sweat all over your bike, and this is not good.

  2. Is your position on the Wattbike comparable to your usual road bike?

  3. I’m new to Zwift, and I’m still getting the hang of drafting. I not infrequently post higher W/kg than several people finishing ahead of me. In Zwift, you don’t feel the resistance change when you’re at the front, so you have no physical cue that you’re in the wind (but your avatar will get in the drops if they’re in front). IRL, you do have that physical cue. It could be that you’ve yet to get the hang of the game mechanics.

What bike are you on in the game? TT bikes don’t get the draft benefit, MTB’s are slowest on pavement (fastest on dirt).

Ive done the TT with the TT Bike, I’ve done the road race on the road bike ! Back of the pack in both.
Mid or front on the road! At weekends!
I’ll just persevere and see how it goes.