Climbing problems

hey guys.  Loving Zwift so far but i have an issue when it i get to steep climbs…

Im using a Cycleops Magnus and have the latest firmware and went through the calibration.  I am 5’8 and 155 lbs.  I can clip along just fine on the flats going 20-22 mph and maintain about 175-180 watts. I can even push it over 200 watts for a good stretch and not burn out. However, when i get to 5% or greater climbs, im toast.  The guys i passed miles back are now flying past me.  At about 7% slope my speed is down to 5 mph and my output is down to about 100 watts but i FEEL LIKE IM PUTTING IN TRIPLE THE EFFORT of the flats at 175 watts. If im exerting way more energy, shouldnt my watts go up…not down?

Is this normal or is something wrong with the trainer?  Also, I can ride up slopes much easier in real life. i have a 7%ish grade near my house that i can go up at about 10mph fairly easy (though its only about 200 feet long)…but in Zwift, that same grade will drop me down to 5mph in a few seconds…and the trainer difficulty is at the default 50%! ???

Thanks for any feedback!

Do you calibrate before every ride? That’s very important with wheel-on smart trainers.


Also important to treat Zwift like riding outdoors, so be sure to gear down as you approach and start climbing hills, this will help maintain your momentum and the trainers inertia.

no, i haven’t been calibrating before each ride. I will give that a try. thanks

I forgot to mention that im using Zwift on iphone (calibrated with Cycleops’s CVT Mobile)

Absolutely do that. The reason it’s so important is that your tire pressure and clamping pressure are different every time you ride a wheel-on trainer. What the calibration does is account for this so it should be done each time for best results. Direct drive trainers can get away with not needing to calibrate each time (maybe weekly or monthly even) because they eliminate the tire to roller interface.

Well the calibrating definitely helped. Still only doing 5-7mph on 6% and greater slopes but at least the watts is now showing 130-150 on those climbs. Still think it’s a little low but much better than before. Thanks Eric!