Complete newbie questions

(Glenn wasserman) #1

Hi folks. I just set up my trial membership, and just got a nice new CycleOps Powersync ANT+ trainer and dongle.


My questions are mostly around the interaction between the trainer and Zwift…

Before trying this out, I expected the trainer to simulate hills in the following way:

  1. When incline increased, pedaling effort would increase

  2. Using my ANT+ cadence sensor, and therefore understanding my wheel speed and cadence, when incline increases, and pedaling effort increases, I would change gears on my bike to compensate

  3. After changing gears to a lower gear on an include, the wheel speed would reflect the “actual” cadence, but slower wheel speed due to the lower gearing

What I’m seeing feels different than that. If feels like the following

a) I approach incline, effort feels the same

b) Wheel speed drops with same effort, bike shows climbing at 1mph

c) My cadence seems to be closely tied to the watt output that is my goal for a particular segment

d) doesn’t seem to matter what gear I’m in, it seems that Zwift is automatically “shifting” for me by adjusting the resistance… I think?

e) I noticed after I stepped off for a sec to take a phone call - when I got back on, it said “reactivating ERG”.


What is ERG mode?

How can I make it more accurately simulate what happens when I climb a hill?

I would like to shift like I do IRL, and that includes hills that I just can’t handle, where my cadence has to drop to 50 RPM just to maintain 4-5 mph. I would really like to “conquer” those hills, so IRL when I start riding outside again, I’m stronger. I also want to evaluate the gearing on my bike, and simulating what really happens on a hill might help me to do that.



(Lindsay Ruppert) #2

Hi Glenn - 

ERG mode is used by Zwift in workout modes on compatible controllable trainers. Basically, ERG mode adjusts the resistance automatically to keep you in the target wattage zone for your current workout interval without you needing to adjust gears or cadence. As such, what you describe in your post as feeling is accurate and expected functionality for workouts in ERG.

If you would like to ride Zwift and feel your controllable trainer match the gradient of the course as you ride, you simply need to launch Zwift without starting a workout. From the START menu, instead of selecting a workout, click the large orange RIDE button at the bottom of the menu. This will launch you on the course in SIM mode, and will allow you to use your gears on the hills in Zwift as in real life.

I hope this helped! Ride on!

(Glenn wasserman) #3

Oh, OK. Thanks, Lindsay - I will give it a try. I think the ultimate goal is for me to improve my conditioning and strength, and if ERG is the best way to do that, I will give it a chance. Sounds like some experimenting is in order :slight_smile:



(S Sanders) #4

So if you launch on the course in SIM mode, will you make a complete lap if you just ride what is provided?  There are no manual turns or anything like that, right?

Thanks,   Steven

(Bertram Redmeijer (B)) #5

@ Sanders: no manual turns. There are a few locations where the course splits though. Before you start (at the same screen where you choose between workout and “just ride”) you can select a preference. You can also choose which way to go when cycling by using the arrow keys.

(S Sanders) #6

That is good to know.  I hadn’t seen the part at the beginning where you can set a preference, nor that you could use the arrow keys.  I will try that on my next ride!


(S Sanders) #7

This is probably as good a thread as any to post this question, but is there somewhere that I’m missing that discusses the island layout?  When people talk about ‘1 lap’ I assume that means a lap around the island, but I don’t know how long that is or how you do it from just starting a ride wherever the system drops you.

Thanks,   Steven

(Lindsay Ruppert) #8

Hey Steven - 

As stated above, there is a way to select the route your avatar automatically takes when riding on Watopia Island.

When you’re starting up Zwift, after pairing your devices, you are taken to a screen named ‘START’. This screen contains a list of everyone riding on the island, the monthly calendar, workouts, and a drop down menu labeled ‘ROUTE’. To do what the game considers a lap, you’ll want to select the ‘Prefer Hilly Roads’ option. This will keep you on the main circuit no matter which direction you are travelling.

Once you hit ‘RIDE’ to start your session, Zwift loads your avatar within 300m of the orange lap arch. The lap is 5.6 miles around the island. Make sure when starting you pass through the orange arch to activate your lap time (so if you want to do a reverse lap, pass under the arch, use the U-turn, and pass back through the arch to start your reverse lap). If you change directions during your lap, or use the turn key to take the ocean route, that will fail the lap segment checks and you will not see the lap timer when you approach the orange arch again.

I hope this helps!

(S Sanders) #9

O.k., got it, I think that was the piece that I was missing.  I will try that and then see if I have other questions.  So far it has all been working well for me, and I really enjoy it!

Thanks,   Steven

(S Sanders) #10

So I did my lap around the island and saw where you could pick a direction.  Can this only be done on the keyboard, or can it be done in the app?  My computer is up by the screen, so I cannot reach it to make the choice while on my trainer…

This is a really fun program!

Thanks,   Steven



(Lindsay Ruppert) #11

Hi Steven -

It’s correct you can choose your direction in Zwift from either the keyboard arrow keys, or the mobile app. When paired to the app, the turn buttons appear at the same time as the buttons on screen in the game. They are located on the Actions page, replacing the top two buttons when they become available.

Ride on!