Do people cheat in Zwift? What is Zwift doing to reduce cheating?

First and foremost, I am still very new to Zwift and the Zwift racing community. So apologize in advance if I am missing something.

I have been racing in D class for a few months and have not seen much improvement in my pace compared to others… Especially when i go up hill.

I just completed a Zwift official race and was hanging with the lead pack for 3/4 of the race. Final 1/4 of the race was a long stretch up hill. Literally everyone around me dropped me except a select few. During the battle to stay within reach i was at my MAX, and was still dropped. When i look at the stats of the race, I was putting out the largest Wattage than the top 10 people that pulled away on the hill.

I was basically pumping 20-30 Watts better than anyone else in the race for the last 30 min. Am I getting dropped because im using my actual weight of 240lb’s?? When I look at the Watt to Weight ratio, im the worst of the top 10. So I’m assuming its my weight?

The frustrating part about this is if I was goign that hard in any racing event in my local area, I could typically keep up with most average riders… Which isn’t group D supposed to be average?

This past race made me want to quit my subscription because I dont feel like I am competing with other people who are using their actual weight. Should I just say Im 120LBs?

Please someone let me know if this is an actual problem within Zwift, and is Zwift doing anything to mitigate this type of cheating?

There’s a difference between “cheating” and “using your correct weight”. What makes you think these other riders are using an incorrect weight? I don’t race but I’d be in Cat D if I did and I weigh around 165lbs. There are lots of riders lighter than me. W/kg will make a huge difference when climbing.

Sure some people adjust their weight inappropriately, but in the lower categories it’s probably more common to increase the weight to remain in a lower category, and then race on flat routes where weight is not very important. I just don’t think about it much. When I want an ego boost, I pick a route that suits me well.

But I want to say that at 240 pounds getting a top 10 in an uphill finish is fantastic. You should look at that as a big win for you. Not every route favors every rider, and you chose to race on a route that didn’t suit you at all, and yet you still did quite well. Imagine what you would do to some lighter riders on a flat route.

I recommend signing up for Zwift Power, if you haven’t already, so you can see more details about your performance vs the other riders. Riders who don’t use Zwift Power may not appear in those results, but you’ll still get some idea of what you were up against. I look at that and tell myself that I am a winner because I’m the oldest rider at the top of the leaderboard, or the heaviest rider in an uphill finish, or that I drafted well and used less power compared to other riders of my weight who placed worse, or any other thing I can think of to consider my performance a good one for me.

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Only asking because if my weight makes such a big difference in my speed in zwift… Then why isn’t it policed, or is it policed?

Im not saying everyone in top 10 was cheating, but when I look at my watts im beating everyone for the last 30 min. If my weight makes me the slowest of the group then I want to have confidence that others ion Zwift are also being honest about their weight. Especially if I am paying a monthly subscription and Zwift is supposed to be the leader in Sim Cycling. I would just like to have confidence that I am being beat by non-cheaters, it would give me more motivation rather than frustration.

Is it normal in the community to just drop your weight to know you are on equal ground becasue Zwift doesn’t know how to enforce weight confirmations? I would rather be racing on equal ground than being an honest racer if anything.

Here are my stats from the race… I went from staying in the group to completely dropped sprinting up a hill. Like literally nothing I could do… I wasn’t even exhausted, but was putting everything I had into going up the hill.

Last point… I can also tell my Zwift avatar is typically much bigger than everyone else i race against… So you are telling me in bottom splits that I am the fatest person??? I highly doubt that since im tall and not fat IRL.

You make some good points. Maybe I need to better understand cycling physics in general, but the way I was dropped just didn’t make any sense to me.

At 240 pounds you are probably among the more massive riders in any race. Check out the profiles of the riders you raced against and see. It’s not about fat, it’s just weight. Not being overweight means there’s probably significant upside to your future potential for increased power. You can also see in their race history if they have a tendency to drop 20kg suddenly (though intelligent cheaters won’t sign up for ZwiftPower so you won’t see their data there). Uphill finishes are also self-selecting - most 240 pound riders would take one look at that and run away from the race.

How fast you shoot out the back of the group on a climb depends on how steep it is, and also how fast you’re going when you hit the climb. The last hundred meters before the climb starts is not a time when you should back off - you’ll need to ramp your effort to hit the climb with good speed. I would avoid leading the group into the climb, though, since it will inspire others to start harder. Ideally you’ll be accelerating from the back of the pack toward the front as the climb starts.

The other thing to think about is your training - if you want to do well on finishing climbs you’ll need to train for that and practice the pacing over the expected duration. If you want to crush flat sprints that will probably come easier for you but it still helps to train for the short intensity and practice the timing and mechanics of doing sprints.

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Unfortunately that isnt possible. Zwift staff have admitted very recently that even in the elite races where video confirmation of weight is required by the racers, Zwift is not watching the videos and are not policing it (and this is for the top elite races)!

Now try to imagine them having the man hours to verify 1,000s of community racers every single day (even on Christmas). It will never happen.

Have a look at this thread

For uphills, W/KG is much more important than total watts. Lighter riders will have the advantage.

To understand, do an experiment…pick a hill…ride up at best effort and note the time, watts, w/kg. 2nd try drop 15 kg from your weight…repeat.

then if you plan to race, put your weight back to proper. Not sure how they monitor for racing but might want to setup a throwaway account for the experiment or race in non-CE for a bit to the weight change clears.

And note…I am with you…I come in at 224 lbs.

weight is the issue. You are never going to do well on hill climbs at 240 Ib. In the tdF the sprinters generate the most power, but are the first ones out the back when the road turns up because they weigh the most. Vindegarrd who won weighs just 132 lb. Stick to the flats and you should do well.

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Hi Calan,

Welcome and don’t despair. Weight per se isn’t necessarily a big disadvantage for Zwift racing (in the lower categories, at least), so long as your raw power is sufficient. Many of the courses used for racing can best be described as “rolling” or hilly rather than mountainous (choose wisely!) and very few have summit finishes on Alpe du Zwift or Ven-Top. Where your weight can sometimes be a disadvatage going up, it can also be used to your advantage on the descent.

If you have no (little) cycling background, it could take some time to build up your fitness to a competitive level, so be patient and systematic in your approach to training and racing (work on both your short-duration and longer-duration power outputs e.g. 1’, 5’ and 20’).

There are many people with 90+ kg weights who do very well in Zwift races that are not pan-flat. A friend of mine who weighs 100 kg (220 lbs) has placed top 10, or thereabouts, in many recent C-cat races (and he only moved-up from D-cat this season).

Edit, with additional info.
Calan, take a look a this rider’s Zwift Power palmares in C-cat (he weighs 110 kg, 243 lbs). The TFC Mad Monday series and the Zwift Racing League (ZRL) are very competitive leagues run over a diverse set of flat/rolling/hilly courses. I’m not saying that he’s represenative, but it gives you some idea of what can be achieved with high weight and decent fitness ZwiftPower - Login

Good luck!

Yes, Zwift is the industry leader.
It is able to monitor a users wt as much as any other program.
Unfortunately, none of the programs can really verify a users wt.
I don’t want them to.
It would be a high drain of resources.

They can check and prevent excessive weight variations.

Unlike local events, in Zwift one has to face the entire World. Average in Zwift is quite a bit tougher than anything local. Demography racing in Zwift is not a run of the mill racer either. Many strong irl riders had a shellshock here. Hang in there and you will get much better.