Does Tacx Neo Road Feel influence speed?

On an easy 60 min free ride over Richmond’s cobbled climbs, I noticed that I have to deliver about 20-30 extra Watts to keep the same cadence. All in the same gear, of course.

My first thought was that this was caused by the Road Feel feature of my Tacx Neo. Then I thought that was a stupid idea and that there was probably some increase of simulated rolling resistance. In real life, you have to increase power too to keep cadence (and speed) when on cobbles.

But when I turned of Road Feel after the first cobble section in the second lap, I found that I did not need the extra Watts anymore on the subsequent cobble sections.

Does Tacx Neo Road Feel influence speed? Should I turn off Road Feel when racing?

I may plan some tests in Paris and in ERG mode to see if I can do faster laps with Road Feel off.

I don’t believe that road feel has any effect in wattage by design.

Zwift treats cobbles the same whether you have it or not.
I wonder if however the vibrations are effecting your pedal stroke slightly?

Everyone gets added resistance when they go over cobbles, as if you are on an incline.

Same for dirt, you go slower on the dirt.

I love the road feel, reminds me of the extra rolling resistance so either shift down or push on for an attack

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The difference was that I was in free ride mode. Just like on an incline, the cobbles should only affect my speed, not the resistance.

Riding at constant power and cadence for quite some time, I noticed that I felt more resistance on the cobbles while keeping the same cadence. Just enough to change the colour of my power curve from gray to blue. When I turned off Road feel, the effect was gone and I was able to remain in the gray zone and keep power and cadence steady over the cobbles without problem.

Later this week I plan to do a series of sprints in Paris in ERG mode. If the Road Feel really eats Watts (which I still consider quite implausible or at least surprising), it should influence the sprint times.

Yeah. When the road feel is on I feel some resistance too. I love the feature!

That’s very interesting if it doesn’t do it with real road feel off!

Post your results up here Joeri. We could be giving away watts here!

I bet it’s the vibration distracting you and making it more difficult to apply power.

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On the empty Paris streets today - however with a surprising number of spectators along the course - I’ve done a short series of ‘sprints’ with fixed gear and almost fixed cadence. Unfortunately Road Feel is turned off in ERG mode, which would otherwise have been better for a proper scientific experiment.

My initial observations in Richmond were made in the workout style ‘free ride’ mode which flattens all routes, but otherwise does not influence any of the algorithms. Today I did what I would call ‘normal free ride’ mode. Just select a road and ride.

I think I know how it works now. With Road Feel off, my power again dropped about 20 Watts. As to be expected, my speed dropped significantly too which resulted in slower sprints. My conclusion is that Road Feel does affect the relation between gear, cadence, and power. However, in Zwift (unlike on the road) it is ultimately only the power that determines your in game speed. The speed of your rear wheel is irrelevant. The relation between cadence, gear, and speed is messed up anyway if you don’t ride at maximum trainer difficulty.

So while Road Feel does not influence your speed, it does mess with your cadence/gear. For the same power output, you need to lower your cadence. At the same cadence, you deliver more power. Apparently Road Feel makes you shift one gear up. And actually, that’s what I’d normally do in real life too when I need to get over a short cobbles section. I shift up a gear to not ‘lose touch’ with the road surface.

I guess it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

Did you do firm that this is not the case with road feel turned off?

Is it just the cobbles that are causing the resistance to increase and therefore causing the power to increase for the same cadence

Yes. Same sprint section. Same gear. Same cadence. First 4 with Road Feel, then a few without. It was immediately clear that it was much easier to hold the cadence at 90 and my sprints were considerably slower (>2 seconds). I should have turned on my Garmin for monitoring my 15 seconds averaged power, but the power output was clearly significantly lower. Probably about 20.

Good work. So seems that to produce the road feel it does have to increase the resistance (I guess that would make sense as it can only create the feel using the magnets) one to bear in mind during races and be ready for it

Indeed good to keep in mind. It explains why I often move forward on the cobbled climb on the Crit City Dolphin loop. Trying not to drop the cadence (or shift down) too much and too early, I probably just produce more Watts than others. Nice, but it comes with a catch of course. Watts are not for free. If you want a more evenly paced race, you have to shift down earlier on that climb with Road Feel on.

Also, it only matters for short cobbled sections. I suppose it’s the same for dirt. On longer sections, you just pick another gear.

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I’ve had my Neo 2 for 18 months and never tried Road Feel. Sounds like I should. :smiley:

It is a fun feature. I recommend trying it!

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