Does Zwift go Sim Mode when you turn Erg Mode off in a workout?

Pretty much what it says. I know that erg mode is basically like a thermostat with your power, and it ignores game features such as riding surface, bike specs, drafting, and gradient. I t also ignores physical things like cadence and gearing (within reason). Sim mode does the opposite, essentially simulating a real world ride.

When a workout calls for short intense intervals where you are asked to turn Erg Mode off for the sprints, does that mean Zwift goes into Sim Mode? Or does it go into some type of “Sim-Lite” where your gearing and cadence matter, but the game terrain etc don’t?

I was on a 10% incline when my first sprint intervals started and I didn’t know whether I should gear up or down for the sprint. Because the sprints were so short (10 secs) I am still not sure what Zwift does in these cases. If someone could definitively tell me, that would be great.


It goes into slope mode, which is just like the name implies, a steady grade. You can adjust it up or down as well and also use your gears if you’re trying to find a specific cadence.

Although this was produced a few years ago I think it answers a few of your questions. It starts off talking about Custom workouts but ignore that, I think in 2019 you had to make a custom workout to get the free ride option in a workout (before my time).

From around 9.47 onwards answers your Erg off/Free ride questions I think much better than I can try and do here.

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No if you are in a workout and you turn ERG off you will be in manual mode and you have to adjust resistance yourself. It won’t simulate the road profile, at least not if you didn’t edit the workout file manually.

so it sounds like when in a workout and you turn Erg Mode off, your options for adjusting resistance/power are:

  1. shift gears
  2. change cadence
  3. one of the manual resistance adjustments (% FTP, “+” and “-” keys, up/down arrow in Action bar, other up/down arrows in Action Bar which increase or decrease unlabeled orange vertical bar that sometimes is visible beside your main data window).

And you can use the companion app.

I can only speak for the companion app as that’s what I always use to control workouts. But:

  1. yes
  2. yes
  3. in the companion app when you switch to incline mode you’ll see it switch from “erg on” to “incline” (see below for the random google image I grabbed). If you push the up or down arrows beside the incline that will increase/decrease resistance (changes the virtual incline you’re riding on). Changing the FTP Bias won’t change resistance you feel as that’s for Erg mode when the trainer is setting resistance based on a percentage of your FTP (it will still change your target wattage).

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I love how semi-randomly the App and Companion App overlap…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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If you think about it, you ideally want a workout to be repeatable, regardless of the route you’ve chosen. Having the non-ERG session drop into Sim mode would mean that the incline could (most likely would) be different each time according to the route.

Yes, I know that would make sense and it’s how I’d do it…those things and what Zwift does don’t alwats mesh. :wink: