Draft Stick - Bad for racing - Group rides

(Casey Schumm [X]) #1

Is there any work from Zwift to fix/remove the draft stickiness?   It is making the racing very tough.   Riding on the limit today and drafting in a 10 person pack we caught a slower group.   My avatar “stuck” to a slower rider and once I did a 7 w/kg burst to break the wheel stick I was 2 seconds off the race group and didn’t have the power to catch back on.  

This type of scenario is severly negatively impacting the race draft dynamic and makes it very frustrating when you have the legs and tactics to race well but the “luck” of the draft takes it away from you.   

At a minimum once you are above a certain speed or w/kg or power the stick should never happen.   In reality the draft should never take away speed but you can clearly see a 1-2 mph drop when you come up on a slower but similar paced rider.  

(Francois Coppex [X][Velosophe]) #2

Agree with Casey. This has been affecting group rides negatively for a while now and really needs to be fixed.

(T hird Wheel [KRT]) #3

Absolutely agree with Casey, the stickyness really needs fixing and can completely destroy your race. Another annoying feature of the stickyness is that sometimes you stick and I notice I am pushing quite a bit more w/kg than the chap I am stuck to, which defies physics!! This really needs addressing, I would actually prefer the stickyness just switched off altogether as I would prefer to overshoot the rider in front rather than “stick” to a slower rider and lose the group in was in

(Malte Paulat (Tacx Neo)) #4

I completely agree to the above mentioned problem.
Maybe the draft system could learn if drafted in a bigger (+5 PPL) group for more than X seconds it will not stick to an lower speed group with the speed difference of Y.

Just my 5 cents as a Product Analyst for Software development :smiley:


Ride ON !

(Wes Salmon (Zwift HQ)) #5

Agreed this is still quite problematic.  This caused me serious pain last week in the Tuesday ZTR-PDT.  Here is the video.


The sticky draft starts at the 1 minute mark and I stick to the rider in light blue, level 15 kit named M.Sherboneau (who is not racing).

My speed drops from 25mph to 22mph when I touch his rear wheel and the racer I’m trying to hold onto (R.Barbera) just takes off. Even when I’m beside M.Sherboneau I have to sprint to get around him.


(Casey Schumm [X]) #6

Great example Wes.  This is exactly the characteristic that can blow you up when racing.   When that group is on the rivet that 1 sec gap can be enough to not close down.   

With the TT bike draft that was discovered the Kiss racers were much better due to the TT bike drafting without a stick.    Now that the TT bike can’t draft we have no workaround to eliminate the stick in any racing.   The TT bike drafting characteristics were actually very good and I think Zwift should look at that as a draft feel for the road bikes.  


(Wes Salmon (Zwift HQ)) #7

This certainly ended my race that night.  You can see through the remaining 2 minutes of the video that the gap grows from 1 to 2 to 3 seconds before I give up on the impossible chase. :frowning:

(Karissa Minn) #8

If it’s possible to change the title, this not only affects racing but group riding, too.

The post about the TT bike draft is important - not because it was bad to fix something that wasn’t intended to be there, but because by happy accident it apparently worked pretty well. Maybe that could be used to fix the remaining issues with drafting on the normal bikes.

(Francois Coppex [X][Velosophe]) #9

Indeed, great example Wes. This has now been an issue for a while for me, and this is really adversely affecting the fun of competitive races. At least for me this has been one of the main reasons I’m hardly taking part in competitive group rides or races anymore.

(Casey Schumm [X]) #10

All this drafting talk. I have an idea that could be a middle ground.

If the draft stick serves a good function for some of Zwift’s crowd then I propose a new bike.

Give us a Zwift Racer bike. It should have the aero/speed specs of the top 5 road bikes but it should draft like the “mistake” TT draft was. It could be a promo unlock. Racers who want to eliminate the stickiness can just use the new bike. Those who like the draft can use the normal bike selections…

(T hird Wheel [KRT]) #11

I agree Casey, essentially a new road “racing” bike that does not stick or sticks VERY little. Like 10% of the current stick. Has the same or similar properties of other road bikes in terms of drafting. Sounds like a good idea to me. Big thumbs up!

(Branden Meltingtallow [KRT] #W4R) #12

I 100% agree with this suggestion.  

(Josh Lewis) #13

I’ve been hearing these complaints about draft stickiness, but have never experienced it myself.  I’ve never had the guy slow down to follow a slower rider when I was already following a faster rider.  If I’m moving faster, it just passes him.  and if it’s a crowd, the avatars pass through each other.  Maybe it’s the computer/trainer setup?  Or maybe it’s psychological - you fall in behind the slower rider and ease up because in real life you would, in order to avoid crashing into him?  

I don’t know, but the drafting works normal for me.  If I’m drafting someone, I don’t actually stick to them.  Just like in real life, if I let up more than what the benefit of the draft is, I’ll fall off.  And if I put too much power, I’ll pass.

(Wes Salmon (Zwift HQ)) #14


Watch the video I posted earlier in the thread.  This bug is 100% real even though you’ve never seen it personally.

(John Mora(WSR)TeamODZ.com) #15

The day this bug showed up, I knew it needed to be dealt with. If it’s not a bug, then all the better and easier to remove. The “sticky draft” MUST be removed. I agree with what the majority of Zwifters are saying about this terrible “draft effect”.

(Michael Henasey) #16

Has anyone ever considered that “racing” in Zwift is missing some important elements are a part of riding and racing in real life?

In real life, you get blocked, either intentionally or unintentionally, by other riders and thus you cannot move forward at will. However, in Zwift, there is this expectation that the instant I increase my cadence/power, my avatar should reflect this. This isn’t the case in real life many times and this shouldn’t be the case in Zwift I’ll argue.

Think about this…in Zwift, you could be in the middle of a large pack of riders. You quickly lay down more power going 1-2 w/kg faster than everyone else around you and then you begin to push and pass right-through the other riders around and ahead of you as you make your way towards the front. This is totally unrealistic. 

I’ll argue that this so-called “draft stickiness” is a “feature” of Zwift that is trying to make riding/racing with a group closer to reality. That is, you simply cannot move forward at will just because you are going .3 w/kg faster than the person in front of you.


(Francois Coppex [X][Velosophe]) #17

Missing as well being knocked down due to half-wheeling and all such things we don’t really want to experience at all. At least I don’t want to experience these annoying things over which I have almost no control in Zwift. If steering was part of the game then maybe it would make sense. But as long as we’ve got no control over bike handling in order to move forward I don’t want Zwift to penalize me for something over which I do not have control. And watching again that replay is quite revealing I think https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqWix5NKs48

(Michael Henasey) #18

I watched the video and I guess I’m missing something because I don’t see a “draft bug”.

Around that 1 min mark, the rider W.Salmon was in the rear and going about 20 mph. The riders in front started to accelerate and it wasn’t until 3-4 seconds later that W.Salmon started to accelerate as well. At the same time, he encountered that lvl.15 rider in the light blue jersey. I don’t see the speed drop from 25 to 22 mph. Also, the riders in front were accelerating 3-4 seconds before W.Salmon so naturally they began to increase their distance from him.

I get it though, you don’t want to be penalized for something you don’t have control over. That being said, I don’t think there is a “fit all” solution here. The current drafting effect works for group rides but doesn’t always work for races. Also, in real life, races are usually closed course and thus you don’t encounter slower riders that are not actually in the race. If and when Zwift creates a dedicated race mode, perhaps that will need to be in its own instance to eliminate these obstacles.

(Casey Schumm [X]) #19

Michael - I do understand your real world pack comparison but this IRL problem is a skill also.   If I can’t control it then I should be penalized by it.   IRL better placement in the pack and better “racers” are much less impacted by this interference of other rides. 

As far as closed courses - Yes if the course was clear of non-racers this impact would be less but it also happens within race groups.   If your are resting near the back of the back and a gap forms 3-4 wheels up you sometimes have to push over 2-3 sticks before you close the gap.   IRL these 3-4 riders would be easy to go around on a closed course.  

There is no perfect answer but the randomness and uncontrollable nature of the stickiness is what makes it especially bad and aggravating.  


(Michael Henasey) #20

Like I said, I don’t think there is a “fit all” solution here. 

What you want is something different than what a group rider wants. But Zwift is trying to make this fun for everyone.

You want to be able to respond to increases in pace and attacks and not be left behind because of the game mechanics. IRL, you can be very attentive, mark certain riders, and anticipate moves more easily and more quickly than in Zwift. However, the drafting logic aims to keep you planted behind someones wheel. What is good for a general group rider isn’t good for the racer.

Zwift is never going to be able to simulate real racing or even real riding for that matter. I think racers need their own module and instance and mechanics. If you change the mechanics just for racing, you will leave out the majority of riders on Zwift and make it “worse” for them possibly.