Drafting with non-controllable trainer?

I recently bought a Life Fitness IC8 Indoor Cycle. It is non-controllable but since I never had a smart trainer I don’t miss it and I find Zwift Riding a lot of fun (Came from Zwift Running).
I read that riding in a group is easier? In what sense? I have not that noticed so far. Do I need less watts for the same speed? Do you have the drafting advantage with “dumb” trainer at all?

With a smart trainer you will be able to rest a bit in the draft by putting out less power for the same speed. Going off the front of the peloton will instantly increase resistance and up the power you have to put out to stay on the front. These spin type bikes will not offer you the same experience because their power accuracy is not very good and you have to manually change resistance so no dynamic changes. I don’t even think the IC8 is officially supported by Zwift either.

is that true? I didn’t think drafting had any impact on resistance? it is just you will go faster for the same watts when drafting, if the group left you behind or suddenly disappeared you wouldn’t feel any difference you would just go a bit slower?

or am i wrong on that?


some info about drafting on zwift for your reading pleasure:


Hi @Nick_Janssen,

Zwift does not change the resistance when you are in the draft, you will only go faster if you maintain the same power. The same will happen with a traditional or non smart trainer.

So once you get in the draft you can let off the power and still go at the same speed as the group.


I don’t think the trainer adjusts resistance but you have to put out more power to stay on the front making the effort harder than in the peloton for the speed you need to stay with the group.

It is supported by Zwift

That makes sense, thx!

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Yeah, just looked it up and it is supported on ANT+ but not controllable or bluetooth compatible. I presume power data to be super sketchy.

Why would you presume that?

Making good power meters is hard. It doesn’t use a known and tested power meter design that does not appear to be able to be calibrated which also makes you manually change resistance. Excluding smart bikes as I am not sure of the Kickr bike, there is only one smart trainer that does not require calibration to make sure that power is as accurate as possible. That means that there is no way to determine if the data of the IC8 is correct on a consistent basis whether in the short term during a race (manual inaccurate power setting), or the long term (impossible to calibrate and confirm power curve even after a potential firmware update).

Just check out the misery in this thread: Schwinn IC8 Spin Bike

The main reason why I decided to spend so much money on an indoorcycle (instead of buying a considerable cheaper Schwin) is because of the fact that they claim the max 1% deviation of power. So far it is anyhow very consistent and I do not have any reason to assume that it is far off.
Just like assuming that is very precise, there is no reason just to assume that is it super sketchy.

You should read that thread I linked. You can test the accuracy of the IC8 data if you have a power meter that is known to be accurate on another bike like other people have done (maybe even power pedals). That allows you to know what your zones are and easily checked against what the IC8 poops out. No one using a spin bike is going to be allowed to participate in higher level races with the technology they currently use. Maybe they have issued a firmware update that makes it a little better, but there is still the problem of whether or not it stays that way.

The Life Fitness IC8 and the Schwinn IC8 are completely different trainers :wink: