Dumb trainers

I was wondering!! Ok, about dumb trainers, I used one on zwift using wahoo sensors on up until about level twelve. I only would go on the free rides and never on the events, races, challenges or any other specific others because I understood the unfair advantages I would have using this style trainer. Now my question is are they allowed in these events? If so how does zwift monitor them and keep the playing field fair? These days I now have a smart trainer and “as I knew it would” has made a huge difference in me and my performance.

About 18 months ago Zwift did introduce some tools for race organizers to use to require certain equipment like a power meter and/or heart rate monitor. Some races do require a power meter, so people using old dumb trainers with speed sensors (Zpower) wouldn’t be able to join the race.

If the race doesn’t require a power meter, then Zpower users can join… and usually they aren’t very accurate and can cause all sorts of issues. I was recently in one of Zwift’s big events, Zwift Games Epic Race, and there was a person on a dumb trainer pinned at 400 watts for the entire race, he was on top of the leaderboards for the segments and ended up winning the race with absolute bogus power numbers.

So… Zwift doesn’t police this at all, it is the responsibility of the community race organizers to restrict dumb trainers from their races and events. Zwift HQ organized races are like the wild wild west.

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We need to be careful with generalizations.
Not all smart trainers are better than dumb trainers.
It also depends upon which differences you feel are giving one an advantage.

Inaccuracy is inaccuracy and all attempts to get accurate data should be attempted

A light weight rider (< 45 kg) on the best trainer is going to have an unrealistic performance.

A smart trainer with trainer difficulty set to 0 becomes a dumb trainer with power.

Many dumb trainers do have power.

In my case , Kinetic , my trainer read 25 watts lower than my power pedals.
I used my trainer to avoid the raid spikes and fluctuations with the pedals

I started dual recording (monitoring actually) and found how to adjust my roller tension (yes, wheel on too) in order for the 2 to agree.
I adjust till I get a reported calibration factor of 1.7.

Now I feel I am very accurate.

yes, a person with a smart trainer can just as easily enter an inaccurate weight and height to get bogus numbers… but a user pinned at 400 watts for a 50km race is pretty obvious…

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Understand this , I really don’t care to be perfectly honest one way or the other since I’ll never win any races as this is for my own fitness and training for future tri’s. However for those who take this more serious then I do, when I used a dumb trainer, climbing a hill or a mountain there is no resistance to a climb at all. You can stay in in a big gear and set your resistance to whatever resistance you are comfortable with and literally fly uphill which you absolutely cannot do on a smart trainer.
I’m not bashing dumb trainers as I used one for about a year or so before getting a top of the line trainer. I just know that with a dumb trainer you can fly uphill on one. And for those who have never used one and do like to compete on your competition races and they see someone fly past them on a climb, well that might be why.
Oh and i have in all of my time on earth have not experienced any dumb trainer better then a smart trainer, unless the damn thing was broken!!!
Well thats all from me, its your show and as I have mentioned I don’t care as I am sixty-two and have emphazima so winning anything is out of the question for me, but for the rest of you good luck and “ride on”.
See you all on the next ride!

I’m not seeing the “flying up a hill”.
I either stay in same gear and go slow or I shift to high gear and grind out of the saddle then sit and shift to a lower gear .

It is not easier and definitely not faster.
You only go faster if you put out more watts.

I know I was able to “fly uphill” and would pass all going up with ease, if i tried to go into a harder resistance and grind it out it would just come to a complete stop. And it was al lot more easy then it is on a smart trainer.

I see that as an inaccurate trainer.
The top smart trainer with 100% trainer difficulty on Tempest Fuguit would perform very similar to a dumb trainer
I have spent the Winter developing several workouts that I run on my phone during Zwift free rides.
I can take these workouts outside.
I plan to perform on a flat country road so, IRL, this will be similar to a dumb trainer.
I haven’t done it yet so I am just mentally experimenting.
Everyone does that to some degree.
We know how our set up responds and we make educated guesses about others.
If the dumb trainer is accurate, I don’t see how you would fly up a hill and I’ve not seen that described either.
I don’t know if what you where feeling was related to trainer difficulty. While the climb may have felt easier, you still wouldn’t ride faster up hill.

So as mentioned I was only being inquisitive on if this really made much difference in race like competition. I know for a fact that neither of my two trainers " one being a smart and the other a dumb" do not perform the same, due to the fact that if i want to cheat a race all I need to do is set it to my fastest set of gears and set the resistance to one (or least amout of resistance.) And you won’t experience the same grind you would a smart trainer.( unless your going to manually try to match zwift gradients, I really couldn’t do that so…)
And with a dumb trainer I don’t need to shift gears just leave it on the big gear and go, no burn, and way less watts used, and certainly little if any need for recovery.
But please don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing either or being prejudice to either one since I own both the dumb trainer serverd me well and would hop up on it in a heartbeat if my smart goes out, also like I said it really doesnt pertain to me anyhow since I can’t compete against any of those guys on my smart trainer that is.
As far as it’s accuracy I used the wahoo speed and cadence sensors and they always connected fine and worked fine so I cannot say to the legitimacy of their accuracy.

If your dumb trainer is using a Wahoo speed sensor, then you don’t have a power meter and you are using Z power calculations for power.
This is,of course, inaccurate.

It is completely different from having a dumb trainer with a power meter.

I am not stating ZPower is accurate.
It is not.
But, a dumb trainer can be accurate.

The question was, are you faster or climb faster on a dumb trainer vs a smart trainer.
The answer is no.
Just set your trainer difficulty to 0 and this will show the difference.
You will use different gears but your power is the same.
I don’t understand why people test this and set a parameter of using the same gears for smart vs dumb trainer ride.

Always ignore any data from any setup using a speed sensor.

Noel must have a mag trainer with the manually selected resistance levels (usually 1 - 5 of something similar). When using this type of trainer with Zwift, assuming it is on the list of supported trainers with a known power curve, Zwift will tell the user to set the resistance at level 1, 2, 3, etc… if you change this setting then the power curve is no longer accurate (as if it was in the first place). Changing the resistance setting on a mag trainer can result in what Noel is explaining.

Correct Mike, it is a mag trainer(and this is what I
am referring to as a dumb trainer) and no swift never made any suggestion on which resistance level to use. And with this trainer I can go fast on a climb then i can with my 2t. I never ever was suggesting its accuracy was accurate. In a perfect world all would be absolutely equal. However this is a perfect vessel for a cheater. Little to no climbing resistance and all speed all of the time.

What model Trainer.

This list should give you more help in setting it up. https://support.zwift.com/en_us/wheel-on-trainers-r1B5nQWxS

If you are just picking any Resistance level then you will get random Power numbers.

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It was my misunderstanding.
Yes , your trainer is a dumb trainer but the issue you describe is related to the fact that that dumb trainer is using ZPower and that is known for inaccuracy.

No, that was not my issue, my issue was, does zwift police this style of dumb trainer into their races? Does zwift recognize the various of trainers that join? Like it didnt recognize my wahoo sensors as a kikr or tacx or an H2, but it knew my 2t immediately. So could they slip into your competitive games and races and claim victories, kom’s etc.etc.?
That was what I was wondering, and nothing about their accuracy.

Zwift offers race organizers features that allow them to exclude zPower (speed sensor) riders from their races, but the races put on by Zwift allow them to enter. In races put on by Zwift those riders will typically be removed from the results on ZwiftPower after the event, but they can still be very disruptive in the event. They do have some automation to remove people with crazy power from the game, but it doesn’t work very well so they often go undetected.

The erroneous performance seen with ZPower users is always associated with an erroneous and elevated power output.
When you conducted your experiment, as you were passing everyone one the climb, you probably also noticed your power reading was higher than you normally see.

Thank you Paul, you get me, finally! I didn’t care about accuracy telemetry or any other output for that matter, just that I’ve own (and no longer use) one of those mag/dumb trainers and was wondering how zwift handled that in races, that was all.

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