Erg mode for drafting

I find the drafting in Zwift a bit hit and miss. Trying to latch  onto someone to draft, especially if they’r going quickly, means I often shoot straight past them, and once I am in the draft, especially in a bunch of more than 2-3 riders, it’s difficult to regulate effort to maintain position in the bunch, and to come through and do a turn on the front reliably. I’m using a tacx vortex smart, and think for users with a smart trainer, it would be a lot more straightforward, and more like real-world riding, to have some means of selecting a rider who you want to draft, and then having the trainer go into erg mode to set the power required to get onto the wheel and then hold it. If you then want to attack, you could press another button to release the erg mode, and the equivalent of the “elbow flick” gesture could  be used by the rider being drafted to switch positions and move behind the drafting rider. 

I think this would allow much more lifelike group rides with organised “through-and-off”,“chaingang”, or “team time trial-style” single pace line dynamics, and would allow groups of riders to really maximise the benefit of riding hard together.

Yes kinda agree, the drafting is very hit and miss - mostly miss!

I’m using a Wattbike and, as you say, find it impossible to reliably back off the power to take advantage of the draft, or know how much power is needed to get into the draft.

It would be so much better if this information were displayed for me to act on if I choose - so just like it alerts me to the distance behind the rider when I’m closing the gap, it should indicate a target power required in order to close the gap and then the power required to stay in the draft.

I would then have a much better chance of judging my effort!

Hi Ben, 

Thanks for your suggestions we’ll take some notes and add it to our list. In meantime I can give you few tips so you can get better.

  1. Some trainers transmit the signal slower than other so you need to think one or two seconds ahead. 
  2. Draft someone with stable power.
  3. Practise and practise :) 

Ride On! 

Thanks for the quick response. I certainly will keep practising, although I suspect there is a ~2s lag from my trainer which makes it tricky.


I do think some way to form an organised group of single or two rider width, with properly regulated rider rotation controlled by the current lead rider would be a really useful addition to zwift though, and erg mode is perfect for enabling this.

It would add an extra dimension to training, providing a real incentive to match the power demanded to maintain your position in the group, and would enable organised group effort at PR’s and KOMs. It would also add greatly to the tactical side of racing, as being able to quickly form an effective, collaborative group would be decisive, and it would make it obvious to all riders in the group who was doing their share of work on the front and who wasn’t…In fact once you joined a defined group, these sort of additional stats could be displayed to the riders in it.

In a perfect world, all things would be equal, i.e. everyone would have the same trainer, same sensors, same internet connection, graphic cards, etc - the list goes on and on. The slightest tweak to any of this can introduce a near infinite set of variables these programmers are having to deal with. FWIW, I think they’ve done a great job. 

I leave my Kick’r in Erg mode and I keep the trainer difficulty set to the default middle spot on the slider. I have a decent laptop with good internet connection and have experienced the same issue as most with regards to drafting, pace-lining and group riding.  Surging was very difficult to control in order to maintain a consistent and predictable rhythm. The larger the group, the harder it is, I believe because the the game (on both ends) is having to deal with a huge group of avatars all at once. With time, I learned to anticipate the surge effect and to roll power on and off as smoothly as possible and have gotten pretty good at the game!  IRL, if I get a little close to a rider’s wheel, I may coast for a short bit to keep at a safe distance. If I do that in Zwift, I get shot out the back. Virtual physics (if there is such a thing…) are different in here. :slight_smile: