So today I finally figured out what the weird band feeling is on “Keep Everyone Together” rides where the bike (Wahoo KICKR Bike - may apply to other Wahoo devices or smart trainers) keeps reducing resistance and not allowing me to push more than 2.7 W/kg or less (sometimes 1.0), even up steep hills.
I toggled “ERG Mode Power Smoothing” off and on during “The 6 Train” meetup (rolling hills with some steep pushes) and was quite amused in the immediate change in resistance application ability. Turn it on, my ability to apply power at high cadence dropped significantly. Turn it off, hills felt normal and I could ride at more than 60 RPM to get more power.
This may be obvious to some; this is something I suspected for a while but didn’t try until now. I tragically despise the Wahoo app.
There is something clearly not quite compatible between “ERG Mode Power Smoothing” algorithm and the “Keep Everyone Together” algorithm for meetups on Zwift.
Wahoo describes the function as “ERG Mode Power Smoothing: this setting enables smoothing reported power to eliminate small inconsistencies in pedal strokes, making power graphs appear less erratic. Enabling is a personal preference, will not impact overall trainer functionality, and not required.”
The wording is vague - but to summarize, the system is a closed-loop feedback mechanism where power is adjusted based on your input force and cadence. “Keep Everyone Together” is a controlled ERG ride with very fast changes in resistance adjustment based on band and local draft.
So for meet ups that are “Keep Everyone Together”, the impact of this is NOT insignificant as Wahoo suggests - workouts have small changes of power within a set target. “Keep Everyone Together” will make several requests to adjust power per second.
If you find that the band feels “wonky” and you’re on a Wahoo device, I suggest togging “ERG Mode Power Smoothing” OFF and seeing if your situation improves.
On my KICKR Bike, the difference is remarkable.
Can Zwift HQ review this implementation and provide feedback or improvement?
This has made “Keep Everyone Together” meetups miserable for me for months where I couldn’t get more than about a 1.2W/kg average, leaving me with a sore keister and freezing cold from lack of significant increases in heart rate. I frequently overrode this by setting workouts during meetups, but that was only practical or fun on meetups like Alpe du Zwift, where I could apply a fixed resistance value and deal with it, so I could get my cadence to increase and still apply power.
Images attached: 3.8 W/kg was unattainable with this setting turned on, my increase in cadence would result in a decrease of power.