High w/kg, bad results 🤨

Hi :wave:

I’m new to Zwift - bought my Stages Bike a month ago and I’m absolutely hooked on it. It’s really A LOT of fun.

I think the most things on Zwift I get by now, but, despite reading all the articles, I can’t figure out racing.

Maybe someone can help me?

I took part in 2 races up to now.

  1. Entered a Class C race, absolutely flat course, had zero chance to hold on to the wheels of the others at the start, finished 24/40. Despite pushing the 4th highest w/kg in the race. Figured out later, that I shouldn’t have used a TT bike, because you can’t draft with it.
    Thought okay, the TT bike was clearly the problem.

  2. Entered again a Class C race, this time with the normal bike, more on a hilly course, what should favor me with my 65kilos I thought, pushed as hard as I could, but couldn’t hold on to the other wheels at the start again. At least I found myself in a nice group of ten and was able to draft from time to time. In the end I got like 40/95 and pushed again… the 4th highest w/kg! I pushed myself to 3.69 w/kg in this short 15k race and thanks to that… to Cat B. :joy:

Despite having zero Chance in the 2 races I did. Despite having a significant higher w/kg as most competitors.

My questions are:

-How I am with higher w/kg this much slower that the others? In the second race some even had lower w/kg AND total watts and were like 30s faster. Is it just bad tactics from my side or how is that possible?
How much more important are total watts in flat and decling terrain than w/kg?
Any tipps?

Thanks for the help and ride on!


you are a bit of a light rider so on flats will need to push a bit header to keep up with the heavier riders, also much of it also comes from being able to draft in the race to conserve power and if a heavier rider is putting out 250w and you are putting out 250w their wkg is going to be lower, its one of the effects of being lighter, on the flats raw watts are better than wkg

learning to draft as a new racer can take time along with a bit of race craft and knowledge

1 Like

Focus on racing yourself and improving your times but use the competition for motivation.
You can’t judge yourself against other racers because everyone’s set up and physical characteristics are different.
Zwift takes the whole world and divided into 4 groups.
And, some people are cheating.
I encourage you to regularly race the same race or series on the same day and time from week to week and you will get to recognize some of the riders in your group then you can compare your performance to those riders.


What bike are you using in game? There are also gravel bikes that look exactly the same as road bikes but are much slower on the paved roads, be sure you aren’t using a gravel bike.

1 Like

I’m using the Zwift Carbon bike, not the gravel. :smile: With DT Swiss Arc 1100 Wheels. I think in the future I should be able to unlock some better bikes, but that should’t make that much of a difference I think.

it makes a difference for sure


It looks like you are very close to getting the Canyon Aeroad which is a great all-rounder bike. In a pure climbing race you could also use the Cannondale Evo, but there are very few pure climbing routes so it usually doesn’t make sense unless you are racing a really long climb that dominates the route. Once you get the Aeroad the performance differences start getting pretty small. The Zipp 808s are also worth getting when you can, for flatter routes. B category is still going to be really hard on any bike. Your 1 minute power is about 43% better than your 20 minute power. That’s probably something you can work on in training (or it may improve with more racing on routes with small climbs). My 1 minute power is about 65% better than my 20 minute power, and that helps a lot for staying with the group during surges and small hills.

If you want to see how different bikes and wheels perform on specific routes, check out zwifterbikes.web.app. It will tailor the search results to your level and budget.

1 Like

You have to spool it up at the start, before the pack is released. If you’re waiting to start pedaling until the countdown hits zero you’re toast. If you’re soft pedaling or just warm-up pedaling you’ll get left behind too. Really spool up the power 3-4 seconds before countdown hits zero.


The biggest thing is the draft. If you’re out of the draft you’re doing far more work. Once you’re on the road bike the differences between bikes are far lower than the differences you’re talking about.

Losing the fast group immediately is losing free speed. You need to surge to keep the group when you have to if you want good race results.


Try to hit the hills a lot and unlock that tron bike.

And get the Canyon Aeroad when it becomes available, much better bike than default.

Eventually you want the Venge S-Works for flat rides when it becomes available.

From the start you absolutely have to go flat out before the counter stops and everyone is allowed to go then use the draft. As a light rider try not to get on the front too much, use the draft as much as possible.

Only hit the front when you want to break from everyone and know you can make it work.

1 Like

The Tron isn’t that much better than the Canyon Aeroad. It’s a great all-rounder and I use it all the time, but tends to be overrated.

1 Like

Uranium Nuclear is just as fast at a lower level unlock and fewer drops. :+1:

1 Like

It’s about time for a good old dose of nerfing some bikes. :wink: We haven’t had that for a while so it’s overdue.

Tron is free, aside from having to ride up hills.

1 Like

I haven’t Zwifted for a while since I’m outside but I was using a Felt AR with 858’s.
Not sure what level it takes but I’m level 54 with too many drops.
I wanted a white frame that showed when I was in the draft.
I hope it’s not nerfed.
Not sure how often Zwift insider does retests.
I can’t image it will change a lot.


I am a bigger fellow, 100 kg or so, and I regularly catch riders on flat road using 0.5 watts/kg less.

1 Like

Being smaller will always mean you need to put out more w/kg than a bigger rider. I ride in B, and there are some ladies under 60kg who regularly put out 4.5 w/kg to hold on. I’m around 60kg and generally have higher w/kg than those finishing around me despite spending most of my time drafting. Most of the really successful Zwift racers are sitting in the pack until they unleash a really powerful sprint. I can generally be in contention until the last 500m, but don’t have the outright power to finish on the podium.

Getting to know the courses helps, you’ll find that the effort will increase even with a small incline, so you need to be prepared to push and try and draft, even if you fall a few metres behind you will need to put out higher watts. The more races you do, the better you’ll understand how to race well. It takes a few attempts, and the amount of times I’ve heard of very good riders irl , who take a while to get to grips with racing on Zwift.

The most important thing is to have fun, and use it as an opportunity to improve your fitness.


Hi everyone :grinning:

Thanks for all the replys! I didn’t expect this much feedback. :star_struck:

I’m definitely going to safe up drops to get the Canyon Aeroad as soon as possible and then, work on a better power output over the span of 2-3 Minutes to hold on better at the start. I’m sure there ar some trainings in Zwift, to exactely prepare for that. That’s definitely a weakness of mine. I’m usually not to bad at endurance, but don’t like to go to much where it hurts. :sweat_smile:

Thanks also for the link to this site. zwifterbikes.web.app Seems very useful!

And other than that, I’m going to keep trying in the races. So far, I still find it difficult to ride at a regular pace and to keep as much as possible the same place in a group.

And if the weight deficit gets to be too much for me, I just switch to courses with a little more elevation. Then even the heavier guys and gals have to do a little more. :wink:

If you want you can check some of my race streams i’m often at the lower end of W/kg used in races…remember when you are drafting you are saving watts for the attacks or climbs.

One of the best ways is to use Robopacers at your Zone 2 Level to get used to Pack Dynamics.

We are now using Custom Split-Categories Races that could fit you better.

Oh come on… don’t sell him BS. You know better. Or should at least.

Yeah, sure, a better bike will shave a couple of seconds, but that is not what decides races.

And as for the secret masonic rocket science of Drafting™… it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to ‘fail’ at under the current pack dynamics model. What I mean is, especially in lower categories, it’s not hard to be decent at drafting and you don’t have to be a genius to understand that you should draft and how to do it. Drafting perfectly, though, is very hard if not impossible, if others in the group are either a) not as good at drafting as you, or b) not willing to pull at the front (who in his right mind is?). This is where you get the constant wave motions within a group with riders at higher speeds in the back clip straight through riders closer to the front. Hence, even as the High Priest of Drafting you have to adapt and ‘dodge’ these waves constantly with comparatively high Watts, especially if you’re light, as to not hit the front or get spat out the back, which in turn will require even more Watts because of the massive speed loss. There is no drafting at even, conservative Watts in Zwift. Efficient? No. You just pick the lesser of two evils.

Let’s talk realities instead. As long as race categorization is based on performance measures involving weight at all (rather than past results, or pure Watts, an inferior alternative) then guys like the OP at 65kg will always be shafted in any category sub-cat A. They have to work harder than their heavier competitors just to keep up, and with the ‘new’ categorization model you are allowed to do that to some extent (under the old straight W/kg model you just got DQ’d if you hit the same Watts as the heavies mid-pack because your W/kg was through the ceiling, whereas their’s weren’t).

So the heavies can, all else equal, conserve energy for short climbs or pushes, whereas the grasshoppers are on the limit throughout the race. And it doesn’t end there. Then, provided you as a light rider can stick with them until the finish at all, you will, all else equal, get severely outsprinted since the heavier riders have a bigger muscle volume in absolute terms. All else equal, equal W/kg, equal HR zones etc, you have no way to win as a lighter rider.

The only realistic solutions is to let these heavier winners move up a category, for winning too much. You can’t beat them, but you could get rid of them at least by not letting them easy-mode chained wins perpetually. It’s a nobrainer.

Guys, we have been through this so many times over the last 3-4 years. I have shown you the statistics from races already, more than once. Let’s not do this again.

@Mattias_Schnell Put your faith in Zwift’s promise to deliver a results-based categorization zoon. That will solve the problem. For now, just accept the fact that you can’t beat the heavies unless your physiological profile is deviant somehow. Like someone said, just focus on yourself for now. Because chances are that winning right now would require you to be so fit that you can cruise the major part of the race below your actual level so that you are even more rested than the heavies once that hill comes and you drop them. I.e. you would have to be so fit that you actually belong to the category above, and then some. And there would still be a risk that you got upgraded but not them if you don’t play it right. That’s no way to race.


The best thing the lighter riders can learn is to attack. And this isn’t something only upper Cats can do, anyone can attack, and said attacks serve a purpose; sure if you’re the one attacking, it’s going to hurt, a lot.

But over my two years of cycling / Zwift and racing and growth, and being that lightweight, it’s to make everyone else sweat too (metaphorically, but also physically).

If a race turns into people sitting in the draft the whole time (as they do), grow your VO2 efforts and put in some attacks on any inclines. Make everyone else feel the pressure; otherwise they’ll just sit there “being lazy,” on the heels of whoever isn’t in the draft, and just wait it out.

Nobody here is saying any of this is easy, but each and every attack that can be put in, means the pack gets a little more tired; with an ultimate goal of losing a few off the back.

When you see people falling out of the draft of the group, means the attack was worth it; and the more that can be put in, and the more that fall off, means you have that fewer people to contend with at the line.

And that’s not something to ignore.

Of course you’ll have to learn your limits of what attack is too much so you don’t blow up; but nobody else can help with that.

I’ll agree with everyone else here though; Zwift races are short and punchy, sub 10 minute power is absolutely by far the most important thing; putting in attacks and being able to recover is the ultimate key to racing in Zwift.