How do feel: virtual rides v. real road rides?

  1. On a scale of ‘no different’ to ‘working much harder’ how would you rate your legs during a virtual ride v. your real road rides?
  2. What trainer are you using?

I find my legs get more tired more quickly on Zwift. I use a 1up Trainer that I’ve been using for years. Not saying my feeling of getting more worn out on Zwift is a function of the trainer. It could be that I ride differently. On Zwift there’s never any not-pedaling or soft-pedaling like a group road ride.  

When I look at my Strava results my road rides are as hard but my legs seem to have more stamina in the group. I’ve only been using Zwift for about 2 weeks so maybe just an adaptation period.

What’s your experience?

I think the difference is exactly as you describe. On the road there are times when we’re not really pedalling, tail wind, stopping at junctions etc so there is always little recovery times on your ride.

On the turbo the load is to a point constant so the physiological effect of exercise will I suspect be experienced sooner rather than later.

I don’t use a power meter on the road only on Zwift so I suspect I’m lazy on the road and as such find the effects of hard work way tougher on the legs when I’m on the turbo.

Zwift, Zpower and trying to work at a theoretical wattage is definitely making a difference on the road and since using Zwift (about 3 months) I’ve already improved my FTP. I can therefore only conclude that riding on the road with a power meter in a structured way will improve me and then I suspect the feeling in the legs will probably be the same as on the turbo. 

Oh sorry didn’t mention the trainer I use. Its a “dumb” Cyclops Fluid 2  and I’d 100% say I work harder on the turbo/Zwift than on the road

i work harder on my wahoo snap, but it is amazing how fast a 60 minute structured workout goes by.

My rides on Zwift are much shorter and feel harder (for the short distance they are on a dumb trainer) than the road due to always pushing tempo or better without any breaks (soft or no pedaling). It’s the fairly constant challenges in front of you (chasing riders down, bridging gaps, “climbing” hills, PR times, etc) that makes indoor training, dare I say, enjoyable (?). They say you can just stop completely for a bit to simulate that but I haven’t yet. I’m not sure if I envy or feel sorry for those putting 25+ miles into a Zwift ride. To each his/her own I guess.

I have a 1up trainer as well and think the power is way too low…I also go to computrainer classes so know roughly what sort of power I am putting out. I notice that Zwift doesn’t state how many ball bearings should be in the 1up trainer. I am currently maxed out (6 I think), which may explain the discrepancy. I guess 3 is what Zwift is basing the 1up trainer power curve on and on the inner pockets? Do you know how many you have in and what ‘pockets’ they are in?

Thank you for the replies everyone . Regarding the 1-up trainer, I agree. There are times when I feel it is way to hard for the watts  in Zwift. I bought trainer tires but that didn’t fix the issue. 

I emailed them today to see if I can upgrade to the newer flywheel. Mine is the 2005 model. I don’t see a way to adjust the number of balls to reduce the resistance.

I’ve read 1-up has great customer service so I expect we’ll figure it out. 

I’m not sure the exact year of mine, but it is the old style all silver ‘drum’ and not the black one I see on their website now. You can adjust the ball bearings/resistance by opening up the roller/drum. These are the instructions I found (I’ll change mine by putting just 3 in and placed in the easiest positions/grooves (inner pockets)):

"The resistance can be changed in your 1up Trainer. To increase/decrease the resistance in the unit, follow the instructions and photos below.

Step 1. Use the silver wrench provided to remove the axle bolt with lock washer (right side of unit). The silver wrench is located on the right blue leg held on by a black knob (turn counter clockwise to remove).

Step 2. To disassemble the Unit, pivot the right RU Bar out of the way. Remove the Spacer, O-Ring, Friction Pad Plate, Spring, Disk and the 3 Steel Balls.

Step 3. Turn the trainer on its side. To increase the resistance, place the 3 balls in the outer pockets. (The trainer comes with the balls in the inner pockets.) To increase the resistance even more, place all 6 balls in all 6 pockets. The 3 additional Balls are located in the Plastic Bag inside the right Rubber Foot (2005 model only).

Step 4. Slide the Disk back on the axle and line up the Drive Pin Holes so it fits together. Slide the Spring, Pad Plate and then the O-Ring and Spacer on the Axle. Be sure the Spring is between the Disk and the Pad Plate. The Axle should come all the way through the Plate, O-Ring and Spacer.

Step 5. While holding the unit together, line up the RU Bar and replace the Axle Bolt. When the bolt is started, line up the Pad Plate Hole with the RU Bar Pin and tighten the bolt. Be sure the axle is through the spacer."

Thanks for the detailed instructions. 1up also emailed me tonight with a pdf of what to do. You are right. I found the three extra resistance balls.

I’ll try the maintenance tonight or tomorrow night.

Great company 1up is. First the trainer can probably last several lifetimes it’s so well designed and built. And then their customer service emails from a real person on Sunday night. I’m considering getting one of their bike racks. They appear to also be very well designed and built.


Update. That worked! Thank you. I tested it out briefly and it felt much more normal and my watts on Zwift seemed more in line with my effort.

Hey “S Yng” - what is the 1up trainer resistance configuration that is working for you? How many ball bearings and in what position? Thanks