In-race acceleration not even close

I just bought an Elite Rampa smart trainer and have done a few rides with Zwift. Overall I like both. There is, however, one thing that bugs me. The in-race acceleration doesn’t even come close to matching my real effort. I can on 0% grade, putting out 200 watts or more and the acceleration is leisurely at most.

Is there some way to correct this?

  • There is a small delay between your application of power and the movement of your in Zwift avatar/rider. The more you ride Zwift, the sooner you will get used to this. Before you know it, you will not notice this delay. You will have become calibrated to Zwift. :smile:
  • Zwift in game acceleration is not going to be exactly like real life.
  • If you were behind someone and really wanted to accelerate past them, you need to really go hard or drop the hammer in order to get out of the ‘sticky draft’ and let Zwift know you want to pass or sprint. You cannot gradually try to ride past them.
  • 200W is not much of an acceleration.
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I just used 200 watts as an example, but it’s still plenty to cause fairly quick acceleration. I can start a race and be at 200 watts with real wheel speed approaching 25 mph or more and my app speed will start at around 3 mph and take over a minute to climb to 15 mph and may take several minutes for the speed to be close to what my wheel is actually doing. If by “small delay” you mean a minute or more, then I guess it’s working. But I really expected more realism.

No, that definitely doesn’t sound normal. By “a small delay” we’re generally talking about a few seconds between you stomping on the pedals and Zwift recognising the effort.

Unfortunately I have no personal experience of such issues so don’t have any suggestions.

Hi @Jared_Christensen:

This is the start of a Race. You can see that the top speed after about a minute with a avr power of 520w for the first minute.

Here’s my most recent race:

I was at 40kph within 10 seconds of the race starting, and went from 0 to 36kph within two seconds.

OK, I was doing 340W and had been for a few seconds before the gate opened, but it’s nothing like the gradual acceleration being described.

Wow, that must be nice acceleration of the start line. I also get my Speed and power up to max before the Race start. Now I will go and look at some other racers. What trainer do you use.

I’m using a Vortex. They have a reputation for over-reading power, but really that’s not the point here. =)

It’s not unusual behaviour for my experience of race starts either. Here’s another recent one (Tour de Zwift Stage 7):

39kph a second after the gate opened, doing 270W @ 100rpm.

By comparison, here’s one where I missed the start so wasn’t already spinning when the gate opened. Even though I started 12 seconds late or so, I was still at 36kph after 8 more seconds.

The reason why I asked about the trainer was just to understand how trainers differ.

I found a fast start from Scottie Weiss: I can see the same jump that you see.

Yeah, and it’s very different from your own trace. Is that how Zwift behaves with all your race starts?

It’d be very interesting to know if the game does different things with different trainers, even if they’re both reporting the same, say 300W @ 110rpm.

Yes I looked at a bunch of my races and all of them start the same way. I also looked a few other riders and some look like mine but others look like yours.

EDIT: I looked at my more recent starts with my powermeter as power source and it also has the jump like yours.

I was not focused so much on the start of the race which is different than in race. What I said before still applies during a race, group ride, etc… The start of the race is a bit different as some of the others have pointed out.

I see the same thing as others when viewing the data via Strava. First minute of Tour de Zwift - Stage 9 (Long):

I typically get my power up a bit with 5secs to go. After that, I do what I need to make the front group. Depending on the race, that could be speed up, slow down, or stay steady. Anyway, I always have cadence, HR, and power from the very beginning. The speed appears to be zero until about 6s after which it shoots up, but if I zoom in on the first 3s there is still an avg value but w/out a peak value. One would have to look at the original .fit file from Zwift to determine if it’s a Zwift problem or Strava problem. Either way, I would say it is a cosmetic issue and unrelated to which trainer you are using.