Microburst technique (che**ing)

So what is the issue making microburst effective? Poor acceleration physics?

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Hard to tell. That video just shows something extremely weird that no one outside on a bike would do as it’s ineffective and stupid. More than one person does it within Zwift which indicates there is a benefit with Zwift.

Not sure if he showed instant watts or three second averaging. With the former he does not seem to stop pedalling so then it’s not like the Sticky Watts issue but within the physics of Zwift that gives much more Momentum when kicking up the watts than you’d get in real-life. With the latter it could be that he does stop pedalling and then, even though trainer does not send it (DC Rain Maker showed that elite for instance does send watts for a few seconds even when not pedalling) Zwift does not decrease the speed right away. While it’s not the same as issue shown with power meters but also the Elite trainer(s) the effect is more or less the same. The latter would even exacerbate the issue of sticky watts itself but dragging on the effect longer.

Hard to state what it is. However, we can exclude things. Does for instance RGT have the same oddities? If not, then it’s the Zwift physics (I’ll put some money on that to be honest!).

Nonetheless, with all the weird pedalling within Zwift something is off. There is a reason people don’t do this outside and same can’t be said about Zwift.

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zwift generates and holds on to inertia in a way that doesn’t quite work in real life, particularly on steep gradients which is why in more blatant cases of this you’ll see graphs where people appear to be riding smoothly on the flat and only start doing this crap on hills. if you do 500w for a few seconds on a 10%+ gradient irl and then immediately stop pedalling, the only momentum you’re going to generate is sideways because you’re gonna tip over into a ditch

how beneficial is it actually? i dont know. i do enjoy imagining people looking goofy as hell in their garage doing it when i see it in races though


Hard to tell is the problem microbursting how much is it down to crappy trainers or how much is it down to connection to zwift compensation for lag or anything else that zwift is doing in the background.

I’ve seen people microbursting on RGT. I could probably pick out a couple racers that i noticed doing it most races. So they either have developed a goofy riding style for some strange reason or it is also giving them a bonus.

If they are on elite directo i don’t think it will matter what platform you are on as the trainer is sending faulty watts it will be beneficial

I don’t think it’s petty if the rules are clearly communicated. Zwift is a complex system, it’s reasonable to expect there to be unintended issues. For the users (race organizers) to have to be bound by whatever unintended uses users manage to find seems too rules-lawyery for me. “You have to let me race this way because the programming allows for it.”

If this is a problem with how the software is written, why shouldn’t the users have the ability to set rules to try to deal with bugs in the system? Why should we automatically just have to accept everything as-is?

This is a result of the system ‘as written’, not the system ‘as intended’.


I agree it would be very interesting to test this to understand if it really works or if riders just think it works. There were a couple comments about this in the last discussion. If it’s trainer dependent then simulations wouldn’t help without a mechanical rider. If it’s not then simulation should help.

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Yes, bugs will occur that have to be fixed. However, this particular bug has existed since Jarvis. If it’s a bug, it needs to be fixed after 8 years.

If it’s not a bug, then it’s an intended part of the game - which would tell us why ZHQ don’t see a problem with it. So, if it’s an intended part of the game, it’s not cheating.

Legislating for it - if that’s what they wish to do - needs to be objective and transparent. As said above, how often can a rider suddenly accelerate before it’s deemed to be breaking a race rule? How much extra power before it’s more than just maintaining position? Who decides and with what parameters?

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I don’t think that’s how intention works. The fact that they have not fixed something does not mean that it was intentional. They haven’t fixed the ability to make bikes red on the color slider. Was that therefore intentional? It might be something the people who could fix it have now accepted, but that’s not the same thing at all as being intentional. It might also just be something far down on the list of priority fixes (and it doesn’t take long on these forums to find a whole lot of things people are claiming are top priority fixes.)

That Zwift has chosen not to fix this does not mean that independent race organizers therefore have to accept it. Your claim is that 'users can do this, so they should be allowed to do it." My claim is that ‘race organizers can do what they are doing (not allowing it)’. So why shouldn’t race organizers be allowed to do what they can do within the system? The race organizers also have free choice in this matter, and there is no reason why they have to do what you’re saying they should do. Nothing in Zwift forces the race organizers to accept this, just like nothing in Zwift forces the individual riders to not use microbursting. So it’s one set of users choosing to do something they are allowed to do, and another set of users choosing to do something they are allowed to do.

Your same argument for allowing the riders to use microbursting also leads to the conclusion that the race organizers can ban it. Who decides if it’s allowed? The race organizers. Who decides what the parameters are? The race organizers. Who decides if the race organizers are being unfair? The riders. (Don’t ride in the races of people who are acting unfairly.)

There are plenty of rules in plenty of sports that are left in the hands of subjective judges in specific situations. What counts as ‘holding’ in the NFL? What counts as deviating from your line in a sprint? What counts as a lift in volleyball? All of those are judged case-by-case according to parameters that simply cannot be carved into stone such that humans don’t need to make the call. And they’re all accepted rules of games. No reason why this needs to be any different. Set some rules, be transparent absolutely. But accept that judgment calls need to be made. No different from any other sport.


That’s not what I said and you know it.

Race organisers can set whatever rules they wish. But accusing riders who use microbursts of cheating is dangerous territory.

Cheating is lying about weight, miscalibrating a power meter, using an ANT+ simulator, etc.

Microbursts are a riding technique; it is no more cheating than using a wheel-on trainer. You can make rules barring them but it is not cheating. Or are riders who are too young to ride a Masters race “cheating” if they take part?

Don’t confuse something being against the rules of a race vs actual cheating that applies to ALL races. You can make rules that only riders called John are allowed to enter; doesn’t give you the right to call everyone else a cheat.


It’s a riding technique which exploits aspects of the trainer that don’t crop up in more “nornal” pedalling techniques (i.e. as you’d ride outside).

It’s exploiting anomalies in the trainer (or power meter).

The technique has no benefits to the rider other to exploit these anomalies to achieve performance that couldn’t be achieved with “nornal” pedalling.

So it’s cheating.


I dislike it when people tell me what I’m supposed to know. I did not intentionally misinterpret what you’re saying, I’m arguing in good faith. If I misinterpreted, I apologize. But don’t read maliciousness into this, or the conversation won’t go well at all.

You’re calling it ‘petty’ to disqualify someone for breaking the rules set down by that specific race. I’m arguing that the race organizers are within their rights to set those rules, as users of the system. If those rules are communicated transparently, I don’t see why it’s ‘petty’ at all.

If the rules aren’t being communicated well, that definitely is an issue, we’ve both agreed on that.

Cheating is breaking the rules of a game for competitive advantage. Individual races on Zwift have rules that are not part of the Zwift software. Like age or gender restrictions. So yes, breaking the rules of an event is cheating.

Your own qualifications for cheating are seemingly arbitrary if you’re going to include lying about weight. Nothing in Zwift’s software stops someone from putting in the wrong weight, just like nothing in the software stops them from microbursting. Why is one cheating and not the other? Nothing in the software stops me from registering as female and gaining advantages that way. Youth is also an advantage at some point–so if a race says “no one under X age”, why is it not cheating to lie about your age? Why is it cheating to lie about your weight, but not about your age in situations where age has been made a rule?

For some reason, you’ve decided that ‘cheating’ is only a breaking of the rules of ‘All of Zwift’. I have no idea why you’ve decided to define cheating in that limited way. When you sign up for Zwift, you read a set of rules. If you intentionally break those rules for advantage, you are cheating.

Why doesn’t the same definition apply when you sign up for a race, read the rules, and intentionally break those rules for competitive advantage? Why do those rules not matter? Just because you can get away with it?

Cheating is cheating–if there are rules in place when you sign up for a game, intentionally breaking those rules for competitive advantage is cheating. Whether that game is ‘Zwift as a whole’ or ‘this particular race’.

Analogy: some friends and I years ago made up alternate rules for Chess–different pieces moving in different ways. We wouldn’t always use those rules, but sometimes we would. We called it Chess 2000…because back then 2000 was futuristic :smiley: If we decided to play a game of Chess 2000, and someone moved a piece intentionally against those rules, it would be cheating. Even though the rules of Chess as codified in other places don’t say so, and even if the physical construction of the chess board and pieces allowed them to do it. It would have been cheating because they sat down for a game that they knew was to be governed by a different set of rules. Just like an individual event on Zwift.

SECOND SNEAKY EDIT: Maybe what you’re objecting to is lumping all kinds of cheating together. If so, I think that’s a reasonable point. In IRL pro racing for example, I think there’s a distinction worth making between someone taking EPO and someone taking too long of a draft off their team car when they’re getting brought back to the peloton. They’re both cheating–breaking of the rules for competitive advantage. But it’s worth pointing out that there are still differences. I don’t stop being a fan of a rider if they get too long of a tow, or if they deviate from a sprint line. I do stop being a fan if they take EPO. I don’t know where microbursting fits for me personally, but it certainly seems at the moment not as bad as weight cheating or using a watt bot. But it’s still cheating.


But wait, do we know it’s a trainer or power meter anomaly? Previously someone suggested it’s related to how Zwift handles ‘inertia’, so maybe it’s in the software modelling?


Hunh? In any real life race, or sports with age categories, this is serious cheating that results in disqualification and even suspension!


There are parents faking birth certificates to allow their children to play down ages in competitive youth baseball. Definitely cheating.


As a non racing zwifter I like this feature. It works on my stages SB20 smart bike. I use it if I need to quickly adjust a fan or if my bib shorts are creeping up my legs. I can microburst and pause for 3 or 4 seconds and I won’t get dropped in a group ride. Doing this technique repeatedly to cheat seems pathetic.

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Now it’s a feature :joy:


A feature that does not exist :rofl::rofl::rofl:


No doubt you are using it for comfort in group rides. But imagine how easy it is for someone with not so good intentions to use such exploit


Definitely some trainers are susceptible to this and some aren’t. I’ve personally reproduced this (on a free ride for experimental purposes in a past forum discussion on this) on my Direto XR. I can quickly accelerate the trainer to an unrealistic power that I can’t normally sustain for long, briefly, but if I stop pedalling for a couple of seconds and repeat, then it will hold this power. Someone else tried on a Kickr and couldn’t reproduce it. It’s not just my own Direto either. I have never used this technique myself in a race.

Thete might also be a Zwift factor combining with the trainer anomaly, I can’t be sure on that. But it’s definitely not only a Zwift software issue, if it’s one at all.

I definitely can’t reproduce this on a Kickr Bike (it drops the power quickly) but I also at the moment can’t push more than 480w maximum with my physical limitations at the moment.

My power output isn’t the smoothest these days either with one leg being much weaker, but I don’t get anything like this effect.