New to Zwift - Very slow speed

Issue: The bike ride is extremely slow, as if I am walking slowly.

I have read and tried some of your suggestions in past posts but still having issues.
(e.g. ensuring tire pressure is adequate, trying loosening up/tightening the trainer’s magnetic wheel)

I will be as detailed as I can.

The Zwift app is installed on Android phone (OnePlus 3T, running Android 9).
The Zwift app is also installed on PC, Windows 10, GeForce GTX 1060, 16GB Memory)

Tested in both phone and PC and same result, slow speed.

Also: An quick-release axle was included with trainer. I was not able to remove my bike’s rear tire axle. It’s not a quick-release type. Has anyone had this issue (not being able to remove axle and just placing the rear tire as it is on the trainer? )

Did I place the sensor on the pedal correctly?

Bike: Mountain bike, tire size 26" (26x1.95 is printed on tire). Chose 26x2.0 on Zwift menu

Cadence/Speed Sensors: See pictures. They show up on the app and are connected. I can also see changes to the speed/cadence in app. I selected unlisted trainer since mine is a dumb trainer.

Any suggestions/tips for me? Thank you!!

Note: I was not able to post the pictures/screenshots here due to being new to forum, I believe.

Screenshot showed 45 for rmp and 42w.

This may help you understand speed within Zwift better:

Where exactly did you place the speed sensor?
When you ride is your rear tire moving at a normal speed (faster and slower) depending on how you pedal or is it Ike you are pedaling always in sand?

The speed sensor is right on the rear tire’s axle (around the wheel hub).
No, it feels all right, doesn’t feel like I am pedaling in a sand.

Ok, thank you. I know that since I have a dumb trainer, my power in watts is capped but the speed that I get in the game really ruins the Zwift experience for me.

I think my issue may have been solved. I made sure the rear wheel was centered on the magnetic wheel and played around with the pressure it was putting on the wheel itself. I rode for few minutes and then toward the end of the ride, it picked up speed.

Can you keep your bike on the trainer but decouple the resistance? So you are just spinning the rear wheel and if Zwift picks up that sensor it should calculate higher watts and in turn higher speed. I have never done this test myself but I do know that the tire against the trainer pressure is important to calculate the correct speed and power.
You obviously can’t ride like that but it my help narrow down the issue.

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Thank you, Bob. So, I removed the resistance completely from the rear tire. The watts went up to 90~100 and it picked up little bit speed but it felt more like I was in sand. Speed was little bit faster. I will play around with resistance.

Can you try to remove your cadence sensor, only pair the speed sensor, sometimes they get mixed up.

With no resistance your rear wheel will be spinning very fast in air. if it feel like sand then you need to check that your breaks are not rubbing or the drive train need cleaning.

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Check the documentation for your trainer. The supplied quick release is there to ensure a tight fit between the ends of the QR and the corresponding receptacles on the trainer side. It’s been too long since I last used a wheel-on trainer to remember the details, but I do remember that the difference between the Tacx QR and a regular Campa one (round nut so no issues with fit per se) was noticeable. You may experience something similar with your setup, depending on the specifics. There are through axles on the market that are designed specifically for wheel-on trainer compatibility.


Gerrie, thank you. Removed the cadence sensor. When I was trying to remove the rear tire axle, I must have tightened the rear brakes. I have loosened it a bit while removing all resistence. The speed was a little bit improved but it was the same as you described, spinning fast in the air. Perhaps I should try again adding some resistance now that brakes are not that much blocking the wheel. Hope to get better speed.

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Thank you, Anna. It does have a quick-to-release axle included. To be honest, I have been thinking about that this whole time. I believe the trainer that was shipped to me not genuine, so I am planning on returning and purchasing something else (in range of $100-250). I was trying to remove the rear wheel axle to install the trainer’s included axle but I have limited tools and the axle would not come off.

I remember the first time I rode Zwift, it was on a non-smart trainer, and felt the same way.
I was going all out, my avatar in Zwift was going up the KOM, and it was hardly moving.
That’s just the way Zwift is. It slows down the avatar going up hills, since it can’t make the trainer harder to pedal.
I may not be diagnosing the problem correctly, but that’s what I first thought of when I read this.

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Dan, did your avatar pick up speed as you rode more? I feel like it might be combination of what you said about me being new to the system and tweaking I need to do to make it right. Tomorrow morning, it’s another day to ride and hopefully I will be quicker.

I don’t recall increasing speed as I rode more on the dumb trainer, other than getting fitter.
Shortly after I started on Zwift, I did get a smart trainer.

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That’s what I am going to do. Anyway, I have started setting up an area where I can watch my shows while I ride so I pay attention less to my speed in the game. I will save up to buy a proper trainer.

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Ride on!

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