Pack Dynamics 3.0 Update [November 2021]

I found time to do three short rides with C. Cadence across Sand and Sequoias on Saturday evening, doing a hard close of the Zwift app between each activity:

  1. With Sterzo Smart steering engaged
  2. With steering deactivated (no steering icon visble)
  3. With Sterzo Smart steering engaged again, but not moving the handlebars

There’s a perceptible difference in how the avatar moves in relation to other riders (none of whom were using steering devices on this occasion) when with and without steering. Definitely jerkier movement with steering.

I reckon I reproduced the effects you have in your screenshots.
When the group was large, dense, and filling the available width of the road, my avatar under control of the Sterzo Smart was generally pushed off to one side of the road and advanced while being angled in towards the bunch, despite me not turning the bars. A bit ugly.
When riding in a similarly large bunch without steering, my avatar faced straight ahead, gliding gracefully and often gravitating to the middle of the group.
There were times when using steering that I found that I was able to melt into the centre of the bunch quite smoothly, but that required some subtle manoeuvring and only worked when the group wasn’t at capacity side-to-side.

On the third ride, where I tried to ride with steering activated but not physically steer, after a while I think that the avatar started to move less jerkily. I think it was more easily pulled into the churn just like when steering is absent. But that could all just be confirmation bias on my part. :slight_smile:

All this to say that I don’t think that there’s a problem with steering in PD 3.0 per se. It’s certainly not inferior to steering in PD 2.5 IMO (or whatever we have been using until now). I suppose the limitations of the steering function when layered into the Pack Dynamics algorithm mean that there are compromises in the fluidity of avatar movement that we will have to live with.


Tried a big group ride today and PD 3.0 worked very well. My avatar behaved very well😊

But yes, will make another thread about turning off steering with kickr bike instead.

Something is off with steering and I think PD 3.0 might make this a bigger issue than before. It seems like every rider takes up more «space» on the road with 3.0 and it looks like the avatar doesn’t always take the opportunity to move when there is space available with steering on.

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@Roule_Thoune @Stian_Lersveen @Mark_Crane_TOG_G_65y @shooj

TL;DR - connecting Kickr Bike via BLE (whether steering connected or not) does impact the visuals of PD3.0. Whether steering is enabled or not, as long as it is an option it appears the collision prevention feature prevents the avatar from getting to the position it wants to be at and causes angled riding

So ran 3 tests today on Watopia with Diesel Dan pace partner.

Test 1: Kickr Bike connected via BLE with steering enabled
Rider was kept to the outside of the pack the vast majority of the time. Started off in the middle of the pack but as other riders came through and the normal slight bumping to open a gap for them it kept pushing me to the outside and the avatar wouldn’t move back to the middle. Only when the pack density thinned out was my avatar able to go back to the middle. As others have reported the rider would “try” to get back in position within the pack but it appears due to the collision prevention feature of steering you would just bump into the rider and then ride at an angle for a while.

Test 2: Kickr Bike connected via BLE with steering disabled
At the main pairing screen I removed the steering connection then joined Diesel Dan again. Similar to the first test my avatar was confined to the outside of the pack the entire time even though steering was not enabled. I even tried to use the buttons on the Kickr Bike to confirm that steering didn’t re-pair and they didn’t move my avatar, so steering was not enabled. As with the first test my avatar would try to get back to the middle of the pack but again it appears the collision prevention feature of steering prevented him from going through riders to get in position.

Test 3: Kickr Bike connected via ANT+
Avatar was able to stay in the middle of the pack the entire ride and PD3.0 behaved similarly to the beta tests I took part in. No weird angled avatar riding was noted.


Similar experience for me with PD 3.0 and steering with PD 3.0.

Forward/back was as expected. Trying to move sideways was not possible in a bunch. Technically this is ‘more real’ as you can only move sideways when there’s a gap. I still think there needs to be more refinement with steering devices to strike a balance of realism and not being able to steer at all. The sideways slide needs to be addressed.


True, some tweaks to steering would be nice to balance out realism vs having a good visual ride experience.

It seems something about steering causes your avatar to bounce to the outside edge of the group and never towards the middle. When steering isn’t an option my avatar will sometimes bump left sometimes right but usually stays pretty much in the middle.

With steering (whether actually connected or not) the avatar only gets bumped one way and then gets stuck on the outside.


@Stian_Lersveen @Roule_Thoune @D_Watson @Shane_Miller_GPLama
Thanks all for the feedback on steering issues and on the angled-in avatar specifically. We’ll continue to work on these issues.

Everyone: thanks for weighing in with both your enthusiastic love for the new pack dynamics, as well as flagging up things that need more work. Keep it coming!


I rode with Coco on Tempus this morning. I have a Wahoo Kickr Bike interfaced to Zwift through a standalone Dell I7-6700 workstation on wired LAN and a 1gb fiber internet connection. I’ve been using Bluetooth most of the time because it responds quicker than ANT+. The big disadvantage to BLE is I need to disable steering before starting the ride otherwise my HRM loses it’s pairing. When I’m doing big races, I switch to ANT+ because if have less issues and the response time doesn’t matter in races.

So, I started the ride on Tempus because that’s where Coco was riding and rode until the pack appeared on the horizon; busted a U-turn (which worked because I hadn’t finished a route) and joined in. For the first time since using PD3.0 the ride was weird. I couldn’t get into the middle of the pack and my avatar was nosing in at a 30 degree angle, essentially going sideways down the road. I guess Zwift computes going sideways into your power because it took me about 2.8-3.0w/kg to stick with Coco. Every once in a while Howie, my avatar, would straighten up on the outside of the pack and things would return to normal power-wise, then he would revert to the sideways thing.

I did have the steering icon on my leaderboard box even though I had disabled it at the start. I’ll use ANT+ for my next ride with Coco (or Bowie) and see if that changes anything.

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See earlier in this thread - Pack Dynamics 3.0 Update [October 2021] - #138

It’ll probably be fine on ANT+.

After some more group rides following the rollout of PD 3.0, I’m now finding steering an undesirable addition to the Zwift experience.

Without the steering this evening in a Hotchillee Gain Train ride, everything was fluid and relatively natural. With the steering enabled last night, in a packed ZZRC C blob, I was constantly on the outside and moving jaggedly, disrupting the pleasant on-screen interplay of avatars. I almost felt embarrassed by how it looked.

Am going to install a kill switch on my Sterzo Smart, as I like what it does to free up the front end of the bike, but am likely to be using the electronics much less for the foreseeable future.


This was my experience with Blob 3.0 today, and I think it’s probably what you’re describing.

It was as if I was “drifting”, to use a car analogy, with the bike facing one direction while traveling in another. It was very unnatural and obvious.

I also suspected it might be down to the steering being enabled. But even when I steered to the outside lane, it kept trying to drift me back into the middle.

It was annoying. Even more so because I hadn’t enabled steering. It wasn’t paired when I started Zwift. In the past I could ride without it deciding to enable itself without my intervention, but in a couple of recent rides I’ve found it does. Double grr.

Yup, that’s exactly what I was experiencing.
From what I recall reading, people on KICKR bikes (and maybe some other smart bikes, don’t know) are finding it impossible to not be recognised as having steering.
Must be very frustrating.

Apart from solo riding in relatively empty worlds, steering isn’t enjoyable as things stand.
Since those tests, I’ve taken the batteries out of my Sterzo Smart (which wakes upon movement) so that I can ride without wasting power due to it constantly looking to pair. At some point, I’ll install a kill switch, but just don’t have the time right now.

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@Daren I found in my testing (posted above in this thread somewhere) that connecting via ANT+ removes and/or severely decreases this behavior as IIRC all steering is through BLE. It’s not ideal but if you can connect via ANT+ that should help until a refinement can be made to rider behavior with steering.

That and steering isn’t fun in large groups since you either get boxed in or out as you can’t nudge people out of the way like PD3.0 does when steering isn’t connected.


Yep, everything is connected via ANT+ apart from the Sterzo. I haven’t disabled the Bluetooth because the Sterzo normally doesn’t pair without me explicitly asking it to. Lately it seems to become active without my intervention, which isn’t the behaviour I want.

Seems like I’ll have to try and remember to disable Bluetooth next time.

As others have said, the pack physics seem more true to life, but with steering on, the sideways slide effect is silly and constantly being spit out to the side of the group is annoying.


I think I may have accidentally found somewhat of a workaround for the Kickr Bike steering/visual issue with the new pack dynamics. Only tried it once so haven’t tested to see if it is reproducible or just a one off fluke but figured I’d share.

I connected my Kickr Bike with ANT+ at the initial pairing screen. I then joined my normal group ride (steering disabled) but I was having dropouts (which rarely happen with ANT+ for me) so mid ride went into the pairing screen and switched over to BLE for power/cadence/controllable. No more drop outs for the group ride and after it was done and steering normally resumes there was no steering icon next to my name and I couldn’t use the steering buttons even though I was connected with BLE. And the top right hood button still used power ups.

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Same here Stian, and the speedway-esque sidweways riding is nauseating at best and extremely irritating. Find myself constantly either trying to push off the front of the pack or dropping off the back just to get the bike pointed straight! :frowning:


I was in a meetup last night and kept getting violently flung out to side.

I would steer back into blob and be flung instantly and fast.

Tried just holding the steer into the pack a few times and get an uncomfortable bouncing effect.

So I was either distracted trying to steer and get into the pack or off the side in the wind pulling high watts like i was on the front.

Great for training but wouldn’t want it in a race.


I noticed other riders without steering having that today on Watopia.

Another side effect is the oncoming groups crashing into each other on Crit City every lap or so. :wink:

Less funny is if you fall back from a group just a small amount you are gone. Especially a light rider against larger riders.

In certain areas, like the volcano and in London, when I steer all the way to one side of the road, my avatar appears to ride sideways a little bit. To explain it better, imagine what it would look like if you were moving forward in a straight line, but your bike was facing 45 degrees to the left or right. It would look like you’re floating sideways. But it’s not so dramatic, it’s just a very slight angle.


I just completed a Pace Partner ride with C. Cadence on Tempus Fugit. For the most of the ride my avatar kept being moved to the side of the pack. When there it kept making jerky movements and riding sideways.I am wondering if this is due to the new pack dynamics.
I have screendumps and a short video of it.
I am riding a Kickr Bike.

Best regards,

Marcel Moesgaard