POLL: Should Unlockable Bikes/Wheels Affect Performance?


(Mike Brew) #1

I read on another thread that the unlockable bikes you get from increasing you level will eventually have performance benefits. I just wonder if that’s a good thing or something I would want.

I like the idea of a level playing field, where the only advantage you have over anyone else is your own physical ability. If the performance enhancements include lowering weight, then I think it’ll just lead to more people adjusting their rider weight to account for the unfair ‘virtual’ advantage.

To put it simply, I think any bike/wheel upgrades should be cosmetic only, and shouldn’t affect the power/weight ratio within the game world.

What does everyone else think about it?


(Jon Mayfield) #2

In the real world a deep rim has performance benefits over a box rim, aero bikes have benefits over round tubes, and often these also have disadvantages. You should keep in mind these advantages are pretty minor, usually below the noise of power meter accuracy, so there’s not really anything “game breaking” to worry about.


(Mike Brew) #3

Thanks for the answer on that, I guess that clears it up.

I do wonder given it’s minimal impact to the software whether it’s worth dedicating resources to develop, when time and effort could be directed toward increasing the number of compatible power meters, turbo trainers and just more features all round.

Anyway, loving testing Zwift. Thanks for your hard work in getting it to how it is already.


(D W - ltb LMDGD) #4

I would prefer bike changes to affect performance and was thinking of submitting a feature request thread to have the ability to input CdA, Crr, or other characteristics. The reason why I want this is that I would love to have closely matching indoor and outdoor speeds but there’s a decent sized difference because I ride in aero on the road (and on the trainer including sprints) but the game assumes a less aerodynamic position.


(Mike Brew) #5

Maybe it’s possible for Zwift to be made to adjust your in game position when you change position in real life. Not sure how this could be done at the moment. Perhaps some sort of camera tracking system similar to Facetrack NoIR?

To me, simple is better though. It’s never going to be a perfect sim of reality with all the variables.

Rider weight and position yes, but being able to input your own aerodynamic values will open up all sorts of exploits.


(Allan Watkins) #6

But I’m only 5cm wide and weigh 20 kilo, I swear :stuck_out_tongue:


(Allan Watkins) #7

Gah, I forget we can’t edit our own stuff with zendesk.

But on a more serious note, I think the bikes shouldn’t make a difference but the wheels could. Just like in real life they have advantages and disadvantages, deeper rims = faster flats / down hill / slower up hill. etc…


(Greg Gibson-Haymarket) #8

I dunno, with any video game the longer you play the more advantages you get…better weapons, faster cars, whatever…so I think if you earn some bike bling by spending a lot of time in the game there should be some payoff for that time investment…just like there is a pay off in real life if you have the $$$ to invest in top of the line components.

I see no problem with it as long as the resulting metrics are reality based.


(Tony Hocking ZHR) #9

I really think they should affect performance. But that’s just because I unlocked deep rims tonight and have a 40k coming up…


(Tony Hocking ZHR) #10

On a less flippant note - a suggestion on another thread was that something like a Kinect could be used to detect hand signals etc - no reason why they couldn’t be used to detect body position/tuck etc to increase realism - might be nice for Velodrome events etc in any case. A feature for the distant future perhaps…


(Mike Brew) #11

The benefits of aero bikes/wheels are talked about all over the internet. Something that comes up more often than not is that the benefits offered by such upgrades are small.

For an elite racing cyclist this upgrade in aero performance/weight can make the difference where your fellow racers are very similar in terms of ability.

What I’m saying is will there be any noticeable benefit of these upgrades within Zwift and will they modelled on accurate simulation of air resistance/rotating mass etc…? If not, then why bother with it at all?

What appeals to me about Zwift is the simplicity of it. No one has an advantage other than their own physical ability.


(Nikolaj Bugge) #12

Good question! I totally agree with Greg on this matter. Being beaten by someone with a superior bike/set of wheels etc. hurts - but also motivates you to keep going and be able to get it yourself…


(Eric C. (Zwift HQ)) #13

I definitely see where Mike is coming from: is Zwift more of a simulation? Or is it more for entertainment and fitness?

This will be interesting to see how it unfolds.


(Tony Hocking ZHR) #14

I’m not sure that Zwift necvessarily has to chooes - though serving both Simulation and Entertainment will require more reaource. It could be that on some circuits (Velodrome/Ponferrada/Alpe D’Huez) the bike configurations are very much part of the equation, and determine bike performance - and bluntly there is probably a revenue stream there for Zwift and other commercial partners. These courses could be part of the UCI (ZCI?) circuit with riders being categorised etc. A “fun” part could be that riders gets flats and broken collarbones just like the real world…

On other courses (Surrey Hills/Zwift Island) equipment could be normalised recreational and training rides. In these areas flats are unheard of, it never rains, car drivers stop and applaud your efforts and there are no queues in the cake shop… ahhh, Nirvana


(W ish I was Outside) #15

I think the upgrades should make a difference, they do in the real world why not in the virtual one. Whether in the simulator or in the real world Strava leaderboards are affected by much more than just the athlete’s performance - wind, riding companions, bike, wheels, tire pressure, rain/dry, the clothing and helmet chosen etc. all have significant effects. I wouldn’t take those standings too seriously either in the real world or the simulated one, and I say that not to pooh-pooh it – it just needs to be taken in perspective. For the purposes of tracking your training efforts, whether in the real world or the sim it is not the time/speed or leaderboard standing that counts, it’s your watts, watts/kg, and power/time curve that are most interesting. The power/time curve tells all you need to know about someone’s effort, it’s the first thing I look at when I take a look at a friend’s ride to see what sort of effort they put down. This curve is entirely unaffected by the equipment used.

Also I think there’s a business model to be exploited surrounding ‘virtual’ equipment just like in other online gaming. You could earn these things through achievements or pay for them through cash. And it’s all good, it’s just a game. Heck I bet there would be lots of people who would enjoy it the other way around, say to be able to choose to ride an MTB with higher wind and rolling resistance and have your rider animation be on an MTB, require higher watts, then go hunting to humiliate people with their upgraded aero bikes and aero helmets within the sim. Anyone riding the upgrades had better be the fastest on the course or else it would be embarrassing, which is all part of the motivation/fun.


(Alfonso DeLuca) #16

I’m of the opinion that all unlockables should be purely cosmetic as well. 


(Jon Crenner) #17

Agree - Zwift should remain a level playing field and unlockables should remain cosmetic only… 


(Wizbang Brown) #18

+1  Agree - Zwift should remain a level playing field and unlockables should remain cosmetic only.

I love this comment from Ericabove.

“Heck I bet there would be lots of people who would enjoy it the other way around, say to be able to choose to ride an MTB with higher wind and rolling resistance and have your rider animation be on an MTB, require higher watts, then go hunting to humiliate people with their upgraded aero bikes and aero helmets within the sim. Anyone riding the upgrades had better be the fastest on the course or else it would be embarrassing, which is all part of the motivation/fun.”

I came to grips with this type of thing finishing my first Marathon with a 60+ year old woman in front of me and a 70+ year old man about 5 places behind me.

Just do your best and let that be enough.