Remove mandatory HRM requirement

Perhaps this has been around for much longer, but I’ve only just encountered it.

This weekend, I logged on to join a race I’d seen. As is usual, I open Zwift to find I need to install an update, triggering the usual panic that it won’t install in time for the start. I manage to scrape in with 7 seconds to go…

…except, when I do, I get a box pop up telling me that I need to pair an HRM in order to take part.

I’ve never seen this before and think it’s a terrible idea. If it’s new, can it be undone?

I can’t really see the justification for enforcing HRM usage. It doesn’t really add a huge benefit against cheating, nor could I see the issue with having non-HRM racers in races that ‘require’ HRM to obtain a result; it was fine previoiusly to just filter the results out, as standard.

Instead, what it’s done is mandated more expense for those who want to race.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do have an HRM but I struggle to pair it successfully without triggering the ‘no signal’ error, so prefer racing without. It’s never been a problem until now.

This is the choice of the race organizer. The option has been available for more than a year but it’s not very widely used. You can see a little heart icon next to events that enforce it, in Companion.


Mandatory HRM has been a thing for a long time for most races. Almost from the beginning of Zwift racing.

I don’t entirely disagree with you about it being only marginally useful for detecting cheating (though definitely a factor many times), but given the price of power meters, there are HRMs available for not a large amount of money.

As a suggestion, all of the Herd races are NOT HRM mandatory, even the ones that are Hardware Enforced for power meters.

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I’m currently using the same configuration for the Rhino Racing Short Crits. Power meter required to enter the pen, HRM not required to enter the pen.

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If you update to the latest launcher on your PC/Mac (by re-downloading Zwift from then you’ll find an option that lets you defer a pending update, addressing exactly this sort of scenario.

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I also get the “no signal” error sometimes if using bluetooth HRM strap (the Garmin one).

I’ve also got another HRM strap (also Garmin) that can connect via ANT+ and have an ant+ antenna on this computer which is an alternative. One of them usually works.

Have you also tried changing the batteries in the HRM?

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Yeah, I’m on team “No signal” as well, same thing with 3 different sensors, all work fine with other apps.

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Generally, I find HRM a useful, if not an essential tool for Zwift or other cardio workouts, where precise determination of workout intensities (staying in the right zone) almost requires one. So, having one on a chest is a must for me and I’d feel awkward without one.
I am not too sure how that can prevent cheating, however. HR is rather unique per individual. Unless…we talk about a blatant fraud when someone all of a sudden wins a race with 25 bits less or so than their usual pattern…by deploying someone else or an ebike on the trainer or something like that. Lol.

I think the community feel that Zwift have been unable to reliably address cheating, or have not been willing to do so. In that case, some race organizers are going to take the means of control that they can, and one of those is requiring HRMs… which admittedly is going to penalize people who bought a smart trainer and are now wondering why they need to cough up an additional $30-50 for an HRM, or if you’re running last minute and you can’t get the stupid thing to connect. Oh, and your smartwatch is probably a lot trickier to pair than an HRM.


Heart rate in itself tells very little when it comes to cheating, but is a great tool to crossreference against power. In a riders profile you can activate HRR in the colums, which shows the power to heart rate ratio and is a great tool, to help verify past or present performances, and i know some organizers use it. Take this guy he was regularly hitting between 2.3-2.4 HRR and then suddenly dropped to only hitting 1.8 and 2. Or put in another way his performance dropped around 25 % at the same heart rate in a week, clearly suggestion something is wrong. There not any dropouts either to explain the difference. As with any other tool against cheating it does next to nothing by itself but the more data you have the easier it is to actually catch people


Okay, HRMs are great if you use them. And I do. My problem is that when using Zwift’s incarnation of HRM, they work until they don’t, then the user doesn’t get any HR credit for all the workout. By this I mean that if I start with Zwift’s HRM app, then it drops out with ‘Connection Failure’, my workout looks like 5 min at Zone 1, then nothing. This kind of problem results in an hour of workout worth 5 min in Zone 1 only. As long as Zwift’s HRM app is so problematic/wonky, it won’t get effective use as the race (and likely Zwift) hopes. Yes, I could switch to some other kind of HRM. I could also switch to some other kind of fitness fabric/landscape. So, either fix the HRM in the app, use other fitness HRMs in-app, use AppleHealth data or just agree that Zwift HRM is not accurate.

Not sure what kind of problems you have. But I Zwift 4 (or 5?) years with HRM, and have very few connection issues. The ones I had were mainly due to low battery, or that there were 2 hrm’s at the same time present while logging in.

there are a lot of crappy HRMs out there though. including but certainly not limited to what i imagine is the most widely used HRM in the entire cycling industry. i personally have so little faith in the technology that i dont even use HR to inform my own training beyond glaringly obvious red flags like “why is my hr 140 when i’m just sitting in the pen” etc

I use/d AppleWatch (versions 5, 6, 7, 9, Ultra and Ultra2). When using the Apple Workout app, the HR works just fine unless it is swimming, which is horrible. Bike riding it is very consistent either on a trainer or in live outdoors riding real bikes. When using the Zwift app, there is about a 50% hit/miss rate at simply using the app to be able to simply connect to the Zwift app on either Mac or AppleTV. Then there is a >90% chance of connection failure in the first 5 minutes. It rarely reconnects, like 1-in-50 workouts will there every be a reconnect. Nearly always, I finish the workout on Zwift only to realize I have Zwift credit for the workout but no HRM and thus no credit on closing Apple Workout rings. Imagine working out for +90 min and still have to find 25 new minutes of workout to get the basic 30 min ring closed! -RJ

This is not surprising - lots of people have problems using Apple Watch with Zwift. A $40 optical arm band would be more reliable with the game.

@Paul_Southworth Thank you. Yeah, the thought had occurred to me to wear a different HRM that is Zwift-App compatible. Just having to track w/two HRMs, ugh. I’ll say here that I use a Wahoo trainer & Zwift game controls to get thumbs-up and “Y” Powerups under button control. It is problematic to pickup Companion-App or find the specific laptop key to get features I press multiple times per workout. In this, adding another HRM may be necessary but can’t we just fix the connectivity of the existing HRM integrations? -RJ

No it doesn’t tell all the nuances.

But when someone wins a race in their cat with zone 2 or zone 3 HR, some alarms should ring.

And because of this, in some races HR are mandatory. For a quick first shift.

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Heart rate isn’t the be all and end all but it helps build a picture. As does the amount of gold and silver trophies and lots of height changes.

Be true to yourself, race as you and don’t worry about others.

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Random question – should any rider do any more than is necessary to win the race they’re in?

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My current HRM has just died. Well, not died, but it is under-reading severely most of the time. (It seems to get stuck at 120 and then will suddenly jump to what I think my true heart rate is, and then drop down to 120 flatline) I now have, yet again, to replace it but haven’t had a chance to research alternatives (I don’t want to buy another Wahoo, because this is something like the 3rd unit that has done this after about 9 months). Since this is essentially useless as an anti-cheating mechanism and hardly ever used anyways, it should be retired rather than having me have to shell out $50 to Wahoo every 9 months. I still wear the thing just to not get disqualified, but it irks me to do so because its pointless security theatre.

The HRM requirement should be off by default and only elite level races should bother with it (or if you must, elite level and league races, but not normal KISS, ZRace, 3R, etc.).