Require "Braking" in Turns to Increase Realism

Making riders automatically “brake” / slow-down in turns will add to realism on Zwift.

It is a little silly that riders can fly down hairpin descents at 80+ km/h or take a 90 degree turn at 50+ km/h.

More importantly, though, not requiring riders to slow-down before turns and accelerate after turns to get back up to speed reduces the realism of the Zwift experience.

This reduced realism is particularly noticeable in races on Zwift. The result of not slowing in turns is to reduce the number of times riders need to produce “power spikes” in-race relative to what they would be doing in an outdoor race.



How would that be done. Tell us a bit more.


How do we know how fast someone can turn? 





I think it would be done by imposing a “speed limit” on each turn. Those limits would be the same for everyone. There could be different speed limits for different turns based on how technical the turn is.

So, if you’re going 20 mph over the speed limit as you head into a turn, your avatar would slow down in order to be at the speed limit when you enter the turn.

An individual’s turning ability would not factor into how fast his/her speed limit would be. (Similar to how an individual’s descending ability does not factor into how fast he/she can go on descents currently).



So how would you slow down the bike? You know you can brake on a wheel on trainer.


“You” wouldn’t slow down the bike. Zwift’s system would automatically slow you as you are approaching a turn. Zwift would handle the braking for you.

Similarly, “you” don’t really cause the bike to accelerate on a descent, Zwift’s system calculates how fast you should be going based on how steep the descent is.

For those thumbs-downing the original post, what is the argument against my proposal?

No thumbs down here, just trying to understand. “we need to think out of the box”

So Zwift slows “you” down (basically just shows a smaller number as your speed) but then need to speed you up as well? Your wheel wont lose any momentum so you wont need to accelerate out of the turn so there wont be power spikes. 

You are responsible for re-accelerating by increasing the power you are applying to your pedals, just like in real life.

But your wheel never actually slowed down, your wheel is still doing 50mph so how will you speed up?



Interesting suggestion, speed in turns is one of the reasons (not the only one, but one of) why the speeds in Zwift are unrealistic.

The suggestion to set a maximum speed and a braking zone to each turn depending on the turn characteristic & complexity should work fine. In other terms, if you are going 30k over the turn speed set limit, the braking zone will be longer, then if you were only doing 15k over the turn speed limit. (However it should not be linear, the more speed, the braking should be a bit more aggressive)

On a smart trainer, the load could be set to 0 on the «braking zone» prior to the turn, then on the exit the load could be the one required to bring you back to the speed before the «braking phase».

On a non-smart trainer, it could work on a similar way (Watts done in the braking zone would be overrided to 0, and speed overrided to the required deceleration speed). Then you would need to do the watts to get you to your former speed at the exit of the turn.

Soon Zwifters will develop the habit to stop pedaling while cornering, because continuing would be just a waste of energy.

To get even more realistic, in the Braking zone, the screen could be offseted toward the turn. In other terms, instead of looking straight ahead in the braking zone, you would look on your right before a right turn or left for a left turn.

In the heat of battle on Zwift I find myself slowing for those U turns…just habit from days of actual racing. I am so inside the simulation I forget it is not real. Zwift is great, but riders that jump in a real world race may feel the effects of having to slow and hammer out of a ‘real’ u turn or 90 degree turn. In criterium racing it is power spike after power spike. Zwift is more of a solid hard TT effort (at 35 mph thru a u turn) 


It’s one of the main reasons Zwift’s speeds are unrealistic. And virtual braking isn’t some strange unknown concept. Tacx Training Software has used it for years, Road Grand Tours implements it too, and speeds on descents are much more realistic as a result. 

As it is corners basically don’t exist on Zwift, they are visual eye candy and nothing more, neither do road surfaces, it’s like riding a perfectly straight flat road the entire time. 

I think this is a good idea. Zwift doesn’t really encourage you to hammer on the power again after a corner which is something worth practising. It’d make the world more realistic. 

I did a comparison with Box Hill on Zwift and real life and the time was about 2 seconds out, going down though would be nowhere near. 

What’s the point of doing the circuits like London and Richmond if the segment times aren’t remotely similar

Mark if I understand your post. You suggest Zwift change the virtual speed thru the corners so that the time is more realistic. So if I turn my monitor off things will still feel the same.


Charlie, I don’t know how we can be encouraged to power out of corners like in real life. Although the idea is awesome. 

They could make your avatar crash if you take the turn to fast like in F1 games, but that will make people pull the brakes on there trainers to stop in the shortest distance (that is not good for a trainer) and it will start to be more like F1 game than cycling.

I tested breaking feature in and my conclusion is that I don’t want to see it in ZWIFT. For me ZWIFT is about workouts and racing where I do not need breaking.

I vote against breaking feature in ZWIFT.

Gerrie, you would not feel any difference in the way your trainer feels when you are in the “braking zone”.

The encouragement to power out of corners would come in races or group rides. If the other participants in the races/group rides are hammering out of the corner to get back up to speed, you will have to do the same or risk getting dropped.

If you’re just out for a solo ride, doing intervals, etc., you won’t need to ride any differently if you don’t want to. The only difference you will notice is that your total average speed will be a bit lower than it would be without the “braking zones”. However, as previously noted by many, average speeds on Zwift are higher than IRL (likely in part due to the lack of braking in turns), so that reduction is really making Zwift ride distances and average speeds more realistic.


In a workout, braking will have no impact. On the screen, it will say your speed is lower, but you can still put out whatever power you want.

In a race, braking will make the experience more realistic. Just as in an IRL race you would slow and then accelerate going in and leaving a corner, on Zwift, your avatar would slow (though you’re free to continue hammering the power if you want) going into the corner and leaving the corner, you would likely need to accelerate and hammer the power in order to hang with the group.

If you want to be training for and ready for that experience in an IRL road race of having power spikes when you make a turn, then you should be in favor of auto braking.

You would have to have some indication that braking is happening, on a normal view it could be a brake light on the back of the bike or some indication next to your power number - so that you don’t keep putting out power while on the brakes.

Fred: but if I go full power into the turn i don’t have to power out of the turn.


You can’t go full power into a turn in real life as you’ll crash into the scenery. You need to brake, corner, and then power out of the corner. It should work the same on Zwift.