Robo pacers don't provide draft

Since the end of last week the average power required to keep up with Constance seems to have increased significantly. While on previous rides i averaged around 260 watts, since last week i have to do almost 300 watts to keep up with her.

The speed is more or less the same as before, but it feels as if there was much less draft provided by the pace partner. Has anyone experience the same, please? Is this a change that will remain, or is it some sort of a bug that will get fixed?

EDIT: as mentioned in the comments below, the other robo pacers seems to be affected by this problem too

Thanks in advance for all your inputs!

Have you accidentally switched to a gravel bike/wheels?

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no, @David_Galbraith, it’s the same weight & same setup all the time - i’ve been using a tron bike.

The same with 3.2 240W Pace Partner. 238W@72kg avg was minimum to stay in ~30 riders group.

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thanks a lot, @Tadeusz_Wlodarczyk_Z! i got the same feedback from friends on strava. it seems that several people are experiencing the same problem with the B bots, too.

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I think it’s large groups and sometimes groups of fast riders getting at the front and towing the entire group faster.

I think I’ve been in a ride with Marek above (Constance on Tempus course) where a certain rider will join and go at 4.8-6.0w for very long distances. Then everyone has to go much faster.

Yumi group pace varies a lot, depending on whether everyone stays behind the robo pacer or not.

I’ve also had auto braking slow me down while trying to through a robopacer group. I was powering up at 46km/h and got bumped back to 42km/h by the rider ahead. I noticed the same thing happen to other riders.

Interesting effect given sticky draft is supposed to be long gone… this behaviour only in recent weeks.

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Large groups will go faster but the Pacer and people around it in the bunch will do the same power at higher speed.

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Hey @Chris_Denton_LACC, nice to see you outside of Watopia, too :blush: People pushing the pace at the front are one thing, but even with them around the average pace goes up at most by 10-20 watts on a 100km ride in my experience. Since end of last week the difference is much higher and it has been confirmed by several of the other regulars we’re riding with.

I also doubt this would be the cause of the problem because even if i stayed right behind the pace partner i had to do 4.1wkg on flat parts of the route to keep up with her. Join us tomorrow morning if you have time, it would be nice to hear from you too how the pace / draft feels.

Thanks, @Gerrie_Delport_ODZ! Even though i don’t think this is the root cause of the current problem, i think what Chris meant was related to smaller groups which are common for Constance.

When there are just 3-4 riders with the partner and one pullls the bot at a higher pace, the draft of a smaller group is not enough to eliminate the increased pace. In cases like that gaps also open much more easily and constant chasing might increase the average watts per ride… Again, on a 100km ride in my experience, this is not more than 10-20 watts - much less than the difference i started experiencing from the end of last week.

I didn’t think auto-braking and PD4 was enabled for any of the worlds yet. Where did you get braking with a pacer bot? Has PD4 been enabled by default somewhere?

PD4 has not been enabled outside of selected events.

If the draft is to small then the pacer will also not increase speed.

Remember that the pacer is at a set wattage so no matter how many people ride together the wattage stay the same so if you are right behind the pacer you will do the same effort with or without a group.

Only the speed change.

Okay, @Gerrie_Delport_ODZ, i think i understand what you mean. In either case, i guess this is probably not the answer to the initial question why the average wattage increased. Would you agree?

Same experience here with Constance and glad it’s not just me! I’ve been riding with Constance consistently since last November and something definitely changed over the weekend. The bot seems to accelerate much faster up climbs (and on descents even when its w/kg are lower). I get far less draft effect than before. Normally if hold 4.0 - 4.2 steadily in the group, I’ll roll through to the front, pass the bot, get back on in the draft, pass the bot, etc - no matter the size of the group, even solo. That’s not really the case anymore, I’ll get gapped off if I pass the bot and have to push hard just to get back on. Yesterday on Volcano Circuit in a group of 7 or 8 there were gaps opening up all over the place which is not normal for as flat as that loop is. I don’t even want to pass the bot anymore because it will take off once it’s in my draft!

I even swapped bikes yesterday to the tron bike to be equal with Constance because I thought maybe something had changed with my usual bike setup. I’d be OK with a higher w/kg bot, but what’s annoying is the jumpiness in acceleration and less draft, it’s like the bot is attacking the group lol.

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Thanks a lot for your feedback, @Daniel_Lam72852! It’s indeed very comforting to know that we’re not just imagining these problems :smile: Hopefully things get back to normal soon!

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No problem, thank you @Marek_Polacek_EVO for posting about this! I visited here the other day and thought there would be a thread on this since it seemed obvious to me something had changed for the worse, but no one had reported anything. So I thought it was just me!

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That’s the new normal Bot behavior, they accelerate up the climbs. It is dynamic pacing.

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Sometimes it is more dynamic than others even on the same route.

I’ve had rides where average power was 25w higher than previous day, even considering the dynamic element.

It seems to be around when big group is about and ahead of the robot pacer so you end up doing 50km/h or more on the flat parts of Tempus. If that’s the case them my average power will be far higher. Maybe it’s also because I’m very light.

You should join Marek and I sometimes with Constance and see.

I’ll capture video next time showing the speed getting bumped down showing that what doesn’t exist does exist in some form or another.

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i think @Gerrie_Delport_ODZ the key here is that now everything feels more sudden.

just like Daniel, i also spend quite a lot of time with Constance every day so i have a pretty good understanding of what to expect. we are familiar with the dynamic pacing, know when to expect Constance to go 4.6wkg, know by heart where on a route she surges, or when she rests on downhills… but i don’t recall being dropped by the bot in the past few months while doing 5wkg uphill…

and just as in one of my previous posts, i would like to point back to my initial question with the numbers. why have the average warrage increased by almost 40 watts?

Just finished another ride. Today I was with Constance in Makuri, alone from start to finish. I got dropped after 40 minutes. My ride average was 328 watts.

To put this into perspective, before last thursday i used to do 100 or more km with Constance 5 times a week without any significant issues.