Robopacer range - what is going on?

Must be me then :rofl:

It’s just the effect of a huge group.

Yesterday I had 1:00:58 time for 41.22km on tick tock. The group was 277 in size.

There were also predictable breakaways at any uphill section, so maybe Coco should be doing 4.8w/kg uphill to stay with them. :wink:

I could stay with the group no problem, I just can’t ride for much more than 1 hour without saddle discomfort as a result of my injuries.


Like it! Going to be singing this all day long now!

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Hi All,

I want to resurrect this thread. It has been a long time and nothing has been done here.
The jumps from 1.8 to 2.2 and from 2.2 to 2.6 are too much.
For example, 2.0 is a perfect sweet spot recovery pace for a LOT of us after a race or event - 2.2 is too high and 1.8 is just too low. The jump from 3.7 to 4.2 seems pretty extreme as well. It’s nice to have so many options, but I’d rather see well thought out pacing based on actual usage data. Maybe user (FTP) data could be categorized into training zones by % of FTP?

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Can you ride alone with TT bike at 2.0w/kg? That way you won’t be affected by pace dynamics and can just focus on riding at 2.0w/kg.

Or how about a 2.0w/kg steady pace workout?

Maybe get creative and jump on the MTB or gravel bike to bridge the gaps?

Not the point of a group ride.

You mentioned recovery and in my experience the robopacer rides are not well suited to that with the variations in power and speed needed.

In the old days (2020) coco group on Tempus, yes, easy. Now, less so.

The other week my recovery ride was jump on a real bike and ride outside, the effort was less than riding with Maria group on Volcano circuit and no big uphill sprint each lap.

Dave’s idea of using a gravel bike is probably your best bet to try first. I did use a MTB once and if I recall correctly I found it actually was harder to use a MTB with Coco than it was to use a road bike with Yumi, but I’d have to go back and check to be sure. But a gravel bike on a lower pace partner might give you the average you’re looking for between two pace partners that seem to have a big gap. Maybe worth a shot.

Just make sure there aren’t extended dirt sections on the RP route if you’re using the MTB or gravel bike ‘hack’.

I made that mistake … once. I wasn’t paying attention, didn’t notice we had rolled on to dirt, and after about 10 seconds I was 50 metres ahead of Maria. :joy:

I noticed that on a gravel bike, the extra power needed varies with speed. As the road tilts up and speed lowers, you need to add 10 watts compared to normal as oppoaed to maybe 20 watts on the flats. I guess that’s a function of rolling resistance.

Not sure how much difference it makes if you ride a heavy bike with slow wheels. Some. If you use a climbing rig then you use a bit more power on the flats and a bit less on the climbs, for those wanting a steadier ride.

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You are absolutely right!

Update to this: I swapped out the Specialized Venge for the Aethos and the Zipp disc for the Lightweights riding with Maria and that meant that my average power was about 8 watts higher over a 2 hour ride.

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I think it’s a lot more nuanced than that. I usually do c.1hr rides with Maria, Coco and Yumi in both worlds. Actually the group size has a major impact, and if I choose a large group (typically Watopia flattish), it will definitely require me to average a much higher wkg than a small group with the same level pacer and frequently more than I’d have to with a small group with the next level pacer up. And then if I change to a slightly more or less aero bike (don’t need to switch to gravel), that also adjusts the effort levels. I never change my weight (or height!)

So overall, I choose my pacer predominantly based on group size and pacer level depending on whether I want to do recovery or stronger workout, and balancing that with the route (because I personally prefer a longer more varied route than a short flat loop for an hour’s ride). Finally adjusting the bike allows me to match the group size and route if my preferred route choice is not available with a small or large group size depending on what kind of workout I want. However, that final bike step is actually quite rare with a middle of the road (no pun intended) all-round setup.

Sounds complex?! A bit hit or miss to be fair, but means that the 1.8-2.9 advertised range is not just 3 pacer options for me. It’s actually a broad spectrum and I can work with quite fine adjustments in between…

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@Od_Avinu I’m glad to find out that I’m not the only one who puts so much thought into which pacer group I decide to ride with on a given day! I haven’t gone so far as to switch to a different bike, but I definitely look at group size + route to figure out which of the B pacers I select.

Coco, Maria or Yumi on Tempus will always be a very fast ride because it will have 200+ people. So you’d better be at the front of that group to avoid the braking effect of getting through the pack.

When robopacers were in France world the pace and experience was much better with the smaller groups.

Ha, actually it just evolved over time. But the point is that a large group for one pacer can often require a higher average wkg over a sustained period than a higher category pacer with a small group. If you add minor bike changes, I don’t think the published wkg gaps between any two adjacent pacers are that hard to bridge. Anyway, that’s my experience within the 1.8-2.9 range…

Fully agree it will be faster, but I’ve never properly understood why it should require materially higher wkg to keep up in a larger group. The pacer is a stated wkg average regardless of group size, and in a large group will benefit from the greater draft, but still keep to its published average wkg. So the riders in the group will also go faster, but surely need the same (relative) wkg to the pacer depending on their weight/ height etc. They have the same large group draft effect as the pacer.
However that’s not the case. The same pacer in a small group is slower (understandably), but the accompanying riders need to put out a lower average wkg to stay together.

I think the missing data here is how fast everyone is going and their watts. We can only see w/kg (which is not so important when descending and on the flats) on the HUD, on the right hand side. As a result, it makes it more difficult to gauge how much effort is required at any given moment to stay with the group.

Let’s assume the riders in the front are pushing out 600w, but it shows only 2.5w/kg for them. From your perspective, you don’t realise how fast they are going or how hard, until it’s too late. The change in their watts would give a heads up on the acceleration or deceleration and the speed would let users know what they need to do to stay with the group.

Relying on w/kg is not effective for pacing with pace partners, unless your weight is very similar to the pace partner and you can output the required wattage.

I suspect there is also automatic braking that occurs when you try to accelerate hard in the group to get out in front, (or trying to stay with the group) but their are riders blocking you. This means your effort goes nowhere and makes it more difficult to stay with the group.

Given the sensitivity around personal watts, speed probably would suffice. However, I’m not yet convinced to buy the controller so I can position myself better in the group.

They weigh 240kg? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Ha! I think I should have used more realistic numbers rather than exaggerate to make my point!