I would like to have the ability to adjust the difficulty of a ride by around ±10 percent, for example.
Suppose I’m participating in a ride at a pace of 1.5 watts per kilogram (w/kg). My intention is to join the ride and maintain a pace of 1.4 w/kg. This approach would allow me to engage in a group ride while training at the specific intensity I desire, essentially using the group as a training partner rather than relying solely on my personal pace.
The difference in wattage between two pacemakers can sometimes be quite abrupt.
I speculate that altering my weight might be a way to achieve this, but I’m not inclined to go down that route. Alternatively, a lightweight option by session could be explored.
What if when you joined the RP it created a start/finish arch that only you could see, and gave you a route progress bar in the usual way except starting from that custom start point?
Separately, I like the RPs. The one thing that I’d like to see fixed is the size of the Drops multiplier zone, which is way too small (and therefore too easy to fall out of) when the group is quite small.
Overall I’m pretty happy with RoboPacers, and I join one most of the time when I Zwift. I use them because I prefer to ride in a group rather than on my own. I don’t use Zwift for structured training, I just want to get on and ride with people whilst I get some cardio in, and they are always there when I start riding, rather than me needing to arrange myself around a group ride or event start time.
I tend to go for the largest group that’s going at about the pace (W/kg) I want. If one D.Miguel has 80 riders with them, and another has 30, I’m going with the first one. That means I’m riding the same routes most of the time which is a little uninteresting, but it is what it is given my general preference to ride with more people than fewer.
Something I don’t like is sometimes getting “dropped” inadvertently, sometimes by getting too far off the front. The distance I can be in front or behind seems to vary either by pack speed or group size. I’m not sure which, but either way it seems sometimes I can be 40m off the front and be OK, while other times I’m being warned to drop back much sooner. The clarity as to how close I am to being dropped isn’t there.
Yes, it’s probably my own fault, but sometimes I get carried away or distracted.
I’d like to see some indication of where on the route the pacer/group is. Just something simple would do the trick. I don’t know but I feel like sometimes knowing how much left there is to complete a loop would keep me riding long enough to do that rather than dropping out.
I’d like an option to turn off the repetitive scripted “conversation” from the bots. Or at least have a lot more variety in what they say. To me it’s just noise. They’re not AI-backed, so it’s not like you can have a “conversation” with them, and they’re not responding to anything someone says.
Something that might be cool in the RoboPacer of the Future™ would be something that does use generative AI to engage in conversations with people around it. Or even something that knows who’s within the group, does a DB lookup for events they’re signed up to and says something like “Hey, Daren, good luck in your race later!” Or it could say “Good morning, Daren” when I join the group, based on my local time, “Nice FTP bump you got yesterday, Daren!”, “Tough race just now, Daren!” if I rode at VO2max for x minutes, etc. The RoboPacers (could) have access to all the data to enable personalisation, and I feel like there’s a lot of scope to make RoboPacers really feel like someone I’m riding with, rather than something.
Of course, this would also come with privacy settings so individuals could disable such RP interaction if they wish.
Alright, here are a couple questions in poll format to help me make sure I’m following the thread correctly. Essentially, I’d like to put a few numbers to some of the big points I’m seeing from you all. This is a good discussion so far, thank you!
Static or dynamic paces?
The group is important to me when riding with a Pacer.
I’m here for the social aspect.
I want a consistent ride above all else.
Both of these are important to me.
The Pacer chat is something I care about.
It’s fun and cheeky. Keep it.
Don’t care for it, axe it.
It doesn’t matter to me one way or another.
The drops radius around Pacers is something I’m okay with.
This is of course a thread that’s not even trying to hide the fact that I’m looking for feedback on Pacers. There are a lot of assumptions I had about usage based on the data we have, and I also wanted to gut check some stuff with folks that would be willing to have the discussions here before I spun up a larger body of work to survey folks.
Mostly I was curious in understanding possible answers to the question of “if we were to start making changes to Pacers today, what would be the most impactful and beneficial changes we could make?”
It’s been really cool to just have a chat about it.
For me the most annoying aspect of Pacer is the fact that sometimes the distance to be ahead of Pacer or behind, can be as little as 8m and other times as much as 40m.
Yes, a get that it is dependent on pack size. But wouldn’t not a standard distance be better irrespective of pack size. Say 30m.
Its hard to stay within 8m irrespective of which pacer one is following. Thanks
Gives me a consistent power zone target without doing ERG mode.
Like having different paces depending on what I am targeting
Nice to have people around to help pass the time
The “motivational” comments are long in the tooth now. Not a hard dislike but I wouldn’t be sad if they were gone altogether
Most all the time I will avoid picking a bot on a hillier route as I’m there for a stable power output. So having flatter profiles more consistently. Don’t really care which world it’s in, but would be nice to know there’s a flat course for at least one of the two Genie/Constance bots as an example. Feel good if it’s 2 within close wkg to eachother than I can fit my target in that I want.
The drops multiplier radius seems too low when the bot has a very small group.
I’m also not sure if the radius changes as the group size increases/decreases. Sometimes feels like it doesn’t
Like to see:
Ability to make my own at whatever wkg I want and whatever route I want. Fine if it’s visible to others but also understand it might get crazy in some worlds if everyone has their own partner they create. Would be nice to be able to adjust that pacer on the fly as well
I like the dynamic pacing because when they didn’t increase W/kg on ascents I found I had to really soft pedal not to drop the pacer. With dynamic pacing it’s easier for me to keep within the pacer radius.
Current Pacer chat is kind of pointless and repetitive. They could be so much more though: use the bots to actually announce news - reminders of recent app updates, announce the latest monthly mission, new challenges, planned maintenance etc.
Many, many riders do not use the forum or otherwise engage with Zwift outside of the game. The RoboPacers are ideal tools for engaging with them but they’re just not being used for that.
Either invest some ongoing Zwift staff time in making RoboPacer chat relevant (like a community outreach intern) or kill it off.