RoboPacers to reflect female weights

I’ve recently joined Zwift and after a few weeks tried one of the RoboPacer rides. I joined the one closest to a hard, but not full out, W/kg level and found it a lot harder than I expected to. I then realised all RoboPacers weigh 75kg and it all makes sense. I am a 57kg rider with a W/kg of 2.6, so if I joined a 2.2 RoboPacer thinking I was going to do a fairly easy ride on a flat route, then they are actually pushing out nearer 165 watts and not the 125 watts I was looking for. Also explains why I end up flat out on the flat bits and shooting past lots of people on the inclines, which made for a very fragmented ride.
Maybe the next evolution of RoboPacers needs to take into account different weight categories, especially female riders who are less likely to be close to 75kg! Otherwise the RoboPacers don’t give a good ride, you end up working over hard on the flat and cruising up the hills to stay with them.

Interesting point, and it makes sense. I wonder if they’ll think of it like they think of world access–if they have too many Pacers running around, the groups for each Pacer would be smaller. The way they run Pacers now, with the distance of the Pacer’s ‘influence area’ getting bigger as you get more riders riding, big groups are definitely preferable. But I’d think even one lighter Pacer in a given category (D,C,B,A) would be feasible.

I think what they did was put the pace partner weight at the average Zwifter weight overall if I remember correctly. Originally they had some that were light, and some that weighed more, but then the variability between pace partners was all over the place depending on what you weighed, so jumping up and down a pace partner could be a big or small difference in power depending on your weight and the terrain etc., now the jumps are at least predictable.

If you are lower weight you have to push harder on flats, but find it super easy on climbs, if you are heavier you have less trouble on flats, but climbs become very difficult, so really the only ones riding at the same wattage as the pace partner are those at the 50th percentile in weight across the platform.

At least now, if you ride on flat terrain (which most people seem to want to do with pace partners given the numbers on Tempus Fugit vs. climb routes), the pace partner jumps in effort will be somewhat consistent once you learn what they are for your weight.

Not sure what he best solution is. It seems they tried to make it as good as they could within the game physics: Maybe Zwift can modify the physics for people playing the ‘drops game’ to put everyone at the same weight as the pace partner so everyone is pushing the same wattage at that point? Or modify it so everyone has to do the same w/kg etc? In one instance light riders will complain they are going too slow, and in the other heavier riders will complain I imagine.

They could add more pace partners, and open up new worlds - like have all light partners on France, all 75kg partners on Wattopia, and some 100kg pace partners on Makuri or something like that, but then that’s a ton of pace partners and they mentioned the UX isn’t good enough to scroll through that many items effectively yet.

That’s why I was wondering if just 4 new PPs would be workable. Add one D level lighter PP, one C level, etc. Label them very clearly (“Bernie-Lite”, lol). It wouldn’t be as much choice as the average weight PPs, but it would be something.

Lighter weight pace partners as an additional option would be great, have them as 65kg.

And make them go at steady pace uphill without accelerating up to say 4.6w/kg.

Instead why not have the Robo pacers ride at a given power level ( +/- x%) in watts (not w/kg) . That way you can pick a pacer that is going to ride at the power level that you require and weight is then irrelevant.

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Well today the pacers do ride at a certain raw power at a constant weight of 75kgs, but it’s increased by a bit on climbs, and decreased a bit on descents. The issue is more that a lighter rider will experience the hills (both up and down) much differently than a heavier rider at the same power - a constant power by a bot that weighs 75kgs will feel different for a 50kg rider vs. a 100kg rider - a 50kg rider will blow away from the pacer going uphill at the same power, and a heavier rider will have to greatly increase their power on that same hill. For a 75kg rider it works fine and the rider will just have to adjust to whatever the increase/decrease you see on up-hills/downhills, but those increases/decreases are magnified by the weight differential given the physics.

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If RPs are heavier than yourself, what is the downside of just changing your weight to 75kg before each pacer ride, and then choosing the right wattage target?

Discussed in depth starting right around here -

Yeah… that discussion looks like a mess, except the brilliant ideas put forth about having RPs run Z2 and Z3 group workout rides :wink:

I think the argument against raising one’s game weight for RP matching was that you might have to choose a different Robopacer than you’d been riding with previously? Is that it?

uh, shouldn’t you be riding with your weight set at your real life weight?

Adjusting weights away from that isn’t the right way - and remember the almighty furore over racers adjusting their weight heavier to go excessively fast downhill (that loophole is gone).

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As long as you remember to reset it afterwards, pretty much nothing - unless you want to do races at any point ever.

Another alternative might be to use a similar algorithm to that used in the group works on Zwift - i.e. if a rider puts out the same w/kg as the Robopacer they stay together.

*group work-outs

If you change it back after each RP ride, there should be no impact to racing, unless you’re talking about someone who does nothing but Robopacer rides and then decides to race for the first time.

Ideally you shouldn’t have to change your weight and instead Zwift institutes a power or speed bias setting that would be more tunable. But we’re talking about only for free rides with RPs, and only talking about making one’s in-game weight heavier. So anyone opting to do this would be going slower than they could be, but doing this in order to have their in-game physics match the RP’s on uphills and downhills.

Perhaps what is needed is some intensive testing to make the behaviour of the dynamics work properly for light weight riders in big groups of 100-150 riders.

At the moment it really doesn’t unless you work very hard to stay very close to the front. If you are at the back it’s like riding with the brakes on.

I can ride with Constance group and do sub 50 minute ADZ laps, so an hour with the Coco group on Tempus should be pretty easy but it ends up having to ride with 3.0w/kg in order to not be permanently stuck at the back and at risk of getting dropped.

Mocking about with false weights and pace modifications is ignoring that there are still some faults with the pace dynamics in huge groups.

So would you be terribly upset if I made myself 200kg for the downhills and kept my normal (correct) light weight for everywhere else? That used to be possible and it was deemed cheating.

I was posing a (perhaps imperfect) solution you could implement today. Could something else be done longer term – probably and I’m not saying it couldn’t be.

On a RP ride, I could care less if someone made their in-game weight heavier than it really is. This thread is about adding more RPs that have lighter weights, so I’m not sure why you’re bringing up some flaw that used to exist and seemingly mattered for races – where I guess it was possible on the fly to switch your weight up or down.

Are you sure? I thought CE did some sampling of your weight across the last 90 days to find an average in order to determine your power PRs for deciding your category.

Happy to be proven wrong. As with all things CE, it’s all a bit opaque.

Supposedly it’s based on an average of the weights at which the PRs were recorded.

Raising weight when training can help avoid an upgrade in racing category (except for people already in A).