Smart trainers "versus" classic trainers


I wanted to know the purpose of using smart trainers.

And I say this because:

In the Zwift game, there are people who use classic trainers and they fly on the roads!

I made the experience between using my smart trainers and the classic trainers.

With the classic trainers (Tacx Blue Twist), I can literally fly during any route, using the maximum watts / kg.

With smart trainers (Tacx Flow Smart), I can not do this!

That is, on a flat road I can not apply more than 1.5w / kg to 2.0w / kg, even if the road is down, my smart trainers block the speed…

It is with great difficulty that I can follow the other cyclists, after 30 minutes of training, I get tired legs, which is not the case if I use classic trainers!

I think it would be more interesting and equal, that the classic trainers used the same parameters that smart trainers use, making it harder on roads with ups and flat roads.

It is a matter of “equality” and “balance”, between those who have smart trainers and those who have classic trainers.

I hope you can make these corrections so that everyone enjoys your game on an equal basis!

Thanks a lot.

Merry Christmas for everyone.

Orlando Bernardo

This is exactly what I was concerned about. There should be a factor that can be applied to reduce the speed of conventional trainers according to the grade %.

Zwift uses the rear wheel speed to calculate wattage within the game. Zwift also uses know power curves of the trainers to get a more realistic experience within Zwift. If you are saying that conventional trainers are cheating then you are right and wrong. You can easily cheat within Zwift on a conventional trainer and a smart trainer just as easily. 

Hi Paul Allen,

This is not true, because I in my smart trainer (Tacx app), I put everything to zero, within the Zwift game, I also put all to zero, and either flat roads with some inclination, whether on slopes with great accent, I can’t ride with the speed that I ride if I use the classic trainer, the trainer


When I pedal and try to go faster my trainer makes a huge force that keeps me from speeding.

So how can I cheat on Zwift?


you need to research how Zwift works for classic trainers. Zwift calculates wattage based on the rear wheel speed and the power curve of the trainer.  If done correctly it can almost be as accurate as a smart trainer in terms of wattage.

You also need to make sure that your smart trainer is calibrated using the Tacx app.

I will not tell you how you can cheat within Zwift.

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Paul, do you work for zwift? Can you explain to me how can somebody climb Cul Du Zwift at 16 mph?

No, just been using Zwift for a long time.

Did they have the lighting bolt next their name? If so either their trainer was not calibrated or they enter a weight into their profile that was way lower than their real weight.

If no lighting bolt then my guess would be that the pressure on the rear wheel was too light.

It is a waste of energy to be so concerned about what someone else is doing in Zwift. It is out of your control and has no real bearing on how you are doing. There will always be cheaters in an online game.

Hello Paul,


What bothers me and a lot is that people using the smart trainers, do not have the same calibration as ZWIFT says, in my case, with the classic trainers I have to put in posição 3, but if I put in position 2 or 1, so I’m also going to hit records both in sprints, on the mountain and in the overall ranking of each lap.

The chance to compete with people using the classic trainers and that are not properly calibrated for this purpose, are impossible.

I used to participate in the events, but I gave up because I couldn’t keep up with the people that are using the classic trainers.

And as an example, are the sprints, the mountain and the overall time, regardless of the route, london, Watopia and richmond.

Do you think it fair that individuals who use the classic trainers are they appearing in the first place?!

Do you think normal, pass for you to flying, with 8 or 9w/kg???

Or are professionals or are the super man!

What is the purpose of people buy the smart trainers?

I think the Zwift should filter out the game and who have smart trainers run together, ho have classic trainers run together without mixing


And yes I use the app from TACX and my Tacx Flow Smart are updated and are calibrated!


And if I go on a flat road, more I try to gain speed, my rollers brake…

This is the same complaints that have been on the forums forever. There used to be a thread called something like “Don’t be a Flier”. Most of the complaints were about zPower users and them taking most of the jerseys.

Again worrying about what someone else is doing in Zwift is a waste of time and energy. If you see some you expect is cheat or is a flier you can report them using the Zwift app.

BTW, there are pros that use Zwift.

Hi Allen,

I know there in zwift are pros, but they’re very well identified.

And they do not use the zwift to show off!



To op - your smart trainer does not sound like it is set up correctly. You can also scale down the “feel” of a hill in settings to zero and then your smart trainer will feel like a classic trainer. Regarding zpower riders I am one and race often and almost every other rider at top of b group has a smart trainer or power meter so it’s not like zpower riders are winning races left and right. My zpower numbers are prob within 10% of my real power output


If I wanted to not worry about other riders, I would ride TR. The fact that I am riding on a social platform means that I want to ride with and against real people because I am a competitive rider and I push myself harder when I ride against others. So your dismissals make no sense to anyone who rides this platform to compete. When the competition is not on a reasonably level playing field, then it is worth asking about and also for Zwift to find ways to improve. I don’t think anyone is asking for absolute perfection but this is not an unreasonable ask. What is unreasonable is for you to repeatedly tell people that they shouldn’t care about what others are doing in what amounts to a race, because that’s not how you win.

We are having similar issues trying to get a smart trainer and classic trainer to play well together.  My wife and I have been ridding together IRL for many years and have a good idea of what normal is for us.  We just started with Zwift this fall with a Cycleops Fluid2.  So we could ride together we bought a cheap (supported) mag trainer.  It was fairly good but always seemed like one of us was working a little harder than normal in comparison.  We got so hooked on Zwift we upgraded and bought a Cycleops Hammer smart trainer.  Now we just cant ride together.  Whoever is on the fluid2 just pulls away from the smart trainer.  An FTP test is also very different.  We don’t have a power meter so we can’t really tell where the problem is but we assume the Hammer is fairly accurate.  Other than calibration of the smart trainer there isn’t much you can do as far as “trainer setup”.  If we had a speed sensor dropping or something the dumb trainer would read slower not faster.  We also don’t have any significant slippage on the dumb trainer or anything like that.  For now we have just given up on trying to ride together.  We probably won’t be able to upgrade the second trainer until next year so we would really like to get this to work.  We have only had the new trainer for a few weeks and will continue to investigate and try to do some testing but it gets old quickly.  We have made several attempts and at some point you just say the heck with it and just go off on your own so you can get in a ride.  We still love Zwift and this is working great for us in general but so far we are not able to ride together.  As time allows I will experiment more but so far our experience seems similar to Orlando’s.

I have just recently started using the Cycleops Hammer and find it to be about 10% harder than my CycleOps PowerSync.

I agree with the post regarding levelling the playing field - even in the digital world - it’s the reason a lot of people ride and it is what motivates many.

Rob. I’ve got a Hammer as well. Power accuracy matches my 4iiii power meter pretty well. I suggest dropping difficulty to about 40%. On 100% I find it way harder than riding the same gradient outside. That also allows me to apply power on downhills.

I think the original poster’s problems are more to do with a badly calibrated or cheap / poor accuracy smart trainer. I had a Kickr Snap and power accuracy was way off my power meter. Problem got worse as wattage increased and difference between Snap and power meter got further and further apart. e.g. 180 watts on Snap = power meter, 200 watts on Snap = 250 watts on power meter, 250 watts on Snap = 350 watts on power meter. I suspect many wheel on smart trainers have awful power accuracy and a dumb trainer with a known power curve is probably more accurate or certainly a more evenly applied power curve.

Re Fluid 2. I’ve got one and one thing I don’t get is how there can be a 30 - 40 watt difference in power when using ZPower on Zwift and virtual power on Trainerroad. Trainerroad was closer to my power meter when doing a test. You would expect both to be the same (and yes this after the Fluid 2 has warmed up). Not a big deal for me as usually I would be using my power meter as the power source on Zwift but an interesting test.