THIS could solve all of Zwifts Problems

“Zwift is a game, it will never be like outside riding”, that’s what I’m constantly thinking when something is wrong with Zwift.
For example, since the draft is not the same as outside, heavier riders are always in favor here. Lighter riders just have to work more.
The W/kg based racing system always favors heavier riders therefore, since there are simply no races where lighter riders could play out there adavantage.
Also, if you ride with a Pace Partner even I (70kg) have to hold more Watts AND higher W/kg than Coco to keep up with her. I JUST DON’T GET IT!
I was so frustrated today, I dowloaded RGT.

But what I recognized is, that as a cycling game you have to have a ■■■■ of a lot of riders, otherwise it’s just not that much fun. So Zwift has to be attractive even for the non geeks and therefore has to be simple.

Under this circumstance the W/kg based racing system is logical and pretty smart. But if we compete in W/kg we have to ride in W/kg.

So the solution for Zwift could be that it calculates speed only on W/kg!!

What I mean is:
If you hold 3 Wkg then you ride 30 kph for example.
If you hold 4 Wkg then you ride 40kph … and so on
If there’s a rider in front of you, you save 1 Wkg.
As simple as that. Doesn’t matter how much riders are in front, or if they are to the side you simply save 1 Wkg in the draft.

Think of it:

  • Racing in the lower categories would be attractive for more people and you would have more participants in races since more have a chance to win
  • TeamTimeTrials would work better
  • Even breaking away would surely work better and therefore would make A-racing more interesting since a break would be more of a race winning situation for EVERYONE and the blob would’t ride that much faster if they don’t organize
  • Drafting would be more predictable and therefore better. We don’t have breaks or “good” steering in Zwift. Drafting should be equally easy for everyone
  • Women could race with men just like that, what brings again more race participants
  • Sanbaggers could be more easily filtered out on the fly due to their numbers. If you have mass start now and some B/C riders are riding with A, they could get filtered maybe after 5 min.


I get it, but Zwift is a game with their own rules. They showed it on the UCI worlds, where they enabled powerups which is also not like outside. And they showed it with the implementation of Makuri which basically said: “Recreatiang the real Japan is just too restricting for a game designer.”
So if I were Zwift I would say: “Speed is based on W/kg since it’s attractive for more people and easier for the categorization. If you play Zwift you don’t ride outside, you play a game.”

It would also save a lot of active riders I guess. Man if I only look at the team I’m riding with, the lighter rider’s just don’t log on that often and cancel subscription on the first sunray in February.

Lighter riders have a definite advantage in hills in Zwift because it tends to be easier to put out a higher w/kg. Lighter riders also tend to have a smaller profile that causes less air resistance.

On the flats a heavier rider with higher absolute power might have some advantage.

You mention simple savings for drafting when we know that in real life you save more if you’re third it fourth in the line. So it could be as simple here as well.

Finally, it’ll never happen :smiley:

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Jep @Ales_Grm all of this is true.
But, Zwift is a game.

If I - as a lighte rider -want to draft a heavier rider in the real world, I just do that. I draft, because I can willingly control that by braking and steering outside. Then, when we’re on a hill, I can play my strength. Fair circumstances.

In Zwift, I will be randomly punished by the game to not put me in the draft, because I don’t control the avatars position 100% by myself. And if you get out of the draft, lighter riders have to put in more relative work than heavier riders to get back in the pack or to chase on at the speeds zwift races are done.
That’s also true!

Also: Zwift calculates air resistance on a complete guess by weight and height. Outside would be no guessing. I know for sure, that heavier riders don’t like to draft behind me outside, cause I get so low on the bars and don’t really shield them so much from the wind - they definetly have to work harder behind me. In Zwift this effect is definetly not as strong, cause the game “guesses” it for everyone different.

Also, if a heavier rider is holding the same W/kg than another rider, he will go faster uphill in Zwift. Yeah, I know lighter riders can maybe hold this FTP Efforts for longer. But hills in 99% of Zwift races are not longer than 20mins. So this advantage is basically only existent on 1% of the game.

Zwift is just not like outside riding and will never be.


But it’s just not equally fair calculated at the moment.

All in all Zwift should be fun and what makes it fun, is a big community with a lot of high attended races and the thrill, that everyone can win a race.

Honestly, I’m riding A-Cat, but I’m constantly thinking: “Zwift is not fair, so why should I be fair and race A, when it’s more fun in the lowr categories for me?”

I believe they use a formula not a guess.

You should play to your strength and race longer hilly races not the flat roads.

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I mean, you’re saying it all along, Zwift is a game. And it has it’s rules already, so why not simply play by them? Many want some approximation of “reality” and this is what Zwift currently appears to deliver.


Yep, it’s a formula, which has to guess body composition, fat proportions and bone structure of humans which is different for everyone.
So ultimately, even if it’s a formula, it’s just a random guess for every specific rider which doesn’t translate to outside riding.

If I could find medium hilly races as regularly like Downtown Dolphin Crits with the same attendance, I’ll let you know. :wink:

You’re right again here :relaxed:

All I’m saying is, Zwift COULD be a better place for everyone and would be attractive for more people.

If they would implement more realism, they should do car traffic and stop lights. :wink:

Races don’t have car traffic and stop lights. We’re all racing in Zwift, even if we’re not in a race :smiley:

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Sandbagging is always a big discussion in Zwift and recently I think for myself, if sandbagging is okay.
There are a lot of reasons for people to sandbag!

After a 100 Races on Zwift you realize, that the results aren’t really fair. In lower categories the heavier riders always wins because the algorithm favors them in drafting. And if you dont draft correctly as a lighter rider you get punished. But drafting is not in your own hands, it’s in the hand of the “Zwift drafting Algorithm” which puts you either in or out of the draft. So outsmarting people with physics is not an option.

Then you realize: “Okay, you have to learn drafting in race situations. So the more Race-Drafting experience you have, the better you will get at drafting.”
Guess what, it’s smarter to train this in a lower cat than you belong to, cuz you simply can do more events then.

Draft Training on a Pace Partner I hear you say? Yeah, sure. That washing machine effect is the same as a race situation. /irony

Another reason would be, that you want to be motivated by othe riders but want another (mostly lower) training effort but there’s simply no PacePartner or Group ride on in the zone you want to train in. Why not simply use one of that many races?

Zwift doesn’t want category enforcement cuz that would lead to more and more people leaving the plattform, because they can’t create an algorithm thats suits the majority of people.

I started another thread which could potentially solve this problem.
Feedback Forum / “THIS could solve all of Zwifts Problems”

But untill Zwift is making the game equally fair for all people, sandbagging IS a valid option. And ZwiftHQ knows that I guess.

6 posts were merged into an existing topic: Why people sandbag? Sandbagging?

True, it is different for everyone but, in the interests of being pedantic, Zwift won’t be guessing body composition. What they will be doing is using an assessment of what an “average” or “typical” example of someone of a particular weight and height will be like.

There might be no one specific person in the whole world who matches it exactly, but it will be close enough to be meaningful in the vast majority of cases.

Imagine what the Zwift sign up process would be like (and how long it would take) if you had to enter enough, specific personal data to get an absolutely accurate measure of what your air resistance would be in the real world … and then having to re-enter the new data every time you updated your weight in game.

From what I have read and heard of John and Eric’s goals for Zwift, accurately replicating the real world cycling experience was never the goal … making indoor training more fun was.

The fact that so many people have so many strong opinions about what they should and shouldn’t do going forward shows how well they have done that and, speaking for myself, after 3 and a half years (and almost 13,000km) on the platform I genuinely don’t have many complaints.

Some … but not many.

Nailed it there. So why don’t we take all this “good guesses” and simply strip them away?

Let everybody compete just based on W/kg-Speed. Ori in other words: The same relative effort to their bodyweight.

I understand the point of Zwift. It should - and is fun. I also have more than 13.000 Km down on the plattform.

I think what the mojority of the racing community want’s, is just a fair system which doesn’t particularly favor someone. A System where tactics come into play and everybody in the race has to work equally hard.
A system where you can train your weaknesses and become better.
Right now you can’t really train the randomness of dropping out of the draft.
You cant train to sense/see/feel a rider you’re drafting off is bigger/heavier/lighter/smaller than you.

Just finished reading a thread before, where the Creator suggested a similiar system only based on speed - which would also be a good idea.

Honestly I wouldn’t care if it’s not as realistic as outdoor, as long as it’s fair.

I think you’re going off down a weird rabbit hole.

Zwift does a great job of modelling speed, when compared to industry standard modelling software like BestBikeSplit. Of course, it is not going to account for all real world variables - like cross winds, technical skills, constantly varying CdA etc. Over time Zwift can maybe add some more interesting variables to improve gameplay, but the system is not really ‘unfair’ to any particular subset of riders, unless you are looking at where the category divisions are drawn, which is a different topic covered elsewhere.

Your suggestion is to take a pretty good modelling system, and make it way worse - because at least then you can do better.

I think you just need to get over this one to be honest.


So your suggestion is that, instead of continue to try and improve the in-game mechanics to better align with IRL riding (and noting that I said “better” - as the current approach is not just guess work as you suggest but rather based on science but with certain assumptions made to limit the user inputs what can realistically be recorded), Zwift should just ditch the system all together and simply assume a direct relationship between w/kg and in-game speed (which is even less reflective of real world performance)???

Seems like a step backwards to me…


Yeah, looks that way. But let me confirm, I don’t care about podium or a little yellow symbol next to my name. I care about good competition. I’m actually riding A-Cat so this implementation wouldn’t help me at all.

So why am I writing this thread?
It’s no outside riding. You can’t break, you can’t choose line, you can’t decide who to draft of, man you even cant’t decide to draft 100% alltogether. It ultimately comes down to raw watts.

It’s like you enter a Race with 5 liters of gas but every heavier rider get’s 10.

And even if the algo and guesses by zwift are getting better you will still be sitting on your trainer in the garage and it will not be like outside riding!

So why is zwift chasing something down which is not achievable, when an easier solution would be more fair.

Instead of telling me “I should get over it”, tell me where my logic is wrong. Maybe this helps more :relaxed:

If you’re not right in the middle of the Bell-Curve it will always be a guess!

Zwift races are basically crits. Even the races that are not crits, are still basically crits. Pure watts mostly wins as in real life. Heavier riders win crits. On the occasions where they don’t, it is because of the skill of positioning and cornering, which is not easy to replicate on Zwift (but with steering and some better cornering dynamics, maybe this can be improved).

It is not ‘unfair’ if you are a lighter rider, it could, however be more fun. This is where a rankings based matchmaking system comes in. Then you are racing riders of roughly similar skill/ability, so maybe you will race more strong light riders, and more weaker heavy riders. Sometimes you may win, sometimes you may lose, and the system will roughly rank you appropriately.

You are mixing up fairness with equalization. They’re not the same thing.


Yes, thank you. That sounds logical and holds true.

So because we lighter riders cant position, steer or corner in Zwift we should just suck it? :sweat_smile:

Zwift is basically no Crit, because you don’t decelerate and accerlerate. Look at a power profile from an outside crit and an inside crit from the same rider. Outside is a spikey power profile inside is Steady effort with 10 accelerations and a sprint at the end.

Zwift is not comparable to outside riding so it shouldn’t be calculated as outside.

THIS could solve all of YOUR problems

just look at the results, order by w/kg highest one wins if that’s what you care about?


No. I care about relative Effort in the Draft.
I basically want Zwift to implement something that makes heavier riders work more in the draft because otherwise it’s unfair.