To cheat or not to cheat

So I’m 270lbs or 122kg trying to get back on the bike used to do 50 mile per week outdoors and enjoyed it but life as it does got in the way , so now I have a Tacx set up with a speed and cadence sensor
After a bit of reading I have found out why everyone passes by at alarming rates it’s cos I’m fat lol and the algorithm is set to chubby but in the real world I can go up a hill at 6/7mph not 3 I’m not that bad.

So far I’ve stuck to the real game settings but to hit the ftp training is almost impossible I’m good for a bout 20 mins at that rate and I’m shot I don’t know how I can even complete 45 mins of that torture

However I dropped my weight to 160lbs and it was no problem keeping up and also nice to pass some people

So what do I do tag along at the back and go up hills at 3 mph or peddle the weight off enjoying myself and at least look like I’m competing

Thoughts please does anyone else think the algorithm is a little out

If it’s just for funsies, group ride, workout etc., do what you want.

If it’s a race, stay legit. No one likes a weight doper.


No one likes “game” physics which act extremely benefical for light weights.
As long as Zwift is using weight as limiter for racers people will cheat.
It should be based on %FTP.
In the end its a game.

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Cheating isn’t acceptable in a game either. :stuck_out_tongue:

And this is just as open to abuse.

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Again the physics ingame are a real handicap for heavy users! And of course in the flat.
It is to W/kg heavy. Someone who is punching 5 w/kg at around 60 kg into the pedals is not riding equal speed than someone pushing 5 w/kg weighting 80 kg! Heavy rider is faster by a lot in real life!
The slip stream is the biggest joke.
In a race i can easily recover. Not in Zwift.

Also the base speed is incredible high. At around 2 w/kg it is easly possible to rider around 33 km/h :open_mouth::open_mouth::open_mouth:
I guess many people love to rider therefore on Zwift.

Dont get me wrong here. I like riding in Zwift but when it comes to racing…

  1. People use whatever weight fits best … This is the biggest problem.
  2. A real base for competition which is unable to manipulate is missing! Powermeters tend to measure different not by a lot but vary. Some more than others. Next problem.
  3. and so on …

Yes, that’s true … and that’s what I like, actually … like a lot …

I’m a little bit overweighted “Mr. Porky Pig” (no offense, just 91kg/183 cm) … and weight handicap here in game is a real motivation to reduce my weight … which, in the end (as I honestly believe) I will appreciate later - in summer while riding my real bike in the real world (thus no cheating possible) …


I keep zwift as accurate as possible, I even started added 3 pounds to account for the weight of the water bottles. Trainer difficulty set to max, because my gears feel correct.

I do this because, of course, I want zwift to transfer into real world expectations. Im not going to be winning any races soon, Im not their yet physically. But Im able to see the rapid gains over the past six months and its nice to know the data wasnt skewed.

I do races on zwift but they are ultimately against myself. I dont ‘believe’ anything on zwift in regards to other players because theres just too much in between them, their trainer, computer, and zwift to know for sure if its the same experience that Im having. If I was in a room with them then I would.

I say all that because if you cheat, no one will really know or care. You will, of course. But I as a general rule have to assume that whoever is in front of me or behind is or isnt cheating on zwift, because there is just no way to know. The only constant I have is myself and my trainer.


I am around your weight (113kg) and I found some of the same things, but I have been using it as a motivator to try and keep up. Last night I did the tour stage 1 and had to wring out 225 watts average for an hour to keep up with those doing 170 watts. I don’t see anything super grossly inaccurate, but I will say riding on a direct drive trainer made it easier to produce power than my wheel on. I will probably finish dead last on the alpe stage but that’s ok.


No doubt you are right but its just a tiny piece of pizza here. :grimacing:
You are seeing the Gorgonzola part of the Pizza but look over to the Cottage cheese Pizza piece …

If you are @ ~ 400 W over 20 min @ 80 kg (5/kg) and close to 7 % body fat and loose against someone pushing 250 W @ 50 kg or 300 W @ 60 kg around equal body fat you will overthink your answer.

In real life you would smah both of them but here … the higher the power output over an hour is the harder it will be to maintain it. Its much harder to push 500 W for a 100 kg person than pushing 250 W for a 50 kg person. But of course you can use it as a motivator - no question. :sleeping:

Of course as a pure fitness tool it is great! But that is not the question here! :woozy_face::sob::sleeping:


Hi guys thanks for your replies I’m going to keep it real and hopefully I can tolerate everyone sailing past I under the physics a little more now so I’ll see how improve over the next few months thanks for the answers


I agree that racing is the wild west and hard if not impossible to police. But that doesn’t mean we should encourage people to do the same.

As far as I can see, racing on Zwift will never be a truly level playing field. And that doesn’t just come down to the physics engine or aerodynamic modelling. Even if that were all a completely accurate simulation of the real world, trainer accuracy comes into play as you say.

There are large differences between different models, of course. A Neo versus a Vortex Smart for example. Both smart trainers, but very different in terms of what they deliver. The latter is widely claimed to overestimate power by much more than the claimed 10%, but even that is significant. Let’s say two riders actually riding at 200W. One might be reporting 198W to Zwift, the other 220W. Get to higher power numbers and of course the difference is exacerbated.

Then you have variance between different trainers from the same model line. A Neo’s 1% is an average over a bunch of tests and units; so any two specific units could themselves have a 2% or more difference between each other.

IIRC one reason the Concept 2 rowing machine has competitions and records that people trust is because every unit is calibrated individually, so they are directly comparable to each other. I don’t know how true that is, or if indoor rowers just aren’t too bothered by a few Watts here and there… =)

So yeah, with Zwift racing we have to take it for what it is. But I think there’s a future in “physical esports” such as Zwift racing, and I’m sure the big trainer players will be keen to do what they can to support that too. I wouldn’t be surprised to have single-model races either. Or at least mixed races with results for each model of trainer in the mix.

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@Daren so basically racing online doomed for discrepancies in other words it is senseless to race against others in aspect of racing on equal basis.

I don’t think so. It seems to be getting bigger and bigger, despite the idiosyncrasies.

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It will eventually come to a head. My other hobby is auto racing, and even in a spec class with sealed engines, sealed ECUs, spec tires, its still a disaster to manage and enforce. If zwift starts paying out race winners and such, they will have to come up with a spec system that can somehow remotely ensure its properly calibrated, and the rider using the system has entered their correct weight and height.

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Well, I have a Tacx Neo Smart and for training it’s great. For events, I think not so. Yesterday I did my first event ride, yes Tour de Zwift. I thought I was riding with the Pro’s. But, a strange thing happend at the first hill, I passed about 200 riders with ease… but going downhill I was passed by 300 riders and I was dying on my bike.
I new to Zwift and bikeracing. Bikeriding is the one thing I can do to keep fit because of a knee injury. I was lucky to enter level 4 and got a pair of fast wheels… and on 20 january I will end up second last :slight_smile: but I will have fun… and pain :slight_smile:


Welcome to smart trainers on Zwift. Compared to a traditional trainer, the smart trainer adds resistance going up hill (easier to produce watts) and assists on the descents (difficult to produce watts). As a result, you will pass people going up and lose them going down. You can adjust the settings to limit the terrain effect if it bothers you (recommended for racing).

Every unit is calibrated individually, so they are directly comparable to each other. I don’t know how true that is

@Daren, It is.

Every flywheel is factory calibrated to have the same mass.
On each stroke, actually during the recovery phase, the flywheel slowing down is monitored (they call that drag factor) and this is the key to calculate the power on the drive phase. Regardless of high, temperature, humidity, etc, etc. This straightforward and smart way to auto calibrate is, of course, unavailable on bikes because there is not a recovery phase.

No one likes “game” physics which act extremely beneficial for lightweights.

@Pitch, IMHO Zwift physics IS correct.

And being Zwift races mostly flat courses, big guys are advantaged, not damaged. Of course, when I say big I mean muscular, because fat does not generate power.

I’m 64 kg and 165cm in height, I need nothing but my eyes to know I need to put every day more w/kg than a big guy to be in the draft. Climbs are different matters, but climbs what?

I’d add I’m in Zwift with my C2 indoor rower (to level 30 in less than one year), and I’m not a legitimate biker, so I’m inherently a cheater.

And then I cheated, a few weeks ago, and I upgraded my weight to 85 kg, my height to 180cm, and I upgraded in proportion my watts. I may submit to Zwith whatever I want because Zwift does not natively support the rower and I need a Raspberry in the middle to convert power and cadence.

Ok, then I entered a group ride …

Now thrust me or not, is A LOT easier when you are 85 kg, full stop.

Cu. PaoloC


Sounds right, yep. It’s a long time since I did any competitive erging, but things like the CRASH-B and BIRC (now BRIC) are a big draw in that arena, and wouldn’t be so without the legitimacy of comparison.

I think what will probably have to happen with Zwift is what already happens: qualifiers will be online, but to win real money there will be a live final at a venue. Online riders will be able to take part, but only those at the venue who have done a weigh-in and are on identical trainers will be eligible for the prizes.

p.s. I went sub-7 once. Once. :smiley:


There is no cheat or not to cheat! Cheating is wrong! And cheating in Zwift, a virtual world/game, seriously? In the end, you’re only cheating yourself. If you wanna get faster, ride more and eat less. You’ll get back in shape before you know it and will have a real sense of achievement knowing you actually put in the work and earned the result.

As for the algorithm… lightweight guys complain it favors the heavier guys. the heavier guys complain it favors the lightweight guys. The algorithm(s) aren’t perfect real world models, but they’re what we have to work with as users. Bottom line, get stronger, increase your W/kg across all time durations (1min, 5min, 20min, etc…) and your in game results will get better as well!

Watts UP Kilos DOWN!


gotta say - love this “Gogonzola .vs. Cottage” comparision :+1: :grinning:

have to admit, from this “angle of view” your comment makes a lot of sense …