Too hard to pedal

Hi, new to Zwify and have just got the hub. Trouble i’m having is it’s far too hard to pedal, i’m a fit road rider but on the hub its like i need legs of steel to get the thing going. I tried the FPT test and again so hard to turn i gave up. I have tried to calibrate but it just fails. My FPTis showing 204, not sure what to do, any ideas?

Hi @Martyn_Smithson, welcome to the forums.

Sounds like you might be encountering the “spiral of death” when using a workout or FTP test. For more info on that visit and search for ERG mode.
All About Erg Mode in Zwift | Zwift Insider

What happens if you just do a free ride, not a workout. Enter Watopia and choose a flat route like Tempus Fugit. What happens then?

Hi Mike. I have heard of the spiral of death. Today i went to do a workout (second time of ever using it and a ride around Watopia) and it was so hard to turn the pedals from the off. Turned off the ERG and no difference. Tried for a couple of min and produced a couple of watts and couple of kph and gave up. Turned it off and on then tried a different workout and the same. Thought sod this and go for a ride round Wattopia and again from the off, so had to pedal. I have looked and have no idea what im doing wrong.

Sorry that’s happening for you. Last thing I would try is to turn everything off (trainer, devices, PC running Zwift, etc.) wait 30 seconds, restart everything and load up Zwift. DO NOT enter a workout first, do a free ride on Tempus Fugit in Watopia.

If it is still the same, time to contact Zwift support via their website.

Nope. Just tried again. Turned everything on went straight to a free ride and still hard to pedal. Its to the point that may avatar keeps getting on and off the bike as its that slow. Am i right in thinking that on a free ride you should be able to spin away and the rezistance gauged to your FPT?

No, the resistance will be based on the terrain in SIM mode in a free ride (ERG mode is for workouts and that is based of FTP). In SIM mode the resistance will increase as you go up hill, decrease on the downhill, etc…

Did you pair the Hub trainer as power and controllable on the pairing screen?

Also, did you update the firmware on the Hub through the Zwift companion app?

Apologies for the spelling, sausage fingers on my phone keypad. I updated the firmware when i set the hub up and currently have the following connected via the hub. Power source, controllable and cadance.

I do apprciate the help Mike, thanks.

no problem, we support each other in this community!

I think you should contact Zwift support now, you may have a bad Hub?

Cheers Mike. To me something isn’t right. I get the spiral of death, and that can come on if you let you cadance slip but it shouldn’t happen on the first pedal stroke. The only ride i completed a a free ride which i though it went well and after that it said my FPT has been set to 204. Any rides since are too hard.

I will both the Zwift folk for help.

Thanks again.

this probably isn’t the cause, but what bike are you using and is it set up correctly?

HI Chris.

I’m using it with a Trek Domane 11 speed. It’s set up OK, cant see where I could go wrong. Could do with indexing a little.


Martyn Smithson

this probably isn’t the cause either, but since you are new to Zwift, did you set up your personal data correctly?

Double checked and it looked right. I’m in contact with the Zwift tech folk who requested a video and confirm i have an resistance issue. First step is to uninstall app and companion app and reinstall and see if that resoves the issue. The frustrating part is wont be able to do this until Monday and then start the game of email tennis with them.

Just to confirm what is normal with zwift in free ride. Should i be able to ride on a flat terrain with little resistsnce to gain a slow speed? This l would build up speed by increasing cadence and gears and shouldn’t start at a resistance that is too high to maintan a cadance of 70-80?

I will update the thread as it maybe of use if anyone else has the same issue’s.

Thanks again all for your help and comments, looks like a nice community on Zwift.


It should feel pretty much like riding a bike in the great outdoors. Start in a low gear, change up as you speed up. Then change up and down as dictated by the combination of gradient and desired speed/effort.

Thanks David.

Something is not right with the Hub. Its like riding through tar from the go. Gear wise i dont start on the little ring but ride in a gear that i leave the house in (large ring mid rear somewhere).


You need to contact Zwift Support. It’ll give you a chatbot but keep telling it that what it suggests doesn’t help, and eventually it’ll let you fill in a form that goes to support.

Thanks Steve. Thats where i’m at now. Sent s short video and they said there is an issue. They asked that i uninstall everything and reinstall, but no change. Just playing email tennis awaiting a response.

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Update for anyone intresting or having the same issues. Zwift support have been brilliant, went through a couple of things as stated in the thread and have now sent out a replacment hub. Cant fault them super service.