Very low wattage in high gear

Hi there, im very new to Zwift so im not sure if im doing something wrong or im just weaker than I thought. I have done a few calibration tests but i dont really understand what its doing, surely doing the calibration in different gears will gove you vastly different outcomes? And help with this would be great.

I can be in top gear on a flat section of road and im only hitting around 100W, in addition to this i find it very difficult to sustain those 100W for more than a minute or two. As ive said maybe im just weaker than i thought, but literally everyone on the route im on is twice as fast as me. Does this have something to do with ERG? I have no idea.

As some one who is new to zwift but has been road riding for over 7 years, I have just finished a 10k route that took me 26 minutes to complete, my average wattage over the route was 76W. My friend who is new to all cycling just finished the same route with an average wattage of 170W. Maybe my legs have deteriorated but that seems like a big difference to me.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

hi steven,
as there are many possibilities start by telling us about your set-up.

Assuming you have a smart trainer, a couple of generic responses:

  1. Only calibrate with trainer app…DO NOT use the Zwift calibration
  2. Connect the trainer twice: As Power Source and as Controllable

I have the Zwift hub, so I’m guessing the Zwift calibration is the only one I can use?

I have a Zwift hub, with my Trek Domane hooked up to it. Its not much of a setup i know but thats all there really is haha

did you set up your data when you joined Zwift - height, weight etc?

Hi @Steven_Mannering

I had a similar issue. It might be worth reaching out to @Roberto_Viola on this thread here: (I can’t post links I’m afraid, but its this thread)


He has an app where it connects to the hub and you can change the gears. It’s a simple setting - I changed mine to 4 from 0 and it’s perfect for me now.

But as Chris says, make sure the setup is correct first!

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Yeah i did

Oh thank you! Ill certainly check it out! Ive set all my height, weight and such. And calibrated the through the zwift app as i have a zwift hub so ive done all the default stuff.

I just looked at your ride today. You read the numbers wrong; your average cadence was 67 and your average power was 99. Without knowing your weight, I can’t tell if that’s right but 99 watts is still pretty low unless your weight is under 50 kg. By the way you went 10.9, not just 10. But that would make your real power about 9% higher. Here’s a tool, toss your nums in and see how it compares: Bicycle Speed (Velocity) And Power Calculator

Hes not using a MTB on the trainer so shouldnt need it.

You probably dont need to, you have a road bike not a MTB.


How long does it take you to ride 10km IRL?

Im around 90kg. It does seem low to me too, thats why i think something may be wrong, is there anything i can do to make it more accurate? Pedalling at full speed in a high gear without my bum out the saddle and only hitting 100w is demoralising haha

Probably around the 21 minute mark, i havent recorded a 10k irl in a while though

So that’s not all that far off from your results for time in Zwift. Still might be an issue with watts, but it’s something to think about.

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if you did 10k in about 21 min. that would make you fairly close to 30 kph. is that consistant with your speed on Zwift (assuming it was a similar road)?

Going with the numbers Stu found…

67RPM is pretty low cadence. Doable, but I find 80-90 more optimal. I’d experiment a bit of gearing to see if it’s easier at higher RPM.

I don’t find 100Watts too low. For a 90kg rider, that represents 1.1W/kg which is right in the range of the Taylor RoboPacer.

We all start somewhere. Don’t sweat it (well, you will be sweating…)… just keep riding. Try the D.Taylor RoboPacer, make sure you have a non time-trial bike selected so you can draft when in a pack. While you’re at it, make sure the Everest Challenge is selected.

FWIW, I’m using a Trek Domane on a smart trainer with Zwift. Great bike, zero to worry about there.

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Alu Domane is a nice bike. Pleasure to build, nice ride. Carbon higher end models are nice too, but fiddledy. Still good bikes, but if you’re not racing a ton and don’t need the weight savings, the alu models save you some money you can put to some nicer wheels, and you’re set. :slight_smile: (And if you don’t mind fiddledy and/or you treat your mechanic nice, the carbon models won’t treat you poorly, lol.)