Watt Bike and trainer difficulty

So, I’m going to do a vEverest on Alpe du Zwift using my Watt bike Atom. I’ve done it a few times and it feels realistic having also ridden it also in real life. However… I read in the rules that the trainer difficulty has to be set to 100% (or max in the settings). So I changed to this from the default 50% and found this way more difficult than it is in real life. Now I know the power output is the same, but I am a spinner with a high rpm. Setting the trainer to max meant that i was down to around 60rpm on some of the sections which just isn’t realistic to the way I ride.

From what I can tell having done a lot of real life mountains, having the trainer difficulty on Zwift set to 50% feels like when I ride with a 32 rear cassette and then when I change to 100% it feels like I am riding up Alpe du Zwift with a 25 cassette instead! What’s everyones opinion on this? I’m a bit annoyed that the official vEveresting rules say it should be on 100%. Theres clearly loads of people cheating as I’ve gone past so many riders with Everesting in their names and their legs are clearly spinning way faster than mine at the same speed when I’m in the lowest gear!

Has anyone done the vEverest on a watt bike? I think we’re being penalised by the rules - much easier on a smart trainer and a higher geared road bike.

Thoughts please!

I doubt this is the case. I don’t have a watt bike, but on my kickr direct drive, a 9% grade feels true to a real life 9% at 100% difficulty. I can spin pretty darn fast in my lowest gear, though I also don’t move very fast.

I think the rules about having 100% difficulty are reasonable, as it helps add some authenticity to the challenge. Of course, the argument could be made that getting a bigger ring is functionally no different than say setting difficulty to 80% (or whatever). But I realize they need to have some ground rules.

So while I understand your frustration, I think it should be directed towards watt bike accuracy and understanding what gear ratios they are simulating. I admit I know nothing about the bike, but if you are upset that it doesn’t feel authentic to a real ride, why not take the argument to them instead?

Thanks for the reply. There is an Alpe Huez climb in the Watt Bike app itself which is set up as it should be, and this is similar to 50% trainer difficulty in Zwift. For the Watt Bike, if you set it to 100% it is impossible to spin on a climb - you have to stand for anything over 10% and I am an excellent climber, this is my thing, and it’s just not right. It’s either an issue with Zwift or Watt bike, or the combination of the 2.

People could use real bikes with real power meters and install gearing that allows them to turn the cranks at a more comfortable cadence as well.

It definitely sounds like there’s a problem. I’d reach out to Wattbike and ask, or if they have a forum ask if others are experiencing this. You shouldn’t have to set it to 50% difficulty to feel accurate. I don’t know if the bike supports Bluetooth and/or ANT, but if you can, try the other. As I mentioned, it might be useful to see if they can provide specs on the gearing ratio – my lowest gear gives me a 1:1 ratio, this might provide a bit more evidence on where the problem is.

Lastly, if you’re considering an ‘official’ everesting, I’d recommend you verify that a wattbike is ok to use (Andy is very interactive in the Facebook everesting group). I’m not suggesting it cannot be used, but always good to check these things before the attempt.

Hi Matt.

I totally agree. I have a wattbike atom for zwift and the wattbike app.
Outside i have a specialissima with zipp 202s.

I don’t think I could do the zwift alp everest at 100%, whereas in reality I have successfully completed four everests. One on a via nirone, three on the specialissima but with slightly heavier wheels. The outside everests never troubled my legs, just my determination.

When I put the trainer difficulty to 100% it makes 10% climbs feel much harder than they do outside. So basically I don’t see why they have made the rule that everyone has to put it at 100% for the everest. Especially when outside people are doing everests in 7 1/2 hours and some people take over 24.

I would suggest just doing what you are comfortable with and ignore what anyone else says. When people start trying to make rules about cycling it makes it much less fun.

If you want to be in the hall of fame you need to play by the rules. https://everesting.cc/hall-of-fame/#/