Watts reported to avatar training screen at least 2 seconds faster than actual rider display

I noticed some time ago that wattage reported to the actual riders screen (at the top of the full screen display) during training program (i.e. FTP Builder etc) lags the wattage reported on the avatar screen by at least 2 seconds. For those who say you can’t see the watts for the avatar, just ride at view 5 in London and you’ll see it.

This is actually a big deal since requests by the program for more / less power during training regimens lags so much behind what the actual rider is doing. The system is responding to a condition that may or may no longer exist (too much or too little power output).

Users can get into a situation where training program oscillates between over and under to such an extent that there’s nothing but red messages of condemnation on the screen.

I have to ask why the power reported to the avatar is that much more timely?

Further, part of this problem with oscillation has to do with the way the program processes torque vs power.

Any idea when this bug is going to be addressed?


Is it a bug ? I think the default setting is a ,3 second average power reading to even your figures out a bit.

I think you can change the settings to immediate if you want but for me the 3s average is great. My intervals tend to be minutes rather than seconds.

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Hi Les
I don’t believe that there’s any adjustment to the reporting of power levels in Zwift, perhaps you’re thinking of the ability in Garmin to display power on a 3 second average? That’s how I ride outside but that’s because of irregularities in riding outside in the city that make instant power rather meaningless.

However, when riding a training program where the app instructs you to achieve certain power levels and in some cases do it rather quickly, it makes no sense to use 3 second power averaging. In fact that would cause the over / under oscillation to be magnified even more.

This is a display bug problem whereby the avatar gets the same power information about 2 seconds before the actual rider gets the info. I can see it happening when riding with the lower right camera position (5), riding in London, and on the TT bike in aero position. It’s particularly visible during specific VO2 ranges.

I noticed this a long time ago, it makes complying with wattage requests in program very frustrating because what’s reported to the rider is old. I think you’ll find that like calibrating power meters there’s nothing in program to change the wattage reporting, but thanks for the suggestion!

Are you sure. I’m sorry n Zwift now. Stopped pedalling on a descent and power dropped to zero.
Started off again and it was a good 3 seconds before I got any power reading… Same deal with rpm so I definitely have a 3s average see up on Zwift. Garmin isn’t involved here.

Hey Les
Well what do you know, I did find the setting for wattage displayed and it was set to 3 second average. This is appropriate outside or anywhere else that involves a regular ride, but not for structured workouts. And I’ve been to this menu before and never noticed this setting, nor have I have been able to find any discussion of it online. It seems weird that it wasn’t put in the more accessible rider customization menu “T” key accessible.

At any rate, if you’re not riding a structured workout it probably makes little difference, and when you say power drops to zero, if you’re set to 3 second average what you really mean is that it eventually falls to zero, and likewise it eventually comes up after you start riding, which as I said on normal rides is probably fine, but not for structured workouts where changes in wattage are demanded by the program.

This all begs the question of what moron thought it was a good idea to use an 3 second average power display during a structured training event? Averaged power display is not for training programs where power changes need to be measured instantly. This should have been changed to instant by the structured program when the ride started.

Here’s the rub, in a structured training event when you’re say doing 200 watts and the program suddently says hit and maintain 300 watts you won’t get a real power reading for at least 3 seconds, by which time you’ve probably overshot the requested power level (as I have), trying to get there, because the 3 second average tells you you’re not there (when in fact you are).

The first second of the change in power only contributes 33% to what’s being reported to the cyclist, so even if I did get my power to 300 watts as requested it’s not reported as such until all the old contributing watts are flushed out and replaced with new data at the 300 watt power level. This is why 3 second average is bad for structured training because it lies to you for the amount of time that the averaging takes place. And in structured training this is unacceptable.

For example, in week 3 day 2 of the FTP builder the program instructs you to hit 200% ftp for 10 seconds. Well in the 3 second averaging world you’re not getting to the requested wattage for 3 seconds, which is almost a third of the time you’re asked to hold it for, and likewise on the downside, the program is complaining that you’re not reducing your power output enough after the 10 second burst because…you guessed it…3 second averaging.

In structured training 3 second averaging is really inappropriate. When the program says get to and hold X number of watts it’s not saying get to and hold X number of watts in 3 seconds. In the example above where it’s a 10 second period that’s a significant amount of time where watts reported isn’t accurate.

It’s no wonder there were problems with power oscillations above and below target, the watts reported to the rider weren’t timely, and in structured training they must be timely. I don’t know who decided that this was a good idea but you can ask any coach and I think they would agree that you can’t use 3 second averaging in structured training. Why it isn’t disabled when the training starts is beyond me.

The other thing here is that the settings for this are in a weird menu that’s only accessible in ride, which is a little odd, like how the starting / stopping of the program is still kind of stupid. In what world do you start the program (start the ride) before you access the menu to make changes or adjust settings? This is all a$$ backwards IMO. Menu comes at the start of the program where you make all choices (including world and route) before riding. Further, why some user parameters are set at the zwift.com website and some are set in ride this way is beyond me.

At any rate this made a significant improvement to performance, it was much easier to maintain and control wattage with the reporting as instant. It doesn’t address why this isn’t discussed anywhere and why I couldn’t find any documentation about it.