What's the deal with racing? I got smoked

I was excited to enter my first race via the academy. I got signed up, entered the race, and warmed up for a bit with my gears.

But when the race started, my bike locked into “E01” mode and I couldn’t change the gears. Everyone blew past me and I ended up in last place. I withdrew because I was just falling further and further behind.

On the few inclines I encountered, I could get some power through the resistance they offered, but they were few and far between.

How were people pushing out so much power in the flats when I was stuck at 200 watts? I can’t pedal much faster than 150rpm in first gear.

Is my bike not compatible with races or something?

What bike are you using?

I’m using a bike called the MERACH Pro. Got it for $399 on Amazon. It’s worked in every area of Zwift that I’ve tried so far. I’ve been riding for a month or two. But I always do workouts where I’m adjusting the gears myself.

I tried one ‘free ride’ where it locked in “E01” like the race, and I hated it, because it wasn’t a workout.

I dont know anything about that bike, but it looks like a spin bike and it probably isnt really compatible with Zwift… even though the company’s website says it is… as you have experienced it doesnt seem to really work.

After some testing, I’ve discovered that if I don’t sync the bike for “Resistance” when starting my ride, and I only sync it for “Power” and “Cadence,” I don’t get this issue.

Can I race with the bike synced for only “Power” and “Cadence?”

Yes you should be able to… hopefully the power reading is accurate

Is there any way to judge the accuracy of the power meter?

I wouldn’t be surprised if something overheated. You would need to contact the retailer or manufacturer to find out what E01 means. You could also aim a fan at the bike to see if more cooling helps.

Yes you can enter most races without pairing for resistance.

Unfortunately there are no good spin bikes for use with Zwift, and the cheap ones are the most problematic.

As far as I can tell, “E01” indicates that it’s operating in resistance mode only. It accurately adjusts to the elevation of the course.

But while in this mode, you can’t manually change resistance via the gears.

Ah, that sounds normal then. I have heard of other spin bikes that work this way. It’s sort of like riding a single-speed bike on a trainer. Not a good experience but if you’re happy without the automatic resistance changes then go for it.

You would need to put some power meter pedals on it and compare, or find a review/article where someone did the same.

There are an awful lot of spin/exercise bikes that advertise themselves as being “Compatible with Zwift" but don’t offer the full functionality. I feel it’s a shame that people are buying equipment which does not offer the full functionality

This is also having an effect on the people who do own fully compatible devices, as it opens up the opportunity to “lie” about your efforts.

I’m not allowed to link here but if you search “zwift support what do i need to ride” in a web browser there are sections which detail which trainers/bikes SHOULD work and which functions they will provide. I say should because even their Zwift branded hub one currently does not work with full functions on quite a few platforms.