Why people sandbag? Sandbagging?

Sandbagging is always a big discussion in Zwift and recently I think for myself, if sandbagging is okay.
There are a lot of reasons for people to sandbag!

After a 100 Races on Zwift you realize, that the results aren’t really fair. In lower categories the heavier riders always wins because the algorithm favors them in drafting. And if you dont draft correctly as a lighter rider you get punished. But drafting is not in your own hands, it’s in the hand of the “Zwift drafting Algorithm” which puts you either in or out of the draft. So outsmarting people with physics is not an option.

Then you realize: “Okay, you have to learn drafting in race situations. So the more Race-Drafting experience you have, the better you will get at drafting.”
Guess what, it’s smarter to train this in a lower cat than you belong to, cuz you simply can do more events then.

Draft Training on a Pace Partner I hear you say? Yeah, sure. That washing machine effect is the same as a race situation. /irony

Another reason would be, that you want to be motivated by othe riders but want another (mostly lower) training effort but there’s simply no PacePartner or Group ride on in the zone you want to train in. Why not simply use one of that many races?

Zwift doesn’t want category enforcement cuz that would lead to more and more people leaving the plattform, because they can’t create an algorithm thats suits the majority of people.

I started another thread which could potentially solve this problem.
Feedback Forum / “THIS could solve all of Zwifts Problems”

But untill Zwift is making the game equally fair for all people, sandbagging IS a valid option. And ZwiftHQ knows that I guess.

You premise that heavier races always win is absolutely wrong and can be easily shown otherwise in ZP…

You seem to want a fix specific for yourself and have resorted to posting the same thing based on inaccurate premise in multiple threads and not got much support…

Lets not further derail this thread please…


If Zwift wanted to create the same fair circumstances as outside, they need to give the riders 100% control over the avatars.
Neither you nor I can say what’s right since we both don’t know 100% how zwift is calculating things.

Nonetheless my argument with drafting is still valid sinc it’s a pure logical one.

I do not derail the discussion, I’m bringin another aspect into it :relaxed:

By the way, another thread proved the “heavier rider” wins theory on zwiftpower data over a signifikant amount of data. :+1:

The last 2 races you entered were won by a 62 & 69kg rider… Those bloody heavy 62kg riders ruining everything, throwing their weight around…

Not much point further engaging…


You’re funny. :relaxed:
I’m riding A Cat, wich can not be sandbagged.

Arguments are still valid.

Please look at the thread
“Lighter riders not part of Zwift” in Bugs and Support.
This guy proved it on Zwiftpower data.

@Gerrie_Delport_ODZ thanks for your effort on merging. But I actually want to be the sandbagging heard in it’s own topic or the sandbagging thread.

You’re just “getting it out of the way” now. :neutral_face:

Feels bad

I think they do want to solve this actually. See this thread:

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Yes, we do want fair racing likely utilizing category enforcement.



So what is stopping you from enforcing it?

They could do category enforcement easily and op suggests this might put people off racing but i think it’s the complete opposite and it would massively encourage riders to race. I know the two race series that i have enjoyed the most on zwift have category enforcement. While not perfect and required a lot of headaches for the organisers it resulted in the best race experience.

The main issue i see is the cats being based purely on 20 min power metric which just skews the categories even further making the bottom end of a cat a lonely place. At least is sounds like they are looking into the whole rider power curve a bit more which done right should give a better estimation of a riders cat.


My opinion is that the bottom is lonely because so many don’t upgrade once the categories are enforced they will have to move up and the bottom will be full.


Aren’t heavier riders punished by the drafting algorithm? Taller and heavier riders create more drag and need to produce more power when they fall out of the draft to keep up. Big guys don’t benefit draft wise.

Are you saying that there are different group dynamics and drafting in a race compared to free rides?

That’s just crazy talk. You want easier training then do it somewhere else, not in an easier Cat race by sandbagging. Free ride if nothing else is an option at the time you are going to do a workout but don’t sandbag. It’s not an acceptable solution.

There are always A B C and D Cats in all races. You can do just as many A races as C races. How do you figure that there more events in lower Categories? I don’t understand. Are you saying that instead of doing 2 A races a week you propose to sandbag in 6 B races a week? Isn’t that a HUGE problem to consistently sandbag?

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Zwift did a good job on the draft itself, but: if you Cat people by FTP and you get randomly pushed out of the draft by the game, lighter rider’s have to get into a higher power zone than heavier ones to catch back up.

No, but in big groups like around Coco, Bowie or Diesel there’s this washing machine effect where people are constantly pushed back and forth by the sticky draft, which isn’t as strong as in smaller groups like in Races.

It’s more motivating - at least for me - to hold the draft of someone, than doing a free ride.

Yeah but most A Races are jus 3-7 people with such different FTP so that they mostly don’t ride together.
And if you Sandbag, you can do more races in the lower cat’s since they are not that demanding as racing in your own cant. For “Race draft training”, this would be better.

But another thread in the Race Forum did a good job on this topic.

Results/Ranking based Cat NOW - titled.

In response to the original question - why people sandbag (aka race out of category).

One reason is that with the current system, some people find it more fun to race in a lower category than in their “right” category. I’m not defending that or saying I agree with it, but that is why some people ride out of cat.

A couple of days ago I spoke to someone who’s at minimum a B. He entered an Olympic Chase Race, said it was “great fun” and openly said he “cheated and raced in C”. I got the impression this was because he competes in real life and sees Zwift as just a game.


Why do people sandbag?
I think, no matter how much you gloss it up, the answer is people CHEAT because they can get away with it and their self-fulfillment is not affected by the fact they did not deserve what they won, in that they did not earn it. In real life people take shortcuts (or taxi rides) to do better in marathons. They drive on the shoulder of the road to pass cars stuck in traffic, they take stuff from work (great King Missile song by the way) because they don’t suffer consequences and they think they got over on someone.
Dishonesty and cheating are exactly that, dishonesty and cheating. As the saying goes you can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig.
Why do people cheat? Because they are cheaters.

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…And they cheat because they can.

I do wish Zwifters didn’t just call all cheating “sandbagging”.

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Agreed on this one. That is simple math.

Maybe this just doesn’t happen to me, or I have not realized it. I have seen my avatar sit up just outside the draft for a second kind of on the side of the group but he slots back in as the group moves and does not require any additional effort on my part and I stay with the group just fine.

In fact when I do TTT races (small groups of 5-8) when I bump out of the draft to the side I ease off to slot back in, I do not work harder. Kind of knock off 20W or so.

Sorry but your motivation or lack thereof for a training ride is not reason enough to mess with a real competition for others. This sounds selfish TBH.

So if the A Cat only has say 5 riders and 3 of them break away and you are unable to keep up, you are back with strong B’s anyhow and the single other A. You don’t deserve the podium since you are not nearly as strong as the top 3 and can’t even hold their draft. You still fall back into some sort of group and can practice drafting in a group of others with similar abilities.

There is a draft which means no matter what groups will form. It is faster and much more efficient in a group so they will naturally form. You may not be in the lead group for your Cat and have no chance to win that particular race. That’s the way it goes. I have been there. The solution is not to simply race a lower Cat.

Sandbagging is a problem in Zwift and the solution to sandbagging is not to sandbag more!

I don’t understand this. Drafting is not rocket science. Sit in the wheels behind the rider(s) in front of you. You should be doing 20-30% less work than the people on the front. Pedal smoothly without any energy wasting surges.

Once again though practicing any skill including drafting is not an acceptable excuse for sandbagging.