Why Weight?

(Matt Gholson) #1

I just noticed that weight is a field when I set up my profile. I was kind of surprised to see this.

One of the things that I was excited about Zwift for was that it would level the playing field a bit. In the real world it all comes down to watts per kilogram, us bigger guys never really have a chance unless the ride is downhill.

With the riders weight being a user submitted number I imagine only a handful of users are going to input the real figure. It just feels like something that would be included only to cause problems.

I can see the other side of the argument that might especially come from skinny guys who aren’t going to be the correct w/Kg reading if they weigh 130 and the default weight is 150, but I don’t really care, let them go climb hills in the real world.

Another aspect of actual weight that is problematic is for beginner riders. My wife has been trying out Zwift and when we put in her actual weight she was crawling up the hill so slowly she could barely keep the bike going. She found it very annoying and lost interest before she could finish the climb.

I think rider weight in Zwift is going to be one of the biggest problems facing the game when it goes live and ultimately prove more of hassle then its worth.

(Chuck Kozlowski ZSUNR) #2

As a rider, I really want to know my actual w/kg so I enter in my real weight. I am no lightweight (178 pounds) so I have to work to climb these Zwift hills and keep up with other riders. Personally, I would say to enter an appropriate weight so that the ‘fun factor’ is maintained and you and your wife enjoy the zwift experience.

(Matt Gholson) #3

That’s a good attitude about it, thanks.

(John Scott) #4

Totally disagree with OP. And I’m not a light weight either (nor a big powerhouse). I like Zwift as accurate as the computer generated environment can possibly be. So I can’t keep up with a lot of the riders on hills. And I can’t out sprint most other riders either. So what? Gives me something to work toward. I suspect when Zwift matures there will be the option of “handicapped” races or servers where everyone weighs the same. That just doesn’t sound like much fun to me. And if you think about it that would give, in theory, bigger guys an unfair advantage because bigger guys tend to be able to put out more raw power than smaller guys (though that doesn’t work out so well for me LOL…). And yes I have my weight entered properly. I think one is only cheating one’s self if that metric is cheated. That said. You are always free to change your or your wife’s weight to allow you to achieve your goals. And hey, your opinion is just as valid as mine. I’m just putting in my $.02 as I like it the way it is.

(Matt Gholson) #5

As a training tool I completely agree with you, having correct w/Kg by setting the correct weight is the way to go. As a multiplayer competitive experience which is where I see Zwift going, being able to enter whatever weight you want is just not feasible.

(Nate Robinson ZTR (C) USAC288972) #6

I see where you’re coming from and I’ve often thought about this on long rides on Jarvis. Zwift Ethics. It’s kind of hilarious, but Strava went through the exact same thing. Guys were going after KOMs on scooters, some of the pros using it were morally opposed to getting KOMs in races, guys inputting fake elevation gains for challenges…

… what was solved there was just apathy because it wasn’t of real concern. It’s all just fake internet points in the end. If people would like to cheat and derive a sense of satisfaction from it, it really doesn’t matter too much. In the rare times where it actually matters and does occur, they usually get found out anyway. So if it makes more sense for you to put in a weight that isn’t real to have more fun, dude go for it. If you want to adjust things for your wife so you can ride together up climbs, absolutely no one has to care.

(J Edwards(TFC RACE TEAM) ZZRC) #7

The problem is I dont think anyone really knows which direction this will end up in,whether it will be just another visual training app like bkool etc or an online multiplayer epic that will set the cycling world on fire.
I personaly would love the latter as I think we need this kind of format now,but I too can understand the cheating aspect of it as there are a lot of people out there who just want to be the best so by inputing fake rider data to gain advantage on others is going to be a difficult one to police.

(John Scott) #8

@Matt Gholson - I think you hit directly upon the source of our agreement/disagreement. For my personal use Zwift needs to be, first and foremost, a training tool for the winter months. I like that there is some fun factor in there as well for some distraction during trainer season. I really don’t see, for me personally, Zwift being a serious competitive thing. Yeah, I’ll challenge (LOL) for sprint once in a while or try to beat my best time. But these are just fun distractions for me. The real competition starts when (or if in some seasons) I physically line up against real racers in the real world (and get my butt handed to me for the most part). What I need out of Zwift is for it allow me to train in a rational manner but make it less drudgery in the winter and maybe have a fun distraction once in a while.

I think Zwift has the potential to meet both of our needs and be the best winter trainer platform out there. However, it will probably take a while for that to mature. I think the trick for them is going to be figuring out how to straddle the fence for folks that are more prone to want it to be a game and those that want to use it as a tool (and have fun with it some too). This will be fun to watch develop.

(J Edwards(TFC RACE TEAM) ZZRC) #9

@john.If you just want another training app then use bkool etc there are plenty out there.If and i say a big if, this turns out to be just another training app then I and a whole load of other non competative casual riders will be disapointed as a more gamey cycling app is needed right now.The devs just need time to get it right.

(J O'Connor) #10

As someone who could probably benefit from understating his weight I think it should be left in. I’d rather lose to a guy who could beat me uphill in real life than pretend I’m 60kg and sustain 7w/kg for a hollow victory.

There’s always going to be people who try to cheat the system but so what? I suspect that there’ll be a reasonably rigorous reporting system implemented at some point for any blatant cheaters.

I’d hope that as Zwift develops with extra maps etc then there’s attention paid to people who aren’t skinny climbers. People with bigger ultimate power outputs should do well on TTs, cobbled classic style stages (first mention of cobbles on Zwift?) etc etc as well as fulfilling domestique roles in team races.

In a fitness based game you’re never going to be able to neutralise some people’s fitness/weight advantages and that’s when the training aspect of Zwift must come into it’s own - training to come 2nd to last and not last.

(Matt Gholson) #11

I’m a gamer, or at least used to be in my youth. I look at this primarily as a cycling game with fitness benefits, not a virtual reality, so I’m probably skewed from what some of you are looking for. As a game I want it to be fair, I don’t want an unfair advantage and I don’t want to be at an unfair disadvantage.

I don’t see any way of actually policing riders weight being developed, the system could detect a sudden change in resistances, like switching to a magnetic trainer.

Keeping with the game aspect I could see them doing something like having 3 rider body types available, climber, rouler and allounder.

(Stewart G teamWBR) #12

Matt G. I had been using the default 75kg until we could change it ourselves and I went and put my actual weight in at 95kg. The problem was I had actually put in 95lbs! After noticing this I now find the hills a lot tougher, especially if I want to do a recovery ride and keep my h/r low.
I would suggest you both drop your input weight and you will enjoy the climbs a bit more. You could gradually increase as fitness improves.
At the end of the day it is supposed to be fun.

(Jeff Doughty PVC WBR (B)) #13

I have to disagree. I entered my exact weight. I hope others are doing the same. Zwift has become my number 1 training tool for this off season. I want my training data to be accurate. I don’t care if I set any KOMs or make any leader boards. I simply want to ride, have fun, and hopefully make some gains this winter.

(Stewart G teamWBR) #14

I also want this to be a serious training tool and have my own weight correct but if it means someone else has to put in a lighter figure to get some fun with it then I don’t see the problem. If they need to do this then I don’t think they will be flying past anyone anyway.

(Andrew Williams) #15


Because what is best for you is not necessarily what is best for everyone. I have, at times, been very motivated to go for the polka dot jersey or the lap time, only to have that motivation disappear when I see someone put up an impossible time on either one of those. Clearly evident was that they either had the wrong weight or the wrong trainer curve for zpower.

Should they be allowed to ride? Yes.

However, should anyone be allowed to have their fun (even while knowingly misreporting weight or mis-adjusting the trainer curves) at the expense of the enjoyment of others? I say no.

It is possible for everyone to have fun at this. I say that lies in being HONEST and accepting things as they are, and then working within that rather than changing the rules of the game to benefit the few, at the expense of others.

(Ron Sines [odz] B) #16
 I took a couple months off the bike this winter and gained about 15lbs, I input my actual weight when I started riding on zwift and just adjusted it down by 2 kg for the first time this morning, I'm getting fitter and lighter with all the riding on my training thanks in large part to zwift, and I want to keep it real to see what I can do when I get in peek form later this spring.
 That being said, I don't have a problem with people putting in a weight that makes it easy and more fun for them to ride the course and enjoy the scenery. I don't however want to make it easy on myself as it would be quite a rude awakening when I took the bike outside and got my ass handed to me by the rest of the cat 3 field as soon as the road tipped up. It's much better to dish out the pain to myself on the trainer now then to suffer off the back in my first race this spring. If that means I struggle on zwift to keep up on the climbs with someone who dropped a few kg on there profile weight, no biggie I'll catch them on the decent. So you gotta ask yourself, is it more fun to be passed going uphill or downhill?


I typically ride a singlespeed mountain bike. On significantly steep hills in real life (20% grade or more) I am able to climb at 8-10 mph and climb out of the saddle for several minutes consecutively. That being said, I have a geared CX bike I set up with ant+ speed and cadence sensors and an ANT+ USB dongle to try Zwift. Similar to Matt’s wife, I was climbing a hill, out of the saddle in my tallest gear, and with no tire slippage whatsoever I was crawling along at 5mph for several hills in the 3.0 mile course. My weight is just under 200 lbs, but I ride (MTB) 50-100 miles per week. 5mph on a road bike definitely doesn’t seem accurate. Maybe it was virtual headwind? :wink:

(C oach Paul Ozier) #18

I would rather have my actual weight versus a standard one size fits all weight. I have an FTP of around 260 right now. It would not be much fun to say everyone is 150 lbs and go up against another rider (adjusted to 150 lbs) that has a 300 watt FTP. That rider may have a 300w FTP because they really weigh 190 lbs. So I would have been penalized with extra weight while one guy gets a 40 lb cut.

About riders putting in false weight to “win” at whatever they are doing. That is what cheaters do no matter where the playing field is. Dopers cheat so they have an unfair advantage. Putting in that you weigh 100 lbs is an unfair advantage. Cheating is cheating no matter what method you use to gain an unfair advantage. I can look myself in the mirror and know I did things by the book, had a blast, got a great workout, had an awesome race even if I finish dead last.

(Matt Gholson) #19

Just to follow up. I can totally see why you’d want real weight for real power to weight ratio numbers and a more realistic climbing experience. I don’t believe that should go away.

I just hope that if this pans out in a competitive way there is an option to race against people where we all have the same weight.

(James Prosperi SASCC) #20

I was also a bit concerned about the weight issue and level playing field etc.

I weight 80 kg and have a real world FTP of around 280W. I entered my true weight as I want to use the game to train as well as have a bit of fun (read as make spending more time on the trainer on these cold winter mornings).

Generally larger guys weight more, however they produce more power on average. If a large guy puts in a false (lower) weight then he is gaining a massive advantage. I have guys I often ride and race with that are 10 kg or so heavier than me but they produce an FTP closer to 300W. We end up being fairly even as riders.

Not sure how this is going to be managed in the game to avoid cheating, especially if it becomes a competitive game.

I am really looking forward to seeing what the game will offer with respect to training modules. I would like to see on screen stats and progress with encouragement for doing training. A few different packages like FTP intervals, SS intervals, VO2max, sprint, strength, climb, endurance etc and even an FTP test protocol would be great with HR, power curve, progress shown on screen.

This would be awesome and I think I would definitely pay for this option.