I took part in a workout (AcademyRoad Orientation) for the first time in a long time. And was extremely disappointed.
I have a lot of experience with the workout programmes from TrainerRoad, which I am very happy with.
A big problem with the Zwift workouts is that the software-controlled power adjustment works very poorly. Even when pedalling evenly, the watts fluctuate greatly. Every now and then you get indications when the power is too low or too high - why? It is the task of the software (ERG mode!), not the rider, to compensate for these differences immediately.
The software of e.g. TrainerRoad does this excellently. When Zwift tells you that your power is too low, you pedal harder and faster, then your power increases sharply and Zwift tells you that your power is too high - but that’s exactly what the software is supposed to compensate for, and it doesn’t do it, or does it very badly. This is particularly noticeable in the case of short, hard intervals, where it is virtually impossible to maintain the specified wattage.
I know from my experience with the TrainerRoad software that it can be much better.
Dear Zwift team, please improve your software here, workouts are currently no fun.
By the way, I use an Elite Direto Trainer (with Apple TV Zwift App)
Thr Elite Direto trainers report their power very accurately, without smoothing. I suggest that the very stable power reported that you’ve seen elsewhere has been smoothed, since natural variations in pedaling can produce lots of small changes in power generated.
You’re right that Zwift shouldn’t be putting up messages asking the user to imcrease/decrease power on a smart trainer in ERG mode. That’s nonsense and you should just ignore that message.
I agree with @Steve_Hammatt that what you are actually seeing, is non power smoothing ERG. I’m also a TrainerRoad user and they use the data from the smart trainer, most of which have power smoothing on by default. What this does is create a really smooth, but highly unrealistic, power output graph. It’s just ignoring the small fluctuations in power output.
Best way to counter what you are experiencing is to ignore these messages and don’t chase power numbers. Instead, focus on a smooth cadence and you’ll notice a lot less fluctuation in power. Chasing power numbers will instead exaggerate the spikes because you’re naturally always just a bit behind and that’s normal.
@Steve_Hammatt @PhydomiR Thank you for your feedback. Meanwhile I have replaced my 4 years old Elite Direto with a Wahoo Kickr v5, and I have to say the Zwift workouts are now more fun. You are right the power smoothing is the key. I did not tested the new trainer with TrainerRoad yet and I am courious, how it will work there. My expectation would be that the software recognizes the trainer being used and automatically adjusts the algorithm that processes the performance data so that the user has the best experience. It would be nice if Zwift would remove these misleading messages.