zPower: Don't be a "Flier"

(R Idge Cyclesport) #201

The Zpower vs Power debate really can’t be argued on the “training” aspect.

Zpower users do not in any way affect the way you train, how hard you train, and the duration of your training. So lets stop making that argument.

What the Zpower ‘fliers’ do however, is distract from the overall “gaming” experience, and that is how this needs to be viewed. As a gaming experience and the entertainment value.

What is Zwift supposed to offer over its competitors like Tour de Giro, BKool Virtual, and the rest of those?

It’s supposed to offer an entertaining, free ride environment (for the most part) with the ability to compete against each other in an ongoing competition basically.

It has leaderboards for certain things.

Now when you break that away from the rest of the games, and away from the training aspect, you’re left with still a very buggy, easily cheated, environment that they want 10 dollars a month for.

The training portion of zwift is a joke right now. I get tons more features out of Trainer Road, and am able to not only get access to hundreds of pre-defined workouts, but the ability to create my own (which I have/do).

If I want to race against others though, I’m going to have to say Tour De Giro is still much further ahead that Zwift.

Don’t get me wrong, Zwift looks good. But it’s competition does the stuff that matters, better. So much better.

Zwift still doesn’t offer the ability to create your own workouts, does not offer private instances/races, does not offer the ability to choose between multiple “maps”, or the ability to upload your own gpx data to create your own course.

For being in the Beta for a year, I do not actually see features in Zwift worth paying for yet. It still feels very much the same as it did a year ago to me in experience.

I’m a Strava Premium member, so I’ll get my 2 months out of it, but I don’t see using it past that until I see several things fix, and this Zpower Flier issue I brought up very early on, as I have a Fluid 2 trainer that I tested it with (I use a KICKR for my training), and noted how it was off.

A lot of the issues could be remidied by them creating a max power output for a trainer.  The Fluid2 I know is around 800watts for a max ceiling, so given that, I shouldn’t be able to push a 10w/kg

So to sum up, as a training tool, Zwift is limited, but for just logging in and riding and pushing as hard as you can for training purposes, Zpower flier does not affect you, cause to be honest, the point of training is to focus on you.

However, from an entertainment standpoint, and competition standpoint, Zpower flier does, and that takes away from the overall gaming experience that the whole Jersey system is supposed to add to it.

(Stewart ) #202

Mic-Mic, I have to disagree with you about Zwift not being a good training tool.
I have used TR for years and still use it now but maybe less than 5 times a month now due to the better results I get from using Zwift. Due to work and other commitments I have only done 3 outdoor rides in the last year yet since January when I got on Zwift my FTP has improved from 314 to around 350W.
TR is great and I will keep both but the workouts on Zwift are pretty well done as well and they will be introducing the parts you say they don’t have at the moment.
The group rides and races are great fun and just as tough as outdoor ones of similar length.

The Zpower flyer issue does not take away from the overall product too much with the possible exception being during races when you do like to know the guys you are competing against are close to their possible power figures.
Smart trainers and pm’s are not perfect but close enough to offer realistic racing.

(Jasper McCrea) #203

Probably way too late to be making suggestions here, but on my Minoura dumb trainer 1 is way too low a resistance setting. I have to absolutely hammer it at 120 rpm to get anyway decent climbing speeds in top gear. That’s 500 watts. I can put out higher wattage, but only at much lower revs, which I’m totally unable to do with this trainer set to resistance 1.

You’re probably already working on ways to let people select their own resistance levels…

(Paul McCombes) #204


@Ben Crone 

Come on Paul, if you’re going to make up formulae at least try and get the correct units!

The formula is from the Kurt Kinetic website and is based on the trainer I have - the web page is https://kurtkinetic.com/technical-information/kinetic-power-tech/ KK even sell an attachment that essentially uses this to calculate power for bluetooth*)

(And nobody said the constants were dimensionless - if you put speed in mph you get power out at W).

Anyone desperately wanting to look at my Strava profile feel free - https://www.strava.com/athletes/10945919 

I’m doing this for rehabilitation and fitness as I have a bad knee and really need to get healthier so it is absolutely pointless for me to lie to myself - I’m over 50, unfit, and slightly infirm: my competition is myself. So I get vaguely grumpy at the lumping of all zpower riders as an inferior species.

But I fully take on board that others will be competitive and want to win jerseys, and for this I agree that the level of - let’s call it suboptimal setup - of zpower is a real concern, and a solution is to have split leaderboards. It will make it better, but I don’t think it will be the panacea you are hoping for.

* The main calibration problem is getting the rolling resistance constant right - this will vary with tyre pressure, contact pressure, tyre wear, tyre temperature and so on. But for any sensible power output say 250W** the delta will be under 10% (~25W) and can be reproducible with care. Other trainers can and will vary (and the reason I got the Kurt was a) I needed a new one and b) it was reproducible).

** Well, sensible for me for a short time.





(Andrew Farley(USMES)) #205

Zwift is meant to be social. If you start separating the leaderboards then it is no longer social. What Zwift needs to do is program a verification loop into their programing. What it looks for is a riders w/kg. If it is over a certain level for lets say 10 minutes and they are not using a power meter then it ends there ride.

When I first found Zwift I read that with an unsupported trainer that your watts cap at 400. That is all well and good. but if someone is able to stay at a high w/kg for an extended period the system if programed correctly could pause their game and tell them the problem and give them the chance to fix it.

On a side note I am prepared to pay Zwift their $10 a month for years. But if they try to force me to buy a PM or separate the leaderboards then I am out.  

(steve cifelli (D)) #206

I have a cyclops standard trainer.  I do not have a power meter but am looking into purchasing one.  I have tweaked and worked on getting my wattage correct on every ride.  Assuming people are cheating is ridiculous.  In fact, my last ride I stopped riding because I was winning every category.  I know my limits and knew there was an issue when I was passing everyone.  I am sure it is frustrating for people that have power meters and are getting solid numbers to see people flying around like Peter Sagan.  Just do not assume we are cheating.  I will continue to work on getting my numbers accurate…

(Alison Kubota [Vision] CVR) #207

@Steve - I’m just glad you and everyone are on Zwift and that standard trainer users are helping support the community and the Zwift platform so that we can expect to see new courses and features in the future!  I think that’s the important thing that I need to keep in mind.

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #208

Note: If your trainer is not on the trainer list it is  NOT  supported. Do not pick a different trainer. You will get inaccurate readings.

I don’t see this note as any reason. I am getting capped on watts with my classic trainer and it makes my rides irrelevant.  That’s not what I signed up for and have been working to achieve. 

If your business model is to earn a cut from the trainers you have ‘calibrated’ that is fine. However if its to provide a competitive and relevant training program for a monthly fee then its not going to float my boat.

My trainer is a lemond revolution with the same system as the kickr. Without the computer and power readings. I run with power outdoors so know approximately what my numbers should be versus my effort. However I am capped at 400 w which is less than 4 w per kilo.  

It means my climbs are at a speed where my garmin would shut down, and my sprints are slower than when I was running the distance.

I don’t know if this is worth it. Free yes, but not paying. I can’t ride with friends, and I can’t chase other riders. I am doing 28 mph pulling near a 800 w on my trainer, going up the hill at 2 mph, and sprinting at 23 mph.  The only time it gets comparative is on a slight downhill. I know this sounds like a whine, but if you want my money, I am sure there are plenty out there like me with the same issue. 

I very much want to take this on as I like to support cycling start ups, like zwift, strava, veloviewer.  You have my trainer name -lemond revolution-  my rpm, history from strava as to my actual power,  HR, yet I am stuck with a 40 second PR on a 1/4 mile sprint. I was a 46 second 400 m runner years ago, and your algorithm sucks for me. 

And I don’t intend to spend a $1000 on a new trainer so that I can spend $10 a month here. 


So hopefully you have something planned beyond the big name brands. Or at least pulling the cap off. 


(Jasper McCrea) #209

My trainer, a Minoura, is set up in the recommended way at level 1 resistance.

For the sprint last night I managed just over 500w in top gear at 156 rpm cadence.

Zwift is essentially unusable for me unless I can set a higher resistance on my trainer so that I can generate higher power at a lower cadence, and still get estimated power readings in the correct ballpark.

If it stays as it is there is no way I will pay for it when my trial finishes.

(Yancy Fry) #210

Hurry up and do something about this so I can sign up please. I wont sign up and pay until it is fixed. Separate leaderboards, the ability to filter out zpower users, separate maps, only power meter users can go in the opposite direction, do something to fix this issue, so I dont have to compete with people who have a giant unfair advantage. You cant have something like jerseys in a game where you psychically compete and destroy yourself to get one, only to have some person with blatantly wrong data STEAL it from you.

(Yancy Fry) #211

And in a fitting end, just as my free period on Zwift ended, I lost the Orange Jersey by 1 second to a zPower user.  Nice …

(Andrew Farley(USMES)) #212

I still see everyone complaining about zpower and jerseys. I didnt think that zwift was designed to be all about the jerseys. I though it was about riding with people from all across the world. I agree that its not fair but i enjoy see 100+ people riding and simply enjoying being one a bicycle than competing for a jersey. Im on zpower and the only jersey i have ever won Was the kom on watopia. Its not becuase im a flier but simply becuase i go as hard as i can the entire way to the top. Enough to where my legs are completely dead at the top of it.

To yancy: if they only beat you be one second then it sounds like they werent a flier but simply worked harder for it.

(Yancy Fry) #213

Or since we know zpower is usually inaccurate, I got robbed.

(Andrew Farley(USMES)) #214

Im sry but it was 1 sec. Ive seen the difference between 1st and 2nd be over a minute that is getting robbed. Im sry and will all due respect losing by 1 sec is just that it is losing. What the developers have done with this game is nothing short of amazing. You need to remember that it is a game and there will always be cheaters but when you let it effect the entire ride you have just done then you have trully lost. Enjoy the ride, Enjoy the fitness. 

(Alison Kubota [Vision] CVR) #215

I get the impression sometimes, that people who are angry at zpower users, might be imagining that they are there on their dumb trainers, chomping down on big macs with mustard stains on their jerseys, barely breaking out a sweat, and blowing out the leaderboards and laughing at the hard-working power-metered cyclists trying to earnestly to get a kom.  Like the bully Nelson on the Simpsons, pointing at you and laughing, “HA HA!”


(Marcus Durant @VanelliCycling) #216

  When you look at their heart rates and average w/kg over tens of miles, it mostly becomes apparent that’s exactly what they are doing.  Pitty,  as apart from this,  it’s a solid format.


(malcolm may (WCC) C) #217

As long as my numbers look and feel right I could care less about the ‘flyers’. They are the losers in this experience. 

It would be a simple matter to have a zpower leader board and a watt power board.  I will be on zpower, and I’ve seen guys with KOMs for the sprint at 70+ mph. Its pretty easy to cancel them out. As they do with strava. 

(Will I Am Adams) #218

Yancy  you  are preaching to the choir - but  your  frustration and points are  valid.   The  marvel of the technical development of  zwift is amazing -  it  would  take a mere 1st  grade level math to now   deal with this  constant issue by  restricting some  groups/ jerseys etc.

For those of you who  say - why  worry - its  Nirvana - just  enjoy - everyone is  having a good time…

Your wrong  because  its about competition -    Zwift should  level the playing field as much as possible.

(Michael Meysarosh) #219

While Zwift is certainly about competition, the reality is that you could not expect any virtual platform to be a dead on accurate gauge on performance, even if the entire game was restricted to PM user and ST units. Even with those units, accuracy levels within normal working conditions will vary as high as 5% and peak power levels by around 10%. Add in that not all sources will be calibrated or properly installed, and you could almost double the two parameters mentioned.

For an individual who is consistent about their setup can certainly see highly accurate assuages of improvements, beyond that accuracy is going to be ever absolute. Even if they level the playing field as much as possible, I feel this argument will continue without end.

(Stewart ) #220

I agree with you Michael but for me it is all about letting some riders know there may be an issue with their set up and help them get it as close as possible.
Kickr’s can report up to 30W(before recent firmware update) high and there can be slight issues with other power platforms but in general they will be fairly close and consistent.
Zwift is great though and it would be silly to not want to use it because of these issues when they don’t matter all that much as far as individual training goes. Racing needs stricter policing but it is going the correct way at the moment.