zPower: Don't be a "Flier"

(steve cifelli (D)) #221

I do not understand how people reference heart rate as a measure for “cheating”.  There is a variability in resting heart rate and maximum heart rate for people.  I agree if you see someone going 40mph with a heart rate of 100 they may be a flier.  

This is a virtual trainer so there will be variability.  I track my individual goals, enjoy challenging riders in my class, and look for improvement.

I am looking at purchasing a power meter to increase the accuracy of my wattage, but not everyone can afford a 500 to 800 purchase.  There are local bike shops that have virtual training and competition.  I suggest you go to that class if you are concerned about 1 second.


(Michael Meysarosh) #222


People are just getting bent up over seeing someone produce an above 400w average power over the course of a lap and showing a steady heart rate of say 100bpm. Either very well trained rider is having a gear issue that day or someone is having a bit of fun with them. The response here show that someone is often having a good time.

I think these fliers might even work out for some extremely competitive folks here. If you catch one of these suckers, imagine how fast you’ll drop your group!

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #223

400 watts is only a real big deal when its capped. 

(Craig) #224

I’m making this post at the end of November, 2015.  The Zpower issue is alive and well, and there are many level headed zwifters who are discussing this on a daily basis.  In one camp there are the “who cares, why can’t we all get along” group.  There are the ‘games should be fair and zwift should address this sooner rather than later’ camp, and there there are the serious racers who are the ‘I’m going to track them down and shame them into quitting camp’.  

For me, I’m in the ‘games should be fair camp’.  Zwift has chosen to award prizes, jerseys for being the fastest on certain sections of the course or a single lap.  Because of that, people try and compete.  If one looks at the leaderboards, the majority of the top 10 are zpower riders.  Not always, but most of the time I’ve been on.  If you look at the riders on course, the majority of riders are either using power meters or smart trainers.  I would bet that most if not all riders who race, or are serious cyclists are using power meters or smart trainers.  One would think, therefore, that the top 10 of leaderboards would be dominated by the riders with power.  

My suggestion is to have separate leaderboards for zpower and for those using power.  For those using well calibrated zpower, I wonder whether they would care about leaderboards.  What it would mean is that zwift could eliminate the complaints from those using power, and if I’m correct, those are the majority of riders.  

Alternatively, stop awarding jerseys, stop posting fastest times.  Zwift is trying to mimic RL, and in RL, guys on mopeds wouldn’t be awarded jerseys or any prizes.  They would be ignored.  So why doesn’t Zwift do the same?  


I understand that you have a business to run, but it has been a while, and this issue has not died down.  I’m sure that zwift is aware of all the discussions and so forth… even from the racing group who are pondering ways to ‘certify’ riders.

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #225

Yep, I doubt anyone would be against a separate leaderboard.  And the fliers are only making themselves look stupid with a 75 mile an hour KOM. Like Strava, we should be able to screen those out. 

However, while I am not convinced the zpoweer is completely equal to my outside powermeter, its certainly close enough - 15 - 20% to allow me to improve my performance. 

(Yancy Fry) #226

Yes what Craig said.

Just fix the problem please, so I can sign up and ride instead of riding in front of my television. Also is anyone from Zwift actually reading this thread? I can’t remember the last time they mentioned anything about it.

(Alison Kubota [Vision] CVR) #227

An invite- and gear-restricted instanced race-mode functionality with a separate leaderboard and rider-list would be great too, mainly to be able to track whats going on without all the mass of humanity mixed in there.  That’s a lot of programming and testing though.

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #228

“Going to be off by a lot”.

Not really. It depends on your dumb trainer. I have a lemond revolution. The wahoo kickr is a ‘copy’ but with electronics. Its hard to reach high watts, and harder still to hold it there.

They have just matched it to Zpower, so I am no longer capped at 400w. After this week’s ride I was able to compare my zpower performance with my actual powertap out door performance for the year. It gave less credit on zpower than my history, despite my rides being 3 hours or more, and zwift only 2 laps. 

The lines were lower from 5 minutes out, by about 10% but in the peak watts, it was out by much more. While its been a struggle this year, my top watts were over 1400, and hammering on zwift saw me reach just over a 1000. I am not overly concerned as most of the ride is in the 200 - 300 watts range, and any improvement in performance will likely come from my losing weight.

While you appear frustrated over the leaderboards, I am frustrated that the system holds me back. When I am averging 750 for the sprint and only getting a 27 mph average it doesn’t match my real world.  But as long as its consistent, it really doesn’t matter. I’m trying to improve my fitness, not win Starfighter Lord of the Galaxy.

(Erik) #229

@Yancy Fry, I agree with you it is no fun atm to go for a jersey, because most of the time somebody on zpower has a really fast time. But I also think it is a bit stupid to let it spoil your experience. Alternatively if you really want to complete start in one of the races that are organised. Every tuesday and thursday there are 2 races, depending on which  timezone you are choose 1. The level is pretty high and when you can win the A class it’s worth a lot more bragging rights then to score a jersey any time.

(Will I Am Adams) #230

Well at  least there is  relative consensus…I  still contend that the viable solutions you all have suggested would  require a   very low  level of  technical expertise compared to al the incredible  stuff  Zwift  has  done up to now…

(Jason Buccellato) #231

The crux of the issue is visibility. As Craig pointed out, the vast majority of Zwift ers are power users. The leader boards, however, are over represented by Zpower riders. This cannot escape notice by the community. It is the single most glaring violation of fair play within the online Cycling environment.

To have Zpower users come to the thread, promising that they do not go after jerseys, or feel that their particular Zpower setup under represents their real world abilities, does not address the logic of the problem. It just comes off as poor apologetics.


Zpower riders love the stability that power users bring to the platform, but don’t accept accountability for the chaos their own group has introduced. While insisting that the power equipment is too costly, the Zwift rider does not acknowledge that the expense born by power users is precisely why a platform for online cycling is possible. Perhaps, Zriders should be asked to pay a higher subscription fee as they have not invested in the stability of the Zwift experience, but have actually introduced problems(yes this as partially tongue in cheek).

Cycling has always been a pay to play sport. We all know this. Thankfully, power items are the quickest to drop in value of any components. This means great used deals are always available.



(malcolm may (WCC) C) #232

did you read that nonsense before you posted?

“Zpower riders love the stability that power users bring to the platform, but don’t accept accountability for the chaos their own group has introduced” 


(Jason Buccellato) #233

Certainly did.

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #234

and you still posted?

Speaking for all the zpower guys? Come-on. What a pompous set of statements. 

But it seems you are real pleased with yourself. 

(Jason Buccellato) #235

Never did I say that I speak for all of the  Zpower users, nor is that necessary in pointing out the related issues with the competitive aspect of Zwift.

Being upset with a direct description of the problem is certainly your prerogative…



(malcolm may (WCC) C) #236

“Zpower riders love the stability that power users bring to the platform, but don’t accept accountability for the chaos their own group has introduced” 


Yet you feel intimately aware of their motivations and needs. 

(Jasper McCrea) #237

What stability did power users bring to the platform, again? Is this a big we were here first wah wah wah thing? Zwift want as many users as they can get. I’m quite sure they don’t care if you’re using a basic trainer or a power meter. 

(Marcus Durant @VanelliCycling) #238

Hi Jasper, power meter users bring verifiable metrics, which I would think are quite valuable to the developers. If everyone was just whizzing around on estimated numbers there there wouldn’t be much meaning in all the goals. I would think of a PM users stability as being a “stick in the sand” a constant among all the variables. (providing they are not lying about the pie consumption)

Edit, to be clear, I think there is room for both on the same platform, but the dev’s must use the data given to iron out the problems. via cross referencing of actual rides on strava maybe to create a virtual user bio passport. just an idea. My theory being that even those who blatantly cheat, CANT do it every day indoor and out, that would just make no sense. and those who just have calibration issues would be real easy to spot by the gaming software.

Message, Hey! you seem to be able to hold nW/kg in the realworld but in zwift you can hold n+W/kg… For given periods of time on various known % acents

(malcolm may (WCC) C) #239

There’s cheating everywhere. Inside and outside, and with power meters and not. Even the zpower meters vary. Rolling a power meter wheel on a trainer is open to the same issues. I am on a lemond revolution which bolts the back end into the trainer. Its way harder than pushing a power tap wheel out doors. Which I do.  

When I look at the numbers Zwift has been conservative with the lemond on this program. That’s fine by me as I am trying to lose weight and get fitter. I don’t care if I am ‘penalized’ 15 - 20%. 

So far I’ve seen some ‘incredible’ rides on power and on zpower. So there is no moral ground that can be claimed by those with the ‘real power’  


(Will I Am Adams) #240

Jasper -   what  planet are you on.   I  can assure you  if  Zwift desires a  viable business they are   engaged in this  very  issue.


Mal  -  the point is there is  way more  variability and  setup issues with non-power trainers.  That has been a  consistent observation.  Do you  think  that the fact that  non-pwer  trainer riders/  Zpower riders  dominate the  jersey and lap leaderboards is a  simple coincidence -  especially  given that their are more power trainer riders out there?