Zwift Drafting (uphill)

Hi all.
I don’t know if this problem exists or it is just me,
but today in the Tour/London on the uphill sections
it seemed unless I was going substantially faster
than the rider I was approaching I would sort of get
stuck, possibly drafting them even though I was putting
out a higher wattage.

Can I make the suggestion that on uphill sections
drafting is disabled after reaching say 2 or 3% so
that you don’t have to fight your way past, or keep
upping your power every time you come up to another rider
to compensate for the possibility of the stickiness of drafting.

Upping power to pass is not a great way to climb
some of the longer hills we have.

Please vote if you agree, or tell me I’m wrong. Thanks.

Cheers and “Ride On”

I would agree on the hills.

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I completely agree. Sometimes I wonder how long I’ve been putting out slightly higher w/kg than the guy I’ve been following but have been stuck at their slower pace…


I agree too.

From what I have gathered, drafting in Zwift is 50% of the power of drafting In Real Life. To compensate for the reduced draft, and for the lack of physical cues that would tell you IRL that you are “in the draft”, Zwift added “sticky-ness”. I don’t know exactly how this is applied, but when you get into the draft of another rider, Zwift’s sticky-ness helps to keep you there. It’s beneficial if you want to ease off the power a bit and stay in the draft. It’s annoying if you want to slowly pass the rider in front since you must significantly bump up the power to break the “stick”.

As speed slows, and the draft is reduced, the stickyness should also decrease. Does it? One would think that when climbing a hill at 8 kph the draft effect would be nearly zero, so the sticky-ness should also be nearly zero…


Hi Bhaltair,
thanks for your reply.
The drafting/sticky-ness is great on the flat, however on the hills I’m not totally
sure that as the speed decreases the sticky-ness decreases. I would hope that
it would especially on the hills, but I feel the reality is that it is still there, making
passing a rider ahead of you harder.

I think if you are moving at a considerable pace above the the rider ahead then
you don’t get stuck, but if closing slowly and trying to pass, without putting out any
more effort, just doesn’t seem to work. You get “Stuck”

I’ve noticed this more in the Tour series. Lately the Tour of London, where you have a really large number of riders and are just trying to use the hill sections to move up through the field.

In a race I wouldn’t notice it as I’d be hoping for all the sticky-ness there is to help me
hang on to the back of the group that was pulling me around (or up). LOL

Thanks again for your thoughts.
Would anyone from Zwift care to comment?

Cheers All
“Ride On”


Ok, I just finished the Rapha tour thing with 2200 Zwifters around the Four Horseman course. As one could imagine, it was pretty much a continuous line of riders up the Epic KOM and up the Alpe. The stickiness of the draft going up the climbs was so annoying…and there’s just no way you can increase your power enough to overcome the stickiness, because you’d then be at that considerably higher power output for the entire climb. The draft should be turned off at speeds under about 10 mph.

The riders who chose time trial bikes were the smart ones because they could avoid the sticky drafts and ride the climbs at their own steady pace.


Interesting point on racing.

This phenomenon limits the potential for breakaway and rewards weaker riders with a strong sprint as they can just hang on the back. I’m rapidly coming to conclusion that TT races are much fairer.

Also given the issues highlighted why experiment with double draft which I assume exacerbate everything?


Stickiness helps only when you’ll get in a worse position overtaking the rider in front. If the power you output would make you go away from the rider in front, you shouldn’t stick to them.

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Hi Roiled,
yes I agree. To pass slightly slower riders I come across going uphill
I increase my power/speed, so I avoid getting stuck in their draft.

I had the same problem today in the Tour de Zwift London Stage.
Its not the best way to climb though, as you have to work harder
than you want, breaking your rhythm.

Great event though.

Just, please Zwift, turn off uphill draft.

“Ride On”

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I don’t think we want uphill draft turned off. What if you’re going 45 kph up a 1% grade?

The Stickyness should be in proportion to speed or draft effect: Slow speed, low draft, little “stick”.
Or, as another member suggested, the stick should only take effect when the rider behind would be going slower than the rider they are drafting.
Or, just turn off the sticky and implement Double Draft / Real Draft universally.

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Hi Bhaltair,
good point with the 1% grade I hadn’t considered that.

I’m thinking of the steeper gradients though.
IRL, what is drafting like up steeper gradients the long drags?
I always view the hills as place you can’t hide. That I’ll have to get up
this hill/mountain myself.

It can be useful to have someone with you, to set the pace or to ride with,
but I’ve got to do the work myself.

Thanks for your input. I hope this thread will at least get Zwift to look at the problem
and improve things one way or another.

Cheers and keep putting your ideas in.
Ride on

In real life, drafting depends on speed, not slope. But since slope tends to reduce speed… Stickiness was implemented to make it easier to stay in a group, as your have limited cues and a relatively slow reaction time of trainers to power input changes. It’s a double-edged sword: it means that staying together is easier, but passing is harder. In theory both the draft effect and its associated stickiness should be proportional to speed squared.

I got dropped from the peloton because I got stuck to a cyclist falling off the back of the group about 400 m from the finish line. Could it be that the peloton had stepped up the wattage for the final sprint? Probably. But should I have been given the option to slide away from the rider dropping off the back? Absolutely. I generally don’t mind the stickyness but I think steering or some button to cancel or force refocusing of who you are stuck to should be implemented.


Hi Aaron,
Yeah I know how you feel. I have had the same happen to me.

I was following a rider as we moved up through the line of riders
ahead and suddenly I latched on to some other rider who
I should have just passed.
I just watched in disbelief as the cyclist I was following just
pulled away from me.

I quite like your idea of a button to switch on or off drafting, or steering,
which I mentioned in another post. (no interest given to that idea though)

I’m not sure there should be any stickiness on the uphill sections.

  1. perhaps at a certain speed drafting should be turned off, so a slower
    rider going up hill will not cause a slightly faster rider to stick to them,
  2. perhaps you only stick if you ease up, as if you had tried to catch up and
    wanted to ride with that cyclist.
  3. maybe drafting could be slightly delayed before being activated?

Lets hope Zwift are listening

Ride On

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I absolutely hate this mechanic. I have considered it a bug since day one. It shold be fixed and fine-tuned to address the problems.

  1. Ease up the threshold of sticking to someone’s draft based on speed / the actual effect of draft. Many formulas have been suggested above.
  2. Do not stick/switch to a slower draft if already in draft or if other faster draft is available.

Question: is draft effect constant in the draft zone of a particular rider in current model? i.e. no difference if you’re on the wheel, 5m back or 9m back? I think the threshold is at 10m(?)


Something needs to be done to drafting,its terrible at the moment,even on flat roads it can be like hitting a wall when you get sucked in!

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Hi Thomas,
I totally agree. I’ve been in a small group happily
in their draft and if I’m not careful I’ll get stuck to a slower lone
rider that the group is passing. Total nightmare.

If the group is passing a slower rider who is on the left and I’m on the right
of the group, no problem, but if I’m on the left, there is a very good
chance of getting stuck to the slower rider and getting dropped by the group.

To have to keep powering up in these situations is not very realistic really.

I’m not anti the draft but some sort of user control over the draft could be good.
Personally I’d like some right/left control of my avatar to enable me to
move to the side of riders I’m thinking of passing, to avoid getting stuck.

I’m sure it will be fixed at some point.
Cheers “Ride On”

This is the best idea.

I am big and slow, so I have no problems with the stickiness, but occasionally I do need to get around someone dropping off in a group ride climb and am already at my limit, so it would be nice to “release” so to speak and not have to “burst” to get around them.

Resurrecting this thread because sticky draft is beyond annoying! Why hasn’t Zwift listened and fixed this flaw? IRL, if I come up on a rider, moving faster than him/her, I will gain a slight reduction in wind resistance and scoot right around them. In Zwift, I’ve been more than 1.2 w/kg faster than a rider and get pegged to their wheel, then, as everyone knows above, have to greatly increase effort or wait until the program figures out I’m moving at a much faster rate and releases me from the draft. (I’ve usually lost the group or rider I was with that didn’t get pegged and a few times not able to make up the gap.)
Why not make it so that if a rider comes into the draft, and purposefully slows to the rider’s-in-front speed, Zwift knows that rider wants to draft, and let sticky-draft engage. Otherwise, if coming up on a rider at a faster speed and maintaining that speed in the ‘draft zone’, just let the rider go by; no sticky-draft. This would simulate IRL a lot better than what we have now!


Its a real shame that we still have this problem. I also find “Sticky Draft” really annoying on the Tick Tock route, where you can have the same problem.

It really is no fun having to accelerate passed slower riders to stay with your group or fellow Zwifter. You can’t just sit back and enjoy the ride, or control your breathing if working harder, you have to be fully engaged to avoid getting dropped and be prepared to put in more effort if you look like you are going to get stuck to the slower Zwifter. Not good.
Perhaps there should be a time delay before the draft kicks in, so that you can just drift past, like in really life. I wouldn’t have thought it would be too hard to find some solution.

Please Zwift lets fix this.