Zwift Drafting (uphill)


(..Troy) #1

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”


(Mark Murawski) #2

I would agree on the hills.


(Erik Borgnes ) #3

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…


(Bhaltair Gruamach [DIRT]) #4

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…


(..Troy) #5

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”


(Erik Borgnes ) #6

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.


(Matthew Whitwell) #7

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?


(Roilev Ivo) #8

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.


(..Troy) #9

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”


(Bhaltair Gruamach [DIRT]) #10

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.


(..Troy) #11

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


(Robert C) #12

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.