Zwift Hardware Requirements Public Test - 2- 9 Aug

Hey Zwift Racers!

The time has come for another test. This time, we’re testing Hardware Requirements for events.

The goal with Hardware Requirements is to create a race environment where you know that the Zwifters you see around you are on hardware that is accurate and displaying power to a level similar to your own.

We will be hosting public events, open to anyone, from 2 Aug - 9 Aug. You can find them all with the title Zwift FutureWorks Test - (Hardware Type) Only. Or, you can use this tag. They will be Zwift events only. These events will also be set with Category Enforcement enabled.

Please note: We will not be offering Hardware Requirements for community organizers to test as we did with Category Enforcement. It will be an option when configuring your races in the near future.

Below this post you’ll find an FAQ that should cover a majority of the questions you may have. For more detail, read on.

At a glance, here are some quick details about the events:

  • Testing is from 2 Aug - 9 Aug and is limited to Zwift events only.
  • You can find an event happening at 2:00, 9:00, 18:00, and 23:00 UTC (convert to your time zone here).
  • All Hardware Required events will also have Category Enforcement enabled.
  • All Hardware Required events will have the title formatted as: Zwift FutureWorks Test - (Hardware Type) Only, i.e. Zwift FutureWorks Test - Smart Trainer/Power Meter + HRM Only. They are also findable with with this tag.
  • There is currently no UI element that will inform you if you have the right hardware paired or not prior to joining the event. You will need to look in the event title and description during testing.
  • You must remain paired to the hardware you joined the event with. If, during the event you attempt to swap to different hardware than what you joined the event with, you will be prohibited from leaving the pairing screen until the original hardware you joined with is paired again.
  • If you lose connection to your hardware during the event, you can only exit the pairing screen by pairing the exact same hardware you joined with.
  • We ask that you give us feedback after your events both via this form and by commenting on this post.

This feature is quite simple: offer events where you will know you’re racing against other Zwifters that have the same or similar hardware to yours.

In other words, that means smart trainer/power meter-racers will race with fellow smart trainer/power meter-racers and zPower-racers with race with fellow zPower-racers. There is also an additional option to require heart rate monitors for both smart trainers/power meters and zPower.

For example, all power meters you would use on your bike - e.g., Garmin Vector pedals, Pioneer crank power meters, Stages power meters, etc. Smart trainers that measure power will also be permitted in power meter events - e.g., KICKRs, Elite trainers, Tacx Neo 2T etc…

Equipment like spin bikes with or without power meters - e.g., Schwinn IC8 - or classic trainers being used with a speed sensor - e.g., Kurt Kinetic trainer + Wahoo speed sensor - are allowed in zPower only races.

If you aren’t sure what kind of hardware you have to Zwift on, check out our FAQ here.

Overall, there are 5 possible event configurations:

  • No rules; the event is open to all hardware types
  • Smart Trainers/Power Meters only allowed
  • Smart Trainers/Power Meters + Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) only allowed
  • zPower (classic trainer + speed sensor, spin bikes, etc.) only allowed
  • zPower + Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) only allowed

Note: for the events that don’t explicitly call out heart rate being a requirement, you will not be disallowed from using your heart rate monitor. You will be required to have one at all times for the events that explicitly state a heart rate monitor is required.

As always, we welcome and encourage your feedback! Please fill out this form after you’ve done a race or two. We also ask that you let us know your impressions in this thread.

Please note: we will be locking this thread 14 days from the original post date in order to capture test feedback in a timely manner.

Ride On. :ride_on:

FAQ

  • What are Hardware Requirements?
    • Hardware Requirement is a new race rule from Zwift that allows Zwifters to race against others that are using similar trainers to them. For example: Zwifters using smart trainers/power meters can race together and Zwifters using zPower can race together, but they will be prohibited from racing with one another in these events.
  • When will Hardware Requirements be available in more events?
    • After our initial testing phase from 2 - 9 Aug, we hope to have Hardware Requirements rolled out as soon as possible, though we can’t say for certain when that will happen.
  • What is the test period for these events? Do I need to do anything special to participate in them?
    • The test period will be from 2 Aug - 9 Aug 2022 and they are open to everyone. Simply look for the events on your calendar titled Zwift FutureWorks Test - (Hardware Type Only) and sign up. For example, if you’re a zPower-racer, you’d want to sign up for the events titled Zwift FutureWorks Test - zPower Only if you’re racing with just your trainer, or Zwift FutureWorks Test - zPower + HRM Only if you’re racing with a heart rate monitor.
  • Do the Hardware Required test events use Category Enforcement?
    • Yes they do! If you want to learn more about category enforcement, check out our FAQ here.
  • Will all Zwift events have Hardware Requirements?
    • No they will not. Hardware Requirements are designed to provide events to Zwifters looking for a fairer race environment. In the near future, you’ll be able to tell which events are using rules like Category Enforcement or Hardware Requirements with some helpful UI. For now, the only events using Hardware Requirements are our test events.
  • How do I find the right event for my hardware type?
    • For the test event, look for the events titled Zwift FutureWorks Test - (Hardware Type Only) and sign up! For example, if you’re a zPower-racer, you’d want to sign up for the events titled Zwift FutureWorks Test - zPower Only if you’re racing with just your trainer, or Zwift FutureWorks Test - zPower + HRM Only if you’re racing with a heart rate monitor.
  • What is zPower?
    • zPower is Zwift’s own way to allow folks who use hardware like a classic trainer and a speed sensor to participate in Zwift. If you would like to know more, check out our support article here.
  • How do I know if I have the right hardware paired before joining the event?
    • If you aren’t sure what kind of hardware you have to Zwift on, check out our FAQ here.
    • During the test period, you will know which hardware you will need to have paired by reading the event title. For example, if you want to race with your smart trainer/power meter and your heart rate monitor, you’ll need to sign up for the events titled Zwift FutureWorks Test - Smart Trainer/Power Meter + HRM Only.
    • If, during the test period, you are attempting to join the event with the incorrect hardware paired, you will be unable to join the pen at the time of the event. That means zPower-racers cannot join the Smart Trainer/Power Meter required events, and smart trainer/power meter-racers cannot join the zPower required events.
  • Why can’t I join the event in Zwift even though I’m signed up?
    • While Hardware Requirement doesn’t prevent you from signing up for the event ahead of time, you will be prohibited from joining the event just before start if you don’t have the correct hardware paired. Remember: the title of the event will tell you what hardware you need to pair for the test period only.
    • If, during the test period, you are attempting to join the event with the incorrect hardware paired, you will be unable to join the pen at the time of the event. That means zPower-racers cannot join the Smart Trainer/Power Meter required events, and smart trainer/power meter-racers cannot join the zPower required events.
  • What happens if I try to pair different hardware than what I joined the event with?
    • If during your race you try to pair different hardware, you will be prohibited from leaving the pairing screen until you pair the hardware that you joined the event with.
  • What happens if I lose connection to my hardware during the event?
    • You can repair the hardware you joined the event with. But, if you try to pair something different, you will be prohibited from leaving the pairing screen until you pair the hardware that you joined the event with.
  • Can I race against other Zwifters on the same brand or model hardware as me?
    • The events will not limit which types of brands or models can join. Almost any hardware that pairs to Zwift as a power meter is allowed in the power meter group, while the rest will be allowed to race in the zPower group.
  • I have some things I’d like to share about my experience testing this feature, where can I do that?
  • I’m a community race organizer and I would like to use Hardware Requirements for my events. Can I?
    • When the first pass of the UI for these events is in place, you will be able to. During the test period and in the immediate time following the test period, we will not be offering this as an option to community organizers.
11 Likes

Yay, progress! Just curious, are you planning on reviewing the “almost any hardware that pairs to Zwift as a power meter” part? Specifically I’m thinking about things like HR sensors that broadcast guesstimated “power” data which should certainly also at best be treated the same as zPower. (Not familiar with any specific devices nor how these are handled by Zwift at the moment.)

2 Likes

We sure are. We think for a first pass we’ve got it pretty well dialed, but there’s always room for improvement.

1 Like

PowerTap used to make an HRM that estimates power before Saris acquired that brand. It’s long been discontinued.

Love it…can’t wait to get this future rolled out. :ride_on:

1 Like

very much appreciated, thank you

1 Like

I’m wondering if power meters like the 4iiii single crank meters inform Zwift of the power balance setting being used?

If so, are we going to see extreme power balances, that greatly inflate power readings (or purposely lower power to stay in a lower category), get hardware restrictions in the future?

There isn’t a concrete yes or no for this right this second, but I can say that feedback about how the races feel through testing will influence that. There are definitely going to be shifts, though not sure what will shift where. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for you.

The main goal is to have you look at a given time at the riders nearby list and feel that yes, the riders in this race are in the right race both because of their category and the hardware they’re on. We want to provide you all with the mental clarity that will let you push for better results, not have to spend time thinking “is this person worth chasing down?”

2 Likes

I’m probably getting well ahead of myself here but have you given any thought to the use of incorrectly calibrated power meters?

I use a Tacx Neo 2T (no calibration required) but I also have the option of using my Assioma pedals as the primary Zwift power source. If I was so inclined, I could easily adjust the power output of my pedals to any value I fancied e.g 120% of my smart trainer’s output.

I’m sure you won’t want to introduce dual power recording for community racing, so how will this be monitored, if indeed it can?

I think this is a fantastic first step but, much like inaccurate rider weights, incorrectly calibrated power meters (intentionally, or not) can obviously have a profound affect on race dynamics and results etc.

6 Likes

I think this is outside the scope of this project and comes down to the question of how far do we go in terms of community racing without damaging “cost of entry”.

I think there will always be ways to cheat and as ever, if you feel that there are people who are doing so, please report them and we will investigate accordingly.

Genuine Q for those of us eith Kickr Bikes.

If we are paired in BT mode and try to switch controllable trainer to ant+ will be able to?

I ask because the steering bug still exists for kickr bike users where even if steering is disabled but you are paired with Bluetooth you are always forced to side out of draft.

Great progress !
Thank you for that improvement.
But i don’t see any topic in Q&A regarding “Home trainer difficulty”.
I think this is too much complicated to manage as every one are not riding on trainer able to simulated high %.

I really don’t think trainer difficulty is an issue that we need to address.

5 Likes

PowerPod is another prominent one, it essentially uses a Zpower type algorithm to calculate from the speed sensor when set to turbo trainer mode. I know of more than one rider using this, not maliciously but it’s problematic nevertheless.

By changing the “trainer difficulty” we change the simulation, even if we have to provide the power for our avatar.

  • Feeling is different for our legs
  • We have to play more often with switch lever at 100%

Durring UCI event, riders were able to change trainer difficuly to 25% ?

No, they can change their gearing.

Which is exactly the same thing.

3 Likes

Love the idea though I’m curious what the numbers look like though for participation. I assume Zwift has sized this themselves, but imagining that the number of race events will have to quadruple for the 4 new scenarios, will there be enough entrants in the field for some of these configurations?

i dont think they need a huge sample for a test. they just want to see if it works properly

true, though I’m talking about potential eventual rollout of this strategy afterwards.