Zwift Rowing and Skiing


(Julia Mueller [ZRG]) #21

One more vote for rowing.
There is currently nothing softwarewise that is making this effective but rather boring sport… less boring :).
I will take a look into painsled, but I would prefer Zwift just to accept the C2 as a power source…


(_) #22

The CABLE device from NPE works great. It also has 2 preset configs available if you have a skier and a rower. This setup is good for me with windows BLE. PM5 ant+ FEC > CABLE (which translates actual ski/row watts from ANT+ to BLE) > Windows machine with BLE.


(_) #23

FWIW the PM5 is currently recognized by Zwift, however in its native form you cant get any Watts above 0.

The issue in Zwift offering PM5 compatibility in its native form would seem to be that when you stop rowing or skiing for a break the PM5 will display the last watts pulled. Though the PM5 will not calculate any additional meters during a break it will still display your last pulled wattage. This makes for an advantageous situation for all those cheaters out there looking for free watts/kms as the result is whenever you take a break your avatar is still riding at your last pulled watts in infinity.

Regardless of all the politics surrounding Zwift trainer compatibility, the infinite ways to hack better results, I’m happy to be cycling, rowing, and skiing on Zwift.


(Daren) #24

Since there’s no coasting (well, very little) on a rowing machine, Zwift could stop the power as soon as the SR drops to zero. OK, there might be a little free power, but really not a lot. And compared to other ergers, it’s a level playing field. OK, more level. C2 ergs will never compete on a par with bike trainers anyway.


(_) #25

Zwift can’t stop the power as I understand. When you stop pulling on a Rower/Skier the PM5 reads watts of last pull, it never zeroes out. As far as reading actual wattage goes, concept2 is great, but when integrated into Zwift the achilles heel would seem to be the inherent nature of the PM5 and its inability to zero out watts when you stop pulling,


(Daren) #26

Well I was assuming the PM5 also broadcasts stroke rate. I’m sure it would do, because SR is a fundamental statistic for rowers. So Zwift would be able to detect it, equivalent to cadence on a bike.

If the stroke rate is 0, you’re not rowing so the power output can be dropped to 0.


(_) #27

Good point, however SR is not natively broadcasted by the PM5 through BLE as far as I understand.

The CABLE device has a Cadence algorithm (CSCS broadcast) built in that simulates row or ski cadence to cycle cadence. It works well in zwift simulation with a 20-30 row stroke rate when rowing. When skiing, its all outta wack at a 40ish SPM so I just disable cadence pairing when skiing,

It will only take a firmware update from concept2 (working with Zwift) to deal with the zero out issue the PM5 metrics currently have with keeping Zwift as legit as they can.


(J Terrell (RowedBiker)) #28

Hey folks, I developed the PainSled app and just dropped a new iOS app specifically for rowing with Zwift called RowedBiker. I won’t say much about it here, you can go look on the App Store.

Replying to the thread above, yes, it has been my experience that the PM5 outputs the last power number after rowing stops. I have to time out the stroke and zero the power out programmatically in both apps.

Row on!


(Kristian ) #29

I love Zwift, but have found a lot of fun rowing. Do you expect to introduce rowing as a possibility??


(Daren) #30

I think the answer to that is “yes”. It’s more a case of when. In the annual Zwiftcast interview in December, Eric Min suggested he thought rowing was “18 months out” (IIRC). Jon Mayfield has also expressed interest in supporting rowing within Zwift.


(_) #31

I for one am not to upset that there aren’t virtual rivers and ski trails yet on Zwift.

My most favorite aspect of rowing and skiing on Zwift is the drafting dynamics involved, which would be hard to match with rivers and snow trails with few people rowing and skiing. I enjoy catching a draft, staying in a draft, pulling a draft. It has added some much needed variability to my workout effort and some incentive to pull harder which I was lacking before using Zwift when I was just watching a movie or something whilst rowing and skiing for hours and hours, getting very blah.

I use the View #3 on Zwift so my avatar is not visible and I can imagine I’m on any kind of machine cruising through the virtual streets. I cycle on a recumbent trike so my avatar isn’t accurate there either, but I feel no loss with view #3.

Just my 2 cents, I really enjoy the current state of affairs.


(Laura) #32

I’d love rowing in Zwift.

Don’t assume the rowing community is small. There are plenty of rowers using Zwift as crosstraining already who would be interested, I am not the only one at my boat club and Cambridge (UK) where I live has a huge rowing population. We spend hours on the C2 staring at the wall. All it would take is some advertising.

Programmed workouts, 2k tests, 30@20’s etc, I’d definitely use. Head races and regattas would be a fun addition. Or just being able to chat to others whilst working my way through another 60mins UT2…


(C) #33

This has been discussed at length over on the Concept2 forum and to a lesser extent on Reddit:

In the last Zwiftcast, Eric Min said we’re looking at about “Christmas 2019”, further indicating he’s surprised nobody owns the online rowing segment already.

My general take on the Concept2 forum discussion is all the existing software that “talks” to rowers looks like it was designed in 1992, and is still running on Windows 95 - it’s GREAT for precise data, seeing your split times etc - but “graphically interesting” it is not and there’s no investment to improve that.

Zwift has the massive advantage of the cycling userbase funding the rest of its development. I think the endgame is every piece of cardio equipment at the gym having a “Zwift” button, just like every TV remote at BestBuy has a Netflix button. Rowing is one piece of that puzzle.

In the meantime, the NPE-CABLE pod will bridge the Concept2 PM5 until Zwift supports rowing natively: https://imgur.com/a/r7UCNKL


(Peggy) #34

“Christmas 2019” is great news! I currently read ebooks with a wireless clicker attached to the handle. Bit awkward, but it passes the time. Looking forward to doing the Three Rs (Run, Ride, Row) in Zwift!


(_) #35

Many thanks to you C J

I started zwifting last fall on my trike, and eventually found painsled for the skier and rower but didn’t like the dropouts and having an extra phone running, plus group rides were jank and there was no option for actual watts, only an option to super mega the watts over the already artificial watts if you were to enable ski mode.

Long story short I found the link you posted above in December which is very well detailed and I ordered the Cable. I no longer report cadence on either the rower or skier because that’s just weird and Zwift does a better job at simulating cadence when you don’t sync it from a non-bike device. True watts and a solid connection to both old and new PM5’s.

Thanks for taking the time to put that imgur doc together.


(Jeff Bloom) #36

The problem you are talking about has already been figured out by RowPro. I am sure the developers at Zwift would have no problem dealing with it.


(Alex) #37

Found this thread via a Google search result for ‘Zwift Rowing’

+1 to Zwift & Concept 2 working together to do a first party implementation of connecting Zwift. I would absolutely subscribe to Zwift if this were to take place.

Just set a Google Calendar reminder to revisit this thread at a point in the future.


(Geoffrey Easton ZHR G) #38

Nothing against runners, rowers, skiers et al. But this is what leaves me more than a little disgruntled. Why should I be funding through my sub something which I am never going to use?


(_) #39

Agreed, and after a test today on Windows PC, both Bluetooth and ANT FEC connect with the PM5 and are recognized by Zwift. Both connections still show 0 watts though, also tested going into a ride and no amount of pulling broke 0.

NPE Cable is still rock solid.

I’m sure someone at Zwift is working on the algo’s to bring the direct connection to life. It’s cleaner and in Zwift’s best interest to facilitate less people use the watt multiplying solutions.


(Jeff Bloom) #40

Zwift should implement a rowing bike rather than on water rowing. This would offer rowers something totally unique and fun with pack racing, drafting, and going up and down hills. Moreover, adding a rowing bike should be significantly easier to develop than a water based rowing simulator.