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Zwift KOMs are Ridiculous

Old 03-06-23, 01:06 PM
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terrymorse 
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Zwift KOMs are Ridiculous

I just tried out Zwift yesterday, and the first thing I noticed: the KOMs appear to be ludicrous.

There's this Hilly KOM Forward on the default route.

Distance: 0.6 mi
Avg. Gradient: 5.5%
Max. Gradient: 8.2%
KOM elapsed time: 01:11
KOM speed: 28.4 mph

Absolutely ridiculous. I estimate that speed up that grade would require over 14 W/kg. The absolute best pros in the world can manage 11 W/kg for a minute.

What part of Zwift tech allows such nonsense?
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Old 03-06-23, 01:09 PM
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Geez, are there e-bikes on Zwift?
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Old 03-06-23, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I just tried out Zwift yesterday, and the first thing I noticed: the KOMs appear to be ludicrous.

There's this Hilly KOM Forward on the default route.

Distance: 0.6 mi
Avg. Gradient: 5.5%
Max. Gradient: 8.2%
KOM elapsed time: 01:11
KOM speed: 28.4 mph

Absolutely ridiculous. I estimate that speed up that grade would require over 14 W/kg. The absolute best pros in the world can manage 11 W/kg for a minute.

What part of Zwift tech allows such nonsense?
You will bump into such ridiculousness from time to time. Also, the leaderbaord for KOMs, timed segments, and sprints is not permanent.
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Old 03-06-23, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Geez, are there e-bikes on Zwift?
If you can hook it up to a trainer, you could use it for Zwift.
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Old 03-06-23, 01:33 PM
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Zwift speeds are about 5MPH fast than IRL for similar efforts in my experience. Is for fun.
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Old 03-06-23, 01:49 PM
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Yeah I've noticed a lot of Zwift KOMs are messed up. I believe there was a bug that allowed ridiculous speeds on occasion, but never experienced it personally. Plus you also get the odd nerd hooking up a controller to dial in whatever power they like. I've seen a few of those motoring along, but not recently. I don't know why they don't just filter out obvious rogue times to clean it up. Not that I would ever get near a KOM on Zwift. Although I'm ahead of Lance Armstrong on the Radio Tower KOM, lol,
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Old 03-06-23, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat
Zwift speeds are about 5MPH fast than IRL for similar efforts in my experience. Is for fun.
I find they are much closer to real life on climbs. I guess perfect roads and no wind helps a lot with average speeds. Not to mention drafting opportunities.
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Old 03-06-23, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
If you can hook it up to a trainer, you could use it for Zwift.
A friend just tried this for, um, research purposes. Turns out not all e-bikes and not all trainers will work.

Originally Posted by PeteHski
Yeah I've noticed a lot of Zwift KOMs are messed up. I believe there was a bug that allowed ridiculous speeds on occasion, but never experienced it personally. Plus you also get the odd nerd hooking up a controller to dial in whatever power they like. I've seen a few of those motoring along, but not recently. I don't know why they don't just filter out obvious rogue times to clean it up. Not that I would ever get near a KOM on Zwift. Although I'm ahead of Lance Armstrong on the Radio Tower KOM, lol,
1. KOMs and sprints only count for those who are on course at that moment -- they don't stick around forever and ever. You can improve your chances of winning a KOM or a sprint if you go to a non-scheduled world at an oddball time of day. That said, sometimes you do run across implausible times.

2. I had a discussion with some Zwift people a few years ago about cheating on Zwift. This was way before they got into e-racing, but it was on their radar. I told them then that cheating is relatively easy, but non-detectable cheating is quite hard. Clever and motivated cheaters can make it harder to detect so that it would take a lot of effort to spot them. Fortunately, many cheaters aren't that clever. Now, several years later, I still think that most cheating is detectable but it would require a lot of effort to detect certain kinds of cheating, so Zwift only checks for "big" races. For just tootling around, it's very hard for them to do automated filtering unless the times are really egregious.
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Old 03-06-23, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Geez, are there e-bikes on Zwift?
Geez, are there e-bikes in the real world?
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Old 03-06-23, 02:28 PM
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I was riding on Zwift last year when my power meter suddenly started reading 2000 watts. I stopped pedaling and it went down to 0, but every time I started pedaling it went straight up to 2000 watts. Turns out my power meter's battery was dying.

I stopped riding once I realized there was a problem, but the ride had recorded maybe 5-10 seconds of 0 to 2000 watts. Someone riding near me in the game called me out for cheating (I was just free-riding, not in a race or anything) which I thought was hilarious. I'm guessing that person reported me to Zwift because I also got a message from them that they had flagged the ride due to "suspicious data" and told me it wouldn't count towards segments/KOM's/etc while they "investigated". I deleted the ride, but because my peak power on Zwift was like 800 watts prior to that, I unlocked 4 new badges for hitting the higher numbers, which still show up in my profile.

Anyway, if you want to cheat on Zwift, just lie about your weight.
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Old 03-06-23, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
I was riding on Zwift last year when my power meter suddenly started reading 2000 watts. I stopped pedaling and it went down to 0, but every time I started pedaling it went straight up to 2000 watts. Turns out my power meter's battery was dying.

I stopped riding once I realized there was a problem, but the ride had recorded maybe 5-10 seconds of 0 to 2000 watts. Someone riding near me in the game called me out for cheating (I was just free-riding, not in a race or anything) which I thought was hilarious. I'm guessing that person reported me to Zwift because I also got a message from them that they had flagged the ride due to "suspicious data" and told me it wouldn't count towards segments/KOM's/etc while they "investigated". I deleted the ride, but because my peak power on Zwift was like 800 watts prior to that, I unlocked 4 new badges for hitting the higher numbers, which still show up in my profile.

Anyway, if you want to cheat on Zwift, just lie about your weight.
Or height. Accidently changed my height to 3' once and got the "100 km/hr" badge on a descent where I was FLYING past everyone else. My son still refers to that incident as the Fat Hobbit.
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Old 03-06-23, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
Now, several years later, I still think that most cheating is detectable but it would require a lot of effort to detect certain kinds of cheating, so Zwift only checks for "big" races.
I know a few people who are way into e-sport racing and compete on a national level. They have very strict requirements for weigh-ins, video verification, dual power recording, etc. It's pretty highly regulated for any race that actually matters. I'm sure cheating still happens, but it's not the free-for-all that many assume.

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Old 03-06-23, 06:05 PM
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It's a game, not reality.
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Old 03-06-23, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist
It's a game, not reality.
Easy to dismiss I suppose, but the level of competition on Zwift is very high. USA Cycling has a team that just competed in the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. For these racers who train and compete in races like this, it's very much reality.
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Old 03-06-23, 07:34 PM
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There are some legitimately great athletes riding in Zwift and then there are people who set their weight to 50 pounds. I know people who do this myself, it's pathetic.
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Old 03-06-23, 08:45 PM
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You can also adjust the resistance simulation setting. I think it defaults to 50%.
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Old 03-06-23, 08:54 PM
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How hard would it be to miscalibrate both power strain gages and the scale. Don't do anything crazy, maybe 10% less weight and 40% power converts cat 3 racer into UCI Pro.

Imagine the profits to be made from Zwift KoM wannabees
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Old 03-06-23, 09:09 PM
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I find it amusing that anyone would take any sort of virtual bike 'racing' seriously.
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Old 03-06-23, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
I find it amusing that anyone would take any sort of virtual bike 'racing' seriously.
Actually two world pro teams use ZWIFT to bring new riders into their ranks. Ever heard of Canyon-SRAM and Alpecin-Fenix?

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/l...n-zwift-495955
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Old 03-06-23, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
How hard would it be to miscalibrate both power strain gages and the scale. Don't do anything crazy, maybe 10% less weight and 40% power converts cat 3 racer into UCI Pro.
It's easy to miscalibrate, and to lie about your weight. It's hard to do it in a way that's not detectable. It's possible to do it in a way that, while detectable, would be a fair amount of trouble to detect. When the stakes are high, Zwift would be likely to spend that much effort, but they're unlikely to go to that effort when the stakes are, you know, medium.
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Old 03-06-23, 11:19 PM
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Tell your pedal based power meter that you use 200 mm crank arms. That doesn't show up in Zwift anywhere. Don't think it's even transmitted to them. Same for changing the power offset. Or doing your spindown calibration with some extra resistance brushing the flywheel.

While I know there are some people cheating when I'm racing them, I also know there's nothing I can do about it so I pretend it doesn't happen because I push myself a lot harder when racing against people I pretend are honestly racing against me than when I'm doing a workout and trying to hold a specific number for a specific time period. Get to see the same people week in and week out when you do the same series over and over again and have a little friendly trash talking.
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Old 03-06-23, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
You can also adjust the resistance simulation setting. I think it defaults to 50%.
This ends up being sort of a virtual way to adjust gearing. Resistance changes, but your overall power won't.
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Old 03-07-23, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau
Tell your pedal based power meter that you use 200 mm crank arms. That doesn't show up in Zwift anywhere. Don't think it's even transmitted to them. Same for changing the power offset. Or doing your spindown calibration with some extra resistance brushing the flywheel.
These would be time-consuming to detect, but they're detectable.
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Old 03-07-23, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by RChung
A friend just tried this for, um, research purposes. Turns out not all e-bikes and not all trainers will work.


1. KOMs and sprints only count for those who are on course at that moment -- they don't stick around forever and ever. You can improve your chances of winning a KOM or a sprint if you go to a non-scheduled world at an oddball time of day. That said, sometimes you do run across implausible times.

Ah I see. I check them on Strava, where they do unfortunately stick around forever. Obviously nothing Strava can do about it. I'm not chasing KOMs myself, so it doesn't really matter as long as I can compare my own and friends best efforts, but I just noticed they were all messed up. All Zwift KOMs on Strava are basically junk.
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Old 03-07-23, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by roadie276
This ends up being sort of a virtual way to adjust gearing. Resistance changes, but your overall power won't.
True, but it's still a big advantage to reduce the setting as you can more easily put down the power on downhills. I always use 100% setting for a more realistic sim, but it's definitely a disadvantage when racing. You can definitely tell the guys who have set it to zero by the way their power and cadence remains rock steady on rolling terrain etc.
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