ZwiftPower Height & Weight Changes Postponed

ZwiftPower Height & Weight Changes Postponed

Last week we announced Zwift’s plans to remove rider height and weight from ZwiftPower, among other changes (read the full post here).

Response to our post as well as Zwift’s own post in their forum were resoundingly negative from members of the Zwift racing community. While most Zwifters seemed to understand and even appreciate the intent behind the change, there was concern that removing this information would result in increased height/weight doping.

This afternoon, Zwift posted a follow-up message on the forum. Here it is in its entirety:

Last week we outlined a number of planned changes to address harassment and further safeguard the health and wellbeing of the Zwift Community.

Among the communicated changes were plans to hide the visibility of height and weight from ZwiftPower in an effort to encourage individual health and wellness. This raised concerns within the Zwift Racing Community regarding fairness in racing. Though our intent is to protect potentially vulnerable users by removing labels that can trigger unhealthy behaviours, we also hear the concerns of the racing community.

As such, we have agreed to pause this change while we develop tools that deliver greater transparency to Zwift racing while promoting wellness. For the time being, height and weight will remain visible on ZwiftPower.

We would like to thank the community for your passion and feedback. Your voice is important to us. In the future, we’ll continue to bring potential product ideas and changes to members of the Zwift Racing Community, with the hope that you’ll embrace this as a collaborative effort to help shape the experience.

Other planned changes communicated last week, including plans to improve the reporting features in Zwift will be rolled out as planned. Additionally, we’ll be moving forward on hiding height and weight from Zwift Companion and Web. We remain committed to protecting the health and well being of the broader Zwift Community, and we look forward to enacting additional measures in the future.

Our Comments

We like this move from Zwift. First, it shows that they’re listening to the community. That’s a good thing. We really like the sound of this:

In the future, we’ll continue to bring potential product ideas and changes to members of the Zwift Racing Community, with the hope that you’ll embrace this as a collaborative effort to help shape the experience.

Secondly, Zwift’s statement says they agree there is a need for “tools that deliver greater transparency to Zwift racing.” That’s good to see, and we completely agree! As we said in the first post, “Assuming race organizers can access the data via ZwiftPower, and the site includes simple tools for spotting potential weight or height dopers (perhaps flagging those who made dramatic changes recently), then hiding weight and height data from the public should work swimmingly.”

Hopefully when it comes time to hide height and weight from public view on ZwiftPower, Zwift will have some really useful tools in place which help race organizers do their jobs more quickly and effectively, while promoting wellness in the racing community.

As Zwift racer James Eastwood so aptly put it, “The community don’t want to see people’s weight – they want fair racing.”

Your Thoughts

Share your thoughts below, and you may also wish to share those thoughts on the actual forum post.

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Stuart Lynne
Trusted Member
Stuart Lynne (@sl)
16 days ago

The best solution would be for Zwift to actively monitor all racing for people cheating. This would include preventing people from entering the wrong (too low) category, and multiple month suspensions (race events would not appear in that persons Zwift application event list, no ability to enter) for using a height or weight that cannot be verified, or miscalibration of a smart trainer. Not too many people actually want to see other people’s height or weight except to be able to verify race results are reasonable. If Zwift can be seen to be doing that then very little need to… Read more »

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
16 days ago
Reply to  Stuart Lynne

As long as people are using reasonable weight/height and aren’t cheating or changing it drastically all the time (my scales autoupdate my weight, so mine changes once a day, but by small increments), I’m much more interested in being able to see the weight of my teammates so I can properly plan my TTT lineup than I am the weight of my competitors.

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
16 days ago
Reply to  Stuart Lynne

yea but realistically is it worth it for them to dedicate the resources to that $$$$$$$

rdcyclist (Mark Crane)
rdcyclist (Mark Crane) (@rdcyclist)
16 days ago

Well, that’s good news. Hopefully ZHQ will take a harder look the changes that have been proposed over the past year or so. IMHO, enforcing in-category entry for races will be a quick, easy and effective change. Especially for the C and D groups but even for the B’s albeit to a lesser degree. If they keep riders from competing in categories below their ranking, it will reduce the number of sandbaggers and cruisers. It will not eliminate this behavior but the races will be much more realistic and enjoyable. The Tour de Zwift events this year were much more… Read more »

Rob
Rob
16 days ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

everything is a race, even if you weren’t aware 🙂

Mike W.
Mike W.
16 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Race them if you want, but Rides like Tour de Zwift are not based on rider category, they are based on distance. There is no disqualification for going over your w/kg limit.

Mike
Mike (@michaeltrowe)
16 days ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

I think he is referring to the 2021 Haute Route GC (or lack thereof)

rdcyclist (Mark Crane)
rdcyclist (Mark Crane) (@rdcyclist)
15 days ago

Sorry, that’s right, it was the Haute Route 2021 events. Otherwise I stand by my comment. Enforce race category entry and you’ll fix much of the problems with Zwift racing. It must be very hard to do with many, many lines of code to implement otherwise it would’ve been done by now…

Sherpa Dave
Sherpa Dave (@dashton)
16 days ago

In reality these changes would not (will not) impact cheating. No race Chester worth their salt pops in and changed weight ahead of a race, what they do is post the wrong weight and leave it there. seeing a riders weight in ZP and any changes made to the reported weight may help internet stalkers feel better about their poor race performance but it doesn’t actually help identify cheats. what does help identify and stop cheats is formalizing race series and having them use an organization like Zada (whether effective now or not, this is the correct path). for example,… Read more »

Sherpa Dave
Sherpa Dave (@dashton)
16 days ago
Reply to  Sherpa Dave

Shame I can’t edit my post for the horrendous spelling and autocorrect gaffes.

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
16 days ago
Reply to  Sherpa Dave

As I’ve posted elsewhere, I like having weight available at my fingertips so I can use it to plan the TTT rotation (I like going heavy/light/heavy/light to avoid the big guys pulling away on flats/descents or the little guys pulling away on climbs, plus one category of rider tends to get exhausted on any given route if I plan my pull times incorrectly, so it’s nice not having 2 people in a row suddenly need to skip a pull). Other than that, I rarely look at weight unless some results are very weird. As a low to mid-cat rider, I’m… Read more »

John Hughes
John Hughes (@jlhughes128)
16 days ago
Reply to  Sherpa Dave

Nailed it. I agree WTRL ZRL races don’t feel like they have cheaters. I just we had a better system than category limits, racing license anybody?

John Hughes
John Hughes (@jlhughes128)
16 days ago
Reply to  Sherpa Dave

Although does WTRL encourage reverse weight doping? Stick a few more kgs on to stop you getting upgraded, would that get you a ban? It would be easy to deny it was intentional.

JTWO
JTWO
16 days ago

Why we are treating this differently from actual racing? Hide the weight who cares let them upgrade all the way to A’s where you have strict reporting requirements. That guy who weighs 300lbs and gets 1st place in C’s for a month straight should be automatically upgraded to B’s and B’s to A’s. Racer’s who get top 1,2,3 more than a few times get upgraded period. This is how racing is supposed to work. Someone sandbagging will get promoted out of category and will not be allowed to reg for lower categories. EZ and self regulating. Plus imagine how big… Read more »

Ben Pitt
Ben Pitt (@benjamin_pitt)
16 days ago
Reply to  JTWO

Exactly, although As aren’t that regulated, unless you hit the premier class, which is a very small section of A riders. But your point is correct, if someone has a good string of results, upg them regardless of cat limits, and zwift needs to lock them out of cat in-game for it to be effective.

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
16 days ago
Reply to  JTWO

Yes, we need to be categorized by our race ranking, not power. Sandbagging is pointless if winning means you’re going to move up (unless you want to take 3 months off after your win. Tie that together with not letting people race in a lower (but letting them race in a higher) cat, and you’ll have fixed a number of the issues.

Rob Frechette
Rob Frechette
15 days ago
Reply to  Paul Himes

I agree Paul great idea. USA Cycling has categories that are based on experience and performance. All the emphasis on physical metrics makes sense for putting together how speed is calculated but not how one can race. ….Personally I one of the outliers on height and weight. I am in the 5 percentile of height and weight at 5’2″ and 130lb with my lowest weight of 118 lbs in my racing career. In a race not in Zwift it is very easy for people to recongize who I am. On Zwift I look suspicous. More of an issue than this… Read more »

Anti Sandbagger
Anti Sandbagger
16 days ago
Reply to  JTWO

Why don’t you start self-regulating then?

https://zwiftpower.com/profile.php?z=697996

Max Janssen
Max Janssen
15 days ago

LOL. Note how he wins races while his max HR is around 30 beats below his maximum.

Rick
Rick
16 days ago

This clearly shows the power of the Zwift blob… it impacts more than just drafting. 🙂

KDenty10
KDenty10
16 days ago

 “Though our intent is to protect potentially vulnerable users by removing labels that can trigger unhealthy behaviour” What are they trying to protect?

Bruce
Bruce
16 days ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

I’m quite heavy, at about 85kgs, but also 183cms tall (and 52 years old). My power to weight is decent at about 4w/kg. But I get beaten by lots of other zwifters, even on flat courses. why – because of weight, not power. My power is often in the top few. The winners are almost always people with recorded weights sub 70kgs, more typically 65kgs, even 59! Frankly I struggle to believe these are real. Yet the lesson is clear – if you want to win, even on flat courses, have or claim a very low weight.

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
16 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

heavy riders have an advantage on flat courses.. https://zwiftinsider.com/wkg-tests/ plus 60-70kg is perferctly normal body weight for adult cyclists, nothing worth complaining about.

M Brown
M Brown
15 days ago
Reply to  ShakeNBakeUK

They do? How come I get beat in sprints when a 60kg guy puts out 700W, when I put out over 1000W at 76kg? In real life, I’d dust that guy. Light guys have the advantage on the hills, in the sprints, and because they have a higher w/kg, the flats too even if my absolute watts are significantly higher.

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk_2)
15 days ago
Reply to  M Brown

either a) ur starting ur sprint way too late or b) ur leading him out. otherwise no way in hell he’s beating you. look at the article. light guys categorically do NOT have an advantage on the flats vs heavier guys, assuming both riding at same w/kg, heavy guy WILL be going faster on Zwift.

Bruce
Bruce
15 days ago
Reply to  ShakeNBakeUK

The key phrase is “assuming both riding at the same W/kg”, so for the same watts, if I claim to be 10kgs lighter than I really am my W/kg will increase considerably. What you see a lot are riders who are (claiming) to be really light with decent but not exceptional watts. I guess I could play the same game and pretend to be 65kgs (350/65 = an impressive 5.38w/kg)

Craig Martin
Craig Martin (@viiich)
15 days ago
Reply to  M Brown

This is where Zwift’s scaling of CdA on height and weight gets out of whack with reality. 240W 50kg riders (4.8W/kg) beat 380W 95kg riders in B category Tempus Fugit time trials. Yes, smaller riders have less frontal area, but the difference in CdA isn’t that much. (Same effect in a sprint, just harder to isolate)

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

As others have said, your higher weight helps on flat courses.

Not sure why it’s hard for you to believe that there are a lot of riders under 70kgs. I don’t think any of my shorter (under 5ft10) running or cycling friends weights more than that. I’m 170cm and currently 61kg with an ideal triathlon racing weight of 59kg.

Bruce
Bruce
15 days ago
Reply to  Alex

I am not saying that everyone with a low weight on zwift is cheating, but I am suggesting that there are many who are because zwift favours light riders, and people do like to win. What particularly annoys me is being beaten by light but moderately powerful riders doing individual time trials on flat courses. It this fair? Bikecalculator suggests not – Go to http://bikecalculator.com/ – enter an 85kg rider, riding on the drops for 16.2kms (ie an ITT) … leaving all else unchanged. This calculates that this ‘heavy’ rider would take 23:14 to do the distance – a just… Read more »

Rob Frechette
Rob Frechette
15 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

Everyone has a sweet spot for weight. Too light and watts go down as does watts per kilo. Too heavy watts are up but watts per kilo goes down. I have been cycling since I was a kid and now close to 50. I have been light and I have been heavy. I have climbed well and I have suffered on climbs but also sprinted well. I currently weigh 59kgs but my BMI is 25 which technically overweight. If I get down to 52 kilos I can climb well but my sprinting is terrible. If you were to meet me… Read more »

Steve Short
Steve Short
15 days ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Then let’s stop with all athletic competition!

Wally
Wally
16 days ago

I’ll remain skeptical until I see some actual changes. Introducing a horrible measure that addresses a problem that doesn’t exist, and subsequently retracting it following mass protest is not exactly what I would call revolutionary change.

The issues with e-racing remain the same, and largely ignored for years now.

CycloDan
CycloDan
16 days ago

I think one of the biggest issues with weight (and height) in Zwift is that you get punished really hard for something you only have limited control over. In some cases this even happens unfairly. Zwift excessively rewards the athlete for being light and small. While the benefits of being light fully kick in while climbing a mountain (as it is easier for smaller guys to achieve certain w/kg), the benefits of being a tall and strong guy don’t fully apply in the flats. This can be seen by comparing Zwift physics with real life physics (calculated by websites like… Read more »

Pierre
Pierre
16 days ago
Reply to  CycloDan

I disagree with you on this point. In IRL there is a “double draft”. So it’s not that easy for light people to hide in the pack and benefit from the draft in Zwift, which is half the reality (in many ways it’s easier IRL). I think the Zwift algorithm is quite relevant because it implies a good workout in any race for any kind of rider (and that’s what we are looking for).

Bruce
Bruce
16 days ago
Reply to  CycloDan

Totally agree with you. Zwift essentially encourages people to be less than truthful about their weight. The only place where being heavy helps is on the decent, which are almost all short (except Ventoux and Alpe de Zwift), and as a heavy guy (85kgs) I need to recover on the decent. If I wanted to win I just drop my weight to 65kgs … 350w/65kgs is a lot better than 350w/85kgs

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
16 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

of course 350w/65kg is better than 350w/85kg, it’s a massive increase in w/kg.
however 2 riders at the same w/kg, heavier riders have the advantage on flats & descents: https://zwiftinsider.com/wkg-tests/

Bruce
Bruce
15 days ago
Reply to  ShakeNBakeUK

The key phrase there is “have the same W/kg” … it’s very easy to boost your W/kg … simply tell Zwift you are lighter than you really are.

Pierre
Pierre
16 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

IRL if your weight is 85kg, it’ll take you longer to climb the Ventoux than if your weight is 65. I used to live next to the Alpe and later, next to the Ventoux. My IRL time and my Zwift time are almost the same.

Bruce
Bruce
15 days ago
Reply to  Pierre

yes, but you are missing my point. IRL I am 85kgs and can’t pretend to be 65kgs. How many cyclists do you see in real life who are 65kgs, but they are ten a penny on Zwift. I am alleging that weight cheating is endemic in zwift, especially among those who care about winning. I may of course be wrong, and these are all true weights, but I’d be very surprised if that were the case

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk_2)
15 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

in the races where this matters, riders have to submit a private youtube weigh-in video <2 hrs before the race. below this level – you just have to take people's word for it. if someone is entering a fake weight on their Zwift profile, the only person they're cheating is themselves, cos they're going to get destroyed out on the roads where it really matters. people need to stop taking Zwift racing so seriously. there's a million and 1 reasons why it is not a legitimate sport. it's a good training tool. nothing more. nothing less. stop worrying about what… Read more »

Paul Rayner
Paul Rayner (@paulrayner)
16 days ago

I completely agree with the last paragraph here.

What anyone wants – in any game or competition – is to feel it’s fair, and as they look to make changes going forward, I hope people at Zwift always keep asking themselves this question:

“How can Zwifters see these races are fair?”

Keep answering that question and you’ll keep most people on side. Whatever your answer, some people will never like it, but there has to be a clear, credible answer for the majority to support.

Alister Beveridge
Alister Beveridge
16 days ago

How about simply showing a percentage variance. Unless a youth rider, height is generally going to remain the same. Rider’s weight will rise and fall but under normal circumstances within a range. No one is going to lose or gain 5kg overnight or shrink a 1cm.

Koba 80
Koba 80
16 days ago

Not true, at least not absolutely. I suffer from excess sweating and will easily lose 10kg in a race on Four Horseman, for example (although I’m certainly not the norm, but to say no one is untrue). On the other hand, I am extremely anti-weight doping and agree with the post pointing out there is no incentive or even reason to be heavier. 1 second per 1 km on the AdZ dowhill (after losing minutes going up it) is literally the only place in the game it’s beneficial and the IRL advantages on the flats over light riders is excessively… Read more »

Steve Short
Steve Short
15 days ago
Reply to  Koba 80

Hahahahaha. You lose 10 liters of sweat during a medium long ride? That’s hilarious. Absolutely impossible. Have you considered drinking during a race?

Mick Such
Mick Such
16 days ago

All this makes me laugh. You can record your weight n height n have it verified by experts etc up to five minutes before an event……. But…… It doesn’t mean that that person is going to be the person riding the bike on the trainer during the race does it. It does not stop cheating at all. If people want to cheat, they will and can do so in any uncontrolled situation. The only way for complete cheat free racing is in the zwift Pro race which is all done in a single room with all riders together. How do… Read more »

E. Redfoot
E. Redfoot (@rothfusz)
16 days ago

Here’s an idea: Take weigh out of the equation. Everyone races at the same weight/height. This isn’t IRL racing it is e-racing. Why try to force IRL parameters that can not be enforced. There could be Zwift level weight bonuses instead of another pair of socks. Or weight bonuses for completing events that last for a set amount of days or even hours.

Jan Dvořák
Jan Dvořák
16 days ago
Reply to  E. Redfoot

Taking weight out of the equation you could just make everyone’s avatar moving forward by holding down the up arrow on their keyboard. Would achieve the same thing.

Jan Dvořák
Jan Dvořák
16 days ago
Reply to  Jan Dvořák

Actually no, sorry, I was wrong. My solution would make everyone’s chances equal, while your’s would strongly favor heavy riders.

Evan
Evan
15 days ago

Bye, cheaters! (for now)

Steve Short
Steve Short
15 days ago
Reply to  Evan

What stone have you been living under? Zwift is full of cheaters and that’s not going to change now.

Rad
Rad
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Short

Exactly. Look at ZP results. All lists are full of 190cm lads weighting 65kgs

Shaun Harris
Shaun Harris (@vgrntbeauxner)
15 days ago

I don’t know why this is, but i don’t care one bit if people are cheating. They’re only cheating themselves and it all comes out in the wash eventually.

Dan Sheremeto
Dan Sheremeto
15 days ago

A thank you to Zwift HQ for listening to the feedback from the racing community and taking action. I’m glad our collective voice was heard on this one

Steve Short
Steve Short
15 days ago

“In the future, we’ll continue to bring potential product ideas and changes to members of the Zwift Racing Community, with the hope that you’ll embrace this as a collaborative effort to help shape the experience.”

Just like the CEO promised us rowing years ago, right?

Seth haskell
Seth haskell
15 days ago

I would suggest a free (for now) virtual race license that would outline racer behavior with consequences. Included with this license agreement can be the approval to show height and weight. Future state can add a nominal cost to said license to support clean racing via Zwift tech updates. The license would be needed to participate in ranked races, however if you don’t have a license, other races would be available to participate in.

Chris
Chris
15 days ago

Zwift should offer a “Validated Racer” package for a slight premium over normal membership. This would cover submission and review of a private video showing height and weight which would result in a check mark on ZP showing this rider was height/weight verified. Monthly weigh ins aren’t perfect but they are better than no weigh ins. Weight would be updated as normal throughout the month. Fluctuations of a few percent would be tolerated and percent change would be displayed on ZP. Then everyone would know who is legit or at least somewhat legit.

Rad
Rad
13 days ago
Reply to  Chris

I have seen riders weighting 56 kgs and week later they are 35 kgs. I agree with your idea. Maybe also add weight change limit 2kg per week?

Alex
Alex
15 days ago

Kudos to Zwift for listening to their customers and admitting they made a mistake.

Similar to the announcement of the European Super League in soccer, Zwift failed to read the room. In spectacular and shocking fashion. I hope they learn from this and are more careful with things like that in the future.

Makes me happy to see that the community is able to speak with one voice if necessary. That gives me more hope for the future of the platform than any announcement from Zwift ever could.

Jason m
Jason m
14 days ago

Why not only require weight and height for entry to A and B races?

The other race, events, and activities are needed to display that data.

Rad
Rad
14 days ago

I am currently 145kg and have not experienced any bullying so far. I don’t care anyway. At least I can be best in one thing on zwiftpower. My weight is showing orange everytime. My last ride I spotted 35kg lad who last week was 56kg. Keep it on. We can name and shame these few.

DENIS RACINE
DENIS RACINE
13 days ago

Wow, cheating !! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Just short of my 68th birthday I still don’t see any point in cheating. If you need to cheat to get the results you want then why even bother. As far as my weight goes the only thing I care about is being as accurate as I can to get accurate results. Even at my age I still plan to compete in MTB races when the world gets back to racing. I’m new to Zwift and it’s racing and what I like notice is how well I do compared to the… Read more »

Paul Davis
Paul Davis
13 days ago

This is not just about cheating. If I am racing I want to be able to look across at the guy/girl next to me (ie on the Companion app) and get an idea if they are going to kill me on the next hill, or not – are they a 185cm/90kg guy versus my 172cm/74kg. Taking that info away further depersonalizes the platform, and and may be fine in group rides, but it is a step closer to racing against bots. If there are problems, Zwift already has a reporting function and everything is recorded – police that properly and… Read more »

Thomas Richardson
Thomas Richardson
8 days ago

Blaming Zwift for eating disorders is not sensible. IRL cycling pros are not exactly heavy weights and lean-ness is highly encouraged. Blaming Zwift for allowing cheaters is the system problem that gets more people frustrated, upset, etc. And one cheater leads to another and its an arms race of gaming the game. Zwift should take accountability for what matters most to start with and that’s the cheaters.

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