Riding in a bunch on Zwift – as in real life – is faster than riding by yourself. This is because you’re getting a benefit from the draft. When you’re tucked into the slipstreams of riders ahead, you aren’t fighting as much air resistance and you can roll along at a higher speed for the same effort.
But how much of a difference does it make? Shane Miller decided to find out. He completed one lap of Watopia’s flat Tempus Fugit route with a group surrounding a Pace Partner. Then he rode another lap alone at the same average power, disconnecting from the Internet so that no other riders would appear on the course. Finally, he tried a lap on a Zwift time trial bike.
Zwift Cycling Speed: How Much Faster are Bunch Rides?
As expected, the lap with the group was the fastest, followed by the TT bike lap, and then the solo lap with a road bike. The bunch ride was 5.6 kph (about 3.5 mph) faster on the pan-flat route than a solo lap on the same road bike. And while the time trial bike helped, it still didn’t get close to the speed of the group.
To see how Shane did the test and a breakdown of the times and speeds, take a look at the video.
The lesson here? Close that gap! If you want to cover as much distance as possible as quickly as possible, find and stay with a group.