Since Zwift’s early days, our avatars would get out of the saddle and sprint if we hit 460 watts or more. It didn’t matter if you were a 50kg climber or a 90kg sprinter–the cutoff was 460 watts for everyone.

But a recent update has changed that.

Now, your rider will get out of the saddle and into a sprinting posture if you exceed 2x your FTP wattage.

Go past 2.5x and your sprinter gets in an even more strenuous position, tilting their head up and down just like the pros in a sprint to the line!

A Smart Change

This is one of those little changes that just makes so much sense. Kudos to Zwift for making it!

The across the board 460-watt threshold wasn’t ideal, if you think about it–the 1400 watt sprinters haven’t even started working at 460 watts, while the lightweight endurance workhorses may be getting out of their saddles well before they hit 460.

Tying it to each rider’s individual FTP is smart, because it customizes the sprint threshold for each rider, making what we see on the screen with our own avatar and others’ more realistic.

Everyone Sees It

In case you’re wondering: when your avatar gets out of the saddle to sprint, those around you will see it as well.

This is different than the out of the saddle climbing behavior, where all the avatars except yours automatically stand on your screen once they hit a 3% climb, regardless of the rider’s actually cadence.

Implications

How will this change affect our Zwift experience? Here are some ideas:

  • Time to get sneaky.
    Before this change, you would see riders out of the saddle quite regularly–at the start of the race, up short climbs, or when attacking off the front. But we’ll be seeing less out of the saddle riding on screen, because for most racers, the sprint posture threshold has increased. This means it will be harder to spot attacks since most are done below that 2x FTP threshold.
  • See a sprint? That’s a big sprint!
    Racers will need to recalibrate their minds around the fact that now, when they see someone out of the saddle sprinting, they are really going for it. Double your FTP is a very hard effort to sustain for more than ~30 seconds.
  • More standing for less powerful riders.
    Some riders rarely, if ever, saw their avatar out of the saddle. I’m talking about riders with an FTP in the sub 200-watt range, which is actually a lot of people. Those Zwifters will be able to get their avatar sprinting more easily now, which makes it all more inclusive. That’s a good thing.

Your Thoughts

What do you think of this change? Share your thoughts below!