What determines if your rider on Zwift gets out of the saddle or stays seated?

The answer is actually quite simple–your avatar will stand when either of these happen:

  • If you are putting out 460 or more watts, you’ll come out of the saddle sprinting
  • If you’re on an incline over 3% with a cadence below 70, you’ll come out of the saddle climbing

Sprinting out of the saddle:
460+ watts

Climbing out of the saddle:
below 70RPM on inclines over 3%

Why Does Everyone Else Stand on Climbs While I Remain Seated?

You may have noticed when you hit a climb, every rider nearby stands up, while you probably stay seated, at least at the beginning of the climb. While you might think everyone is standing because they immediately dropped below 70RPM on the incline, this is not the case.

Rather, Zwift automatically shows everyone else standing, regardless of their cadence. Every rider you see who is on a 3% or greater incline will be standing, regardless of their cadence. Cadence only affects the standing or sitting of your avatar.

The Tron Exception

There is one exception to the 3%/70RPM rule, and that is the Tron bike. Zwift’s animators did not include an out of the saddle climbing posture for this frame, so you will never see a Tron rider standing up on climbs. There is a sprinting posture, however.

Down the Rabbit Hole

This opens up a greater discussion, straight out of The Matrix. Did you realize what you see in-game isn’t exactly what everyone else sees? Your position on the road, even your finishing position in a race, can appear differently to you than to others.

Typically positioning is quite close, but due to Zwift’s methods of rendering position and other factors, rider positions will never match if observed on two different concurrent Zwift sessions. Perhaps this is a time to ponder observation and our knowledge of reality: if a Zwifter gets out of their saddle and nobody is around see it, are they really standing?