Ah, the supertuck. You’ve seen the pros do it, and you’ve probably been advised against doing it yourself.
For those unfamiliar, this very aero tuck involves sitting on the downtube and lowering your shoulders/chest onto the bars (or close to it) by bending your arms as far as they will go while holding onto the drops. It’s a fast position, but also difficult to pedal in (although Froome pulled it off in glorious fashion at this year’s TdF). It’s also a dangerous position because of how it affects your bike handling.
But here’s the fun part–you can supertuck in Zwift! Here’s how it works.
Getting Into a Zwift Supertuck
For Zwift to put you into the supertuck position three conditions must be met:
- You must be travelling at least ~36MPH (~58km/hr)
- The decline must be at least 3%
- Your power output must be below 11 watts
Zwift will automatically place you in the supertuck if all of the conditions are are true.
How Fast Is It?
Here are the results of some tests we ran while free riding.
First Segment: Radio Tower Descent
- 42s at 10 watts
- 42s in supertuck
- 42s at 100 watts
- 41s at 200 watts
- 41s at 300 watts
Second Segment: “Damn there goes my chain” (on Strava):
- 1:41s at 10 watts
- 1:47 in supertuck
- 1:39 at 100 watts
- 1:39 at 200 watts
- 1:40 at 300 watts
- All tests used a 6′ tall, 180lb rider on the Zwift Aero bike with 808 wheels
- 10 watt tests were done to let us compare the difference between an aero tuck and the normal riding position at essentially zero power
- On the second segment, the supertuck is slowest only because there is flat section in the middle. Supertuck actually beat out 10 watts by ~1-2km/hr during the descents. Powering through the flat section while supertucking on the descent would be the best solution.
When Should I Supertuck?
Smart Zwift racers use it like the pros outside to get a little recovery on the downhills without losing much speed. The question is: when should you tuck and when should you put out power?
Use the supertuck on long descents when you need to recover a bit. But always make sure you pay attention to what’s going on in the race and respond accordingly. There are often opportunities to supertuck and sit in with a group on long descents, but you’ll want to watch and make sure you match any accelerations so you don’t get dropped while resting.
Be especially careful of Zwift bringing you out of the supertuck due to gradient changes or speed dropping below ~36MPH. When this happens you can quickly get dropped by other riders who are putting out wattage while you coast!
The TT Exception
You cannot supertuck if you are riding a TT frame.
The supertuck does not make you superfast–but it can allow for short periods of rest which are helpful in race situations. So use it wisely, but keep your eyes open and don’t get dropped while you’re resting!