No category system is going to be perfect. Either on Zwift or IRL, when you line up at a race there will be stronger and weaker riders. That's just life. Not everyone is capable of competing for the win in every race. There will always be people who are on the boundaries of every category, no matter how those categories are defined. In our local IRL TT's I can look at the start sheet and predict my finishing place to within 1 or 2 spots around 90% of the time. It's a similar situation on Zwift. Does it mean it's any less fun? For me, no. But appreciate some folk would like to be able to challenge for a win all the time.

I'm a low A cat rider on Zwift, and know that I'll rarely be challenging for the win. Would I prefer to be at the top of B? Definitely not!!
Andy Gajda wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:13 pm
No category system is going to be perfect. Either on Zwift or IRL, when you line up at a race there will be stronger and weaker riders. That's just life. Not everyone is capable of competing for the win in every race. There will always be people who are on the boundaries of every category, no matter how those categories are defined. In our local IRL TT's I can look at the start sheet and predict my finishing place to within 1 or 2 spots around 90% of the time. It's a similar situation on Zwift. Does it mean it's any less fun? For me, no. But appreciate some folk would like to be able to challenge for a win all the time.

I'm a low A cat rider on Zwift, and know that I'll rarely be challenging for the win. Would I prefer to be at the top of B? Definitely not!!
But that's the thing. Now you can be stuck at those boundaries forever, because there is a disconnect between what determines the boundaries, and the actual underlying competition outcome. This disconnect is rather unique to zwift, as far as I know. It's like categorising football clubs based on how hard their players can kick a ball (or more generally, but still weird, the quality of their players.)

Especially for riders like you (and me), a system where you get promoted and demoted based on within category rankings would be beneficial. It's not because perfection isn't attainable, you should stop trying to strive for improvements ;)
Id just like to add my opinion on the debate. Current system not so bad that needs massive change but it does promote a certain type of riding which is sad as cycling has so many subtle arts.

For ranking using best 5 results is good but these 5 should include

At least

One TT
One climbing race (min 500m of climbing per 20km)
One race of longer than 35km

NO races where a 20m power was unavailable e.g. 2/5/10km sprint races


In addition to promoting all round riding skills this would also support certain race types that are under supported. You shouldn't be able to attain a high rank by only running 2/3 lap watopia flat!

Hope the developers can look at this suggestion.

Btw thanks to all involved as appreciate this is a free service and a brilliant community emerging. We just need to refine what is already an excellent competitive platform.
Races under 20 minutes are already not counted.

If there's categories, there'll be a boundary. Someone is going to be between two categories no matter how you slice them. Fortunately Zwift does have the luxury of letting people upgrade w/o trouble (because unlike RL racing there are unlimited spots and no chance of crashes due to skills not being up to scratch etc.)

But Sticky already mentioned that ZP is moving to a ranking-based system. Unless someone comes up with something better (with some maths to prove it) I'm not sure if there's a point hypothesizing β€” just put your votes in for making rankings a priority ;)
eeppansson wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:40 pm
But Sticky already mentioned that ZP is moving to a ranking-based system. Unless someone comes up with something better (with some maths to prove it) I'm not sure if there's a point hypothesizing β€” just put your votes in for making rankings a priority ;)
I missed that announcement. Eagerly awaiting the outcome :)
eeppansson wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:40 pm
Races under 20 minutes are already not counted.

If there's categories, there'll be a boundary. Someone is going to be between two categories no matter how you slice them. Fortunately Zwift does have the luxury of letting people upgrade w/o trouble (because unlike RL racing there are unlimited spots and no chance of crashes due to skills not being up to scratch etc.)

But Sticky already mentioned that ZP is moving to a ranking-based system. Unless someone comes up with something better (with some maths to prove it) I'm not sure if there's a point hypothesizing β€” just put your votes in for making rankings a priority ;)
ALL races under current system currently attract a ranking for example see this 2KM race of about 3 mins in duration where rider rankings were awarded. Not criticising this as I love the idea of these ultra sprint races and they have their place.

events.php?zid=163667

I wasn’t challenging the maths I was putting forward a point of view that under whatever system is used then there ought to be some structure to prevent specialists from excelling by focusing on a specific kind of race. We ought to be promoting all round racing skills.
Dr. Wally Muscles wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:54 pm
Cjostberg wrote: ↑
Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:38 pm
There are upsides and downsides to any system.

There is a major downside to this idea in that it would be very difficult for a casual D or C level cyclist (who has zero aspiration of becoming an A) to be successful.

Many (if not most) beginners on Zwift are NOT beginners to cycling. There is a large influx of people signing up for Zwift at any given time who are already competitive category racers in real life.

On your ranking system, with no history, they would constantly be winning the lower category races. Sure, they would quickly move up to the higher categories, but next week another Cat 1 4.5 w/kg superstar is going to sign up for their first Zwift race. This guy will blow the Cat C/D racer (who will never exceed 3 w/kg in their life) into the weeds.

The lower category racers will get discouraged and it will become a dog eat dog free-for all for the big guys.

The current system allows lower category riders to have a place to race and be competitive. It's not perfect, but it is more inclusive to all rider abilities which *in my personal opinion* makes more sense.
Imo, categories based on wkg are really unfortunate, and I say this as someone who is (when in shape) on the upper edge of the B-cat. Just because, coincidentally, I have an FTP very close to 4, I am able to win (B) races, or at least compete for the top spots, even though I have at best average 1m and 15sec power. Someone who has an FTP of 4.1, but an otherwise similar power profile, is doomed to get dropped in the first couple of kms of the A race, forever. Obviously, I have little incentive to improve my FTP. And the 4.1 rider has all the incentive to sandbag the B cat. Let's be honest, nobody at the top B cat really looks forward being promoted to the A cat (especially not those riders who are close to their potential). And that means the cat system is flawed. With a (periodic) system based on race results, these edge riders would fall back and forth between A and B. Getting promoted would become a goal, not something to fear.

To avoid the dog-eat-dog situation, you could combine such a system with wkg limits, initially. Or alternatively, come up with a system where the D and C cat are based on WKG, but transition between B, A and A+ is based on race results (where top (5%?) riders in each cat are promoted at the end of a given time period - say, 1 month, based on their (USAC) race ranking)? Eg,

Riders are obliged to race either in their assigned, or above their assigned categories. Categories are based on the USAC ranking system. Category membership is evaluated at the end of each month, looking at the prevailing USAC ranking within each category. The top 5% riders are promoted, the bottom 5% are demoted. To avoid the chaos that would prevail in the lower categories as stronger riders (who don't have the decency to sort themselves into the cat they belong) make their way to the top, lower categories still have a wkg limit which when exceeded excludes you from the results.


I understand the challenges in organizing this, but this definitely deserves a serious debate!
I'm gonna have to (at lastly partly) disagree with you. :D

When I wrote the quoted post, I was a B. Since, I've been bumped to A. I didn't get dropped on my first A race, though I know I will get dropped when I enter a bigger race series. I'm not dreading the upgrade, I'm happy with the opportunity to further improve. Even when I was a B, I occasionally hung on until the end with the A group on flat races.

As a guy who barely makes 4.0 w/kg, it will be tough - but it will make me faster in the end.

I'm also fairly certain if you made a results based system, the categories would still align strongly to w/kg. There's going to be a huge correlation there, moreso than in real life racing.
chris looking at your stats your in the top 99% plus of all zwift riders so not sure why you were at B to start with???
I'm also fairly certain if you made a results based system, the categories would still align strongly to w/kg.
I agree with this statement, I took the results of the TdZ "races" that did not have w/kg rules applied and plotted the finishing position vs w/kg and there was a very good coloration.

the problem with only having w/kg is people tend to artificially stay in the same Cat to long, they would just hang in the bunch to keep under the limit instead of making attacks or trying a breakaway. I think w/kg is a good starting point to get people in the correct pen, but there should be a point system to upgrade or downgrade based on performance.


i would like to see the return of individual starting groups and also Auto assigned starting groups.
Kevin Blades wrote: ↑
Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:34 pm
chris looking at your stats your in the top 99% plus of all zwift riders so not sure why you were at B to start with???
Because at 93-98 kg over my B career I was probably the 90th+ percentile in weight too. :D

I started out as a 3.2-3.4 w/kg rider and have made my way to 4.0 w/kg.