My Thoughts on Pack Dynamics V4

A little while ago, Zwift released pack dynamics version 3. This was a very welcome change to the Zwift community because it essentially eliminated sticky draft. For those of you who do not now what sticky draft is, it is when you are riding and you basically get ‘stuck’ behind another rider. With this latest version, Zwift has a few changes that they tried to make.

  • Reduce back and forth movement in groups to reduce speed of riders in large group
  • Make breakaways more like real life, more successful
The Zwift Insider Tiny Races

The Zwift Insider Tiny Races were some of the first chances to test the new pack dynamics. There is typically a really strong group in the Tiny Races, so I figured that I might as well give it a go.

The start of the race was much like all other starts on Zwift, I was absolutely suffering within the first 30 seconds. After a bit, the group began to settle down a bit. Prior to racing, I read about other riders experience with this new draft. Many riders were finding that it was very hard to catch back up once you were at the back of the group. This was awful news for me because I am literally that guy who dangles off the back doing as little work as possible.

I began to drift to the back of the group, leading to me getting dropped. I put in a big surge to catch back up, and I did, before getting dropped literally a minute after getting back onto the group. Overall, it was a pretty bad first test for me. Onto the next race.

Race 2 was much better. I knew how to race with the new draft, making it easier to stick with the group. From the start, I hunt with the front group. Overall, it felt much better when you were not off the back.

Race 3 was the final meaningful race for me. I hung on for a bit before getting dropped. Once I was off the back, I was in a small group of around 5 riders who were all trying to get back on. This, however, did not work. Because of the way that Zwift’s new pack dynamics worked, it was impossible to get back on. Riders were flying past us from behind because of the over-exaggerated sling-shot effect that this has brought to the game.

My video that I made about the races:

What Should Zwift Change?

There are a few things that I think Zwift needs to work on before releasing this feature to the public.

  • Reduce the slingshot effect
  • Make draft more like previous version – riders in the back should have more draft, not less
  • Lower the pack speed slightly – still no shot for a breakaway
Changes Already Made

Zwift is working hard on this feature and the devs have already made a few changes to the pack dynamics. This will reflect in all upcoming pack dynamics v4 test. These can be seen here:

So far, Zwift has updated the amount of auto-braking and the amount of draft.

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