Zwift is much easier. Why is Open Road more difficult?

Zwift is notoriously known to set the resistance of the smart trainer’s brake to 50% of the actual gradient. That means if you go up an 8% gradient, Zwift is telling your trainer that it is a 4% gradient. This is the default setting on Zwift. On Open Road, the default setting is 100% of the actual gradient. So if you are going up an 8% gradient, then by default we are telling your smart trainer that the gradient is 8%. 

Many coming from Zwift are surprised by how difficult these real-life rides are. Some of our rides are so much harder than anything you will find on Zwift, and many do not have the gearing for this. So we have introduced something we call ‘virtual gearing’. It works like the gearing on your bike but is virtual. By using the ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ keys, you can adjust the ‘virtual gear’ during the ride. 

If you like the default difficulty of Zwift, you can easily replicate this on Open Road. After the ANT+ check, you simply click ‘Virtual Gearing’ and set the virtual gearing so 8% feels like 4%. Even though you are using virtual gearing and making the ride easier. Open Road will still calculate the accurate speed based on your weight and watt output. You can read more about how you set the virtual gearing here.