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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've looked for clear answers to this question but they are surprisingly elusive (Peloton dirty little secret?). I have a work colleague who is 40 pounds heavier than my 170 lbs who isn't in nearly as good shape but who consistently smokes me when we've ridden together. I have an FTP of 200 W so not pro but not beginner either. I am an active recreational cyclist and club rider. He, on the other hand, hasn't been on a road bike in years but consistently puts out 275W average on 30 minute rides. This is well above what the best riders in our club can sustain, including one who uses a Peloton in the off-season (he rides at about 230W average).

The glaring error that seems to get glossed over when discussing Peloton is the advantage heavier riders have since there is no accounting for the heavier mass that they would need to move on a real bike, yet they generally put out more watts, which helps on flats but heavy riders are considerably disadvantaged on hills in the real world. When we crank the resistance for a hill climb on Peloton, rider weight isn't taken into account.

I also ride a Zwift smart trainer. For serious races (the ones I DON'T participate in haha) competitors need to do a weigh-in before the race. This is absolutely critical in ensuring a level playing field.

One easy fix would be for Peloton to include a watts per kilogram stat on the Leaderboard. True, there will always be cheaters who put in a weight lower than actual, but by showing W/Kg, at least we can compete with other riders on the Leaderboard who have a similar stat. And let's not kid ourselves - there are lots of heavier folks who are just built that way and have excellent cardio.
 

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I'm sure weight has an impact on watts but in addition to that, calibration is a factor because not all bikes are calibrated to the factory spec. In my early Peloton days, I used to rank in the top 10 of most of the rides I did, but realized that wasn't possible. I recalibrated my bike using the instructions on the website and found mine was incorrectly set. After that, I found my true level wasn't quite so lofty but at least it's accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
While that is a separate issue, it equally important regarding the Leaderboard. Thanks for highlighting it. I think that Peloton is missing most serious cyclists because they are turned off by the inaccuracy of the platform, among other things. In my cycling club there are only two of us who use a Peloton (we also use Zwift). Everyone else is on another smart trainer platform during the off-season.
 

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I've looked for clear answers to this question but they are surprisingly elusive (Peloton dirty little secret?). I have a work colleague who is 40 pounds heavier than my 170 lbs who isn't in nearly as good shape but who consistently smokes me when we've ridden together. I have an FTP of 200 W so not pro but not beginner either. I am an active recreational cyclist and club rider. He, on the other hand, hasn't been on a road bike in years but consistently puts out 275W average on 30 minute rides. This is well above what the best riders in our club can sustain, including one who uses a Peloton in the off-season (he rides at about 230W average).

The glaring error that seems to get glossed over when discussing Peloton is the advantage heavier riders have since there is no accounting for the heavier mass that they would need to move on a real bike, yet they generally put out more watts, which helps on flats but heavy riders are considerably disadvantaged on hills in the real world. When we crank the resistance for a hill climb on Peloton, rider weight isn't taken into account.

I also ride a Zwift smart trainer. For serious races (the ones I DON'T participate in haha) competitors need to do a weigh-in before the race. This is absolutely critical in ensuring a level playing field.

One easy fix would be for Peloton to include a watts per kilogram stat on the Leaderboard. True, there will always be cheaters who put in a weight lower than actual, but by showing W/Kg, at least we can compete with other riders on the Leaderboard who have a similar stat. And let's not kid ourselves - there are lots of heavier folks who are just built that way and have excellent cardio.
I wholeheartedly agree! I 5’8 at 135 and push hard most rides. My average output is usually around 240 but I’ll look at women are busting out averages at 475watts? My PB for a 30 was 471output average watts 256 84 cadence and I was competing with a group of riders- I just about collapsed off the bike. How can someone push more than double?? There is to be calibration or more regular bike updates. Leaderboards can be super frustrating!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wholeheartedly agree! I 5’8 at 135 and push hard most rides. My average output is usually around 240 but I’ll look at women are busting out averages at 475watts? My PB for a 30 was 471output average watts 256 84 cadence and I was competing with a group of riders- I just about collapsed off the bike. How can someone push more than double?? There is to be calibration or more regular bike updates. Leaderboards can be super frustrating!
You can rest easy. 256W avg. is fantastic, male or female. You are in great shape. 475W avg for 30 is a fallacy, as you allude to in your post. Wouldn’t it be great if Peloton had a way of calibrating the bikes remotely when they see a bike that is clearly out of whack? For competitive folks, the Leaderboard could be extremely motivating if the playing field was level. For now, I would set for the addition of a w/kg metric. It is also helpful for training purposes.
 

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What's been said above is definitely true:
-Bike calibration varies quite a bit - especially with the older bikes. Based on this variance, some bikes are much easier. The newer Bike+ self-calibrates so it appears to be less of an issue.
-In terms of output, heavier riders have a big advantage over lighter riders. Taller/wider riders also are not impacted by the wind resistance that would slow them down during an outside ride.

Based on this, i try to focus on staying in top X%. I know there are super heavy riders above me and people on "juiced" bikes. Not perfect but it keeps me motivated.

I can definitely see how this would be annoying for a super fit person who is light.
 

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I think Peloton would have to fix this problem very slowly, otherwise you'll get a huge back blow from those "juiced" Peloton riders who conversely will say "how is my output going down!? what's wrong with my bike!?". The real solution, honestly, is to slowly make the original Bike obsolete and migrate all to Bike+. However, with Peloton's current financial situation, that ain't happening any time soon. In the interm I think they should show an indication on the leaderboards of who's on a Bike vs a Bike+. Also, instructors should all switch to Bike+ units (I can't figure out for the life of me why they're all still riding original Bikes)
 

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I agree - no way they could fix the calibration of the old bikes. Most people probably don't care that much but for those who do, it seems like it would be easy enough to add a filter on the leaderboard for Bike+ only riders like they do with gender, age, etc.
 

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What's been said above is definitely true:
-Bike calibration varies quite a bit - especially with the older bikes. Based on this variance, some bikes are much easier. The newer Bike+ self-calibrates so it appears to be less of an issue.
-In terms of output, heavier riders have a big advantage over lighter riders. Taller/wider riders also are not impacted by the wind resistance that would slow them down during an outside ride.

Based on this, i try to focus on staying in top X%. I know there are super heavy riders above me and people on "juiced" bikes. Not perfect but it keeps me motivated.

I can definitely see how this would be annoying for a super fit person who is light.
"i try to focus on staying in top X%. " That is exactly what I have been doing. I usually end up in the top 5-10% of the crowd. I don't think it's realistic (I think it ranks me favorably), but I don't really care - all I care is that I have a decent way to measure how I was stronger in some rides vs others.
 

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I've looked for clear answers to this question but they are surprisingly elusive (Peloton dirty little secret?). I have a work colleague who is 40 pounds heavier than my 170 lbs who isn't in nearly as good shape but who consistently smokes me when we've ridden together. I have an FTP of 200 W so not pro but not beginner either. I am an active recreational cyclist and club rider. He, on the other hand, hasn't been on a road bike in years but consistently puts out 275W average on 30 minute rides. This is well above what the best riders in our club can sustain, including one who uses a Peloton in the off-season (he rides at about 230W average).

The glaring error that seems to get glossed over when discussing Peloton is the advantage heavier riders have since there is no accounting for the heavier mass that they would need to move on a real bike, yet they generally put out more watts, which helps on flats but heavy riders are considerably disadvantaged on hills in the real world. When we crank the resistance for a hill climb on Peloton, rider weight isn't taken into account.

I also ride a Zwift smart trainer. For serious races (the ones I DON'T participate in haha) competitors need to do a weigh-in before the race. This is absolutely critical in ensuring a level playing field.

One easy fix would be for Peloton to include a watts per kilogram stat on the Leaderboard. True, there will always be cheaters who put in a weight lower than actual, but by showing W/Kg, at least we can compete with other riders on the Leaderboard who have a similar stat. And let's not kid ourselves - there are lots of heavier folks who are just built that way and have excellent cardio.
 

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Not all bikes are created equal! I have 2 Peloton Bikes. The first that I purchased in 2017 is now at a vacation home. The second purchase in mid 2021is at primary home. I can take the same class and the newer bikes output is on avg 40% lower. Peloton told me to recalculate the new bike. I did, 10 different times with no change. They stopped responded to my emails of what to do next. Unfortunately, I have 2 different FTP Zones, now my rides are gaged using a Garmin heart rate wearable.....Leaderboard is worthless information.
 

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the newer bikes output is on avg 40% lower. Peloton told me to recalculate the new bike. I did, 10 different times with no change.
Just curious, have you tried to recalibrate the older of the two bikes? Maybe it’s more like old bike is running 40% or so too high.
 
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