Zwift gives anyone using a smart trainer the option to make our virtual hills seem more or less realistic to the actual grade. While tweaking Zwift’s “Trainer Difficulty” setting won’t impact how far or fast you ride, an adjustment will change how Zwifting over hills feels. Making climbing harder might be one rider’s pain, but it’s another’s pleasure.
Here’s everything you need to know about Trainer Difficulty adjustment:
Locate the Trainer Difficulty Setting
Launch Zwift and go to the Menu. Click on the Settings button and you’ll find the Trainer Difficulty slider.
The default position is midway between “Off” and “Max,” or 50 percent of the grade resistance you’d find while riding the same grade of hill in the real world. Leave the setting unchanged and climbs often feel challenging. Descents also provide resistance, which means you almost always have the opportunity to keep pedaling.
Add Resistance to Your Climbing
Move the slider right and climbs feel tougher. In fact, set the slider to “Max” and your Zwift climbs feel as challenging as outdoor climbs of the same steepness. Remember that downhills get steeper, too. You can find yourself going so fast that spinning the pedals adds little more speed.
Lower Resistance to Your Climbing
Move the slider left and climbs seem easier. But descents will offer more resistance. Zwifters who like to race sometimes want the added ability to pedal hard even when they’ve been rewarded with a downhill.