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  • As a bonus, here’s a video of Shane Miller’s successful attempt at a new Watopia course record at the Melbourne Zwift launch earlier this year:

    • Chris

      Pain face at the end is awesome.

      • Michele

        I love how Shane is suffering like crazy whilst everyone else seems to be downing stubbies and just smiling at him.
        BTW Shane – no bike throw at the end??

  • Andy Logan

    I had been using Zswift on the comeback trail from an injury earlier this year and during the winter and found it quite beneficial, it certainly took the mind numbingness of riding an hour at a steady state as I wasnt allowed back on the road for a further 6 weeks. I heard that the US Rider, Lawson Craddock did 100miles on Zswift from his injury after TdU. Now that I am back out riding I dont tend to use it as much, as most of my turbo work now is threshold efforts or other intervals, I find I am generally suffering too much to look at the screen.

    The other issue is that soon the platform won’t support 32bit windoze, which I am using and I won’t be buying a new PC just to use Zwift. I had been using a Pioneer PM and a Kurt Kinectic with a speed sensor.

    Overall a solid product, I wouldnt pay for it during the summer, but might consider it in the winter.

  • Steel

    I bought a stationary trainer about 5 years ago. Used it once, then listed it on ebay.

    I might actually use Zwift though. I get that competitive instinct when someone passes me on the Kew boulie and love that motivation to keep pushing myself.

    I imagine a lot of serious cyclists (not me) would consider this not really pure enough for their work outs, if they’re working to structured plans.

    • Andy B

      Trainers have come a long way in 5 years
      My first trainer was horrible.. ended up hating it so much I never used it

    • Serious cyclist here. There’s a few ways you can use it for workouts. Using the environment/course to match intervals, using TrainerRoad as trainer control and Zwift for visuals/fun.

      • Andy B

        Agreed I’ve done intervals whilst on zwift
        adds something to make them feel maybe a touch easier

        Going off the screens that pop up on zwift structured training plans are on the way for zwift

      • Hamish Moffatt

        Can TrainerRoad and Zwift both share the ANT+ dongle or do you need two?

        • You’ll need two. There’s a how-to on the Zwift Riders Facebook group (Pinned post at the top)

        • Sumodog

          I use use Bluetooth an ANT and it works ok. Only issue I ve found is that Kickr stays in ergo mode and can’t revert to resistance mode until restarting the session.

  • Andy B

    Ive been using it all winter, firstly I was using an SRM and a Lemond Revolution and have now just purchased a Wahoo Kickr
    It has definitely lead to me doing a lot more trainer sessions than last year (zwift and the weather)

    Looking forward to see how it grows and progresses
    I think if they keep introducing features, new courses and training sessions I will continue to use and enjoy it

    and i’m the same.. my workouts always end up harder than intended trying to get another jersey!

  • Sean

    The power ups are a great idea and make it just like old school pro cycling.

    • Dave

      Rumour has it the next version will include the ability to throw an exploding red mushroom at a competing rider.

      • Daniel

        Ah, that would be a red turtle shell, sir, you get your pop culture references in order! So long as they don’t introduce the Blue Shell, it’s fine…

  • Happy to answer any Zwift related queries here in the comments if anyone wants to throw them my way.

    *I’m not affiliated with Zwift. I just like ergos, a lot. :)

    • Mark Wells

      Any insight into when the Bluetooth will be ready? ( I’m fully on the Wahoo ecosystem so don’t have any Ant+ devices, so would need a USB stick and a new HR monitor for it to work for me)

      • Andy B

        From the Zwift Website – Posted 12th September

        “Internally here at Zwift we’ve successfully done a few test rides via our Bluetooth devices, so there’s been some great progress. We will release official support when it’s ready, and I’d suspect an early version would be ready in the next 45 days. Just need to iron out the worst of the issues.

        It is unlikely we’ll support control of smart trainers over BLE at the initial launch, but speed/cadence sensors, HR straps, and power meters will all be working and will be part of the initial bluetooth support we release”

        • Mark Wells

          Cheers Andy, hadn’t spotted that

      • Their release information is always pretty vague. I believe Bluetooth will be soon… (a few months?). The latest update dropped a few things in place indicating it is coming.

        • Mark Wells

          Thanks, fingers crossed

    • Alex L

      When will Zwift have a Kew Boulevard course and can we use powerups to beat your time? ;)

      • They’re working perfecting ‘digital tacks’ before releasing Kew Boulie. ;)

        • Dave

          Until then, they could adopt the tried and tested method of dropping a banana peel behind you for another rider to encounter. Hold down the L1 button to throw it ahead and take out a rider threatening to drop you.

      • Michael Addison

        Not sure but you could record your Kew Boulevard ride and upload to Kinomap.

        • Or ride it against yourself on their new app, Skuga. A few nifty additions they’ve introduced. I had a play with it the other night.

  • Roger That

    I don’t like racing people I can see through. Just saying…

    • MikeP

      This is exactly how I feel when riding in the hills against all those lightweight whippets! :)

  • Michele

    Nice review Matt.
    Couple of questions:
    The opposition riders … are they on PEDs? If so, they’re still glowing.
    Can I do the Biro Della Donna on it??

    • Andy B

      The Blue riders are “AI Ghosts”
      When people are actually online and riding you can see them

  • Dave C

    How does it work with a standard trainer with a power-meter?

    • It reads power via ANT+ and applies some smarts (your weight, the gradient) to calculate your virtual rider speed, so all based on w/kg.

      • Dave C

        Thanks Shane. So I assume that if you start up the incline or on a more difficult road surface, i.e.cobbles, then your avatar would slow down if your power output didnt change. What happens if you are drafting, do you run into the guy in front if you dont drop the power output?

        • Andy B

          Yep Same power on flat will result in a higher speed compared to a climb
          So to keep speed power needs to increase

          if you are drafting and catch the person in front it will simply go around them and you lose the effect of drafting

          Drafting with a power meter offers no change though it will just make you a bit faster at the same power output
          where drafting on a zwift means less resistance is applied by the trainer (you can feel the difference)

      • Stephen

        So would I be right in saying someone could easily cheat the system by manually lowering the trainer resistance without the Zwift software knowing?

        • With a power meter lowering the trainer resistance means it is harder to produce power. So that doesn’t work. For ‘estimated’ power (zPower) which works off power curves of known trainers, in theory yes, that’s a way to cheat it. They’ve got some ok-ish detection models to pick up people cheating by a long margin… isn’t anywhere near where people with real power meters would like it. It isn’t uncommon to see zPower users at the top of all leaderboards with super-human w/kg. Uncalibrated power meters are another issue….. and there is a lot of variance across manufacturers.

          • Stephen

            Thanks Shane. I suppose if it were to become a big problem they could reset the leaderboards every hour or two. ‘Tis a difficult situation to handle.

            • The in-game leaderboard times expire 60 minutes after they’re set, or when a user quits. That keeps things rolling over nicely. The Strava leaderboards are a junkyard though, still good for checking PBs and tracking your own progress over time. The majority of ‘cheating’ is simply people with incorrectly set up equipment who just don’t know it (that includes people with wildly high reading power meters).

              • RAH

                aha – this would explain why I cannot catch my riding partner on Zwift /Strava even though in real life can beat her up hills? My ego has taken a beating!

  • Dave

    How realistic is it regarding different road surfaces? Take the cobbled climb on the Richmond course for example, is it just a decal that looks different, does it do a half-arsed job of just adding resistance or does it do it properly by rewarding riders who use the proper cobbled climbing technique of a larger gear to stay steady?

    Motorsport simulation games cracked this many years ago. I still have a copy of Race 07 on my computer which does this well. If you mash the accelerator pedal on the concrete bankings at the magnificently rendered Nürburgring (a previous UCI Road World Championships venue as well as a great race track) or the cobbled sections of the user-made Targa Florio or Rouen-Les Essarts circuits you WILL spin out.

    User-made courses, now there’s another thing that should be imported from the motorsport sim world. Games like Race 07, GTR2 and rFactor all have a fairly open and well understood circuit building architecture that could be worth importing.

    • User-generated courses on Zwift would be awesome. Regarding the cobbled surface, the feeling I got was that it just simply increases the resistance.

    • I believe there are some smarts added to the cobbles….. but they’re limited to the sensors/technology used. They’re not going to be able to know if a rider shifts their weight back/forward/etc any time soon. More courses and/or user generated courses would be good, although that would take a lot away from the social side of things, which is key to the whole social experience they’re aiming for.

      • Dave

        I think you would be surprised.

        It would be really easy to create and share real courses if the program allowed you to link DEM (Digital Elevation Modelling) data with data from a Garmin and populate the scenery using a basic set of scenic assets. Sharing routes would quickly become a very popular part of the social context of it.

        The big question is of whether the developers have the courage to let the users own the program or if they will cling onto control.

        • The scenery could probably be procedurally generated ( This is going back a few years, but I remember playing a rally game for PC which had an inbuilt course designer. It was a whole lot of fun and super easy to use.

          • Your post reminded me of Stunts…. oh the memories….

            • Andy B

              haha stunts!! I spent many hours playing that game

          • Sean Doyle

            You could also record 360 degree video and control the speed it played by the speed of the bike. Where some VR goggles and have it pan around as you moved your head.

  • Simon Gamble

    I used it for the first time last night with a Kurt Kinetic and Garmin Speed + Cadence Sensor. Really impressed! I was stuffed after 30 mins on the Richmond course. Get on it people!

    • Winky

      I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a fork.

      • Simon Gamble

        Have you tried it though ? ;)

  • Nic Lowe

    In the future, people will either;

    Look back and laugh at folk pedalling a bicycle while not moving.


    Look back and laugh at folk actually going outside to get exercise.

  • De Mac

    Ah, so this is why you were skulking about on the Island, then in Richmond over the past week or so! Great review of an equally great, immersive, interactive training experience Matt. I absolutely HATED the trainer until this Winter. When Zwift came along, I bought a Kickr, rode with people all across the globe and didn’t get as sick as I had in previous years, despite maintaining some (???) semblance of fitness. It is a great concept and they have placed something rather special into the virtual cycling space. The now regular ‘training’ rides and races are attended by people all over the place – some 70+ riders were involved in the Aussie Richmond Rides the past couple of weeks – so the fun goes beyond the pain! Lastly, to improve response between smart trainer and gradient/resistance changes, use a USB extension cord to place the ANT+ receiver physically closer to the Kickr. cheers

    • Thanks De Mac! I’m hoping to spend some more time with Zwift to get more of a feel for the group-ride and social aspect of it. I know it’s something a lot of users really enjoy. As for the gradient/resistance changes, I actually had the ANT+ key right under the Kickr via USB extension cord in an attempt to fix a separate issue (power data drop-outs) but that didn’t seem to help.

  • Christoph

    No one else checked to see if they were on any of the pics? Had to. ;D #firstthingsfirst

    • Andy B

      haha I did

  • John Murphy

    You don’t need an expensive electronic trainer to have a good Zwift experience. I’ve been using a dumb trainer with an on-bike power meter and it’s perfect.

    • Kellen Hassell

      I agree w/ this …. although, I also use the emotion rollers, which have a wireless 4-level magnetic resistance unit that helps simulate some of the climbs. I have to engage/disengage and select the levels on my own, but w/ the power meter, and comparing my data to outdoor climbs, it seems pretty spot-on. Standing and “dancing” on the pedals at a slower climber’s cadence is a bit tough though…

  • James Gill

    The Unofficial Fan Manual has been produced from comments and discoveries of many of the riders in the different FaceBook groups, and can be used as a good start for getting into Zwift

  • Michele

    The Richmond course feels a little sterile and cold at times, likely because the city is disconcertingly free of any life or movement beyond the odd cyclist quietly tearing up the Worlds course.

    Um, Matt .. you do realise that Virginia is for lovers. They’re all indoors.

  • Stompin

    I’ve enjoyed a few sessions here and there… but, I have to be honest and say, I don’t think I’d pay A$19.99 a month to use Zwift. I’ve already got Training Peaks, TrainerRoad, Strava and Cycling Analytics to pay for!!!

    • There’s no pricing structure out as yet, so we don’t know what it’ll be. At $10/month my Kickr alone is worth over 6 years of Zwift subscription, so that puts things into perspective for me.

  • Guy L

    As someone who grew up on computer games and works in the IT industry, I’m somewhat embarrassed by my inablity to make any sense of the numbers on the screen. A combination of viewing Zwift on a 15″ inch laptop and sitting a meter away on my trainer makes it hard for me comprehend what’s happening. Couple this with no other sensory input other than the whirling of my trainer and I’ve completely failed to get onboard the Zwift train.

    • Jim

      Your not doing it right you need a big screen hooked up to your PC…

      IT hey ? reckon you could whip up a program to mimic your power meter output of what ever you want and “win” everything you wanted to while sitting on the couch …. :-)

  • duanegran

    I’ve been using Zwift since January 2015 and have logged around 120 hours of time on it, which is more than most but considerably less than some died in the wool zwifters out there. This represents about 30% increase in my trainer time this year and I can say with confidence that it is much better motivation than anything else I’ve used. I’m also pretty impressed at how the developers seem keen to listen to the community for advice on where to go with the platform and it is fun to see your ideas and suggestions make their way into new features or refinements in the user experience.

  • neilwheel

    I’ve been chasing ghosts on Zwift for a couple of months now. No smart trainer, just a Tacx Satori Pro dumb trainer & speed/cadence sensors. I ride with the trainer resistance set at 3 and turn a 48×15 fixed gear. I make sure to get the tyre pressure the same for each ride. The built-in limitation on wattage (400w) when not using a dedicated power meter has got me seriously considering buying a Stages crank. Apart from that, I love it and never thought I’d see the day when I actually look forward to turbo/ergo sessions!

  • James Gill

    Work out mode is now live on Zwift. If you want a run down of the features and what the FTP test looks like, take a look at the Zwift Workout Mode review posted on TitaniumGeek.

  • After many injuries and now a newcomer to cycling, i’m pretty chuffed there are awesome looking products like this to keep me motivated; particularly during the dull winter months in the UK. The cost of all this cycling gear is a bit nuts though, when all said and done!


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