Zwift expands into frantic crits, epic gravel and mountain bike gnar

by Dave Rome


Fancy some fast-paced criterium racing? Or perhaps you want to get trained for a gravel challenge? Well, Zwift has expanded its offerings to allow you to do both from the comfort of your own home.

Zwift has just announced its latest map, Crit City, a 1.9 km criterium course that’s for event use only. The new map offers just 7m of elevation per lap and is based on real-life inner-city criterium courses with tightly packed buildings and a couple of sections of parallel road to see how your stem-chewing-breakaway is working out. Check out Zwift’s event list if you’re keen to trial the new course.

Crit City.

Zwift’s entry into criterium racing comes just days after the US company announced its targeted move into gravel- and mountain bike-specific training. For that, Zwift added two off-road focussed training plans, with one intended as an entry-level path into gravel racing, and the other intended to build specific strength suited to intermediate-level mountain bikers. Zwift also teased the arrival of a more advanced mountain bike training plan for 2020.

Those off-road training plans arrive with a fleet of new gravel and cross country mountain bikes which can be purchased through Zwift’s virtual Drop Shop. These include the Canyon Grail, Canyon Inflite CX and Cervelo Aspero gravel bikes; and Canyon Lux, Scott Spark and Specialized Epic mountain bikes.

Perhaps most interesting is that Zwift claims to have created real-world riding experiences with these various bike choices. The gravel bikes are said to be fastest on gravel, moderate on-road and slower off-road. While the mountain bikes are fastest off-road, slower on gravel and sluggish on road.

Combined with the mountain bike steering feature shown at Eurobike, it’ll certainly be interesting to see where Zwift takes this concept next.

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