The weather is turning cold and summer seems like a distant memory. Time has come to bring out the bike trainer again. Anyone who’s slightly interested in the different bike trainers is soon bombarded with all kinds of bike trainer software. Comparisons done on the various software packages are often mind-numbing games of top trumps in numbers and graphs. Definitely not something which will get most people’s heart racing. Zwift however just might!
Zwift combines training with the fun of racing! It has all the training functionality you’ll get with other Software, but it’s all made to look great and real, and it enables you to actually race against people all around the world.
Besides being a training tool, Zwift is also an online community which allows you to playfully race with and against each other. You can train with goals set by pro’s, challenge yourself by taking on various races, or receive “achievements” for getting a fastest lap or climb.
The amount of ridden kilometres can also unlock a number of virtual items, such as bikes, wheels, and clothing for your online avatar. You still have access to all your data in the form of graphs and stats beside all the other functionality. Connecting your account to Strava will allow you to share your rides with all your friends.
Choose Your own Route
Zwift contains multiple levels on which you can ride. The developers are continually adding new routes, so you don’t have to worry about running out of roads to travel. You do need an ANT+ dongle since Zwift works on the computer.
Ride Against Your Friends
Zwift works best with a Smart Trainer as these have built-in sensors which can be paired to your phone or computer via ANT+. Note that not every trainer is ANT+ compatible.
ANT+ also allows you to pair any sensors on your bike which use ANT+ to the Zwift software. The software will convert your cadence and speed to Watts, allowing you to use even a basic trainer to ride with your friends.
You can freely try Zwift for yourself: they offer a 14 day free trial period. Good chance you’re hooked once you’ve tried it!
If you are, you’ll have to pay 10 dollars a month to keep using the software. Take into consideration the fact that you’ll probably be using it around 6 months a year.
Your subscription can be cancelled monthly and all your achievements are saved in your account. This way, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off after summer and continue to collect new gear and achievements. Enjoy your winter!
Zwift-compatible high-end trainers
Zwift-compatible Smart trainers
What Else can We Expect from Zwift?
Zwift continues to develop their software every day. The developers have announced their software will soon become available for iPhone and iPad. The mobile version will have all the functionality found with the PC one.
We’ve got a little waiting to do on an Android version, but we expect this to follow soon after the iOS one. They’re also working on a Zwift for runners!
This will allow you to run on a treadmill through a virtual environment. Again, with the same game-play design as the bike version uses. This might just make running on a treadmill fun too!
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