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 Post subject: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Posts: 93
Location: Prescott, AZ
Im thinking about buying a Zwift setup. Mostly because of my weird work schedule preventing me from riding during normal hours, as well as simple curiosity. I love everything computers and video games, so Im pretty anxious to try it out..

I have 2 bikes, both have power meters. One is an old alloy bike with 650c wheels and a Powertap G3, and the other a carbon 700c bike with Stages 105 crank. Should I use the old bike for Zwift since its alloy? Or is using the carbon bike OK? I fit the carbon bike better so would prefer that. Also,,would I be able to use my phone as the PM receiver and use Zwift dashboard? Or will I have to install an ANT/BT receiver on my PC?

I also have a fan, yoga mat, cell phone mount, Galaxy S7, 4k OLED TV, and a Ryzen 1700 gaming computer. I just sold my Radeon RX 480 8GB to a bitcoin miner for way more than I paid for it, so I will need a video card. I see the recommended system requirements is an R9 290. What video card would I need to run this game at near or max settings @ 1440p or 4k?

Im gonna need a smart trainer. Which are the top 3 biggest bang for the buck? Im not looking for anything crazy, but I dont want a total cheapo with glaring compromises either. Just something that gives me 95% the same experience as the $1k trainers for a cheaper price, if that exists. Is it possible to get a nicer smart trainer that lacks a power meter, since I already have one? I bet the PM in these smart trainers takes up alot of the cost. Maybe I can a great smart trainer that simply lacks power for the same price as an entry level with power?

And finally, is the Strava integration good? Im a Premium member and always use Strava to track how many miles I do, as well as look at power numbers, fitness and freshness, etc... I basically use it like a poor mans/lazy mans Training Peaks. Does it all work properly? I just need to make sure all my training is accounted for with data numbers included.


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 Post subject: Zwift questions...
Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:34 am 


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:36 am
Posts: 501
Most smart trainers will have a power meter, I can't think of any that don't. If you're after something solid and reliable the Wahoo snap looks to be a solid choice.

Computer + tv wise I think you're on the right track, mine goes hard with a MacBook pro. Just use your phone for the companion app.

As for tracking, Zwift uploads straight to Strava and will record speed, distance, elevation, etc. On my second year of using it and hasn't missed a beat.

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 Post subject: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:17 pm
Posts: 938
In case you haven't seen these blogs by Ray https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/11/tra ... guide.html and http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/10/annu ... tions.html

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:arrow: CBA = Chronic Bike Addiction
:arrow: OCD = Obsessive Cycling Disorder

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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:39 am
Posts: 785
Location: Winnipeg Canada
Ive been on zwift since the Beta days on the computrainer... I have a different opinion of zwift than most people (in a negative way, but hey, it is what it is, and I occasionally use it)

Trainer wise, I would honestly suggest the Tacx Neo.. I've had mine since day one it was released and its awesome... not only can you use that zwift thing, but there is integration with Tacx RLV, Ergvideo, and Veloreality videos..

Setup wise, I have a dedicated computer for cycling, and an LG 46 inch LCD TV in my face... especially awesome for climbing Alpe Dhuez, or the Galibier videos or riding the Belgian Cobbles right in your face...

Strava , you can set it up for full automatic upload.. just be prepared to see a strava segment covering every inch of the road (mostly with ridiculous times that would smoke Peter Sagan LOL)


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:12 pm
Posts: 115
ParisCarbon wrote:
Ive been on zwift since the Beta days on the computrainer... I have a different opinion of zwift than most people (in a negative way, but hey, it is what it is, and I occasionally use it)

Trainer wise, I would honestly suggest the Tacx Neo.. I've had mine since day one it was released and its awesome... not only can you use that zwift thing, but there is integration with Tacx RLV, Ergvideo, and Veloreality videos..

Setup wise, I have a dedicated computer for cycling, and an LG 46 inch LCD TV in my face... especially awesome for climbing Alpe Dhuez, or the Galibier videos or riding the Belgian Cobbles right in your face...

Strava , you can set it up for full automatic upload.. just be prepared to see a strava segment covering every inch of the road (mostly with ridiculous times that would smoke Peter Sagan LOL)


Similar, I've been on it since beta days and tend to use it less and less. I do the occasional mountain climb and race, trainerroad for anything else on the turbo.

I run a tacx neo which is great, by all accounts the flux is almost as good and is cheaper. I run zwift on a high spec mac book pro that has a dedicated graphics card in it, it's runs pretty nicely. I've tried the iPad version a few times and thats more than good enough equally.

The neo matches my PM's (vector and P2M) bang on and I've a dedicated turbo bike so not tried running a power meter with zwift. I believe they do power match now in the same way trainerroad does where you can use a power meter to control the turbo in ERG mode.


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
Posts: 1129
I used zwift over the winter to ride with some long distance friends. It turns out it's very poorly suited towards this as the chat system is garbage, it's a pain in the ass to sync up/resync with friends due to disconnections glitches, etc, and there's no built-in voice chat. That said the times that I was able to hook up a bluetooth mic and set up a skype, it was pretty fun to beat your buddy at sprint points. Alternatively there are a number of virtual group rides that were quite popular, especially for women the Zwift Academy group was pretty tight-knit.

I found it pretty pointless for actual structured interval training because you'd get passed by some guy in your off-interval. If you don't have your own training plan, the built-in exercises are not bad, but nowadays I define my own intervals and perform them in Golden Cheetah, which also supports ANT+ and is completely free, unlike both zwift and trainer road.

To answer your specific questions, I would recommend not using a carbon bike on a trainer. There's another thread that I've brought this up to before and it is controversial, but I have personally seen a chainstay broken on a teammate's bike on a trainer, and there are several brands who will void your warranty in doing so (there's also a number that explicitly allow it). There's a large number of people on this forum who use carbon bikes on the trainer just fine and will accuse me of being overcautious. It's probably fine, but I'm just pointing out the risks.

I would recommend buying an ANT+ dongle and a usb extension cord. I've used this 3rd party stick with no problems:
https://smile.amazon.com/Anself-Compati ... ler+ant%2B
Without an extension cord, you will likely get dropouts, especially if you're in a crowded RF environment (like apartment complexes). I've also done the BTLE phone link, but it's always been janky, so I wouldn't want to depend on it. I'd also recommend a separate wheel for contact-based trainers so that you aren't wrecking your nice race tires and can just pop on and off.

As for smart trainers, you don't actually need one if you already have a power meter. The smart trainer just lets zwift control resistance directly rather than having it based on wheel speed. This lets it simulate inclines/declines rather than just letting your legs set the power. If this is part of the experience for you, then you have to shell out the cash. Look at the DCrainmaker guide someone posted above.

As for strava integration, yes, it reports all the things you mentioned.


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm
Posts: 905
@ kuli the integrated chat system is should be here soon, though the Zwift App. Expecting a map update this week or next (probably London expansion judging by the silly amount of London days this month), so maybe voice will be in with that.

@ eyedrops I actually find intervals on Zwift fantastic, not sure what kuli meant about some guy passing him on the off interval making it 'pointless'. Just don't understand what that sentence means. Maybe he can explain. The training plans generally are okay, they have all the main plans to suit the majority of riders, but once you want to get more specific while being structured then you're on your own. They just don't have enough plans. Though they do now have loads of individual workouts since the GCN update.

Re: carbon bikes - we use carbon bikes, three of them, on the Tacx Neo and there's no problem. That said, you really need to make sure the dropouts are sitting flush on the rear axle, and that it's on tight. Any play whatsoever will grind the dropouts away. Personally, if I had a metal frame, I'd use that instead anyway, well at least for sprint intervals. We use the cheapest £400 chinese carbon frame for most training, but we do also use the posh bikes as well.

When it comes to getting 95% of the performance of a 1k machine - then that's the Tacx Flux. Not really any competitor to it. It's best bang for buck right now. It had some launch issues but should be resolved now. I have the Neo and ERG mode is screwed on it since the last update, so paying more doesn't guarantee you a flawless experience over all updates.

About your power meter - the last update a month ago means that you can now use your own power meter in ERG mode. You could always use it before, but not in ERG, so even if you buy a dumb trainer, you can still get the benefit of all training options now.

Also Apple TV is in beta, so you can also consider that as an option when looking as cards and costs etc.

People improve a lot on Zwift, and fast, it's definitely good fun. I know there's a ton of updates coming this year and it'll keep most people happy, but for me, unless I see more training plans, I might have to look elsewhere and maybe just replicate it on Zwift. I know some guys are paying for 2 subscriptions - trainerroad for the plans, then overlaying that on Zwift. Can't see me paying that though 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:02 am 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
Posts: 1129
Shrike wrote:
@ eyedrops I actually find intervals on Zwift fantastic, not sure what kuli meant about some guy passing him on the off interval making it 'pointless'. Just don't understand what that sentence means. Maybe he can explain.


You've got this whole system in place to approximate road riding, drafting and group rides with the goal of giving a competitive aspect to riding a trainer indoors. Then you start doing structured intervals on the same system. So when you hit your off interval the sprint timers keep going and people start passing you because you're doing 100W. So at that point the social and competitive nature of the game incentivizes you to deviate from your interval by chasing down that last sprint.
All I'm saying is that the benefits of the app seem better suited towards social or unstructured training. That said I've had plenty of quality workouts where you intended to just spin around for an hour easy and end up killing yourself trying to steal the epic KOM.


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm
Posts: 905
When did you ride on Zwift? They have a workout animation - the screen on the bike, so people know you're on a workout, and you know that other people know, that you're on a workout. That's to decentivise the aspect you're talking about there. Saves face for people who can't control themselves. They know people can be edgy about being passed. Most people are in real life to be honest.

I don't really have that issue when doing intervals. I did a whole winter training plan on Zwift, their 12 week one. Improved loads. Only time I use Zwift right now is to jump on and ride at 0.9 w/kg for half an hour, recovery rides. Everyone passes me. Couldn't care less. After you Zwift for a while, you stop noticing other riders. I usually just listen to music, go into my own world and obey the power on screen.

The other thing that's emerging recently and I tried for the first time recently (by mistake funnily enough) - is group rides that are taken by a personal trainer. They lead the group through a series of sprints, get you riding at types of cadences, gear ratios etc. Seemed really good and push you hard, it's hard to complete some of that stuff by yourself normally. Think I'll get into those in winter when they're more developed.


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:07 pm
Posts: 1250
Location: The Lone Star State
I've been using Zwift for about 18 months now. It is an amazing training tool. I've used it to lose about 20lbs of weight, and it helps me maintain fitness, since I usually get home late from work, and can't fit in a ride during the week. As far as setup goes, Zwift isn't really very system intensive, and I don't believe the game is designed for 4K viewing at this time. If you want to see the best setups, I recommend you go take a look at Zwiftalizer and see what others are running, so you can build your system along those lines.

Presently, I'm running a 1st Gen Core i7 920 w/ 24GB of Ram and a GeForce 660ti. I'm using a 32" Samsung 720p TV, so I don't need to really push the system too hard.

I don't use a separate PM on my bike, I just use the one built into my trainer (Tacx Vortex Smart). I plan on upgrading my trainer eventually, but don't see much of a need right now. My training plans fall well within the abilities of the trainer, and the only benefit I think I'll really see from going with a Neo or Flux would be to run in a quieter environment or to eliminate the rear wheel (neither of which are a big demand from me, since a trainer tire is $20 and I wear headsets when I ride, so I don't really hear the noise).

Finally, regarding Strava, Zwift and Strava kinda go hand-in-hand. For a while, you received free Strava Premium w/ your Zwift membership (for a month, I think). That has gone away, but Strava Premium is pretty much mandatory for Zwift. I have stopped tracking mileage, and mainly track time now. Strava Premium is great for that, since it lets me track and set time goals, as well as monitoring my fitness and freshness. Regarding PR's and such, I don't really pay attention to those on Zwift, since I'm mainly doing workouts, rather than racing, and I'm still a curmudgeon, since I think that racing on Zwift is silly.

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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Posts: 93
Location: Prescott, AZ
I'm really considering Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+. I know there are better smart trainers out there. But this one seems to review well, and comes with the main important features for under $400. It seems like to get next level stuff I would have to spend atleast twice that amount. And since Im new to it, I could always try it out with a full featured entry level trainer and upgrade in the future if I desire.

The only real limitation I can see this trainer having is a maximum slope of 6%. Does this mean the device wont be accurate on steep slopes in Zwift? I noticed on the Elite product description page, it said "This value is function of speed and weight. The values are referred to an average rider." Im a really light rider at 102lbs with an FTP of 170w.


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:02 am
Posts: 175
Location: Brisbane
I have a tacx vortex which does 7%/900W. Cost me about equiv 350usd.

In short, it means when zwift tells the trainer that your little virtual rider is going up an 8% slope the trainer won't be able to do more than 7% (or 6% for that qubo). Not entirely sure how the elite one calculates slope based on speed/weight. The 7% on mine doesn't really feel any different if i'm spinning 200W up or trying to smash 600W up it.

while I'd like the trainer to simulate up to 10%, I don't believe that the extra 3% is worth more dollars without getting something significantly better (eg, a direct drive trainer). I think the max slope in zwift is only around 15 or 16%? the radio tower peak?

For me noise on the wheel-on trainer isn't an issue. Just using a regular tyre. It's not that audible over the noise of my fans.

I've run zwift on a surface 3 pro and a gaming desktop. Both were fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:42 am 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
Posts: 1129
Just posting my experience, man. I don't see the point in paying $10 a month to watch a little man pedal by himself while doing my own workouts. Their structured program is great, and the social experience (if you can get synced up with your buddy) is well worth it. It certainly beats staring at a blank wall and if it gets you riding more then great. But I found I was just running zwift in the background while listening to podcasts or watching Classics races just to get strava points. I'll likely sign up again next winter, but for now offline intervals on Golden Cheetah works great.


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:50 pm
Posts: 16
I've been using Zwift since last August and have seen big leaps in my power. I use a Kickr Snap and according to a recent test by GPLlama (Shane Miller), it's pretty accurate.
I like Zwift because I hate cycling in poor weather and the dark. I'm often time-poor.
I discovered racing on Zwift almost immediately and really I haven't looked back. I look forwards to doing efforts that really rip my legs off. The thrill and distraction of the competition keeps me coming back for more week after week. Even during the Spring and Summer, I've continued to ride and race on Zwift. The latest software update now allows riders taking part in a race or event to NOT see any non-event riders (so effectively a closed course race!).
If you want to communicate with other riders, get a TeamSpeak or Discord channel going.
I bought a dedicated PC and blagged an ex-AV 40 inch TV from my work. I found a pedestal fan in a skip. I use my carbon bike but it has through axles so tends not to move about under effort.
I would recommend Zwift to anyone. I find the camaraderie and banter between fellow racers excellent. There is always a big shower of Strava Kudos and comments after most events. I have made a lot of friends on Zwift and regard the purchase of my £450 Kickr Snap as the best money I EVER spent on cycling equipment. I just wish I could have had one 30 years ago!


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:06 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Zwift questions...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm
Posts: 1283
I plan on trying Zwift this winter. We had a long winter last winter...

How do you get matched in a race with people of similar ability?

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