First look at Zwift, an ultra real graphics trainer app

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Today, startup company Zwift formally announced their product plans for their ultra high graphic training application, aimed at keeping cyclists entertained during their time sitting going nowhere on a trainer.  As you can see pretty much immediately, the graphic aspects of the platform are quite a bit beyond most traditional bike trainer apps today (rather more in line with gaming in the rest of computer industry).

I had a chance to test out the system a bit back at Eurobike, while at the same time there now are a number of media folks trying it out this evening/afternoon/morning (in three concurrent locations: London, NYC, LA) in larger group sessions.

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The platform starts with taking your existing computer, which they say can be anything bought roughly in the last three years.  In my case they had a computer setup for me when I arrived to test it, but soon they’ll open up the beta and I’ll be able to try it on a few computers around here that are more ‘normal’ to see how performance and visuals really look.

The app is designed to be cross-platform, so it’ll work across both Windows and Mac.  Outside of the computing requirements, you’re going to need a trainer and an ANT+ adapter.

Starting with the trainer, you can use just about any regular trainer as long as you have a speed sensor, and then you can also use a resistance controlled trainer.  On top of regular trainers they’ll apply a virtual power curve, which helps to ‘equal out’ the different trainer types.  This is similar to what TrainerRoad does with their Virtual Power.  For my specific test they were using the Wahoo KICKR to automatically control the resistance on the trainer.  They also support doing the same for the CompuTrainer and plan to support the PowerBeam Pro.

As for the ANT+ adapter, most people with desktop computers will just get a regular USB adapter, which many might have from previous Garmin Forerunner products.  Otherwise they cost about $20-$40US to pickup.  Trainer software companies like TrainerRoad, Tacx, BKOOL, PerfPro, Peripedal and many others are using the same technology and adapters to connect their apps to ANT+ devices today.

devicepairing

Finally, you’re going to need a bike.  What type of bike you choose is entirely up to you.

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The platform is designed as a ‘massive multi-player’ game, which is an industry term for an online game that’s designed to scale to huge numbers.  Or, at least the platform is designed to scale to such numbers.  So this isn’t so much a case of just 2-3 people riding together on a ride, but potentially hundreds thousands of people concurrently on the platform.  With maybe dozens or hundreds in a given ride/world.

These folks can then race together online in specific online worlds, or maps.  These maps don’t yet at this point represent exact real life locations, but rather more imaginary things.  Sorta like Myst…but with bikes. Yes, I just called out Myst and brought you back to 1993 all in one fell swoop.  And yes again, it was really that long ago.  We’re both old now.

The goal of the platform is twofold.  The first is to potentially mirror that of specific events, such as a Grand Fondo.  They want to enable people to race online concurrently with a real event, or, perhaps ahead of an event in a training ride fashion.  They see being able to partner with event organizers to offer this as an added option for participants.  Or, for those that can’t be there in person – such as military members serving abroad.

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The second is to enable you or friends to arrange races to compete in.  Be it one-off night races or entire series spread out over multiple sessions.

leaderboards

In addition to partnering with race companies, they’re also looking to partner with bike industry brands, that would allow you to ‘unlock’ products that you may have purchased in real life.  For example, if you ride a Cervelo bike, I could potentially unlock the exact same white/red P3C Cervelo bike that I ride in real life.  Or, perhaps they’ll partner with the Parisian Velib bike share system and I can rock my Velib instead.

customization

And it extends beyond equipment to teams.  They’d like to enable local teams with a minimum sign-up number (say 10 people) to get free online jersey’s in the Zwift, effectively cultivating more users.  Those teams might then carry out and schedule training at set times on a given day…all virtually.

They also see themselves hosting pro riders in an online game.  Somewhat like a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), a pro rider could join a ride just like they might join a local group ride.  You could potentially communicate with the rider (that part is a bit fuzzy as far as what will be there at launch), but otherwise ride with them virtually.  These could be events that are free, or potentially sponsored by some company, or maybe for pay/unlocking.

climbing_into_the_sequoias

Of course, core to the Zwift platform is gamification – the idea of taking something that might otherwise be boring (sitting on a trainer) and turning into not just entertainment, but a game with levels, achievements and some carrot to keep you playing (and paying).

achievements

During my ride on the platform at Eurobike, it was genuinely impressive how real everything felt.  I’ll be the first to note I’m not exactly of the trainer entertainment variety.  I’m more of a ‘give me a workout and let me just follow it’ type of person.

But still, I was impressed.  Their use of their ‘Zengine’ graphics engine did an astounding job in mimicking the little details that actually make things feel real.  Stuff like scrapes/scratches on the roadway, the sound of someone passing you on disc wheels, and if you stop – even the birds.  There’s interactions between defined sprint efforts – which then take you out of the saddle, and then visually do the same on the screen.

climbing_into_the_sequoias

The same is true of coasting down hills, especially if you have a resistance controlled trainer.

aero2

I’ll have to wait to see how much I really like said virtual worlds for sitting on a trainer grinding through a real workout with other people, rather than just toying around with the system.  Perhaps I’ll do a live DCR Zwift hangout of sorts.

For those that aren’t into riding with random strangers (in a bicycle sense, get your mind out of the gutter), they’ll be introducing a workout mode (seen below).  This allows you to create workout segments and targets, and then effectively get rewarded for getting as close to the workout target as possible.

This is a subtle but really important distinction when you look at other workout/trainer platforms.  Those platforms use more of a ‘stick’ approach (rather than carrot) in trying to get you to hit a target.  Perhaps they beep, buzz, or flash for missing a goal.  In the case of Zwift though, it actively rewards you for getting as close to a target as possible.  So if you have a 300w target for a given interval, your goal should be 300w, not 293w or 308w.

ZwiftWorkout

And it’s at this juncture that you begin to see how this platform differs from past ‘gaming’ type ventures that are in the field.

Part of that is driven by the graphics, but a key part of that is also driven by more of a Silicon Valley mindset (and accompanied funding) that simply doesn’t exist in much of the rest of the trainer world.  Most of the other companies in the field have built their empires (or, small castles) via slow grassroots efforts that may take years or decades (such as CompuTrainer).  Even the ‘quickest’ and likely most heavily followed of them, TrainerRoad, is still about 3 years old now – despite feeling much younger (here’s the first post I did on them before they launched).

Zwift is taking things from a much different, and potentially much more high profile connected approach.  They’ve got not only top developers onboard, but also the high end funding and connections behind it (both in Silicon Valley and on Pro Tour teams).  They’re launching this evening with three major events at Rapha locations in London, New York City, and San Francisco (all concurrently).  I don’t remember the last time that’s ever really happened in the cycling world.  It’s more Apple-like than anything.

signup

Of course, as any Silicon Valley tech company can tell you – at the end of the day you have to produce a product/service that people don’t just want…but crave.  So the question over the next few months as they open it up to 1,000 beta users is whether or not those beta users crave coming back to the platform when it launches for real in early 2015 for $10/month, or find that the stunning 3D worlds wear off over time.  I can certainly say I’m interested to see how things shake out, perhaps as part of that it’ll drive other software and hardware innovations in the sports technology sector.

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With that – thanks for reading! Feel free to drop questions below and I can try and get them answered.

Update: I’ve added a gallery below of all of the images that were released.  Enjoy!

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246 Comments

  1. zero0db

    Looks interesting. Support for chromecast would be great with the ability to control things from mobile.

    • RM

      That’s an excellent idea.

    • Zwift is controllable via an IOS app. The idea is you mount your iphone/ipod/ipad on your handlebars when riding and you’ll have a) a typical bike computer style readout, b) buttons available to interact with the game, and c) optional gyroscope data for steering input.

      The IOS app was actually demoed at the launch at Rapha Cafe’s in San Francisco, London, and New York City today.

    • Pedalhead

      Plans for a similar Android app?

    • Luke

      Jon,
      Can you share the specific computer / iOS requirements?

    • Sorry, my previous comment a second ago was for a different post…sorry!

      As noted, any Windows/Mac computer in the last 3 years or so, per Jon at Swift below as well.

    • jm

      android app, or you’re missing out on the other 61% of the users out there. very few people will buy an ios device just to use this.

      link to bgr.com

    • Actual relevant market share information for Zwift:

      iOS: 68.31%
      Android: 28.55%
      Windows Phone: 2.75%
      Blackberry: .33%
      Everything else: remaining

      (The last 30 days worth of mobile device visitors to DCR, by operating system)

    • Kochka

      I’m an Android user and I’ve quite never visited DCR from phone or tablet, only from my Linux computers… (and I’m an intensive phone user). Large screens are better to appreciate the pics :)
      I don’t think that your blog is relevant to evaluate the market shares for this app.

    • I guess with Apple you can output to TV wirelessly. With Android some of their Gizmos have HDMI output and you can use wireless HDMI adapter to do the same since running HDMI cable might be too much. What I kind of do not understand is this desire to run everything from phone/tablet. Processing power of modern PC/Laptop leaves mobile in a dust. It leaves infinitely more room for developers to add features. As for convenience factor just get small factor box and hide it behind TV/Projector/Monitor. What does make sense to me is to use phone as remote controller for main software and also some data metrics/stats display and as I understand this is what ZWift is doing

    • “I’m an Android user and I’ve quite never visited DCR from phone or tablet, only from my Linux computers”

      My 2 cents says that in theory that would actually hurt Android users. Meaning, that I’d argue most of the market here (cyclists with trainers and tablets) likely have iPad’s more than Android devices. Hence why there’s also very few Android tablet training apps out there, and far more iOS.

      That’s of course the trick – and the thing that many folks forget when they quote the mythical Android market share number: That number includes devices sold to people and in places that are never going to buy the accessory device being discussed. It’s far more important to look at the target audience segment. When I talk to companies in this space about market share of mobile devices from their customers, they’re numbers pretty closely align to mine.

    • Matt in MA

      I use the $35 chromecast dongle to mirror my Android devices to my TV or projector. Airplay to my apple TV is a bit nicer, but more expensive. Completely agree about the PC development, especially relating to 3D real-time software. A tablet can’t come close to even a low end discrete gaming video card.

    • Tyler

      My hunch is that a lot of DCR readers, like myself, visit the site primarily from desktop.

      And of those desktop users, I’d guess that the majority use Android phones, more similar to the U.S. overall market share.

    • jose

      “I don’t think that your blog is relevant to evaluate the market shares for this app.”

      I agree 100% to this comment. I’m very active android phone loved and neither i visit your blog always from my phone.

    • Ray D

      I use android and exclusively check from my PC

    • Don

      Just to help out your numbers. I run a Powertap with an Edge 500 (OT: is an Edge 520 ever coming out? It’s been two years since 510, how ’bout some BT4.0 love) and use an HTC One and Nexus 7. No iDevices. I also pretty much exclusively read your site on my PC, except for your 920XT review just popping up in my Google Now feed yesterday. Usually too much information, charts, graphs to be worthwhile to read on mobile. Your site is best appreciated on a big screen.

      I can see your point though. iDevice users like to spend money, that’s what makes them a tasty target demographic.

    • Dan Jones

      It works ok with chromecast streaming. Loses some graphics detail and drops frames, but a good option to get it from your computer to the “big screen.”

    • Paul Hunter

      You are an American, your site is in English, QED. Zwift however will certainly appeal to the EU consumerbase where Android is miles ahead of iOS. Lies, damned lies and your stats DC….

    • Since you’re in Ireland, stats for the last 30 days for DCR from Ireland for mobile platform:

      iOS: 65%
      Android: 34%
      Windows/Blackberry/etc…: Less than 1%

      I love numbers…

      (Nitpickers corner: Some people might not visit from their Android phone. Sure, and some people might not visit from their iPhone. Those differences might account for a few percent, not double.)

    • Changren Yong

      “… EU consumerbase where Android is miles ahead of iOS. Lies, damned lies and your stats DC”

      Haha, great response Ray! No better way to shut up a loudmouth, who pulled his own imaginary stats out of where the sun don’t shine, than presenting him with actual stats.

    • Ken

      Ha Ha Ha, I think I’m the .33% Blackberry guy.

  2. Mark Liversedge

    Crave?!?!?!?!

    You can have my first born for a beta pass!

    Mark

  3. Luke

    Sounds pretty cool, will it open up beyond the 1,000 beta testers for the winter?

  4. Must have. The Kickr was built for this.

  5. Russell

    Tour De Giro (link to tourdegiro.com) has been trying to get there for awhile. The concept seems entertaining but I would want real stages eventually, especially famous climbs

    • bryan

      I used the 2 week trial of this. It is usable software, but was kind of under impressed. I’m anxiously waiting to see if Zwift can sway me away from this software.

  6. Chris O.

    I like the workout screenshot with the guy on the scooter screaming “GO” and a dog chasing you at the bottom. I’m interested in the platform so I can do virtual rides with my dad who is several hours away and lives in the middle of nowhere (but he has internet). The workout piece piece adds the additional utility to make it more than a novelty. I also like the concept of achievements and “realtime” notification. Works on cell phone apps, why not in training apps? now just need it to sync up to training peaks and pull my historical stats from there ;-)

  7. Todd

    Is there a trainer company that currently offers trainer workouts/videos based on existing routes or courses? For example, could I drop the Kona Ironman bike course (into TrainerRoad as a workout?

  8. Wow, this looks fantastic. Like Mark in #2 above, I’d love to get a beta pass, so please let us know if they open the program. I am about to buy a trainer, so apart from the KICKR, I’d appreciate suggestions about the best models of trainers to use for a platform like this.

  9. Eric Hanneken

    How do you steer in the virtual world? Or does the computer do that for you?

    • It wouldn’t feel realistic without steering input. Otherwise it would be all about the watts (maybe). Welcome to the era of virtual doping.

    • Scott

      It’s a TRAINER software. When has riding a trainer ever been about steering?
      If you want to practice hitting your apex, load up gran tourismo or forza while you hit your numbers on trainerRoad – which is actually extremely difficult to do with anything above endurance pace.

    • Martin

      I gather you have never heard of Tacx trainer software’s virtual world. – where you can decide to change course at intersections and ride wherever you want.

  10. Looks absolutely awesome.

    in fact, I only dropped by your site to have a re-read on the Bkool review you did a while back and to check out the graphics on their system again. That’s pretty good, and knocks my old Tacx Fortius off the map – but this looks amazing.

    One feature I really hope that they have is to have the option to ride against your own previous best (in a time trial situation), or to be able to program an opponent to ride on screen next to you at given power / speed for an interval workout. I’m sure they’ll have thought of this. ALso – loved the idea in the Bkool software that you can download the gpx file from an outdoor ride, and it will simulate it indoors taking graphics cues from google earth – so you really could ride a similar version of the Kona course, to answer the question asked by Todd above.

    This is enough to make me look forward to winter again!

    Rob
    http://www.oxygenaddict.com

  11. enrico

    Thanks Ray for this juicy preview!
    you havent mentioned tablets, which took me back to some years ago before the iPad and co came along,
    I guess tablet support would require Bluetooth smart compatibility, but if I decide to get a trainer I’d rather avoid having to fiddle with a PC (which actually I don’t own for private use) as that is exactly the reason for which i switched to the iPad.

  12. Igor Kraynov

    is there any chance of supporting other platforms such as Tacx or Elite trainers?

    • Tacx is a closed platform. They do not publish their communication protocols. I do not think it is very likely that they would open them up (of course never say never, but that’s what I think). They have their own software.

    • joe

      Tacx did at one time work with NetAthlon .. The Present Tacx Virtual is sparsely used, their investment in their Multiple Worlds would seem significant .. They could offer Zwift as a choice in their software – It would seem Tacx would be best placed to offer a seamless UI But that would negate their investment in their VR’s….It’s all so complicated now, it was so much easier when I did half hearted miles on my rollers

  13. Jeremy Hill

    Would love to see this with Oculus Rift support

    • Oculus VR support has been in since soon after the DK1 hit developers. I’m a VR geek and have it in there as more of a fun mode to play around with. It’s not particularly useful for hard workouts, but for a quick spin it’s pretty darn cool.

  14. Scott E

    Where is the market?

    I know it is an open ended question, yet as a Tacx VR owner (read as Closed system) with similar group ride functionality on real routes, you are lucky to see a handful of rides scheduled world wide. Certainly enabling a broad base of trainers the ability to link would increase overall ridership. Hard to tell if there is enough continuous participation once past the initial novelty.

    Ray, It is a large ask, but it would be good to see a feature table comparison across the main virtual ride competitors in the upcoming annual trainer review :-)

    • Yes, right now the next major round-up post is the overall trainer hardware recommendations (set for sometime next week). Then I do have software on the list after that.

    • You bring up valid points and questions. The market may not be there yet with some of the other solutions because they’re tied to a specific piece of software, and the software is not very user friendly at all. The cycling world seems to be stuck in the 90s here and we’ve got hardware companies trying to make software. Just getting into the TACX software from scratch can take over an hour your first time as you download an installer, which installs an updater, which then updates the updater, then updates the game, and then puts you into a very confusing UI.

      Zwift is a software only company and while we already support the KICKR and Computrainer, Elite and Cycleops are next up for support. I think if we can get everybody across all trainers and power meters who might be interested together in one place you’re going to see some compelling experiences.

      As for the novelty wearing off, it’s an issue with all games, and hopefully one we’ll be able to address with continuous content creation and enhancements. There are still people that play quake, world of warcraft, and even everquest 10+ years after they were released and it’s mostly about there still being an active community of players in there.

    • Igor Kraynov

      Really glad to hear about your Elite plans.
      Actually this Ray’s article stopped me from buying Elite Realaxiom yesterday. This mmo things and stuff sounds very attractive.
      But can I request a hint about connecting things to each other?
      Will wired realaxiom be able to connect or ant+/BT is mandatory?

    • 6co2000

      how about compatibility with BKOOL?

    • remco

      Thanks for announcing, I will postpone my decision for a week (was now bushido smart). Hopefully I can remain with that conclusion.

    • at the moment Zwift is working with our wireless ANT trainers, thus wired realaxiom is not compatible.
      We would be very glad to collaborate with Zwift in order to make their software compatibile with our wired trainers too.

    • The market? Well, I kinda think “the market” are all the folks who spend 3-4 nights a week toiling away on their trainers during the Winter. I even ride the trainer once a week during road season and twice a week during CX season to stay sharp. I love The Sufferfest videos, but after a few months, even they get old. This would be a great way for me to train with/against friends and stay in touch with my teammates during our off-seasons.

      Things I’d love to see? Public Events where Zwift teams-up with someone like The Sufferfest or Davis Phinney Foundation or even Rapha for a ride challenge. Team-only and private training, so friendly real-life competitors can’t see how many watts you’re improving. Handicapping, so friends who don’t ride as much as me can do a ride together, but everyone gets a butt-kicking workout. Maybe even throw in Development Challenges that force you to work on specific weaknesses mid-ride.

      Honestly, I wasn’t initially too impressed with this concept, but it looks as if Zwift may be a seriously good training tool that motivates people to get on that trainer.

    • JB

      Is it possible to convert a wired Realaxiom to wireless ANT?

    • Hi JB, unfortunately this is not possible.
      I assume that you could use a wireless sensor to let Zwift collect the data but there’s no way to let Zwift to change automatically the resistance of the trainer.

    • Chan

      Curious to know if this collaboration has happened? I’m trying to find any info on this on forums. My elite realaxiom wired works great so don’t want to upgrade until absolutely necessary.

  15. Really looking forward to this – it seems like a great candidate to build a solid replacement for the CompuTrainer RCVs. I’d be fine with generated graphics instead of videos if they got the topology correct and it didn’t look terrible.

  16. Martin T

    This looks fantastic, I really love the gadgets and would love to get a BETA trial of this.

    I’m loving the 3D update to the BKOOL Trainer I have (purchased after readin your review!), it would be great to hook it up to this as well.

    Interested to see how it develops, will certainly keep checking back for updates.

    Thanks

  17. Erik

    Hafto add a Mario Kart or paintball like game-mode or something to keep me interested on a trainer.

  18. Paul

    Wow. Can you imagine the potential for the next Tour of Sufferlandria?

    If they end up linking this with Trainerroad, I’ll be a happy, happy man.

  19. Scott

    Great concept, looks beautiful. I don’t bike, much less have a trainer, so I don’t know what the motivation for a cyclist to use a trainer is, but I assume it’s primarily related to weather/conditions being somehow inappropriate for training outdoors. That being the case, I’m intrigued about the pricing mechanics. It would be cool if it was an on-demand price, so you pay the $10 if you use it in that month, and your account is kept active for say 12 months. That way you can use it heaps during winter but not be paying for it during summer.

  20. wai

    Another tool for the rainy days…… Cant wait!!!

  21. Shawn

    Any chance they would work with you to allow your subscribers to participate in a beta program? There has to be at least 50-100 people here who would sign up and provide them feedback from their target demographic. I know more than a few of us are cyclo-techie nerds.

  22. Jaimie

    Looks interesting. I have been looking for a new trainer that supports residence adjustment, right now I have a Cyclops Mag Pro and while great it is locked in.

    I also would be interested in an beta invitations if they are reading the comments.

  23. Jason

    Did the mention anything about potential bluetooth connectivity. Seems more logical to me than ANT+ since most computers have bluetooth embedded in it these days.

  24. Bahnzii

    Count me in on a Beta pass if they are reading our posts…considering I do software Beta testing for a living this would be a nice and active diversion from the norm!!

  25. I’d love to be included in a Beta program…the Kickr was made for this…

  26. MAGNUS

    Seems really cool. Would like to know how to get my hands on a beta pass.

  27. Kevin in MD

    So they are producing what netathlon had in the late 90s. http://www.riderunrow.com. A racing platform over the internet that accommodates multiple types of trainers.

    It’s what netathlon users wish they would have done with the platform over the past 8 years or so at any rate!

    As noted by others RE tacx, you’re lucky to find 6 people to ride with on netathlon.

    I hope this new one takes off.

    • Your comment about finding 6 people is very valid, and actually one of the key reasons they aren’t offering a gazillion courses/places to ride. By reducing the number of active maps to a small number, they effectively ensure that people always find others on those routes, thus encouraging interaction/etc…

  28. Nigel Pond

    BKOOL owner here. I’m up for a beta pass if they’re reading this.

  29. Irix

    My KICKR and I are on standby for a beta pass.

  30. Merrill

    GIVE IT TO ME!

  31. Jeff

    Looks very promising. I’d like to offer my services as a beta tester.

  32. Bert Rufenach

    Incredible graphics, I have been virtually riding for 10 years in Netathlon, Tacx and recently Tour de Giro. This looks very promising. When will Computrainer be compatible? I want to be a Beta Tester.

  33. Rodrigo

    Will this work with rollers? I love using TrainerRoad with my rollers, picking up the ANT+ streams from my powertap… It would be great to be able to use my emotion rollers with this !!! :-)

  34. Marcos

    I’ve used Tour De Giro but problem always is ensuring everyone racing is riding at realistic wattage (using correct trainer profile). I could always select a trainer profile that allowed me to effortlessly pedal at 400 watts. I didn’t do that intentionally, but that was a bi product of trying to find a profile that seemed correct.

    I have a 1Up USA trainier and using Tour de Giro and Trainer road I never found profiles for my trainer that produced the same watts given the same gear and cadence.

  35. Harvey Miller

    Great looking program but I sense that, until programmers link their product to the real world, as in Google maps/Street View, where users can explore anywhere in the world with highly realistic graphics and add thousands of random visuals (noises, people and vehicle and airplane movement, etc.) it will be used only by the hard core.

  36. Maus

    Can you give a link to the website of the Zwift trainer app?

  37. Mark M

    As a tacx genius owner i think this is great. I dont think my tacx will be allowed to use this software as Tacx have their own part of virtual game type worlds to use, and it cant do gps rides on google maps or ride on videos, but it is icredibly cool. I think it bridges a gap between the niche top end and a bog standard cheap turbo, while throwing in the MMO side. Great idea and i will be watching closely

  38. Bryce

    I played Myst. It was the first and last time I was addicted to a video game. If this ends up working the way they have introduced it, I might develop another video/virtual game addiction. I am happy to wait until the kinks get worked out, until then TR and GC still have my loyalty.

  39. Sebastian

    Me too…please make this project go well.
    Sadly it won’t be available for this winter’s training sessions I presume.
    Unless they allow me to participate in the beta phase.
    I would love a beta pass. How can we apply?

  40. Can I know when would be the application available?
    Would it available on app store/ android?
    Would it be available on off-road as well?
    Thank you.

  41. Melvyn May

    I presume this was created using a proprietary game engine? If so, may I ask which one? I only ask because I work on the core team and Unity (link to unity3d.com) and I’m obviously wondering if this is what you used. If it is Unity and that helps get me on the beta list then all the better! ;)

    Oh, I should’ve also said that the product looks awesome and as a Wahoo Kickr owner, I’m so very, very excited to get my sweaty hands on this!

  42. han1337

    Very excited.

    Kickr, Wall Mounted 1080p TV, Gaming Rig and iPad are waiting for your Software and my sweat.
    Is there some schedule for the release?

  43. Looks great. I’ve been toying with a trainer to nurse a knee injury out. I wasn’t massively wowed by the BKOOL and Elite interactive ones so was toying with the idea of just getting something cheap and cheerful…. this may change things!

  44. Monica Nugent

    I would love to do beta testing! I use trainer road at the moment, mix of videos, etc. It’s still boring, I would be delighted to test it out. Can’t wait for this to go live! Well done guys!

  45. Jon

    I would love to be a beta tester. I was one of the original neatathlon guys.

  46. Kevin in MD

    Ray,

    How did the drafting work?

    Tacx has drafting implemented poorly in my opinion and netathlon has it done well.

    How did this one go?

  47. Eike

    It sounds fantastic. Enhacing indoor training by gamification sounds good to me during the time I can’t enjoy the sun and wind on my skin! And that being compatible with different platforms and trainers, way to go!

    Thanks for sharing these news!

  48. Stuart Lawrence

    This looks incredible.

    I currently use a power tap on rear wheel to train with. Will the software be able to run using the ant stick and allow me to join in the rides. Or will I need to buy another turbo trainer to allow me to join in with this game.

    Really like the idea of gaining points and upgrading equipment like In a computer game.

  49. Fili

    Any chance to have full control of Old Tacx Bushido ANT+ trainer? Absolutely fantastic.

  50. Matt in MA

    This is cool.
    There is definitely a market for this kind of product. I would pay a premium for a well executed product like this. The immersion factor of realistic graphics is an important part of the appeal of a 3D world. I would de-emphasize the online/social factor and focus on intelligent computer opponents that could be individually user-programmed with realistic human-like attributes. Bike racing isn’t just about watts vs. watts. This is my biggest complaint of the other similar solutions I have used. Model wind, crashes, team tactics, aggressive/inexperienced riders, mechanicals, pedestrians, cars, animals all the things that happen in real races. I see a companion product of a handlebar mounted mouse/control device ;) Voice control would cool too.

    As an owner of a software company, I would recommend focusing on a solid core product brought to market early, rather than all the bells and whistles thrown in at launch.

    • “The immersion factor of realistic graphics is an important part of the appeal of a 3D world. I would de-emphasize the online/social factor”

      I guess it is pretty much up to on’s personal preferences. I am sort of with you here. One of the reasons is that no matter how sophisticated the calculation engine is (actually cycling model is darn simple) disparate trainers will deviation from real wattage big time. So the result of any race/ride would only make sense if participants all did it on the same trainers, properly calibrated. For trainers other than high end like KICKR/Computrainer/Lynx/etc it is a tough proposition.

      So yes, the intelligent opponents I think will do way better. But I can imagine bunch of friends from the same team/club having KICKR riding/racing together. Could be fun.

      Personally even though I am a competitor (our own training software and trainer) I would love to use/try their software. My only concern here is that the virtual worlds are fairly small (at least this is my reasonable assumption) and if there are very few of those it’ll become boring very quickly looking at the same thing over and over.

    • Matt in MA

      A product like this with enough variety and scale of race courses is a very ambitious and difficult undertaking.

      My guess is that this is another under-capitalized startup that might have a very hard time making an impact without some serious money behind it. Just supporting all the video card and trainer/com integration issues is a full time job. I think the business model for this if iffy at best, maybe the studio or gym market is more appropriate than the individual…

      The trainer software market is already pretty fragmented. A lot of products like yours compete for a relatively small market and frankly, most basically do the same thing, just a little differently.

      A high-quality, photorealistic 3D riding simulation really is something that is missing from the market. The existing offerings are pretty weak and not at all immersive

      The crazy thing about all this is that most riders whine about spending a few hundred dollars on software product, but will spend thousands of dollars on a carbon wheelset for negligible additional real world benefit. Given the amount of time a lot of us spend on trainers (or would pretend we do!) it seem to me that anything that would reduce the monotony of indoor riding has an extremely high value.

    • “My guess is that this is another under-capitalized startup…without some serious money behind it.”

      For many other trainer companies/apps in the market that might be true. However, this would really not be the case here. Do a bit of poking at who’s behind it and the money being funneled into it from investors…

    • Matt in MA

      That is encouraging to know! I truly hope they are successful. I want it now!

      It looks like a real game changer, sea change, disruptive technology,

    • Duane Gran

      The social aspect is actually the secret sauce. If you feel like you are racing other people it is working on a level quite apart from most trainer software. A step even higher is to get a sense after racing virtually about how riders pace themselves and behave under pressure. I’ve seen all of this come about very well in one season doing races on Tour de Giro, which I think nails the social angle well but there are some real challenges to making this stuff work, such as…

      The graphics are only effective to the extent that they signal effectively what is happening. If someone decides to lay down a 900w attack they expect to appear like they are shooting out the pack. If the graphics are great, but the responsiveness is sluggish then the effect is diminished. It is hard to visualize changes in gradient on a 2D projection of a road, so this is another area that can be challenging.

      I hope to get a beta invite so I can see more. To my mind they have focused heavily on the visuals but I’m eager to see if they have broken any new ground on making it feel like an active race.

    • Matt in MA

      I get your point, and I agree in principal. It’s just the reality of online communities is the problem. The availability (at hours that I can ride) of riders at a person’s ability level and the issues with device calibration accuracy/honesty sour a lot of people to online experiences. It’s why I have never played online games for the same reason.

      One possible way to combat this is to absolutely require everyone to use their real name and have on online profile that is validated. Once the anonymity of people is removed, a lot of the bad behavior goes away.

    • As the developer of an undercapitalized startup in the trainer space (Tour de Giro, which Duane mentioned above), let me tell you that it looks like Zwift has more money than god from our perspective.

      Few other points:
      -To Matt: We’ve found that people are in general fairly honest. We only had 1 blatant cheater last winter, and to this day I’m not entirely sure he was maliciously cheating (I emailed to inquire/help with calibration, and never heard back). There’s just not that much glory in winning simulated bike races.
      -To Duane: If you actually run the numbers, a 900W sprint when you’re already at speed doesn’t actually accelerate you that fast. If you’re doing 10m/s (36km/h), that’s applying about 90N of force to your bike/rider, which will give a 90kg rider about 1m/s of acceleration if you ignore air resistance (less if you pay attention to air resistance, which we do). That’s about 0.1g. It feels fast in real life because you’ve got all the tactile feedback of your bike pitching back and forth and the pack reacting, but the actual physics of it mean that it IS a sluggish action. In the 2014 version we do have an “attacking” animation that livens it up a bit.

    • Matt in MA

      – Art,
      I’m a little skeptical about the size of the market for this. Because I’m a business guy (and run a software company), I naturally wonder how a big investment in such a product can pay off. If this is going to be marketed to the masses, then it’s a whole different market than the serious cyclist market (that would likely use your software, for example), and I think it would make it less appealing to the cyclist crowd that is commenting here.

      In your experience:
      How many riders typically participate in a race?
      How many actually start and finish the whole race?
      How big do you estimate the actual potential market is for this (in the US?)

      Also, does your software support the Wahoo Kickr? I’d love to give it a try. It looks like you are mostly targeting CT users?

    • Matt: It supports the Kickr as a generic ANT+ PM, but since we’ve got some co-marketing support from Racermate, we don’t do full hill-simulation on the kickr.

      I’m also fairly skeptical about the market for it (both TdG team members still have our day jobs). It will be very interesting for us to see if Zwift’s big team, funding, marketing chops, full-time dedication and pretty looks can succeed to break out of the niche status that TdG and Netathlon have.

      Riders in a race: We peaked at about 40 starters and 30 finishers for the weekly 40km 7:30pm tuesday race last winter. We’re tracking to do much more mileage this winter (this Sept beat last Sept by 3.5x). You can see what a “typical day” ridership looked like during our peak time last winter here: link to tourdegiro.com. Our users are generally fairly serious cyclists (as you have to be to have a bike, trainer, ANT+ stick, ANT+ sensor or CT, decent computer near your trainer, and the patience to get it all set up).

    • Matt in MA

      Art –
      Too bad I sold my Computrainer!! I think the writing is on the wall for those guys. The Kickr is really a superior device. (i’ve used almost every trainer on the market including the original Road Machine)

      I looked into building a product like yours a few years ago. We do a lot of OpenGL and 3D automation work, so it was a good fit, but ultimately I didn’t want to commit a million dollars to hobby……

  51. Dave Heller

    I’m a long time Tacx and Netathlon user and still using the programs to date. There were many highs and lows throughout the evolution of Tacx, NA1,NA2,and NA2XF. KUDOS to the NA community we spent many hours in beta, riding together and resolving software and hardware conflicts. Thank god for the Techi types that ride bikes! Being an East coast rider we know our season will eventually be preempted by the weather at some point. I recall riding inside some years for 4 months, yikes!
    That being said, has the migration begun? This product looks promising and I wish you all the best luck with the rollout. Please let me know if and when the beta list opens for enrollment.
    Dave_IM

  52. Dave Heller

    I’m a long time Tacx and Netathlon user and still using the programs to date. There were many highs and lows throughout the evolution of Tacx, NA1,NA2,and NA2XF. KUDOS to the NA community we spent many hours in beta, riding together and resolving software and hardware conflicts. Thank god for the Techi types that ride bikes. Being an East coast rider we know our season will eventually be preempted by the weather at some point. I recall riding inside some years for 4 months.
    That being said, has the migration begun? This product looks promising and I wish you all the best luck with the rollout. Please let me know if and when the beta list opens for enrollment.
    Dave_IM

  53. Greg Gibson

    Have Kickr, ready to participate. Would love beta invitation.

  54. Kelly

    As a blind KICKR rider, I’m not so interested in the graphics as in feeling the terrain changes in the ride. Has the software been checked out using Text-to-speech software like VoiceOver for Mac/IOS or JAWS for PC?

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE while the software is still being developed make the controls blind accessible.

    • Kelly, that’s an interesting comment. Sign up at zwift.com and there should be a way to add a note for this. My dad runs a ‘lighthouse’ for the blind and I’ve been around blind people all my life, but I’m not sure how it’d work for our application. I’m interested to hear about your thoughts.

    • Kelly

      I think I have signed up with Zwift (I must have since I have since received the “10,000 thank yous” email), but at the time (right after first reading this forum as a timeline) the website was horribly inaccessible with JAWS. JAWS could only find one form field at the time, and when I tried to submit my information I kept getting an error because not all the required information was completed. Finally by accident during one of these failure messages JAWS found another form field and the information submitted. I’m pretty sure none were for comments sections. At the time it honestly looked to me as if the website was still under construction…The problem with the sign up, none of the links would work, and there was just no information I could access.

      Kelly

    • Karen

      Kelley –

      I hope you get this comment. I am trying to help a visually impaired friend work with her Kickr. She is using an iPhone for set up. I am sighted and use my PC and Trainer Road and simply love it, but she only has the iPhone and Trainer Road is not seemingly that friendly to blind riders. Any tips on the best apps? I see so little conversation on the topic. Thanks!!

    • Ryan

      Hi John, I know this thread is from three years ago, but I don’t see any change. In fact, when I open the app on my iPhone, I can’t get past the screen since I can’t read anything on it. Apple has a pretty solid site for developers, and maybe in the next release of Zwift, you could make just the buttons and form fields accessible with voiceover. This would go a long way, and I know if we could access the buttons and form fields, there are several of us that would help you refine it from there.

  55. cj

    Do you see any possibility of this being made available to Xbox?

  56. Bill

    I tried to sign up to “stay in touch” on this page site but got a 405 Not Allowed error after it asked my info – link to zwift.com

    In any event, when Powerbeam is supported, I would love to help test it

    • Truth be told our IT/Security guy is running around like a chicken with his head cut off today as the servers get “hugged” by the community. The new site is actually going up here in the next 1-2 hours (what you saw is our placeholder) and I’d try again on those.

      Powerbeam as a powermeter is supported, but not as a smart trainer yet. I’ve got all the info from Cycleops and now it’s down to actually having the time to get it in.

    • Bill

      Thanks, Jon. I appreciate response. Best of luck to you and your team. I’m looking forward to this!

  57. andy

    does anyone know if this will work with a Wattbike?

  58. Hi Jon,

    can you tell us something about the decision for a traditional PC (Windows/Mac OS X) app? Why not iOS or Android? I do not have a PC in the garage. Will there be a Linux (SteamOS) version?

    Why are so many without a helmet? This is so 90s ;-)

    Many greetings from Hamburg Germany
    Nils

    • The code is written to be cross platform, as that’s my background (doing engines for PS3, Xbox, Wii, PC, and Mac), but we’ve initially concentrated on laptops/PCs because they can offer a more compelling experience than a device that has such tight power constraints. The IOS version is coming, but before then we really wanted to experiment with what the ‘premiere’ experience might be, and that is easier to demonstrate on a more powerful device with a reasonable sized screen.

    • Luke

      Jon, unless I’ve missed it, the best description I’ve seen of the computing requirements are “anything made in the last 3 years”. Can you give (mac) specifics to help those of us with borderline machines…
      Thanks!

    • The exact minimum requirements will probably change over time, but the key requirement isn’t about ram or processor, but about it’s graphics capability. The minimum requirement will either be an Intel HD 3000 or Intel HD 4000. If you’ve got an NVidia or AMD gpu from the last 4 years you’re also almost certainly good to go.

      The minimum may increase over the years as technology keeps marching forward, but I have to imagine I’ll always be supporting at least the last 3 to 4 years of whatever an ‘average’ computer is. The people that want the extra glitzy graphics can have it with newer or higher end graphics cards.

      Jon

  59. Rod Kelly

    I have been looking for software that would allow myself and others to ride together via trainers connected online. A few of my friends have computrainers and would like to just ride against each other from time to time. Haven’t been able to find anything like that and this seems to be the closest I have seen to date. Hopefully it will be easy to just sync up and ride together with our trainers. Good Luck!!!

  60. Matt

    Does the beta support Computrainer? If not, when are the plans for this?

    • Yes, computrainer support is in.

    • han1337

      Will you group the players with their watt/kg or FTP?
      To have enemys that are even possible to defeat.

      Something like Cat, but with real values to group the people :D

      You could estimate FTP after riding a while (collecting some data) with heart rate and power meter on,
      Then put the player in a “virtual cat” in which one should ride against others to have a fair chance.
      If he wins very often in this cat you could upgrade the player.

  61. leha

    You know if it is compatible with Turbo Elite Muin and Macbook Pro? If would buy the Elite support whenever you can associate it with my Macbook pro.

    • We have a muin and the technical info, but haven’t had a chance to fully integrate it yet. Support for it and the mac coming in the timeframe of a month or two.

  62. leha

    Please publish information when Elite Turbo Muin be associated with your software and Macbook Pro, then I will proceed to buy Elite Muin and Zwift for winter. Please assure me that worked together and sent me the Elite speed, cadence and power and buy it. Thank you

  63. NKSA

    Hi this is nothing new at all. TACX have this for 9 years. And the design of rute is ok, but to ride at night…??? Hmm this is not cycling expert behind this, if yes I think they do not know the market. It will not be a big succes. The people want more.

  64. Bengahl

    “Cochrane, Alberta – March 12, 2014 – ANT Wireless, proven innovator in ultra low power (ULP) wireless technology, today announces the Member Early Release (MER) of the Fitness Equipment – Controls (FE-C) Device Profile.”
    It is now almost seven months ago this annoncement was made and still no final release. Why is that?
    Will zwift adopt this standard and if so what trainers will be possible to use?
    Maybe this is the push Tacx need for them to realize they have to jump on the train?

  65. HD

    Excited about this. Question – if I have the Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 (“dumb trainer”) does it make sense to get the inRide or will Zwift’s system work as well assuming I will be using their system most of the time?

    • I’ve not spent enough time with the inRide to say, but one caveat I want to mention about it is that it may not support short sprints. For typical workouts either will be fine, and the inRide might even be more accurate as its’ been designed specifically for their trainer.

  66. Andrew

    Jon — First of all this looks like a phenomenal product and I could see myself using it really frequently during the dark and cold months.

    I am wondering about the smartphone gyroscope input for steering. Wouldn’t this only work on a trainer that lets you sway back and forth? Or am I missing something?

    Also, for those who requested invites on your site, any word on when we might expect to hear something?

    Thanks!

    • Steering input would be handled by slighting turning your handlebars rather than leaning. Without the G forces of an actual bike going around a corner I’m not sure leaning makes sense on a trainer.

  67. Chris

    Looks like a promising product if you can somehow differentiate between trainers and balance them.. by this I mean the following…fitcentric (riderunrow) offers something similar..I used to go on there alot over Canadian Prairie winters.. serously at -30C what else can we do! Anyways..being a computrainer owner you would almost always get owned so to say because the comptrainer is actually simulating a grade thrown at it… I remember riding against guys using the old tacx trainers and they could just over power the hills and fly over them..meanwhile my computrainer had me locked in an 8% grade… Point being.. it just got frustrating not being on a level playing field and watching others ride away and not calibrate trainers properly…. super low resistance on the wheel.. you’re only cheating yourself, but this seems like it could turn into some serious online competitions if they deliver!

    • There’s some truth to what you say, but lets take an example. One guy on rollers at 200watts, with his rear tire effective speed being 40mph. The next guy on a computrainer, also at 200watts, and the resistance set like a 10% slope. His rear tire speed might be 5mph. In the game, both riders will be going up the climb at the same speed assuming they weighed the same – it’s all about watts.

    • Chris

      Ahhh very nice… very nice…. so I take it the program takes all the computrainer data (speed, watts, cadence) etc and dumps it in…

    • Ray D

      “Assuming they weighed the same” – I was thinking about this on my ride yesterday. How will weight be managed in zwift, if at all?

      I ask because some of the guys I ride with can produce more watts than I can but my watt/kg ratio is higher giving me the chance to beat them.

    • Matt in MA

      Everyone will need to go to a weigh-in center every month and have their weight certified ;)

      Of course it’s not just about watts! I guess all the courses will be flat with this package….

  68. Mark M

    I have signed up for beta even though i have a tacx which isnt supported as a smart trainer, but am i right in thinking the software would run alongside and could see my ant+ and pretend i am on a dumb trainer?

  69. john b

    i love my tacx genius multiplayer. if this could open up more riders affordably to online group rides i think it would really work. work with tacx….please!!!

  70. Rickey

    Wow! Can’t wait!!! My KICKR is just waiting for this to happen. It’ll breakup the Sufferfest and mix in some fun.

  71. Maxim

    It’s the first time I wish I am in US, somewhere around Frisco.
    Would not hesitate to apply for a dev job at Zwift!

  72. johnnycanEHdian

    Looks awesome! I’ve been waiting for years for something of this quality to come out without having to buy a computrainer! Can’t wait to give it a go! Here’s hoping for a beta pass!

  73. Chris

    How do you become one of the 1000 beta users have these been per selected.

    Other wise how do we quench the cravings!!!!!!!!!!!!

  74. Tim

    I’m very interested in this development – I have a Bkool trainer, and the new 3D update is good, but the route selection is very Spanish-centric and the interactivity isn’t very intuitive. I’d love to be able to use this with my Bkool trainer. I also use Sufferfest videos fairly extensively, especially on my many, many stays in hotels around the world. I could see some really interesting scope for a combination of Sufferfest sessions with this software. The social side needs to be a lot more immediate than is the case in any of the systems I’ve used so far, if its to be more than just an interesting sideline. There’s probably some scope for a crossover with entertainment products like XBox and Playstation – some of the fitness titles on these systems sell in huge numbers!

  75. garry

    looks very promising, currently run trainerroad but was looking to buy a tacx….put that on hold now, will stick my kinetic rock & roll II for the time being & see if it will be supported by Zwift. Would also be interested in knowing what the recommended pc system specs are as 3 years old is a bit vague, especially as i am looking to upgrade my pc in my man cave

    • We are being a bit vague with our specs currently as I’ve not experimented with just how low I can go yet and still offer something that looks and plays ok. I can say if you have a laptop with an Intel HD4000 graphics chip or later you’re good to go, and if you have a desktop machine with an NVIDIA or AMD graphics card from the last 4 years you’re also probably good to go. We’ll be posting minimum, recommended, and extreme specs up on the website very soon.

  76. Ludovico

    I suppose it is not possible to steer. Do you think that going straight ahead in the long run can become boring?

    • Ray D

      Tacx does have a steering frame so it could be possible to implement a similar set-up for those who would want to. As someone who works a lot of overtime and runs out of daylight if I go outside, I end up spending most of my training indoors and this would be a welcomed feature!

  77. Geofd

    Hi Jon,

    Will wind resistance/ drafting be programmed in? That would make virtual racing much more interesting to me.

    Do you have plans to offer training plans like trainer road? A combination of zwift and trainerroad would be awesome. I’d pay $10/month from nov-april every year.

    • Yes, we take into consideration CdA and also simulate drafts for areas behind single riders as well as packs and pacelines of riders.

      As for training plans, there’s a glimpse of what our workout mode looks like here in DC Rainmakers article and we’ll be elaborating further on our workout plans soon. I think being able to do your prescribed workouts in Zwift makes sense, and it’s certainly how I personally would use the software from time to time when I’m trying to train ‘by the book’.

  78. Alright guys, we’ve got a great deal of beta signups. If you’re not on the list already, Zwift.com is where you’ll sign up.

    To give a bit of clarity, we’ll be doing a pretty slow rollout at first and we’ll be working through the list from now through the end of fall. I know it’s hard to wait, but it really is for the best. I can tell you that people with certain computer and ANT+ sensor configurations will be taken off the list first. We’ll be trying to get the appropriate people in when we’re ready for them.

    While I feel like I’m one of you guys (I read this site all the time) I’m also sure we couldn’t begin to guess all the different ways people might want to use the software, and that’s where this beta comes in. To some extent we hope the community will help shape the product, rather than us just building what we think you want and crossing our fingers.

    Thanks again for all the positive feedback. The team here has really enjoyed reading it all.

  79. Maus

    Only support virtual power for just a few trainers. I have a Lemond Revolution.
    It is not on the list yet but can I use Zwift? Currently I use Trainerroad and they have almost every trainer supported.

  80. standards.compatible

    Everytime I read an article like this I feel stupid for buying an ANT+ enabled Tacx trainer.

    The lack of standards compliance means that it will never do anything more than when I bought it. It is literally locked into the past.

    Please don’t make the same mistake as me. Buy a product that has a future.

    • Mark M

      What do you mean? Do you have speed and cadence sensors on your bike that could be picked up?

    • BillPayer

      I feel your pain. I really liked the Tacx VR stuff, but opted for a KICKR and use with TrainerRoad. Now I see a product like Zwift I’m convinced I made the best decision. Sorry !

    • Mark M

      Me? I have no pain im happy with my Genius. Vr is cool but use RLV much more.
      I was simply asking if his trainer could be used as dumb as his bike sensors would be used?

  81. jmr

    Zwift looks awesome at screenshots, I would definitely want to try it. But the question is, will it support BKool?

  82. Newbie Ultrarunner

    Good stuff. I’m just wondering how they plan avoid cheating in this platform.

  83. Matt

    When will it work with Computrainer?

  84. Rob

    Awesome! The rendered uphill / downhill gradients look great.
    This looks like the missing immersive VR element for my KICKR.
    Hope it will be live in time for our long Canadian winter.

  85. Mark M

    I doubt blackberry has a bigger market share than Android.

  86. Matt W

    I’m really considering an interactive trainer, and I am on a budget. I already have a Tacx Blu Motion, but I am looking for something that is more fun and interactive. I was looking at the Bkool original, which I understand could also work with Zwifts software? What would you suggest? Thanks.

  87. Richard Favata

    Is power2max supported?

  88. wouter

    no one-time purchase formula for people not interested in MP-mode?

  89. Will

    Oh god, here I vowed to stay away from MMO’s during the end of my senior year of high school because it was too much of an addiction……. Oh well, looks like I’m going to have to get back on it again. :D

  90. Looks good, but not new, looks like a graphically updated NetAthlon. NetAthlon was doing this several years ago pretty successfully, though of course not with open ANT+. One major difference is Zwifts marketing engine is pretty sleek – engaging the Rapha squad and several major amateur events organisations. I’m generally not a fan of gamification for training purposes, but as an old NetAthlon MP riders it is fun

  91. I’d love to beta this as a Wahoo Kickr and Oculus DK2 user. I’m generally on a Linux desktop and Android devices, but I could dig up an ipod and a mac if I really needed to…

    -Dan

  92. Harmen

    I received a beta invite this week, the software is downloading as I type this. I intend to try it out for the first time tomorrow, time to get the Kickr going again :)

  93. LT Dan

    I got a beta and have been playing around this for a week since I got my wahoo Kickr.

    I had some technical problems out the gate with installing the software but once I fixed them (with the help of the google) was able to pair with the Kickr and pleasantly surprised when riding and the resistance began kicking up during the ride. I currently have about 4 hours on the device over the the last week and things have gotten better during the course of the week.

    The rides are good and the inital island course is short enough with a good mix of climbs, descents, and flat terrain although I am looking forward to them developing longer courses. During the course of my rides I find I am I am pretty well entertained with the KOMs and can feel it when I am turning myself inside out to beat the computer. I really would like for them to pair with my sufferfest to develop courses and play the video.

    My setup is I have the program projected on a wall with my trainer set up to look at it. Miroir small projector is the best and a dark room means I can see all of the data and stuff without a fancy screen (not that I have room for one).

    Overall I am really impressed with how they are able to make this happen. I would definately buy this for myself rather than trainer road once they refine the workout options.

    One major thing this is making me think about is how I am going to manage powermeter data from my quarq and from the kickr into training peaks.

  94. Michael

    Would this game work with bluetooth? I have Wahoo Bluetooth HR sensor and Speed/cadence sensor…

  95. Tyler

    If I don’t have a power meter will the system be able to convert the speed and cadence to give me an estimated wattage like tourdegiro.com does?

  96. hey, I just got the Beta invite ! I’m on a PowerBeam Pro ANT+ and I can’t wait to try this software.

    question : I read in the comments that the powerBeam Pro is supported as a powermeter but not as a “smart trainer”. What do you mean by that ? does that mean that the software can read my power but cannot control it? so if I climb a hill, I will not feel the increased resistance ? is it going to be like the “slope mode” on TrainerRoad ? once the powerbeam pro is suppported as “smart”, then it could act like the ERG mode in TR ?

    • DANIEL SEKERA

      I just today ended up asking them a very similar question because i also use the powerbeam pro. their response was there is no timeline for the powerbeam. Sure I am disappointed by that but I guess I understand…..maybe. It does to me kind of call into question the whole reason for “applying” to become a beta tester by having to list my equipment. I feel now at this juncture that the only reason I had to list my equipment was to give them market research into who was using what. I was chosen as a beta tester even though my trainer is not supported as a smart trainer and obviously they are going to start asking me for money long before they actually support my trainer so I am not quite sure what I am “beta” testing at this point. I’m just a number right now

    • Jon@Zwift

      I’m not going to BS you and say that you’re not a number, because of course you are, we don’t know you from the man in the moon. If 90% of the users had filled out our application and said they had a Powerbeam, it would have been in a week later – that is why we asked.

      The reason you probably got an invite is that many powerbeam trainers broadcast ANT+ power by default, and work just like a powermeter. In fact we ride a powerbeam in the office with our software every week. It turns out that many powerbeam trainers don’t do this out of the box, and maybe your invite went out before we knew that.

      Anyway, full powerbeam support is actually underway, but we still cannot (and should not) promise an exact release date. I hope that helps.

    • Joe

      Jon, I currently do my indoor training on a custom ergometer, not a trainer, but I use a power2max on it. Would I be able to use your product with just an ant+ power meter? Thanks!

  97. DANIEL SEKERA

    It absolutely helps. I think the concept is cool which is why i’m eager to be up and running completely. However I do understand mostly. I preface that because I just do not understand the programming world, never written a code in my life since fortran4 and cobal back in 1981. When you say some powerbeams broadcast any+ out of the box and some must not confuses me only from the standpoint of I know mine is working back and forth with other programs.

    However, this isn’t a debate nor is it custom tech support to get me up and running. I am thrilled with the response, my queries are getting answered and I just need to be patient, all good things in time!

    Just like when my flight gets cancelled it doesn’t matter how many planes are outside at that moment my next flight leaves at x hour and I just have to accept that. You will have it ready when it is and I will be waiting. Thank you for the response and I hope you are and the company are hugely successful because it means more fun for me!

  98. Don

    Put me down as another one hoping for full powerbeam support.

  99. Lawrence D

    I’m intrigued. However, I’m unlikely to buy a trainer as I already have a Pro-Form Tour de France (Gen 2 model, not the latest 2013 model with large LCD screen). The reality is that living in SoCal, with year-round riding, I and the family haven’t used the ProForm much. But I’d absolutely love to use this sort of social ride (future feature hopefully to include turning on the microphone (and ability to mute those you don’t want to hear) to enable talking just as you do on a group ride!)

    That challenge I suspect is getting Pro-Form’s TdF power and other info. As an alternative, to start I could use my Garmin HRM, and could relatively easily attach a speed/cadence meter, but it would be great to have power meter data and the integration of route info to adjust incline/decline

  100. Jon Trottier

    It may be buried in the comments, and apologize if this is a repeat question.

    Would there be any option of “loading” the sufferfest workout portion of a sufferfest video and incorporated with Zwift? I love the ideal of the virtual world and the carrot chasing/goal achieve, you’re knocking on my generations door here. I have purchased most, if not all of the sufferfest video’s and could do without the video portion but I LOVE the punishment sufferfest provides and would love to keep that workout portion and port it into virtual world. Any insight on if this will be crossing over? Any team up potential?

    • Keith

      You could always use the TrainerRoad profiles they have set up for Sufferfest, I am searching for the same answers as you, hoping that I can run Zwift and TrainerRoad at the same time.

    • Andy

      I run Trainer Road on my iPod touch while running Zwift on my laptop. I’ve also used both on laptop simultaneously but there is less screen space.

    • Craig

      you can run both together. I’ve tested this and use it with good effect. You need two Ant+ sticks though. I use TR to broadcast the power signal over and Zwift picks it up. It means I can run TR in horizontal mode while riding the Zwift Island. It works well and I’m sure Zwift are working hard to deliver structured workouts when the full release comes.

    • Craig

      you can run both together. I’ve tested this and use it with good effect. You need two Ant sticks though. I use TR to broadcast the power signal over and Zwift picks it up. It means I can run TR in horizontal mode while riding the Zwift Island. It works well and I’m sure Zwift are working hard to deliver structured workouts when the full release comes.

  101. Craig

    When is this likely to be fully released to the masses? “Early 2015” isn’t really enough. Is that Jan or as late as April/May?

    As you can probably tell, I’m not in the Beta, but from what I can scavenge in terms of feedback and reading opinions of others, it seems pretty polished already? I’d be ready to stump up the ten dollar fee as I’m sure improvements and features will also be implemented. I’ve been paying TrainerRoad since they first started out years ago and some of their additions have been nice along the way. My point being, I hope Zwift don’t get too bogged down with trying to make this thing absolutely 100% before release if it’s holding back the full-release for months on end by adding daft things like power-ups…

    It’s -4degC today, if you leave it too long, it’ll be warm enough for me to do all my riding outdoors again until next Winter :D

  102. DANIEL SEKERA

    I’m on the beta and I guess I just have to accept that there are going to be things that I do not understand because I totally agree that powerups are daft. I guess I’m to assume I just slammed a energy gel and now like have an energy boost? Oh well I guess if that is what it takes to get to more courses, and training plans and all that other stuff so be it. I still think it is cool
    Personally I will be much happier when you can never join a ride slightly before a measurement area so I do not have to see the leaderboard with a 10 second climb in first place or a 2 second sprint time.

    Also the AI riders should never be able to be on the leader boards, but that is just me.

    Maybe I simply have never played enough video games………

    • DANIEL SEKERA

      A few weeks into it now and all I can say is boring. I only ever get to go one direction it’s basically a 3 mile lap so even with my limited 30 laps or so I am already bored to death of the scenery. I give super major kudos to the sadists that have completed centuries on the island. To do 34 laps in one sitting I would slit my wrists. Virtual training is way more attention holding as at least the video is going somewhere. In fact the last time I rode zwift I simply set my power to manual, and then minimized the screen and launched netflix and watched a movie. When the show was over I finished whatever lap I was on and then left. I’m going to hold out for actual trainer control, more courses, trainer plans, etc. Please at least build some intersections in so I have to make a decision about which direction I want to take.

  103. ave

    Yesterday I had my first ride on Zwift.
    I have to say it does one thing brilliantly. Times flies much faster than during a normal trainer workout. I did 30minutes more than I planned, partly because I couldn’t stop myself jumping on the actual KOM holder’s wheel in my cooldown lap, so had to do another.

    I don’t think it’s that good for people with serious training plans, but for the “free ride” days it looks fun.

    I find the idea of powerups strange. I mean I don’t care what happens in Zwift really, but it’s setting a bad precedent on Strava, with “doped” KOM times accepted officially, even if it’s on a virtual island.

    Btw. Strava integration has me thinking about the future of Zwift. I assume they will re-create world championship courses -which I’d ride happily- but how to map it on Strava? One idea is to use an ocean’s surface as the mapping board, but it’s a bit stupid. Certainly avoid mapping it over the real locations.

    As for release date, I think there is still a lot to do, I’d say months.
    I lost 40minutes’ of ride data because of a software crash and no process to avoid loss of data. That would have been the first thing I did before rolling out for beta: Ensure that no ride data is lost. That’s pretty easy to do.

    • Neal

      FWIW, other software already has the ability to train on virtual courses and upload to Strava, leading to people’s virtual rides appearing on REAL leaderboards, etc. Here is the link to the Strava thread: link to strava.zendesk.com

      I would love to do the virtual courses thing in Zwift, and I think it would be wise for Strava to fix this problem (by implementing separate leaderboards) before virtual riding really takes off.

      I am more interested in some sort of “training mode” than I am in riding aimlessly around a fake island. That way I could do my coach’s prescribed workouts with a little more stimulation than just riding the trainer.

    • Strava has talked about this for years (since the KICKR came out). Regrettably, they haven’t actually carried through on that. In a lot of ways, Strava talks about doing a lot of things (both to consumers, and to other companies) – but rarely actually carries through on those (actually, about 99.99% of the time they don’t).

  104. tony chu

    Dear DC i have a simple question that you can answer. i google it but i can’t get the answer myself.
    i’m currently running a Srm with garmin speed sensor along with pc7. i have a manual resistance control trainer. if i want to use zwift. i would buy ant+ usb bundle. the question is when i connect all the power, speed, cadence through ant+ into the computer to zwift. will my pc7 still pick up the signal and record my training ride?

    can ant+ signal be captured by 2 separate device?

    tks for answering.

    • T Jones

      Yes, ant+ broadcasts can be picked up by multiple receivers. The ant+ transmitter (heart rate, power meter, etc) just transmits to whatever is looking for it.

  105. greg johnson

    Wow. I think we sometimes take for granted new developments and the work that goes into getting everything to work together. I had my first ride on a kickr today (bought yesterday) and played with the wahoo app, kinomap and zwift. Zwift was easily the most engaging.

    I see great potential for this – naturally we’ll need more courses and a lot of other things to sustain interest and value, but this really is a bit of a game changer.

    I ride in a social, but quite competitive club. I can see wet, cold mornings where the group logs on to zwift at 6am rather than meeting at the usual spot. Well done guys – clearly a few bugs to iron out still, but hugely impressed. Thanks for including me in the beta.

    Greg.

  106. Julio

    Cómo puedo bajar la aplicación?

  107. Gavin Hodgson

    Had my first ride last night and really enjoyed it. Huge potential but let’s see what they make of it. Browsing the list of active riders during my cool down, who did I see but a certain “Ray Maker”…!

    • Smokin'Schwalbes

      Blimey Gavin, I’ve been using the island since mid Nov and I’ve still not seen Ray :-(

      Does make me wonder how Zwift are scaling up the riders – no matter what time I go out for a ride there’s never many others, the most I’ve seen is 40 odd. With all the beta invites now out there I’d expect the island to be like an LA freeway during rush-hour but it’s not.

      So assume they’re running 50 riders in each virtual (i.e. can be seen by you at any one time) island, I’ve often wondered what if I wanted to ride with a friend and they get placed in another ‘world’ when they log in…

      Ray, any clarification on how they cover the above scenario?

    • I get around. ;)

      Actually, in this case I was just updating the software though.

      I’ll see if perhaps the Zwift folks drop in and respond to how it works. They’re usually a bit active here.

    • Jon@Zwift

      We right now will sometimes have nearly 200 riders online at one time, however due to technical issues you’re only hearing about the certain number in your nearby vicinity. If the nearest 100 people to you are 40 AI’s and 60 humans, you’ll see a friends list that might say +40 more at the bottom (20 on the list + 40 more). However over the course of your ride you might eventually come across all 100-200 human riders in the world (if you’re really fast or really slow).

      The only real way to know how many users are online is to have the mobile app and check it before you sign in.

      People are logging tens of thousands of miles a day so there’s plenty of traffic, altho not quite as bad as an LA freeway ;)

    • Chromonian

      Hello,

      I used this for the first time last night and loved it. I’m using the wahoo kickr as well and the speed seems to be out when I connect to my Mac and Garmin at the same time? Zwift reports me doing 25mph but my Garmin 17mph. Have you experienced this and go you know if there are plans for connecting via Bluetooth from the kickr and Mac?

      Thanks

    • Chromonian

      I used this for the first time last night and loved it. I’m using the wahoo kickr as well and the speed seems to be out when I connect to my Mac and Garmin at the same time? Zwift reports me doing 25mph but my Garmin 17mph. Have you experienced this and go you know if there are plans for connecting via Bluetooth from the kickr and Mac?

      Thanks

    • Chromonian

      I used this for the first time last night and loved it. I’m using the wahoo kickr as well and the speed seems to be out when I connect to my Mac and Garmin at the same time? Zwift reports me doing 25mph but my Garmin 17mph. Have you experienced this and go you know if there are plans for connecting via Bluetooth from the kickr and Mac?
      Thanks

    • Bluetooth is on the design map, but currently has no time frame. I’m using a KICKR but not seen a difference. It’s not going to be as though you have a different speed sensor on the turbo.
      If you weight on the game entered correctly? That can throw things off inside the game

    • Nick

      Would be nice if we had an ETA on Bluetooth. I don’t really want to be buying a dongle just for one app, when built-in bluetooth can work as well for my Kickr.

  108. david rolle

    Iam looking for one to help train one of my riders for the transamerican trail

  109. i’be found the lack of a Zwift manual has resulted in a great community forming as we’ve found bits and bobs appearing/changing in the beta. Would anyone be interested in helping write a fan manual? I’ve started a page on http://www.titaniumgeek.com but a few sets of eyes are going to find more things? might mean we can help a few people out?

  110. Kasper Krogshave

    Looks very nice.

    Will the software be able to handle both a power meter and a resistance controlled trainer at the same time? I use the bkool trainer (classic) and the watt measure on the bkool is not very accurate compared to a traditionally power meter. Thus if the software could use the watt from the power meter but still send data to the trainer to adjust resistance it would be awesome!

    • Jon@Zwift

      Hey Kasper, we actually added support for this recently so now you can use the smart trainer for resistance, but the power meter for the data recordings.

  111. I can use the Stages power meter with the KICKR just as a “dumb” trainer. But if I I swap to the KICKR as the power meter as well, then that takes over the power readings as well.
    When I want to get the data from the stages at the same time, I just change the power meter on my Garmin.
    There is a list of compatible trainers and those which may come in time

  112. Chris

    I was wondering about windows compatability as I installed Zwift last night and went to launch it this morning and every time it gave a windows error and crashed….I am running an oldish laptop and windows 7, so was wondering if I installed it on my wife’s newer laptop running windows 8 will this fix it?

    • Jon@Zwift

      Hey Chris, I don’t know how old your laptop is but in general anything from the last few years is good to go. A key part of the puzzle would be to make sure your graphics card drivers are totally up to date. If that fails, you can give the Windows 8 machine a try or open a support ticket on the Zwift support site here: https://support.zwift.com/hc/en-us/articles/202979045–Troubleshoot-I-experienced-a-crash-What-do-I-do-now-

    • Chris

      Thanks Jon, I will try again and see what happens….
      – Also I was wondering if I need a speed and Cadence sensor or can I get away with just a speed sensor?
      – I have a basic magnetic trainer and am looking at getting a Garmin sensor but do not want to get a cadence sensor if I do not need to as a speed sensor would do me fine.
      – I have the ant+ dongle already as I have had a Garmin 910XT for a few years now but only just got into cycling.

      Thanks

  113. Hi

    Chris, you don’t need cadence, but obviously nice to have.

    As for ANT+ I use the cheapest one I could find on Amazon. As long as the dongle works, it should be fube

  114. Can you simultaneously use the Ant+ to connect to the PC and a Garmin 810 to feed Zwift and also collect Garmin data?

    • Jon@Zwift

      ANT+ sensors broadcast data that anybody can listen in on, so you can have both the PC and the Garmin 810 record data from those sensors at the same time. The 810 doesn’t “feed” Zwift anything, the sensors on your bike do (via a USB ANT+ dongle you’ll need).

  115. Understood, good information. Thanks

  116. Thomas Carr

    Can you clarify this for me. I bought this trainer because it had resistance control. link to amazon.com Is this what you meant when you wrote this? …..and also a resistance controlled. Will i be able to use it for the virtual power?

  117. Matt Carter

    Hi all

    Ray, excellent review as always!

    Think Zwift looks awesome, planning on treating myself to a Kickr for winter and using Zwift to make it more interesting. My brother already uses with his Tacx trainer and loves it.

    Quick question about in game communication. If I went online and wanted to ride with a friend, is there a way of us communicating i.e. could I talk to them using the app, the same way I could do on something like XBox live?

    Cheers

  118. I Have the Bkool pro and I’m not sure how you are using Zwift but i’ve managed to get it to work via implementing as Kinetic , it’s 0.02 mph out but what i’ve noticed is , It’s compensating on the climbs , so big ring it goes easier but it calculates this and slows the speed your doing, now the bit i think Zwift need to look at, is when descending it gets hard and on the flats it’s giving resistance … so if i was Zwift I’d alternate that program and Bkool should then be spot on…
    I’ve tried it twice and trust me you sweat your knacks off …
    hope thishelps in some way …
    cheers
    wayne

    • James

      Hi Wayne,

      I am interested in you assessment of your Bkool trainer. I am debating on getting one myself. Given Bkool also have the virtual simulator, what made you go with Zwift? Lastly, you mentioned you got Bkool to work with Zwift? Thank you.

    • Wayne Renshaw

      Hi James
      I was using bkool on there virtual simulater , but 7 months down the road they didn’t let me know that money wasn’t being taken from my account and they admitted that it was there fault, but wanted me to pay £40.00 on each consecutive day for 6 days to put the balance right, hence I refused as I offered to pay £40 a month until it was paid, they didn’t want that, so now I’m on zwift till they get there act together…

      Yes I got it to work with zwift although I’ve not tried out others that have Ant+ to give me the same resistance , but so far it’s working as a kinetic ..

      But as a bkool trainer working under bkool virtual machine, it’s brilliant and your definitely in the zone… It’s probably the best out there and now there’s competions around the world known as leagues….
      Hope that helps and bkool get there act sorted for subscribed costumers
      Cheers
      Wayne

    • James

      Thanks Wayne,

      Hope you get everything straighten out with Bkool.

      James

  119. Jase

    Just hooked up my Wattbike Pro to Zwift but the speed is off quite a bit. eg… 25mph on WB but 5mph uphill on Zwift and when going downhill 25mph WB but up to 40mph on Zwift.

    I understand resistance needs to be applied whether going up or going down but just want to know if this is common across wattbike users.

    Cheers

    • Jon@Zwift

      Hi Jase, the speed you’re doing on a wattbike has little relevance to how fast you’re moving your virtual mass up and down a virtual hilly course. If your speed on your device actually mattered people on low-resistance rollers would dominate the island. Everything is driven off of wattage input into the physics system.

  120. 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 walk through here

    link to titaniumgeek.com

  121. James chahalis

    Can you download into Xbox and then see live graphics on the TV screen?

  122. My husband has tried to no avail to use your website. We have a bushedo (tacx) and trying to connect from iPad. He filled out all required info, payed fee, and downloaded program. Every time he goes to open the swift app he gets booted off. Could this be do to not enough memory, or having other websites open, or that he first tried signing up with his phone? How much memory is needed and can iPad handle graphics ? Any answers or comments are greatly appreciated. Please feel free to email Jimi at showcasefloors@optonline.net

  123. Daniel Prada

    Thanks for the awesome review! Quick question for you, if I am in a virtual race with a friend of mine (regular trainer, speed/cadence sensor, HR sensor), how does Swift compare efforts? If I am on the easiest gear spinning at 90rpm (essentially cheating) and my friend is on the hardest gear smashing it at 70rpm, would Zwift reward my friend for a higher actual effort, or would it reward me for having higher cadence/speed?

  124. Hi, I’ve just join this Zwift universe recently, tried some rides and workouts modes, but I didn’t get whether Zwift can actually control the resistance on my Bushido. It just in default resistance level all the time i choose simple ride mode in Zwift. Is that how it supposed to work or i’m doing something wrong?)
    Workout mode works ok now, i fill those watts I need to produce)