The Zwift platform is easily the largest in the segment of indoor cycling and training. Besides training and outrides, they offer group rides and international competitions. Along with many innovations for the autumn of 2022, Zwift have also developed their own smart trainer. Read on for all the details.
Winter will come! It might not be tomorrow, but the temperatures will drop back to single digits at some point, the roads will get wet and the days will offer just a few hours of sunlight. The indoor training season usually starts from about October and lasts until March, at least. It’s time to get the pain cave ready, roll out your training plan, and enter Zwift races. For autumn 2022, Zwift aren’t just promising lots of innovations in the game itself, but even their own smart trainer: the ZwiftHub.
ZwiftHub – An all-new, affordable smart trainer with low barriers to entry
The market for smart trainers keeps on growing. In addition to the big players like Wahoo, Elite and Tacx, Zwift are now also entering the game with their first smart trainer. The ZwiftHub is priced at € 499 and will be available exclusively on zwift.com from the 3rd of October.
In developing the ZwiftHub, the team in charge clearly prioritised lowering the barriers to entry. According to their own data, there are around 3 million (yep, you read that right!) people globally who are considering buying a smart trainer. However, these potential Zwifters are scared off by the technical considerations and the issues surrounding compatibility. The ZwiftHub is tailored to just this target group. In addition to its relatively affordable price point, Zwift aim to make it easier for the newcomers to start riding with the following points:
A pre-installed cassette of your choice (8–12 speed) shouldn’t just make for a quicker setup but also make the trainer easier to use in general. Thanks to easily understandable, colour-coded components, the assembly also promises to be intuitive. Along with a very simple explanation and measuring templates, which are also colour-coded, determining the axle width and appropriate adapters shouldn’t pose a problem either. There’s no need for additional software or another app to use the ZwiftHub smart trainer since the device gets updated via the Zwift Companion app.
If the high barriers to entry don’t phase you and you’d like to find out what Zwift’s competitors have to offer, we recommend checking out our big group test of 7 smart trainers.
Anyone who uses the ZwiftHub will also get access to the matching kit in the game itself. In the Zwift garage, you’ll find a jersey and bib shorts with the ZwiftHub label for your virtual avatar. This allows other Zwifters to see that you’re using the ZwiftHub.
Looking at the specs, the ZwiftHub is a good mid-level smart trainer at quite a reasonable price, providing an accuracy of +/– 2.5% and a maximum power of 1,800 watts. The Wahoo KICKR CORE has similar specs on paper. If you’re capable of putting out more power or demand more exact measurements, you’ll have to resort to the big guns like the Wahoo KICKR v5 or the Tacx Neo 2T.
- accuracy: +/- 2.5 %
- maximum power: 1,800 W
- maximum gradient: 16%
- maximum rider weight: 130 kg
- connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth
- compatible axle widths: 130, 135, 142 and 148 mm
- compatible cassettes: 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, SRAM and Shimano (comes exclusively with HG cassettes, conversion to XD/XDR freewheel body possible)
- total weight: 15 kg
- price: € 499
Further innovations in the Zwift universe – New design, new route, higher rider levels
In addition to the headline news of the ZwiftHub smart trainer, Zwift have also made some other announcements and changes.
New design in the Zwift menu
Until now, Zwift could be quite confusing to navigate. But thanks to the revised menu, Zwift have addressed this issue. In doing so, all menu items, from the home screen to the workout view to the event planner, have been updated.
The workout overview has also been redesigned and – most importantly – it finally allows you to filter results. When you search for matching Zwift workouts, you can now filter by “Duration” and “Effort”.
Level up to 60
Up until now, all those who regularly and frequently train on Zwift could only climb up to level 50. But there seem to be quite a few Zwifters who have already covered the necessary distance of about 25,000 km. So, from autumn, riders will be able to go for level 60.
New Zwift route section: Urukazi
Come November, the Zwift world will grow by about 14 kilometres. The new “Urukazi” route section is being built on Makuri Islands as we speak, which includes asphalt, gravel and dirt roads.
Pacepartner and Hologram function
Zwift aim to provide the ideal pace on your hunt for personal records as well as the ideal speed for group rides with the new Pacepartner and the Hologram function.
Our conclusion on the Zwift update and the new ZwiftHub smart trainer
The announced changes will further enrich the already vast Zwift ecosystem while also marking a turning point in Zwift’s trajectory with the introduction of hardware. With its low barriers to entry and affordable price, the smart trainer promises to be an attractive option for beginners. We look forward to gravel grinding the new Urukazi section on a rainy Sunday. So far so good, but you’ll have to wait until we put the ZwiftHub to the test to find out how it fares.
Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of GRAN FONDO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.
Words: Martin Staffa Photos: Zwift