Top 10 tips for Zwift Beginners

If you’re new to the exciting, virtual cycling world of Zwift, then checkout our Zwift top 10 tips for beginners.

1. Connect your Strava

You can connect your Strava, TrainingPeaks etc. accounts to Zwift and upload ride activity. For those familiar with analyzing their ride data on other platforms, this will be useful. Strava also supports Zwift specific segments. If you want to see your event results at zwiftpower.com and make full use of this service, then you’ll need to be logging those rides to Strava (and have them set to public).

2. Choose a challenge
Zwift challenge select screen
Current Zwift Challenge (circled) click this to select challenge or view progress.

There are currently 3 permanent challenges on Zwift. You can only be working on one at a time. These challenges tick away in the background over all your rides (providing you have selected one) and there are no time limits for completion. So it makes sense to start one ASAP and make all your Zwift miles count!

The challenges and rewards are :

Ride California – Ride 1,283km (in total) – unlock the S-Works Tarmac bike.

Tour Italy – Ride 2000km (in total) – unlocks the Pinarello Dogma F8 bike.

Climb Mt.Everest –  Climb 8,850m (the top of Mount Everest) and then a further 41,150m for a total of 50,000 meters to unlock the cool Concept Z1 aka “The Tron Bike” (with glowing wheels).

3. Look out for competition Missions

Zwift occasionally run ‘Missions’ for a chance to win pretty cool prizes like (real world) bikes and trips. Unlike the challenges, the objective usually needs to be completed in a single ride to get entered into the competition draw. Missions only run for certain periods of time and may be specific to a certain course.

Missions pop-up in the top-left of the screen where you choose your route, just before you click ‘RIDE’. This screen also shows the months course schedule.

There’s an example of a previous mission here.

4. Customizing rider

You may want to customize your rider so your Zwifting friends can spot you in the peleton. Take a look at the rider kits over at zwiftblog.com. During some rides (such as events and challenges) you will be automatically assigned a specific kit for that particular ride. Some kits can only be unlocked by completing certain challenges, or reaching certain Levels.

You can also choose to ride different bikes and wheels. Some do offer better performance. It appears that the fastest wheels are the Zipp 808 (unlocked at Level 10 – which is approximately 530 total miles ridden) and the fastest bike is the Cervelo S5 (unlocked at Level 24 – which is approximately 3,300 total miles ridden).

You Rider Level (currently a rating of 1-25) is essentially a reflection of how far you’ve ridden on Zwift. The majority of XP points are assigned for every mile ridden and when your XP points hit a certain threshold you are moved up a Level. This information in shown during a ride, just underneath your current speed and distance ridden.

5. Try an event

The organised rides are a great way to enjoy Zwift. The easiest way to join an event is via the Zwift app ‘Mobile Link’ for iOS/Android (this is different to the main Zwift game app). Check the details of events, mark yourself as going, then start a ride a few minutes before. You’ll be reminded that your chosen event is due to start and prompted to ‘JOIN EVENT’.

Event results are usually published on zwiftpower.com, but you’ll need to be logging the rides to Strava (and have them public) if you want to make full use of this.

6. Don’t get hung-up on group rides pace

Number 6 in our Zwift top 10 tips for beginners covers one of the most hotly debated topics amongst Zwifters. For events, riders are organized into categories (these are stated in the details of event) eg:

Category/Group A: 4.0 w/kg FTP or higher
Category/Group B: 3.2 w/kg to 4.0 w/kg FTP
Category/Group C: 2.5 w/kg to 3.2 w/kg FTP
Category/Group D: Under 2.5 w/kg FTP

Your w/kg is your FTP divided by your weight in Kg. It doesn’t take long to realize that a riders weight affects this figure massively. Add to this the fact that riders may not always be in the correct category and you could become frustrated if you are are dropped quickly. You’ll find the best strategy is to 1) Calculate your category correctly 2) Try different events, since the actual pace may vary between different organised rides and 3) Measure your progress against yourself.

You can see your FTP in-game, by going to the Menu and Edit Profile (the pencil icon in the top-left, under your name). This is also where you enter/edit your weight, which needs to be accurate.

Your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) is a representation of the most watts you can expect to average over an hour. It can be set by completing the 60 min or 20 min FTP test in Workouts, or is estimated based on your performance during rides. You are prompted after a ride if your FTP should be increased. You can read more on FTP in Zwifts article here.

7. Join Facebook groups

Along with the official Zwift Facebook group, there are an number of other groups dedicating to discussing all things Zwift (and a little more!). Most notable are Zwift Riders, Zwift Racers and UK Zwifters.

8. Follow on Twitter

Zwift are very active on twitter. Look out for new announcements and competitions.

9. Looking for a new turbo trainer or trainer accessories?

If you are waiting for the price to drop on any Wiggle products, including turbo trainers and accessories, then try our Wiggle Price Alerts service.

10. Read the manual

If you have any other questions or want to read more, then check the excellent Official Un-Official Zwift User Manual over at titaniumgeek.com

 

This concludes out Zwift top 10 tips for beginners. I hope you’ve found this useful.

Ride On!


Looking for sportive events? Check next months events here

2 thoughts on “Top 10 tips for Zwift Beginners”

    1. Yes, as far as I know the challenges tick away in the background. Missions have certain time limits/constraints, but they run alongside challenges.

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