Advice on buying frames/wheels

Hi. I’m new to this whole environment having started only a couple of weeks ago. Was wondering what strategy to follow when it comes to buying new frames and wheels. Is it better to buy new equipment as soon as you have earned enough drops (and level) to do so? Or to save your drops until you can purchase one of the more highly rated frames/wheels. I ask because the Level 1 equipment I’m using (Zwift Carbon, Mountain, TT) seem slow in earning drops and looks like it would take me a long time to accumulate the several hundred thousand drops needed for the highly rated equipment. I’m assuming that any equipment above Level 1 is going to be faster in earning drops; correct me if I’m wrong. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Have a good look at the website - zwift Insider.
He has listed equipment that is best for levels you are at.
His website is very easy to search through and he has lots of reports on fastest frames n wheels etc and best climbing frames n wheels.
He however does not tell you what to wear as the kit does not effect anything except your fashion.

Vlad, hi. Thank you for your input. I’ve done research on Zwift Insider and, yes, they have a wealth of information regarding the various frame/wheels available for purchase. But my question is should I buy any new frame or wheel as soon as possible or stick it out with the Level 1 equipment until I’ve saved a large amount of drops to purchase the highly rated ones? If I can ask, what was the first thing you bought? And how long did you wait to buy it? Let me know. Thank you.

Agree re checking out Zwift Insider for his shopping guide - in particular, target his “MUST BUY” items - they’re what you’re really asking about, I suspect. The ENVE wheels are the first on his list and they’re great.

In terms of earning drops, it seems hard at first , but as your mileage increases you’ll end up with more than you know what to do with.
That said, the big tip for now is seek out the “drop multipliers”. Three types come to mind - HILLS, RIDE-ONS & BOTS.
Riding uphill (above 4%) doubles the rate. Pottering around in the London world hills is great for this, as well as the dedicated climbs (AdZ, Epic, Innsbruck etc). Second way is a multiplier kicks in for a few seconds whenever you get a ride-on, so get your follower network going and be generous when just free riding with the companion app - good karma comes back to you. Third, go cruising with the bots (Cadence and Diesel, for example) and stay close to them for the multiplier to kick in.

J, hi. Thank you for your input and your encouragement. I’m not very fast or strong and even trying to keep up with the D. Diesel bot is a challenge! Did you buy the ENVE wheels first when you started? Or did you wait to get something else? Let me know. Thanks again.

To be totally honest there are very small differences to the bikes and wheels that it wont make a big difference in earning drops. I would suggest saving up a bit longer.

1 Like

Gerrie, hi. Thanks for your response. I was assuming that any frames or wheels above the Level 1 equipment would be a lot better/faster but you’re saying not that much. That’s good to know. So, what level of equipment would you say would make the biggest impact? As I mentioned before, I’m not very fast or strong and I’m not riding everyday so it’s going to take me quite a while to accumulate a lot of drops for the higher rated equipment. Also, just curious, but what was the first item you purchased and how long did you wait to get it? Let me know. Thanks again.

As others have said, it’s not huge differences, particularly if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey. I think I wasted my drops on some bike I never rode again. First thing I would buy is probably the Enve wheels, and I’d enrol in the Everest challenge ASAP. It starts you on your journey to the Tron bike and you get the Tarmac Pro along the way for free, which is a great bike (one of the best climbers in the game). After that, just buy what you like. I tend to just ride one or two, but I have others that I bought because I admire them IRL. There’s an aesthetic element to it! Ride on!

Definitely don’t buy anything that isn’t a “must buy” in the ZI article. Even then, I wouldn’t recommend picking up all the “must buys” either - it’ll cost too many drops and the gains are tiny sometimes, as has been said.

Drops and the drop shop haven’t been part of Zwift that long, just a little over 2 years. When it launched it gave everyone a bank of drops based on what level they were already at, so we could buy lots of stuff right away. I can’t remember what I first bought, but I’m sure I never use it anymore. For Zwifters that have been on the platform longer than a few years the drops become pretty meaningless. Until they put new equipment in the game that is better and faster, even then it is likely to be very small marginal gains of only a few seconds over an hour long ride/race.

“Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades” Eddy Merckx

J, hi. Good morning. Thank you for your insight and suggestions. I guess I got caught up in the fantasy that anything above the Level 1 equipment would have me flying and earning drops like a champ! But now I see that’s not the case. Thanks again for your recommendations - I’ve enrolled in the Everest challenge and will pick up the Enve wheels as soon I have the drops. Have great weekend.

Steve, hi. Thank you for your suggestions. From what you and others have said I now see that my impression that any equipment above Level 1 would be much better and faster is not quite right. If I can ask, what one item did you purchase early on that you would say made a difference for you even if it was slight? Let me know. Thanks again.

You may know this already, but what’s more important is what KIND of bike to ride, when and where. If you’re not aware, the road bikes are best on the road and you get the benefit of drafting. Mountain bike is best on dirt (the Jungle route, etc) and also benefits from drafting. TT bikes are fast on the road, but you get no benefit of the draft (though other non TT bikers can draft off of you). Some people like to change bikes during their ride when they get to specific places. You just need to come to a complete stop to do so.

That said, I waited quite a while to buy anything. In fact, I think my first upgrade was through a challenge and/or event group ride. Then I went with whatever Zwift Insider mentioned as must buy frames and wheels. Of course, earning the Tron bike, and finally, the Mailenstein wheels was a huge goal. Ride On!

Ed, what level are you now, and how many Drops do you have?

Hi. Level 8, 192,000 drops. At this point the only item of importance that I can get would be the ENVE SES 3.4 wheels. Would you recommend that? Or wait for something else. By the way, which would you say makes a bigger impact, if any - wheels or frames? Thank you for all your help and advice.

Back in the day when we automatically received bikes frames when we leveled up, I would ride a new frame every 2 weeks just to put them to use, and I can’t report that I ever noticed a difference.
The only place to really change is the Jungle and that has only been about 2 years.

Tim, hi. Hope your day is going well. Thanks for your insight. You mentioned not noticing much of a difference with new frames. Would you say the same about new wheels? Is there any one piece of equipment you’ve acquired that’s made a difference, even slightly, in your ability to get get drops faster? Keep me posted. Thanks again.

@Ed_Gonzalez, you mentioned that you looked into the speed tests on, so you would see that the fastest frame (Specialized Venge S-works) is only 17 seconds faster than the Zwift Carbon bike (I think you are using) over two laps of Tempus Fugit.

The faster bike maybe will give you 120 -150 more drops over the two laps of tempus fugit. Zwiftinsider published that a 75kg male earns about 457 drops per minute holding 300 watts.

Your best bet is riding with a pace partner to get the drops multiplier regardless of what bike or wheels you have.


1 Like

Mike, hi. TGIF. Thanks so much for your input. I’ve come to realize from all the responses that there is no magic bullet in any equipment that will dramatically increase my drop rate other than hard pedaling! And yes, I’m using the Level 1 stable of equipment available, the Zwift Carbon, Mountain, and TT. I have seen the Zwiftinsider info on the various frames and noticed the minimal differences in time between them. What about wheels? There seems to be a bigger difference in times with them. Have you personally noticed this difference in the game? At the moment I have enough drops to buy the ENVE SES 3.4 wheels; would those be a good investment? Or should I just continue accumulating drops and get something else down the road? Thanks for your advice. Have a good day.

The frames all seemed to be the same.
I basically stuck with the 4 star aero frames.
It might be my imagination but I thought the best combo was a Venge with the 454 wheels (I’m level 46 now so it’s hard to remember that long ago)
What I liked about the 454’s is the seemed to accelerate quicker and maintain momentum on rolling hills.

Then I read the Zwift insider article and just use myTron bike all time except the Jungle, where I use the mountain bike.
Zwift Aero is a good frame and pair it with the most aero wheels you can.

Make sure you have selected the Everest Challenge so you can get the Tron bike.

1 Like