Any top tips for my new zwift setup?

Hi all,

A few days ago when I told my friend I’d re-joined the gym he said he’s surprised I’m not Zwifting. 3 days of googling later and I’m now off to buy (I think) a tacx flux s and a second TV (got a 37" lying around already) for my garage based setup.

I have a few general questions and I’d love to know if I’m about to buy the wrong thing or haven’t thought of anything! I’d looked at the tacx vortex previously which is what my friend has but I’ve read direct drive really helps for a more realistic and responsive experience. Would you say the flux s is a good starting place for a beginner or is it overkill?

Now I know this is a zwift forum so all of my other bits of kit will be related to that. I am planning on wall mounting a 37" tv for entertainment and then maybe a 32" underneath it for Zwift. I had considered using an android tablet mounted on the bike for zwift. Is there much touching the screen interaction to do or is that all better done through the companion app and just use the tv as an immersive display?

I have mediocre wifi link in the garage so had considered running a network cable down there. Do you think this is necessary or is wifi reliance pretty low for zwift?

I’m also unsure on what to use to power zwift before it goes to the TV. I assume it wont work with an amazon fire stick so my only other option would be my macbook pro and then HDMI it up to the TV. If I went with this and my smartphone for the companion app would I be ok using bluetooth or would I need an ANT+ dongle?

Finally is there any easier way of achieving this setup without having to carry my laptop out to the garage each time, ridding the wife of oh so valuable online shopping time.

Sorry for the very vague post but any tips or criticisms of my intended setup very much appreciated

I can comment on the trainer because I still use a classical dumb trainer but I really like it.

I use my Laptop.
I leave my bike set up on the trainer (remember to release the roller from the wheel when not riding) and I have a tall stool that I place in front of the bike and place my laptop on it.

I cut off the horizontal supports on the legs on one side and this allows me to slide the stool over my front tire so I can reach my key board.
I have an USB extension cord and my Ant+ dongle that I leave under my bike and running up the side of the stool that is ready to be plugged in when ready.

I don’t use the companion app.
I find I need to be able to reach the key board to press the turn direction arrows, give ride on’s or pause a work out.

I also bought a package of 3 remote control switches from Wal mart and have 2 fans and my radio plugged into them.
I don’t like to turn my fans on until I’m warmed up (I’m in an attached but unheated garage in Illinois). My radio is also switched because some times I have to take a phone call while I riding.

I meant to say “I can’t comment on your trainer.”

Hi David,
you could get a cell. phone mount for your bike and have your cell. attached with Companion app. I’m ridding in front of usual monitor but controlling the game and interacting with my cell. phone on the bike mount.

For your connection: yes, one option is the laptop. Well, if you have a budget, you could always buy something dedicated that will be used for your Zwift (some gaming comp. station).

For WiFI, depends by what do you mean “mediocre” - is it not stable with disconnections? Then, yes better to bring physical cable and place additional WiFi station in your basement or connect the cable directly to your laptop/computer station.

thanks so much Tim. I too ride in a attached unheated garage.
Despite only posting this this morning I rushed out and bought the flux x today and have just finished my first ride - the short 45 min ftp test. My finished result was 165 and it very nearly killed me, but I loved it!

I didn’t think I’d need a fan as I was in the chilly garage but one or two would have come in VERY handy at about the 35 min mark. I’ll definitely be buying those and will probably remote control switch them too.

What is the reason for your ANT+ dongle?

I don’t mind using my laptop and connecting that to the TV but I may try to find a way to sit it infront of me on a stool like you do and that’ll free up the tv for watching films on longer rides. (although I certainly didnt miss any audio visual entertainment on that first ride - I was engrossed by the software!)

Hi Adam,

Well first test down and wifi is much better than I suspected. A solid 3/4 full bar throughout. Its more than enough for zwift. I’ll test streaming video on my next ride.

I do already have a cellphone mount and liked interacting with the companion app during it. Can I choose directional turns etc via the app? Thats the only thing I found I needed to reach over to the laptop for…

Yes, you can make turns using the ZCA.

I use the Ant+ dongle to allow my laptop to detect my speed, cadence and Heart rate monitor sensors.
All my sensors are Ant+ / Blue tooth and my laptop has blue tooth but with bluetooth, you can only connect to 1 item at a time.
I use Ant+ and connect to all 3 at once.
There are ways around this using smart phones, companion app etc but I just use my Laptop.
It works and I’m used to it.
The only down side with the laptop is sweat.
I have to keep my towel handy and cover up the mouse pad and keyboard before pedal out of the saddle.
When I stand up, the sweat flies every where and once a drop landed on the mouse pad and seeped into a crack along the side and I could not move my cursor until I had properly cleaned it off.
Now I just throw my towel over my keyboard and peddle away.
I never Zwift and watch TV, I’m too busy drafting and riding. Movies are not needed in Zwift!

ive actually just bought a cheap bluetooth heart rate monitor… i didnt realise that i wont be able to connect it to my laptop. I think the thing that threw me off was that in zwift it detected my cadence, power and something else (cant remember what the screen looks like now) so I thought these were all multiple devices but i now realise they were all connecting to zwift via the single bluetooth connection to my laptop.

So am I going to need an ANT+ dongle to ensure I can connect my hertrate monitor as well as the trainer?

Hi Tim,
I’m wondering if a bluetooth mouse might help you to move the
laptop out of the sweat zone. I have one set up to the side of me
and generally never have to use the keyboard at all.

Maybe that would work for you too.
Ride On

Yes, you can.

Or something like a keyboard with touch-pad.
I’ve got this one near my setup:

But the mouse solution probably more precise and comfortable for usage, especially during hard rides.

I thought about a wireless mouse. I have one and it’s the one I use inside. It has its own dongle so I’m guessing it is not blue tooth. I have not used it yet on Zwift because it would require another table or flat surface and I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to my Zwift set up. This year, I’m actually not having to interact with the key board as much as last year. I must not be giving as many Ride Ons. I’m becoming a grumpy old man! Those whipper snappers on their fancy bikes.
When I was a kid ,we were happy if our bikes had 1 wheel!

So am I going to need an ANT+ dongle to ensure I can connect my heart rate monitor as well as the trainer?

I think to connect multiple devices, you will need an Ant+ dongle. I have just assumed this to be the case. All my devices are Ant+ and Blue tooth. Blue tooth connectivity to a laptop is fairly new to Zwift, they just previewed it a couple months ago. I actually have not tried to connect everything. Many of the folks who have tried both generally stated that the Ant+ seemed more reliable. I have occasionally had one or the other connect ed by blue tooth when I was not paying close attention to the pairing screen.
It’ interesting that my devices have different names under Ant+ and blue tooth.

I use the Companion App - it is no problem to have more Bluetooth connections (I have Polar HR and P2M powermeter).
Ride on!

Milan, do you connect your devices to the companion app or to the laptop / pc?

Also why do people use a power monitor? Does the turbo trainer not give you a power reading on its own?

my setup is Zwift App on Win 10 PC and Android cell phone Zwift Comp App on my bike.

My trainer ist a “dumb” Turbo Muin, but as I want to know my Watts, out- and indoors, I bought a power2max NGeco wattmeter. HR is an old Polar HR 7. I am OK with this setup, just hobby rider, no need to have a 1000 Euros trainer.

Ride on!

Sorry, did not answer your question - no BT on PC, connecting with Comp App (HTC U11).

So does anyone know if its possible to connect a heartrate monitor via Bluetooth to my phone/companion app as my laptop Bluetooth is being used up by my trainer.

Also just whilst I’m here. I’m just trying to learn my way around zwift and the stats.

I’m a bit worried that if I go for a slow, leisurely ride (the ftp test almost broke me on Sunday!!) it’ll muck up my lasting stats… Is it just mileage, hours, calories etc that’s recorded long term? (the things you can see when you look at people’s profile) or will my average w/kg also be recorded and viewable to others? Otherwise I’m worried about having to stop incase somebody rings the doorbell etc.

Just wanna say good luck.

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