Are Steerzo's still breaking or a good time to buy one?

Some older topics seem to indicate that there was some problems with earlier models.

It depends.
Here, have a long treatise on this subject while I enjoy a 6-cup cafetière of Sunday morning coffee. :slight_smile:

If you’re talking about the Elite Sterzo Smart, the majority of problems reported here were to do with Elite’s firmware issues and then Zwift’s changes in dynamics/steering algorithm implementation.

I have and continue to use one that is apparently from the second month of production and it’s still working fine, although the centering spring broke after a few months of use. (I actually prefer using the Sterzo without it and have removed the spring for a friend on theirs. The calibration in Zwift means you can zero the steering electronically. No idea if current versions use better quality springs.)

The Sterzo Smart is a relatively simple, robust mechanical device that is made out of what looks to be moulded polypropylene, some off-the-shelf bearings and connectors, and a tiny PCB that uses an on-board proximity sensor.
If shopping for a “Sterzo” for steering in Zwift, be careful to buy the Elite Sterzo Smart and not just the Elite Sterzo, which is the mechanical component, including a battery compartment, but with no PCB.

The price has dropped considerably since launch. Here in Switzerland, where cheap doesn’t exist, the Smart version is being sold off locally for the equivalent of USD 60, while the basic version is going for 40.

As for whether it’s a good time to buy one now, it’s hard to say without being privy to ZHQ’s future plans – if they even exist – for steering. The Sterzo Smart currently works in Zwift as intended, but the steering is limited to a kind of ‘lane selection’ functionality, and almost exclusively to free rides and Pace Partners. It’s a nice-to-have, but nothing special. Very few events/races have steering activated.
It does feel like Zwift launched steering (still in their Futureworks beta program after all this time) and then didn’t know where they wanted to take it. That probably influenced the lack of take-up by the majority of people who might otherwise have bought a sub-$100 add-on to their zwifting set-ups. If you look at the right-hand riders column while in Zwift, you can see an icon active for those using steering. There are very few of these visible any time I’m riding.

Elite’s licence for the steering block integration in Zwift was apparently exclusive. (I have no facts, just memories of what I read here and elsewhere.) Maybe the lack of healthy competition contributed to the lack of success. As far as I know, there is no other commercial steering block that works in Zwift. No idea if that contract has since expired.

Who knows if Elite will come out with a newer version soon, in this post-pandemic bumper season of product reveals? They already launched the much more advanced Rizer last year, which uses higher level mechanical engineering but also costs far more (mainly for the riser mechanism, of course).
Who knows if Zwift will just (continue to) let steering die? Many eyes are on Zwift, waiting to see what they will do with their own hardware and what constraints that might create for everyone else.

I don’t regret my purchase, honestly. I did get it for a low price new in August 2020 through sheer luck. It’s a robust steering block that is permanently under my front wheel and means that the bars are freed up while riding indoors. I disliked the previous feeling of the front tire squeaking/rubbing against the rubber mat if moved left or right.

That’s the Sterzo Smart situation at end of Q1 2022 in a nutshell, I believe. :coffee:

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Nice summary. My Sterzo was worth it to me. Makes for a decent riser block and can help add a tiny bit of variation to a pace partner ride.

Worth unfortunately also pointing out though, that despite Zwift indicating that they’d consider enabling steering in their own most popular events (TdZ and ToW), they have yet to do so. Nor has Zwift, afaik, indicated anything further on the Futureworks steering development since their last official update in Aug 2020. Kinda a mystery what/if support will continue or develop further along going forward.

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That’s for the great info!! The Zwift Steering Race seems to appear on my schedule quite often. I’m still sort of on the fence. I also hate my squeaky steering block and never considered the overall improvement simply having the steerzo under there. If it raises the handle bars a little that’s okay as that tends to make things a little easier on the lower back too :slight_smile:

I bought a second-hand Sterzo on Facebook marketplace a few months ago and paid about half of the “new” price. It’s a good way to do it if you want to try one - because if you don’t like it you can sell it on again without losing anything. Personally I don’t think steering really adds much to the Zwift experience, but it’s brilliant if you use Grand Theft Bike.

With steering races in Zwift, in my experience the vast majority of people in them don’t actually have steering, so the only benefit is that you get an advantage which means you can shortcut corners, sometimes moving you from the back to the front of a pack.

This can be fun and it’s the only way I’ve ever managed to experience a first-across-the-line win in Zwift, which did feel great. It also felt like a bit of a cheat though, so it’s not something I’ve bothered doing again since then.

I honestly don’t know if my Sterzo still works or not, because I just stopped using it. I expect the batteries have probably run out.

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