Badges as motivation to ride

Hey all!

I’ve seen a number of discussions on specific routes, achievements and badges lately and thought I’d start a more general topic on this.

I started Zwifting in earnest last fall, ride about 200km/week and have completed most of the routes for which badges exist, with only a few of the biggies (the Century rides, PRL Full, the Watopia “Pretzels”, Four Horsemen etc) and milestones like 25x up the AdZ left to do.

I’m kind of dreading running out of badges to collect. Who’s finished them all and did you see your motivation drop off after that? I plan to keep riding thereafter but admit it’s been a surprise to me how much the gamification has hooked me - I ride more knowing I’m pursuing something.

There are badges for completing training plans too, so you can spend the next year doing those, and new routes are introduced somewhat regularly.

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I’ve done all of them except PRL full, but I haven’t found them to be that much of a motivation, since I am capped at level 50. Without the added appeal of an XP bonus, the badge itself is meh. -


I’ve done them all except the “big four” and they were helpful as I closed in on level 50 but now that I’m there I’m also meh about it. They do help in getting the lay of the land for new worlds but those are very rare.

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That resonates for me. I started indoor riding three years ago because I was getting back onto the bike after a long time, and my work schedule and living situation made any outdoors “after-work ride” an adrenaline-filled night-time excursion in a city full of steep inclines, narrow winding roads, and crazy motorists. The friendly people at my local bike store told me all about Zwift and smart trainers, and I jumped right in. No regrets so far.

But I am also surprised by how the gamification aspects of Zwift have acted as motivators for me. I’ve never been into video games at all, or other games, really, for that matter. Cycling was always about commuting or long, solo endurance rides rather than racing. The psychology behind gamification is powerful, I guess.

I’ve done all of the route badges (apart from those released this month) and all of the standard cycling achievement badges. Ticking off the badges for things like the PRL Full or the 100 Mile badge, etc., worked as a perfect carrot for me, both in wanting to get to higher levels in Zwift, and just wanting to bag the prize. If there were a 200-mile badge, I’d certainly go for it, just because it’s a difficult badge to attain. But I don’t have any plans to do 200 miles indoors in one go right now, as it’s just a number. (I recognize the contradictions in that!)

Now that there are no major incentives on the horizon (apart from the workouts, like Mike pointed out) and I’m due to hit level 50 in the next few weeks, I’m wondering what effect the drop in gamification motivation will have on me. So far, I haven’t been bitten by the racing bug and I’m probably less motivated by the social aspect of Zwift than most.

Directly because of the #FreeLuciano debacle of the last few days, I finally set up accounts in RGT and FulGaz yesterday morning, before Eric Min had broken his silence. Neither of those platforms have anything like as much gamification as Zwift. It will be interesting to see how the “draw” to ride and re-ride on them will be, compared to Zwift.

In the end, indoor cycling has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on my health these past three years, thanks to me being able to spend far more time turning the pedals than I could if limited to riding outdoors. Whatever keeps that going is what I’ll stick with.


That’s really what it comes down to for me too.

I hope it’s Zwift because every other “MMORPG” style virtual cycling platform is basically ghost-town.

For all the complaints we have about the UI, Zwift just feels like a comfortable slipper at this point: you’ll always be surrounded with other riders you can interact with, 24/7.

Clubs could be another tool to keep me engaged in future, though my local crew is waiting for “rubber-banding” in those before we switch over from meetups.

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Buy the drop shop!



I would actually like to DELETE (or hide) 90% of the items in my Garage! So many low-level frames and wheels I never want to see again, never mind kits I entered codes for that I’ll never use.

But, yes, at the very high levels, I’d like to eventually buy the Safety Bike, Buffalo Bike, and the DiCut disc wheelset. Gonna be years before I get there. (I’m at Level 26 now)


I kind of have, James! :smile:
Some people complain about having 10+ million drops accumulating in their account uselessly, but I’ve tended to target and acquire anything of interest, just to have all the best in-game equipment.

For example, I had to get the multi-coloured Zipp discs that unlock at level 45 and cost 1.5M that I had been wanting since I joined Zwift, even though the DT Swiss set that were launched a few months ago at level 42 (and which I bought ASAP) undercut them now performance-wise.

Literally the only item left for me to aim for is the Zwift Safety frame at 3.55M, simply because it’s there. I’d only use it for slowing me down on easy group rides, and the Buffalo bike is slower and heavier (and far cheaper). :man_shrugging:


Riding at the rate you’ve mentioned, you’ll be surprised how quickly you get there. Probably far quicker than me, as I had some low-activity months dotted here and there. The increase in XP required for each further level stops around 42 and you end up ‘only’ needing to do 1000 km per level from then on (not counting PowerUps, badge bonus XP, AdZ spinner bonus XP, ToW double XP rides, etc. etc.) :wink: :ride_on:

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Not until you let me organize my garage (e.g. set up a handful of favorite combinations).


You just need to change it up. When I started Zwifting I explored. Then I started badge hunting. Then i did a ton of events. Then I did a 12 week Build me Up.

The motivation is out there - you just need to keep things fresh.

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Achievements absolutely are a big part of every game for me, and Zwift is not exception.

There is no other reason I would have done 25 laps of volcano circuit, or be 21 laps into 25 for the Alpe, or consider doing 100miles of riding indoors, or tried to hit 100km/h without the achievements.

I started in October, still do need the ultra long route badges, and the 1000, 1100, and 1.2 Gigawatt badges… No idea if I’ll ever be strong enough to get that one however. 900 was hard enough for me, so I might be out of luck for the other ones.

It would be good if Zwift could add more achievements, some ability to do tiers of badges on route badges for instance, or different unlocks, or different tron equipment quests, missions, challenges etc…

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Assuming you are using Strava, try VeloViewer. This will give you your best times on all routes and KOMs. Perhaps incentive to go harder/faster on some. Additionally, there are points for doing the Rebel Routes as well.

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Now that you are an “accomplished” cyclist, start running. If you want to spend the extra money on the treadmill and run pod…

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I’ve done them all except of some shorter Neokyo which I dislike even more than NYC.
Ofc I’m going to do them too even if neon-night rides in a city are discouraging.
I like long routes so my favourite is Big Foot Hills in Watopia and both the Epic and AdZ are still interesting.

The badge hunt is over and when spring comes I’ll get my Zwift motivation from doing intervalls, living in a big city with heavy traffic, pollution etc I prefer to do the hardest workouts on Zwift and the volume outdoors. Now that changes in winter since it’s cold and Zwift makes it much easier to ride indoors instead of putting on a ton of clothes, ride on studded tires, cleaning the bike and so forth.

For me Zwift is a time saver, thats the biggest motivation of all.

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This is a really good point I hadn’t factored in.

In spring, not having to deal with wind, rain, and slush may be the extra motivation needed to Zwift, regardless of badges.

EDIT - I’m just noticing the “Ride California” and “Tour Italy” challenges I can do post-Everest.

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did everything but PRL Full…Zwift keeps adding route badges

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I’m really stoked being only kilometres away from finishing level 50. At the same time I’m terrified that my motivation to ride Zwift will plummet to zero after finishing level 50. I have read that a lot of Zwifters lost their motivation to ride after level 50.

I’m gonna be a downer here and say I’m not holding my breath for more carrots for “avid” Zwifters anytime soon. If you’ve got all the badges and you’re level 50, you’ve either 1) been a loyal Zwift customer for a long time or 2) been a Zwifter for a shorter time but you really like it. Either way, there probably aren’t many of us, and they know we’re hooked and we’re probably not leaving. They’re more focused on bringing in new customers and developing the Zwift indoor bike (I assume).

I’m not quite there yet (level 42) but will be soon enough. Once I run out of in-game carrots I’ll just go back to the traditional ones… raising FTP, losing weight, setting new PRs, longer rides (vEveresting, Double Uber Pretzel?) improving race results and ZwiftPower ranking. Or, try out some of the other virtual cycling platforms. Most have a free tier or at least a free trial.

Not to say that I don’t agree with the OP. I’d love more badges, routes, worlds, levels, etc., I just don’t think we’ll see big changes in that area anytime soon.