Bike for new zwift user

As a beginner to cycling with no experience, I am planning on getting a zwift hub. Do I need to buy a bike first to see what cassette I will need? Does anyone have any recommendations for a cheap bike? Do I just get a road bike on amazon? This will be strictly for indoor and I do not want to spend a lot on a bike. Also a lot of descriptions does not say how many cassettes the bike has except that it is 21 speed. I assume I need to look up what drivetrain it has?

A 21 speed bike will have a 7 speed cassette. For that you would need to buy a Zwift Hub without a cassette, buy a 7 speed cassette for the trainer (or use the one from the rear wheel) and also buy an additional spacer to go under the cassette for it to fit on the freehub. You could also take the bike and trainer to a bike shop and have them sort it out. If you buy a bike with a Shimano (or compatible) 8-12 speed drivetrain, you can trust that a Zwift Hub with the same number of cogs on the cassette will work. You may need to do some derailleur adjustments when installing the bike, but it will be compatible. I’d recommend getting a road bike with at least an 8 speed cassette (24 speed if it has 3 chainrings, 16 speed if it has 2). If you share details about the bike you’re planning to buy, you can get more specific advice here.

I always recommend one of two options for someone new to cycling:

  1. Go to a good local bike shop and work with them to get a bike. By ‘good’, I mean a shop that won’t upsell you needlessly or ridicule you for not having pro cyclist aspirations. A shop that sells to all levels and kinds of riders. Or

  2. Work with a friend who knows bikes to go on the used market/discount market and find a bike.

Option 1 will likely be more expensive. But you’ll also vastly increase your chances of getting a good bike that will last you a long time, be enjoyable to ride, and will fit your needs.

Option 2 can cost less, and the knowledgeable friend will help you avoid buying a low quality bike that won’t fit your needs, or won’t last long, or won’t be fun to ride. The downside to 2 over 1 is that it will take more effort, and maybe more time depending on where you live. And the bike may need work first, depending on what you find.

The option i never recommend is option 3, which is someone who doesn’t know bikes buying a cheap bike on their own. The odds of getting a bike that you’ll hate riding, that won’t fit you, that won’t fit your needs, and/or that will break down are the highest with that option. You might find a bike that checks all your boxes that way. But your odds are the lowest.

That you won’t be riding the bike outside has almost zero impact on which option you should pick. It still needs to fit you (be the right size and geometry), fit your needs (what kind of riding, even just on Zwift, do you think you’ll do), and not cost more money when it breaks.


Make sure you don’t lost frame bike warranty if you use it on smart trainer.
Personal experience