CycleOps Phantom 5 - how to change gears? Any future support?

We having a new sport centre in my region that was made mostly for yearly international Iron Man in the region. So municipality made a big investment by building a pool, special gym etc…etc…etc…
Between the equipment in the gym there are dozens of CycleOps Phantom 5 each one equipped with a dedicated MacOS tablet. Only two apps on each tablet: Rouvy and Zwift.
I’ve tried Zwift on Phantom 5 for several days and found it extremely difficult to manage any ride, since there is no option to change gears on it. Actually my only option to control the resistance is by re-configuring the Trainer difficulty settings each time, what make the whole ride very uncomfortable.
Lets say the ride starts on the flat and the trainer difficulty is on the max level: still with this difficulty by pedalling with cadence over 100 I will barely make even 300-350 Watts and then will just pedal in the air without any resistance from the trainer. But all this change when hitting the climb in some cases it is almost impossible to pedal at all since there is no option for gear change.
As I’ve found the only option to use this trainer with Zwift is by changing the trainer difficultly during the ride, but this is totally not normal usage of the trainer. And with this configuration it is impossible to participate in sprints or any real competitions (there are no option to sprint or to bring at one moment big amount of power with this trainer).

With all those details and descriptions the bottom line question is really simple:
Is there any way to switch gears with this trainer?
And second one: are there any plans for real Zwift support for this trainer?

Just receive official answer from CycleOps support:

Feb 5, 4:58 PM CST

Good afternoon ,
Thanks for the quick reply. Good question. Because Zwift does not fully support the Phatom 5, we can’t guarantee that that solution \my comment: “that solution” = purchasing Joule computer for gear change purpose\ will work, so I don’t think it is worth the risk of getting used electronics that will perform in a less than ideal way and potentially fail. Let me know if you have any other questions or need help with anything else.

Customer Support Specialist

So, with this answer, the solution proposed in other topics about purchasing a special Joule computer for Phantom 5 is not supported and not sure if will even work.

Question to Zwift support: any plans for at least any solution for Phantom 5 trainers?

Hi Zwift,

It is ridiculous how you ignore the support for the CycleOps Phantom 5 community. It should not be so difficult to adapt what CycleOps did for the Rouvy App and to allow virtual gear shifting / resistance control for the CycleOps Phantom 5 via the Rouvy remote. You will gain additional subscribers so making these adjustments should be financially beneficial.

By not making Zwift available for Phantom 5 you basically “piss-off” (sorry my french) a community of dedicated cyclists. Due to the gear shifting issue you lose me as a customer who currently sticks to Rouvy but would like to be a regular Zwift customer. Please get this outstanding issue finally fixed!

Just like other devices marketed before Zwift, it would seem the Phantom 5 is the victim of proprietary protocols. There are many other trainers that don’t “play nice” with Zwift, and those users either deal with it or purchase new devices made specifically for Zwift. I wouldn’t expect Zwift would devote much of their resources to make these trainers work, I’m guessing the vast majority of users have trainers that were built with compatibility already (Wahoo, Tacx and others). The Phantom 5 is great using the software first developed for it’s use, but obviously doesn’t work ideally with Zwift. Just like Cycleops gave what I could tell is a “brush off” as a response, Zwift in my opinion would too. Cycleops is focused on selling more trainers that work with Zwift, not fixing old trainers to work. I don’t see this as being any different from what Apple does with iPhones, I have a couple that don’t even update anymore and certain apps don’t work well on the old ones. The analogy I’d use is someone who wants to run the latest 3D ultra 8k video games on a computer that has a gpu sharing memory with the cpu and is 10 years old, it won’t work.