Equipment for Zwifting

Hi all,
I am interested in getting into zwifting, but I am in a state on confusion. Could someone please tell exactly the basic tools I need to start? I have read on some sites that all I need is a bike, a turbo trainer and the app, in other places I have read I need a specific turbo trainer or exercise bike, plus a cadence sensor, power meter, app and the eye of a newt :slight_smile: slight_smile: I have an indoor exercise bike, nothing fancy, the app on my phone that I can cast to my tv and that’s it. Can someone please clarify in plain idiot speak exactly what I need. Thanks in advance, TJay.

What sort of budget do you have in mind? Do you have a road bike or similar already, or nothing at all yet?

Here’s some general information:

There is good link below from Lamalabs, and many more on Youtube

I have a roadie but no space to use it. I invested in a pretty basic exercise bike that fits in what little space I have.

You will want to look into power meter pedals most likely, since you usually can’t install a speed sensor on a spin bike.

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There is probably not an inexpensive way to make an inexpensive spin bike work on Zwift.

You can get a used cheap wheel on trainer, used cheap bike and Speed senors for a whole lot less than the cost of power meter pedals.
The bike can be the least expensive of all.
All you need is a frame that fits you.
If space is an issue, you can remove the front wheel and make a stand.
I do recommend spending money on a quality seat.

Tristan, it is very unfortunate, but for the reasons which were already explained by other members, a basic spinning bike is not compatible with Zwift or other cycling apps. You can sign up for Peloton app and use spinning workouts with instructors in videos on your spin bike. For zwifting, you need a smart trainer with a power meter and controllable resistance. Spin bikes do not have this capability.

I heard that for extra money, one can get a limited compatibility with Zwift on Peloton or top of the line Schwinn, but this is less efficient and more expensive way that a good cycling trainer, designed for simulation of bike riding, not spinning.

i have the most basic of set ups i think possible

  • i already had a spin bike that was a clothes horse for a few years (jll ic300 ) - so to get my self into shape i dusted this off bought a speed sensor (£15.00) that is attached to the Flywheel as close to the centre as i could and a cadence sensor again about £15.00 attached to the pedal - the only other thing i needed was a ant+ receiver again about £15.00 - already had a laptop and garmin fenix 3 to act as heart rate monitor - i also bought the stand to attach laptop to bike.
    i am well aware that the readings arent gonna be accurate and watts are capped at 400- but it keeps me on the bike 200% longer than staring out the window and helps me set goals.

once i know it is not a passing fad for me i will invest in proper gear.
Zwift works perfectly for me, i pedal my avatar pedals the faster i go the higher the watts - i do have to increase resistance manually though

Total noob whether it’s abt Zwift or even cycling - General Discussion - Zwift Forums

just to let you know. I went for a Wahoo snap and a road bike. I bought a cadence meter Wahoo and a Polar H10 hrm.
I now have made the step forward the running part and I own a Proform treadmill, a Stryd pod and a NPE Runn.

Wahoo snap is really good for the price. If you don’t plan to become a pro, you can ignore the direct drive trainers. They are expensive and even if they are better at everything, I don’t see the point of paying more when you can get almost the same for cheaper

“…I don’t see the point of paying more when you can get almost the same for cheaper”

Well…until you go through $400 worth of tires like I did…

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Thanks for all the info. I stumbled across an app today that converts your heart rate into watts. Checked out a few videos reviews and by all accounts it very accurate, more so than cadence and speed sensors. Anyway, it costs £1.50 a month and works really well with Zwift. So, basically, I’m now up and running on Zwift with my tinpot exercise bike and a £1.50 app. Happy days.

Well your a man after my own heart lol I thought I did well, my brother spent couple of k on his set up. Feel free to add me once your up n running more than happy to share my research into the zwift shortcuts etc. I reckon though if you got this far at 1.50 you will teach me

I think the term “very accurate” is being used quite (very/too) liberally…don’t think many would consider this to be a reliable solution.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that you have a solution that works for you and I hope that you have many happy kilometers on Zwift - but I just think you need to be realistic that your performance (relative to others using established, sound, power sources) will not be realistic/comparable.

Then again, if your aren’t interested in racing, this may or may not be relevant.

Happy Zwifting!

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Thanks for the reply Andrew.
If you read the blurb on the app and view the data you will see that the app is very compatible to that of power meters. This isn’t to say that power meters are a waste of money, some people do want more of a “realistic feel”. Myself, for now, I just want to get my mental and physical fitness back to some sort of aceptable (to me) level. Got to say Im loving it although the app can be somewhat frustrating for the first couple of minutes. May swap my £1.50 app for a watt bike, who knows?
Happy zwifting.

Hi Tristan

Glad that you are enjoying yourself.

I know the app likely claims that its accurate, but the reality is that HR is not a reliable parameter upon which to gauge power (and there is extensive material online to support this).

For want of a real life example: Someone holding constant power will often exhibit a progressive increase in HR (esp when at or above threshold).

Furthermore, and using myself as an example, I blew out a few weeks back racing up the Alp (data below). You can see a sudden spike in my HR (red) and immediate drop off in power (black) following which my HR normalizes but my power doesn’t recover…


As I said, if all you are looking to do is enjoy the Zwift experience, then this app is undoubtedly a cheap way of getting in on the action, but it is not a credible source for accurate power measurement and most certainly wouldn’t/shouldn’t be considered for racing.

Ride on!

So I took the plunge and bought a single power meter for my left peg. I got to thinking about heart rate and as you pointed out that after a hard sprint the heart rate will still be pumping quicker, therefore, making it look as though I’m producing more power than I am in reality. Anyway, the upshot is I am 400 quid lighter but my power output is accurate and I must admit it is far easier to do the workouts and keep my cadence smooth. No more power chasing. Cheers Andrew, but you owe me 400 green notes. :wink:

On a seperate note, you seem to be a bit of Zwift master technician. Here is the question, I know I can create my own workouts from GPX data but, can I also upload my own maps of ride around my local area? If not do you know a cycling app that I can?

Hi Tristan

I am far from a master of anything but am glad you have a reliable and dependable set up - cheque is in the post :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Regarding the custom routes, this really isn’t something that i’ve ever looked into but Zwift most certainly doesn’t have this functionality. Spent a few minutes on Google and it appears that BKOOL offers something like this - but cant really speak to how it works (or how well it works).