Experience Mode Feedback

I just finished the Monday Experience Mode ride and thought I’d give feedback.

In general, I have nothing but good things to say. I am one of the contributors to the ‘Declutter HUD’ request in the feature request forum so I am biased, but the no-HUD experience definitely met my expectations. I had thought that a variable de-clutter mode would be good, but having used Zwift 100% HUD free I think that the Companion App provides most of what you need, you just bring it into your scan a bit more.

If I was going to ‘just ride’ Zwift, especially for a longer distance, I would definitely choose Experience mode. I’m looking forwards to tackling a decent climb, I think Epic KOM will be a very different experience in Experience mode. It added a new Zwift experience in a way that I hadn’t expected.


  • There is a definite sense of ‘scale’ in the landscape that is not there during normal riding. Landscapes opened-up as they came into view in a way that I hadn’t previously experienced that was very pleasing.
  • I could see details that I had otherwise missed. I know that the Zwift designers put quite a lot of work into the worlds, Watopia in particular, and even on the short sand-and-sequoia’s circuit I saw details that I hadn’t seen before.
  • Both those first two really help the sense of immersion, which I what I was hoping for.


  • There were some occasions where the increased immersion made the way that visual effects are achieved more visible - heat haze was an example - all of a sudden you’d notice that a lamp-post right beside you was shimmering which wasn’t particularly realistic - I don’t think it’s bad enough to spoil the visual illusion though.
  • You rely pretty much exclusively on the Companion App in experience mode. It might be a good ideal to limit access to Experience Mode just to people who are logged-in on the Companion App, perhaps just to ensure that users have a positive experience with the mode. Likewise, I think for a lot of riders it needs to be able to be toggled, rather than selected before the ride. I can see people wanting more info for some of the ride (Alpe for example) while wanting Experience mode for the rest of it.
  • I missed the ability to quickly see who around me is doing what, in terms of other people’s accumulated distance and power. Choosing who you might want to draft onto and finding a temporary riding partner is one of the things that I like about Zwift (that little exchange of 'Ride On’s!). The ‘Zwifters’ page in the Companion App could definitely use improvement in terms of information presentation and the way it refreshes.
  • Given that when the ride ended the app reverted back to HUD mode, I guess the mode is simple to toggle in the software, so why not just go ahead and enable it as a beta mode for everybody!?

Potential Issues

  • This one’s maybe a bit unfair, because I didn’t get to see it in sand and sequoias, but I have another forum post about the ‘terrain bounce’ effect, particularly around the jungle (I think it looks like you’re riding a demented pogo-stick). I do strongly suspect that the increased immersion of the Experience Mode combined with the lurching, jumping visuals off-road would be ‘sub-optimal’ from a visual experience perspective.

Just for info: Windows 10, GeForce 1050ti, i5 4750.

+1. There were changes to no-HUD mode in the latest release, so hopefully something is happening with this. An update would be great.

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Turns out ‘Experience Mode’ is already available for users of Zwift-Preferences by selecting the ‘Minimal UI’ option.

I rode Ventoux yesterday with the UI turned off because I wanted to see what a climb was like.

Much like my initial reaction to S&S, it was what I had hoped for. You can just concentrate on the ride rather than the data. In particular, the final section between about 1.5km and 0.5km to go from the summit is, in Zwift, misty and desolate. I actually got a sensation of misery at that point in the climb that I loved! It feels about right, after 21km of climbing and a little relief after Reynard it kicks back up and the end just to finish you off. For being stuck inside on a rainy day the immersion was very good.

The downhill was also enjoyably different. Usually I don’t bother with the down bit very much but with the uncluttered screen the detail in the landscape really comes to life. Much like when you ride through the Watopia desert, sections move into view in a way that is immersive and helps to maintain engagement.

For both my observations so far, S&S and Ventoux, I think the biggest thing missing is the ability to see ‘Ride-ons’ and other notifications. Zwift is still Zwift and Ride-Ons are definitely the form of non-verbal communication. I could hear notifications and it was distracting to hear a notification and not see what it related to. Incorporation of some sort of pop-up for notifications like these (Ride-On, Personal records, Segments etc) in the companion app or intrusively in the game (maybe a small bar at the bottom of the screen that appears for a few seconds) would I think enhance the experience and keep it ‘Zwift’.

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