With the release of Zwift game version 1.50, the Zwift Hub trainer can change resistance to match the virtual gear that you select without moving your chain to a different-sized cog like it would on a bike with multiple cogs and a derailleur. This FAQ will answer many of your questions about this new feature, but feel free to discuss more deeply in this thread.
Virtual Shifting is controlled by your Zwift Play by pressing the outer paddle buttons next to the steering paddle. When riding a structured workout in ERG mode, these buttons adjust your FTP bias. Because of these two usage contexts, the game’s Settings menu describes them as “intensity” changes, rather than “shifting” which applies whilst using SIM mode.
Q: I have a Hub trainer with a multi-speed cassette and a Play controller. How can I start using Virtual Shifting?
A: Start by updating your firmware to the latest versions.
Virtual shifting should automatically be enabled when you pair your Zwift Play in game, make sure your chain is straight and set towards the middle of your cassette, then use the outer paddle buttons on Play whilst riding to shift up and down, there is a gear indicator in the top-left of the screen just under your power.
If you don’t want to use virtual shifting after giving it a go, you can disable it in the Settings menu and switch back to physical shifting.
Q: I am using my Zwift Hub with a multi-speed cassette, not a single speed Zwift Cog. What happens if I shift my rear derailleur?
A: You can combine the physical gear shifts w/ your virtual resistance changes to find a gear that suits you.
Virtual Shifting is great!
Is there a realistic chance we can get this to other smart trainers like a Tacx Neo anytime?
I am on version 1.5 and my Zwift Play is up to date but I can’t see the option for virtual gearing?
The Virtual Shifting we introduced in game version 1.50 is a feature exclusive to the Zwift Hub trainer, and controlled by the Zwift Play (or the new Zwift Click shifter). I looked through your server logs and see you have used several Wahoo trainers. Do you own a Zwift Hub?
Update landed. FYI used iPad for a 90 min ride with hub and click, and was impressed. Will use MacBook though now it has updated.
Yes, I just found out this morning. I have watched many YouTube video reviews, read a lot of review articles and no one mentions this. I think GPlama mentions it for 2 seconds in his video. Even Zwift’s own Virtual Shifting FAQ is super vague.
There are no noisy movements of your chain since your gear changes are controlled by Zwift Click, Zwift Play, or your smart bike.
Q: What equipment do I need to use virtual shifting?
A: The Zwift Hub One is the easiest way to access virtual shifting. If you already have a Zwift Hub with a cassette, you can upgrade your set up by purchasing a Zwift Click and Zwift Cog or Zwift Play controllers
It literally does not say anywhere that Virtual Shifting only works with the Hub. I’m fine waiting. But change your wording. Stating the Hub is the easiest way and then saying you can upgrade your set up with Zwift Play is incorrect.
The first line in the FAQ should be "Virtual shifting only works with the Zwift Hub or compatible smart bikes. If you have either one of these you can use the clicker or Zwift Play to change gears.
To be fair, it does say that you either need the Zwift Hub One OR to purchase the Zwift Click and Zwift Cog or Zwift Play Controllers IF you already own a Zwift Hub. Nowhere does it say that this will work with other configurations.
In fairness any video (including GP Llama’s and Desfit) mention more than once it’s a zwift hub feature right now but might come to other trainers.
Updated to 1.50 shifting works fine but not really liking the shift buttons on the Zwift Play I seem to be fumbling around to find them it might get better with more time. Hopefully will have the ability to remap the buttons in the future
Seconding what Andreas said, yes, let’s see virtual shifting for trainers other than Zwift Hub!
During workouts, I can use Zwift Play to control intensity of my non-Zwift trainer (Saris H3), which means Zwift Play is clearly capable of controlling trainer intensity. So why is doing so during normal rides, in the form of “virtual shifting,” limited to the Zwift Hub trainer? Frustrating!
I’m not mad about it. This is very par for the course with Zwift. I’m sure my Kickr V5 will get virtual shifting one day. I also shouldn’t have to rely on third party YouTube videos for the be all end all in Zwift features. This is most likely a miss communication between Zwift departments and marketing people are putting their marketing spin on it
I also don’t understand as well why this would need to be implemented within a trainer itself. Virtual shifting is glorified elevation control which Zwift tells the trainer what to do. Other programs that are in Beta have virtual shifting and it works across all trainers. My bike currently has gears so I will continue to shift normally until there’s an update.
It is a bit ambiguous, it says the easiest way is with the zwift hub one and another way is to use the original hub, it doesn’t say these are the only ways.
Maybe it’s just individual interpretation, then. My take on the wording is that there is this option, or that option, and no others.
Hey all - Zwift game version 1.50 is fully released to all OS platforms. If you own a Zwift Hub + Play controller already - please update your game app to try out Virtual Shifting. As mentioned upstream - you’ll also need to update firmware on your Hub and Play.
We’d love to hear from Zwifters who’ve tried Virtual Shifting. What are your initial thoughts? Anyone using a 1x12 mountain bike with a small front chainring? Do you have enough gearing now without spinning out your pedals?
What about folks whose bikes are geared too tall and climbing in Zwift was hampered by the physical gearing limits?
I have a Hub with an 11 speed cassette. At first, my hands were too used to using my physical shifters and I kept moving my derailleurs from force of habit. I realized that’s because I keep my hands on the lever hoods.
When I rest my palms on the “shoulders” of my drop bars - all of a sudden my fingers rested near the shift paddle buttons of the Play, my thumbs are positioned above the other Play buttons, and the ergonomics of the Play made perfect sense. The shoulders of my bars are an even more comfortable place to keep my hands than riding on the lever hoods, so that’s another bonus.
When Zwift introduced the Play controllers, we said that some of its functionality in game was still in development. We want to thank all the early adopters who purchased a Play and Hub trainer and hope you love this feature now that it’s available with a firmware update.
I think you @ the wrong person.
2 seconds… no. It was at least 10 seconds where I was crystal clear that it does not work with other trainers at this point. That was part of a Q&A section that I put the text on the screen for anyone watching without sound. I doubled down in the follow-up hardware teardown video answering this again.
Does it make a difference if you put the chain on the big or the small chainring in front? It shouldn’t, if I got it right?
It will make a difference in that the trainer has a maximum and minimum resistance and does not have infinite gears. So you can potentially still run out of gears at either end, even if the virtual shifting extends your normal range. So on the small chainring you might run out of higher gears on the flat or on the big ring run out of gears on a climb. There are too many factors involved to be specific about this.