Is zwifterbikes accurate?

I’ve recently found this resource and reference it before trying new routes. It appears a good resource but I’m not sure if the fastest combinations for climbing are accurate. At my level-29-if you look up Ven Top for instance, it cites the DT Swiss Arc 1100 wheels as superior to both the Enve 3.4 and Zipp 353 NSW, both of which are quicker climbers on Eric Schlange’s speed tests. Any explanation anyone?

I don’t know what’s under the hood at zwifterbikes but @Eric_Schlange_ZwftIn has a scatter plot of performance vs the Tron bike that shows the DT Swiss ARC 1100 DiCut 62 wheels as faster than those wheels by a second or two on the Alpe. I think the take away is that there is no difference on steep stuff, but the DT wheels will be faster on the flats so they remain one of the best wheelsets in the game from level 6 onward. This was surprising to me as well, but that’s Zwift. I still use the DT wheels at level 43.

Suggested frames and wheels will often change with the W/Kg you tell it you intend to use.

I use the Aeroad 2021 and those wheels for just about everything but usually swap to the Cannondale Evo and Zipp 353 NSW for long climbs.

Interesting, graph seems to go against the results shown on Eric’s bar-charts of wheel performance on climbs where both the Enve 3.4 and and Zipp 353 come out as being faster than the DT Swiss ARC.

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True but the differences are so small it just doesn’t matter on the long climbs. If one wheelset is 3 seconds faster on the Alpe that’s just noise.

How it works

All calculations in this tool is based on wheel and frame tests data published by ZwiftInsider.

The “Golden Source” for the baseline data is the Google sheet provided by ZwiftInsider with all the actual test results; not derived results in charts, tables and articles.

Usage of this Google sheet as “Golden Source” has been confirmed by Eric at ZwiftInsider as the correct approach.

The wheel and frame performance tests for flats are done on two laps of Tempus Fugit, a 17.3 km (10.7 miles) long route, virtually flat with only 16 m (52 feet) elevation.

The Climb performance tests done by ZwiftInsider are done on Alpe du Zwift which is 12.4 km (7.7 miles) of pure climb at average 8.5% gradient till a total elevation of 1053 m (3455 feet).

Please see for further details about these tests.

These performance tests determines frame and wheel savings on flats and climbs vs the standard Zwift Carbon bike.
(continues on linked page…)

I take the ZwifterBikes results as accurate. It’s also WAY easier to use as a tool for comparison than any other resource I’ve seen.

TL;DR: the difference between frames and bike is tiny, with only seconds difference over long routes. Ride what you like, unless you’re trying to set a PR on a specific route. Zwift themselves stated very early on they will never be “pay to win” so it tracks that the differences between equipment are small.

The Golden Source for ZwifterBikes is the Google sheet that ZwiftInsider kindly provide as a separate download, and not derived results in charts, tables and articles.

I believe you are referring to the Wheel Ranking Charts where the wheel ranking on climbs is as you describe, but this appear to be one of the “derived charts, tables and articles” that has not been retrospectively updated following new tests that ZwiftInsider has recorded in the Google sheet.

Google Sheet numbers vs Wheel Ranking Chart numbers:
DT Swiss ARC 62 2959 vs 2960.5
ENVE SES 3.4 2960 vs 2960
Zipp 353 NSW 2961 vs 2960

A very small difference, but enough to swap the order depending on which source you use as master. As mentioned, ZwifterBikes uses the Google Sheet with values 2959, 2960 and 2961 and hence the ranking on Ven Top is aligned to this.

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Thanks for that! I suppose it doesn’t really matter in the great scheme of things as the difference is so small, except that psychologically it feels better to be on the best set up especially for climbs as climbing is not my forte. What I really need is an extra watt per kilo but I don’t think I’m going to get it at 65 years of age!

Best wishes.


I’ve had a reply from Eric who has updated the wheel performance chart and this now shows the DT Swiss do in fact outclimb the Enve and Zipp 353-at least it will save me swapping before big climbs.