Looking at 5 different bikes for zwift. Can someone give me guidance on which to buy?

So I’m new to cycling and zwift. I have been looking at different types of bikes and based off the replies from my last post, decided to go for a hybrid bike.

I’ve narrowed it down to 5. Each bike has different cassettes, drive trains etc. Basically stuff that I know nothing about. I’m not really sure which specs are better suited to Zwift, or if going for the more expensive bikes even makes sense.

Is the 3x8 Groupset Bike better than the 2x9 Groupset bikes? It has a larger big gear than the others so I could reach higher speeds? Are the more expensive bikes below just diminishing returns?

Bike   Cassette                        Chainset            Groupset             Rear Derailleur                Price
Bike1  Shimano HG31,8 speed 11-34t     Prowheel,46/30t     Shimano TX 2x8       Shimano RD-TX800,8-speed       €373
Bike2  Shimano HG31,8 speed 11-34t     Prowheel,48/38/28t  Shimano TX 3x8       Shimano RD-TX800,8-speed       €414
Bike3  Shimano HG201,9 speed 11-36t    Prowheel,46/30t     Shimano Altus 2x9    Shimano RD-M370,9-speed        €418
Bike4  Shimano HG201,9 speed 11-36t    Prowheel,46/30t     Shimano Altus 2x9    Shimano RD-M2000,9-speed       €490
Bike5  Shimano CS-HG200,9-speed,11-36T Prowheel,46/30T     Shimano Altus 2x9    Shimano Altus RD-M2000,9-speed €480

Thanks you for the help, this forum has been great so far!

I have just joined Zwift. I ended up buying a Smart Bike (Stages SB20), very happy, have the bike set up with a dream drive 25 virtual gears on single drive. Glad I went with the smart bike, low maintenance and virtually no wear on parts. Guess it all boils down to money mate and what your budget is, but very impressed with the Smart bike and the controllable aspect that Zwift has wrt terrain. Hope this helps.

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The Smart bikes do look really good! And the low/no maintenance is very tempting. But they are outside of my budget for now. Maybe someday :wink:

if you’re new to cycling i would avoid the triple (Prowheel,48/38/28t) doesn’t give you much of a bigger range of gears and triples are harder to maintain than double chainrings due to the middle chainring needing to be aligned.

what trainer are you using? make sure it is compatible with 8 speed and if it isn’t then it makes your choice easier.
If you’re using a wheel on trainer (not direct drive) then make sure you have a road tyre on the rear wheel not a knobbly one as that’d be horrible on a trainer.

without knowing the other specs hard to advise, go for the lighter one or the one you like the look of the best, they’re all pretty similar from gearing for the 9 speed ones.

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I’m looking at getting the Zwift Hub, reviews look good from DCR. If the double means less maintenance then I’m all for it!

Is there any other specs/features that are important when trying to decide between these bikes?

With the 9 speed bikes, you get a choice between a cassette with a wider gearing range than 8 speed (11-36 vs 11-34) OR you can choose a cassette that has less range but smaller jumps between gears. Smaller increments means it’s easier to find a comfortable gear at your desired cadence (assuming the low gear is low enough). Wider range usually means that the lowest gear is lower (36 teeth vs 34) and the highest gear is the same (11 teeth). With the 46/30 gearing in front, I would choose a cassette with less range like 11-28 in order to get smaller incremental gear changes, but that decision depends on how fit you are, whether you enjoy riding long climbs, your preferred pedaling cadence, and where you adjust the Trainer Difficulty setting in the game.


It depends.

I assume this is a bike to be used outside and then also on zwift and not just for zwift?

if it is to be used outside too then it really is dependant on where you live, how hilly it is, what type of riding you’ll be doing and how far.

if it will be used for commuting you might want something more sturdy/strong and so weight is less important, if it is just for fitness or you live in a hilly place you’ll want to get something a bit lighter. if they’re all hybrids the geometry will likely be pretty similar but if you’re able to go to a store and sit on a few IRL before buying see which you find comfier and fits you best.

if it is just for zwift then all of that is mostly irrelevant really and just get the cheapest one that fits and with a reasonable spread of gears.

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Some good advice here.

Only one thing that I would suggest is if you can find a 50/36 or 50/34 or 53/36.

Having the big gear will help you not to run out of gears on the flats.

If buying new consider asking the shop to swap chainrings.


I was worried about that.

If the shop is to replace it with bigger gears (50/36…etc), will they have to replace other parts of the bike too like the chain, derailleur…etc?

When it comes to cycling I’m not fit at all lol.

Thank you for the info!

95% of my time will be indoor use on Zwift.

The other 5% will just be cycling along greenways for leisure. No outdoor racing and will also be avoiding cycling on roads. I haven’t cycled in so long that I don’t trust myself being around vehicles.

No they shouldn’t need to change anything else. They will need to adjust the front derailleur.

Other option is just to ask the shop if it can be done later if you run out of gears.

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Perfect, I didn’t realise I could have those bigger 50/ gears on a hybrid! Thank you

The bigger chainrings might not fit. Don’t assume that there’s enough clearance between the chainring and the chainstay. Similarly, there might not be enough front derailleur adjustment.

i’d leave the gearing as it is for now and see how you get on.

as Colin says, might be worth seeing if a bigger chainring will fit if you did want to change it in the future. it should be okay but depends if the front mech is band on or braze on (don’t worry the bike shop will understand!)

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One consideration that is honestly important: when you’re down to a choice between two or three very similar bikes, do you like any of them more than the others? Cooler color, better looking design?

Don’t buy a junk bike instead of a much better one because of looks. But if there are only small differences, don’t feel ashamed to make ‘how much you like looking at it’ a consideration. A bike you really like will be a bike you’ll ride more :slight_smile:


Sounds good, I’ll ask them in store if the chainring can be upgraded.

Thank you @Chris_Holton, @Colin_Cadden

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Thats a great point, one of them doesn’t look great but seeing as the three I am looking at are pretty similar for most specs, then I might as well pick one that looks decent.

I believe a wise man said this a while ago :yum:

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Ha, missed that part. You do indeed seem incredibly smart. :wink:

(To be fair, I said the same thing using a lot more words to get the same message across.)