Nice but somewhat disappointing

Have to say I’m pretty underwhelmed. There doesn’t seem to be any place to enter weight or FTP. There was no way to set any kind of target pace or power. Worst of all, it seems to use the kickr in resistance mode instead of erg mode. So when going up hills, I was grinding out at 30 rpm instead of the resistance going down as I spun up.

My first impression is that while the virtual rider aspect of it is pretty neat, it’s not a great tool to get a good workout.

After looking at some of the other posts here gushing over the VR, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am probably not Zwift’s target audience. I (used to) think that 99.9% of people that rides trainers do so maintain fitness when time constraints or environmental conditions preclude riding on the road. The smart trainer/software combo’s job is to make indoor workouts less arduous so you’re more likely to do them and more productive so that you get the most benefit for you time and effort on the trainer. After 2 years using TrainerRoad with Sufferfest videos and the past year with the Kickr in the mix, I’ve seen how powerful a tool the combination can be to achieve these goals. VR and the social tools have the potential to push the effectiveness of indoor workouts even further but they are not goals in and of themselves. Releasing a Beta that ignores the primary goals while focusing on the secondary ones was a mistake in my opinion. It leads me to believe that Zwift’s priorities are not aligned with mine. I sincerely hope that future updates prove me wrong.

It’s not all gloom and doom. The install was smooth. Pairing is dead simple, it really couldn’t be any better. The graphics look really good. When Zwift launched the website, I checked out the “meet the team” page. I recognized a couple of the names from my days riding and racing around the NYC area in the 90’s. I knew you guys were “real” riders and had faith that this was going to be a product for “real” riders as well and not just a pretty home spin-studio.

My initial disappointment is tempered by hope that future updates will bring Zwift more in line with my needs and expectations.


Baby steps…this is a beta. I don’t think the beta was ever sold as a complete package. My understanding is that the short term goal of the beta period is to work out the kinks and test the system as it scales with greater numbers of riders. When I started on the beta in late October there were 50 invites and maybe 12-15 of those people actually rode on the system with any regularity. Now roughly 8 weeks later I routinely see more than 20 people online at the same time…and the system works as advertised. It doesn’t crash, it pairs easily, and it’s a pretty simple process to get online and ride with other people. If you feel like it you can sprint and compete. From what I’ve seen and read, that’s what was advertised in the beta…so coming into the beta with higher expectation than that is unrealistic IMHO. I think all of what you outline is in the longer term goals. Right now the Zwift gang just needs insure that the system will work and scale so they can open the doors. No doubt refinements need to be made…but for something that’s been in beta for just a couple of months, it’s a pretty mature product. Just imagine what it will be like in two years.

I also disagree that you can’t get a great workout. Jump in and try the 40k Challenge. Threshold intervals? Sweetspot? No problem. I will agree that I think doing sets of shorter intervals in the 2-3 minute range might be more challenging given the current terrain…but I can tell you that from my perspective I am appreciative of the effort that’s been made and I can see the bigger picture very clearly.


We have been riding Sufferfest videos on our 5 CompuTrainers for the past two winters, and we “race” using CompuTrainer 3D every other week, doing much of what you describe to maintain fitness. I have to say that I was not expecting much from Zwift, but I have found that I am pounding it up Zwift hill and sprinting when I really don’t want to. Once the team finds their stride, I think you’ll find it a good adjunct to your other training modalities. I just wish I could introduce my training athletes to Zwift in a multi-rider environment…