Setting up Zwift with a dumb stationary bike and a cadence sensor — zero speed

I have a dumb stationary bike. I got a cadence sensor from PowrLabs (similar to Wahoo). I attached it to a crank. The Zwift app recognizes it and displays the RPMs. I selected Other when the app asks Ed me for my bike model.

However, at the same time it (the app) thinks it is pared with a PowrLabs speed sensor, and it shows the speed as 0, so I can never move in the race. The device I bought is a cadence, not speed sensor. My understanding was the app works with either or both. Am I doing something wrong or just that PowrLabs is an incompatible device and I need IGP or one of the recommended cadence sensors? This is not the kind of bike I could attach a speed sensor to.


You need a speed sensor.

There’s a full article about getting started here:


Hi Alex - welcome (almost) to the world of Zwifting. If you dont have a Zwift supported trainer (you dont appear to), then you need to transmit power or speed to Zwift in some manner. Easiest way is normally a speed sensor but as you mentioned, you cant use a speed sensor so you need a power meter. Doesn’t look as though a crank option is viable for you so you would need to go down the pedal path.

A second-hand smart trainer is likely a better choice for you though (cost and experience wise).

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I’m not aware of a power meter pedal with 1/2” threading for a one piece crank… a pedal adapter would make the Q factor pretty crazy…

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Just swap that cadence sensor for a speed sensor. Your power will be way off but at least you’ll move.

That’ll be a terrible experience though. I really recommend not doing that.

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Thank you and all who responded. I see that the community is what Zwift is all about.

I have a VR set, and some fitness apps/games (HoloFit specifically) work with dumb stationary bikes with the addition of a cadence sensor. I got one in the mail on the day I posted my question. I simply started looking around wondering what else I can do with my slightly smartified bike. Zwift came up, and if you read the same description I did, or even the app’s welcome/setup page, you will walk away with a sense that it works with a cadence OR speed sensor. At any rate, between my VR set and an app called BitGym, I got enough gamified uses of my stationary bike now. I feel Zwift is not for me at my current level of commitment (in terms of time and hardware), I am not even a biker :slight_smile: just someone who likes apps and an idea of getting fitter without leaving the house.

Thanks again for the welcome and the advice!