Simplified equipment performance: equipment type, level

The present state of bike performance is a complete mess. Component group upgrades to bikes like Canyon and Cervelo are adding weight. It’s impossible to tell relative performance of one bike versus another without Eric Schlange’s crude test data. There’s accusations that some bike brands are favored versus others.


Three frame types (gravel, mountain are separate)… includes cockpit:

  1. climber: -400 grams, higher CdA
  2. all-around: baseline
  3. aero: + 400 grams, lower CdA

Three wheel type:

  1. climber: -200 grams, higher CdA
  2. all-around: baseline
  3. aero: +200 grams, lower CdA

3 frame levels: unlockable @ level 12, level 24, level 36
better frames are lighter, slightly more aero, due to component upgrades, high-end models

3 wheel levels: unlockable @ level 6, level 18, level 30
better wheels are lighter, lower rolling resistance (better tires)

bike brand: within every type, and for every level, different brands can have bikes, but they perform identically. All that matters is the type and level. This allows riders to be sponsor-correct without penalty or benefit, assuming a bike from that brand is available. IRL there’s too much variability between bike performance to say “Specialized is better than Trek” or “Canyon is better than Pinarello.”

Here’s an example, using frames from Specialized:


  1. climber: Aethos
  2. all-around: SL7
  3. aero: Venge


  1. Rival/105 level, brightly painted frame
  2. Force/Ultegra level
  3. Red/Dura-Ace level, unpainted frame

higher level: allow for bling upgrades which shave a few grams just to give people something to shoot for.

Can we also have frame size to go along with this?

The tall riders get to ride a bigger frame which also weighs more. While us smaller people ride a smaller frame as in real life.

Base it on rider height?

Based on Eric’s tests of effect of rider weight on L’Alpe time, I’m guessing that bike weight is proportional to rider weight already.

Ideally I agree it should depend on rider height.

Considering that the Cervelo S5 has just been nerfed (21 seconds slower up the Alpe is nothing to sneeze at) by a new SRAM groupset why do Zwift persist with these micro differences? What benefit does it provide to the end-user?

There were 2 new frames and 1 new wheelset in this month’s update. There’s no performance advantage to using them so did anyone buy them? Why even bother making additional frames and wheels when no one is going to use them because they make you slower? The only people these will appeal to are people who own those particular models AND are happy to put up with the performance drop.

Just why Zwift?

EDIT: Have a look at the chain/jockey wheels not lining up in that picture from Zwift Insider. Why Zwift? Why go through the trouble of making a nice new groupset but have the chain going around an invisible sprocket?

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