I accumulated 200k Drops and reached lvl 8. I did some research on Zwiftinsider and came to the conclusion that if I do not intend to race and I still would like to spend my Drops on something “useful” the best items to buy are:
Frame: Cannondale EVO 213,000 Drops lvl 9
Wheels: ENVE - SES 3.4 191,700 Drops lvl 4
They’re on the climbing wheels page, behind the SES 3.4, but they’re only .5 seconds slower than SES 3.4 going up the Alpe, so they are effectively the same for climbing. And they’re faster on the flats, so it’s a much more useful wheelset. I’d look at this page:
You can also look at this page which will show you the best frame + wheels for any given route, level and price:
I’ve purchased items from the drop shop. Mostly this was just an unstructured experiment. I found what mattered more was have the right basic equipment for your ride. Road bike for road cycling, etc. The most important thing is looking for ways to increase opportunities for having fun while exercising. If you find that, then you’re going to rock whatever equipment that’s in your control. Have fun, and ride on!!!
Probably best thing you can do for now is ride as much hills in Zwift as possible, the steepest ones available to get the mission completed and get the Zwift Concept bike (tron bike). It costs nothing except drops. Then when you get access to ADZ, ride that daily until you unlock the Lightweight Meilenstein wheels.
Then if you can get the Tarmac Pro and combine it with the Meilenstein wheels you should have everything covered except gravel.
If anything new comes out in drop shop, wait 1 release cycle before buying it. That way if it gets nerfed you haven’t wasted your drops on something that’s gone slow.
I’ll say that, if you’re not intending to race, then ride the routes/events that you want to ride, accumulate drops, and buy a bike that looks cool, or that saves you time on flats or climbs off that list. Whatever your preference is. But if you’re not going to be racing, I wouldn’t bother going out of your way to score some ‘perfect’ bike and wheel combo super early with a hyper focused plan. Just ride. It’s not like you’ll suddenly be shooting around at twice the speed after you get some new bike
I’m only 13th lvl–took me less than a month to hit 10th level and save enough to buy the Canyon Aeroad and DT Swiss wheels. Pretty competitive with the Tron bike by all the stats. And that was with just riding and training in whatever ways were fun. The lightweight wheels are nice for climbing (I did manage to get those my 2nd time up the Alp), so you can go for those if you like climbing a lot (I do). But I wouldn’t lock myself into some plan that might not be fun just to get a bike somewhat faster.
All the suggestions here are on point for beginners and what to buy, especially selecting the Everest challenge ASAP. You mentioned you’d take forever to accumulate needed drops for what you want to buy, but there are ways you can get them faster:
Ride with pace partners. The longer you ride with them, every five minutes the amount of drops you accumulate increases by a factor of 0.2. That is, after five minutes of starting the ride with them, you earn drops at 1.2x normal rate, another five minutes increases to 1.4x, etc., up to 2.0 (or 2.5 - not sure if this bug has been fixed yet…)
Use the companion app and follow everyone you can. The more people you follow, the more chances you’ll get to receive “Ride Ons” during your rides which increase your drop earning rate by 2x for 15 seconds. Riding with pace partners also helps with this as people frequently give Ride Ons to the surrounding people (tap your arrow on the map screen to do this for the riders around you). Getting a Ride On plus the 2.0-2.5x pace partner multiplier stacks so you can potentially earn drops as fast as 4-5x normal rate!
After buying the DT Swiss 62 wheels, the big dilemma early on is whether to get the Cannondale Evo, or the one bike type Zwift doesn’t give you for free… A gravel bike (~163k) and some custom gravel wheels (~20k) for much better dirt speeds for your efforts.
Chances are, a 3* all rounder at ~426k-550k is then going to take you several weeks.
Will be interesting to see the details of the new routes and if dirt/gravel is going to significantly feature.