Zwift PowerUps: What are they, how to use them and what might we see next?


(Chris Durham Race3R (A)) #1

Zwift PowerUps are something you should get to terms with. As well as improving your racing performance for a short period of time, Zwift PowerUps play a crucial role in Zwift races – You can win Zwift races by not being the strongest rider, but the smartest rider.

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Could we see Mario Kart/Super Mario-like PowerUps being introduced sometime in the future?

Zwift PowerUps are easy to understand and use to your advantage – familiarise yourself with them by reading the content below – we’ll discuss what each PowerUp does, how to use them and what kind of PowerUps we might see on Zwift in the near future!

Zwift PowerUps: What are they?

There are five types of PowerUps on Zwift:

  1. Large Bonus – This PowerUp does not directly improve your riding performance in-game e.g. make you faster riding uphill or more aerodynamic. However, when you this PU, you will gain +250 XP (experience points). Why does this matter? Well by gaining XP, you will unlock new “levels”, which offer faster bikes and wheels as well as different kinds of cycling kit. You can also gain XP by just simply riding: 1km = 20 XP.
  2. Small Bonus – Pretty much identical to the Large Bonus, but on a smaller scale. You will gain 10 XP (equivalent to riding 0.5km).
  3. Lightweight (feather) – reduces your weight by 15lbs for 15 seconds. You get to ride at your dream weight, for 15 seconds! To maximise the ‘feather’ PowerUp, use it on climbs, where weight matters the most.

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A cyclist drafting a lorry. However tempting, don’t try this!

  1. Draft Boost (van) – increases the draft effect you are experiencing by 50% for 30 seconds. To maximise this PowerUp, use it at high speeds (on the flats and descents) and when you are drafting another rider! It is called the Draft Boost for a reason.
  2. Aero Boost (helmet) – makes you more aerodynamic (reduces your CdA by 25%) for 30 seconds. This is arguably the most desired PU in Zwift races, considering most Zwift races end in a bunch sprint where speeds are high and aerodynamics matter. To maximise this PU, use at high speeds (on the flats and descents).

Please note that the Aero Boost icon (a jet) has now changed to a helmet:

powerup-helmet

Zwift PowerUps: How do you use them?

There are two ways of activating Zwift PowerUps:

  1. By pressing the space-bar on your keyboard
  2. By tapping the PowerUp icon on the Zwift Companion App

In the image shown, the feather PowerUp can be activated by simply clicking the feather icon (top left).

The Zwift Companion App is super-useful to have. Want to take screenshots of your achievements in-game? No problem. Want to enter a group ride in an hours time, or a race tomorrow evening? You can. In addition to this, you can create weekly or monthly goals, see whereabouts you (and others) are out on course, message friends and hand-out ride ons!

Zwift PowerUps: How do you get them?

PowerUps are randomly given when you pass through the start/finish, KOM and Sprint banners. If you have not used a PowerUp and pass through one of these banners, you will not receive a new one.

Below (from top to bottom): The start/finish banner, the KOM banner, and the Sprint banner.



Zwift PowerUps: What might we see next?

I’ve compiled some of your thoughts and opinions (taken from In The Pens – A Zwift Racing Podcast Facebook group), as well as my own, on what PowerUps we’d like Zwift to introduce in the near future:

  • “Madison Sling” – This PowerUp would slow you down substantially but give a huge w/kg boost to the rider you target (e.g. your teammate).
  • “The Anvil” – Basically the opposite of the ‘feather’. This may handicap you on the flats and ascents, but prove useful on the descents. Perhaps this PowerUp could be an option when passing through the KOM banner?
  • “The Invisibility Cap” – Makes your avatar and w/kg invisible from others for 10 seconds, for example. Imagine having one of these at your disposal in a sprint for the line; you could go early and nobody would know!
  • “The Ride On” (my suggestion) – Every ride on received improves that rider’s w/kg by 0.5 by 10 seconds! It would be great to see Zwift riders/racers directly benefit from supporting Zwifters.
  • “Laser Guns” – to shoot your opponents off the road – I thought I’d include this one from the Facebook group for fun :slightly_smiling_face:

Your imagination is the limitI’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions for new Zwift PowerUps! What PowerUps would you like to see? Do you think PowerUps should be banned from Zwift Races, maybe even Zwift entirely? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below :slightly_smiling_face:

For more Zwift-related content, check out these articles:


(Paul Allen (Watopia Wayfinder)) #2

Looks like a lot of the info was pulled from: https://titaniumgeek.com/zwift-user-manual-unofficial-running-updates/


(Steve Ellis) #3

I’d like to see the Blue AI domestique rider power up as memorialized by TitaniumGeek:


(Chris Durham Race3R (A)) #4

You’re wrong Paul. I’ve not pulled anything from that link whatsoever.

Better luck next time :slight_smile:


(Steven Robinson) #5

Take a look at the thread I started at Ideas for new power-ups. Couple of good ideas on there. Still would go with my “hill flattener” one - but anything would do as long as I no longer got the van powerup every time (as I seem to at the moment).


(Ward Brady) #6

I just want to finally get the burrito power up someday, I see it all the time!


(Paul Allen (Watopia Wayfinder)) #7

You may see it, but you will never get it, it was discontinued years ago.


(Steven Robinson) #8

Maybe given that there are so many more riders around on course than there used to be, plus the “double draft” is being used in events now (meaning it’s harder to get a break away from the pack), could there be a case for bringing the Breakaway Burrito back from the dead?


(Zach Johnston) #9

Besides the obvious XP ones, I never use these because I want my training data to be ‘accurate’. Even if I one day start trying to race to win, I feel like using them would take some of the ownership out of it.

This is, of course, just my opinion as a user.


(Aaron Zwanzig) #10

I can see an argument both ways on this.

From a purist point of view I can see why one would not want the data to be skewed by any artificial influence. In this environment a win is truly a win to be proud of as it reflects true unadulterated performance. And a loss is more revealing of specific areas that need training. There is no shame in taking a loss where value is added from learning about areas for improvement. This approach would seem to most closely mimic real-world experience for riders interested in improving their real-world performance.

From a gaming point of view I can see why one would want to include arcade style strategic influences. Zwift is, after all, a gaming environment where people of all performance levels come together. I can understand the desire to include tools that help level the playing field and which provide strategic advantage based on thoughtful use of tools available. Granted this doesn’t necessarily improve real-world performance, it does engage a different demographic more interested in strategy and perhaps subterfuge. The combining of physical fitness and training with arcade style gaming is intriguing.

It seems like it would be fair to have races and other events for both camps. some that include the power-ups and some that ban them.

My 2-cents, for what it’s worth.