Zwift Run - Automatic Treadmill Elevation Changes

(Carl Lafata) #1

I run and bike on Zwift.  I have an older treadmill that I will soon have to replace. I checked out the list of Zwift-compatible treadmills and did a bit of research on my own.  I am interested in a True treadmill and spoke with their rep.  He informed me that the treadmill will transmit speed data to Zwift via Bluetooth, but it will not change its elevation in response to changes in elevation on Zwift.  The treadmill will therefore take the place of my foot pod but it will not make the Zwift running experience any more immersive.  I was wondering if Zwift will eventually be able to adjust my treadmill’s elevation as I run.  If this is a feature in development, is there any idea when it will be available and for which treadmills?  


I should mention that the True rep said his company did not allow speed changes to be dictated by the Zwift application for safety and liability reasons.  However, I would assume that the elevation changes would occur so gradually at jogging/running speed that it would not be an issue. 


I found another post from 2017 that asked essentially this same question, but it did not receive a developer reply so I thought I would ask it again.  Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.  Ride (and run) on!

(Jordan Rapp) #2

Hi Carl,

There are certain treadmills that could theoretically allow this easily. And other treadmills that could do so when fitted with the Wahoo GymConnect module. But there’s no treadmill that currently allows this. 

As TRUE stated, the automatic speed change is not likely to ever happen because of potential liability. But changing gradient is much more of a possibility. But right now, it’s just a niche within a niche 

I think that your most likely chance for success is encouraging companies to make this an option. I’m hopeful that - as with bike trainers - there will be a tipping point where this just becomes an obvious “must have” feature.

So nothing really to add on top what was said - or unsaid - in 2017. It’s a *theoretical* possibility, but for now - unfortunately - only that. No timeline or potential partner list.

Ride On,


Zwift Game Design

(Carl Lafata) #3

Hi Jordan:


Thank you very much for your quick reply.  That is great information to have.  I have already reached out to TRUE Fitness and requested that they support this feature.  Hopefully enough customers will inquire that TRUE Fitness and other manufacturers will start to offer it in the near future.  Ride on!



(Jon Odwazny) #4

Hi, Carl.  I think it’s going to be a liability issue and a will never happen.  It’s too easy to imagine a scenario where someone who is pushing the pace is hit with an uphill or an increase in the hill he/she is already on, and, despite their best efforts to keep up, can’t, and reaches for the “reduce speed” button too late and falls off.  While it would be awesome, I think it’s going to stay a wish.  I’m curious as to what the TRUE Fitness response was.  Did you get any concrete answers?   

(Carl Lafata) #5

Hi Jon:

I totally get that treadmill manufacturers would not want to take on the liability associated with the automatic adjustment of elevation and speed, but it would make the experience much more immersive.  It would also be interesting to see the effect that automatically adjusting elevation would have on runners’ performance on Zwift.  I always chuckle when I see runners passing cyclists on the steeper, longer climbs because it is unlikely, for example, that many runners are able to run a 7:30 mile on a 12% grade.  As for TRUE’s response, they never sent one.  I did not think much of it though. I figure, if I did receive a response, it would have been a form letter simply stating that they have received my suggestion and will consider it, or words to that effect.  I agree that it is probably a “never going to happen” but it is fun to imagine.  Regardless, I am going to keep having fun running and cycling on Zwift.  Ride on!



(Jon Odwazny) #6

Hi, Carl.  I agree.  It would be pretty cool.  

I have to tell you, though, that the hills affect riders a lot more than runners.  While there aren’t many runners who can do a 7:30 at 12%, it is totally possible for runners to catch and drop riders on the hills.  I have found that the steeper the hill, the more likely this is to happen, just like in real life.  It happens even more in Zwiftworld than in real life, though, because there are so many more people riding near me than in real life.  There is no better feeling than passing a group of riders (while on the correct elevation and) going up a mountain.