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Want to get riding with your mates in Zwift's online universe? Here's what you'll need...

It's dark outside, and it's cold. Or at least, it is here. Traditionally this is the time of year when your thoughts turn to riding indoors to keep your fitness over winter. That didn't use to be an enticing prospect but with the advent of online training apps it's got a lot more appealing. And possibly the most appealing of the lot is Zwift: riding around in a multiplayer environment with thousands of other cyclists from around the world. You can ride socially, you can train... you can even race.

> Get started online with Zwift

But what do you need to get started? Well, a bike and an indoor trainer is a good start. And you can get into Zwift without paying a king's ransom. Or you can splash the cash if you've got it: it's up to you. With that in mind we've put together three setups: one for the cash-strapped beginner, one mid-range option and one for those of you out there with a serious indoor habit and deep pockets. Enjoy!

Budget setup

Mid-range setup

Money no object setup

 

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

17 comments

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wingmanrob [44 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

I'm no expert but it does look like the saddle is to high for the guy on the bike, hips are rocking.

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CXR94Di2 [1954 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
wingmanrob wrote:

I'm no expert but it does look like the saddle is to high for the guy on the bike, hips are rocking.

 

Correct, knees are nearly locking out at full extension

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fenix [931 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

I said that last week but the rider reckons not.
I showed the video to my wife who does spinning but not proper cycling.

"That guys saddle is too high" she said.

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cdamian [182 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Still waiting for the Android version...

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alansmurphy [1650 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Tacx Smart with BC discount under £200 at Halfords, wouldn't this make a better budget set up?

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peted76 [892 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

I like David's blue t-shirt. 

Agree the seatpost is certainly a bit high.

Great video, as a non zwifter or even a non turbo'er I've learned a bit from this, thanks.

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Jack Sexty [69 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

CXR94Di2 wrote:

wingmanrob wrote:

I'm no expert but it does look like the saddle is to high for the guy on the bike, hips are rocking.

 

Correct, knees are nearly locking out at full extension

Indeed, the hips don't lie! For the purposes of this video which just involved a few minutes at a time of steady spinning I felt both of these bikes (neither of which are mine) were ok to hop on and pedal for a few minutes at a time for demonstration purposes... but neither were set up to my exact specifications, and looking at my knee angle at the bottom of the pedal stroke the saddle was too high for me on both bikes. The Trek Emonda in the video also has a 56cm frame which is slightly too big for me, and the over-reaching increased how much I was rocking in the saddle. 

Maybe we'll seek some professional advice to correct my dodgy position once and for all, so watch this space for some quick bike-fitting tips! 

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check12 [186 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

How about you buy a stages or other power meter for your bike instead of a power measuring turbo so you can have power outside also? 

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fenix [931 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Unless I'm racing then power outside isn't that useful to me.  Training is done inside to power and outside is (for me) much more about the social side of things. 

My race bike does have a power meter - but if I'd gone with a powermeter on the turbo I'd have saved money.

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Dicklexic [74 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Blimey even in the virtual world you get 'close passed', only this time it's by fellow cyclists! 

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ChrisB200SX [620 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Great, I've been thinking about a Zwift this week as I haven't been getting out in the evenings since the clocks went back.
I've recently heard that there is plenty of "cheating" going on with Zwift by using ways of setting up turbo trainers that don't have built-in powermeters and exploiting how they overestimate power output.
Personally I'm considering an affordable turbo trainer with built-in powermeter, I want realistic data and feedback.
I've got a a TACX Boost (1000W max resistance!) that I've barely used, hoping I can get some money for that.
Anyone know if the Dyson fans are better for non-buffetting airflow (and noise?) with this sort of set-up?

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fluffed [67 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

The races are entertaining, but not really that serious as that cheating is really easy to do, purposely underweight yourself, over inflate your tyres, etc etc. If you output silly high power figures you have to back it up with real world data for results to count, but I guess if you are subtle no one will catch you out. 
 If you consider them a bit of fun, and you're primarly racing againt yourself then they are still worth it. Races are only a small part of Zwift though, the workouts, group rides and just tootling along with no purpose, are all 1000s of times more enjoyable than staring at a blank wall hoping for it to end soon, as on a dumb turbo (IMO).

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fenix [931 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I'd really not bother with anything Dyson does.

I've two fans from screwfix that are a fraction of the cost and work brilliantly. I don't think people complain about fan noise or buffeting ?

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brianlescargot [4 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I have a large industrial fan bought on Gumtree for £10 and paid the same for a large rubber backed barrier mat from my local independent carpet shop. 

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David Arthur @d... [833 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

ChrisB200SX wrote:

Great, I've been thinking about a Zwift this week as I haven't been getting out in the evenings since the clocks went back.
I've recently heard that there is plenty of "cheating" going on with Zwift by using ways of setting up turbo trainers that don't have built-in powermeters and exploiting how they overestimate power output.
Personally I'm considering an affordable turbo trainer with built-in powermeter, I want realistic data and feedback.
I've got a a TACX Boost (1000W max resistance!) that I've barely used, hoping I can get some money for that.
Anyone know if the Dyson fans are better for non-buffetting airflow (and noise?) with this sort of set-up?

 

I wouldn't worry about whether cheating happens in races on Zwift, the only people they're cheating are themselves. The races are still good fun and competitive just don't take it too seriously is my advice - it's not like it's a real race. 

Workouts are the real key to unlocking Zwift - adding structure to your winter with targeted sessions. And there are plenty to choose from. The new group workouts make workouts are surprisingly good, certainly more enjoyable than doing a solo workout as we found out with the first road.cc workout last week

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alansmurphy [1650 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I was just going to suggest there's much better workouts elsewhere @dave but then you threw in the group element. I suppose if having others motivate you is your thing and that helps you get in the saddle, then zwift is onto something...

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David Arthur @d... [833 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

alansmurphy wrote:

I was just going to suggest there's much better workouts elsewhere @dave but then you threw in the group element. I suppose if having others motivate you is your thing and that helps you get in the saddle, then zwift is onto something...

 

Oh for sure there are plenty of other good options out there - some people are happy to focus on their numbers, or follow a professional training plan they might have paid a coach for. And that's fine. 

 Zwift is just one choice, it clearly won't be for everyone but for a lot of people, it is clearly providing the motivation that many people can struggle with at this time of year. Anything that helps you get the miles and decent training sessions in through the winter has to be a good thing right?

I think the group workouts have been well received from what I've seen.   I've always been rubbish at training, I prefer riding or racing with people to get fit, I need wheels to chase (I'm lazy) so the group element in Zwift works for me and forces me to pull my finger out!