Zwift setup or winter bike?

hello my dears
I have been riding as an adult for about 2 years.
I have a Via nirone7 and no zwift equipment ie trainer or ipad and I've never experienced zwift.
I am saving up either for a trainer/ipad or a winter bike, so what does a good winter bike need for uk conditions, ans is zwift as fun/rewarding as road riding?

thanks for any input
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Comments

  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    A good winter bike needs clearance for full lifeguards, not flimsy strap-on things. Be wary that many bikes have mudguard or pannier mounts but very little clearance, especially with bigger/wider tyres. Also, there are road disc bikes that are still at the sporty end of the spectrum that won't fit the bill either.
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    A winter bike used to be your old summer bike fitted with mudguards.

    As has been said. Full proper guards are best and clearances for bigger tyres. Also a cheaper groupset for the crappier weather.

    Zwift is great but you have to be keen to use it. There's thousands of turbos that get very little use.

    You might be able to pick up a bargain after lockdown is relaxed.
  • wotnoshoeseh
    wotnoshoeseh Posts: 529
    Get a winter bike - I tried Zwift, albeit on a dumb trainer, and thought it rubbish.

    I have one of those "thousands of turbos" that fenix refers to above.

    Real roads, real miles in real weather - there's no substitute.
    I don't think the VN7 will take full guards though....if you are going to go that way.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,221
    tokenvelo said:

    hello my dears
    I have been riding as an adult for about 2 years.
    I have a Via nirone7 and no zwift equipment ie trainer or ipad and I've never experienced zwift.
    I am saving up either for a trainer/ipad or a winter bike, so what does a good winter bike need for uk conditions, ans is zwift as fun/rewarding as road riding?

    thanks for any input

    A winter bike will need a set of lights and will be better with full mudguards. You will also want more/better weather appropriate clothing, water resistant, full gloves, overshoes.....
    Zwift will not be as fun or rewarding as being out on the road. On the other hand on those days when it is lashing down or blowing a gale then Zwift is better, and that happens year round. IMO.
    Only you can choose. Ultimately it is better to have both.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • mrb123
    mrb123 Posts: 4,541
    I would guess that a high proportion of the above mentioned little used turbos are of the dumb variety. Spending much time on one of those is absolute purgatory.

    A proper modern smart trainer set up is very different and makes regular turbo use a lot more tolerable, perhaps even fun.

    That said, the answer to your question is obviously you need both!
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    I have both and if I'm honest, the winter bike gets rather little use these days..

    Depending on where you live it's only really a few weeks either side of Christmas when the roads are *always* wet... The rest of the time, alternating between outdoor rides when it's dry and indoor Zwift sessions when it's wet is a really good way to keep motivated and mix things up - short and intense indoors, longer rides outdoors.

    But you do need the whole smart trainer, decent IT/screen setup etc to get the full experience.
  • A question about any of the training programmes....is it possible to add one of my own rides into the programmes and re ride that? I know there would be no video, but I could get some measure of my effort by comparing with a known ride/route of my own.

    Is it possible to add a gpx file to any of the software programmes available, or are the preloaded ones the only routes you can follow?
  • mrb123
    mrb123 Posts: 4,541

    A question about any of the training programmes....is it possible to add one of my own rides into the programmes and re ride that? I know there would be no video, but I could get some measure of my effort by comparing with a known ride/route of my own.

    Is it possible to add a gpx file to any of the software programmes available, or are the preloaded ones the only routes you can follow?

    Yes. You can do that. I believe you can do it on Rouvy and probably some of the other apps.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,221

    A question about any of the training programmes....is it possible to add one of my own rides into the programmes and re ride that? I know there would be no video, but I could get some measure of my effort by comparing with a known ride/route of my own.

    Is it possible to add a gpx file to any of the software programmes available, or are the preloaded ones the only routes you can follow?

    You can definitely do it using Tacx Premium, and you get a Google Maps progress kind of video. I used the trial period to do just that as a test since the Neo2 was so much harder than my previous turbo.
    It stacked up fairly accurate to my PB which is understandable when you don't have to worry about junctions and potholes/ gravel etc. 😉

    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • That's good news. Thanks guys.

    Is it just gpx, or do I have to convert to .fit or.kml? Simple enough to do but just another step to consider.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,221
    I can't remember the steps exactly but is was a fairly simple upload from one of my Strava recorded rides and wait on it doing it's processing thing, then go.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Lovely. I like simple.
  • mfin
    mfin Posts: 6,729
    edited May 2020
    OP it sounds like you don't even have a turbo trainer? Get or borrow a cheap one, and see how you get on with it. That's the first thing. Try watching tv or videos on an iPad, Laptop or TV while you're doing it. If you don't like it, then going for a full on Zwift setup could be an expensive waste of money if you mean one of the high end turbo trainers.

    In the end, if you use Zwift it's still going to be you pedalling in the house when it comes to basics, and Zwift doesn't fool everyone into some kind of involving experience, some people who don't like being on a turbo in the house will not be converted by Zwift into doing it.

    (Same goes for all-weather winter riding, some people just don't take to it).
  • tokenvelo
    tokenvelo Posts: 9
    ok thanks for all the replies, there's still summer to come so I won't be making any premature decisions, think i will just keep saving up.
  • prawny
    prawny Posts: 5,439
    In February I would have said winter bike but after this lockdown business I’m a turbo convert.

    I bought a discounted smart turbo and a used iPad and I’ve been on zwift or RGT 5-6 days a week for the last 9 weeks. I love it.

    Zwift racing has been the competitive outlet I’ve been craving for years but haven’t had the time or money to do anything about. I’ve not been this fit for years.

    I’ve done a couple of 2 hour+ rides on zwift and only stopped because I had other stuff to do, no way I could have done that on a dumb trainer, But time flies on a nice virtual route.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever ride out in the dark and cold again, but I do have to caveat that all of my riding is done between 5am and 9am so I’d you’re the type of person who waits until a sensible time to ride at the weekend you might not find it as much of a revelation as I did.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • andyrac
    andyrac Posts: 1,117

    Get a winter bike - I tried Zwift, albeit on a dumb trainer, and thought it rubbish.

    I have one of those "thousands of turbos" that fenix refers to above.

    Real roads, real miles in real weather - there's no substitute.

    I tried Zwift for a 7 day trial on an Elite dumb trainer; and didn't bother subscribing. I found 45 mins was more than enough, and harder work (and less enjoyable) than a 45 min road ride. I wonder whether a smart trainer would make a difference - and I could be tempted, especially for the days when it's wet & windy, which tend to be numerous here in the North West.

    Saying that, although I use my Crockett for the winter, I'm tempted by either a steel or titanium bike for winter.
    All Road/ Gravel: tbcWinter: tbcMTB: tbcRoad: tbc"Look at the time...." "he's fallen like an old lady on a cruise ship..."
  • Cargobike
    Cargobike Posts: 748
    Zwift? Winter bike?
    Just get outside and ride regardless.
    Unless where you live suffers from monsoon season or 6 months of snow there's no substitute to the great outdoors regardless of the weather.
    Sure, a Zwift session could give you a workout, let you hit your training stats, but it's not everything that being outside is all about. Where's the crosswind? Potholes? Errant drivers? All the things that sharpen your mind and improve your bike handling skills. Zwift sounds great in theory, but doesn't harden you to real cycling, whatever the weather. IMO it trains you to be soft, gives you an out when the conditions aren't right. How's that going to help you in a club race or training ride when the conditions are changeable.
    As for a winter bike, as long as you can fashion fixings for full length mudguards any bike can be winterised. There's plenty of bodges out there.
    Keep it real, cycle outside as often as possible. Anything else is not moving you forward to your potential.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093
    Some winters are better for a winter bike, other winters are better for a turbo trainer. Last winter was very wet and I spent equal time riding and cleaning, despite the mudguards... but at least there was very little in the way of ice... ideally you need both... of course the turbo is a more bombproof solution
    left the forum March 2023
  • ibr17xvii
    ibr17xvii Posts: 1,065
    Cargobike said:

    Zwift? Winter bike?
    Just get outside and ride regardless.
    Unless where you live suffers from monsoon season or 6 months of snow there's no substitute to the great outdoors regardless of the weather.
    Sure, a Zwift session could give you a workout, let you hit your training stats, but it's not everything that being outside is all about. Where's the crosswind? Potholes? Errant drivers? All the things that sharpen your mind and improve your bike handling skills. Zwift sounds great in theory, but doesn't harden you to real cycling, whatever the weather. IMO it trains you to be soft, gives you an out when the conditions aren't right. How's that going to help you in a club race or training ride when the conditions are changeable.
    As for a winter bike, as long as you can fashion fixings for full length mudguards any bike can be winterised. There's plenty of bodges out there.
    Keep it real, cycle outside as often as possible. Anything else is not moving you forward to your potential.


    What utter nonsense.
  • ibr17xvii
    ibr17xvii Posts: 1,065
    oxoman said:

    I actually agree pretty much with cargobike. Decent mudguards, tyres,lights and clothing allow you to ride pretty much 365 days of the year. I commute most of the time 13 miles each way for 12hr shifts and only cop out if to much to carry, ice or 25mph winds. I'm not a lover of turbos and tend to use rollers as more realistic.


    Each to their own but to say indoor riding trains you to be soft is absolute nonsense.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    Different type of "soft" and "hard".. Certainly you'll develop a type of stoicism going for long rides in horizontal sleet, but equally 2x20min FTP intervals, 5x5min VO2 max, or even regular threshhold efforts up Alpe du Zwift will unsoften you too ;-)
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093
    I don't use a trainer... the problem with modern smart trainers is that... well, they are too smart. In the past we used to have numb trainers and rollers and we looked forward to spring, so we could get out of the smelly garage... now with virtual races, training sessions, virtual social rides, virtual time trials, it becomes quite tempting to increase the turbo season well into the spring and some people simply don't go out on their bike anymore, as it's difficult to replicate the same level of excitement and the same number of "happenings" outdoors.

    In terms of power training, they are probably better than riding outdoors, as you can do more work in less time, more structured intervals, without the distraction of road junctions, traffic, potholes and temperamental terrain, but of course I am dubious about what they do for your mental health, compared to being outdoors for a few hours. It's not just about the watts, sport outdoor is beneficial in a number of ways that virtual cannot replicate.
    left the forum March 2023
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,286
    I bought my first smart trainer the day lockdown was announced. On the few bad weather days we have had, its been a revelation. I've gritted my teeth into Scottish winter headwinds for years now and there's just a point where there is just no fun.

    And Zwift is so time efficient.

    But you do need a winter/commuting bike as well. It is great to have something with cheaper bits on it, that already looks like hell, but rides okay.
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,183
    Cargobike said:

    Zwift? Winter bike?
    Just get outside and ride regardless.
    Unless where you live suffers from monsoon season or 6 months of snow there's no substitute to the great outdoors regardless of the weather.
    Sure, a Zwift session could give you a workout, let you hit your training stats, but it's not everything that being outside is all about. Where's the crosswind? Potholes? Errant drivers? All the things that sharpen your mind and improve your bike handling skills. Zwift sounds great in theory, but doesn't harden you to real cycling, whatever the weather. IMO it trains you to be soft, gives you an out when the conditions aren't right. How's that going to help you in a club race or training ride when the conditions are changeable.
    As for a winter bike, as long as you can fashion fixings for full length mudguards any bike can be winterised. There's plenty of bodges out there.
    Keep it real, cycle outside as often as possible. Anything else is not moving you forward to your potential.

    I don't think anyone is claiming zwift makes you better at dodging potholes or cars. You're thinking of frogger.
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,707
    I haven't got zwift but it's harder to do top end training on the road in Winter. Hard chain gangs in the dark can be more dangerous. The days when people just ticked over or did base miles over Winter are gone so I can see why zwift is popular. I've done hard intervals on a dumb trainer in the garage and it takes some motivation - on the road on a cold night the same.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093

    I haven't got zwift but it's harder to do top end training on the road in Winter. Hard chain gangs in the dark can be more dangerous. The days when people just ticked over or did base miles over Winter are gone so I can see why zwift is popular. I've done hard intervals on a dumb trainer in the garage and it takes some motivation - on the road on a cold night the same.

    True,

    But that's probably because people used to train with the aim of racing, and the racing season only goes from spring to autumn, whereas now many train for the sake of training or because they want to do virtual races, which go on every day of the year.
    If you want to race outdoors, then it's probably still a case of letting go of intervals over the winter, or you might peak at the wrong time, or not peak at all.
    left the forum March 2023
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,221
    Not only that but racers used to taper off for the winter and do easy pootling winter rides.
    I could understand that from top level racers after a hard season but I never did understand low club level and recreational cyclists doing the same only to have work hard in the spring to get back to where they were in the autumn.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • pblakeney said:

    Not only that but racers used to taper off for the winter and do easy pootling winter rides.
    I could understand that from top level racers after a hard season but I never did understand low club level and recreational cyclists doing the same only to have work hard in the spring to get back to where they were in the autumn.

    Back in my prime I was a reasonably successful tester, competing from March to September.
    I did tail off over the winter and did easy weekend rides over the winter.

    But once Xmas was over we all got the dumb trainers out - that's all there was. We worked Monday to Friday in the garage to Peter Read's programmes to be ready for the season opener.

    All we had was heart monitors, no tv, no music in our ears. We just worked hard.

    Was it better than Zwift etc? Who knows. Times change. Gear changes. Attitudes change. Knowledge changes.

    But there is still something to be said for being out on the road because no computer can fully replace outdoor conditions.

    The original question has no answer, or maybe it has too many answers. What works for one guy doesn't work for the next guy; what works for one guy this winter may not work for him next winter.
  • Defblade
    Defblade Posts: 136
    I get very little choice in this one. I have very mild asthma, which doesn't affect me at all day to day... unless I go out riding at all seriously when it's not warm enough. The break point is around 10'C. If I ride below that, my lungs fill up with phlegmy muck for the next day or so. So it has to be indoor training for me for a fair chunk of the year.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,093
    pblakeney said:

    Not only that but racers used to taper off for the winter and do easy pootling winter rides.
    I could understand that from top level racers after a hard season but I never did understand low club level and recreational cyclists doing the same only to have work hard in the spring to get back to where they were in the autumn.

    Doesn't have to be top level racers... anyone who wants to compete at his best, needs to taper off and take time off intervals.
    Ultimately, you don't have to be a 20 minute 10 TT man to take training seriously... if you have been given an engine that can only aspire to a long 25, then so be it...
    left the forum March 2023