Zwift - does it get better?

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rdt
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Zwift - does it get better?

Postby rdt » Wed Sep 11, 2019 17:36 pm

I've been using TrainerRoad for 18 months or so for structured training, am quite happy with it, and keep an annual subs for use throughout the year, which I use a lot.

A background plan has been to add in a bit of Zwift during the darker months, but I've been in no hurry...

I've not previously had a device capable of running Zwift, but I've seen plenty of videos of it and follow developments from a distance. I've been waiting for the next Apple TV box to launch, hoping this would set me up as a cheap but decent Zwift device that'd last for a few years. NB It's 2 years since the 4k box launched, and it looks like there might be a an upgraded one incoming ( https://www.macrumors.com/2019/09/04/ap ... ng-rumors/ ), which I'd be interested in buying.

But last week I got a new Android phone that can run Zwift so gave it a whirl using my Neo on the free 25km per month (not the 7 day trial yet, as I was about to travel...).

I was a bit underwhelmed, but I realise there were a few things less than ideal:
- Tiny phone screen vs. TV screen (which I'd be using if I bought an Apple TV);
- Limited route options because I was a newbie.

I found Zwift quite motivating in terms of caning it for 30-odd minutes, but not really very immersive. It reminded me of a slightly fancier version of riding a GPS route on the old Tacx Android app, which showed you on a Google Maps route. I actually felt "trapped" on the Volcano and NY course segments I was riding and thought it would quickly become a bit tedious if that "was it".

Does it get much better with
(a) a big screen?
(b) more routes to choose from (NB it's majorly off-putting that the gamification means you cannot access everything from the get-go)?
(c) other stuff such as races (NB virtual group rides don't currently have any appeal to me)?

TIA.

philthy3
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby philthy3 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 19:25 pm

I'm not a big fan of Zwift for the just riding side of it, but the workouts are useful and easy to follow with ERG mode. You can use codes to change locations even with the trial versions. The codes are easily found on the internet.
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rdt
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby rdt » Wed Sep 11, 2019 21:42 pm

philthy3 wrote:You can use codes to change locations even with the trial versions. The codes are easily found on the internet.


Are you talking about prefs.xml changes? Not possible on Android or Apple TV, to the best of my knowledge.

Or something else?

cougie
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby cougie » Wed Sep 11, 2019 22:06 pm

It doesn't take long to get the extra access. Level 10 for the jungle isn't it ?

Zwift has a lot of training sessions and events so that might motivate you ?

I did enjoy trainerroad too but you need to be more dedicated to go with TR I found. Zwift is a bit more fun.

KingstonGraham
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby KingstonGraham » Wed Sep 11, 2019 22:11 pm

rdt wrote:Does it get much better with
(a) a big screen?
(b) more routes to choose from (NB it's majorly off-putting that the gamification means you cannot access everything from the get-go)?
(c) other stuff such as races (NB virtual group rides don't currently have any appeal to me)?



a) I just run it on the laptop screen, it's not there for the scenery for me
b) agree it is a bit annoying not to get everything from the start but the basic stuff in Watopia gives enough variation doesn't it? I can't remember missing much except the Alpe and maybe a bit of the jungle.
c) THE RACES!!!! This is what it's all about for me. It's a way of getting a hard unstructured workout that really pushes me.

The workouts with erg mode are good but I guess no better than Trainerroad, but the races are what makes it worth it. I'm not interested in group rides on there at all either.
and then the next thing you know

NitrousOxide
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby NitrousOxide » Thu Sep 12, 2019 07:49 am

On a laptop, you can easily force a world change that deviates from the calendar schedule, plus tweak other settings https://zwiftinsider.com/zwift-preferences-update/

The "level" system in Zwift is silly IMO, that opens up courses and equipment. For example, Alpe Du Zwift opens up at level12, but climbers earn level-up points based on distance rather than elevation or riding time! You can cheat the system by joining events taking place in locked locations, or joining a rider... But you have to guess from their pace whether they might be say climbing the Alpe hairpins.

The quickest way to earn level-up points is to select distance units as Km (20 per), as opposed to 30 per mile. Ride flat courses (you could use ERG mode on smart trainer to make things more variable) on the Zwift TT frame and the deepest rim wheels you have (before then buying the ~91000 units Enve set ASAP).

I moaned when they put the price up to £13pcm, but the second consecutive subscription payment headed to Zwift yesterday. Through illness, injury and carp weather, my outdoor summer season has been a write-off. But mixing up courses; freeride or ERG traning sessions; races; TTs; odd group ride has made me turn the corner since late July. It probably helped that I found turboing in a different room meant I could put out some feable power on the flats and downhills without upsetting the downstairs neighbours or my better half!
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rdt
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby rdt » Thu Sep 12, 2019 08:09 am

KingstonGraham wrote:[c) THE RACES!!!! This is what it's all about for me. It's a way of getting a hard unstructured workout that really pushes me.

The workouts with erg mode are good but I guess no better than Trainerroad, but the races are what makes it worth it. I'm not interested in group rides on there at all either.



To expand on my initial post...

Indoor structured indoor interval training has a clear focused purpose, and is very effective IMO, while outside riding in the nice rural places I get to ride I find to be very good for the head (and the soul!) in addition to the exercise benefits. But just riding around in Zwift felt uninvolving for me, and felt rather "pointless".

I plan to keep retain my TrainerRoad subs (for the structured training plans) for the foreseeable future, eg. until they bin my grandfathered-in $10 pricing, which will happen at some point, such as when TR gets acquired one day (anytime between 1 week and 10 years from now...).

But Zwift RACES, I can understand the potential appeal of that, so I should give a few a go before deciding whether to spend money on the Apple gear I mentioned.

How do I go about finding and entering suitable races, ie. ones scheduled at the right time and at the right w/kg etc?

NitrousOxide
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby NitrousOxide » Thu Sep 12, 2019 08:13 am

https://zwiftpower.com/

Click an event and expand the description.

Far easier on the Zwift Companion app, but no idea if there is an iOS version.
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KingstonGraham
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby KingstonGraham » Thu Sep 12, 2019 08:17 am

and then the next thing you know

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rdt
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby rdt » Thu Sep 12, 2019 08:18 am

NitrousOxide wrote:On a laptop, you can easily force a world change that deviates from the calendar schedule, plus tweak other settings https://zwiftinsider.com/zwift-preferences-update/


As mentioned, no laptop for Zwift, so not possible on Android (now) or Apple TV (future).


NitrousOxide wrote:The "level" system in Zwift is silly IMO, that opens up courses and equipment. For example, Alpe Du Zwift opens up at level12, but climbers earn level-up points based on distance rather than elevation or riding time! You can cheat the system by joining events taking place in locked locations, or joining a rider... But you have to guess from their pace whether they might be say climbing the Alpe hairpins.

The quickest way to earn level-up points is to select distance units as Km (20 per), as opposed to 30 per mile. Ride flat courses (you could use ERG mode on smart trainer to make things more variable) on the Zwift TT frame and the deepest rim wheels you have (before then buying the ~91000 units Enve set ASAP).


Thanks for the tips.

NB I do find these gamification aspects of Zwift ***massively annoying and off-putting***. Such mickey mouse stuff might help keep a few punters hooked, I suppose, but that's perhaps offset (or more) by those like me who think it's idiotic and see it as a barrier to using and subscribing to Zwift!

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rdt
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby rdt » Thu Sep 12, 2019 08:19 am

Thanks for the links folks!

Appreciated.

Slowbike
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby Slowbike » Thu Sep 12, 2019 08:48 am

£13/month for Zwift ... I'll stick with Bkool which I get for £3/month atm ...

Choose any course I want - from the get go - and upload my own if there's nothing I fancy ...

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Alex222
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby Alex222 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 09:29 am

For me it is definitely about the races. But for that I don't think there would be enough to keep me motivated.

cougie
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby cougie » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:25 am

Rdt if you think it's idiotic then why bother with something that clearly annoys you.

Use something else ?

KingstonGraham
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby KingstonGraham » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:59 am

cougie wrote:Rdt if you think it's idiotic then why bother with something that clearly annoys you.

Use something else ?


I also think that not having access to certain routes until you have ridden for weeks is daft.

Power ups I'm a bit less bothered about - I think they are a bit weird in races but part of the game I guess. Prefer races that say no power ups though.
and then the next thing you know

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rdt
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby rdt » Thu Sep 12, 2019 14:45 pm

cougie wrote:Rdt if you think it's idiotic then why bother with something that clearly annoys you.

Use something else ?


As mentioned, I do use something else (TR) for structured training, so have that base covered.

The "idiotic" reference was to the overt gamification aspects (gaining access to new levels, power ups, etc) of Zwift, not the overall concept, aspects of which do appeal hence me beginning to kick its tyres a bit and ask questions...

What I am interested are its cycling simulation aspects and ability to be competitive to some degree with other people, which can be motivating and fun. Zwift is the leader here, not least because is has the first mover advantage subscriber numbers (punters simultaneously online), but clearly I'm not "committed" to it and am open to other suggestions...

Bear in mind I don't have Windows, Mac OS or iOS devices, so options are a bit limited :wink:
However, I am prepared to buy an Apple TV, so options are beginning to open up there as apps get ported over. Zwift is one of the few options I can check out today on Android (phone), and if I really like it, be able to pony up for a more immersive Apple TV setup.
NB the Apple TV (& TV) would be housed in a gym room, and be bought solely for this bike training purpose, so I'd need to be pretty sure I'd make use of it before buying.

lochindaal
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby lochindaal » Thu Sep 12, 2019 14:51 pm

TR is far better for structured training. Zwift only allows access to a workout if you have done the previous one. If you are coaching yourself and want access to specific workouts you can't always get them.
If you want to smash yourself and get a hard workout then the races are great...even if some peoples power numbers look better than a pro when you lose :-)

Dannbodge
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby Dannbodge » Fri Sep 13, 2019 07:50 am

Slowbike wrote:£13/month for Zwift ... I'll stick with Bkool which I get for £3/month atm ...

Choose any course I want - from the get go - and upload my own if there's nothing I fancy ...


I've only paid £8 a month for my next 12 months of Zwift.

NitrousOxide
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby NitrousOxide » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:56 pm

Dannbodge wrote:
Slowbike wrote:£13/month for Zwift ... I'll stick with Bkool which I get for £3/month atm ...

Choose any course I want - from the get go - and upload my own if there's nothing I fancy ...


I've only paid £8 a month for my next 12 months of Zwift.


How have you managed that? The £8pcm for long term subscribers was supposed to finish November 2018. The best deal I've come across by chance was something like ~£130 for 12 months, getting a voucher from Hargroves IIRC.
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Dannbodge
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Re: Zwift - does it get better?

Postby Dannbodge » Sat Sep 14, 2019 06:46 am

NitrousOxide wrote:
Dannbodge wrote:
Slowbike wrote:£13/month for Zwift ... I'll stick with Bkool which I get for £3/month atm ...

Choose any course I want - from the get go - and upload my own if there's nothing I fancy ...


I've only paid £8 a month for my next 12 months of Zwift.


How have you managed that? The £8pcm for long term subscribers was supposed to finish November 2018. The best deal I've come across by chance was something like ~£130 for 12 months, getting a voucher from Hargroves IIRC.


There was a guy on eBay selling 1 year subscription cards for £100.


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