By James Bracey
Not only can you choose between a host of routes and locations, you can also tune your avatar to look (a bit) like you. And then, there's the opportunity to 'ride' a vast array of pretty special bikes. But only if you can access them.
Almost all of the bikes available on Zwift can be purchased through the app's virtual bikeshop, the Drop Shop. Fortunately you don't have to spend your actual hard earned in order to unlock these beauties but through the spending of Zwift's Drop currency.
Drops are easy to earn but you basically pay in sweat (hence the Drops name), simply the more you ride, the more Drops you earn. The amount of Drops you earn can also depend on the amount of climbing and effort you put into each session so hit Zwift hard and you'll see your bank balance jump accordingly.
Now the age old dilemma of buying a solid, reliable bike and upgrading it over time or holding out and saving for your dream bike is also true within Zwift. And before you suggest that this is complete nonsense and that the equipment doesn't matter, try riding with your mate on a blinged out TT bike when you're on a MTB on any Zwift course - then you'll see how much harder you have to push (yes, I do this on a regular basis - don't ask me why!).
Each bike is rated for its weight and aerodynamics, with a score out of four - with one being the heaviest or least aerodynamic and four being the lightest and slipperiest. These have an impact on how fast you can go for a given effort or how rapid you can climb. This again might not really make a difference if you're just using Zwift for solo training efforts but if you intend racing your bike in the virtual world - it can make all the difference.
Some bike models are available at the Drop Shop almost immediately so you can begin tweaking your setup straight away. However most of the better performing bikes need you to have gained not only certain amounts of Drops but to have also advanced through the levels in order to unlock the ability to purchase them.
Just like Drops, you advance through the levels by gaining XP (Experience Points), earned with every kilometre you ride.
So without further ado, here's the comprehensive list of every bike manufacturer, model, ever attribute and when and how you can purchase them. Ready?
BMC has two bikes available including the very rapid Timemachine 01 TT specific bike
Fan favourites Cannondale has plenty of standard road bike options including one of the fastest climbers in all of Watopia in the shape of the older EVO model.
Canyon has gone fully in on Zwift with a full quiver of machines so if you're into your Canyon bikes you can swap between road, TT, MTB and even gravel. The Grail (along with the Cervélo Aspero is believed to be the fastest gravel bike available).
There are choices from both of Cervélo's road going R and S ranges on Zwift as well as being able to choose a rapid TT specific bike. If you want to go even more bonkers, the triathlon spec P5X is about as Mad Max as bikes go and is the first of the million Drop bikes in the list.
Little known New Zealand brand (at least in the UK), Chapter2 has a pretty good looking line-up. On Zwift you can choose from the lightweight climber Tere or its aero sibling Rere for a bike that will stand out from the crowd.
German bike giants Cube bring its fast and light weapons to the game in the shape of the Litening, albeit the older shape version, unlocked at level 32. It also has its triathlon specific Aerium with crazy twin head tube design to deliver PB smashing speeds.
If you want futuristic then look no further than Diamondback's Andean TT bike. Almost a complete monocoque construction complete with aero extensions make it super slippery on the flat courses.
You have to progress some way through the levels before you can unlock Felt's two bikes. You can choose between the aero road AR or Ironman winning IA TT specialist. The IA is also one of only four bikes that will cost you over a million Drops to buy.
Giant's highly rated Propel Advanced and TCR Advanced are the only choices from a brand with a massive resume. Luckily they are both pretty decent although the Propel will cost you a pretty packet to buy at over eight hundred thousand Drops.
|Langma Advanced SL||745,500||22||2||3||Standard|
Apart from Specialized, Liv is the only brand here that has a women's specific bike. Liv, for those that might not know, is Giant's female specific brand. The Langma is a bit of an all-rounder but a very good looking one at that.
Parlee's aero styled road bike the ESX is represented on Zwift along with the more radical looking RZ7. Both are really good all-rounder that bring a touch of class to proceedings.
Some of the most sought after bikes on Zwift are the Pinarello bikes. However none of them come cheap including the Bolide TT, another member of the million Drop club. You also need to ride a pretty long way to access even the standard Bolide, available only at level 25. Pinarello also sees the first of the 'money can't buy' bikes in the shape of the Dogma F8. This can only be gained after completing the Tour Italy challenge.
Want something Belgian to remind you of the Spring Classics that could have been? You'll need the Helium, Ridley's aero road machine.
Scott has the gamut of requirements met with its triptych of bikes. You can currently access the Spark RC MTB for free by signing up to the Cape Absa challenge.
Without doubt Specialized has the heaviest presence in the Drop Shop and you can pretty much pick up anything from its road line-up. A top tip if you want to start climbing as much as possible is to purchase the Tarmac Pro at level 11 as it's one of the best climbers in the shop and will help you unlock the ultimate bike quicker than most.
Specialized also has a Collector's Only Tarmac that can only be unlocked by completing the Ride California challenge.
It's lightweight or aero from Trek. But if you want to unlock its best climbing Emonda you will need to complete the Climb Everest challenge and climb 8,850m.
The Ventum One is another mental looking TT bike. This time it forgoes the down tube and seat stays to create a pretty radical machine that will definitely stand out.
|Zwift||Concept 1 (Tron) (5)||0||Standard|
Obviously Zwift has a plethora of its own machines to choose from and the good news is quite a few are available from the start of your Zwift experience.
There is one bike that stands out from the rest as the 'Ultimate Zwift Bike' and that is the Concept 1. The Concept 1, or Tron bike as it's affectionately known, is regarded as 'The Bike' to have for racing and just being as rapid as possible when riding with your mates.
The Tron bike is not easy to unlock though, you'll need to climb 50,000 metres before you can get your hands on one (without cheating).
Here are all the Brits down to ride the Tour de France 2021
Nine of Britain's own will be taking to the start line in Brest in under a week's time, including Mark Cavendish
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Who's going to win the 2021 Tour de France? Cycling Weekly's preview show
Our preview show gives you the lowdown on the upcoming French Grand Tour
By Cycling Weekly •
Electric bikes and UK law: what you need to know
Do you need a licence to ride an electric bike? What's the maximum permissable power output for an ebike? Read on to find out more...
By Nick Busca •
How to buy an e-bike: Everything you need to know about electric bikes before you purchase
Are you wondering how to buy an e-bike but don't know your torque from your power or your hub drive from a mid drive motor? Then you've come to the right place
By Rupert Radley •
Is an e-bike worth it? Why an electric bike is perfect for commuting
An e-bike is the perfect mode of transport for commuting to work
By Luke Friend •
The best electric bike conversion kits and how to fit one
Feeling a little e-curious but don't want to splash the cash?
By James Bracey •
Best road bike wheels reviewed 2021: disc and rim wheelsets
Our complete guide to what to look for when buying your new road bike wheels, including the type of rim, the material, and the depth you should go for.
By Stefan Abram •
A new look for Strava app with updates to the navigation bar
The new design should make the app more intuitive to use, as well as offering the promise of “room to grow when it comes to developing new features
By Stefan Abram •
Cairn launches two new do-it-all electric bikes
The brand says these bikes 'defy categorisation', but we'd call them gravel e-bikes
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •
Steel bar pedal system claims to be world's fastest engaging
First-look Friday at these interesting, and rather burly looking, pedals
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •