In the past month we’ve seen an unprecedented number of unreleased Zwift features leaked in various Facebook groups, YouTube videos, and Reddit posts. Some of these leaks are clearly purposeful teasers on Zwift’s part, while some were found by curious Zwifters/hackers who know how to dig deep.
Today I’ll try to summarize these leaks in a single post. But I must preface this with two disclaimers:
- Just because a feature was found by a Zwifter/hacker (Zwacker?) doesn’t mean its launch is imminent. We’ve documented various Zwacker finds over the years that never made it into the live game.
- The features, visuals, etc uncovered by Zwackers should be considered “under construction” at this time. Some of them, such as the Climb Portals, are clearly unfinished.
With that said, let’s dig into six different things Zwifters have uncovered in recent Zwift updates!
Zwift has already announced their upcoming “Climb Portal” feature, set to arrive sometime this summer (read more here) in Watopia and France. We’ve now seen two video leaks of this feature.
First, Dave Higgins over at ZPCMR Facebook Group shared this video of a rider on “Hollywood Climb”, an 8.67km ascent.
Then YouTuber thePainCave posted this video of the France alternative, which is labeled “Cote de Pike” in game. Cote de Pike is a 1.4-mile climb featured in the 2023 Tour de France:
It’s worth mentioning that the sort of “unskinned” environment shown in these Climb Portal leaks is not what we’ll see in the final product. Sources within Zwift tell us these leaks show GPS-accurate gradients, but not the proper visuals – not surprising given the hacky nature of accessing the Climb Portal!
The eagle-eyed James Eastwood spotted this photo in the game files of version 1.39:
What is it? It’s a screenshot of a UI we’ve never seen, where Zwifters can save different bike profiles based on the front chainrings and rear cassette setup. (Hopefully that bike profile includes a frame and wheels!)
What are we looking at here? We think it’s a config screen for Z Cog, a piece of hardware first leaked by Zwift in December 2021, when they leaked the Zwift Wheel trainer concept. Back then, Zwift said “Z Cog: Zwift Wheel is built around a single cog design with virtual shifting, unlocking compatibility with all bikes from the box.”
Very interesting. Z Cog seems to be hardware you install on your smart trainer in place of a normal cassette, then use some sort of shifting interface to virtually shift using your trainer’s resistance. Your physical chain would no longer shift between different cogs on your cassette – rather, your trainer’s resistance would change to emulate moving between cogs.
This would open up a whole world of virtual gearing options – and let low-geared riders on mountain or gravel bikes avoid spinning out in sprints.
A source at Zwift told me this image caught them by surprise as well, since it was linked to the “paused” smart trainer plans from December 2021… so it’s possible Z Cog isn’t even an active project at this time. But if it is active, there are big Z Cog questions left unanswered at this point. Would this only work with the Zwift Hub trainer? And how do you control the virtual shifting? Speaking of controllers…
James Eastwood also found this image in the 1.39 game files and shared it with the ZPCMR group:
Clearly this is Zwift purposely teasing some sort of hardware. What are they teasing exactly?
On the Facebook thread, Zwifter Jack Lee pointed out that Zwift recently filed for FCC ID approval for a product named “Play Controller” (see the filing here). Digging into that filing you can see there are left and right controllers, they are battery-powered, and Bluetooth-enabled.
We’ve assumed that Zwift is working on braking ever since they added the pens to the top of Alpe du Zwift and Ventoux.
James Eastwood posted a video of an Alpe du Zwift descent where the rider is braking into the corner. You can see a slight red path ahead of the rider as they brake, and it turns green when the rider is at the proper speed:
While auto-braking can easily be done by the game (it already exists on London’s Classique hairpin), it would make sense for Zwift’s new “Play” controller to include braking capabilities. Much like steering (where Zwift auto-steers for riders without steering hardware while allowing those with hardware to manually steer), it would make sense for Zwift to allow for manual braking, while auto-braking anyone who enters a turn too quickly.
Repack Ridge (Rush)
When Zwift released version 1.39 on May 3, they included this note: “Repack Ridge is temporarily closed while we work on exciting improvements.”
Riders can visit the entrance to Repack Ridge and see a new paved section, new start pens, and more. This paved road rambles near Repack Ridge’s dirt singletrack, but extends longer and eventually meets up with the road descending from Saddle Springs, just before crossing the bridge to Ocean Boulevard. Based on the leaderboard title seen in Dave Higgins’ Climb Portal link (approve), this new road appears to be named “Repack Rush”.
What does Zwift have going on here? On Zwifter appears to have hacked in and posted a video on YouTube showing the new Repack roads, and they’ve got some very interesting features.
The new Repack appears to be a new steering game with time bonuses and sections to ride over (or avoid) which either boost or reduce your speed.
All of this is reminiscent of “game” discovered by Zwift Hype years go which lived inside one of the temples in Watopia’s Mayan Jungle. That game never went public, but this new Repack road seems to be much more intentional, and we think it will go live soon.
Zwift co-founder and co-CEO Eric Min is famous for leaking upcoming features in his Strava activities. Last week, he posted this Zwift ride which clearly shows him bouncing around various Watopia roads:
Is this what Zwift’s upcoming teleporting feature will look like on Strava? It seems likely.
Questions or Comments?
What do you think of these unreleased features? Are any particularly exciting or surprising to you? I think braking could really change the feel of races, especially on courses like Crit City.
Share your thoughts below!
great to see zwift working on some great stuff that will make it even more enjoyable
If the “Controllers” Zwift are seemingly creating are going to be in the form of a right/left combo then there’s a nice potential for them to maybe release a kind of clip-on controller that goes somewhere near a standard road bike’s hoods and gives you 2 buttons/triggers on each side for a total of 4 options: Two for Steering (Right/Left), one for Braking (or possibly even a Front & Rear brake), and one for Power-up Activation. Preferably with function mapping available on them so that they can be used for different things in different events and/or future challenges etc. If… Read more »
Depending on price this would certainly be a fun feature. The current steering methods are more money than they are worth in my opinion, but I would love to still be able to participate in steering. Hopefully they carry thru with this concept!
I hope that new repack rush (if it happens) doesn’t completely replace Repack Ridge. Visually, that was probably my favorite area of Zwift. Pens, ability to loop, and losing the requirement to swap bikes (onto the Zwift MTB but nothing else), would have made Repack Ridge great. I hope it’s not gone for good.
Same. I was hoping this meant an expansion of MTB trails and steering there, plus some upgraded functionality. Instead it looks to be replaced by a meta video game in game.
I’d have settled for the ability to do loops, start pens, and the ability for event promoters to toggle the need for steering (yes for TT races, no for mass start?) would have been great, but as you say, upgraded functionality (more things to do? let us choose our own bikes? dunno what else) and more trail options would have been perfect.
I agree, while I like the video game concept, I LOVED Repack Ridge and was hoping for an extension and more features, not a replacement.
I agree. Was definitely my favorite area.
I know it didn’t work if you didn’t have the ability to steer (would have loved event promoters to be able to toggle it on or off), but it just felt like “home” to me. Dirt roads, narrow trails, fall weather. It was great (if you weren’t looking for speed or distance or XP). I really enjoyed it as a race warm up when I didn’t want to go with a pace partner.
We haven’t heard about segment based workouts since Zwift featured it as coming soon nearly a year ago. Muckle would be a good course for it. (Rebel ride= total segment time?)
More hardware and features to allow us to interact between the physical world and zwift realistically quid be great but please launch a developed product unlike that rubbish Sterzo I recently had and had to return! I mean, why 45deg handle bar movement left and right! Why such lag? Why so limited to mice my avatar? Rubbish. Please develop the software and hardware product before launch.
my sterzo worked
So does mine. No complains. I am actually positively surprised how well it works.
Don’t need virtual gears, just need to be able to adjust the base resistance on 0% gradient/flat using a slider bar to your liking (much like the trainer difficulty setting for the climbs). A feature that has been requested for years and ignored by the devs.
Yes – would love a base resistance slider!
But: I think the Z-Cog still has a place – for instance, if Zwift makes a smart bike like they proposed back in December 2021, they could save a lot of costs on groupsets/shifting by virtualizing it.
Zcog would be cool but the hardware would have to be responsive enough to change resistance quickly, to mimic the snappy feel of a real gear change.
As for the base resistance slider, although I love my zwift hub for most situations, it’s no good for racing as I just can’t get enough resistance in sim mode on the flats to sprint. Who knows, maybe it will be fixed via a firmware update.
while I am skeptical about virtual gears, I definitively like the concept of presets for different bike types, as in frame/wheels/colorways, for quick access in the garage =)
I know it’s slightly different, but James Bailey has all but confirmed the results based categories for Zwift racing is coming in the next few months.
Yes, that’s a good callout – I know ZHQ folks are saying that race results are already being computed in the background, so it’s coming… someday!
I hadn’t heard that, should be an interesting and (hopefully) positive change so long as it all works well and no glaring oversights
Point definitely taken on a posted leak not being the real deal. But a real question is how are these things getting out, assuming they are in fact getting out and not just fakes. Some options include that this is a controlled and approved leak/preview and a way of floating ideas in the community without, I guess the thinking would go, risking quite as much, or that this is not approved and a leak by someone like a tester looking for views and/or possibly a dev with an idea trying to create a buzz – in which case why is… Read more »
The point being that Zwift should not continue tickling the dragon. Playing with leaks/code that hasn’t passed proper checks and/or encouraging ‘zwacking’ or EULA isn’t as cute as they seem to think. Users also run some of this stuff on their own devices and there’s a bunch of potentially useful data bouncing around all the time on the basis of a contract that all parties have agreed to abide by.
Depends on the feature, but I’d say the Climb Portal, Repack Rush, and Braking are probably a legit Zwack… a Zwacker used some technique like changing variables in memory in order to access a part of the game that is supposed to be off-limits.
Other stuff is found just by digging around through the game files.
Eric Min’s Strava ride? That’s a calculated leak for sure. 🙂
Repack Rush reminds me of the old Mario Cart. The teleporting feature will be huge for me. I like to do a workout, then join a pace partner to cool down and now I can do it all in one ride. I also really like the idea of a PP ladder or interval workout. Can’t wait!
I. Want. A. Velodrome!!!
100%! something ive wanted aswell for years now, maybe some events, pursuit vs a bot or challenge others? distance time trials or just sprint training solo, would be a spicy segment leaderboard!
They gave us something like this in Paris/Crit City, and honestly I think that’s the closest we may get. Think about the nightmare of overcrowding in a velodrome. You would have to make all other riders invisible, or something of that sort, and that’s just really not that much fun. I love the concept but really don’t see how it could be made to work in a way that would be enjoyable and effective.
I’d Swap all of them for a decent customisable GUI
Can’t wait for auto braking. It just might make decending a bit more realistic so the heavier riders don’t gain an automatic advantage downhill. Or how about letting them crash…that would probably be unpopular…
zwift wont have a negative feature/thing like crashing. so the only thing brakes could be useful for is stopping on a descent for a bike swap; anything else is pointless
Going to the pairing screen stops you dead right now.
Steering with a gamepad/cell phone gyro attached to the handlebars would be great. Why does Zwift need to lock the steering feature to approved devices?
I would love to see live Point tallies in points races like Bullseye (Herd) or ZRL – even just the top ten – or even just my own points
I rather see them fix the stupid bugs they are constant creating
How about some improvements to the actual game UI? Just allowing us to turn individual things on and off or maybe even resize or move them?
We have Sauce4Zwift to add new things, so being able to selectively get rid of the Zwift version of some controls would be useful.
Is there any way of turning of the PC killing 3d video game, and allow me just to ride my bike.
Have looked for it but not seen anything: What is up with the blocked-off roads that seem to have been added just west of both of the Titan’s Grove entrances? Some say they are new start pens yet it seems as if there is “more road” between the two?
Look above under the “Repack Rush” heading…
Z-Cog would be nice for MTB for something like my 30T CR and 11-46 cassette, it could change resistance automatically for when you are under/over a 1-2% grade.