Zwift’s September update included the first in-game frame from CADEX, named the CADEX Tri. This frame has a very distinctive design which according to CADEX offers strong aero performance, but also custom fit options and light weight that all packs well into a triathlete’s travel case.
It appears CADEX is onto something. Remember Zwift’s Sub7/Sub8 initiative? In June 2022, Kristian Blummenfelt rode this frame to the completion of the world’s first sub 7-hour long distance triathlon event. Blummenfelt and his team of eight pacers each rode the new CADEX Tri frameset and CADEX Aero WheelSystems. He completed the 180km bike distance with a time of 3:24:22 for an average speed of 52.8 kph, shattering his target time by nearly 25 minutes for a historic full-distance time of 6:44:25.
Here’s how it’s described in the Drop Shop, where it is priced at 1,029,500 Drops and level-locked at 42+:
The CADEX Tri frameset is a no-holds-barred triathlon machine—no restrictions, no limitations. It’s designed, engineered and put to the test by the world’s fastest triathletes in a bold quest to push the sport forward. It rewrites the rules. There’s nothing conventional about this bike. The frame, with its radical monocoque design, unlocks a new level of aero efficiency. It gives triathletes an entirely new way to access nutrition, hydration and other essentials right from their racing position without the wind ever noticing. It’s all right there, tucked inside the aero down tube, invisible to the wind.
Like every TT frame on Zwift, the CADEX Tri is rated 4 stars for aero and 1 for weight. But how does it actually stack up against the other 20 TT frames in game?
We ran the new frame through our standard speed tests to find out, and the results were impressive! Here’s everything you need to know about the performance of the new CADEX Tri frame in Zwift.
Aero (Flat/Rolling) Performance
The CADEX Tri’s aero performance outclasses every other frame in game, including the former-fastest Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc.
Its flat course test time of 49:36.5 is 4.5 seconds faster than the Canyon, making it the fastest TT frame in game by a significant margin when you consider TT races are where every second counts.
With frame choice sometimes coming down to a trade-off between climb and aero performance we should also mention here that the CADEX Tri is 6.5 seconds faster in our flat test than the two best climbing frames, the Felt IA 2.0 and Scott Plasma RC Ultimate. See below for details on how it stacks up against those frames on climbs.
Comparing it standard road frames, the four fastest road frames (Cervelo S5 2020, Felt AR, Specialized Venge S-Works, and Uranium Nuclear) all turn in a time of 51:17 on our flat test. That makes the CADEX Tri frame 100.5 seconds faster!
Reminder: our flat test course is two laps of Tempus Fugit totaling 34.6km.
The CADEX Tri’s climbing performance is also solid. Although it’s not the best climbing TT frame in game, it outclimbs the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc.
The CADEX Tri turns in an Alpe time of 50:06.5. The fastest overall climbing TT frames in game (Felt IA 2.0 and Scott Plasma RC Ultimate) complete the test 5.5 seconds faster, while the Canyon Speedmax is 2.5s slower.
Note: all test results above are from a 75kg, 183cm rider holding 300W steady using Zwift’s stock 32mm carbon wheelset.
The CADEX Tri’s top-of-the-heap aero performance and solid climbing performance make it the best choice today for nearly every Zwift race where TT frames are allowed. The choice is easy: if your race has you spending more time on flats and descents than inclines: go with the CADEX Tri for the fastest overall speed.
Newer Zwifters will of course notice the level lock of 42+, which is much higher than other top performers (the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc is 26, the Scott Plasma RC Ultimate is 33, and the Felt IA 2.0 is 34). More incentive to level up quickly!
The CADEX Tri has been added to the following posts, and it can also be found on our Master Zwift Frames List:
- Zwift Shopping Guide: What To Buy At Each Level
- Fastest TT Frames
- Fastest TT Bike Frames and Wheels at Each Zwift Level
- TT Frame Performance Charts
- Speed Tests: Tron Bike vs Top TT Performers (Scatter Plot)
- Wheel and Frame Performance Scatter Plots
- Bike Frame and Wheelset Recommendations for Zwift’s Bologna Time Trial Route
Questions or Comments?
Important note: this post contains speed test results for Zwift frames or wheels. These results may change over time, and a bike’s performance relative to others may also change. We don’t always revise posts when performance rankings change, but we do keep current, master versions of our speed test results which are always available. See the TT frame charts, wheel charts, and Tron vs Top TT Performers for current time trial-related performance data.
Average speed of 52.8kph?!?! Wow, I feel so inadequate.
Don’t worry, it was only for 180km. 🙂
52,8 kph over 180km ????? … please tell us, that the course had an average gradient of -2% 🙈
he had help from 8 other pro time-trialists. It was the first time without draft-rule so he was allowed to draft for the full 180…
Is there any chance you could re-run this test again on Tuesday morning and post here confirming that it is still just as fast? 😛
Well, until Zwift releases an update to the game, nothing can possibly change…
Righty ho then, 2 Million Drops hanging around in my Garage… time to get spending!!!
I wonder if Zwift is ever gonna add the Cadex Disc and triple spoke wheel combo.
It’s me again, being a pest and asking if it’s possible for you to set your bots to 200w and maybe 85-90kg as well as your standard 300w/75kg. That would be more the boundary between D-C categories than the B-A boundary you’re running. I know that’s where you race, so I understand. Aerodynamic drag increases sharply with speed. I didn’t realize the size of speed’s effect on wattage until I say GCN’s video ‘How Wide Is Too Wide For Road Bike Tires?’ from August 11. Please see the attachment and don’t get bogged down in what they were doing. I’m… Read more »
But surely the absolute times are not the important detail – what matters is the relative performance of each frame under identical circumstances. Wouldn’t that same relative performance apply in any other set of circumstances (i.e. if frame A is 1% better than frame B at 300w it will also be 1% better than frame B at 200w, albeit that the time difference will be smaller). Or am i missing something?
Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t have the math and I don’t trust my intuition. That’s why I was looking for actual tests.
Hi Paul: the time gaps grow at lower power levels, as Tony Lane guessed in his reply. Basically, if your speed, say, 20% slower, then the gaps will be 20% larger. I don’t test at 300W because that’s around where I race… I test there because it’s a nice, round number that works well with a 75kg weight (approximate average weight of Zwift racers) and is in the window of a good number of competitive racers on Zwift. I’ve done lots of tests over the years at different weights and power levels, of course. But had to simplify things in… Read more »
I’d actually asked Zwift if we could use lower-power bots for a few tests but they didn’t want to approve it. Can’t blame me for trying.
Eric – any chance you could a small set of TT bike tests same bike but at different heights and weights? The ones you’ve done for road bikes were invaluable for helping organize a TTT rotation. Thanks.
so does this mean we all have to ride on our “sister’s bike” for extra speed now.
LOL. Yes it does!
Yes he went fast in the sub-7 but Joe Skipper went faster on an Argon. It was more about the team and tactics than the bike in that specific circumstance.
The bike and position will also determine how much power you need to keep up the speed. If the bike itself can save you 10watts at the same speed as competitor that can make a difference.
Wasn’t that just because Joe Skipper was the stronger bike rider though? Could also argue he had the stronger team. IIRC from Alex Dowsett’s VLOG they did feel those bikes would be fast(er)
Interested to see if this affects bike recommendation for Bologna TT?
In bologna, you’re half of the time climbing so I believe this one is not the best choice?
I think it actually still IS the best choice, Ronald – or basically tied with the Felt IA 2.0 and Scott Plasma RC Ultimate. The CADEX will be faster on the flat, while the other two will pull back some time on the climb. I think in the end, they’ll turn in nearly identical times – which is why I put all three in this Bologna post yesterday: https://zwiftinsider.com/bologna-setup/
Ya!, but does it come in blue?…
Have you ever experimented with how fast a TT bike is on a relatively flat but busy course compared to a normal road bike? Obviously the TT is fastest if there’s nobody to draft, but I’d be curious if the added draft wins (even if you’re not purposefully trying to draft people). If I was to watch something and do an easy spin and not pay attention to Zwift I wonder if the TT bike is still the way to go?
You can’t* draft with a TT bike
*Unless doing TTT
I’m confused. On a flat course the CADEX is just 6.5 seconds faster than the best climbing road frames, but 100.5 seconds better than the best aero road frames?
“Comparing it standard road frames, the four fastest road frames (Cervelo S5 2020, Felt AR, Specialized Venge S-Works, and Uranium Nuclear) all turn in a time of 51:17 on our flat test. That makes the CADEX Tri frame 100.5 seconds faster!”
All TT bikes are faster than road bikes on flat. On climbs, all road bikes are faster than TT, I believe.
You are right about the last statement there, all road bikes are faster than all TT bikes. At least, last I checked they were.
As a Star Wars fan the Cadex is for me.
if i have the levels and the drops, which wheels should i pair the Cadex Tri frame with, for max flat course TT speed, the ones it comes with?
It doesn’t come with wheels… you buy frames separately from wheels on Zwift.
Fastest wheels in game are the DT Swiss discs. See https://zwiftinsider.com/fastest-bikes-at-each-level/