Your chosen bike frame and wheelset both affect speed in Zwift, so it makes sense for racers to do a little research and choose the best tool for the job.
Frame Tests – Introduction
While Zwift’s 4-star rating system for weight and aero is simple and easy to understand, performance varies even among frames with the same star ratings–because the stars are just an approximation.
So we’ve ranked all the standard road frames (TT frames are ranked here) against each other based on their actual performance on flat roads (2 laps of Tempus Fugit) and a long, steep climb (Alpe du Zwift).
As you will see, some frames perform well in flat tests, while others are nimble climbers. In between we have the all-arounders: frames that perform well on all course types but can’t beat the specialized frames on their own turf.
This chart shows actual timings for flat and climb tests, in seconds. The shorter the bar, the faster the frame.
- Flat tests run on 2 laps of Tempus Fugit at 300 watts steady with an isolated 75kg rider 183cm tall, using basic Zwift 32mm Carbon wheels. This test data is used for all flat results on this page.
- Climb tests run on Alpe du Zwift using 300 watts steady with an isolated 75kg rider 183cm tall, using basic Zwift 32mm Carbon wheels. This test data is used for all climbing results on this page.
Trying to choose a frame based on timing data can be a mathematical nightmare! Yes, you’ve got our timings above. But how much of your race is uphill, how much of it is flat, and how long is the race?
Percentile rankings make it easy to compare frames against each other and spot the top performers.
Flat Course Performance (Percentile Rankings)
Climbing Performance (Percentile Rankings)
Frame Percentile Rankings, Stacked
This format lets you easily see how frames perform across both flats and climbs, and compare that performance with other frames. This is useful for selecting the best bike frame for your race course.
Example: you want a top-performing frame for a road race up Alpe du Zwift, so you look at the longest bars. But you know the race will be won or lost on the big climb, so you go with the Canyon Aeroad 2021 since it is near the top of the climbing rankings and also offers decent performance on the flats.
What About the Tron Bike?
The Tron bike (Zwift Concept 1) is not listed above because it’s impossible to test the Tron frame without also testing the Tron wheels, since they are inseparable.
What we do know is the Tron is not a strong climber, but it’s among the fastest setups for flat and rolling courses. Only a handful of frames, coupled with the very fastest wheelsets, can beat the Tron by 1-3 seconds in our ~50 minute flat test.
Here’s a post which charts the Tron bike against top-performing frames and wheelsets, so you can see how well it performs.
We’d love to know what you think of these charts, including suggestions for improvements. Share your comments below.