Your bike frame and wheelset choice both affect speed in Zwift, but your wheels affect it the most at higher speeds like you’ll find in flat or rolling races. While frame choice may change your 1-hour time by ~20 seconds, wheel choice can change your time in these events by ~60 seconds!
Wheel Tests – Introduction
Zwift’s 4-star rating system for weight and aero is simple and easy to understand, but performance varies even among wheelsets with the same star ratings because the stars are just an approximation.
So we’ve ranked all the wheels against each other based on their actual performance on flat roads (2 laps of Tempus Fugit) and a long, steep climb (Alpe du Zwift).
This chart shows actual timings for flat and climb tests, in seconds. The shorter the bar, the faster the wheels.
- Flat tests run on 2 laps of Tempus Fugit at 300 watts steady with an isolated 75kg rider 183cm tall, using the Zwift Aero bike frame. 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 the Zwift Aero bike frame. This test data is used for all climbing results on this page.
Trying to choose a wheelset 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 wheels against each other and spot the top performers.
Flat Course Performance (Percentile Rankings)
Climbing Performance (Percentile Rankings)
Wheel Percentile Rankings, Stacked
This format lets you easily see how wheelsets perform across both flats and climbs, and compare that performance with other wheelsets. This is useful for planning your race strategy.
Example: you want a top-performing wheelset 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 Zipp 353 NSW wheels since they are near the top of the climbing rankings and also offer solid performance on the flats.
We’d love to know what you think of these charts, including suggestions for improvements. Share your comments below.