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).
See the complete list of wheels available on Zwift, along with level requirement, star rating, and Drops price >
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.
This is the best I’ve seen!
One thing I really want to know though is how the Tron compares.
I’m 80kg and on a hilly race (anything with 300m or more of climbing) or a key hill that can split the group, I want to know at how much of a disadvantage I’d be worth the trip bike.
I have an important event on saturday. The course is “Insbruking”.
Which wheel set do you recomend me? It’s enterely flat… But I know the difference will be made on the short and explosive climb.
I would use the most aero wheel I’ve got. The climb is too short for a lightweight bike to make a significant difference.
For the haute routes, what would be the best wheel? I’m debating between the enve 3.4 and zip 404… my thought being these are mostly climbing stages, and with the double draft the flats aren’t going to be much of an impact to performance (also assuming I won’t be in the front too much).
tarmac swork and pinarelo f12?
Has anyone tested if there is a speed bonus for matching wheels with frames from the same manufacturers/companies? For example, matching a Giant with the SLR 0 wheels, or Specialized with Roval, Trek with Bontrager, etc? Thanks.
Yeah–it doesn’t matter. Zwift isn’t that complex (at least, not yet!)
Really interesting – had never considered that the kit would be offering such detail in differences. I think you’ve sold me a Spec. Tarmac Pro – now looking at wheels.
Eric, zipp 808 or enve ses 3.4 for crit city bell lap? thanks for the awesome website!
As the TRON has a fixed wheel set it would be good to include it on the last chart, ie climbing and flat performance, I’m thinking it might be good for whole lot of lava. Flat with a medium climb finish.
Does the weight saved by the 454 over the 808 come into play during accelerations on the flat? I would sacrifice a little aero for some ease during surges.
This is a really interesting question. I’m convinced it takes slightly longer to get up to speed in surges and sprints with the 808s than it does with my 404s. Be interesting to have someone test this somehow.
Eric, the ranking charts are great! I use them often and really appreciate all of the work that went into the research.
It looks like there is at least one new wheel set – DT Swiss Arc 62. 184,600 drops. 4 stars for aero, 3 stars for weight. Performance wise that should put them around the Zipp 454, not sure about price comparison, though.
Anyway, looking forward to an updated chart whenever you get the time. Thanks again!
Lightweight wheels which claim to have 3 out of 4 in terms of Aero simply don’t perform anywhere near that on the flat. Does zwift take into consideration when you are in the draft? In real world you should be able to sit in the draft with any wheelset and only really be punished when you put your nose in the wind. Today’s race required 370 watts just to hold position near the back of the group which at less than 70kg is a lot when in the draft. People at the front of the group were not pushing any… Read more »
Love the graphs, really clear. Would be great to have timings on a combination (Of flats & Hills) course, where we can see the fastest wheels over that. For example does the flat gain of the 808s offset the climb losses? So would the DT Swiss be as fast as the 808s over a course with typical ascent levels?
Precisely what I am wondering: Say, the Richmond UCI 2015-course with three climbs and a lot of flats, what to choose: the DT Swiss or the Zipp 808?
These are great! Is there a formula to convert the timings if you only do 200 watts instead of 300 watts?
Great page, Eric – thank you!! Between this and your /charts-frames/ page, I’m purchasing wisely. 🙂 I’m on Zwift and Strava.
I am level 12 and have 190,000 drops. What do you think I should spend it on.
or simply the bike and wheels you love to ride irl, my current setup is f12 and 454 for the look in the game maybe not the fastest.
What do you think is the best setup for whole lot of lava? I think reading your charts you would suggest Dt Swiss 62 wheels with the Canyon Aero road?
Thanks for the updated charts. Surely there’s a glitch with the Mavic Comete Pro ? It’s suddenly become ~one minute slower on the flats.
Oops – fixed!
Fastest wheels are showing 97th percentile. Im guessing somethings wrong there
first let me thank you for providing all that great stuff for the Zwift Community.
I just stumbled upon the best flat wheelset in the chart would be the DT Swiss ARC 62 Dicut Disc wheras the 1100 are now #1 in the Top list of fastest Wheelsets. Is this maybe just a typo?
Not a typo, just a shortened version of the full name of the disc wheel in Zwift, which is “DT Swiss ARC 1100 DiCut 62”
is the climbing percentile difference between ENVE 3.4 and DT 62 too large compared with actual time?
Love the charts, I use them quite often as someone who already has the level to unlock almost everything. My wife is only level 22 and I realized when I was trying to help her plan a ride it would be helpful to have the level requirement/cost listed with the wheel name so you can tell at a glance if you have the required level to buy it. Something like Zipp 808 (lvl 8, 250k drops)
Hi Eric, would you say that the Cadex 65’s are the best all round wheels now?
Zipp454 (3049/2961), Cadex65 (3050,5/2961) and DT Swiss Arc62 (3051/2960,5) are close and good all round choices, with a slight edge to the Zipp454’s.
Best allrounders might be Enve7.8 though (3040,5/2964).
I’m not seeing the FFWD Ryot55s listed here but I believe they match Enve 3.4s in both flat and climbing performance, correct?
Read about them here: https://zwiftinsider.com/ffwd-ryot55/
I Just realized that I made a terrible mistake buying the zip 202 believing on the star rating.
Missing Lightweight Mielenstein wheels et
No, they’re listed. Look for “Lightweight Meil”.
Why does DT 62 appear twice?
There are two different wheelsets: DT Swiss ARC 62 and DT Swiss ARC 62 Dicut Disc.
Where do you find the non-dicut version?
I was wondering where on this list the FFWD RYOT55 tires fall on this list.
Read about them here: https://zwiftinsider.com/ffwd-ryot55/
Thanks a lot for the charts (especially stacked chart). I am level 22 and think the best available wheelset for racing Sands & Sequoias is the DT Swiss ARC 62? From what I can tell, my best alternative is Zipp 808 however the DT Swiss 62 is much better on the climbs.
Interesting though that DT Swiss ARC 62 is not on the top 7 chart for ‘flat or mixed’ courses.
Maybe I’ve misunderstood the stacked chart?
Hi Eric, For some time now I have unable to open your performance charts for either frames nor wheel sets for Flat & Rolling courses, nor Climbs. Im not that crash hot on technology but my Mac Book works correctly otherwise. However I do like your stats and consult them whenever I’m in a position to spend a few drops.
I would be grateful for any suggestions.
Hi Eric, how much is the aero effect out-weighed when in the draft, I understand the testing shows an aero bike has the upper hand overall on an undulating course but is a slightly better climber of better use when the spirs are caused by the shorter climbs, for example champs Elysees, if you lose the wheel on the climb the race is over, one super aero bike isn’t going to pull back a group. Basically is it better to have something like the scott addict with dt swiss wheels on the climb or the venge with dt swiss disc… Read more »
How does all this play out with drafting? So I recently made a bad choice of wheels for a hilly TT, realizing in the event that the flat gains way more than offset the climbing gains of an all around wheel like the ARC 62. It got me thinking, though, that in a race with a climb finish (not even epic) where you race on the flats in a pack, the lightest wheel is probably best if your intent is to ride in the pack. It also probably matter most if the finish in on a fast descent of a… Read more »
So much for buying the Zipp 858/Super9 combo at level 45 then, seems the DT disc combo is faster anyway. Excellent insight as usual, thanks! =)
Sorry if this is a weird question, but do you know if wheel weight has an effect on responsiveness of the bike to speed changes? I know wheel weight gets added in to bike weight and then rider + bike weight, so more weight means there is more power needed to fight momentum to speed up, but does it matter where that extra weight is? I know some people who claim that going with disk wheels makes them lose sprints because it takes longer to spin up so they can’t respond to other people’s jumps fast enough. Other people I… Read more »
It would be great to see these results on a scatter chart like you did with the TRON comparisons. Ditto for all the other speed tests. It’s perfect for selecting gear based on amount of flat/climbing expected. Thanks
What happened to my Scott foil with her wheels?
Download of tables seems to be broken…