Zwift Speed Tests: Wheel Ranking Charts

Zwift Speed Tests: Wheel Ranking Charts

Your bike frame and wheelset choice both affect speed in Zwift, but your wheels affect it the most. While frame choice may change your 1-hour time by ~20 seconds, wheel choice can change your time by approximately ~60 seconds!

So go ahead and pick whatever frame you’d like. But make sure you’re running some fast wheels.

Wheel Tests – Introduction

While Zwift’s 4-star rating system for weight and aero is simple and easy to understand, 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 >


Wheel Timings

This chart shows actual timings for flat and climb tests, in seconds. The shorter the bar, the faster the wheels.

Print  CSV  Excel  Copy  

Notes:

  • 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.

Percentile Rankings

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 ENVE SES 3.4 wheels since they are near the top of the climbing rankings and also offer solid performance on the flats.


Your Feedback

We’d love to know what you think of these charts, including suggestions for improvements. Share your comments below.

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
trackback

[…] Zwift level. According to Zwift Insider, the most aero wheels we could unlock at our level were the Roval CLX64’s, which could be paired with the Zwift Aero frame. For users with a higher level there are faster […]

Calam Leneham
Calam Leneham
7 months ago

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.

Antonio
Antonio
7 months ago

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.
Thanks!

Davis
Davis
7 months ago

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).

Jose Luis
Jose Luis
7 months ago

tarmac swork and pinarelo f12?

trackback

[…] and wheelset performance HERE […]

Garry Kirkland II
Garry Kirkland II
7 months ago

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.

David
David
7 months ago

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.

Fabio
Fabio
6 months ago

Eric, zipp 808 or enve ses 3.4 for crit city bell lap? thanks for the awesome website!

Graeme
Graeme
5 months ago

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.

Simon
Simon
5 months ago

*Fahrrad

Jan
Jan
5 months ago

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.

tom
tom
2 months ago
Reply to  Jan

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.

Keith
Keith
3 months ago

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!

Chris
Chris
30 days ago

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 »

Steven Johnston
Steven Johnston
5 days ago

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?

Free Zwift Trial

Subscribe to Posts

Receive each new post by email!

Newsletter Subscription

16
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x