XP (experience) points are what get you to higher levels in Zwift, and higher levels mean access to more virtual equipment and roads. Our calculations show that a rider can typically expect to earn 500-700XP per hour.
But are there ways Zwifters can earn XP faster? Of course there are! Here are 8 strategies for boosting your XP earnings.
#1: Ride New Routes
The first time you complete an official Zwift route you’ll earn the badge for that route, which includes an XP bonus of approximately 20XP per kilometer of route length. Assuming you’re riding around 35kph, that’s a bonus of 700XP per hour if you’re just riding new routes. This means you’re effectively doubling your XP earnings when you’re riding a new route!
If you tally up the XP bonuses from riding every route on Zwift you get 40,290. That’s a whole lotta XP!
#2: Ride a TT Bike
If you’re on a time trial frame, you won’t receive speed-boosting powerups when you ride through arches. Instead, you’ll receive either the 10XP or 250XP. Every time!
Combine the TT bike with a short route that includes one or more lap banners and you’ll accumulate XP extra fast. Here are some suggested routes, sorted in order from frequent banners to least:
- Crit City’s Bell Lap or Downtown Dolphin (event only – 1.2 miles, 1 banner per lap)
- New York’s LaGuardia Loop (event only – 1.6 miles, 1 banner per lap)
- Watopia’s Volcano Circuit or Volcano Circuit CCW (2.6 miles, 1 banner per lap)
- Richmond’s Fan Flats (3.1 miles, 1 banner per lap)
- New York’s Gotham Grind (event only – 5.8 miles, 2 banners per lap)
- Watopia’s Flat Route (6.4 miles, 2 banners per lap)
#3: Ride Flat Routes
XP is based purely on distance (30XP per mile, or 20XP per kilometer), so you’ll accumulate it faster if you keep your speed as high as possible.
#4: Use Metric, Not Imperial
You receive 20XP per kilometer and 30XP per mile, but a kilometer is not 2/3 of a mile – it’s less than that. (1km = 0.62 miles). So you’ll accumulate XP 7% faster if you use metric units instead of imperial. Change this under Menu>Settings in game.
Note: Zwift’s September 27, 2023 update largely removed the metric advantage.
#5: Participate In Group Rides
The faster you go, the faster you’ll earn XP. Participate in group rides to enjoy the increased speeds of the group draft, and watch that XP add up!
#6: Hack Your Workout
We’ve already written about this thoroughly in “How Zwift Calculates XP for Cycling Workouts“. That post includes some hacks to maximize XP earnings via workouts including changing interval length, doing workouts up the Alpe then free-riding down, and using workouts for your easy rides since you’ll likely earn more XP than free-riding.
An additional bonus related to doing workouts up the Alpe: the spinner at the top awards XP if it lands on a prize you’ve already received. Including 1000XP if it lands on the Lightweight Meilenstein wheels!
#7: Enjoy the Downhills
Any cyclist worth their chamois knows you don’t end a ride at the top of the hill–you earned that descent, so enjoy it! But it’s worth mentioning here: if your ride would have ended atop a hill, go ahead and take that descent: you’ll earn XP for the distance with little or no extra work.
#8: Earn Achievement Badges
There are lots of achievement badges in game. Many are visible under Menu>Badges, but there’s a whole list of hidden achievements as well. Every one of those achievements includes an XP bonus, so grab those badges!
For the ultimate in high-XP riding, combine two or more of the strategies above. Perhaps choose a group ride on a route you haven’t yet completed. And of course, use metric measurements while you’re at it!
The achievement badges for multiple Volcano Circuit laps earn a big XP boost – you get bonuses for 5, 10, and 25 laps. The 25 lap bonus is 1000XP! Why not do a ride that gets all three, along with the 100km badge. Then keep going and get the 100 mile badge while you’re at it! Do it on a TT bike and you’ll be racking up XP points each time you ride through the lap banner.
What About You?
Got more tips for earning XP? Share them below!