If you’re racing on Zwift, upgrading your frame and wheels can cut some significant time off of your efforts. But figuring out where to spend your hard-earned Drops can be confusing! So we’ve put together this table which lists the fastest frame and wheelset available at every Zwift level.
(Keep in mind this list applies only to flat and rolling routes. The list below is essentially a simplified, flat-race-focused version of our complete Zwift Shopping Guide. If the climbs in your race last more than a few minutes, you may want to consider a more climbing-friendly setup.)
Want to keep it simple? Just purchase each recommended frame or wheelset as soon as you level up. Don’t have enough Drops? Keep riding – you’ll get them soon enough! (And you might want to ride near a Pace Partner so your Drops add up more quickly!)
|1||Zwift Carbon (Free)||0||Zwift 32mm Carbon (Free)||0|
|4||ENVE SES 3.4 (191,700)||27|
|5||Specialized Tarmac SL7 (674,500)*||5||Roval CLX64 (170,400)||32|
|6||Zwift Aero (319,500)||9||DT Swiss ARC 62 (184,600)||35|
|8||Factor One (426,000)||11|
|10||Canyon Aeroad 2021 (568,000)||14|
|13||Zipp 808 (177,600)||43|
|20||Trek Madone (887,500)||15|
|25||Cervelo S5 (603,500)||16|
|31||ENVE SES 8.9 (205,900)||45|
|33||Specialized Venge S-Works (798,800)*||17|
|35||Zipp 808/Super9 (1,075,700)||52|
|45||Zipp 858/Super9 (1,508,800)||53|
Times above based on our flat speed tests, done with a solo 75kg rider at 300 watts over two laps of Watopia’s very flat Tempus Fugit route. Our test rider typically completes the route in 50-51 minutes.
- Level 5: while the Specialized Tarmac SL7 is the fastest frame at this level, chances are you won’t have enough Drops to buy it yet! But never fear – you can buy the cheaper and faster Zwift Aero at level 6.
- Level 33+: even though the Specialized Venge S-Works turns in the same flat times as the Cervelo S5, it climbs a bit faster. So we’ve included it here since it’s the better overall frame. The Felt AR deserves an honorable mention as well, since it turns in the same times on the flats as the Cervelo S5 and Specialized Venge S-Works, while weighing just a bit more than the Venge and a bit less than the S5.
- The Tron bike isn’t listed above because it is not unlocked on any particular level. It is, however, attainable before reaching level 20, if you start working on it first thing. It delivers a 67 second time savings over the stock frame and wheels – so the only way to go faster is with one of the Super9 disc wheelsets (level 35+) and a very fast frame.
What About the Tron Bike?
The Zwift Concept Z1 (Tron) bike is 67 seconds faster than the stock Zwift Aero+32mm Carbon setup. The fastest setups available (Cervelo S5, Specialized Venge S-Works, or Felt AR frames combined with Zipp 858/Super9 wheels) turn in a time ~3 seconds faster than the Tron bike over our ~50-minute flat test course, but only when coupled with a disc wheelset.
So one way to look at it is: until you have a disc wheelset (level 35+), the Tron bike is your fastest option on flat/rolling routes.
We didn’t include the Tron in the chart above since you can’t separate the Tron’s frame from its wheels. But it’s certainly a bike worth unlocking. Here’s how to do that >
Improvement by Level
The biggest performance gains come early in a Zwifter’s level progression. Here’s how much time you would be saving at each level if you upgraded to the recommended setups above:
You can see that by level 6, 63% of the overall possible improvement has already been achieved (44 seconds out of 70 possible). By level 25, you’ll have made an 84% improvement. And by level 35, 99% of the possible time reductions have been made.
Another way to look at it: once you’ve hit level 35, the only way you’ll get faster is by racing smarter and training to get stronger!
Hopefully this helps you select a bike for your next race, no matter your Zwift level. Got questions or comments? Post below!