Your choice of bike frame influences your Zwift speed significantly. And Zwift’s Drop Shop gives us access to a pile of frames: 100+ if you include the Tron, TT, Gravel, and mountain bikes!
One question every rider should ask as they head into a Zwift race is: which frameset is should I use on this route?
At Zwift Insider we test every Zwift frame and wheelset using a standard, isolated procedure to determine how it performs on flats and climbs. This gives us the data to determine which frames and wheels are best for any given route. Read more speed tests here >
*First, a Disclaimer
Although our test results are accurate and repeatable, the “which bike frame or wheelset is fastest” question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Each piece of equipment has unique weight and aerodynamic (CdA) values, making them perform in ways that mirror outdoor physics. Lighter items perform better on climbs, while more aerodynamic items perform better on the flats. Differences between options will also be magnified or minimized by your own power levels, drafting abilities, and more.
Your best Zwift setup, more than ever, depends on your specific situation.
About the Results
Below you will find the fastest draftable frames for flat and rolling courses. This does not include TT bikes, which cannot draft and are in a list by themselves. “Flat and rolling” covers most routes on Zwift, with the exception of anything including major climbs like Alpe du Zwift, the Epic KOM, or Innsbruck’s KOM.
Additionally, routes with key climbs over a couple of minutes long (think Watopia’s Volcano or London’s Box Hill) may lend themselves well to an all-arounder as opposed to a straight aero performer. Some of those all-arounders are included in this list but ranked lower because the list is sorted strictly by aero performance.
This isn’t an exact science, but we’re pretty confident in our findings thus far.
#1/#2: Specialized Venge S-Works & Felt AR
Specialized Venge S-Works: 798,800 Drops to purchase, must be Level 33+
Felt AR: 639,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 34+
These two frames turn in identical times in our flat and climbing tests, so they are ranked together here. Which one should you buy? Depends on whether you prefer white or grey, since neither frame has a color slider!
#3/#4: Cervelo S5 2020 & Uranium Nuclear
Cervelo S5 2020: 852,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 27+
Uranium Nuclear: 184,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 19+
These two frames turn in identical times in our flat and climbing tests, so they are ranked together here. The real standout is the Uranium Nuclear, though, due to its low price and level lock.
#5: Canyon Aeroad 2021
568,000 Drops to purchase, must be level 10+
With the lowest level lock of any frame on this list and standout all-arounder performance, the Aeroad 2021 is a smart buy for any Zwift racer. It turns in the same flat test time as the Cervelo S5 and Trek Madone, but beats both of those frames handily when it comes to climbing – so we’ve ranked it at #5 here.
#6: Cervelo S5
603,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 25+
The Cervelo S5 matches the Trek Madone’s flat test time, but outclimbs it by 2 seconds, so we give it the edge here.
#7: Trek Madone
887,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 20+
The Madone is a solid race machine on the flats, and fairly easy to maintain since it is level-locked at 20+. Its flat test times match the Canyon Aeroad 2021 and Cervelo S5, but it is a bit heavy and climbs the Alpe slower than either frame, so we’ve ranked it last in that set of three.
#8: Pinarello Dogma F
1,029,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 32+
The Dogma F is an excellent all-arounder, handily outclimbing every other frame on this list! But since we’re talking about flat/rolling speeds, we’ve ranked it lower on this list. Got a mostly-flat race route with a key climb? The Dogma F may be a better choice than the frames above. (It’s also the most expensive frame on our list, but that’s Pinarello for ya!)
#9: Chapter2 TOA
426,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 18+
The TOA turns in the same flat test time as the Dogma F, but is 4 seconds slower up the Alpe, so we ranked it lower. Still a very good all-arounder, at a lower level lock and less than half the price of the Dogma F.
#10: Zwift Concept 1 (Tron)
Cannot be purchased, must be unlocked
The Tron bike may not be at the top of these rankings, but keep in mind if you don’t have a disc wheelset to couple with one of the fast frames above, the Tron is faster than any frame on this list on flat/rolling routes!
What’s the Time Gap?
The frames above are separated by just 3 seconds on a ~50-minute test on the Tempus Fugit route at 300 watts with a 75kg rider. That’s a slim margin, and one you’re not likely to notice in the craziness of the Zwift peloton.
There are other frames not far behind those you see above. See our speed test charts for a complete list.
A Note About Wheels
It bears mentioning again that the frames listed above only beat the Tron bike if they are paired with a disc wheelset.
Since those wheelsets are level-locked at 35+, many Zwifters will not have access to them. The fastest non-disc wheelset (Zipp 858) puts you 3 seconds behind the Tron bike in our flat test, assuming you’re on one of the first four frames in our list above.
What About Climbing?
Time to climb? You’ll want a different frame than those listed above because as cyclists know, weight (not aero) is what matters on longer, steeper climbs! Here’s the list of top climbing frames on Zwift >
Share Your Thoughts
We hope all you riders/racers found this post useful. Got questions or comments? Post below!
- Jun 27, 2022: updated the overall post and added back the Cervelo S5 2020 and Canyon Aeroad 2021. Also added the Pinarello Dogma F and Chapter2 TOA, and removed the Cannondale SystemSix and Specialized Venge since they are the slowest on the list and we’ve got to keep the list short.
- Dec 27, 2021: removed Cervelo S5 2020 and Canyon Aeroad 2021 because the overweight groupset bug slowed both (read more)
- Sep 14, 2021: a big reshuffle thanks to updated test data. No new additions to the list, but removed some and moved Tron to the bottom.
- Sep 2, 2021: added the Cervelo S5 2020 in the #1 slot. Changed Felt AR and Cervelo S5 to be tied for 3rd/4th based on current tests.
- Jul 26, 2021: added the Pinarello Dogma F in the #4 slot.
- Oct 1, 2020: removed the old Canyon Aeroad (which was ranked #8) and listed the new Canyon Aeroad 2021 in the #5 slot.
- Nov 13, 2019: removed #6 Giant Propel Advanced SL 1 and #7 Specialized Allez Sprint. Reshuffled the deck based on our latest speed tests.
- Jun 6, 2019: added the new Felt AR as #4. Kept all other frames already on the list, for a total of 10 frames listed.
Important note: this post contains speed test results for Zwift frames or wheels. These results may change over time, and a bike’s performance relative to others may also change. We don’t always revise posts when performance rankings change, but we do keep current, master versions of our speed test results which are always available. See the frame charts, wheel charts, and Tron vs Top Performers for current performance data.