We’ve already published a list of the fastest frames and wheels in Zwift, as well as the fastest picks for beginning Zwifters. But what if you’re past level 15, yet not in the very highest levels? What are your best options for racing on flat or rolling routes?
*First, a Disclaimer
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. This isn’t an exact science, but we’re pretty confident in our findings thus far.
#1: ZWIFT CONCEPT 1 (TRON)
Cannot be purchased, must be unlocked
There are faster frame+wheel combos in Zwift, but not until you get to the disc wheels at level 35+! So the Tron tops our list here because it’s the fastest frame+wheel combo available at level 30 and below.
#2/#3: 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.
#4: CANYON AEROAD 2021
568,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 10+
The new Aeroad is one of the most aero frames in game, and it’s a strong climber as well. Just 1-2.5 seconds behind the top aero frames in a ~50 minute test, this frame beats every bike on this list when the road gets steep. You can’t go wrong with this frame as your all-arounder, and you probably won’t notice the slight hit if you use this for your flat races as well! Read more about it >
#5: CERVELO S5
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 a few seconds, so we give it the edge here.
#6: TREK MADONE
887,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 20+
The Madone is a solid race machine and the easiest to attain of the top frames, being level-locked at only 20. It turns in a performance on par with our top 3 picks on the flat test, but is a few seconds back on the Alpe.
#7: Chapter2 TOA
426,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 18+
A very capable all-arounder at a good price point, the TOA climbs well and is zippy on the flats.
#8: SPECIALIZED VENGE
461,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 18+
The Specialized Venge (which appears to be the original Venge ViAS) is a very slippery frame, and outclimbs the Cannondale SystemSix (just barely), so we give it the edge here.
#9: CANNONDALE SYSTEMSIX
SystemSix: 497,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 27+
Cannondale’s aero offering doesn’t disappoint, turning in solid fast lap times on flat/rolling routes. x
#1: Zipp 808
177,600 Drops to purchase, must be Level 13+
The 808s also topped our list of fastest wheels for beginners, so clearly they sport a killer combination of speed and attainability. It’s no wonder, then, that the 808s have long been a favorite among Zwift racers. They beat the next-ranked wheels by 7 seconds in our ~50 minute flat test, and that’s a big margin!
#2: Zipp 454
Zipp 454: 284,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 24+
The sawtoothed Zipp 454s turn in a solid second-place performance behind the 808s on flat/rolling routes, but they also climb much better than the 808’s, so you might pick them up if you want a slightly lighter rig for mixed courses.
The 454’s are actually ranked at the top in terms of all-arounders, tied with the DT Swiss ARC 62.
#3: DT Swiss ARC 62
DT Swiss ARC 62: 184,600 Drops to purchase, must be Level 6+
The DT Swiss ARC 62 wheelset is 2s behind the Zipp 454’s in our flat test, and just 0.5s faster in our climb test. So they slip into the #3rd slot quite nicely. Considering their low level requirement, this is a great wheelset for beginners to pick up!
#4: Zipp 404
149,200 Drops to purchase, must be Level 15+
The 404s are 3s slower on the flats compared to the 404s.
#5: ENVE SES 6.7
SES 6.7: 191,700 Drops to purchase, must be Level 25+
The ENVE SES 6.7 hoops are just 1s behind the Zipp 404’s, but about 4s slower on the climbs.
#6: Roval CLX64
CLX64: 170,400 Drops to purchase, must be Level 5+
The CLX64s are 2s behind the ENVE 6.7s.
What’s the Time Gap?
The frames above are separated by just 2.5 seconds on our ~50-minute flat 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.
The wheels above are separated by 12 seconds on our flat test.
A Tron Note
We’ve included the Tron bike here because it is perfectly attainable below level 30. (Not sure how to unlock the Tron bike? Read this.) The Tron is much faster than anything else on the list, which makes bike choice for Zwifters level 30 and below easy.
As stated above, the next-fastest combination (Cervelo S5 2020 with Zipp 808s) is 6.5 seconds slower than the Tron bike in our ~50 minute test.
Share Your Thoughts
We hope you found this post useful. Got questions or comments? Post below!
- June 1, 2023: added Chapter2 TOA and changed the order of some items based on most recent test data.
- Sep 24, 2021: made various small changes thanks to fresh test data and new Drop Shop items.
- Sep 2, 2021: added the Cervelo S5 2020 in the #1 slot.
- Oct 23, 2020: moved Aeroad 2021 down to 4th slot, after ZHQ made it a bit heavier
- Oct 1, 2020: added Canyon Aeroad 2021 in #1 slot. Removed old Canyon Aeroad from the last slot.
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.