Your choice of virtual bike influences your Zwift speed significantly, and Zwift’s Drop Shop gives us access to many frames and wheelsets. While options are nice, if you’re a newer Zwifter it can be a bit confusing trying to figure out the fastest combination as you begin to take part in races and group rides.
We’ve already published a list of the fastest frames and wheels in game. But what if you’re just starting out on Zwift? Here are the top frames and wheelsets for Zwifters at level 15 and below, 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: Canyon Aeroad 2021
568,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 10+
Canyon’s new Aeroad is one of the best all-arounders in game. It’s the most aero bike on this list, but also the fastest climber. Get it!
#2: Focus Izalco Max 2020
426,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 8+
A newer frame on this list, the Izalco Max is speedy on the flats and also just a bit lighter than the Allez Sprint, ensuring it’s #2 ranking.
#3: Specialized Allez Sprint
127,800 Drops to purchase, must be Level 14+
A favorite among outdoor crit racers, the Specialized Allez Sprint frame delivers solid performance for a low price both IRL and on Zwift. It’s the cheapest bike on our list, but also one of the fastest! And it climbs well, only bested by the two frames ranked above it here.
#3: Ridley Noah Fast 2019
426,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 9+
Turning in the same flat test time as the Cervelo S3D, the Ridley Noah outclimbs the Cervelo, so we rank it higher here.
#5: Cervelo S3D
468,600 Drops to purchase, must be Level 13+
The S3D turns in the same time as the Allez Sprint on flat/mixed routes, but is the slowest climber on this list. Use it for flat races, but stay away from it if climbs are involved!
#6: Factor One
426,000 Drops to purchase, must be Level 8+
The Factor One is the is a solid choice, although better frames like the Focus Izalco Max are available at the same price and level requirement.
#7: Zwift Aero
319,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 6+
Zwift’s Aero bike has long been the first decent racing frame for new Zwifters, and it’s still a good performer. Since it’s available at level 6+, even the newest newbie can pick it up.
#8: Ribble Endurance
390,500 Drops to purchase, must be Level 7+
One of the newer frames in the Drop Shop, Ribble’s Endurance is 2 seconds behind the Zwift Aero on flat/mixed routes, but 2 seconds faster on climbs all at a level requirement of just 7+. Solid!
#1: Zipp 808
177,600 Drops to purchase, must be Level 13+
The 808s have long been a favorite among Zwift racers, for good reason: they are significantly faster than any other wheelsets available to lower-level Zwifters. They beat the next-ranked wheels (DT Swiss ARC 62) by 8 seconds in our ~50 minute flat test, and that’s a big margin!
#2: DT Swiss ARC 62
184,600 Drops to purchase, must be Level 6+
The ARC 62’s deliver strong climbing performance and solid aero performance, making them some of the best all-arounders available. And you only need to make level 6 to grab them!
#3: Zipp 404
149,200 Drops to purchase, must be Level 15+
The 404s turn in a solid aero performance 9 seconds behind the 808s, but also climb better (6 seconds faster than the 808s), so you might pick them up if you want a slightly lighter rig.
#4: Roval Rapide CLX
195,300 Drops to purchase, must be Level 14+
The Rapide CLX hoops turn in the same flat test time as the Roval CLX64, but climb better, so we’ve ranked them higher.
#5: Roval CLX64
170,400 Drops to purchase, must be Level 5+
The CLX64s are the slowest climbers on this list, but their aero performance has them tied with the Rapide CLX wheels.
#6: ENVE SES 3.4
191,700 Drops to purchase, must be Level 4+
The ENVE SES 3.4 wheels perform decently on flats, but they also climb better than any of the wheelsets above, ranked #4 on our list of best climbing wheels in game. They also have a super low level requirement (4+), so they may be worth picking up until you can get one of the faster wheelsets above.
What’s the Time Gap?
The frames above are separated by just 7 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.
The wheels above are separated by 16 seconds on a ~50-minute test on the Tempus Fugit route at 300 watts with a 75kg rider. That’s a much more significant gap.
Compared to the very fastest frame and wheel combinations available in Zwift, the top frame and wheel combo on this list (Canyon Aeroad 2021 with Zipp 808s) is 20 seconds slower over our ~50-minute test.
There are other frames not far behind those you see above. See our speed test charts for a complete list.
Share Your Thoughts
We hope all you newer riders/racers found this post useful. Got questions or comments? Post below!
- Sep 22, 2021: reshuffled frames a bit based on updated test data. Added Roval Rapide CLX wheels.
- Nov 23, 2020: added Focus Izalco Max 2020 into #2 slot
- Oct 23, 2020: added Canyon Aeroad 2021 in top slot, since ZHQ lowered its level requirement to 10+.
- Aug 12, 2020: added DT Swiss ARC 62 as #2 wheelset.
- Apr 30, 2020: added the Factor One and Ridley Noah in the number 2 and 3 slots, respectively.