Your choice of wheelset influences your Zwift speed much more than your choice of bike frame. And Zwift’s release of the Drop Shop has given us access to a pile of new wheelsets: 28 in total!
The big question for racers is: which wheels are the best?
We’ve been hard at work in our lab testing wheels here’s a post summarizing some of our findings.
Want a look at the complete data?
Check out our Zwift Speed Test Charts for Wheels >
*First, a Disclaimer
The “which wheel is fastest” question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. You see, each wheelset has unique weight and aerodynamic (CdA) values, making them perform in ways that mirror outdoor physics. Some wheels perform better on climbs, while others perform better on the flats. Differences between wheelsets will also be magnified or minimized by your own power levels, drafting abilities, and more.
Your best Zwift wheelset, more than ever, depends on your specific situation.
About the Results
Below you will find the five fastest wheelsets in game for flat and mixed courses. “Flat and mixed” 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.
This list is based on our recent speed tests using the very flat Tempus Fugit route.
#1: DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT DISC
1,579,800 Drops to purchase, must be Level 42+
Released in Zwift’s August 2021 update, the new disc wheel from DT Swiss is head and shoulders above the competition, turning in a flat test time 6.5 seconds faster than the Zipp 858/Super9. Read more about this wheelset >
#2: Zipp 858/Super9
1,508,800 Drops to purchase, must be Level 45+
Released with the Fuego Flats expansion, this wheelset just barely edges out the 808/Super 9 below. And how about those colors? This is a fast wheelset… but also one of the heaviest, so don’t use it for long climbs.
#3: Zipp 808/Super9
1,075,700 Drops to purchase, must be Level 35+
The original disc wheelset. Beta users got it, then Zwift finally made it available a few years later to everyone. Like the 858/Super9, this is a fast but heavy wheelset, so it’s not recommended for long climbs. This wheelset is just 2 seconds slower than the 858/Super9 over our ~50 flat test.
#4: Zipp 858
312,400 Drops to purchase, must be Level 37+
The innovative sawtooth design of this wheel is definitely eye-catching, and at least in game it makes for some nice speeds. It’s the fastest non-disc wheelset in game, barely edging out the ENVE 7.8.
#5: ENVE SES 7.8
205,900 Drops to purchase, must be Level 39+
ENVE’s deep dishes are nice and zippy. Generally, deeper the dish, the faster and heavier they are. But that changes when we look at the ENVE 7.8 vs the 8.9, where the 7.8 is 1s faster on the flats, and significantly faster on the climbs.
#6: ENVE SES 8.9
205,900 Drops to purchase, must be Level 31+
Even though the 8.9’s don’t climb well, they’re still pretty fast on the flats, so they’ve earned their spot here.
#7: Zipp 808
177,600 Drops to purchase, must be Level 13+
Originally the best all-around wheelset, the 808’s have slipped down several notches with the arrival of newer wheelsets. It is the easiest wheelset to attain on this list, though, so you may want to pick it up if you don’t have the Drops or ability to score the wheelsets above.
What’s the Time Gap?
The 6 wheelsets above are separated by 17.5 seconds on a ~50-minute, 2-lap test of Tempus Fugit at 300 watts with a 75kg rider. See our complete data charts for details >
The next fastest wheelset, the Zipp 454, is 6 seconds behind the slowest wheel on this list. So the wheelsets above are truly in a group by themselves when it comes to speed on flat/mixed courses.
About the Tron
This is what everyone’s asking: is the Zwift Concept 1 (Tron) still the fastest bike?
The Tron bike is one unit–you can’t separate its wheels from its frame. So we can’t test the wheels for their performance like we can all other wheelsets in Zwift. But we have created a handy chart comparing the Tron bike to other top performing frames+wheelsets in Zwift >
Share Your Thoughts
We hope all you Zwifting fanatics found this post useful. Got questions or comments? Post below!
- Aug 20, 2021: added the new DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT DISC in the #1 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.
Awesome tests, as always.
Question though, Tempus Fugit is the flattest course in Zwift, right?
I don’t suppose you could do a test on a course with both flats and a bit of climbing to get a better view of how the wheels perform on mixed courses? Something like (I dunno) Knickerbocker, or maybe Figure 8?
In a race, where drafting is more prevalent are you better off with a climbing wheel or are there gains to be made with an aero wheel even in the draft? Essentially, does the draft negate the benefit of a zipp 808, for example?
*THIS* is the real question.Especially for an event with an “after-party” hill climb finish.
It’s a great question! I would say the draft doesn’t negate the benefit of the aero wheel–it just reduces it marginally. You’ll have an easier time staying in the draft on a fast flat road with a Zipp 808 than with a slower wheel. That said, here’s how I look at it: where do I struggled in races? I can hang on fine in the flats – it’s the climbs where I get dropped. So I will pick a climbing rig, IF the climb is substantial enough that a lightweight setup is actually faster than an aero one. Some climbs… Read more »
You are so right! It would be nice to see a speed test for frames/wheels on a mixed course. tempus fugit is just not representing the terrain for most races
I always loose the group A wheels starting at the 2nd half of the NYC Perimeter Park tough rollers. Power to weight ratio is so true and magnified in Zwift as other factors (wind, heat etc.) are removed compare to in-real-life (irl). There could have been slight improvement with the Enve SES 3.4 (Tarmac Pro or Allez Sprint) so let see if this supper light wheels Meilenstein worth the sweat or $,$$$ irl 😨
Thanks, this is so helpful! I’m returning to cycling and not the fastest person around. But I love Zwift and since the beginning of the year have made it to level 18. I “bought” a Specialized Allez Sprint and Zipp 808 wheels for my flat, mixed rides… like Tempus Fugit. But I’ve noticed now that I’m on to Watopia’s Waistband that my speed drops dramatically… like I’m in quicksand… when I hit the dirt section around the windmills, or anywhere. Is that my choice of equipment? Thanks! Love your site and kudos to Monica.
Now I´ve got so many wheels and bikes in my garage. I only use the Tron, Tarmac Pro and Felt TT and Meilenstein + 808. Can you @Eric Schlange tell me a way to put the old things I don´t use and don´t need anymore to put away?😐
Eric, When will we see a review of the DT swiss wheels and how they stack up?
August 2020 😂 https://zwiftinsider.com/dt-swiss-arc-62/
Hi Eric, I find the speed tests really helpful but would you expect different results from a rider who cannot put out 300 watts over the test route. I weigh 74kg and can hold 190/200 watts at a push over a flat course.
I’ve got almost 9 million drop points to spend. I’m at level 38. What should I buy next? Current setup is the Specialized Venge S-Works with Meilenstein wheels. I also have a Zwift Concept bike available. My most common riding is either Alpe du Zwift or riding with Cara Cadence. I do the occasional race, either up the Alpe or a short crit. Would love your advice on what to buy next. Thanks.
Your out of date ! Cervelo s5 2020 is the fastest bike now.