Speed Tests: Zwift’s Fastest* Wheelsets

Speed Tests: Zwift’s Fastest* Wheelsets

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.

Your Winners

#1: 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.

#2: 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 1-2 seconds slower than the 858/Super9 over our ~50 flat test, with exactly the same Alpe climb time as the 858/Super9.

#3: 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. Still a pretty heavy wheel though, so keep this one for the flat and mixed races only.

#4: 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, which turn in the same time on the flats, while the heftier 8.9 is slower on the climbs.

#5: 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.

#6: Zipp 808

177,600 Drops to purchase, must be Level 13+

Formerly the best all-around wheelset, the 808’s have slipped down a few notches with the arrival of the newcomers above. 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 10 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 7 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.

Stay tuned for a post discussing which (if any) frame/wheelset combos can beat the Tron in a flat race.

Share Your Thoughts

We hope all you Zwifting fanatics found this post useful. Got questions or comments? Post below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Rob
Rob
1 year ago

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?

Anthony
Anthony
1 year ago

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?

Phil
Phil
1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony

*THIS* is the real question.Especially for an event with an “after-party” hill climb finish.

Mike
Mike
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

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

Daniel
Daniel (@dkwinc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

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 😨

Sally Gentille
Sally Gentille
1 year ago

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.

Ernst Lekies
Ernst Lekies
1 year ago

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?😐

mark dux
mark dux
5 months ago

Eric, When will we see a review of the DT swiss wheels and how they stack up?

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