UPDATE: we’ve updated this post to include a new bike. See the current info here >
Zwift released its first mountain bikes in last week’s major update. The Canyon Lux, Scott Spark RC, and Specialized Epic S-Works join the “Zwift Mountain” to make a total of 4 MTB rigs available.
But how do they actually perform in game? How do they compare to the established crop of road rigs, and Zwift’s new gravel bikes?
We ran extensive tests to find out. Here are some of the results.
Flat Pavement Performance
Here’s how each mountain bike performed over two laps of our Tempus Fugit test segment (300 watts steady, 75kg rider):
- Specialized Epic S-Works: 55:35
- Scott Spark RC: 55:35
- Canyon Lux: 55:36
- Zwift Mountain: 55:43
The Spark and Epic S-Works turned in the same fastest times, but the Lux is only 1s behind, which can be a Strava rounding error. We’ll give the win to all three.
By comparison, the fastest road bikes complete the test route in 50:25, while the slowest road bikes (Zwift Steel with 32mm carbon wheels) complete it in 51:40. So if you’re riding an all-pavement race, you definitely don’t want to be riding a mountain bike!
The fastest gravel bikes complete the test route in 53:47, which is what you would expect: the mountain bikes’ big knobbies and poor aero values make them slower than road or gravel rigs on pavement.
But how do the mountain bikes perform in other settings?
Here’s how the mountain bikes performed up the big Alpe du Zwift climb:
- Scott Spark RC: 54:29
- Specialized Epic S-Works: 54:30
- Canyon Lux: 54:40
- Zwift Mountain: 54:50
The Spark RC and Epic S-Works are essentially tied after almost an hour of climbing, with the other MTB rigs well behind.
The fastest road bikes climb the Alpe in 48:39, while the slower (Zwift Steel with 32mm carbon wheels) complete it in 49:57. So the heavy mountain bikes are well behind, as they should be. Because gravity matters!
What about the dirt? This is where knobby tires should excel, and indeed they do. Here’s how the mountain bikes perform on one lap of the Jungle Circuit:
- Specialized Epic S-Works: 13:51
- Canyon Lux: 13:52
- Scott Spark RC: 13:52
- Zwift Mountain: 13:54
So the three new MTB rigs turned in nearly identical performances, with the stock Zwift Mountain bike a few seconds behind.
The faster road bikes complete a jungle lap in around 15 minutes flat, while the gravel bikes do it in 14:11. But our mountain bikes shred some gnar and lay the hurt on all those skinny-tired, rigid-forked rigs!
The Scott Spark RC and Specialized Epic S-Works are clearly the top two bikes of the four MTB rigs. The three new mountain bikes have the same aero values, but the Spark RC and Epic S-Works are lighter, making them the winners. Which one should you choose? Whichever looks cooler, of course.
Interesting side note: Zwift retooled the Zwift Mountain bike with their latest release, reducing its performance in game.
Have you tried the new mountain bikes? What did you think? Share below!