PowerUps in Zwift give you either immediate XP or a very short “boost.” In Zwift’s early days powerups were outlawed by most race organizers, but over time Zwifters have come to embrace the use of powerups as a virtual substitute for the mechanicals, shifting winds, and other variables common to outdoor riding. They truly add a necessary element of randomness and strategy to Zwift racing.
Here is everything you need to know about powerups in Zwift.
What Does Each PowerUp Do?
- Large Bonus: +250 experience points, or the equivalent of riding 12.5 kilometers.
- Small bonus: +10 experience points, or the equivalent of riding .5 kilometers.
- Lightweight (feather): reduces your weight by 10% for 15 seconds.
Use on climbs, when weight matters the most.
- Draft Boost (van): increases the draft effect you are experiencing by 50% for 30 seconds. In a double draft event, this powerup will give you 3x the standard draft effect.
Use at higher speeds (flats and descents) when you are already drafting off another rider (since this power up only helps when you are drafting.)
- Aero Boost (helmet): makes you more aerodynamic (reduces your CdA by 25%) for 15 seconds.
Use at higher speeds (flats and descents), especially when no draft is available (although it is still useful when drafting.)
- Burrito: turns off draft effect for riders within 2.5m radius for 10 seconds. Event-only.
Use when attacking off the front so opponents have to work harder to follow you, or use it in the group to make everyone work harder for a bit.
- Cloaking (ghost): makes you invisible to other riders for 10 seconds. Event-only.
Use when you want to get away from one or more riders. Deploy then hammer, in hopes that you will create enough of a gap that your opponents can’t grab your wheel.
- Steamroller: reduces Crr for 30 seconds so you roll as fast as a road tire on pavement regardless of wheels or road surface. Event-only.
If you’re on a road bike, use this when you hit a dirt patch. If you’re on a mountain bike in the jungle, use this when you hit the wooden bridges or the hard-packed dirt at the bottom of the Jungle Circuit.
Activating a Power Up
Use the spacebar on your keyboard, or Zwift Companion also provides a button.
With the exception of the Small Bonus and Large Bonus which activate immediately, powerups show a white timer bar when activated, so you know how much time you have left.
PowerUps are randomly given when you go through an arch (start/finish, end of KOM, end of sprint). If you have an unused powerup as you pass through an arch, you won’t receive a new one. In official events, powerups can be disabled entirely, or set to be distributed in a customized way (for example, a 50/50 split between the aero boost and burrito).
Distribution of PowerUps
Curious how often each powerup is given out when free riding? Here’s a handy chart >
More PowerUp Tips!
Read “PowerUps in Zwift: Advanced Usage Tips” for more advanced tips on when best to use (and not use) each powerup.