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 powerup 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 yourself and all riders within a 2.5m radius for 10 seconds. Event-only.
Use when attacking off the front so opponents have to work harder to follow you.
- Cloaking (ghost): makes you invisible to other riders for 10 seconds. Event-only. Disabled within 200m of the finish line.
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. (It also provides an advantage on cobbles, bricks, ice/snow, etc.) 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.
- Anvil: makes you 50kg heavier for up to 30 seconds, so you can descend faster. Activate it whenever you’d like, because it only adds 50kg when the road is at a -1.5% decline or greater. Event-only.
Use this on downhills. Pair it with a supertuck to go extra fast with zero effort!
Activating a Power Up
Use the spacebar on your keyboard, the play button on your AppleTV remote, or Zwift Companion also provides a button. You can also simply click the powerup circle from your computer, or touch it on a touchscreen device.
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 powerups. And check out our Misused Powerups Series for tips on when not to use powerups!
Thank You for Your comprehensive and detailed overview. But there is one more question I have. I´m riding on an old-school Bkool trainer and I hardly expierience any advantage of a power up. But when I´m riding within a large bunch i.e. group ride or race i have the full advantage of a draft. Did I miss something in settings or else. Thank You for Your advice.
The powerups give the same advantages regardless of which trainer you’re riding.
I’ve never seen the ghost powerup. And the burrito has been disabled since beta days (I joined late in beta and it was already disabled; never got to use it 😪)
Nope–burrito was re-introduced in June 2019: https://zwiftinsider.com/update-1-0-36881/
It’s an option for ride organizers, if they want to enable it. Same as the ghost powerup. So you’ll only see them in certain races.
what is the new tractor power up
I see it above, thanks
I think i have deactivated my power ups and the warning you get when you closing up on a rider or losing distance, how can i check? or reinstate
Maybe you are using a TT bike. Since they can’t draft, you won’t get the “close the gap” messages with the distance to the rider in the front. Just change the bike and the messages should reappear.
Does the draft (van) power up have any effect if there is nobody in front of me?
It does not.
does the burrito power up produce a strong nasty offensive odor to riders around you to keep them off your wheel ? and does this odor linger for about 2 minutes like it does in real life ?
I’ve raced IRL with dudes who smelled so bad I couldn’t sit on their wheel. Is that a strategy? It sort of feels like it…
1) Are ghosts draftable? i.e. Can I draft behind someone else who has deployed a “ghost” power up?
2) Can ghosts draft? i.e. If I am the “ghost”, do I still get the draft effect if I’m behind someone else?
Yes, ghosts are draftable – and you can draft when you’re a ghost. Just confirmed this with Wes Salmon @ ZHQ!
When I go thru an arch during an event, I see powerups cycling thru but I don’t get anything.
I know how to activate a powerup when it is sitting in the ‘button’ and what they do, but what do you have to do to grab one as they cycle thru the ‘button’?
I have an apple tv which I control with apple remote and an android phone I use the companion on
You don’t have to do anything to “grab” one. The spinner will stop on a powerup for ya. If it doesn’t, perhaps you’re on a TT bike? If not, report it to Zwift support, I guess!
Ok, will do 🙂
I have a question regarding powerups and when you lose them. So I was out to unlock the 100kph barrier, I had my Aero powerup at the ready, but by the time I started to climb the Radio tower climb it wasn
t available, it had disappeared and I hadnt used it. Why or how would this happen..
The only way you lose powerups is if you 1) start a new activity (by clicking to join an event, or saving your current activity and starting a new one or 2) actually using the powerup. I never had anyone tell me their powerup just disappeared!
That’s what I thought to Eric, but that is what happened.
could you have inadvertently binned it, using the button on the companion app by mistake?
Actually that could be very possible Tony, as I use the Companion App to take photos.
Is one of the options no power up? I will often see the power ups cycle through and it will inevitably land on nothing, thus no power up. Do I have to click on something to have it land on an actual power up?
Are you on a TT bike, perchance? You’ll just get XP bonus powerups if that’s what you’re riding…
No I’m not on a TT bike
I get the powerups at least half the time. Some rides more, some fewer. Yesterday I got 2 out of 3