Zwift’s March 2022 game update included two new gravel wheelsets, making a total of five gravel wheelsets available. This month’s new gravel wheels are:
- Reserve 25 GT (11,400 Drops, no level requirement, rated 3 for aero, 1 for weight)
- CADEX AR 35 (21,300 Drops, no level requirement, rated 3 for aero, 1 for weight)
Let’s look at how these wheels perform in game…
Speed Test Results
Both wheelsets perform identically in our tests, and their times match last month’s new wheelsets (the ENVE G23 and Roval Terra CLX). To put it simply: these two new gravel wheelsets precisely match the performance of last month’s wheelsets. So none of the new gravel wheelsets offers any advantage over the other, but they are significantly faster than the stock Zwift Gravel wheels on dirt thanks to their lower Crr (see below). Jungle Circuit times using Zwift Gravel frame:
- Reserve 25 GR wheels: 13:56
- CADEX AR 35 wheels: 13:56
- Zwift Gravel wheels: 14:15
So the dirt is where these wheels really shine. Pair them with a faster gravel bike like the Canyon Grail and you’ve got a rig that’s a few seconds faster than any mountain bike on a lap of the Jungle Circuit.
In our tests on flat pavement they essentially matched the existing Zwift Gravel wheelset (just 1/2 second faster over 50 minutes). And on the Alpe du Zwift climb test they were just 2-3 seconds faster than the Zwift Gravel wheels.
So on pavement, these wheels don’t offer any substantial performance advantage. But on dirt, it’s another story!
Custom Dirt Crr
Like last month’s new ENVE G23 and Roval Terra CLX wheels, the Reserve 25 GR and CADEX AR 35 have a lower rolling resistance on dirt than the stock Zwift Gravel wheels.
The Zwift Mountain wheels have a Crr of .014 in dirt, while the Zwift Gravel wheels have a dirt Crr of .018. These new gravel wheelsets have a dirt Crr of .016. And this makes them much faster than the stock Zwift Gravel wheels on dirt.
Based on our calculations, the difference between a Crr of .018 and .016 works out to a watt savings of around 15W if you’re a 75kg rider traveling at 40kph. Heavier riders or higher speeds could increase that power savings to ~25W.
These new gravel wheelsets have no level requirement, and they’re very affordable. Zwift is clearly saying, “We want all Zwifters to have access to these wheels.” But we’re not entirely sure why, because Zwift’s biggest upcoming gravel event (Tour of Watopia stage 4) will supposedly be placing everyone on the stock Zwift Gravel frame and wheels.
Zwift could make it much more interesting by letting riders pick their wheels for this stage. We aren’t sure why that’s not happening. But clearly Zwift is putting more emphasis on gravel these days, which makes sense given its huge popularity, especially in the USA.
Questions or Comments?
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.
Been waiting for this review and your timing is perfect. Thanks👍
I hit Level 23 this afternoon (Halfway up the Alpe) – Just went to the drop shop and bought the Grail and G23’s . . . . . . The read your article above, about everyone being on Zwift Set ups.
i did a very similar thing today to prep for stage 4. Seems an odd choice by Zwift.
Me too. Wasted some hard earned drops
I’m a bit sad all the branded wheels are the same though, I was hoping Zwift could do stuff with different CRR combos for different wheels, so some were better on tarmac than others and you’d get to choose your wheel/tyre combo based on where you think you need it. Would have made selection a bit more interesting (and like actual gravel riding).
Truly a bummer one can’t pick the wheels and frame for the T O W gravel event..
Hey Eric! I know the gravel set-up was faster for the terrain change to gravel for TOW, but the Crux or Grail with any of the new carbon wheelsets is also faster than any MTB now on the jungle dirt? Thank you!
I don’t even own the Cadex, but if I do a bike swap to the Grail and I’ve had the Enve’s on it before, it put the Cadex on the Grail automatically??? is that weird??
Yeah, that’s weird!