All About Zwift’s New Time Trial Mode

All About Zwift’s New Time Trial Mode

Time trials, the “race of truth,” have been held on Zwift since early days. Without drafting enabled these races allowed riders to set their own pace and ride against the clock–the very essence of time trialing. But there was always something missing… it didn’t feel quite like a time trial.

All of that is about to radically change, thanks to an update released last night.

Start Pen Upgrades

Most outdoor time trials release racers at predefined intervals (e.g. 30 seconds apart). In the past, Zwift TT races released all riders at the same time, so even though you weren’t drafting, you were still leaving the pens in a large group of riders.

The new TT mode uses a conveyor belt system to automatically move riders up to the start line and release them individually:

The front row of riders (across all conveyor belts) is released 1 second apart, but the length of time between each row of riders (front to back) varies based on the event.

As the timer counts down, the red holo fence will appear for the first starters. When it drops, it’s go time!

Getting Up to Speed

The yellow arrow pad in front of the holo gate acts like the ramp in an outdoor TT event, speeding you up to 20mph instantly. This should help racers avoid the mistake of sprinting out of the gate.

Joining an Event

These time trial features are only available in designated TT events. Joining a time trial event works like any other Zwift event, except that after signing up, you’ll be given a start time within 30 minutes of the advertised start time. Just like an outdoor TT!

Zwift Companion allows you to filter events to only show TT’s. It also displays your start time once you sign up. The start time is also visible in-game if you join the event then begin riding.

HUD Changes

When racing in TT mode, the on-screen elements are now optimized for time trial efforts:

The main display at the top-center now focuses on your cadence, wattage, and heart rate. On the left, a list of checkpoints shows your split times, and you will see leaderboards for those splits with placement by age group and gender.

The minimaps on the right have also been modified to show course checkpoint locations and the standard elevation map.

Route Restrictions

For now, TT races are only available on the Bologna TT course and Fuego Flats, but there are plans to expand this in the future.

When Can I Try It Out?

Now! Just filter the events list in Zwift Companion, checking the box for “Time Trial”.

Here’s a list of upcoming TT events from ZwiftHacks >

A Strong TT Focus

The new TT features bring an entirely new “event mode” to Zwift. We already have several event types: group workouts, social rides, races, and fondos… but now time trials can be added to this list.

If we look at recent game updates, it’s clear Zwift sees value in focusing on TT racing. In addition to the new features discussed above, Zwift’s latest Watopia route (Fuego Flats) and newest world release (Bologna) are both TT-focused, plus they have released a pile of TT frames in the Drop Shop. These developments should excite TT specialists and triathletes!

What Do You Think?

Give the new TT features a go, then share your thoughts in the comments below! You can also share your comments on the official Zwift Support Forum thread.

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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Jeff Reynolds
Jeff Reynolds
1 year ago

Been searching Google and have not been able to find an answer. Regarding time trials on Zwift: is it possible for a club to create their own group ride that is a time trial? Or are all time trials events that are created by Zwift?

1 year ago

I entered Bologna TT just now and was warming up before then got the reminder and went to the start. Sat there at the front, pedalling, expecting to be set off, but just stayed still!
What did I do wrong?

1 year ago

TT’s are still far too few. On Saturday CST the latest one is at 4am! Right now there is a lot of demand for groups to create TT events. Why is this an issue?

1 year ago

What is the best frame for the Bologna Time Trial course? Is it TT frame or lightweight road bike?

Mark C
Mark C (@rdcyclist)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sergio

On a fairly flat TT course, a TT bike will always be faster. TT bikes cannot draft and TT’s usually have the draft disabled. The only time a road bike would be indicated is a hill climb TT like The Alpe or Epic KOM because TT bikes are almost always heavier than one of the light road bikes.

Dan Connelly
Dan Connelly
1 year ago

From what I can tell, mass-start (as opposed to individual start) “time trials” aren’t actually time trials as far as the code is concerned, but are instead mass-start races with drafting turned off (and perhaps no power-ups, and time trial frames allowed), so the information on this page, including the special HUD, applies only to events where riders start individually.

Daniel Pearson
Daniel Pearson (@dpearson)
10 months ago

FYI, a race I did in TT mode happened in NYC this morning. The blue lines in the start pen weren’t there (although the functionality was) and the yellow arrow pad wasn’t visible (although the functionality occurred). HUD was TT HUD, although there were no checkpoints created (so it was just normal leaderboard on the right, and no checkpoint leaderboard on the left). I can’t remember Zwift ever announcing that this functionality has been expanded, but there you go!

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