Astute observers may have noticed that yesterday’s Zwift update included a slight spec change to the Canyon Aeroad 2021 frame.
A Bit of Recent History
Released in the September 28th update, the new Aeroad turned in amazing climbing performance, ascending the Alpe faster than any other frame on Zwift. And it did all this while turning in very fast times on flat routes, which made it a standout frame in terms of all-around performance.
Zwift changed three things about the Canyon Aeroad 2021 in yesterday’s update:
- Weight rating went from 4 to 3 stars (so it got heavier)
- Price increased from 532,500 to 568,000 Drops
- Level requirement dropped from 23+ to 10+
New Performance Numbers
Zwift added a bit of weight to the Aeroad 2021, which didn’t slow its performance in our flat tests, but added 9 seconds to our Alpe test results.
The real question is, how did the Aeroad 2021’s performance change in relation to other frames? Here’s how it charted before the yesterday’s update (mouse over points for details – the black points are the Aeroad 2021):
And here’s how it charts now:
So the Tarmac Pro is a stronger climber than the Aeroad 2021, thanks to yesterday’s change. (Little-known fact: the Cannondale EVO actually performs precisely the same as the Tarmac Pro.)
Who Should Use It?
If you don’t have the Tron bike (or don’t want to use it for some reason), the Aeroad 2021 is an excellent choice for flat or rolling routes, since it’s a bit lighter than the other aero frames, without sacrificing much in terms of speed on flats. Especially now that it’s available at level 10, it’s become the fastest frame for beginning Zwifters!
In fact, even though its gained a little weight, the Aeroad 2021 is still the best all-around frame in terms of percentile rankings, if you leave the Tron bike out of the equation (which we have to do, since the Tron bike can’t be separated into testable frame and wheel components):
If you have the Tron bike, there’s really no situation where using the Aeroad 2021 makes sense in terms of speed gains. To beat the Tron on our flat test (by just 1 second!) you have to run the disc wheel with the Aeroad 2021, which makes it climb much worse than the Tron. And beating the Tron in a climbing test requires you to use a much less aero wheel than the Tron, so you’ll lose speed on flat or downhills.
We’ve updated various posts today to reflect the Aeroad 2021’s new performance numbers:
- Tron vs Top Performers Scatter Plot
- Fastest Zwift Frames for Flat/Rolling Routes
- Fastest Zwift Climbing Frames
- Fastest Beginner Frames
- Fastest Frames/Wheels for Level 30 and Below
- Frame Performance Charts
- Fastest Setup for Climbing the Alpe
- Shopping Guide: What To Buy at Each Zwift Level
- Fastest Bikes at Each Zwift Level
Racers weren’t too happy to hear that their brand-new Aeroad frame had been slowed by ZHQ, and that’s understandable. The good news is, it’s still a useful frame, particularly for riders who haven’t yet unlocked the Tron bike. (Zwiftcast Simon, we’re talking to you!)
Zwift shouldn’t be able to change the characteristics of a bike that’s already in my garage. Change it in the drop shop for future buyers, but once I have it, it should stay as it was when I bought it. IRL, Canyon can’t just break into my garage while I’m sleeping and add weight to my bike. That’s what I feel like has happened here.
Completely agree with you, it’s wrong. They have also taken my drops that I would have otherwise might have used it on another bike but chose this one cause of weight. But now its heavier. Not happy
I was just about to write the exact same thing – only bought it earlier this week (based on out of date Intel apparently) 😕
Is it possible to get my 500K+ drops refunded and send the bike back as it was not as advertised?
We should all know by know that ZHQ does what it wants when it wants. They’re like the tyrannical dictatorship of the virtual world of esports.
Give me my drops back and allow us to get rid of things in our virtual garage. Also, WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO DETERMINE OUR BIKE COLOR; did Zwift forget we are paying them???
But, seriously what are subscribers willing to do? Not many will stop using Zwift because of it. So for now Zwift can screw their users as much as they want. Besides, investors only want to see new acquisition numbers. They don’t care about customer retention.
or at least offer a full drops refund when making any changes to existing content
Its a game guys calm down
That would be insane unfair in Races. They should simple remove the bike from garage and refund drops.
Why did they add weight to Canyon Aeroad 2021? Was it the pressure from Specialized? I want to return mine and get my Drops back
Hi Eric, on the updated Alpe page it still refers to the Aeroad in the Other Frame Options part ‘If you don’t yet have the Aeroad 2021’…should that change now?
Has anyone done an AdZ descent comparison freewheeling or even under even power? I only ask because I noticed before the Nerf, the Aeroad seemed slower downhill than the tarmac pro. In fact even on the Epic KOM you really needed to push to get the Aeroad over 90kph.
The added weight should make is very marginally faster on descents. But what coasting descents does is apply a fixed force proportional to weight times road grade. For that to balance wind resistance, which is proportional to speed squared, that means speed is proportional to the square root of weight. In comparison, up hill, speed is inversely proportional to weight. So if this bike gained 16 seconds on the climb (per 50 minutes), it will loss approximately 8 seconds per 50 minutes on the descent. But of course the descent doesn’t take 50 minutes, so scale appropriately: around 1 second… Read more »
Aerodynamics plays a much bigger role when doing 90km/h – so it would be very odd if the less aero tarmac pro is faster downhill than the Aeroroad 2021.
I was comparing the lighter AeroRoad2021 to the heavier AeroRoad2021: these have the same aerodynamics. At a given grade downhill, force is proportional to weight times grade but is dynamically balanced by CdA times velocity squared. So velocity-squared is proportional to weight / CdA. Fractional changes in each, including the rider, have the same effect (when coasting): heavier is faster, more aero is faster. So a light-weight climbing bike with poor aerodynamics loses twice: bigger CdA (in the denominator) and lower weight (in the numerator).
Spec. screwed themselves trying with this sunt to keep s work venge in rankings place if they are behind the change. Or Zwift decied to show Spec. the finger. Allez sprint lost value on the flats till frames at higher levels or tron, tarmac pro is not worth it as the Cannondale Evo is half the price for same set performance in climbing. Then forget about the over priced SL7 frame. Canyon just scored big now.
Whilst I would have been annoyed if I had have bought it, at least it now performs closer to real life. My suspicions are that Zwift have previously not factored in brake type when setting bike weights. Would be interesting if other disc bikes have suddenly gained half a kilo or so?
They haven’t! Only the Aeroad 2021 appears to have changed.
The real question now becomes what courses does one define as Flat? Flat/rolling? Hilly? Climbing specific?
Flat would be Tempus Fugit, climbing would be Ven Top and Road to Sky, but where does everything else fall?
The three sisters would probably be hilly
Is it possible to calculate which set is the best for which course?
I would love to see a list of the top 5 fastest bikes to choose for each race course.
I am disappointed. I just got the Aeroroad 2021 about a little over a week ago. I promptly put it through its paces on Epic KOM, on the flats and Volcano. I was going to take it up Alpe soon. Now they slow it down and make it easier to get, level 10. Should have kept at least at level 20.
The King is dead, long live the new (old) King
Here’s a suggestion. There should be 3 categories of road bikes: aero, climbing, and allround. Then there should be three tiers: entry, mid, elite (unlockable at an appropriate level). Each bike within the 9 classes would have the same stats, but different skins. The star ranking system could actually be relevant! Then there might be a bit more variety with bikes used in races. The current trend is going to get messy as more bikes are added over the years with slightly different stats, but we marginal-gainers are just going to use the fastest combination most of the time. The… Read more »
Obviously Specialized Bikes investment in Zwift carries more weight than us monthly paying muppets. I don’t no many cyclist who are happy with Zwift the company, but like me stick with them because the other virtual programs are just not up to speed. This bike update just shows how little respect Zwift has for it’s paying customers. Thanks for the middle finger salute Mr Eric Min.
This is messed up Zwift. You should have kept the specs on this bike for the people who bought it. Shame on you
I hate some updates… today I was not be able to ride because of troubles caused by the update.
The Canyon Aeroad is still the best overall bike, despite not being the best climber nor the best flat bike. Still an awesome investment and all new Zwifters should save a buy this bike as soon as possible.
Wow … am I the only person who thinks the original stats were simply a typo on Zwift HQ’s part? My thought is that the Aeroad is an aero frame (it’s right there in the name!) and was never intended to be a particularly strong climber.
(Yes, I bought it, and yes, I’m disappointed at having spent the drops, but life goes on.)
I really like the scatter plots.
Am I correctly interpreting that the Zipp 808 wheels are faster AND lighter than the 858 wheels?
Previously I thought the 858’s were just as fast but lighter.
OK, I realized I wasn’t reading the chart right. 858’s are better than the 808’s but now I see the Tron is better after all.
Back to the Tron!
I wish the rider sat up in the draft.
I am at level 10 and I have 600,000 drops. Is this the best use of my drops?
Complete Zwift Academy 2020 and rumor has it the bike will be yours for free
I think it will just be the Team Alpecin skin, not the actual bike
In fact I just completed Zwift Academy Road 2020 and can confirm that I unlocked both the Canyon Aeroad bike AND the skin. So I’d say put in the 8 ZA workouts and 4 ZA events before it ends, and use your drops for Zipp 808, Enve 3.4s etc. (You can look up the full list of recommended buys here on ZwiftInsider).
I got the Aeroad after completing the first ZA workout. It can either be configured with the all blue ZA skin or regular zwift skin with color slider.
I didn’t get it … ?
Would be great if you could do some tests of the best handful of bikes on some specific courses so we could tell the best bike or bike+wheels combo for them since most aren’t all flat or all hill.
For example Richmond UCI route is half flat and half hills, so what combo would work best? I don’t want you to get bored with nothing to test Eric, haha
So I invest in a frame based on its spec at the time, then zwift just junks it. Is there a warranty period for this purchase? Can I get my drops back?
I think the realistic eye would agree that the early release Aeroad was way over-specced and thus out of balance with the other frames. It also seems more fair to newcomers to allow them access to an early swift frame. That said, the way this was handled doesn’t deserve 4 stars in communication strategy. How about the next time a new bike is sponsored you make sure to specify that during the sponsor/event period the specs are boosted (not much different from the temporary ceramics speed upgrade). That way you could advertise your cool new frames, make (new) AND keep… Read more »
Just wanted to add my voice as well. Lame lame lame. I bought it to replace my tarmac pro specifically and only for climbing. Since it came out, I havent even ridden it yet. I ride tron for all other rides. Now it’s just one more bike to scroll through to get to my Tarmac (or a mtb) for a quick bike change. I second or third or quintillion the idea of getting rid of bikes, or at least making a Favorites in the garage.
Storm in a tea cup! Literally a 0.3% difference- my trainer spec is higher than that (+/- 1%)
So is it Venge + 858/Super9 for pan flat, Tarmac Pro + Lightweights for AdZ/Ven-Top, Tron for everything else (if you have it)?
Those would be great picks, for sure!
Could you make these scatter plots for frames and wheels too? I mean different frames with stock wheels in one plot and different wheels with stock frame in another plot. That would be great!
Already done! https://zwiftinsider.com/scatter/ (Although I need to update these charts with the Aeroad 2021’s new, slower numbers).
How does the Trek Emonda perform ?
How does the Trek Emonda with ZIpp 202 and/or DT Swiss perform ?
Eric, I can’t find any comparisons of the original aero road to the 2021 areo road. They currently have the same star ratings. Do you know where there is a review?
i compared all points on the new chart,,,,if u no riding tron bike in race, maybe venge swork+enve 7.8 or aeroad 2021+enve 7.8 are expediency.