Is It Still A Ride If You Don't Leave Your House?

Feb 16, 2017
by Mike Levy  
Warning: this one might require some tolerance from you Pinkbike readers and commenters out there. The words below are mostly about indoor trainers, road bikes, and watts, all things that you probably didn't come here to read about, which is completely fair. Please, turn back now if seeing those topics on Pinkbike makes you feel a bit angsty - I'll get back to the normally scheduled content after this. In the meantime, the idea of going for a virtual ride is too interesting for me to ignore.



''No way in hell am I going out in that,'' I said to one of my usual riding buddies without even the slightest hint of shame. ''That'' was negative ten-degree temps and wind that was busy turning snow banks into frozen white concrete dunes. I've heard about people who enjoy riding in the snow, but I'm obviously not one of them. There's just no novelty there for me, and I don't need to feel like I'm hard as nails (I'm not) for going on a ride regardless of conditions - I've been mountain biking for a long time now, and I've done my share of cold, wet weather riding during those years.

Instead, I usually spend my winters sitting around in a sort of self-imposed stupor, often while eating a block of cheddar cheese like it's a giant orange candy bar. Or just eating actual candy bars. As you can imagine, this is not the best approach for my health, be it physical or mental. Short of meth or those sorts of things, you haven't felt low until you've woken up at 7 am and finished a half-eaten Big Turk while you're still in bed.


Zwift pics


But not this winter. This winter, it's been entirely different; no half-pound cheese bricks for dinner, and I've been riding a metric shit ton, all of it in the ''sun''... kinda. I haven't been covering any actual distance, mind you, and some will argue that all I'm doing is playing a video game. I've been using a program called Zwift that, when combined with a ''smart'' trainer like the Wahoo KickR or Tacx Neo (a comparison of the two is coming soon) trainers that I've been trying out, creates the most realistic yet completely fake indoor riding experience that I've ever seen.

I know that you're not on Pinkbike to hear about stationary trainers, watts, and a glorified video game, but hear me out on this one. Or maybe stop reading now if your definition of interesting begins and ends with things like dirt jumping, downhill and enduro racing (aka exactly what Pinkbike is all about), which bike has the longest wheelbase, or why Jesus will make his return to earth in the form of a gearbox bike (Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the gearbox calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our drivetrain, Gearbox Jesus).

Yes, I know this sort of thing isn't the usual Pinkbike fare, but this is my op-ed and I'm writing about a road bike video game and a stationary trainer. I've been crucified before, and I'm expecting to be nailed up again after this one... It feels weird to be excited, enthusiastic, and evangelical about an indoor trainer, but that's exactly how I found myself acting when I explained this whole Zwift thing to my Pinkbike colleagues a few days ago.


Zwift
Zwift pics


So, what exactly is Zwift?

The best way to describe it might be to say that it's one-third stationary trainer, one-third fitness program, and one-third video game. It's the latter that really makes it interesting, however. Basically, your bike is attached to a stationary trainer of some kind, and this communicates wirelessly (if you have a ''smart'' trainer) via science to your computer to tell Zwift how much power you're putting out. Zwift itself is a virtual world where you ride your bike, along with thousands and thousands of other people, and the more power you put out, the faster you go. You know, just like in the real world. There are three riding zones, each one open at a specific time to keep people riding together somewhat, and a load of different routes to choose from in each zone. You can pick from a pancake flat route or, if you're up for it, tackle some epic climbs that start at a tropical sea level setting before winding up mountain passes, through alpine villages, thread up through roadside snow banks, and eventually finish at a radio tower atop a mountain peak.

Depending on the route you take up, you can log around 1,600 feet of elevation gain and loss, and every last foot of it feels extremely real when you're using a ''smart'' trainer that instantly adjusts its resistance depending on the road grade. I'm talking out-of-the-saddle efforts just to get up some of the steepest pitches.


Zwift pics


Pretty cool stuff, but it isn't the video game-like graphics, watts, or real-time power-to-weight ratio feed that makes me want to pedal a bike for hours on end without actually going anywhere; it's the other riders on Zwift who are spread all around the world. I'm in western Canada and usually find myself going for a virtual ride late at night, so I'm often "riding" with people from Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other countries sharing their time zone. But when I'm on in the morning, I'm pedaling with thousands of people from Europe. I'm usually about as social as a rattlesnake having a bad day, but it's hard for even me to deny how rad it is to be riding with people from all over the globe.

I had one of the most enjoyable battles in recent memory, be it in real life of in the virtual world, a few nights ago with a chap from South Korea during a twenty-minute climb. We stalked each other from sea level up to around four hundred meters, swapping the lead back and forth the whole way. In the end, he bolted ahead of me less than a minute from the top, after which I promptly dropped to a cadence of 10 RPM and swallowed the barf that had risen in my throat while I was working to stay with Mr. Yoon.

That's a different kind of low than eating a block of cheese for dinner, but I'm not sure it's any better.

I just can't get past the fact that there really was a real Mr. Yoon, suffering (probably not as much as myself) in his garage or living room in some part of South Korea. Technology is crazy these days; just imagine if someone told you about this stuff a decade ago? And it's only going to get better - picture an Oculus Rift-type setup that incorporates steering and other body movements. It might be coming.


Zwift pics
Zwift


The other crazy thing about Zwift is the online cycling community that it's spawned, something that even a rattlesnake like me can appreciate. There are loads of daily races for different fitness levels, some of which are streamed live via an actual race commentator, and even group rides being led my professional and ex-professional racers. And those who want to go really deep can listen to the Zwiftcast, a podcast about all things Zwift that's put together by Brit Simon Schofield.

So, what does any of this have to do with mountain biking? Not much, at least right now, but that doesn't mean that it won't in the future. At the time of me writing this, Zwift is close to releasing a running version of the program that, if the rumors are true, will see them eventually put people on trails rather than on the road. Virtual trail running isn't that far off from virtual mountain biking, is it? I'm not trying to convince anyone that this is a replacement for riding outside - it simply isn't - but just imagine being able to simulate a mountain bike ride, steep grades up and down included, during those dark winter months when riding on dirt is a dream that's months away for some of us.

This whole Zwift phenomenon isn't designed to replace riding outdoors, and I'd obviously much rather be weaving through trees on some prime singletrack, but I can't do that right now. It's cold, wet, and dark outside, and, truth be told, I haven't ridden my mountain bike on singletrack in over five weeks. The winter solstice, aka the shortest day of the year, is only recently behind us, and I usually celebrate the day of least light by drinking until I pass out in hopes of simply waking up in June. But not this time. Instead, I went for a great ride. Inside, mind you.



Must Read This Week

263 Comments

  • + 214
 "This one might require both tolerance and open-mindedness from you Pinkbike readers and commenters out there." Mike you done f*cked up! 26 for life. Flat pedals win medals. Norbs got robbed. And long live the Rat!
  • + 59
 You forgot the standard #looks like a session... :-)
  • + 1
 Is marzoochi for life no longer in the repertoire?
  • + 29
 also #longlivechainsaw
  • + 2
 MATE IS THAT CARBON?
  • + 23
 Zwift is so epic. Nothing like riding in the woods. but nothing like pounding workouts while you can't find the trails... nice write up pinkbike!
  • - 7
flag drivereight (Feb 16, 2017 at 8:51) (Below Threshold)
 so endure, and looks like a session!
  • + 5
 Not sure... if this software is boost compatible..
  • + 0
 Flat pedals and 26" should be mandatory, ban SPD pedals for dh racing
  • - 1
 It doesn't have a bottle cage.... sigh
  • - 1
 THATS CHEATIN
  • + 173
 No, it is not a ride, plain and simple. It is merely exercise.
  • + 66
 Agreed.
  • + 8
 Agreed. I've got a mag trainer set up with a laptop in front of it for watching bike videos (a bit of inspiration is better than facing a blank wall) but I wouldn't consider myself to be 'going for a ride'. I'm merely doing some exercise while the weather is crap. I can vary the resistance and gears to replicate climbs etc but that doesn't make it a ride. Even if it had steering sensors linked up to a game, that makes it 'gaming', not riding, in the same way that using my driving simulator setup is gaming rather than driving/racing.
  • + 91
 Its like the pocket p*$$y. Not even close to being a substitute for the real thing but at the same time it can get the job done when you need to knock out a quick round when the wife (ahem) "weather" is in full on raging storm mode.
  • + 16
 @Boardlife69: Apparently you can get some of those that you can connect to your computer too just like Zwift.

What a time to be alive...
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: brilliant!

I've got a turbo set up, but it's wank in all honesty. Nothing gears you up for riding, like riding does! Just bumps and undulations make a difference, then add a headwind and some hail in your eyes. Then it's a "ride"...
  • + 9
 @cunning-linguist: there is NO substitute for a good head wind.
  • + 8
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: Does it have a USB cable or is it wireless?.......quietly showing myself out the door.
  • + 2
 @cunning-linguist: the problem with Turbos is indeed that they lack any undulation or obstacle representation like you get out on a trail, so you can build a great cardio game but your core strength isn't maintained, then next time you're out on the trail you've not got the stamina in your upper body and arms. I found the best way to work it was sit upright on the bike and lift weights while you rode your turbo session so it maintained your arms and core too.
  • + 9
 @mikelevy: means to an end. I use Zwift in the hope i wont be sucking wind the first two months of spring when i get back on the mountain bike...
  • + 2
 Unless of course you're riding your bike around inside your house. In that case, I hope you have a large enough house.
  • + 3
 @Boardlife69: A lot of PR's and KOMs with the wife after the training?
  • + 7
 @sospeedy: exactly. Mountain biking is more fun when you are fit...not sure how you can argue that. Even if you are shuttling. Look at the work outs the WC DH riders do...or better yet, checkout the Danny Hart run down Ft. Bill with his hear rate - pegged the entire way down.
  • + 1
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: lol i just started doing the same thing haha
  • + 6
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: Try rollers, they are great for balance, core and keeping your mind entertained.
  • + 5
 @mikelevy:
'We stalked each other from sea level up to around four hundred meters, swapping the lead back and forth the whole way.'
This online international competiveness that you experienced reminds me of a battle I had with a Mr Yoon.......except mine was during a hard Mario Kart session!
  • + 8
 So I tried an indoor trainer in my basement with a projector so that i had a screen the size of my whole wall, where I would try and watch helmet cams from my friends youtube channel of the previous seasons race series. Didn't work. I would strongly recommend AGAINST trying to watch helmet cam video, especially when it takes up 80% of your field of view, when you are on roller trainers.
  • + 4
 @hamncheez: that sounds like there is a story behind that. elaborate. i really hope you tried to 360 an indoor trainer.
  • + 1
 @adrennan: google what roller trainers are
  • + 4
 @hamncheez: there's an idea...paint a 6 inch wide band on your rollers to practice riding skinnies...
  • + 4
 @ReformedRoadie: the problem was when he would turn on the fast DH sections, I would try to turn...
  • + 6
 I like to practice trackstands on my turbo trainer.
  • + 2
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: Have you managed a no handed one yet?
  • + 1
 It's not just exercise. It's a video game that requires you to pedal to enjoy it.
  • + 1
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: My favourite viewing when I'm on the TT is helmet cam footage of The Megavalanche races or Mountain of hell, as you say, better tan looking at a wall, and sometimes surprisingly effective for tricking my brain into thinking I'm actually out for a ride for a split second or so.
  • + 2
 Yeah I climbed 2000ft on zwift, no you did a higher resistance through part of the session not been climbing at all.
  • + 2
 @sospeedy: you may find you need to continue all year round unless your a total XC animal on climbs as your trail riding will be a lesser strain then efforts on zwift so fitness can drop.
  • + 1
 @enduroFactory: this is true, but if you are taking riding / racing seriously enough to care for each split of a second, you should be out, riding, training in all conditions. Better for your skills and fitness. Turbo and other training systems are simply for people who love to ride, like the exercise, but CBA with getting wet and or muddy. You can train strict routines outside of four walls you know. People forget this.

Most people pay for gym membership, then go on a treadmill, lift weights then have a cappuccino after. Right?

Why not run from your house, to the gym. On the way pick up some logs or summat... it's free and is more real???
  • + 3
 @cunning-linguist: You've been watching the Rocky films haven't you?

I much prefer riding outside in any conditions than any kind of indoor training (though it's definitely an evil necessary for any serious racer... which I am not). However, I ride with my kids and wife so inevitably I have several bikes to maintain. The grit and mud from Lancashire does make this task a serious pain in the arse. We tend to spend winter inside skateparks these days. Good for fitness and skill and a dry bmx needs no maintenance at all.
  • + 3
 @cunning-linguist: Believe me, i would much rather ride outside in winter. But, where i live, we may have a couple feet of snow on the ground at any moment in winter, which can make it pretty hard to ride. Wish i could ride year round, in all conditions, but it just isnt happening here.
  • + 1
 No its not, but its a hell of a lot closer to it than a regular trainer. I look forward to it way more than just spinning and the structured training has improved my FTP substantially. I would never be able to get motivated like this just spinning with videos.
I imagine GCN will get Enduro specific training programs up shortly too

Entry price is a little steep with the cost of the smart trainer though, and $10 a month for a subscription...
But really I would spend more than that fatbiking the same amount of time, and its good to go right away, gearing up to ride at 20 below takes forever and then you need a washroom break....
  • + 1
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: I just do a quick 10 minute session of (15 pushups, 6 pull-ups, 1 min plank (different variation each time, side planks, etc.) 3 to 5 times. No rest between, each muscle group is resting as your working the other muscle groups. You just keeping moving from exercise to exercise so you get done quickly and you're still getting some cardio doing it. My goal isn't to get huge, that would be counterproductive for racing, but rather to just maintain a base amount of fitness and strength necessary for riding the downs aggressively without carrying too much extra weight on the climbs. I do this 2-3 times a week, either after a training ride, or after some indoor rock climbing (another fun way to stay fit during the winter).
  • + 2
 @sospeedy: ahhhh you've gotta ski or board! Tough times!! :-) wish I had that problem to be fair! There are worse problems to have I'm sure.
  • + 49
 If its not on strava it didn't happen
  • + 26
 No worries there then, Zwift syncs straight to Strava!
  • + 5
 You can Strava Zwift rides.
  • + 9
 Kudos
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: its like video game high scores, it's not sad, it gives you a metric to compare by.
  • + 6
 get e-assist and make the strava heroes all butthurt.
  • + 7
 @jaydawg69: get a motorcycle and make the ebikes butt hurt.... Oh wait they are the same thing, my bad!
  • + 2
 @tigerteeuwen: Keeping fit in doors when the weather is bad is SO sad. We should play video games that only require a controller and no physical activity instead. That way we will keep fitness levels high over the winter and not put on loads of fat.
  • + 0
 @tigerteeuwen: Correct me if I am wrong, but the metrics can be saved in your Zwift account...so there is no need to post on Strava, other than to say 'look what I did'.
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: yeah you can just use your profile in zwift as well to track your km, though with Strava it gives you a better indication of your overall pace and times on certain segments.

The zwift profile does give you a measurement of how many pizza slices you have burned off though.
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: Then you have to open two apps to see your hours for the week, and you lose out on half the features of Strava, like the Fitness/Fatigue mapping and seeing if you've set a new personal best on the Power Curve. I prefer to just have all my rides in one spot, besides that Zwift doesn't really give you many overall metrics on your completed rides. It's not about showing off for everyone, some of us just want to be able to track our training, see our progress, and keep getting faster. Having it all in Strava makes that easier.
  • + 44
 Give me Downhill domination tracks, a sensor for the front wheel and a way to lean the bike. I've been dreaming of a virtual MTB game for years. Should at least be able to do manuals table tops and bar spins in the game.
  • + 100
 With your mother screaming "LOOK AT THE TIME !!!!" right in your ear !
  • + 33
 @evildos: by "look at the time" she means go to school you f*cking scrub Big Grin
  • + 10
 Hard to imagine it ever really being fun. Whereas indoor trails are! Support your local indoor bike park!
pinkbike.com/news/sheffield-indoor-bike-park-announced-2017.html
  • + 2
 @evildos: oh man that is some funny sh*t
  • + 1
 @amirazemi: sure! or: "Did you remember to put sunscreen on"
  • + 4
 And a sensor to detect when you're kicking or punching the rider next to you...Road Rash baby!
  • + 1
 @evildos: Just try not to do it with both hands broken Razz
  • + 1
 I still have my copy for ps2 even though I don't own one anymore
  • + 36
 Nope! Zwift is the best thing ever. With a wife and kid on the way I can't train in the south anymore, taking 1-2hrs every day in my basement to sweat out some interval sessions is the only way to prep for the season here in Montreal. That and a few rides on my fatbike every week. If you don't buy it... thats fine, but if you're serious about racing and life makes it difficult to travel and prepare like before it's the best thing ever. See you all on the start line at Bear Mountain! I'll be the guy ready to race!
  • + 3
 Agree completely. I do the same. Use it for training when no time during winter and work. Pepper in some quick fat bike rides in between when weather permits.
  • + 4
 @pills1975: Same. Have a fatbike, but it isn't always realistic to ride. We get groomed fatbike trails but those are dependent on weather, sometimes its just slush. I usually ride Zwift 3-4 times during the weekdays and then hit up the fatbike on the weekends. Still get in 5-7 rides a week.

Also, feel more fit than I ever have, and I think much of this is due to Zwift, can't wait for some dry trails.
  • + 3
 Yup, it was 30degF the other night, with freezing rain and ice everywhere on the roads. I could have been sitting around playing Battlefield or watching Netflix, but instead I was doing a race on Zwift and getting in a solid 40 minute workout. It makes riding a trainer far more bearable. I even sort of look forward to cranking out my next workout. Doing the 12 Week Winter (Advanced) plan.
  • + 1
 @TucsonDon: one thing I don't like about having my zwift tracked on Strava is that it adds the virtual km's to actual km's rode. I wish it kept it seperate in some form so I didn't feel like I was artificially inflating the numbers using a trainer.
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: It's not so bad, I find during "Zwift Season" my km's are much lower than during the regular season, it's easy to bang out 400 - 600km/wk while training during the spring and summer months, but 60 - 90m zwift with some target intervals or a race once in a while and I am putting up some of my best pre-season numbers this year! Personally, I don't mind them together.
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: Yeah, I think I prefer them together to not having them in there at all. After all it's still cardio, but it would be nice to be able to separate them. It's kind of strange that you can't because it's automatically entered as a Virtual Ride, rather than a Ride, so at least they do have the data to implement a feature to let you filter it in the future. Anyway, for terms of training, and how many hours I'm getting in a year, I figure kms are still kms.
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: Set it up as a separate bike in Strava. I have 'Trek on CycleOPS Magnus Trainer' as my default bike in winter and it is an easy way to show mileage on trainer vs real. I put 1500km on fluid2 in zwift last winter, so it was easy to justify spending cash on the smart trainer this season.
  • + 1
 @DirtBean: I have 4 bikes I keep track of KM seperatly on, I like your idea though. Add another entry as "trainer bike" ... Though then it would cause some confusion of how many km I have on my road bikes drive train... Ugh!
  • + 27
 I can't stand road riding - and I'm ADDICTED to Zwift. I look forward to nightly battles with other slow, middle aged dudes... don't judge!
  • + 8
 Same. I don't ride the road in the real world, but I do in the virtual world.
  • + 6
 @mikelevy: not having to worry about cars is great.
  • + 3
 We are living in a virtual reality in which we use a second virtual reality to ride bikes in a 3rd simulated virtual reality. Boom.
  • + 2
 @ibishreddin: this is why I never hold a mirror Infront of a mirror.
  • + 1
 You can wear all the spandex you want and not be judged...
  • + 1
 same here
  • + 17
 "The sun is scary"

-Howie
  • + 5
 You should see how pale I am.
  • + 12
 The whole point of Swift etc us to help you keep your base fitness up there ready for the spring. I've been going in a few road rides when I don't have time for getting out on decent trails as we have pretty decent weather in the winter compared to some places (no snow, just cold and wet) and it's really making a difference to my fitness levels. If you can't get out over large parts of the winter then this makes a good alternative and means you'll be flying as soon as the trails and bike parks reopen in the spring!

Don't knock it unless you have given it a go.
  • + 7
 Zwift is great, I am a year round bike commuter and ride a fat bike in the winter, it's been a pretty terrible year trail wise but I have been supplementing it with zwift after I get home from work. I ride about 15 to 20 km on the fat bike per day to work and back and come home and do a 40 to 60 km zwift ride.

The nice thing about zwift is that I can ride full out, see the thing is I don't have to save anything for the ride back, I can unclip and walk into my kitchen for something to eat... That's something I cant do when I am riding outside, the factor of "did I save enough energy for getting home".

I am hoping to enter the next MTB season in even better shape then last and get some kom's, and be faster at the races that I usually enter, I have a the need... The need for speed.
  • + 6
 TrainerRoad is another program that might interest people - less computer game and more targeted training but still involving in a weird way... I wouldn't say it is fun, but it is effective and you get a good endorphin rush at the end...
  • + 1
 Being able to do structured training is key for me. If I was just riding around in Zwift I would get bored. Now that Zwift has the Workout Mode though, I find having the graphics, and social/competitive aspect keep me more interested, or give me a little more motivation (it's fun passing roadies in real life, and it's fun blowing by them in Zwift when I'm doing hard intervals too, y'know... maybe it's just me) than just completing the graphs or following the numbers in TrainerRoad. You can make your own workouts in Zwift too, but they have a pretty good selection to choose from. Anyway, try it out if you haven't, maybe you'll like it more. I find it a best of both worlds sort of thing. If Zwift didn't have Workout Mode, I would definitely choose TrainerRoad.
  • + 1
 @TucsonDon: Thanks Tucson - I'll have a look at it. Does the workout mode graduate to your fitness in the same way as TrainerRoad?
  • + 2
 @slimboyjim: Yes, all the workouts are programmed as %FTP, so once you've entered your FTP (either manually or by doing an FTP test (I also really like their FTP test)) all the workouts are customized for you.

Some of the plans have you do an FTP test as one of the workouts partway through the plan too. You can check out what workouts are available on whatsonzwift.com/workouts Holy hell, I just realized that site even has custom workouts down towards the bottom that you can download. I've just been using it to see what was coming up next in my plan. Cool.

Oh, another cool thing I've just discovered too, besides being able to adjust the FTP before you start a workout, you can adjust it for that specific session during the workout by clicking on the FTP Bias +\- buttons during a workout up to +\-10% in case your fried, or you're an overachiever. There are buttons in the companion smartphone app to do that as well.
  • + 5
 You're not alone, @mikelevy, I've been virtual training for years. I've yet been able to afford (well, divert the funds as let's be honest I spent a shit ton on mtb gear) the full virtual setup, so I've been using CycleOps Virtual Training which you can ride along to a video, but don't get the full 'game' experience, but it still beats the hell outta just staring at the wall, or not riding at all. Whilst the VR idea is nice, I sweat like a passenger on Concorde so just don't think it could work having the headset on my leaky face. Good write up.
  • + 1
 I can't imagine trying to wear VR goggles either riding zwift... It would be terrible... I can't even wear my normal glasses.. way to much sweat.
  • + 4
 @mikelevy I m glad I m not the only to get excited to race against people from all over the globe after my daily shot office time.
I m using the Bkool program which videos and real loop.
I can say that from the beginning of the year I have juste over 600 km without moving.

with this stuff I can still push the pedals while the weather is miserable and pitch black outside.

after a month and a half on this stationnary bike I jumped on my road bike and waw I m just so surprise to reach speed and power I can't imagine 6 months ago.

and honestly I have fun sweating while I make move an avatar to the top of l'Alpe d'Huez .
  • + 3
 If you HAVE to be inside, than better make the effort count. I use Trainerroad software paired to my smart trainer (structured workouts with real dedicated MTB plans, even for enduro/downhill athletes) and watch POV / gopro runs of mtb trails.

I find trainerroad so much better than Zwift. Even the pro's use trainerroad. Zwift, imo, is made by and for roadies. Just the fact alone that you have to stare the whole time on a roadie on a road bike on a smooth tarmac road. bah.
  • + 3
 I have a similar feeling about TR/Zwift. I tried Zwift initially because I enjoyed the premise of riding with other people, but I got bored really quick with staring at asphalt, lycra and 3d models with PS1 physics. I even earned some new spandex gear that people on zwift seem to be obsessed with, but it just didn't click with me. It feels like wasting time.

While I don't find TR "fun", at least it had a plan for me AND I can do some passive entertainment/online courses in the background. I'm on week 4 of base plan and it just started to be brutal. I'm kinda enjoying it in a bit weird, masochistic way. Really looking forward to mtb plans coming later.
  • + 1
 I agree on the structured training aspect, just riding around, even doing the races in Zwift would get boring as hell, but now that Zwift added the Workout Mode, you can do structured workouts just like TrainerRoad, but with the added gamification of Zwift. Best of both worlds in my opinion. If Zwift didn't have Workout Mode then I would choose TrainerRoad in a heartbeat. You can even make your own workouts in Zwift if they don't have exactly what you want, or you want to follow a coach's workout plan. They have a pretty good selection though.
  • + 6
 I specifically don't thumbs up people on Strava who log their trainer rides. Take that!!
  • + 1
 But when I'm getting top 10s, KOMs, and PRs once the trails dry out and I can ride with all this fitness will you thumb me up then? Please. I'll miss your thumbs.
  • + 3
 Wasn't sure what i was going to think of Zwift but was going insane just riding on rollers. Here in eastern Washington there is absolutely nothing to ride right now so I made the jump and bought a smart trainer. I can honestly say its one of the best cycling related investments I have made. I typically commute every day in the non winter months and would have to suck wind the first couple weeks getting back into it. I cant believe how sore my legs are just from 10 miles here and there on Zwift. And the fact that I actually want to keep riding after 30 min is a good thing. Should make a huge difference when the "better" weather hits.
  • + 3
 For me it is less about fun and more about what I can fit in around family when a trip to any proper trails tends to be a 5hr round trip. Anything that makes the mind numbing pain of turbo training more manageable is a good thing! Motivation etc is far more manageable with something like this... I doubt there is a single person here who doesn't prefer riding outside - this is no substitute but a way to get the most out of what time you have when not able to get out...
  • + 2
 I think it has it's place, if you a riding to get fit for a race or fit in general and have little spare time in the week, you can jump on this before work for half an hour to an hour pedal like hell get your workout done and not have to worry, it also adds an essence of competition to your training, I'd much rather this than staring at my kitchen wall for an hour, it is not designed to do away with riding your bike outside but when you don't have time to get changed, get your gear out, get the bike out the shed (sometime drive to a trail head) this makes sense.
  • + 2
 Of course it's not a MTB ride, lacks everything that makes MTB good. That said, if you make it painful, it counts. When I say it counts, I mean you feel the rewards next time out. Not to mention, there's a few feet of snow outside so riding on a smart trainer is the next best thing.
  • + 3
 "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the gearbox calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our drivetrain, Gearbox Jesus."

Bwaahahahaahaha!!!

Waki should do a drawing of "Gearbox Jesus".
  • + 2
 To all the people bashing Zwift, do you spend a considerable(3+ hours a week) on the trainer? It's boring as hell, even watching movies or riding footage, it isn't engaging. I thought Zwift was lame before I tried it, having the competitive aspect when you're training is so much more motivating and engaging than otherwise. It's not riding, but for those of use that are exiled to training indoors during winter, it's a game changer.
  • + 2
 Same difference as masturbation and sex. Both reach the same goal. One is a whole lot of fun and satisfying. The other done alone in a dark room, and embarrassing if you're sig. other finds you. I know what i'd rather be doing!
  • + 2
 been Zwifting for a few months now. Can tell you that it is great. the sense of competition is all there. and if you won a smart trainer the experience is even better.

And if you think this is not a proper workout, Mathew Hayman won a Paris-Roubaix after 5 weeks of zwift training (broken radius bone prevented him from ride outside)
  • + 2
 I generally only road bike when I absolutely cannot ride trails, and I normally really hate riding my trainer, but I really like being in the best winter shape I have ever been in, and already feeling like I'm in mid-season fitness on my trail rides in Februrary. Zwift is awesome, and if you race enduro, most of your competition is probably logging mad miles on it right now, like it or not.
  • + 2
 I like the idea of it, I only get 2 days off a week, and I have to fit in a lot of other things in too so riding time is limited. Turbo training sessions are boring but I'd happily spin my legs on an indoor trainer with Zwift for an hour or so. Just so damn expensive though.
  • + 3
 Ride your bike in the dark and wet and cold THEN play MX Vs ATV from your sofa.
Immensely more enjoyable at a fraction of the cost. (even if you have to buy a PS4 and TV)
  • + 1
 Hey same story here , I'm no winter person neither. So three years ago I bought a smart trainer to get over the cold dark winter depression. I ran into zwift when it still was in beta. Riding with it since then. It really is fun. It's no replacement for outdoor riding, but if you are the type of rider which enjoys the pedaling part of cycling too, you'll have fun. As Mike wrote, it's so nice to ride with so many people from all around the world. And I'm not talking about chatting, you really just ride with somebody for 10 minutes and try to stay at their back wheel or let them ride at yours and both of you are going faster then alone.
  • + 1
 I just read & watched this similar little article in the news and posted it to my profile then I see your post!..

mobile.twitter.com/BBCScotlandNews/status/823976172010684417?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet
  • + 1
 I've been following a training program from Lee Likes Bikes and I can honestly say it's helped my riding fitness more than anything I've ever done but man stationary bikes are soul numbing. Having this on a screen in front of you would at least make it a little more palpable than staring at the gym floor for an hour at a time twice a week.
  • + 4
 Try fat biking. That being said I want to try Zwift too. Currently just have a mag trainer.
  • + 1
 You can set it up with a mag trainer, the instructions are online. I only now this because my friend in the U.K. and I in NZ want to 'ride' 'together' but only have cheap mag trainers. You just need a speed sensor (minimum, or power meter if you can afford it) that is ant+ compatible and either your hand held device or laptop with ant+ or a ant+ dongle.
  • + 1
 If your model of trainer is supported in zwift they have figured out power curves for certain trainers. If you have a "no name" trainer they cap the watts out at 300.

All you need is a speed and Cadence sensor that is Bluetooth compatible if you have a iPad.

If you have a PC you want to use, you need a ant+ sensor for your computer, and a ant+ speed and Cadence sensor.
  • + 1
 @bentown: noone wants to hear about your dongle
  • + 1
 Would've liked to see a shot of the stationary trainer setups as well. I guess those will be shown in the review any way. Ideally a complete system could be built similar to the ProForm TdF bikes but with off the shelf bike components. With only one TV I'm not going to be setting this up in my living room to sweat buckets.
  • + 1
 No it is not a ride. It is a training session. I keep track of my "rides" and indoor training sessions do not make the count. I feel for all those trapped indoors by old man winter and I understand the need to make training sessions less painful - but only real-life is real-life.
  • + 1
 Technically I don't feel it counts as a ride. But it is training, and that what helps in the dank and dark of winter. I'd much rather have my fitness level up and ready when the race/riding season starts. I spend more time in the winter throwing dirt than riding. There is nothing worse than being gassed a half hour into a ride on the first sunny 60 degree day.
  • + 1
 That being said, I don't need to purchase a fancier trainer and and Zwift to pedal indoors.
  • + 1
 @KuroHada: You don't need to. It just makes it more fun instead of insanely boring.
  • + 1
 I couldn't bring myself to read the whole article so forgive me if the answer is somewhere in there, however...

Is there a version in which you can blow up cars and lorries and shoot other cyclists? Or maybe some axe wielding maniac is trying to catch you up and hack shit out of your carbon frame? There always a f*ckin zombie somewhere right?
  • + 3
 Grand Theft Bicycle
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: GTB... you could ride into the local bike shop, shoot the shop assistant to shit and then force the mechanic to upgrade your hubs before blowing the shop up. Imagine the violence aimed at passing e-bikers !!! A bmx version would be cool as f*ck.... non of this road shit. bmx's with shotgun's and drugs.. that's what i'm on about !! to top it off, the local police give chase on a f*ckin hybrid.... think were on to something big?
  • + 1
 Is it still a ride I lf you don't leave your house ? ... No ... No it is not a ride if you don't leave your house. A ride is going into nature and riding a trail or a road what ever you choose a ride is not spinning in one spot in your living room, that is called a workout...not a ride.

Rant over!
  • + 1
 Agreed. It can be a hell of a good workout though.
  • + 1
 People talk about how it takes less time to prep for a trainer ride than a real ride. I have not found this to be true...for me it's quicker to just bundle up and head out.

I have a Zwift membership, but rarely use it as I find it more time consuming to get ready to ride on Zwift, even with my bike already set up on the trainer. It takes time to sync my power meter to my phone and my phone to my computer. Add in the time to open the App, log in, and pick a ride or workout on Zwift, and I could already be a mile (or two) up the trail. Even in the dead of winter.

I like Zwift, but for me, a fat bike went a lot farther toward enhancing my winter riding enjoyment than Zwift.
  • + 1
 I haven't read past the first paragraph and already feel compelled to comment. I too did the ride in all kinds of weather in my younger days. Partly due to the fact that I only had one vehicle and young kids that my wife had to care for which left me commuting in all kinds of weather. I can tell you that the novelty wears off after a few years and a few close calls with all manner of pedestrian and vehicle. I now cheerfully leave winter riding to the "tough guys", lol.
  • + 2
 I've just started zwifting using a set of rollers and my Stages blue tooth power meter. It's awesome and the rollers help to make it feel like a real road ride. Great write up Mike.
  • + 1
 im looking at getting one of these setups for my hardtail to supplement my exercise as the trails hare are pretty much just slop at the mo. I still will ride but its a pain having to wash my bike every time i use it as its caked in thick mud. Oh and this should look ace on my 150" projector screen Smile ....or maybe just maybe i could use my htc vive for it in the future and finally i would have a half decent use for it.
  • + 1
 I've been a mountain biker since 1988. I got a road bike a year ago for extra fitness training. Then when UK weather went crap in August 2016 I got a smart trainer and subscribed to Zwift. I discovered Zwift racing. I'm taking part in my 50th online Zwift race on Monday. Get a smart trainer. Get Zwift. Get racing. Real pain. Real gain. #Type2Fun #GoKRT
  • + 1
 "I'm usually about as social as a rattlesnake having a bad day" ..Mike, that's awesome.

Indoor trainers? I have one. I hate it. We have a tacx setup at the shop, but I have yet to be impressed enough to consider purchasing a new trainer.
  • + 1
 Product for softies. However you want to cut and dry it, whatever excuses you tell yourself, don't expect me to believe it's "too wet/too sloppy/too hard riding your bike". Get in the sea. Man up. Grow some.

Time was PB wouldn't have dared air this sort of tat on their pages. Either their desperate for income, or you lame softies are spending too much money on bikes. Probably a bit of both, but definitely the latter. I guess when you've "saved" thousands on your latest direct to market bike, you can afford douche bag roadie products like this. Mtb has no soul anymore when it's the new roadie scene.

Gonna go ride my 26 and forget the last ten years ever happened to Mtb.
  • + 1
 I got a Peloton Cycle to help with my winter training...when it rains in my area, trails close down completely and I hate riding on the road. It's been huge to be able to stream a live spin class or to do a class on demand...on my program prepping for my Whistler trip it's been a lifesaver and will have me ready to ride strong there. I agree it is not a ride, but it will help me be ready to savor and enjoy the real riding I will do when the weather is better and when I travel to ride.
  • + 1
 Riding my bike in my house would be great for my trials skills. Until I've actually acquired those skills, it wouldn't be so great for the house though.

Yes this equipment makes sense. If you've got say 45 minutes available, it could be a fun short blast during summertime. In wintertime you have to substract the amount of time you've got to put in cleaning and lubing and it suddenly isn't quite worth it anymore. With an indoor trainer you can be quite efficient with your time. Well that's the good bit. The element it lacks is the (IMHO) most graceful way to accelerate your bike, to pump it through the terrain, corners etc. No idea if it would even be possible as it is a dynamic process (which isn't quite possible on stationary equipment). Maybe, someday if they can analyze your weight shift and translate that to what the virtual bike does, that would be cool. As it is now, it good for tracking and improving isolated pedaling performance. Which still makes sense of course.

I've got a Tacx Bushido trainer. I think it could be connected to a computer (and internet) but that takes some powerful computer hardware to work. It also works as a standalone unit, which is good enough for me. What are you using? I don't think the competition element doesn't quite draw me, but as preparation for a particular ride it could be great for visualization. So that if you ever travel off to Alpe d'Huez to climb that famous switchback, that you know where you are, what's up ahead and what will that feel like.

I do have a final question though. As far as I know, the Tacx trainer already comes bundled with software that does what you describe in the article. Wahoo might also come with their own software. I might have missed it, but what is the reason to use Zwift instead of the bundled software?
  • + 1
 The fact that it's community based, the fact that you have 1000+ riders with you on the map to keep things interesting.
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: Thanks, I see. So if I understand correctly Zwift is more popular than the Tacx multiplayer mode or maybe the Tacx software doesn't allow for that many participants.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Far more popular. It's an open platform that can be used with any smart trainer. Sort of like Strava is far more popular than Garmin Connect or Cycleops Training Log. In addition to the social aspects, it also gamifies the experience (don't know if you've ever played video games, or RPGs) so you level up as you log more miles and unlock different bikes, wheels, etc, get achievements for things like hitting different watt levels (500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, maybe higher) or doing so many days in a row, or so many miles at one time (I've managed to get the 100k achievement while doing a 3 hour workout. It gave me a tiny little bit more motivation to finish the workout, so I figure that's a good thing). I think the strongest point for a racer or someone wanting to make big fitness gains is the Workout Mode. They have a bunch of individual workouts or entire plans (like 6 week, or 12 week plans, etc.) that you can choose from, and you're still out riding on the road with people from all over the world. In some ways it's like an MMORPG for cycling. If it helps motivate you to get on the trainer, I think it's worthwhile.
  • + 1
 I think I'm at the tail end of technology Wink . I do understand that an important element here is the recognition you get (from the software) that you've achieved something. I don't think I'm too sensitive for that but I sure understand that for some it is. A decade ago as a student I had a side job in a bikeshop. We sold a lot of Tacx as it was a local company. Visited them once. Pretty cool as they do everything in house. Production (and mold production), design, prototypes, distribution all in the same factory. Alongside their regular trainers they also had ergotrainers (with a computer built in) and virtual reality trainers (which connect to an external computer). So I spent some time on these and at least those back then do what you mention there. You can ride with other users online, ride in a virtual reality world or actually ride in a video (which runs at the speed you're pedaling) which is useful if you're preparing for that particular event. I'm not aware of that game element you mention though so that may indeed be an important element for some. And indeed with that many companies making bicycle trainers these days it makes sense to have a platform that works with all of them.

I checked the Zwift website and it indeed looks pretty. They're also pretty honest that for it to work properly, you need mighty powerful computer hardware. Which may be the catch here. My regular computer is a laptop with an Intel i3 2xxx processor. I usually run linux (opensuse) but it also has MS Windows installed. So Windows is there but I'm pretty sure the hardware will be insufficient. We've also got a desktop computer on the attick which we usually use for developing pictures (from RAW to .jpg). It matches the recommended specs and has a nice IPS screen. But I'm not going to carry my bike up there Wink .

So thinking of it, it is pretty capital intensive actually. A trainer, software and compatible computer could be as expensive as the bike itself! That is, unless you already own a powerful gaming specific computer, but I suppose people who play games do so because they have little other non-virtual challenges (like riding mtb). At least that is my perception, but I could be wrong. I honestly don't know anyone playing computer games. But yeah maybe if your climate is such that weather keeps you off the bike for a considerable portion of the year, you could go wild and get a Tacx Magnum trainer, powerful computer, big screen and Zwift. Better ride the bike than not Smile . I don't know. I've got a Tacx Bushido. Might as well give it a try with what I've got.
  • + 2
 @vinay: I have the same PC as you i3 2130 with 8gb of RAM and a ssd. Runs zwift great.
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: Cool, thanks for the feedback. I'll keep it in mind. If I ever get into this, it won't be before next fall though as spring and summer usually lure me outside. I actually got the Bushido to get some short blasts in when time is limited. So I'll have to see whether such a multiplayer mode would be suitable for me. And I've got to figure out whether my internet connection is quick enough. Especially in the garage, if any at all!

I currently don't have my trainer hooked to a computer but a Zwift year subscription will go for similar money as the Tacx trainer software, so it will be a commitment regardless.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Don't need a year subscription. It's monthly. I don't plan on keeping it going once the weather is good and stupid daylight savings time is over. Your CPU is fine, what actually matters for Zwift (and pretty much any game) is the GPU. You can always download the free trial to see if it works.

I agree a computer is a big part of the cost, otherwise, if you already have a power meter, all you would need is a regular cheap trainer. It gave me a reason to upgrade from my 7 year old laptop though. Most current laptops would tend to have at least the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics that are the minimum.
  • + 0
 Zwift is a real thing, the difference it's made to my fitness is insane... i'm riding up trails, up climbs and even downhill on trails that once i'd hav struggled on, but now i'm riding them like a 'proper' MTBer.... Sure, it's a video game.... tell that to the PR's i've set all over Strava every time i go out on the real trails too.
  • + 3
 Combine this concept with something like ESPN Extreme Games, or Mario Kart and you're onto a winner!
  • + 1
 It does have some Mario Kart aspects. You get power-ups each lap that you can use, like a feather that makes you lighter for a climb, or an invisible van to draft behind that reduces air drag. They just last 30 seconds though. Off topic, but if you like Mario Kart, try Rocket League, it's like football with cars, and in the Rumble Mode you get power-ups like a big boxing glove that punches other cars out of the way, or you can freeze the ball, to stop it going in the goal. It's a shitload of fun with a bunch of friends. It's on all the current gaming consoles.
  • + 1
 Got a trainer - tried zwift a few times. Hate it. Nintendo Wii graphics its mario cart not biking, a nightmare parody of a landscape not nature. I'm much happier with intervals and staring out into the trees.
  • + 4
 Fair enough. The simple graphics are certainly video game-ish, but I heard that was a conscious decision so it would run smoothly on older computers. I think that another part of if for me is the ERG mode that locks you into a specific power output (if you have a smart trainer) so you can't cheat a little bit during the workouts.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: The Workout Mode is key. If it was just riding around the island I'd have given it up. Being able to do my intervals, with the intensity adjusted automagically, along with the social/competitive aspects makes workouts go by relatively quickly. If someone hadn't tried the workout mode, I could see where they would get bored easily.
  • + 2
 That is amazing ! I might consider buyin the setup for the next winter Smile Awesome thing for people that want to excercise and improve their fitness during cold weather times.
  • + 1
 hey kingpin, during cold weather I think you should go for a tour (if you know what I mean)
  • + 1
 I used Zwift during the winter to help me train for my ultra marathon MTB race, so here's that. You save a lot of time not driving to the starting point of a ride. Fun? Meh. An awesome training tool? F**** yeah!
  • + 0
 On days that I don't have time to get to the trail, Zwift kicks ass. It's infinitely more fun than a regular trainer ride and some of the workouts have had me on the verge of puking. So while you're sitting at home pontificating about how it's a real ride or nothing for you, I'll be turning the pedals and getting stronger.
  • + 2
 It's called spinning. I do it in the winter, to keep me from getting too big of a ski bum gut. It's certainly not riding unless you're eating dirt or bugs.
  • + 3
 Sometimes I eat a pizza while I Zwift.
  • + 0
 Riding indoors is not the same as outdoors (even on a road bike)
Riding indoors on a cold winter night is (slightly) better than looking after the kids
Riding indoors is without doubt the most mind numbing experience without some form of distraction
.... so yeah, I'd give this a go...
  • + 1
 I've done 50k rides on Zwift. Never lasted that long on a trainer before. It's so much more fun than staring at a wall.
  • + 2
 Fatbike for me but this looks cool. Still just another thing that would probably cost a $1000 bucks.
  • + 1
 I can think of very little more boring than pedalling away, going no where looking at some computer screen. At best its a boring form of exercise.
  • + 3
 I think there's something wrong with your cheddar if it's orange...
  • + 0
 This is great! Hopefully will make some stay the f*ck indoors so I can ride my 26in for life, 135rear spacing, 160mm travel, flat pedals, Norbs got robbed, and chainless bike out on the trails in peace!
  • + 3
 That was a Bold article @mikelevy. Congratulations!
  • + 1
 That's like asking is watching porn and masturbating is the same as having sex, the answer is NO, It might be a workout, but it is not a ride
  • + 3
 Zwift away, if that's your thing, but don't expect any kudos from me.
  • - 1
 bikes where made so that people could get out and about it was a cheap means of transport, now it is much larger then that biking is for out doors and it should stay that way haveing a turbo trainer is for the simple thing of training and building your cardio fitness you carnt beat the out doors Smile
  • + 0
 I use the Real Turbo Muin B+ by Elite Real and its the best direct mount trainer I've ever used, blows away the Wahoo KickR its practically silent!
  • + 0
 Using zwift/TT's is fine, all trainings good if it helps when you get to ride the trails, just don't post it on Strava (there's another can of worms)

I'll get my coat.....
  • + 1
 Because it'll ruin the segments for the people riding on the fake island in real life?? Strava also distinguishes between real and virtual rides.
  • + 0
 Thought it would be a good idea for training in winter until I saw the 1500 doller price tag for the trainer. Jesus for that I could buy half a bike
  • + 1
 Basic Tacx trainer from the German sites is about $400. Zwift is about 14/month
  • + 1
 I picked up one of the compatible "dumb trainers" off of craigslist. That, an ANT+ dongle and speed sensor, and I was on Zwift for about $150 (US).
  • + 2
 What would you do with half a bike?
  • + 2
 I'm going to Zwift on my e-bike and post it on Strava.
  • + 2
 I like Zwift just for interval training.
  • + 1
 My only gripe with Zwift is that the GFX engine seems horribly inefficient.
  • + 1
 I read a Zwift blog post about that. Apparently all the moving riders made of many pieces are quite a bit more computationally intensive then say a car-racing game, where the car is just one solid object. Then you can get up to 50 riders (or more) on screen at once. Most car-racing games have far less than that many cars at once. They could dynamically adjust resolution/detail depending on how many riders were on screen, but there's additional overhead associated with that, and changing graphical quality could be more distracting than beneficial. I don't think the graphics are the main draw. I find the graphics "good enough", but I mostly use the Workout Mode and I'm more focused on finishing each interval than looking at the details.
  • + 1
 I feel like a lie about doing just about anything else would sound better than admitting I played on this all day #enduro
  • + 2
 Fatbiking is so much better than riding a hamster wheel.
  • + 2
 Agree!
  • + 2
 The bike is meant to be outside...........
  • + 1
 And there are some days you can't do that.
  • + 3
 Quiet news day then
  • + 2
 Damn zwifters and bkoolers stealing my koms from their livingroom.. Wink
  • + 1
 Is is still sex if you watch pornhub and blow a big load?
  • + 4
 It's sex with yourself, I think.
  • + 1
 And people crucify ebikes!
  • + 4
 That's because they're not bicycles. They are motorized bikes. And a pathetic poor excuse for motorized bikes at that.
  • + 2
 @properp: i'm 46 and I've been downhilling for 10 years, since I packed in climbing and kayaking due to f*cked knees (amazingly I can still push up and ride down with relatively little pain). Two knee operations later and an e-bike may be a really good option for me.

How old are you? You may change your mind when you an old gimma too?
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: I am 41. I do believe there is a purpose for e-bikes. People that are older than dirt. People that have injuries or handicaps. But perfectly healthy people have no reason to be on an e-bike on my local bike trails. That's just my opinion you don't have to like it or agree with it. But an e-bike is not a bicycle it is a motorized bike.
  • + 1
 @properp: 'Older than dirt'.... like it.... 'older than dirt but as young as the woman you feel' (i have a younger wife) that's going on my CV !! It's important we have things to look fwd to in life, personally i'm looking fwd to the day when I can haul my fat crippled ass on an e-bike (though I will delay this as long as physically possible, not to mention the cost) and hurl abuse at the 20 somethings peddling like shit as I fly past them... only to be abused more so as they fly past me on the downhill sections.

I'm not sure where I stand regarding non-injured people using them, the thought of xc trails being full of them is not a very attractive one but using them as a downhill uplift means more downhill time and less pushing. I'm yet to be convinced either way.
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: with all that said it's great but it's still a pathetic excuse for a motorized bike. I ride motorized bikes but they are all dirt bikes with combustion engines. In my mind Ebicycle is a motorized bike and it is still a pathetic excuse for a motorbike.If a ebike could compete with say a Honda 450 and it was silent going through the woods I would be all about it. My whole rub with this issue is that they are not bicycles and people want to use them on bicycle trails. Bicycle is human-powered only. Take your ebike to the MX track in play with those guys I'm sure they would have no issue with giving you a face full of roost.
  • + 1
 @properp: 'old as dirt' and a 'full face of roost'..... you see, this is what the biking community is all about... education !! I'm gonna give some of my mates a full face of roost tomorrow.

Maybe introducing legislation so that only crippled gimma's can ride them on bicycle trails. A bit like a 2 wheeled off-road mobility scooter (i'm confused now, i can't work out if i'm being serious or not?)
  • + 1
 @properp: I think the culture over here is quite a bit different to the US. From what I gather (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that you guys really risk losing trail access because of them. Here in the U.K. not so much , the trail heads actually hire them out to be used on trails so they are rapidly becoming more acceptable, there is little risk to losing trail access unless some dick chips them to do 30mph (which is happening). Are they right or wrong ?? Completely up to the guy or girl purchasing one - opinions are like arseholes , everyone has one
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: my opinion on them is that they are not bicycles. They are motorized bikes. Our trails are for pedal bikes hikers and joggers only. To each is own. But in my opinion e bikes are for the lazy sloths of society. The majority of the people I see in the state on e-bike are The Losers of society. Drunks with suspended license Hobo's and Transit type people. People without enough money to purchase a car. The dredges of society and e-bikes go hand-in-hand.
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: and they all stink
  • + 1
 @properp: oh dear !! so am i right in thinking you're not a fan of the e-bike?
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: I completely agree with you on the elderly Mobility bicycle. That is the best definition of an e-bike I have heard anyone give yet. I also thank think a place for e-bike might be for trail Builders to lug equipment in and out of the trail. With all that said if my trail Builder buddies showed up with an e-bike covered with shovels chainsaws and tampers I would still Raz them just as I would anyone that is perfectly healthy riding on a ebike.
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: yes you are right. I am definitely not a fan of ebikes. However I am a fan of badass motorized dirt bikes. I would not bring my MX bike to my local mountain bike trails. And to me and ebike is the exact same thing. A motorized assisted bike. Whether it has petals on it or not. They say it's really fun to ride a moped but it's really embarrassing if your friends see you on it. I think it's the same thing with an e-bike. They are mopeds. From a legal standpoint they should also be viewed as the exact same as a moped. They should have to have license and insurance to be on the street. They are a motorized vehicle.
  • + 1
 @properp: I saw some dude in Italy cruising around on a Vespa with a stunningly beautiful women on the back... he didn't seem to embarrassed !!

I'm no petrol head and much prefer gravity alone as a means of acceleration, though I imagine thrashing a crosser around your part of the world must be pretty good fun.

The e-bike does have potential for people like me, get me up the hill so I can prolong my sport well into my 60's, however, I do have reservations and it needs clear legislation and policing (which is probably much harder than it sounds).

Don't worry, if I ever get one, I won't bring it to the states and I'll shower at least once a month !!
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: don't let your age Cloud your vision of what you want to do. I am only 41 years old and there are several guys at our local trails well into his sixties that can smoke me on any ride. Locally most of the senior guys faster me might not be busting the big gap jumps but they sure are fast as Lightning on ride. If you ever make it to Flat Florida I would be more than happy to take you out for a shred. This state has some phenomenal Mountain Biking For A Flat state. There are also an extremely large amount of retired riders that totally shredded on the trail. I never have a problem out riding the young college guys it's always the older guys that kick my butt.
  • + 1
 @properp: Hey, I'm in my prime... it just hurts a bit and recovery seems to take a lot longer. I'm planning a bmx/mtn bike tour of Canada and the States one day so I'll put Flat Florida on the list !!
  • + 1
 @properp: by what about shuttles? Aren't they doing the exact same thing for the gravity boys? Surely you can see the potential of an Ebike in this situation
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: I see the potential for an e-bike to be sold at the scrapyard for $0.50.
  • + 1
 @properp: slow clap
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: I reckon @properp aint gonna change his opinion when it comes to the e-bike
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: I agree , unsure if it's a bigoted view point or if he has actually tried one
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: no way man !! he wouldn't be seen dead on one, his badass motorized dirt bike mates would disown him for life and give him a face full of roost....@properp am i right or am i right?
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: I've been around e-bikes since the mid-nineties. I had the same arguments with Gary Fisher in the nineties at the Rosemont World Cycle convention. I thought they sucked then and we're a pathetic excuse for a bicycle. My view has not changed or will it ever. They are not bicycles they are wimpy motorbikes for the lazy sloth of society or the handicapped individuals. If you are a perfectly healthy individual and you're riding an e-bike I bet you're the same a****** that parked in the handicap space.
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: you are right I do not care for e-bikes. Although I do believe there is certain situations where people have the right to ride them. Just not on public bicycle trail. Unless you have some type of disability that keeps you from riding a real bicycle.
  • + 1
 @properp: personally I think that's harsh , is it not better having these people on the trails stay motivated with pedal assist? My wife has one and loves it and it allows us to both ride together at a matched pace, yes she's had surgery on her lungs and system but it allows us to both enjoy recreational time together and I'm sure there are other people in different holes that need this assistance - medical or not. I also have one to use instead of shuttling for dh duties and the last time I looked I'm pretty sure it had less environmental impact than putting in a chair lift or running shuttles in a van - would I use it for Xc / trails ??? Nah you've got me there, I see no point in that and almost agree with you. However I see no more harm in these bikes than the different variants the industry standards ask (not force) us to accept each year, bikes costing £8-10k are just absurd
  • + 1
 @jacobite321: sorry dude, I tried seeing it from his view but I struggled to get my head up my arse
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: I reckon if you got your head so far up your arse that you actually disappeared and I did the same we still wouldn't see it from his view but you never know, maybe one day he'll see it from ours..... errr maybe not !!!
  • + 1
 Gearbox Jesus made me spit coffee through my nose. Nicely played!
  • + 1
 Is it still sex is you use your right hand?
  • + 1
 Is an E-bike cool, makes sense, a bicycle? NO !
  • + 1
 Hey Mike maybe Mr Yoon was using his E-bike, on the trainer, just saying.
  • + 1
 E bikes are for people who don't train in the off season!

But yeah, when you "ride" on zwift it's definitely not the same as going for an actual ride. It's nice to be riding a road bike and not having to worry about cars passing though.
  • + 1
 How much does the whole setup cost?
  • + 0
 It depends on how you want to do it. A premium setup with a "smart" trainer is around $1,500-ish, but you can also use any old trainer off of Craigslist that you buy for $50, your mountain bike, and Zpower.
  • + 1
 If it helps me climb and manage my heart rate then it's worth doing!
  • + 1
 fat or not being fat? you choose fatty f*ck!!
  • + 2
 I'm a buyer. Awesome.
  • + 1
 Cyclerobyx with coach Troy ! always did the job for this bloke..
  • + 1
 Hahaha there's a trigger warning before the article
  • + 1
 I loved that too PB bros are snowflakes
  • + 1
 Zwift got pretty big in BC this winter, just saying.
  • + 0
 Totally just a coincidence.
  • + 1
 A great gift for the fat gamer in your family
  • + 0
 go out to the woods and start shoveling the trails, just the shoveling will give you more work out then this....
  • + 1
 Is it still a ride? It will be when my indoor pumptrack is finished.
  • - 2
 This is a lame gimmick for roadies. It's not a ride unless you're out there riding. Sitting in one spot doing the same monotonous thing just for the sake of exercise now costs ten dollars a month.
  • + 1
 So if you're crunched for time and the weather's bad it's better to not ride than get on the trainer?
  • + 1
 It's a ride, but it can't be a race.
  • + 0
 Actually it can. I've raced real road and on Zwift, and the Zwift races are tougher. They don't have nearly as many of the natural coasting breaks most races have.
  • + 0
 @DrPete: Agreed, i've raced a fair bit on Zwift and just moved up to a podium in Cat C. I'm racing my first oudoor Crit race in a month or so from now Smile
  • + 1
 So...do 29's have an advantage over 27.5's or 26'ers on Zwift?
  • + 0
 There are different bikes and wheelsets to choose from, some of which are realistically faster than others.
  • + 1
 You can ride a steel bike in zwift with a classic wheel setup and it will be slower then aero bike. Currently zwift doesn't have things like side wind,head wind, ECT but that would be cool.
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: What about head-tube angle? I'd hate for it to be too slack when somebody drops the hammer on a technical climb.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Eh? Although I thought I was being facetious, I clearly am naive to Zwifts interactive environment. I have a Tacx Bushido and use its VR environment, but it only cares about wattage and weight. I would have figured that's all Zwift would rely upon, too; but it sounds like the user can choose a different bike template, and if two competitors' power:weight ratio is the same, the bicycle template will cause one to be faster than the other within the virtual environment???
  • + 1
 @JVance: Correct, some of the bikes are better suited to different terrain. Some climb better, some descend better, your rider height is also taken into account to give your rider profile, that can help you on flats/decents and also with Drafting.... Yes guys, you also get aerodynamic assistance from Zwift if riding with others... just like in the real world.
  • + 1
 By roadies for roadies
  • - 1
 It's not mountain biking but it's a hell of a lot better and more fun than nothing on days you can't make it to the trail.
  • - 2
 Cant help but wonder how much Pinkbike were paid for this and if Mike actually does use Zwift of his own accord or because he's paid to.
  • + 5
 Hmm, I guess it is a bit gushing. I use Zwift four to five times per week, and while I was offered a promo account, I chose to pay the monthly fee instead. Also, they do not advertise - you can see the list on the right side of the homepage. It sounds like you use it all the time as well, so you should add me on Zwift and we can go for a "ride" together!
  • - 1
 its a trainer session with a TV, nothing more, move on nothing to see here.
  • + 1
 lol no
  • + 0
 You've clearly not tried it.
  • + 1
 @DrPete: you're clearly here making PB stuff viable. He's entitled to his opinion. At least he isnt getting paid for it.
  • + 1
 @Bustacrimes: I don't know what you mean by "making it viable." Yes, he's entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. All I said was his opinion was likely underinformed or misinformed.
  • + 1
 @Bustacrimes: if you're suggesting that I'm shilling for Zwift, no, I'm not. I'm a paying member since a friend of mine recommended it for making winter training sessions a little less tedious.
  • + 0
 It's excercise not a ride
  • + 0
 So the hell what?
  • + 0
 Try it sometime.
  • + 1
 Roadie to home!!!!!
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