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Setting up a Classic Trainer / Rollers (zPower)

If you have a classic trainer/rollers, here are your options for riding in Zwift:

  • Use our virtual power curve with acceleration, "zPower," by pairing a compatible ANT+ speed/cadence sensor with a supported classic trainer.
  • Pair an ANT+ power meter while riding on any classic trainer or rollers.
  • Get a taste of the Zwift experience by pairing an ANT+ speed/cadence sensor with any classic trainer or rollers. Note that you will not get accurate readings with this option!

Using zPower:

zPower Disclaimer

While we're confident in its accuracy if your setup matches our standards, zPower is a calculated estimate for progress benchmarks, not absolute power values. Due to the number of variables - including manufacturer design inconsistencies in equipment - it's likely that the numbers you see will differ from what we calculated zPower with, and your wattage will be capped at 1200w. If you want exact, accurate numbers, consider a power meter or smart trainer instead. 

Now that we've got that out of the way, here's what you need to know:

In order to use zPower, you need to have an ANT+ speed sensor and one of our supported classic trainers. zPower was calculated using a specific setup, so for best accuracy, you also need:

1. Use the correct trainer: Each of our zPower calculations is based on a specific trainer. You need to use the exact trainer that you're selecting from the menu; you cannot choose something that's "close" or "the same brand" - each one is different. If your trainer is not listed and you chose the "Not Listed" trainer or roller options, you won't get accurate readings. 

2. Use the correct bike tire setting: When you pair your speed sensor, you'll see an option to select your bike tire size. Be sure to pick the tire size option from the drop-down menu that matches your own. If you don't see an exact match, pick the next closest size.

3. Inflate your tires: Your bike tires will have a recommended tire pressure indicated on them, typically 100 PSI. Double-check your tire pressure and make sure they're fully inflated; under-inflated tires will cause the same problems that incorrect tire size can cause. 

4. Tighten your trainer: Check to make sure that your trainer is sufficiently tightened. This varies from trainer to trainer, so check with your hardware manufacturer to determine the correct tension.

5. Correct resistance setting: Some classic trainers have a resistance dial or knob that you can manually set. For each of the trainers we support, we note the resistance level on the pairing screen after you select it, and you should make sure your dial/knob matches that setting. You can also find a list of these settings here.

 

NOTE: If you have a Mag trainer with a resistance setting cord, leave the cord flat on the ground, not up on your handlebars or curled up. The wire inside the cord changes the resistance, and zPower was calculated with it in a neutral position.

  1. Launch Zwift and log in.
  2. Verify that your speed sensor is on by spinning the wheel it measures.
  3. Select the "Search" button under the Speed category.
  4. Your speed sensor should appear on the pop-up menu. Select it.
  5. Select your supported classic trainer from the next window that appears.

 

Note: If your trainer is not on the trainer list it is NOT supported. Do not pick a different trainer. You will get inaccurate readings. We encourage you to either switch to a smart trainer, power meter, or supported classic trainer.

 

See our article on inaccurate zPower readings and tire slippage for more information.

 

Using a power meter:

If you have an ANT+ power meter, you can ride on Zwift with any classic trainer or roller setup.

 

  1. Launch Zwift and log in.
  2. Verify that your power meter is on by rotating the pedals.
  3. Select the "Search" button under the Power category.
  4. Your power meter should appear on the pop-up menu. Select it.

I don't have a supported trainer/a power meter. Can I still ride in Zwift?

Absolutely! We want everyone to be able to try Zwift, so we created two options for Zwifters who don't have a supported classic trainer or rollers, but no power meter: Unlisted Trainer and Unlisted Rollers.

For both of these options, simply put your speed/cadence sensor on your bike, and select the relevant option. You won't get anywhere near accurate readings (there's no way that we can estimate an accurate curve for every trainer or set of rollers under one option), and you'll be capped at 400w just to make sure you don't fly off the course. 

While you can ride with these options, this is intended only to preview what Zwift is like, and we highly recommend getting appropriate equipment so that you can get accurate readings and the best Zwift experience.

I've paired everything. What now? 

You're done! If you want, you can pair any optional additional devices, such as a HR monitor; otherwise, just click OK to progress to the Ride screen. We'll see you on the road!

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