There are four basic components you need to get riding:
- A bicycle trainer or rollers, and an ANT+ or BLE power meter/speed sensor.
- Although not required, you may use an optional cadence sensor with Zwift.
- A bike
- A PC/Mac computer, a compatible iOS device, or an AppleTV to open Zwift
- A bridge/receiver for the ANT+/BLE signal
How does it work?
As you pedal on your bike, the trainer allows your bike to spin in place while your sensors send that data to your device via ANT+/BLE. Zwift then connects over the Internet to let you ride with other Zwifters around the world!
What gear do I need?
The first step is determining whether you're going to be riding with a smart trainer, a combination of a power meter/speed sensor and rollers/a classic trainer, or an indoor bike. If you're more of a visual learner, check out our YouTube channel for an introductory video - or just read on for more details:
Trainer and Sensors
A smart trainer transmits power data and has the ability to change the resistance based on the course, so as you go up and down hills in Zwift, you'll feel those changes on your bike.
A power meter + any trainer/rollers
A power meter can be the most accurate way to measure your effort; and in Zwift, it also allows you to ride any trainer - including rollers.
Classic trainer + speed sensor
"zPower" is our name for a supported classic trainer + speed sensor setup. With this setup, Zwift calculates your watts (i.e. power) based on the speed of your rear wheel. It's a good entry level choice.
Some indoor bikes have built-in sensors that transmit power. If you have one of these, you don't need any other sensors. If your bike isn't on the list, you may be able to make it compatible by adding one of our supported power meters.
Our full list of compatible trainers is listed in our knowledge base so you can look into which one will work for you.
You'll need something to pedal on, and a bicycle is your best bet. Most will work with Zwift (yes, even the old one in your garage) as long as it fits on your trainer properly.
Supported Device to open Zwift
If you're using a computer, keep in mind that Zwift relies more on the graphics capability of your computer (your GPU) than anything else. If you have a PC or Mac built within the last three years, it should run Zwift without too much trouble.
Our minimum computer requirements on our website.
Zwift also works on iOS! Any newer iOS device (with an A7 or higher CPU) will work. The full list of compatible devices is in the sidebar on the App Store download page. Apple TV is also supported.
ANT+/BLE Bridge or Receiver
If you're on a PC or Mac, you may need a bridge to translate the ANT+ or BLE signal to your computer.
- If you're using ANT+, you'll need an ANT+ USB dongle.
- If you're on a PC using BLE, you'll use the Zwift Companion app.
- If you're on a Mac, you can either use the Zwift Companion app as a bridge or connect via native BLE.
If you're on an iOS device, you can connect via BLE or ANT+ (with an adapter):
- If you're using BLE, you'll connect via native BLE.
- The Viiiiva heartrate monitor also works as an ANT+ bridge.
- The NPE CABLE is another ANT+ bridge alternative.
Starting Your First Ride
Before you start your ride, you should double-check to make sure that your specific type of setup/trainer meets our setup expectations so that you'll get accurate results. Check whichever one of the following articles in our Getting Started section that applies to you:
- Setting up a Classic Trainer / Rollers (zPower)
- What Resistance Level do I set my Classic Trainer to?
- Setting up an Elite Classic Trainer with Zwift
- Setting up a Wahoo KICKR
- Setting up a Computrainer
- Setting up a CycleOps Smart Trainer
- Setting up a Wattbike
- Setting up an Elite Smart Trainer
- Setting up a wired Elite trainer
- Setting up an Elite Turbo Muin
- How do I calibrate my Elite Trainer?
- Setting up a Bkool trainer
Once you've got your Zwift station set up, you're ready to ride! See our guide for starting a ride in Zwift for the next step to beginning your Zwift journey.