With the cost of a smart indoor bike trainer, the subscription cost of Zwift, together with the space needed and TV’s/ screens required, you may be asking yourself: is Zwift worth it?
I once thought the Zwift mania was just short term hype for a specific class of biker needing an indoor training option on a real bike.
After nearly two years of using the platform I can say that Zwift is absolutely worth it, and then some.
But there are important things to consider before deciding if it is worth it for you. Zwift is a great platform with plenty to offer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for you.
If you are more interested in the idea of riding indoors, checkout the article Virtual Indoor Cycling: Is it for You?
Is Zwift Worth It?
How Much Does Zwift Cost?
A monthly subscription for Zwift costs $18.99 in Canada. This may seem steep in comparison to most monthly subscriptions, but considering everything it comes with it’s definitely worth it — even if you only use it a couple times a week.
The initial setup is the most expensive consideration. Assuming you already have a bike (and you don’t need anything special for Zwift) the trainer will cost you $500 – $1200 for a good one. It is easier to spend much more than that on a smart bike trainer if you want all the fancy bells and whistles.
And, you need a screen as well. This means a phone or laptop at the very least. I Airplay Zwift to one TV and have another TV for watching shows.
What Does Zwift Offer?
The platform offers many options for all types of riders: training plans, individual training rides, group workouts, free rides across multiple different worlds and my favourite: virtual races.
There are multiple worlds in Zwift, and the developers continue designing new ones. Some are based on real locations, like London and France, and some are purely imaginary, like Watopia.
Each Zwift riding location has its own character and nuance, but there are usually a variety of loops ranging from long low elevation rides, to steep climbs up mountains.
The Zwift races and group workouts offer a social component, linking you to riders all over the world.
In open mode, you can pedal around any of the worlds at your leisure, follow a chosen route, or you can make it up as you go by telling Zwift where you want to go.
What Are the Benefits of Zwift?
You can hop on Zwift anytime and get an intense workout, or casual spin, and everything in between. This is awesome when there’s bad weather, your mountain bike is in the shop, you’re pinched for time, or you just want the flexibility to ride when you want.
You don’t even have to be a biker to appreciate Zwift. There is something for everyone and since the workout intensity is built specifically for your fitness level, there is never any stress about keeping up in a group workout or getting in over your head.
As you get fitter and stronger, Zwift automatically dials up the intensity, so you never have to worry about plateauing.
When riding in free/ open world mode, and in races, the resistance adjusts to your environment. You’ll have to change gears, and be able to coast, just like real life!
What Are the Drawbacks of Zwift?
The one biggest issue I’ve heard from people, and this includes lifelong bikers, is that Zwift is not engaging enough because you physically stay in one spot, and the game component can feel a little nerdy.
I think Zwift should be balanced with outdoor riding with actual real life people. For some, the in-person experience may be one of the biggest motivating factors to bike at all, which is lost in Zwift. Even virtual rides are still imaginary! Although your legs will tell you otherwise…
Who is Zwift For?
Zwift is for anyone who wants an indoor cycling workout with plenty of options. There are other platforms out there, like Peloton, but the bikes are quite expensive and the monthly subscription cost is much greater than Zwift.
If you already have a bike and want the best simulation of outdoor riding in the comfort of your own home, you won’t be disappointed by Zwift.
Is Zwift Worth It?
If you have a bike (or don’t mind investing in a new one — nothing fancy is needed for Zwift), want an on-demand workout, like to be challenged, want to race other people, or just want to casually spin when the weather’s bad or it’s the off season, Zwift is absolutely worth it.
If you’re still unsure, many bike shops have demo Zwift setups. So, head to your local bike shop and take a spin for yourself!
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