The first Mad Max movie in the quadrilogy started off as a fuel shortage, that resulted in a breakdown in law and order. The fiction has become the poster child of the 80's post-apocalyptic genre, now called The Apunkalypse.
Fast forward 35 years and still in the Aussie wastelands, we're facing a shortage of Wahoo Kickrs. With all the hype around Zwift and no Kickrs, we're again on the brink of a breakdown in law and order. Demand is higher than ever yet nobody can get their hands on one. Let's hope the supply issues are resolved before we're faced with The Kickralypse.
For those waiting for the Kickrs to arrive on our shores, or for those on a budget, there are alternatives to get yourself set up and flying around on Zwift.
The three setups are Basic, Flexible, and Premium, as detailed below:
Today I tested out the Basic setup after pulling my Zwift compatible CycleOps Fluid2 out of storage.
|The only two additional items needed. An ANT+ speed sensor, and the USB2 ANT+ Stick. The speed sensor and USB2 stick are around AU$50 each.|
|Spoke magnet and speed sensor.|
|Fluid trainers are notorious for changing their stripes while they warm up, so I fast-tracked warming it.|
|Optimal pressure is ~100PSI.|
|Clean tyre, clean roller, and enough tension to prevent slippage.|
|After selecting "Speed" and pairing your sensor, Zwift asks you to choose your trainer type.|
|In action.... also Socks for Nepal by Hells500 - Get yours here! |
I've been spoiled by the dynamic resistance of the Kickr as you ride up and down the changing gradients, however that is only one component of the Zwift effect. The biggest difference is the lack of inertia compared to the Kickr or the LeMond Revolution that I use on a regular basis.
Everything else on Zwift worked a treat. The zPower calculation wasn't too far off my Quarq and allowed me to chase people down, sit on wheels, attack up the climb, and go for sprints.
Behind the scenes isn't a simple 'speed -> power' curve calculation to give you your zPower wattage. Official support forum posts indicate they're implementing a system that replicates real-world riding (accelerations, coasting, etc)... and they're still refining this during their beta period.
One Lap Results
|Quarq is in yellow, zPower is in red.|
It appears the CycleOps Fluid2 zPower takes a continual dive throughout the whole lap. I'll speculate on a few reasons why this may be the case shortly, for now average power between them both was very close:
(Strava Tip - TCX Export (with full data): Strava allows you to export .TCX versions of your activities. Just add "/export_tcx" (without quotes) to the end of your activity page URL). This can now be imported into WKO/TrainingPeaks etc.)
Was zPower good enough to #rideon and enjoy the Zwift experience? For sure. Was it as accurate as the well fed, well looked after, and well calibrated Quarq? No, but that is partially my fault....
The tyre size I used in this test was a 23/25, a hybrid sized tyre that will be a little larger than the standard 23mm, and it would have an impact on the zPower calculations which are based on a 23mm tyre (2096mm).
My Fluid2 trainer. It is at least 5-6 years old now and although I warmed it up up before starting the test, I should have spent another 10-15minutes at the target wattage on it before starting the test.
Testing is good training, so I'll see if I can get my hands on other zPower trainers and put them through similar tests, while correcting the above discrepancies in my testing protocol.
Conclusion / tldr;
You don't need a Kickr or high end smart-trainer to enjoy Zwift for your indoor sessions. A compatible trainer, PC/Mac, USB2 ANT+ stick, and ANT+ Speed sensor will get you up and running.