Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Head to Head - Zwift Aero Road vs Zwift TT

Last month saw the general release of the long awaited Zwift TT bike. Triathletes were seen ripping off their virtual jersey sleeves with excitement! In real life, TT bikes are faster. That's a fact. What about on Zwift? I had a tip-off that they were, so after a hot-lap on Watopia that indicated they were quick, I put on the lab coat and cranked up Llama Labs to really put these bikes though their paces.

The Idea - Same conditions for both bikes, the same wheels, the same rider weight, holding the same w/kg for the entire lap of both Watopia and Richmond. With a little magic and a w/kg picked that was within a sustainable (and repeatable) range, we had lift off! 

Llama Lab Parameters 

Frames: Zwift Areo Road / Zwift TT
Rider Weight: 71kg
Wheels: Zipp 808
Power: 300W / 4.2w/kg sustained. 
No power-ups or drafting in the tests.

Power output was accurate to the watt, for science! There was no variance on hills, descents, or for sprints.

Watopia - Our Island Home

Zwift Aero Road
KOM:     2:33.52
Sprint:    30.49
Lap:    14:05.50

Average Speed: 38.9km/h
Max Speed:     64.0km/h
Zwift TT
KOM:     2:33.32 
Sprint:    29.45
Lap:    13:42.30

Average Speed: 40.0km/h
Max Speed:     66.2km/h

WKO multi-range comparison: 

Yellow: Aero Road. Red: TT. (Top is km/h, bottom is elevation)

Richmond - Road Worlds Course 2015

Zwift Aero Road
Sprint:    19.26
Broad St:  24.82
KOM:     1:53.82
23rd St:   52.89
Lap:    25:06.58

Average Speed: 38.8km/h
Max Speed:     70.3km/h
Zwift TT
Sprint:    18.72
Broad St:  24.17
KOM:     1:53.31
23rd St:   50.49
Lap:    24:26.36

Average Speed: 39.9km/h
Max Speed:     72.2km/h

WKO multi-range comparison: 

Yellow: Aero Road. Red: TT. (Top is km/h, bottom is elevation)


Hands down the TT bikes are faster. Surprisingly they climb pretty well too. I attribute their climbing times to the higher speed in which they enter the start of the climbs, and their ability to get up to speed when the gradient flattens out.

Sprints on a TT bike in real life are typically clumsy and wasn't really put to the sword in these tests. I hope on Zwift the developers can make the aero advantages disappear, or even become a hindrance at anything above 500-600W. We don't want everyone rolling around on tri-bars on Zwift, it'll be carnage! :) 

I also tested the Zipp 808/DISC combo, but you'll have to wait for the wheel comparison tests to find out the results there......


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