Zwift is an incredible cycling simulator that allows you to experience a game like training program that is not only really fun but is guaranteed to get you into great shape!
Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve endurance or increase leg muscle tone, Zwift will certainly help you with this.
Now, Zwift is primarily aimed at people who have an outdoor bike that they can connect up to a turbo trainer, a smart trainer or on a set of rollers.
By connecting an outdoor bike up with any of these, the Bluetooth or ANT+ capability within them transmits the cycling data to Zwift where they can see all of their cycling information on-screen in front of them.
However what if you don’t have this equipment and only have your indoor bike?
Well, there are 2 main ways you can connect a standard indoor bike to Zwift.
- Speed & Cadence Sensor
- Power Meter Pedals
Now for my Zwift setup, I am using my Joroto X2 Indoor bike. This bike has no internal Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity.
It’s a standard bike that has the best in overall key features you want within an indoor bike – all you need to do is attach a few other devices to get setup with Zwift.
So how can we connect up to Zwift with this standard setup, well let’s take a look.
Speed & Cadence Sensor
So if price or budget is an issue, this is the setup you want.
Speed and Cadence sensors can be purchased at a very affordable price.
What I recommend is the Wahoo Speed & Cadence Combo. ( Click to check out on Amazon )
So there is a particular way you need to install these.
How To Install
So firstly you want to install the speed sensor onto the flywheel of your indoor bike. Attach this as closely to the hub (the inner part of the flywheel) as you can.
This is going to measure your speed.
You want it as close to the middle as you can as this is where you’re going to get your true reflection of the effort you put into the bike. Just make sure that it’s clear of any obstructions such as a bolt or nut sticking out where the sensor may catch and possibly break.
Now moving onto the cadence sensor.
This is going to measure the changes in your pedalling (how fast and slow you’re pedalling).
You can either attach this onto the pedal crank arm with the stick on pad or secure it with the cable ties provided.
Or simply attach it onto your shoe and this is will measure it very effectively also.
Once you have both of these attached, simply load up Zwift on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Make sure to have your Bluetooth turned on.
- Begin pedalling
- Click on the sensors for cadence and speed and you should see your sensors pop up here.
- Click on each to pair them up and now your ready to Zwift!
Power Meter Pedals
If you are looking for the most effective way of transmitting your own cycling data to Zwift, then this is the setup you want.
This is the setup I have personally.
I use this way to connect to Zwift through my indoor bike as it provides a far more accurate result of my cycling effort compared to the speed and cadence sensor.
Yes, the speed and cadence sensor is a great option however as the speed sensor is attached the flywheel in a very makeshift way – it can possibly produce an inaccurate reading of your true effort.
With power meter pedals, they have an algorithm built into them that calculates your speed and cadence from how fast or slow your are pedalling, this then produces your watts and shows a very true and accurate result of your actual effort.
The power meter pedals I use are the Favero Assioma Uno. ( Click to check out on Amazon )
The Uno resembles one sensor in the left pedal. However you can also purchase the DUO set with two sensors in each pedal.
The reason I chose the Favero Assioma pedals was the science behind them. You see most power meter pedals use the estimated average angular velocity per rotation whilst the Faveros use Instantaneous Angular Velocity value.
This way of analysing your cycling data is much more effective as it is reads any quick or sharp movements and can actually guarantee an accuracy between +/-1% whereas others can have an error up to 4.5%.
It’s is all very technical, I know but trust me it works incredibly well!
How To Install
Installing power meter pedals is actually quite easy!
- Firstly you need to remove your current pedals on the bike (whether these are clipless or caged). With a wrench or a spanner simply turn the pedal screw onto they come away from the crank arm.
- Now with your power meter pedals, in this case the Favero Assisoma pedals you need to align the screw up with the screw hole in the crank arm itself. With an allen key, go behind the pedal and click it into place with the inside the screw.
- Simply turn until the pedal is secure
- Make sure not to tighten too much or you could damage the sensor in the pedal.
- Once both have been installed, start pedalling. You should see the sensor flashing orange/red. This means it’s transmitting. (As seen in the picture above)
- You then need to download the Favero app on Google Play or Apple Store and calibrate the pedals to your bike.
- Once done, open up Zwift on your computer, tablet or smartphone and click on Power Meter and tap your power pedals and it should start transmitting your data straight away.
Once you have clicked on the power meter pedals and continue cycling, you should see your power and cadence being transmitted.
After you’re all connected up – it’s time to jump into Zwift!
Why You Need To Transmit Your Cycling Data To Zwift
So Zwift, as of Feb 2021 has just over 3 million users on the platform. Each one of these users all have different fitness goals in mind and people on the platform want to know that the effort and time they put into their cycling sessions is accurate to what is being displayed on screen.
Or else….what’s the point?
Zwift prides itself in being able to deliver complete accurate cycling with the power and effort you are pushing through your bike that can transmit effectively through to the platform.
The best ways of transmitting this is either through Bluetooth or ANT+.
Any sudden changes in your cadence or speed, the sensors you use on the bike should automatically and instantaneously change to match what is being shown on screen.
This will then give you a very clear and accurate representation of the effort you are putting into the bike.
So there you have it.
These are the 2 ways you can connect a standard indoor bike up to Zwift.
Both these ways will allow you to pull in all of your effort on the bike onto Zwift but if you really are looking to get the best experience out of it and see your ACTUAL cycling performance then I recommend the Favero Assioma Power Meter Pedals.
I’ve been using them now for just over a year and they haven’t let me down once!
Very easy to connect up to Zwift and incredibly accurate with my cycling effort.
If you do have any questions, drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.