Zwift, the global online training and racing platform for athletes, has today added increased functionality for off-road cyclists.
Building on a partnership with the Absa Cape Epic earlier in 2019, Zwift is looking to further broaden the appeal of indoor training for mountain bikers and gravel riders. The company adds that off-road cyclists already account for 10% of Zwift’s user base.
“We already have a strong user base of riders who spend most of their outdoor riding off-road,” said Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “This may not be a total surprise – indoor training isn’t just an effective training tool for road cyclists. However, this first coordinated move to cater for the audience is a significant step. For the first time, we will have dedicated training plans and bikes that suit the needs of off-road cyclists.”
The Zwift game update, released today, contains two new training plans designed to meet the needs of off-road cycling where the specific demands of power output and pedalling technique differ to those when riding on the road.
Adding to the sole Gravel Grinder training plan, is the new Pebble Pounder plan. The Pebble Pounder is an entry level plan aimed at those looking to make the leap into gravel events. For mountain bikers, the intermediate level Dirt Destroyer is designed for the intermediate rider who has a developed endurance base, but is looking to improve their mountain bike specific strengths… ‘through repeated surges far over threshold to increase anaerobic capacity, and grow their peak pedal torque to help smash up even the steepest of climbs.’ A second, more advanced, training plan for Cross Country cyclists will follow early in 2020.
In addition to the new training plans, Zwift has also released a new fleet of bikes to the game which can be found and purchased in the Drop Shop. Zwifters can use their ‘Drops’ – Zwift’s own currency that is earned through riding in game – to purchase the virtual Canyon Grail, Inflite and Cervélo Aspero gravel bikes. In addition, mountain bikers may choose from the Canyon Lux, Scott Spark and Specialized Epic.
Zwift adds that these bikes will offer more than just visual appeal. ‘All bikes in Zwift now have riding characteristics designed to better align them to their real-world equivalents. Gravel bikes are fastest on gravel, moderate on road, slower off-road. Mountain bikes are naturally fastest off road, slower on gravel and slowest on the road.’
Further updates and new partnerships will be announced in the coming months.