Peloton vs spinning bike with Zwift app

A​re you doubting what kind of indoor bike trainer alternatives for home training to choose? Imagine your perfect workout on this simulator.

How do you feel it?

There are 2 ways: riding a bike on an avarage speed and being involved in a competition with other bikers. This article will help you to make a difference between two variants: Peloton bike and Zwift platform.

Of course, you can easily buy any of them right now. But it is recommended to rely on fitness experts’ experience and consider all pros and cons at first. Let’t start!

Peloton vs Zwift

If you are not simply looking for Peloton for their great app, and prefer competing with other riders, consider spinning bikes that work with Zwift.

Actually, Zwift is an interesting and exciting experience. It differs from Peloton due to its interactivity. You have the opportunity to compare the stats and get a motivation to train hard. Here is the Peloton vs Zwift comparison chart:

What is Zwift?

It is an online multiplayer game where you (and a few hundred, or even thousands of people from all over the world) sit on a bicycle, not at a computer. Currently, Zwift is among the best indoor cycling apps compared.

How does it work?

You turn the machine and your avatar travels in the digital world. Its speed depends on your power. Plus, the speed is influenced by your weight and the gradient of the virtual world. Everything works as in reality.

There are levels for which shape, bicycles and wheels are changed – the game is the same. You can train and compete with cyclists from around the world. Sometimes real pros call in there.

Here’s why:

There are training programs with power, group races. No matter how ridiculous it looks – but although the races are virtual, you will make quite real efforts.

There is a trial period – 1 week or 50 km (which will come sooner). The advantage is that if you drive and your free 50 kilometers have ended, you will not be thrown out of the game. You can calmly prove the training. Another plus is that you do not need to enter your credit card details for a test run, as in some other programs.

ANT + connector (called USB ANT + stick or ANT + dongle) or Bluetooth (with bluetooth, the connection will be through the Zwift Mobile Link app for smartphones and Bluetooth Smart (BLE).

But here’s the kicker:

It was experimentally found that Android is needed above 5.0. Some Macs can receive a Bluetooth signal directly. Also, in the fall of 2016, an iOS application was released in beta mode, where you can also sign up for testers on the page.


Swift’s language is power. The best option is to transfer power from a bicycle or machine. For those who do not have such an opportunity, the developers made an option when using a cadence and speed sensor on a bicycle (transmitting data via ANT + or Bluetooth) and a compatible classic machine.

Smart machine tools

Able to transmit power, speed and cadence. In addition, Zwift can control their resistance, so they can simulate the relief of the game world. Full immersion!

Not all such machines are suitable, but only those that transmit data using open protocols. Some old devices have failed to be forced to cooperate. But now, as new products appear, the market is booming.

Machines that transmit power but do not change resistance (semi-smart or half-dumb). In the end, you can switch the resistance with the machine’s shifter (on machines with magnetic resistance). The gradient of the virtual mountain is always indicated on the screen.

If you have both a smart machine and a bike’s power meter, you can choose Power Source at the entrance to the game. From where the shift will see the power: from the machine sensor or from your computer meter.

No pavermeter or compatible smart machine – not a disaster yet. Zwift can use virtual power curves. There are two options: ZPower and Virtual Power curve.

When connecting for machines with regulation of the load level, it will be indicated on which division to set its index (L2, L3 or, for example, L4). Remember one thing: you cannot switch from this load later, because there will be a misrepresentation of the data.

All of these machines were tested at the Zwift headquarters. The list is slowly increasing. You can write to tech support and ask to be tested.

How to increase accuracy when using virtual power?

In addition to using a supported machine with virtual power, the following things are important:

Put it all together?

In this case, Bluetooth and Zwift Mobile Link are activated.

You may need to “wake up” the cadence-speed sensors by scrolling the pedal. Zwift itself will begin to search for devices and will offer to connect them. Nothing is connected in the screenshot yet.

Pay attention:

You can, skip this step and just watch the movement – but then your avatar will not move. Sensors can be connected later in the process. Zwift will remember your choice and in the future will try to connect familiar devices automatically. This can be changed by selecting a search.

Bicycle machines and sensors

Smart bike

A smart machine transmits power data and can change resistance, depending on the route and type of training. Driving ups and downs in Zwift you will feel on the machine. This is perhaps the most fun and interactive option.

Conventional bicycle machine, including roller + power meter

A power meter is the most accurate way to determine your effort. If you have a meter, then you can use any machine, regardless of the year of manufacture, manufacturer and model.

Conventional bicycle machine + speed sensor

Zwift can calculate power using the front wheel speed metrics, the so-called “zPower”. “zPower” is calculated only for machines from this list. This is one of the budget options. If your machine is not in the list, you can still use Zwift – the program will calculate the virtual power.

Though you don’t have to count on accuracy, and your power will never exceed 400 watts. Other users are not too supportive of users with virtual power. To begin with, this option is suitable, but over time it is better to upgrade your system.

Exercise bike

The Zwift website has a list of exercise bikes that have built-in power sensors and can transmit data. If your simulator is not in the list, it may be possible to use it together with a parameter.

If your sensors transmit a signal only through ANT +, you will need to buy a receiver. You can find it in google at the request of ANT + Dongle. These receivers do not always work smoothly, so it is better to buy a USB extension cable (USB Extension Cable) and put the receiver next to the sensors.

Zwift reviews

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