With the winter nights drawing in, many of us are hanging up our best mountain bikes and gravel bikes and turning to indoor cycling to maintain our hard-earned summer fitness. With one of their main rivals - Wahoo recently closing down its RGT platform and even gifting some users a Zwift subscription, Zwift now looks to cement its position as the leading indoor training with the launch of the Zwift Hub One, featuring ‘Virtual Shifting’ that ditches the traditional cassette for compatibility with what they say is almost any 8-12 speed bike. SRAM Powertrain and Shimano Auto Shift has been a 'hot topic' recently, and now Zwift brings there similar version to the virtual world of Watopia.
The Zwift Hub One comes on the back of the brand also launching a host of user-friendly updates, with new KM's added to Watopia and the Zwift Play controllers that put users in control of everything on Zwift direct from their handlebars and unlock new immersive gameplay, thanks to steering and braking controls.
Zwift say they are rethinking the drivetrain for indoor training to fit more bikes, and offer a quieter experience. Which they say also makes it easier than ever for anyone to get involved and to hop on and ride. The Zwift One Hub is built around the Zwift Cog which is also available as an update for existing Hub trainers or comes complete with the new Zwift Hub One.
The original Zwift Hub ran on a standard cassette for the gears, but now the Zwift Cog replaces that with a single gear. Then through the magic of Zwift, the Zwift Cog can virtually provide 24 different speeds, which are optimized for your front chainring(s) to provide a consistent feel from bike to bike.
One of the biggest benefits of 'Virtual Shifting' and the Zwift Cog, is that on a direct-drive trainer like the Hub, you don’t have to change out the cassette if you have multiple bikes, or you want to use the trainer with different drivetrains. Zwift says that the Cog is compatible with most bikes with 8-12-speed drivetrains, which means you can just pop your bike on the trainer and ride without having to swap cassettes. Zwift adds that while 11-speed cassettes are the most popular option for the current Hub, the launch of more budget 12-speed groupsets like Shimano's 105 Mechanical 12-speed, highlights the need to cover multiple drivetrain options.
The Zwift Cog provides 24 different ‘gears’, which are smart shifted with either the new Zwift Click shifter, the Zwift Play controllers, or a combination of both. While using Zwift, the current gear will be displayed on the screen so you know where you are in the 24-speed ‘cassette’. This is similar to the gearing on a Wattbike and replicates the range of a 2 x 12 drivetrain.
Zwift claims that because there aren’t any physical gears to shift back and forth between, the 'Virtual Shifting' is also a lot quieter. There’s also no chance of dropping a shift, slow shifting or chain skipping with the Cog. Shifts are claimed to be instantaneous, and there are bumpers on either side of the cog to prevent chain derailments. The Hub will cleverly automatically calculate the real gear ratio of the bike mounted to it at the start of every ride using cadence and flywheel speed which means that even bikes with small chainrings will have the proper in-game gearing that will prevent spinning out on flats or descents. This setting will only take place at the start of every ride, and it’s what allows all of the different bikes to feel the same on the trainer.
Pricing and availability
The Zwift Hub One trainer with the Zwift Cog pre-installed and a Zwift Click shifter is available now priced at $599 / £549 / €599 and also comes with a 1-year Zwift subscription.
Existing owners of the Zwift Hub Trainer but want Virtual Shifting? For you, Zwift will offer the Zwift Cog and Click can upgrade to a Zwift Cog and Click kit which will sell for $79 / £59 / €59. This kit is only compatible with the Zwift Hub. Visit Zwift.com for all the details.