Virtual riding is about to get far more interactive. Online training platform Zwift unveiled at Eurobike a new steering functionality to its virtual riding experience which increases the gamification of the riding experience. Simultaneously, Zwift also opened up its newest course based on the 2019 Yorkshire UCI Road World Championship finishing circuit in Harrogate.
The steering functionally adds a new level of virtual immersion to the Zwift riding experience. It was released under Zwift’s new FutureWorks label which will be used to unveil innovations to the online riding community for research and development before taking their final shape in a full release.
“The teams here at Zwift have so many innovative ideas, but Zwifters have historically only been able to try those that have gone through a lengthy development process,” explained Eric Min, Zwift CEO and co-founder. “FutureWorks will allow us to deliver more of these ideas at a concept phase – allowing Zwifters to give us their direct feedback on what they want to see more of. This is a means of giving the community more of a voice on what they wish to see added in the game.”
The new steering test can be found in Titan’s Grove on Zwift’s Watopia island. Currently only available with mobile use, Zwifters will receive an on-screen prompt as they approach the new steering segment. If the steering option is selected, Zwifters will then be transported to the start of the new trail and given directions on how to enable steering. Using Zwift’s companion app for iOS and Android, the phone needs to be mounted to the bars to input steering for your avatar on the screen. The steering route is currently 3 km long. The segment will have a timed competition and riders will be scored on how well the navigate the course. Users who complete the course in under 12 min 30 sec with a 100 per cent steering score will unlock the new Zwift mountain bike and Zwift mountain wheels.
“Steering is perhaps the most gamified feature we’ve added to Zwift since launch, and I’m incredibly excited by it.” Adds Jon Mayfield, Zwift’s Chief Developer and Co-Founder. “From the World’s leading endurance athletes all the way to Moms, Dads and Kids, Zwift’s uniqueness is turning fitness goals into achievements through a social video game experience. Steering has been developed to take this up a level and tempt more recreational cyclists and fitness enthusiasts to Zwift.”
In the near future, Zwift will integrate the steering functionality into Wahoo, Tacx, Stages and Wattbike smart bikes for a greater immersive riding experience.