All the new Zwift features to watch for in 2021/2022
Indoor cycling season is here – and if that statement makes you wince, then Zwift should unveil some new features to further combat coach boredom and even “choice paralysis.”
Updates for the upcoming season include updated home screens, to make it easier to choose a session, more club features – including the ability to host club outings – and the addition of more of routes among the “Neokyo” maps.
New products for the indoor training platform are expected to hit the market in the fall / winter 2021/2022 season, and Zwift has also shared updates to provide insight into their future planning for fair competition. , fitness and training tests.
Let’s dive into …
New club features
The Covid pandemic has meant that many groups of cyclists, whether informal gatherings or more rigid organizations governed by a committee and a ‘club constitution’, have not been able to meet for their journeys. regular. While outdoor group outings are making a comeback in most countries, Zwift’s new Club features are still aimed at providing a valuable resource that will help provide an online home for these organizations.
The feature, which allows users to create a club, invite members, communicate with members and organize events, “will bridge the gap”, according to Zwift, between the current capacity of “meet” – used to create 952,961 small-scale events in the past 12 months – and more formal community events, including 50,000 last year.
This feature will be rolled out from 2022 and runners must be at L20 + level to create a club.
And when is it for? Zwift PR Director Chris Snook told us: “To begin with, small segments of our audience will have the opportunity to use these new products to allow the community to share their experiences ahead of a mass deployment. at the beginning of 2022. “
When asked about the possibility of a club jersey, Snook told us, “The functionality of the club will develop and evolve over time. On the initial post-launch roadmap, the intention is to introduce a selection of jerseys that clubs can choose to use for their club. identification … Personalization will continue to improve on the platform. “
Home screen updates
Over the past month, Zwift said 50% of users signed up less than 35 minutes before starting a ride. It doesn’t surprise me at all. On the contrary, it feels like 30 minutes longer than I would typically give myself between installing an app and anticipating its use. Users don’t want to waste precious time crippled by indecision, or looking for suitable rides or sessions, and this has become more difficult to avoid with more events and rides added daily.
To solve this success-induced conundrum, Zwift’s new home screens will showcase upcoming activities, with the option to filter them by duration, effort, distance and more.
Duration is based on an estimate based on 85% of Zwifters completing the activity in ‘this time or less’, and effort will be assigned on a scale of 1 to 5, taking into account distance and time. altitude. This helps new riders, who may not have an internal calculator to know how long it takes to travel 30 km, to choose a route that meets their needs that day.
As senior producer Anne Walsh says, “With over 1,000 workouts, hundreds of daily events, and over 90 routes to choose from, it can be difficult for Zwifters to find exactly what they want to do on their next session. As we look for ways to better recommend content tailored to the needs of an individual Zwifter, this season we’re starting to revise many in-game screens; this will ultimately make Zwift more accessible by reducing the time it takes you to find and start your next business and by providing more social activities.
Walsh says Zwift also took care of “navigation pain points” for users on platforms like Apple TV.
The new home screen is currently under development and like the rollout of clubs, the implementation will be gradual.
“A change is as good as a break,” apparently, so if you’re bored with the multitude of current routes, you’ll be happy to hear that Zwift has to launch new routes.
The Neokyo routes will be a “flat and fast” network, within the world of Makuri Islands which launched in May 2021. Tony Yruegas, game art director at Zwift, said these were launched to “contrast with Yemezi ”, which was inspired by the Japanese countryside, and would almost“ double ”the number of routes available.
The routes will be available from November. We have yet to get a snapshot of the total kilometers driven in these maps and the number of routes – but there is no doubt that this information will be available soon.
In the pipeline: fair races and gamified tests
Club features, new home screens, and Neokyo routes are all set to roll out over the coming season, but of course there will be more to come.
Shayne Gaffney, Training Content Manager, gave an interesting overview of possible new fitness testing protocols, sampled at the last Zwift Academy.
“When we built the new roads, we built each segment to match an energy system, and actual testing in this way allows us to glean more information about our community, to show progress on more than one. data points and stay focused on the fun. , rather than looking at the clock hoping the time will go by faster, as we all encountered during a 20 minute FTP test.
In the same way that running yourself (or, better yet, your teammates) on an outdoor climb – which takes around 20 minutes – can be a much more engaging FTP test than 20 minutes of intense pedaling, performing condition tests physical on a virtual climb will certainly motivate runners to shoot for bigger gains.
“Training and testing doesn’t have to be boring and tedious – after all, the best training plan is the one you actually want to follow,” Gaffney added.
The indoor practice brand also touched on the difficult conversation about fair competition.
Zwift has protocols in place for higher stakes races, but complaints of foul play at amateur events are common.
In discussing this, Cote noted, “We compete … [level] at the World Esports Championships, and at the center of them, we want fair races.
“I’m going to hit this one over the head: we’re not there yet,” Cote said.
“There is a lot to do, both in terms of the digital elements – is that fair? Is there cheating? – until” have we figured out the athlete and the Did we put it in the right category? “Just know that this is a top priority, it is a very difficult problem to solve, and it is one of our priorities.