One of the smart things about Zwift is how it keeps you on the platform. And Zwift Levels is one of its secret weapons when it comes to engagement.
So we thought we’d map out exactly what they are and what you get for hitting them.
First off, there’s a lot here. Tables, recommendations, video etc. So to make it easier just check out the contents below.
Zwift Levels Introduction
Right now, there are 50 rider levels in Zwift. When you join, you begin at level 1 and get promoted to higher levels by accumulating XP (experience) points for every mile/ km you ride or workout blocks.
When riding, your current Zwift level is displayed at the top of the screen next to speed, distance, elevation, and ride time. So it’s always in your face.
A progress bar is underneath, showing how far you have until the next level. So you can always focus on the next stage.
Fortunately, moving up through the levels brings you rewards besides the higher number.
What’s the deal with Zwift Levels?
Ok, this is a personal view here. But generally speaking, no one is going to know if you have a low level.
However, what leveling does is give you access to various rewards. Also, many of the best wheel and framesets are restricted to higher-level riders.
There are also some areas with level requirements, Alpe du Zwift being for Level 12s and over.
How to get through the Levels on Zwift – XP points
Points are added for every km (20 XP) or mile (30 XP) you ride. Yes, that’s right. It is better to use kilometers regardless of your position on imperial or metric levels. You get XP over 7% faster that way.
If you want more detail, here’s Zwift’s own take on XP and Zwift Levels.
1 mile equals 1.61 kilometers. If points were awarded equally between imperial and metric, it should be 20 XP per km and 32.2 XP per mile. That’s a 7% difference. So do km.
The exception to this is workout mode. Here points are based on interval type, length, and completion.
There are also XP points available for bonus power-ups and 10 points for going through a banner on a time trial bike. Lastly, you get them to get route badges.
For more tips, go to the 107 Indoor Cycling and Zwift Tips – the Ulitmate Guide.
Get more XP to get through the levels more quickly
In essence, the only way you are going to get through the Zwift levels is by riding. But here are some ways to expedite the process.
- Avoid the hills and go for flatter routes. This is a numbers game. The more mile (I mean km) you rack up, the more points you get. That said, if you need to do hills for the Everest Challenge, then make sure you do the downhills too get back the distance. Even if you’re just rolling down.
- Earn badges. This one is sometimes forgotten as many people like riding events, training, or have their own fave route. Getting badges for different courses such as Road to the Ruins is just free XP points. And some badges are really easy to get.
- Do group rides. This is a bit cheeky. But basically, get into a blob and ride around. You’ll cover more km that way that on your own.
- Always get to the end of the km. It’s not much but don’t stop on 4.9km or whatever. Get the XP for that last km. It all counts.
Zwift Drops – the currency of Zwift
As you accumulate miles you’ll notice you are building up a bank of ‘drops’. You can see them build up in the blue panel in the rider dashboard.
You can spend them in the Drop Shop, which is accessed via the Zwift garage. Each one is worth the equivalent of $0.01. So although you have 5,000 of them, that won’t get you a $1000 set of wheels.
Most importantly though, you will need to have the appropriate level to get the kit. For example, get to Level 34 and you get the Felt AR frame – allegedly the 2nd fastest in Zwift.
There’s a ton of stuff to buy. But effectively, it gives you access to wheelsets and frames.
Drops are gained riding but some forms of activity produce more. Here is a very quick overview:
- Climbing – the steeper and longer the better.
- Distance – more miles gets you more drops as well as XP.
- Ride Ons – so there’s method to giving everyone a ride on.
Best frames and wheels to buy with your Drops
This is not the place for a massive list. You can something at everything level – but lets not turn this post into a big table. There is already one of those below.
Here are mine and James’ favourite bike in the Drop Shop, which becomes available as you go through the levels on Zwift. You can assume we’ve been saving our Drops.
Up to Zwift level 10 – Vintage Kit
In terms of Rewards, there’s not a lot to choose from in the first 10 levels. However, the Oakleys are pretty decent at Level 10, as is the Vintage Kit at Level 8.
When it comes to the Drop Shop, there are some decent bikes available. It’s worth trying to hold off spending your drops until you’re at least on Level 5. It won’t take you long to get there.
Basic Kit 1
Zwift Glasses Basic
ENVE SES 3.4 Rims,
Roval CLX64 Rims,
DT Swiss ARC 62,
Zwift Carbon Wheels,
Vintage Kit pack
Giant TCR Ad frame,
Camo Jersey pack
Cannondale Evo frame,
Lux, Infinite, Ultimate (Canyon),
Best Frames and Wheels Levels 1-10
Zwift Aero Frame – Level 6
The first great frame you can access. It costs 319,500 Drops but it’s worth saving up. It will make an instant difference.
Mavic Cosmic Ultimate UST wheels – Level 9
Cost, 142,000 Drops. Just like on the bike, you can focus too much on the frame. These wheels are good all-rounders.
Up to Zwift Level 20 – Classy Kits
From Level 11 upwards you’re starting to have to ride a fair bit of distance to move up. A favourite Zwift Reward has to be the Digital Camo Jersey at Level 11. To get it you just have to ride 950km.
Or the Classy Kits pack at Level 18.
Digital Camo Jersey pack
Zipp 202 rims,
Basic Kit 2
Shimano C40 rims,
Zipp 808 rims,
Glove Pack Pattern
Specialized Allez Sprint frame
Level 15 jersey
Zipp 404 rims,
Glasses Zwift #1
Parlee ESX frame,
Chapter 2 Rere frame,
Mavic Cosmic CXR60
Scott Foil frame,
Specialized Shiv Disc frame,
Glasses Zwift #2
BMC SLR01 frame
Level 20 Jersey
Trek Madone frame,
Best Frames and Wheels Levels 11-20
Specialized Allez Sprint frame – Level 14
Generally regarded as a solid frame. Is it better than the Zwift Aero? Maybe, but is it worth 127,800 Drops? The depends on whether you want to save up for something like…
Specialized Venge frame – Level 18
This is rated as one of the fastest frames in Zwift and it’s only 461,500 Drops. Personally, if you haven’t got one yet it’s because you haven’t reached the level.
Trek Madone Frame – Level 20
Seriously, try and get this one. It is one of the fastest frames in the game and the best in the first 25 levels – barring the Tron Bike, which is a completely different bag of tire levers. It costs over 865,000 Drops though, so get saving.
Zwift Level 21-30 – Oversize Glasses
Oversize glasses? You’d never wear them out on the road. But they look good here. Another piece of free kit is the S-Works shoes on level 27. Really though, you should be looking at some of the frames in the 20s levels.
Canyon Speedmax frame
Giant Propel Advanced SL Disc frame,
Glove Pack Solid
Mavic Comete Pro Carbon SL wheels,
BMC Timemachine01 frame,
Level 25 Kit
Cervelo S5 frame,
Zwift Oversize Glasses
Trek Emonda SL frame
Canondale System 6 frame,
Cube Aerium frame,
Dogma 65.1 frame,
Level 30 Kit
Best frames and Wheels Level 21-30
Trek Madone frame
Really good climbing frame for this low down the levels. A definite one to get if you’re going for the Tron Bike. The Madone will set you back 887,500 Zwift Drops.
Zipp 454 wheels – Level 24
Very good climbing wheels and possibly the best you are likely to get before you hit the level 30+. And they’ll cost 284,000 Drops.
Zwift Levels 31-40 – seriously good kit in the Drop Shop
This where things get interesting. Some rather good frames start to appear, including possibly the best timetrial frame in Zwift.
Retro 80s Sunglasses (Oakley Eyeshades)
Newsy (Paperboy) Cap
Calories To Burn (Food) Socks
Bell Javelin Helmet
Vintage Leather Shoes
Level 40 Kit
Best frames and wheels Level 31-40
ENVE SES 8.9 Wheels – Level 31
These will cost 205,900 Drops for some seriously fast rims. Yes, there are others further up the levels but the higher you the longer it takes.
Specialized Venge S-Works frame – Level 33
Reputed to be the fastest frame in Zwift, this beauty will set you back just short of 799,000 Drops.
Felt IA frame – Level 37
The best time-trial bike in Zwift, according to reports. We have not tested this out. However, it will cost just over 1m Drops.
Zwift Levels 41-50 – the what you get at the end
Well here is an admission. I haven’t got to Level 50. But, if I had I would take genuine pride in getting the Level 50 kit. It’s probably the Tron Bike of kits.
Zwift Rockstar Glasses
La Z Claire Kit
Retro 80s Helmet
Alpine Slopes (Ski) Kits
Giro Synthe Helmet
Zwift Vintage Riding Goggles
Giro Vanquish Helmet
Level 50 Kit
Best wheels under Zwift Level 50
ZIPP 858/Super9 wheels – Level 45
Fastest wheels on Zwift (allegedly). Who know, I’m not even at that level yet. They will cost 1,508,800 Drops, costs in probably irrelevant by now. You should be Drop rich just to hit this level.
Concluding thoughts – the Kit is the Best thing
Final thoughts? The Drop Shop kit is really the thing. The bikes can make a fair difference – inasmuch as they do on the road.
And there’s the thing. They do make a difference and it’s quite good fun chopping and changing in the garage.
But if they made that much difference, what would be the point in riding. That’s where Zwift gets the balance right. No amount of kit will make you better than a stronger rider. The way it should be.