If you do not already have the Zwift Tron Bike, it is recommended that you acquire one.
If you’re new to Zwift you may have been riding around wondering about those bikes covered in lights. And why you can’t get one in your garage.
The article below will take you through what is. It’ll also contain my personal view on whether it was worth all the hassle. And it will also give you some hints on how to speed up the process of getting a Tron Bike.
Otherwise known as the Z1 Concept Bike.
Otherwise known as Zwift’s loveliest bike and possibly the hardest reward to get in Zwift. It also, without doubt, has the most kudos.
Here’s the rundown:
- What is the Tron Bike
- Zwift Everest Challenge
- How to sign up for the challenge
- The Secret Sauce – well kind of…
- What climbs to target
- Concluding thoughts
What exactly is the Tron Bike?
Want to see what you get and what happens in the challenge animation? Check out the video below.
The most important point – other than it looking fantastic – is it is supposed to be the fastest bike in Zwift.
This is generally true. Although there are better bikes for pure climbing and a time-trial bike will always be quicker on the flat.
But there are a couple of other important characteristics besides the lit-up wheels.
You can’t change the wheels (and why would you) and the avatar has fewer positions.
But who cares, it looks amazing and you can change the light scheme to match your avatar’s kit.
Interested? Well, this is how you get one.
Here’s how to do it.
The basic premise is simple. You need to climb the height of Everest (roughly 8800 metres) and then an extra 42,000. In all, it’s 50,000 metres.
If you’ve seen the TurboCyclist Ultimate Guide to Zwift and Indoor Cycling, you might have noticed Tip Number 18.
That the first thing you should do on downloading Zwift is sign up for the Everest Challenge.
A common mistake is to miss it out climb 25,000 metres and then realise they could have been halfway there.
The metres only count once you’ve signed up to the challenge.
Been there. Done that. I wasted my time doing the Tour of California challenge. And who knows what you get for that? Who cares?
You can sign up for the Everest Challenge by accessing the menu during the ride. Click the ‘challenge’ image on the right-hand side of the panel.
On the next page click on the section titled ‘Climb Mount Everest’.
But if that’s not clear, here you have it from the horse’s mouth.
Now all you have to do is get climbing.
Ultimately, the only way to do it is to ride some hills.
Some sites have worked out how much energy you expend on each climb etc etc.
But really, that largely depends on how good a climber you are.
However, there is one way that springs to mind.
- Ride hill repeats.
- Use hilly routes for training. This way sim mode doesn’t kick in and ERG takes over. Yes, you still have to gain the metres, but it is easier without the constant changes in gradient. It is the closest there is to cheating.
- A variation on this is to create your own workout with a set power output in ERG. Bang out those watts at a level you feel comfortable with.
Last thing, please don’t consider reducing your weight. The point to all this is you need to earn it. Otherwise, what’s the point.
So is it worth it? My own personal view
I remember getting obsessed about getting the Tron Bike. I saw other people riding on them and got a severe case of FOMU.
Lots and lots of climbing later and I picked one up. That was a couple of years ago now. The question is, what do I ride?
Well, it’s not the Tron. Usually, I’m on a Trek Madone with the lightweight wheels you win on Alpe Du Zwift.
If I’m being totally honest the fun of having the lights on the frame has gone. And it seems like a newbie thing now.
But that’s the thing. To feel like that you have to have one first. And if I didn’t already have one, I know I’d be trying to get it.
It seems quite odd that Zwift doesn’t do more of these challenges. That particular one massively drove my engagement, if only to see what the bike was like.
You can climb anywhere to reach the total. Watopia, Richmond, London, whatever. And you can accumulate those metres by racing, training, doing group rides, or whatever.
If you’re focused enough, it is relatively straightforward.
As this graphic shows, hill repeats would be the quickest way to get the Tron Bike.
Here are a few other ways.
Epic KOM – Watopia
The Epic KOM climb to the Radio Tower is 110m and would take around 120 climbs to acquire a Z1. It is also one of the steeper climbs, meaning you would not have to cover as many miles.
There is also the Pretzel, which is a left hand turn. This is over largely over 10% and offers the option to score a lot of metres.
Additionally, it is accessible from the off.
- Average incline: 10% at the Pretzel
- Height: 110m
- How many: 120 climbs
The Alpe – Watopia
Alpe du Zwift, on the other hand, is the longest climb on Zwift and a virtual replica of Alpe d’Huez.
It is 1,143 metres high and would require 48 rides. On the way, you’ll also collect a bunch of badges for climbing the Alpe.
It is worth noting that the Alpe take most riders around an hour to climb. And this is going at a good pace.
So 48 hours of constant climbing will get you the coveted Concept Z1, known by everyone as the Tron Bike.
Probably the quickest way to finish the Everest Challenge.
- Average incline: 8.5%
- Height: 1143m
- How many: 48 climbs
Hilly KOM – Watopia
You’ve probably worked out that there is no easy way to complete the Everest Challenge.
The Hilly KOM is a short route that is available to everyone.
It is quite quick – you should be able to do it in 2-4 minutes – then you just u-turn and keep repeating.
Good news, is it is a relatively gentle course. Bad news, it will require around 1000 climbs. So not the most interesting.
Easy, but you’ll die of boredom before you get yourself a Tron Bicycle.
Fox Hill Surrey Hills – London
So, lets step away from Watopia and head to London.
The Surrey Hills route includes the Fox Hill segment. Here its lowest elevation is 36m and highest is 156m. So the difference is 120m.
Importantly it has an average grade of 4% (11% at the highest) and goes on for 2.8km.
If you want an idea what world is about to happen, go to the TurboCyclist Zwift course calendar.
- Average incline: 4%
- Height: 120m
- How many: 416 climbs
Number of climbs required: 416.
Leith Hill – London
Again we’re on the Surrey Hills course. Leith Hill climb is slightly tougher than Fox Hill but is good value in terms of the elevation and distance.
All told it is 1.95km with 7% incline. Like most things climbing-related, you will spend plenty of time above that. In this case look for a 10%+ grade.
One for the climbers.
- Average incline: 7%
- Height: 134m
- How many: 373 climbs
Innsbruck KOM climb going forward
First off, I love this guest world. The only one I like more is Bologna, which is event-only.
Innsbruck Forward has an average grade of 5%. But be ready, you will be required to climb an incline of around 12%.
Innsbrucks’ total elevation is 400m. This means just 125 climbs through the lovely Austrian Alps.
Nice one for the B-level rider.
- Average incline: 5%
- Height: 400m
- How many: 125 climbs
That would be it. Most people ride the Watopia course as it is constantly accessible. However, why not take advantage of the world’s changes?
It’s pointless going through energy expenditure and all that. You could ride them in simulation mode or on ERG on a training plan.
The important thing is to tick off the miles.
Possibly the best advice in getting one of these bikes is to remember to start the challenge and just let the climbs add up.
Well done when you get there. When you do, make sure you read this.