Zwift last month introduced the Zwift HUB One with virtual shifting and a single-cog that works with almost any 8 to 12 speed bike. Essentially, they eliminated the need to worry about the type of cassette you need when purchasing a trainer.
I’ve been flooded with questions on the new Zwift HUB One and single cog setup and how virtual shifting works, so I thought, why not make a video – or a blog post if you are reading this – to answer them all in one go? So sit tight, and let’s get into it!
1.Can you use virtual shifting with the Zwift classic?
Absolutely, you can use virtual shifting with Zwift Classic. The Zwift Classic is the Zwift Hub from last year with regular cassettes. All you need is either the Zwift Play and use virtual shifting with your current cassette setup. Or get the Zwift Cog Upgrade kit with the Zwift Click. Once you’ve got either of these, pair the zwift click or Zwift Play to the Zwift app under ‘Controls,’ and make sure virtual shifting is enabled in the settings. So yeah, you’re not left out if you’re on the original Zwift Hub.
2.Can you use the Zwift Cog with other trainers?
The simple answer is Nope. Even though you might be able to install the Cog on other trainers, virtual shifting won’t be enabled. Communication for virtual shifting is handled by a new Zwift Bluetooth protocol and currently it doesn’t support other trainers. That might change in the future but as of today, virtual shifting is only compatible with Zwift Hub Classic or Zwift Hub One.
3.Can you upgrade Zwift Classic to HUB One?
Absolutely, you can upgrade your Zwift Classic to the HUB One experience. Zwift is currently selling an upgrade kit for $59.99. All you need to do is swap out your traditional cassette with the Zwift Cog using a 17mm wrench, no special tools needed. Tighten everything up, and you’re set. It’s a simple process. It will probably take you about a minute. Other than the Cog, the Zwift Hub One is the same trainer from last year. From specs to functionality, it is the same exact trainer.
4.I have a different brand smart trainer, can I still use Virtual Shifting if I have the Zwift Play controllers?
As of today, Zwift Virtual Shifting is exclusive to Zwift’s hardware. So, if you’re using a different brand’s smart trainer, you won’t be able to take advantage of Zwift’s Virtual Shifting feature. Virtual shifting only works with the Zwift Hub.
5.Can you use virtual shifting with other apps?
Nope, you can’t use Virtual Shifting when using other cycling apps. Virtual shifting is locked to the Zwift platform. Here is the thing, Zwift Play or Zwift Click don’t talk directly to the Hub One bike trainer or Cog. Instead, everything is handled by the Zwift app. The trainer and the controllers need to be paired to Zwift for everything to work. So essentially Zwift is the middleman in this whole operation.
6. Can you use the HUB One trainer with other cycling apps?
Yes you can use the Hub One with other cycling apps, but, and you gotta hear me out here, virtual shifting won’t work outside of Zwift. So if you’re planning on using another app like FulGaz, Rouvy, or MyWhoosh and you plan on riding a course in sim mode, you’re pretty much stuck with the gears on your actual bike. This means, if you have the Hub One with the Zwift Cog, you are pretty much stuck with one gear, which might not be a bad thing if you are into a single gear challenge.
However, If you plan on using ERG mode with a structured workout then you can use a different app and it will work the same way as it does in Zwift. So you can use TrainerRoad for example without a problem.
7.Can you switch gears when in ERG mode?
Generally when in ERG mode, the guidance is not to use a big gear with a smart trainer.
With the Zwift Cog being a 14t sprocket combining it with the big front chainring – that speeds up fast flywheel. Fast Flywheel speed with the Hub impacts the power accuracy and For this reason, the recommendation here not to use big gears when in ERG mode. So keep it in the small chainring in the front, and you will have a much better power measurement experience.
8.Can you switch physical gear on my bike when using virtual gear?
Technically you could, but it’s not recommended to switch physical gears. The Hub auto-calculates your bike’s gear ratio every time you hop on and calibrates your gear ratio.
Switching your bike’s physical gears while using virtual gears will mess up the gear ratio calculations the Hub made at the start of your ride. Basically, it’ll throw off your virtual shifting experience. So, if you’re using virtual gears, stick to ’em and leave your bike’s physical gears alone.
9.What gear ratio do you get with Virtual Shifting?
So, the Zwift Hub One features a virtual drivetrain with 24 distinct gears. It mimics a gear ratio spectrum that ranges from 0.75 to 5.49. So essentially, that’s like having a setup from a 30-tooth chainring with a 40t cassette at the low end, up to a huge 55x10t gear at the high end.
10.Can you use a fixed gear bike?
So here is the thing with fixed gear and this really applies to any other bike. The main limiting factor with compatibility is the dropouts on the bike and if they physically can be mounted on the trainer. Some have narrow dropouts and physically don’t fit on the trainer. If your fixed gear bike fits then you might just need a chain tensioner and you should be able to use it. Campagnolo 13 speed Ekar is not compatible as the chain is too narrow.
Hopefully this answers most of your questions. If not, hit me up in the comments and If you want to watch my full review of the new Hub One, you can head over to my YouTube channel and don’t forget to subscribe there.
Thanks for reading!