Zwift virtual shifting with Wahoo smart trainers

Zwift Virtual Shifting

When used with one of Zwift's Bluetooth controllers, users are offered 24 virtual gears in a linear single-step progression. For more information on virtual shifting from Zwift, see Virtual Shifting FAQ.

The 24 gears offered increase the overall gearing compared to a single ring mountain or gravel drivetrain, or even some road double chainring drivetrains, but limits how you can access them, as one-touch shifting from small large rings in a sprint or drop shifting from large small from a downhill to climb are no longer available. For a more extended discussion of the virtues of virtual shifting with a single-speed cog vs physical shifting with a cassette, see Why choose CORE with Zwift Cog vs cassette?

Zwift game version 

  • 1.59 or later

Compatible trainers + firmware versions

  • KICKR MOVE, firmware version 1.3.14 or later
  • KICKR v6 (2022), firmware version 5.2.15 or later
  • KICKR CORE, firmware version 1.3.17 or later

Other hardware requirements

  1. A device capable of running Zwift and connecting to the controller(s) and trainer via Bluetooth (either the controlling device itself or an additional mobile device to run the Zwift Companion App [Apple | Google].
  2. One of the compatible trainers listed above connected via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Direct Connect (DirCon)
  3. Zwift Play controllers and/or a Zwift Click sold as part of a KICKR CORE Zwift One, Zwift Cog + Click Upgrade Kit, or freestanding Click.
  4. A cassette or Zwift Cog that is compatible with your bike's drivetrain.

Hardware configuration options

  • Trainer + cassette + Zwift Play 
  • Trainer + cassette + Zwift Click
  • Trainer + Zwift Cog + Zwift Click
  • Trainer + Zwift Cog + Zwift Play
  • Trainer + cassette + Zwift Click + Zwift Play
  • Trainer + Zwift Cog + Zwift Click + Zwift Play 

How to use Zwift Virtual Shifting

  1. Ensure your Zwift game is up to date on version 1.59 or later.
  2. Ensure your trainer and Zwift controller(s) of choice are up to date on firmware.
  3. Shift your chain into the small front chainring and whichever cog in the middle of your cassette provides the straightest/quietest chainline. Whichever gear you are in when you start pedaling in Zwift after virtual shifting is enabled in Zwift is the gear your trainer will use as the neutral set point for shifting.
  4. Pair your trainer to Zwift via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Direct Connect (DirCon) as a Power Source, Resistance, and Cadence unit.
  5. Pair your Zwift controller(s) of choice to Zwift via Bluetooth as Controls units.
  6. Shift virtually "anywhere" in Zwift you would normally shift your bike (ie. not ERG mode workouts) using the (+) or (-) buttons on the Zwift Click or right side (up shift) or left side (down shift) buttons on Zwift Play controllers.
  7. Don't physically shift your bike.
    • If you do physically shift by mistake, shift back to the gear you were in when you started riding.
    • If you cannot remember what gear you were in, you can reset the neutral set point by:
      • power cycling your trainer by unplugging it for 30+ seconds and then plugging it back in
      • forgetting and reconnecting the trainer to Zwift (from the Pairing screen)
      • toggling virtual shifting off and back on in Zwift (Settings Preferences Virtual Shifting -- at the bottom of the list)

For more information about virtual shifting, getting started with, or troubleshooting Zwift Click or Play controllers, please see Zwift's Equipment support pages.

FAQ

Is virtual shifting available for other apps?

No, virtual shifting as described above is a proprietary Zwift protocol, enabled in the Zwift app, with Zwift controller hardware.

Are the virtual gears configurable?

No, unlike simulated shifting available on the KICKR BIKE or KICKR BIKE SHIFT, the 24 "gears" of Zwift virtual shifting are configured as a linear progression without the option for customization.

Can I shift using both Click and Play controllers at the same time?

Yes, you can pair a Click and Play controllers at the same time and use them interchangeably to shift from different locations on your bars.

Do I need a Zwift Cog to use virtual shifting?

No, the Zwift Cog offers a simpler setup for multiple-bike or -rider households, but virtual shifting is made possible by the trainer's firmware and a Zwift bluetooth controller. You can use virtual shifting with a cassette, and ensure you are able to use physical shifting with level mode in other apps like SYSTM.

Will virtual shifting be available on other KICKR models?

We have reviewed the hardware and firmware capabilities of KICKR v5 (2020) and preceding KICKR versions. Unfortunately, these older models are unable to support the required protocols for Zwift Virtual Shifting and will not be receiving a future update for this functionality.

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