Have you ever felt held back by a lack of control over your avatar in Zwift? Debuting at Eurobike, and available to the public next week, is a new steering functionality that Zwift says is its “most gamified feature” to date.
Releasing under Zwift’s new FutureWorks label, steering will be the first innovation to be made public for development purposes. Going forward, Zwift plans to use FutureWorks to test new features and gather feedback from its online community.
“Zwifters have historically only been able to try those that have gone through a lengthy development process,” says Eric Min, Zwift CEO and co-founder. “FutureWorks will allow us to deliver more of these ideas at a concept phase – allowing Zwifters to give us their direct feedback on what they want to see more of.”
The new steering segment can be found in Titan’s Grove. Zwift
The steering test segment can be found in the Titan’s Grove section of Watopia. It’s designed purely with fun in mind, rather than being a test of fitness.
When approaching the segment in Titan’s Grove, riders will receive an on-screen prompt asking if they would like to test steering. If they choose to do so, riders will be transported to the start of the trail where they will receive instructions on how to enable the function.
Zwift says that steering is controlled via the iOS and Android Zwift Companion app. It accesses the accelerometers in your smartphone to sense left and right movements of your handlebars, and control your avatar. This obviously requires that your smartphone be mounted to your handlebars in some way.
The steering segment is around 2 miles long, and is, naturally, timed for an element of competition. Zwift will also score how well you take the corners.
If you can complete the segment in under 12min 30sec with a 100 percent score, you’ll unlock the Zwift Mountain Bike and Mountain Wheels.
Zwift says that this new feature will also be integrated into the recently launched Wahoo, Tacx, Stages and Wattbike smart bikes over the coming months.
While this new steering functionality seems rudimentary at first glance, we’re intrigued to see how Zwift will make this work on those stationary smart bikes or with trainers where your front wheel is fixed in place, perhaps in a standard riser block, a climb simulator or a movement platform.
Details are light on what happens if you don’t take the corners in the new steering segment very well — has Zwift introduced virtual crashing? If so, let’s hope you can’t actually break your virtual bike.
Are you looking forward to trying out the new steering segment? How do you feel about Zwift adding more gamified features that aren’t about training? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.