Zwift has expanded its steering feature to all roads in the game, bringing a further level of skill-based gamification to the training app.
Steering in Zwift was first introduced back in September 2019 as an experimental in-game feature. It was limited to a small off-road section of the game.
If you have steering enabled, your avatar will no longer be able to ride through other players. You will now have to stay alert to find the gap to pass riders and avoid getting boxed in.
As a rider “weaves through road traffic” they will also have to stay on the wheel in front to take advantage of the draft.
This update brings Zwift a step closer to mimicking the real-life riding experience. Whether that will be enough to win over the naysayers remains to be seen.
What hardware do I need to steer in Zwift?
If you want to take advantage of in-game steering, you’ll have to get your hands on the £74.99 Elite Sterzo Smart steering plate. This is the only such system currently on the market.
The Sterzo Smart replaces a standard static wheel block and detects up to 68 degrees of steering movement.
Road steering is only available exclusively on the Sterzo Smart. However, Zwift adds that “further hardware compatibility is planned”.
With that in mind, we’ll likely see a slew of similar products launched from the other big players in the indoor training market in the coming months.
Can I use the Zwift Companion App to steer in-game?
Steering can still be controlled via the Zwift Companion app on the Repack Ridge section in Zwift.
However, to be clear, this setup will not work on road sections of the game – for now, you must have the Sterzo Smart.
Why should I care about in-game steering on Zwift?
No one can now reasonably question Zwift’s power as an extremely useful indoor training tool.
It provides increased structure, a community aspect and – critically – fun into what is, at the best of times, a fairly dull activity.
Power-ups and novel event formats bring a degree of gamification, but Zwift has thus far lacked the ‘skill’ element that makes other esports engaging.
In-game steering could change this.
The ability to overtake other riders as well as ‘dynamically’ take advantage of drafts created by groups could go some way to recreating the drama that makes real-life racing engaging to watch.
Further mimicking real life, steering will also hopefully be accompanied by in-game crashes, questionable decisions made by digital commissaries and virtual punch ups.
Jesting aside, anything that makes Zwift and other indoor training platforms a more immersive experience can only be a good thing.