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Zwift updates bring 2021 Zwift Academy workouts, route progress bars, and more

Enhancements improve user experience and game performance with new equipment, routes, and in-game physics.

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Zwift dropped an update Thursday to fix bugs, add game functionality, and improve the user experience.

Among the most significant updates are ones most requested by Zwifters: a route progress bar, and improved pack dynamics.

Some behind the scenes, non-user-facing improvements address bugs, while other improvements — like new workouts and new routes — are obvious.

New 2021 Zwift Academy workouts

The 2021 Zwift Academy workouts were added and more will follow
The first 2021 Zwift Academy workout was added and more will follow.

The 2021 Zwift Academy is open for enrollment August 18 – 30, with the Academy starting immediately thereafter.

The winners of the men’s and women’s Zwift Academy will be offered pro contracts from Canyon-SRAM Racing and Fenix-Alpecin, respectively.

An Orientation Workout was recently added to the Zwift Training plans, and much more will come when the Academy officially kicks off at the end of the month.

This workout is aimed as an introduction for those unfamiliar with structured training, or the Zwift Academy, and it is also available as a group workout on the Zwift calendar of events.

The Zwift Academy-only workouts to be added will include:

Climber’s Gambit
This will be used for Baseline and Finish Line Rides in categories A and B in these events. It is advised to do your best to gain the advantage on this route that leads you from the Watopia Pier upward over 29.95km (17.37 miles), and 669m (2,195 feet) of elevation gain.

Legends and Lava
This route will also be used for Baseline and Finish Line Rides in categories C and D in these events. It is a 24.48km (15.21 miles) route that gains 351m (1,152 feet) on the Fuego Flats.

Zwift plans to add these workouts at routes — with route badges — at a later date.

Route progress bar added

Route lead-in is indicated in light blue, while the main part of the route (will be) is indicated in dark blue
Route lead-in is indicated in light blue, while the main part of the route is indicated in gray. Once ridden, the route indicator will turn dark blue for both the lead-in and the main route.

One of the most requested features Zwift added with the 1.16.0 update is a progress bar for a route, which includes a lead-in for those routes with lead-ins.

Until this update, only events displayed the distance remaining showed a progress bar. Now, all routes will display the lead-in distance (in light blue, above) and then the main route. Once ridden, the progress bar is displayed in dark blue.

This takes the guesswork out of completing routes (“badge-hunters” rejoice). While previous versions of Zwift displayed a banner at the bottom of the screen upon route completion, it was mostly guesswork with regards to the distance remaining between when one started a route, and when this route completion banner would display on-screen.

Pack dynamics updated for an improved experience

New and experienced Zwifters alike may be mystified by some of the in-game physics which determine how one moves in a pack, and how the pack moves as a whole.

“Pack Dynamics 3.0” will first be available as an in-event-only experience. After a period of mass testing, the improvements may be rolled into the standard in-game rider and group behavior when Zwift determines the updates are ready and as bug-free as possible.

Expected improvements include less left-right and right-left sliding of avatars, meaning rider relative location is less guesswork and more predictable. Rider locations relative to other riders should be more consistent between different Zwifter’s views (toggled by pressing number keys 0-9 on your keyboard), and the overall look and feel of the pack should more closely resemble a flock of birds or a swarm of insect or a school of fish — a more organic and more natural appearance and experience.

More Yumezi Routes added

The Yumezi (Japan) Island routes debuted earlier this summer ahead of  Tour de France and the Tokyo Olympics.

New routes have been added over the week since, and more were just introduced.

The Valley to Mountaintop route on Yumezei Island.
The Valley to Mountaintop route on Yumezi Island.

The Valley to Mountaintop route is a 5km (3.1mi) route that goes up the reverse Temple Climb, gaining 130m (4,26ft) of elevation.

The Farmland route on Yumezi Island.
The Farmland route on Yumezi Island.

The Farmland Loop is a mostly flat route around the open areas of the Yumezi Farmlands. The route is 7.8km (4.8mi), includes a lead-in, and gains 57m (1,87ft) of elevation.

New in-game bikes and wheels available

Zwift’s latest update also put more bikes and wheels into users’ garages.

The new equipment will, in some cases, improve users’ performance depending on route, elevation gain/loss, and user profile.

Newly added frames:

  • 2020 Cervélo S5 (852,000 drops)
  • Van Rysel EDR CF (326,600 drops)
  • Canyon Ultimate CFR (639,000 drops)
  • BMC Roadmachine (780,900 drops)
  • Scott Addict RC (852,200 drops)

Newly added wheels:

  • Cadex 65 (241,400 drops)
  • Cadex 42 (227,200 drops)
  • DT Swiss ARC 1100 DISC Aero TT (1,579,800 drops)

Bug fixes and other improvements implemented

To the latest release, Zwift also made the following improvements to users’ experience, as well as to the hardware and software functionality.

  • Updated an issue where players were unable to toggle the heads-up display during a “free ride”
  • Updated an issue where Pace Partners occasionally flickered when colliding with other Zwift avatars
  • Updated an issue causing some Zwifters to see errors when authenticating
  • Updated an issue where the jersey reward for the 2017 Trek-Segafredo Pro Jersey Mission was removed from the garage of Zwifters who had completed this mission
  • Updated an issue with some bike shadows being incorrect in a few locations in Watopia
  • Updated an issue that would not put Elite kit into the game Garage of Zwifters who paired an Elite Suito trainer via Bluetooth
  • Updated for minor modifications to in-game messaging for some workouts