Ah, Zwift power ups. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay. When they were first introduced in early 2015 some Zwifters didn’t believe they were an appropriate feature for a cycling training tool. And they were correct–if Zwift was only a training tool power ups would be silly.
But Zwift is trying to make indoor riding fun for all cyclists, and that requires making it more than just a serious training tool. The good news is that Zwift HQ has created something which can be used as a serious training tool if that’s what you want–or it can be used to make indoor riding more entertaining. It works both ways.
Pro tip: Power ups were frowned upon in most races until the KISS series launched and allowed their use. Since then, their usage has become both commonplace and strategic.
What does each power up do?
- Large Bonus: +250 experience points, or the equivalent of riding 12.5 kilometers.
- Small bonus: +10 experience points, or the equivalent of riding .5 kilometers.
- Lightweight (feather): reduces your weight by 15 pounds for 15 seconds.
- Use on climbs, when weight matters the most.
- Draft Boost (van): increases the draft effect you are experiencing by 50% for 30 seconds.
- Use at higher speeds (flats and descents) when you are already drafting off another rider (since this power up only helps when you are drafting.)
- Aero Boost (helmet): makes you more aerodynamic (reduces your CdA by 25%) for 30 seconds.
- Use at higher speeds (flats and descents), especially when no draft is available (although it is still useful when drafting.)
How to activate your current power up
Use the spacebar on your keyboard, or the Zwift Mobile App also provides a button.
With the exception of the Small Bonus and Large Bonus which activate immediately, all other power ups show a white timer bar when activated. The timer circles counter-clockwise and your power up ends when the timer reaches the top of the circle.
How to obtain power ups
Power ups are randomly given when you go through an arch (start/finish, end of KOM, end of sprint). If you have an unused power up as you pass through an arch, you won’t receive a new one.