Zwift ,the popular cycling gaming app has been around for 8 years, and reportedly has around a million subscribers. While that makes it a popular platform it still does not have all the features that many users want. Especially considering the wealth of data collected while riding many users want to see and use this data in new and interesting ways.
Unfortunately, Zwift does not have a public API, which makes building extensions for their service a bit limiting. This is unlike other services, like Strava, which expose plentiful data that allows developers to build products and services around the platform. We’ve previously covered the top Strava Add-Ons that let you really play with your workout data.
Even without this the Zwift Team effectively has a private API that allows them to build partnerships with preferred developers who create extensions that expand the game. In addition there are more manual ways for motivated developers to access data. Because of this access limitations the any unofficial extensions listed below may at times be buggy or loose some functionality so don’t rely on them long term. Thankfully though we’ve also gathered the official add-ons that play well with the default game app to make your trip around Watopia more insightful.
Zwift Companion App
Before looking anywhere else, the first add-on to run with Zwift is the companion app. Espeically if you are using a desktop and broadcasting to a screen, or if using Apple TV to access Zwift, the companion app runs on a smart phone and can be mounted on a bike for easy access. (See the review of how we mounted an iPhone to our TT bike).
Rather than trying to use a TV remote or laptop to navigate how to give ride ons, type in chat, or see ride details, the companion app puts it accessible in a mobile device right on your bike. You can NOT run companion app successfully if you are using the Zwift mobile app to run the game itself, but any other configuration will benefit from it.
In addition the companion app allows you to view your level, search through events, and plan out workout activities without launching the full game. This truly makes it a good companion to the game and gives you something to play with even when you are away from your bike.
For anyone looking to dive into the results of Zwift racers, Zwift Power is a must have. Again it is run natively by Zwift, but it requires that you login and link the account before it can access data. That does mean that the Zwift Power can be incomplete in terms of tracking all riders, some estimates say there are less than 100k total Zwift Power accounts which potentially means less than 10% of riders are present in the results.
Zwift is a virtual world and although a number of the maps are powered by real life locations the majority of the surfaces live in the fictional world of Watopia. In game the ability to navigate around the world is limited, so for exploring it is great to have a secondary tool. This is where Zwift Map comes into play, it applies similar functionality of something like Google Maps to the world of Zwift. You can pan and zoom, find the tracks of typical routes, identify where sprint segments and KOMs lie, and generally get a better sense of how to ride in the virtual world.
Sauce For Zwift
We love Sauce and know it as a great Strava add-on. The developer notes that his “side passions are cycling, running, space, rocketry, interplanetary colonization, cosmology, physics, philosophy, biology and golden retrievers” which makes the perfect combination for someone who is going to help build cool displays. Much of the feature set is the ability to view max and average power right on the screen, along with other associated energy and interactions. Oddly this makes a disaply that will look familiar to Peloton users, where there is more of a focus on total power output compared to Zwift’s focus on Watts/kilogram.
The setup for Sauce for Zwift is rather involved and requires a companion desktop machine but it must be mentioned as Sauce has a reputation of being one of the more robust and well supported add-ons thanks to their Strava browser extension. Details of the setup are at their Github. While the add on is free remember that it is effectively a passion project for the developer so contributing via Patreon will help ensure it stays that way.
Here is another analyzer, though run via an unsupproted route. We include things like this to showcase what could be if only Zwift were able to produce an open API that developers could reliably use.
Road Captain for Zwift –
Design your own route.
A way to analyze Zwift, this portmanteau offers functionaltiy for exploring the power data and results beyond what is available in the game. Similar to Zwift Power.
WTRL – Which owns ZwiftGPS
Zwift has a number of private groups organizing virtual races. One of the original and more popular ones was the WRTL (World Tactical Racing League). Now funded by Zwift this is the group responsible for a number of popular in-game racing series. World Tactical Racing Leauge
ZwiftGPS (and Gold Rush Mini Game)
Zwift GPS and Zwift Maps again offer a unique way to explore the map of the virtual world of Watopia. In addition Zwift GPS now provides a mini game, gold rush, that allows you to ride around Watopia collecting virtual badges. These badges will not appear in the Zwift game itself, but instead can be tracked on the thrid party ZwiftGPS site where leaderboards are also kept. If you enjoy Zwift but don’t like the races and their crazy fast starts and potential weight dopers, then this proides another way to engage and have fun. Look for more from them with the recent release of the Zwift on handlebar game controllers.