If you want to show off how great your climbing is in Zwift, the most obvious way to do so is by equipping your rider with the Zwift Concept Z1 Bike. This earned frame is also known as the “Tron” bike, due to the fact that the glowing wheels look similar to that of the retro Tron movie. To earn this coveted frame you’ll need to complete the full Everest Challenge.
Start the challenge now! Don’t wait.
Seriously, we need to start this article by ensuring you have actually started the challenge. If you have not formally joined the challenge none of your climbing will count.
To join the Everest challenge open Zwift, start a ride, then go to the menu and select the challenges option. Full details of how to join the Everest challenge are kept up to date at the Zwift help center.
Once joined the challenge involves climbing enough virtual hills to summit Mount Everest. At 8849 meters (29,029 feet) you will complete the challenge. This however will is NOT the full challenge and you will NOT YET earn the tron bike. The real reward requires climbing the equivalent of 5.6 times up Everest, for a total of 50,000 meters (or about 164k feet).
How long does it take to complete the Zwift Everest challenge?
It is worth pausing here and considering how much climbing 50,000 meters is. In total 50km (or 31 miles) is halfway to space. The Karman line is the lower limit of space at 100km.
So how long does it take to earn the Tron bike? It will range from as little as 100 hours or riding to more than 1000 hours. This all really depends on the type of riding you prefer to do, as well as how strong of a rider you are. We were able to complete the first portion of the challenge (8849m) with a total of 31 hours of riding and 960km of riding. At that pace it would take a total of 175 hours of riding and that is for a Group B rider who did a mix of climbing, flats and races.
So, in general we estimate that an average rider should expect to take around 200 hours of Zwift riding to complete the Everest challenge. Often that will take at a minimum a month, and for some riders up to a year to complete. If you see someone with the Tron bike in game, know that they have spent some serious time pedaling away on their trainer.
By the time we completed the first Everest trip, we also had achieved level 14 in the game (see more about what a Zwift Level can unlock). This including multiple time trials, hours on flat land, one trip up Alpe de Zwift, two climbing portal attempts, and a few dozen various routes. The focus was NOT on climbing, but instead on exploring.
In total this is an average of around 10m climbed per kilometer, or just under 1% average grade is nothing. You can certainly do this more quickly if the only goal is to climb. Just riding up Alpe De Zwift (and ending workouts at the top) can result in an average gradient of more than 5% so it’s possible to do the challenge riding around 200km total (or around 1000km for the full Tron bike).
Doing that would be quite the suffer fest up the Alpe though. Still, for elite riders this is certainly possible. Keep in mind that every year the Tour de France offers a similar amount of climbing (typically just shy of the total 50,000 meters). And that is done over just 21 days of riding.
Consider also that some riders make it a goal to ride the equivalent of Everest in a single session. This effort has been followed by influencers and the media with some outlets reporting a record of having completed that challenge in as little as 7 hours ten minutes. Even at this pact it would still take nearly 40 hours of Zwift riding to complete the total 50,000m challenge.
Benefits of the Tron Bike
The irony of the Everest challenge is that it would be a lot easier to complete if you had already completed it! That is to say, the reward for so much climbing is the Concept Z1 frame which has all the light weight benefits you would want when making a climb.
So what is so good about the Tron bike. For one, the looks.
The Tron wheels are the most identifiable frame style within the Zwift world. Other than maybe a hand cycle, which is admittedly more rare, the glowing wheels of the Concept Z1 are an easy way to separate riders visually. This is in part because the color scheme of the glowing wheels can be customized.
Of course the other benefit is what we mentioned before, the performance. Choosing the right frame, wheels, and kit in the virtual world of Watopia has real impact on the stats that you rack up. Your climbing pace will be dictated not only by rider weight but also by the items you select from your garage.
In some analysis (including that done by Zwift Insider) the Tron bike is the fastest climbing bike up big hills. While there are faster frames on the ups, the bike also balances aero performance and winds up being one of the more performant time trial style frames available. This combination makes it one of the preferred selections for races and routes that vary between pure climbs and sprinting flats.