Getting Started With Zwift Pt2 – Fitting Speed & Cadence Sensors


08.01.16 at 9:53 pm

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Welcome to Part 2 of my mini series ‘Getting Started With Zwift’.

In Part 1 we discussed the various options available to you when setting up with Zwift, and the equipment you need to get going. In the next part I will be giving you a video tour through Zwift showing you the menus, shortcuts and power ups which should help make your first couple of rides easier.

Today I am going to show you how to get a standard road bike and turbo trainer ready for use with Zwift. I believe there will be many riders out there opting for this route. I already owned both a bike and a turbo trainer, so this seemed the logical option for me to take without the added investment of either a power meter or smart turbo trainer. Many of the guys I ride with are in a similar position, so I hope this post will be useful.

Garmin Bike Speed and Cadence Sensor

I have chosen to buy the Garmin speed and cadence sensor package. You can get Zwift running with just a speed sensor, but I wanted a cadence sensor, too. I have not used one before, and thought it would be a good additional aid to my training to know my RPM. This package is available for around £60, but quite often goes on promotion between £40-£50.

It seemed to be the most highly recommended of the speed sensors to get going with Zwift, and my experience with Garmin has always been a positive one.

In The Box

In the box you get:

  1. Speed sensor (top)
  2. Cadence sensor (bottom)
  3. Instructions
  4. Rubber bands for fitting

It really is that simple! Initial impressions were that this was going to be a lot easier than previous Garmin incarnations. I remember having a cadence sensor a few years ago that required magnets and sensors plus cable ties. I gave up in the end as it kept unsticking form the back of my crank arm. Both of the units arrived with batteries already in, so I was ready to start fitting straight out of the box.

Setting Up The Cadence Sensor

Setting up the cadence sensor proved to be a very simple task. It needed fitting to the inside of the non chainwheel side crank arm. All that was required was to line the sensor up and choose the correct size band to slip around your crank arm.

Setting Up The Speed Sensor

The speed sensor needs fitting top the rear hub of your bike. This means it will give the right speed data to Zwift via your Ant+ sensor on a turbo trainer as only the back wheel will be spinning.

Fitting was a bit more fiddly than the cadence sensor purely due to the positioning inside the wheel. This meant the spokes were in the way, however it was still a very quick operation. The speed sensor has it’s rubber band built into the unit, so it just had to be wrapped around the hub.

Pairing With Zwift

Having already joined Zwift, and plugged my Ant+ sensor into the USB port, pairing was simple.

The very first screen you get to on Zwift shows you which sensors are currently connected to you computer. The photo shows how the screen looks when you have got the two units connected correctly.

It is worth noting the sensors only connect when they are moving, so you have to put the pedals through a few revolutions for the ANT+ sensor to pick them up.

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