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How To

Zwift How-To: Understanding, Using, and Maximizing PowerUps

on March 05, 2019

PowerUps are a fun way to mix things up on Zwift. Used strategically, they can be a big help in races and challenging group rides. They can even help you set new PRs on solo rides! Here is everything you need to know about the different PowerUps in Zwift and how to maximize them.

What Each PowerUp Does:

  • Large Bonus: If you come across a Large Bonus PowerUp, you’ll get +250 experience points (XP), which is the equivalent of riding 12.5 kilometers.
  • Small bonus: Hit this PowerUp for a quick +10 experience points (XP), or the equivalent of .5 kilometers.
  • Feather Lightweight: the Feather (Lightness) PowerUp reduces a percentage of your weight. Perfect for climbing, it offers all riders a helpful assist while heading up an incline.
  • Truck Draft Boost (van): Perfect for those trying to get that extra edge, this PowerUp cranks up the draft effect your avatar experiences for 30 whole seconds.
  • Aero Boost (helmet): A consistent favorite, the Aero Boost decreases air resistance and makes you more aerodynamic for 15 seconds. Be sure to use it at higher speeds like flats and descents.
  • Breakaway Burrito: with the Burrito, drafting is disabled for all riders in a small radius around you. For 10 whole seconds, Zwifters in the immediate area will have to rely on their legs and lungs only—no drafting allowed.
  • Invisibility (ghost): An event-only PowerUp, Invisibility turns you invisible to other riders for 10 seconds. This is especially helpful when you want to break away from one or more riders. 
  • Steamroller: only available in off-road events on Watopia’s Jungle Circuit, this 30-second boost reduces rolling resistance in a big way—you go as fast as you would on a nice bit of tarmac.
  • Anvil: perfect for speed demons, the event-only Anvil PowerUp makes you heavier for 30 seconds to descend faster on declines. Think of it as the opposite of the lightweight Feather PowerUp.

Obtaining PowerUps

By default, PowerUps are randomly awarded when you go through a start/finish, KOM, or sprint arch.  If you have an unused PowerUp as you pass through an arch, you won’t receive a new one.

Certain events (social rides, races, etc) may modify the way PowerUps are awarded, electing to give out none at all or customizing how frequently each PowerUp is awarded.

If you're in the middle of a structured workout or on a TT bike, the only PowerUps you're eligible for are the Small and Large Bonuses.

Activating Your PowerUp

To activate your feather, van, helmet, burrito, or invisibility PowerUp just hit the spacebar on your keyboard (PC/Mac), select the PowerUp icon (iOS, tvOS), or tap to activate on the Companion app.

With the exception of the Large and Small Bonuses, all PowerUps show a white timer bar when activated.

When To Use Your PowerUp

Timing is everything if you want to get the most out of your PowerUps! It’s important to know how long the PowerUp lasts and what exactly it does so you can use it most effectively in your situation.

  • Feather Lightweight: Want to launch an uphill attack, or need a little help to stay with the group on a climb? The feather can be a big help! Use it at the steepest point possible for maximum effect.
  • Truck Draft Boost (van): If you’re in the draft and wanting a little rest, the van is a welcome help. It can also be used when sprinting from the back of a pack, as it will boost the draft you are getting off riders as you pass them.
  • Helmet Aero Boost (helmet): Race coming down to a sprint finish? You’ll want an aero helmet for that final jump! The helmet is also handy when you want to attack off the front or bridge up to a group on a flat or downhill section.
  • Breakaway Burrito: Attacking off the front and don't want to tow others along? Activate the burrito then go full gas!
  • Invisibility (ghost): Looking to sneak away, creating a gap before others riders see you up the road? It's called "ghosting" and it works! You may also play some mind games with this PowerUp by triggering it to make other riders think you are attacking.
  • Steamroller: Riding in the dirt on any bike setup? Use the Steamroller to get relief or go on the offensive!

PowerUps add an exciting element of chance to Zwift riding. Learning to use them effectively makes the game even more engaging and exciting. Ride On, and PowerUp!

 

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