Since its release in 2014, Zwift has become one of the biggest virtual training services for indoor cycling enthusiasts, allowing folks to add social, gaming, and competitive elements to what would otherwise be just them pedaling on a stationary bike over and over. It’s awesome, with plenty of features that go beyond what many other apps offer. Problem is, once you’re playing inside a virtual world, you need game controls to make your way around and, far as we know, buttons and D-pads just aren’t standard features in most exercise bikes. The Zwift Play brings those game controls to your indoor bike machine.
Designed to install on the handlebars of your favorite exercise bike, the device allows you to interact with Zwift’s game world using tactile button controls, allowing you to execute U-turns, give Ride-Ons, and perform all sorts of in-game interactions without having to reach out and tap on touchscreen buttons. If you’ve found Zwift essential to making your stationary rides feel more engaging, this thing should help make the virtual experience feel even more intuitive.
The Zwift Play comes with two gamepads: one for the left handlebar and one for the right. It’s designed to attach to any drop handlebars using simple silicone straps, allowing you to quickly set them up, whether you’re working out on an exercise bike at home or at the gym. You get a D-pad on the left module for navigating the game menus, as well as selecting turns when exploring the platform’s virtual worlds, while action buttons on the right gamepad can be programmed for use as shortcuts for any function. The back of each gamepad comes with paddles that you can use for steering and braking controls.
Do note, these are designed for drop handlebars, so while you should be able to strap them down to any standard bike handlebar, the ergonomics might not be ideal if you have a flat bar or a cruiser on the bike trainer you’re using for workouts. We imagine it’s a good reason as any to install one of those drop bar adapters to switch up your handlebar game. Do note, we imagine it will work well if you have those Schwinn signature handlebars, though.
The Zwift Play is a wireless controller that connects to the Swift app via Bluetooth, ensuring you don’t have to fiddle with dangling cables that can turn your workout into a mess. Do note, it requires two Bluetooth connections, so each gamepad as treated as a separate controller.Built-in rechargeable batteries keep the gamepads running for up to 20 hours, with support for charging while playing, just in case it fully drains in the middle of a workout.
Each gamepad comes with spacers, so it can be installed on any size of handlebars, while a split-ended USB cable lets you charge both gamepads at the same time. Other features include water-resistant construction so you can sweat a veritable river without any trouble, built-in LED indicators alerting you of its pairing and charging status, and OTA firmware update support. Along with the controller, the outfit is also introducing a new experience called Repack Rush, a time trial race that brings some gamified twists to the mix.