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Zwift has added handcycles in the latest update to the game, part of the immersive cycling training software’s goal to reflect the cycling community.
“Our goal is to represent all members of our community within the worlds of Zwift,” said the company in its FAQ page about the new feature. “We hope that the handcycle will allow adaptive athletes and Zwifters to have more fun in-game and better represent themselves on the roads of Watopia.”
To start, one style of handcycle will be available in the game, with the option to customize the color. Zwift says it plans to add more models in the future, including high-performance models.
Beyond being powered differently from double triangle, leg-powered bikes, handcycles perform differently in the real world, and that difference is reflected in the game. Handcycles are heavier than bicycles, but are much more aero due to the lie-flat position of the rider. Because of the low profile of handcycles, riders on bicycles will not get any draft from handcycles. However, handcycles will get a draft from other handcycles, and to a smaller extent from bicycles.
Any Zwift user can use a handcycle in the game, but Zwift has set up a special club for people who use handcycles in real life allowing them to ride and race together in the game.
The feature is part of update 1.29 to Zwift, which also increases the highest achievable level from 50 to 60. Riders who have already achieved level 50 will receive their since-accumulated XP over time to make the experience of leveling up a gradual one, rather than receiving it all in a lump sum and leveling up immediately. The update also begins the rollout of a new workout browsing interface to Mac, PC, and iPad users, with Apple TV to follow later.
Zwift recently announced several more updates to the platform that will roll out through the rest of 2022 and early 2023.