Since signing up to Zwift and riding on the platform more consistently, it’s been fun to have more and more women in my community join in. As not all are road cyclists, not everyone has a smart trainer, so we’ve had to look into options for getting stationary bikes set up and ready to Zwift. I spoke to a few friends and did some research to find the best speed and cadence sensors for Zwift, so you can get in on the action!
If you have a basic turbo trainer you might want to make the most of what you already have to try out Zwift before you invest in a more expensive set up. You’ll just need a device for Zwift, and these speed and cadence sensors.
For more accurate cadence data, you might also choose to add a cadence sensor to your wheel-on smart trainer, such as the KICKR Core.
And it should be noted that, whereas the speed sensor is critical, the cadence you can do without for Zwift.
What Is Zwift?
Zwift is a popular multiplayer online cycling and running physical training program that enables users to interact, train and compete in a virtual world (Wikipedia 2021).
To play, you need to link your turbo trainer / bike to your computer. This then lets you ride with other cyclists in the virtual worlds. You can also connect with a tablet, phone or Apple TV.
If you don’t have a smart turbo trainer, you need to attach speed and cadence sensors on your indoor bike or basic / dumb trainer so you can connect to the app, allowing it to measure your efforts.
Wahoo Speed & Cadence Sensors
If you are looking to get these sensors, the Wahoo Speed & Cadence Sensors are what I’ve been recommending. You can buy them as a bundle from Amazon, usually with Prime delivery too.
These speed & cadence devices connect to your phone via Bluetooth 4.0 technology.
As the sensors connect to any cycling apps (like Sufferfest, RGT, Strava etc), it becomes easy to monitor your cycling progress whatever training program you choose.
The Wahoo sensors have both Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity. While Bluetooth allows you to connect to one device at a time, the ANT+ will allow you to connect multiple devices. However, Bluetooth is preferred as it’s more stable.
If you also have an outdoor bike, the sensors are waterproof and portable meaning you can easily switch between the indoor and outdoor bikes.
- Wahoo Blue SC Speed and Cadence Sensor (both in one device)
- Garmin speed and cadence sensors
- moofit speed and cadence sensors
- Magene S3+ Speed/Cadence Sensor
- Jet black speed and cadence sensor (both in one device)
Although, someone said “I second wahoo. Had terrible connection issues with the Garmin one for some reason. Swapped to wahoo and connects every time”
Are Speed And Cadence Sensors Worth It?
If you wanna use Zwift and don’t have a smart trainer you’re going to need a speed sensor at the very least. I’ve personally loved Zwift for casual group rides, as well as structured training. If you’re new to Zwift, you can check out some tips I pulled together to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed.
Power Meter vs Speed & Cadence Sensors
Depending on your budget, you may choose to install a power meter. This is more relevant if you’re using a basic trainer with a regular bike. This is because Zwift calculates game play based on power so with speed and cadence sensors, power is being estimated.
Whichever sensor brand you go for (or not) though, what is important is that they are compatible with the device you are trying to pair them with. As some are ANT+ only so they will not connect to a Bluetooth device (or vice versa).