Hands On The Zwift Hub One Trainer & Play Controllers

The Best of PEZ 2023

Zwift Home-Trainer Review: When the Zwift Hub One arrived, our man in Spain, Alastair Hamilton, didn’t think there could be anything new, especially from one that was so much cheaper than the competition. Then he added on the Play Controllers, and has been pleasantly surprised.


Look, no cassette!

The Zwift Hub One is very similar to the original Zwift Hub and as easy to assemble. You can see how easy in our previous article and video HERE, when Richard set his up last year.

They even give you a spanner to make it even easier and it’s not like an Ikea allen/hex key, you will be able to use it more than once. Connecting to your Zwift via phone, computer, laptop or Apple TV is simple, but if you are running everything, including HRM, cadence and controllers on your Apple TV, you need to connect using the Zwift Companion app on your phone. Very simple.


They give you a spanner

The Hub One has only one cog, no cassette. The Zwift Hub Classic has now been replaced by the Wahoo Core, which has your choice of cassette (8 to 12 speed), but the advantage of the Hub One is that it will fit just about any gear set up and frame rear end. Talking of the frame; Zwift supply axle spacers for different widths and axles and a quick-release, everything is covered. You use the cardboard measurers to set up the trainer.


Just one cog

One cog, so how do you change gear? This is where the Hub One is different from all other home trainers, the gearing is ‘virtual’. You change gear using either the ‘Click’, which is included, or the ‘Play’ controllers, which you have to buy separately (still on offer).


Zwift Click


The ‘Play’ controllers

I’ve had a set of controllers for a while and, to be honest, I didn’t see the point of them. Yes, you could steer and do all the things you could already do on the Companion app and your phone was on your handlebars anyway. Now when using the controllers with the Hub One, it all makes sense; You change gear with the black pad next to the orange pad on the controllers. Right to make it harder, left easier.


The black strip is the gear change, the orange for steering

The Hub One comes with the ‘Click’, obviously it only changes gear up and down, but if that is all you want, then great. It also fits better on tri and straight bars.


The ‘Click’ if you prefer

So how does it work? The gear is controlled by the app in your phone/computer/Apple TV. So the controller tells the app to change gear (resistance) and it tells the trainer. In this way you are tied to using Zwift, it won’t work with other platforms. If you only use Zwift, then no problem, but if you do use one of the others, then you need the Classic/Wahoo Core for those occasions. When you first turn the pedals, the Hub One works out your front chainwheel size (must be magic) and sets the gear ratios. It does this every time you get on the bike, in case you change bike. I have used the small ring, but I guess you can use the big one, but once you are riding, I think you have to stay in which ever one you start with.


The Zwift Hub One is well made and tidy

How does it ride? As I said, getting set it up and connected doesn’t take long, especially if you already have a Zwift account. I don’t think it took me more than about 15 minutes from opening the box to starting a ride, probably took longer to get my kit on.


Gear 15, steady

I’ve been using the Zwift Hub One for a few weeks now, so have managed a few different rides. Scotland, Makuri Island and for the first time, the Crow Road portal. A steady pace on the flat and I was in the 15th gear and it felt comfortable. Climbing in Scotland I changed down through the gears to the 8th gear and it felt like a real world gear change, no clunk like a mechanical change or zzit, like Di2, but the controllers give a small vibration. You do feel the change and it is sharp, no waiting around, it is as fast as the real thing.


A bit of climbing

On a descent I put it in the biggest gear (24), it is harder than anything I’ll ever need, as yet I’ve not had to use gear 1, but I’m sure it will be very easy. The gearing has a great spread, everything you will need from high to low and in between, with just the right spacing.


Gear 24 is bigger than I’ll ever need

For me the virtual gears are a winner. Great if you have different bikes or more than one person is using the trainer. I found I did have to adjust the cable on my mechanical gears for the best chain alignment, but with the Di2, I just put the bike on and it all worked well.


73kph on a descent in gear 17

The trainer is maybe slightly noisier than my Wahoo KICKR, but the KICKR has the rubber adjustable feet, which help with noise, uneven floors and also comfort. This I would say is the only draw-back with the Hub One, the ride seems a little more harsher, great for sprinting as it is solid, but there is less give. Maybe a thicker mat under the feet would make a difference, no big deal as the rest of the experience can’t be faulted.

There are many reasons to buy a Zwift Hub One and I can’t think of any draw-backs. You won’t be disappointed with virtual gears, a bit like the first time you try Di2. A pleasure to train on.

Positive:

  • Works with nearly every bike
  • 24 virtual gears
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to fit any bike
  • A free year of Zwift
  • Costs less than most other trainers

Negative:

  • Tied to Zwift (unless you buy the Wahoo Core with cassette)
  • Less comfort
  • Not compatible with WAHOO KICKRClimb (but does work with the KICKRHeadwind)

Zwift Hub One Tech:

Size and Weight

  • Length: 49.7 cm / 19.5 in
  • Width: 61.2 cm / 24 in
  • Height: 46.1 cm / 18.1 in
  • Weight: 15 kg / 33 lb

Performance and Data

  • Power accuracy: +/- 2.5%
  • Max wattage: 1800
  • Max gradient simulation: 16%
  • Flywheel weight: 4.7 kg / 10.3lbs
  • Metrics: Power, cadence, speed, & distance

Connectivity

  • Transmits measured data using both Bluetooth and ANT+ FE-C
  • Accepts control data using either of Bluetooth and ANT+ FE-C
  • Can connect to a ANT+ heart rate monitor and relay data via Bluetooth
  • LED status light shows ANT+ and Bluetooth connection status
  • Over the air Firmware updates via Bluetooth using Zwift Companion App

Compatibility

  • Wheel Sizes: Compatible with 650c, 700c, 24″, 26″, 27.5″, 29″, Road and MTB wheels
  • Axles: Compatible with 130 mm and 135 mm quick release, 12×142 mm and 12×148 mm thru axles
  • Freehub body: Hyperglide

Additional Specs

  • Operating temperatures: -10 C to +25 C (14 F to 77 F)
  • Sound 52 db at 250 watts
  • Maximum rider weight: 120 kg / 264.5 lb
  • Power requirements: 100-240 V, 1.5 A, 50 Hz-60 Hz

Preinstalled Zwift Cog

  • 14 tooth single sprocket

Zwift Click

Size and Weight

  • Length: 47 mm / 2 in
  • Width: 47 mm / 2 in
  • Height: 13 mm / 0.5 in
  • Weight: 47 grams / 0.1 lbs

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth

Additional Specs

  • Power: Battery, coin cell CR2032
  • Battery life: >100 hours
  • The Zwift PLAY Controllers are currently on sale for $99 US at 

Zwift Play

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