Just about every time I ride Zwift, I wish I hadn’t won the Tron Bike. I still remember how much I wanted it, and I remember how hard it was to get, but now that I’ve had it for a while, I am actually a little sad that this part of the Zwift story is over for me.
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably already familiar with the Zwift Concept One bike, which is far better known by it’s nickname, the “Tron Bike”. Unlike most other bikes in the game, it can’t be bought, it has to be earned by completing the Everest Challenge and then climbing another 50,000 meters. It’s something within the reach of any Zwifter with enough perseverance (you don’t have to do it in one climb, after all!) but it can take a long time. Even Zwift authority and podcaster Simon Schofield famously has yet to earn his Tron bike (his co-hosts rib him in practically every episode over it, too!).
You get a Tron Bike! And you get a Tron Bike!
The Zwift Concept One bike is the ultimate Zwift bike, and therein lies the problem. Once you have it, you’ve essentially won the bike acquisition game, and then what are your drops for? I have literally millions of drops and counting, but nothing to spend them on.
Now, technically, there are bikes that do just a little better climbing, and a few others that do a bit better on the flats, but for an all-around bike, nothing is superior to the Tron Bike.
And that is precisely the problem! The whole part of the game where you sweat to unlock enough levels and earn enough drops to level-up your bike is essentially short-circuited by the Tron Bike. Yes, I do have a bike for when all I’m doing is climbing the Alpe and another bike for pool-table flat routes (not to mention a mountain bike when I’m forced to go offroad) but most of the time I am riding on some kind of mix of flats and hills, and for that there may be other bikes that are arguably as good, but none clearly better than the Tron Bike.
Maybe this wouldn’t annoy me so much of the Tron Bike weren’t so boring. Yes, you get to pick the color of your wheels, but in reality there are only about five colors to choose from. Your bike has no water bottle, so you don’t get the drinking animation, nor do you get the standing animation on hills (only for sprints). When you’re in the draft, the Tron Bike rider doesn’t sit up like the riders of other road bikes, so it’s a little more difficult to know when you’re in the draft. In short the Tron Bike rider is the least-animated rider in the game. And it seems that a quarter of the riders in the game have a Tron Bike, sometimes I even lose track of which one I am in a peloton. As hard as it is to get this bike, it’s still too easy, and once you have it you have it forever.
(since I’m on the subject, I also have the Century Kit, which you are awarded after a 100 mile ride in Zwift. Again, a real pain to accomplish, and again more or less –in my opinion, anyway– the ultimate accomplishment as far as special kit goes. But it’s just basic black and, like the Tron Bike, that gets boring after a while. Ah, well.)
Make it hurt
Everyone who has a Tron Bike knows that when it comes to fitness, the rent is due every day. Sure, you can coast for a little while, but your fitness has to be re-earned on a regular basis. Maybe the same thing should be true for the Tron Bike. Maybe you need to climb a few thousand meters a month in order to keep the bike. Something. When somebody shows up with a Tron Bike, it should inspire shock and awe. It should be rare, it should be hard to get, and it should be hard to keep.
I don’t want to end the post on a down note, so let me close by saying that the Tron Bike is a cool piece of gear, no question about it. The first thing I did when I got mine is head to the volcano, because when you see that bad boy light up inside the lava caves, well, that is priceless.