How To Ride Off Road... In Your Garage
Mountain Bike Rider|February 2021
Your local singletrack just got a lot closer to home!

Nothing beats actually riding your mountain bike. Sometimes that’s just not possible though, lockdown restrictions, crappy weather, and a time-starved lifestyle can all get in the way of heading out on your bike. You’re probably not going to fall in love with riding in your garage, but now there really is a way to keep you both fit and interested, mimicking the experience of riding off-road from your home.

And you probably know what that is already. Zwift. In only six years Zwift has transformed indoor training, roadies seem to love it more than the road themselves. Not so much fun for mountain bikers… or so we thought, until we spent a month on Zwift’s new steering system and off-road trails.

ZWIFT FIRST ‘RIDE’

mbr’s Ben Day gave the system a try.

I have used turbo trainers on and off for years. They provide you with an incredible insight into what extreme boredom is really all about and remind me of primary school waiting for the bell to signify the end of term and the start of the summer holidays. The longest hour on earth.

I have logged a fair few miles on Zwift purely on the ‘road’, but the Elite Sterzo Smart steering block changes things. It’s basically a block that sits under your front wheel that has a damped steering feel. It connects via Bluetooth or Ant+ to Zwift and enables you to steer in the game. I’m always reluctant to connect another device in my house but this thing was so simple: insert batteries, place on the floor, wiggle your steering and it comes to life.

Before we get any further though, I should tell you why steering is important. Zwift was designed primarily for roadies as a way of gamifying their time on a static bike. As such, it didn’t really need you to be able to carve your way across the road, just acknowledge your efforts on the pedals and let you ride faster or slower. The new steering block lets roadies take up different positions on the road, and crucially it lets mountain bikers steer their way down some singletrack.

READY PLAYER 1

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