'Zwift Trainer' speculation/discussion

Wasn’t exactly a secret but now that it’s being openly mentioned on here:

I think speculation is fair game. The question is, what can it bring to the market that hasn’t already been available from Tacx, Wahoo, Elite and others for years now? What further innovation is out there for a trainer?

I guess the main thing (and presumably the number one barrier for most people) is some sort of resolution to dropouts and connection problems. So something similar to Wahoo’s Direct Connect, which does away with ANT+ and Bluetooth altogether. A cynical person may suggest that’s why they’re dragging their heels in supporting Wahoo’s protocol, if the intention is for such a thing to be a USP of their own device…

Following on from that could be in-house certification for power accuracy, allowing for ‘Zwift trainer only’ races. It would probably need to have some form of internal/self calibration (like a Kickr V5) for that to work though.

What else is there? Would you buy a Zwift trainer?

Plug & play for Zwift comes to mind. Nothing wrong with that, even if it’s not your cup of tea.

To be honest, I’ve been on Zwift for 500 km vertical, and I wouldn’t buy an inner tube from them at this point.

4 Likes

Yup, they’ve got that ‘Zwift Certified’ icon on various trainers, this would be the next logical step. That question was meant in terms of features once you’re on and riding, really.

I’m guessing something along the lines of the Peloton bike, with an integrated display of some sort.

Ah, I didn’t read it that way. (My bad, maybe. Getting on and riding at all is hard enough for a substantial amount of peeps, is my impression.)

Agree, but I think the smart bike is going to be a completely separate thing further down the line (almost certainly with the game running on an Android tablet IMO, which is… suboptimal). The wording on this specifically refers to a trainer though.

1 Like

Take the Atom X and improve the android device running that (or move to an IOS device) and you have a pretty solid device at the outset…

Issue being long term, these get left behind as hard to upgrade and it all depends if it’s an open or closed solution with regard to other applications.

Edit to add - A trainer in all likelihood is going to be a common trainer rebadged as a zwift device…

The steering thing doesn’t exactly provide a rosy prospect of that. :confused:

2 Likes

Currently available on Kickr bike, to be released on wattbike…

Stages & Neo with limited info?

Has there been a statement that says it’s closed?

I meant the whole Sterzo exclusivity thing with Elite.

DCR summed it up well here: Zwift Tech Tidbits: Trainer Certifications and Steering Hardware Slowdowns, Retailer Program, ZwiftHub and More | DC Rainmaker

1 Like

There is no way I would buy a zwift trainer for quite some time. In the past we have seen big issues with both Wahoo and Tacx trainers and they have been making them for years.

Hardware is very seldom good in Gen 1 devices. To go from nowhere to launching a really great product is not impossible but highly unlikely. Then you have all the support requirements.

Zwifts main product is obviously software. They have shown themselves to be pretty poor with updates (so many bugs) and their customer support is pretty poor to.

To move from a software to a hardware company is a huge ask. I’d be amazed if they get that right straight off the bat.

I just hope we don’t get into some kind of exclusivity war with regards to trainers.

I would definitely be interested in buying a Zwift trainer but their reputation for consistent high quality is not there. However in their software product they can get away with poor implementation because there is no real competition. However, the trainer market is different and Zwift are under massive pressure to get this right. Mess up with this one and it would take a long time to restore their reputation as a hardware producer.

4 Likes

Speculation from earlier in the year suggested that Magene were being lined up as the manufacturer, interesting then that Magene do not feature on the supported trainers list for Zwift.

Personally I can’t see a Zwift trainer dominating the market. There are too many established brands out there to be pushed aside. Established brands with a long history of manufacturing quality products.

I’d be happy for Zwift to plough their money into their product and leave the hardware side of things week alone.

There’s no way they could ever turn their back on people with non Zwift trainers, there’s too many of us.

And what do you gain from a Zwift trainer that’s not already available? I see people mention better connectivity. I’m afraid for me that anybody suffering dropouts etc needs to look at their setup more closely and make the necessary changes.
Windows 10 with ANT+ is rock solid so if you’re having issues with Apple etc… Consider changing.

3 Likes

I love this bit:

So Zwift apparently “guarantee a bug-free experience” on supported trainers. Who knew?!

4 Likes

The biggest driver of the Zwift push to produce hardware: At $20/month it takes a lof time to reach the revenue of $1,400 (in one shot) for a Tacx Neo.

So it totally makes sense for them to explore these options as a means of growing revenue.

Also, I see them heading down the path of a premium product (not mass). Sort of like Microsoft and their Surface devices. And yes, it will be open standard Ant+ /Bluetooth

I think the trainer opportunity has flown. The regular smart trainer is a commodity product unless they have some feature we are not seeing that can be added. If they offer it will be essentially a rebrand.

A bike…hmmm…again what can they offer to entice potential buyers? Builtin tilting platform? 3-years subscription included? Just seems to me that Zwift is taking way too long to introduce a device unless they have some super tech and are trying to implement. Or they are waiting for other agreements to expire.

1 Like

But they can have 100 new users at the same cost to them, new users cost Zwift almost nothing.
But every new trainer has to be manufactured, and the profit margin is small like $200-$400 per trainer if it is that much.

4 Likes

Completely agree here but zwift probably think that a big reason Wahoo and Tacx are selling so many trainers is due to zwift. Let’s say 1 million trainers have been sold as people wanted to use zwift… That’s a lot of profit zwift may have missed out on. However, as you say, developing hardware is very expensive. In both development and support.

The issue I see here is that zwift is seen as a cycling tool. This makes it pretty niche and difficult to scale up consistently. Take Peloton. This was marketed to the fitness market, fitness classes in your home. Huge potential market but I think zwift is limited at present to the cycling community…(Running hasn’t taken off yet… And probably won’t) I think rowing could be pretty big but in the grand scheme of things it’s all pretty niche.

Whilst zwift do like to control everything, I struggle to see this ending well unless they do some exclusivity membership tied to their hardware. I’m hoping this isn’t Zwifts CVRcade moment. I just see so many other priorities at the moment rather than hardware.

3 Likes