New 'Zwift Ride' Smart Frame (June 12, 2024)

Updated with links on June 12, 2024:


Based on the additional info that showed in the hours since the teaser post, I think this is a pending product release so I pulled this into a separate topic.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C71pBPiJW50/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Seems like a Wahoo Kickr Core at the rear. That in mind, and seeing the control levers combined with the display/mount makes me think this is a “smart bike frame” meant for use on an existing smart trainer.

I expect Play & Click integration, along with display mount and likely a decent range of adjustment for rider sizes.

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Saw this over on FB. Could be part of the “smart bike frame” or maybe a separate item. As someone who has a dedicated trainer bike it’d be cool if I could just attach this to my existing stem.

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Can confirm. :wink:

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Man I feel stupid for not seeing this one coming given how openly they’ve put all the pieces in place over the last year or two. Partner with JetBlack and now Wahoo to commoditize the trainer part without having to do reinvent the wheel, Zwift cog + virtual shifting to eliminate most of the groupset, play controllers for fancier integration. Then you ‘just’ need the frame, bars, and crank. Still a lot less work than developing a smart bike from scratch and a way larger addressable market of people who’d consider an upgrade path using their existing trainer rather than the sliver of the market who’d go out and buy a whole new smart bike.

I’m gonna guess it’s for the “smart bike frame” since it’s clearly labeled “Smart Frame 2 Controller” :slight_smile:

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This could be really exciting if:

  • The price isn’t too high
  • This isn’t locked / only usable with Zwift
  • An “open standard” gets defined that any trainer company could use for how to effectively turn a smart trainer into a smart bike with “virtual” shifting
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Agreed. Assuming it is a single-speed drivetrain, it will have wider adoption with an “open” virtual shifting standard (not restricted to Zwift and Wahoo trainers). I guess we will see in a week.

the thing I wonder about (if it’s a bike frame) is sizing and adjustability. I was gonna say they should just make the handlebar available to folks and it’s easy enough to swap out but then you’ve got dangling shift/brake cables with any existing handlebars.

if anyone remembers nashbar, they used to have really cheap steel framesets, I could see something like that working well in this sort of scenario

We have seen at least one company sell a “trainer bike frame” in the UK. It had basic adjustment on par with what we see on other fitness bikes. Considering what Zwift showed with their old bike idea, I think this offering will include a decent range of adjustment.

Without that, it will be limited in overall use. Even if they offer different frame sizes (like it seems that Mouv will do), I see that as less than ideal and the price better reflect that. Considering that this could be a very bare-bones “bike” since it can ditch lots of components, adding the adjustments via that freed up “capital” seems an easy choice to me.

Here is my understanding…but not 100% definitive.

Frame will be ~$1500 and operate essentially as glorified Play Controllers. It is the trainer which connects to the apps, not the frame. I don’t believe it will be compatible with other trainers at this point, but could be wrong on that point. If it is, it likely would not have the full suite of features (i.e. electronic shifting).

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If your understanding is correct, then this feels really underwhelming and a dud of a product. $1,500 to lock yourself into paying $200/year or $19.99/month? Pass.

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With that $1500 estimate, the inevitable point is this compared to a real bike of that price range.

  • Real bike = something with use inside and outside, but limited size adjustment (mainly saddle height is the only easy one.

  • Zwift Smart Frame = single use but adjustable (presumably) for many rider sizes.

In line with the real bike vs smart bike question, there could be case where one makes more sense than the other, even at the same price.

For quick ref:
Specialized Allez at $1200 or $1800.
Trek Domane at $1200, $1450, $1700.
Giant Contend at $1150, $1450, $1900.
And the used market could yield a lesser price or better bike at the same price.

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I’m trying to think what this smart frame would need to have to make it worth the cost vs. a dedicated trainer bike. Maybe some built-in Kickr Climb-like incline thing? Belt drive so it requires less maintenance? Maybe $1500 is the price as a bundle with a Kickr Core? :man_shrugging:

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The key to me is adjustment for size, like other smart bikes. I doubt they have discrete sizes like regular bikes. There are examples of adjustable seat posts and stems what would allow for plenty of sizing options without a ton of complexity.

Other than that, the clear “Zwift” focused elements are the integrated Play & Click controls for the game, as well as some form of display mount. Even for those that use a regular TV or other display that won’t mount on the bike, a support for tablet or phone seems a good add (like we see on other smart bikes.

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That could have been it…honestly don’t reacll at this point as it was over a month ago when I heard about it. We’ll find out shortly.

100%…a key demographic would likely be multi-user households so you have to have a significant amount of adjustability. And it isn’t like it matters for handling if you seatpost is jacked up astronomically high (or low), etc.

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You’ve hit all the salient points. I’ve been using my old mid 2000s aluminum road bike as a dedicated trainer bike for ages and the rumored price is certainly not going to steer me away from that, but if I needed to accommodate fit for multiple riders it could make sense.

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Another side benefit I haven’t mentioned (compared to full smart bike setup) this stands to be easier to life with for setup, teardown and moving. Separate “bike” & trainer are a heck of a lot smaller and lighter in parts vs even the smallest & lightest smart bike I have seen. This may be somewhat minor overall, but might matter more to some people.

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The other thing I’d be curious about is sound and maintenance. If it uses something like a belt drivetrain, it could be silent and maintenance-free, which could be a nice change to wearing out a drivetrain, dealing with chain lube, etc. That would definitely put it on my radar.

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If they don’t eventually come out with just those handlebars I see that as a missed opportunity. I think a fair number of us have a dedicated trainer bike and to integrate virtual shifting into a package like that would be sweet.

Even swapping an outside use bike to indoors for the winter would probably be of interest to some, just find a way to tie up and out of the way the cables.

Of course I’m still waiting for my v5 kickr to get virtual shifting so one thing at a time I guess…

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Belt would be cool for low sound & maintenance. But it would force people to do a cassette swap which might be easy for some, not for others.