I’m a bit dissapointed to the release since Zwift isn’t really bringing anything new to the market. Yeah, the bike looks cool now but I think that isn’t enough to make people choose a Zwift bike over Tacx or Wahoo.
I hoped Zwift would bring a complete indoor training set in one package ie. integrated computer and screen on the bike itself without a need for any external stuff.
I would expect they are taking a decent size loss per unit on the bike given development, manufacturing, and their current pricing. It appears they are attempting to compete on price against established players.
The only reason to make this bike is to acquire new users with the expectation that those newly acquired users LTV covers the cost of the loss on the bike (or to prevent existing users from churning due to device frustration).
Maintenance will likely be a huge issue for them. Stages, Wahoo, and Tacx have all spend a lot of time and energy doing warranty claims for their first gen bikes (ask me how I know ) and they’ve been in the business for a long time.
I’ll disagree on this. You don’t screw over your partners just to try to acquire new subscribers with a sexy design. There has to be more profit in controlling the supply chain and selling your own product.
Zwift has a long and storied history of screwing over their partners or dragging their feet for a hilariously long time. Exhibit A being that there is still no in game steering for Tacx/Stages despite them specifically adding those functions for Zwift. It’s been literally years.
I’d say for the trainer/wheel, maybe. But the profit is likely miniscule. The majority of the expected profit for these will be from LTV from subscription, not unit profit.
I don’t really feel like digging through Peloton’s latest earnings to estimate their bike COGS but no one really does hardware to make money off the unit economics.
Easiest way to understand this is to look an Android. Google’s Pixel phones are a drop in the bucket in terms of revenue. Their entire hardware revenue for Chromebooks, Pixels, and everything else is roughly 10% of their revenue.
Strategically, Zwift shouldn’t be trying to make a large profit being a hardware manufacturer. It’s a complicated, expensive, and frustrating business to be in. It doesn’t scale well, it’s difficult to execute in different regions. It’s picking up pennies in front of a steamroller relative to any of the myriad ways they could make 10-20x the amount of money just by following other obvious industry patterns.
I agree with everything you’re saying about the hardware market being difficult, I just don’t agree that Zwift is now selling hardware to try to add new subscriptions. I don’t see anyone going “well, I never wanted to try Zwift when I had to buy a Neo, but now that I can buy the Zwift wheel, I’m going to sign up”.
I think they’re ultimately targeting the Pelaton market rather than the Neo/Wahoo/other smart trainer market. Yes they’ll want to scoop up a few newcomers to the market but they’ve always wanted a complete bike solution and that would naturally be a rival to Pelaton.
The real questions in my mind is: Will follow the ANT+ / FTMS / BLT standard protocol, or will they implement a new, Zwift proprietary protocol?
I think the answer to this goes a long way to answering what this will mean for the other players (e.g., Garmin/Tacx, Wahoo, Stages, etc.) in the trainer market. If they implement a proprietary protocol, then I think this means that the new / cool Zwift features will only come to the Zwift bike / trainer. Unfortunately, I think the steering debacle points to Zwift going this way.
On the steering, if Zwift wanted, they could easily create an implementation with one company, roll this out with that one company, and then submit this implementation to the ANT+ / BLT forum bodies as a proposed standard. But they didn’t go this route, which makes me very suspicious of Zwift’s long term commitment to open standards.
If their strategy is to build an integrated, albeit walled–garden, sort of offering (like I believe Peloton does) it’s mine to disengage from their platform – can’t imagine having to eventually have two setups. I like it if it motivates other HW vendors to innovate for their platform, but any sign of Zwift–hardware only advantage (i.e. w/o offering the option to others to replicate) and I’m off.
Has Wahoo openly published and made the Direct Connect spec freely available for other companies (not just software platforms, but other trainer companies) to implement? If not, then I don’t blame Zwift.
I wish a direct connect like spec for both IP & USB was implemented and adopted, especially for Smart Bikes. I think having a wired connection option would go a long way to eliminating issues people have.
I think it looks neat but I’m struggling to figure out why you’d buy a bike that looks like a bike, but isn’t, when you could buy a bike that actually is a bike and usable for bike things
There’s a market for it and they’ll sell every one of them. I like it as a trainer, just not sold on the complete unless it’s fully integrated but also open to use other apps. Otherwise, not sure what this does over a bike in a trainer with an iPad.
One main capability that this has over a regular bike is the wide range of size adjustment. Like other smart bikes, this means a single setup can serve multiple riders of different sizes with what we can guess are quick and easy adjustment levers. Might not matter to everyone, but that feature is one of the most commonly mentioned reasons to pick a smart bike over a regular one & trainer.
I saw somewhere, that for storage it isn’t foldsble, but it rotates vertically. So it might get smaller from a footprint perspective. It doesn’t look like it is adjustable for standover, the way a Kickr Bike, or Stages, or, TacX are. The lack of a screen is genius. As graphics improve, new hardware would be needed. The amount of data to go back and forth from the “bike” and the computer solution is super minimal, and not likely to change in the future. The graphics and what have you will. To 5 year future proof the computer and screen would probably triple the price of the bike. By making the computer solution separate, as Zwift (or any software solution) improves and requires more capabilities, users get mad at the computers, not the bike. It is brilliant. Perhaps they will partner with Dell or another computer manufacturer to sell “Zwift Approved” models for easy integration.
I think people are reading a bit to much into this, a couple of years ago Zwift surveyed users over price races, before not changing there prices
I believe all they are doing is gathering feedback, does not having a climb matter, does size matter, and the best way to do this would be to release a image of something the divides opinions and looks different to existing products, if they released a iimage of something that looked like the Neo bike, all the comments would be, it looks like Neo Bike, all you have to do is release a image of ONE of your design prototypes, this is after all considered the wrong time of the year to release a new turbo product
I’d be surprised if Zwift take to their own protocol (not mentioning it gets feedback about whats important) as whats the gain, and you open yourself up to device compatibility issues