Sounds like we will be getting another indoor bike option when they get their jobs done. Another step for them trying to cut the friction to joining Z and getting closer to the Peloton model (gear + apps).
Peloton is the Apple Computer of indoor cycling. They deeply understand how customers love high quality product with seamless integration between their software and hardware platforms and resulting great user experience. And the company is being rewarded for this with an incredibly low customer churn rate of about 6%.
Zwift fully recognizes this (and many other great things Peloton is doing) and is following their model. There is no quality indoor bike manufacturer worthy of Zwift’s purchase (or one that they can afford). And even if they could buy an indoor bike company, it doesn’t mean that integration happens overnight. So just as Peloton did, Zwift is building a bike from ground up (Peloton didn’t build their bike internally, but they laid out all specs for it and their business has grown so fast, well beyond analyst expectations, that the economics made sense to purchase the supplier). Following Peloton’s model will allow Zwift to have the bike built exactly to their specs with tight integration with their software. And given what we know from @dcrainmaker about how they are going about it, it will happen pretty quickly . . . perhaps 12 months from now you will see a product announcement or at least reports that it is in beta testing.
That would be very fast for a company that does not have HW expertise like this. Maybe possible if they hire away engineers / designers / etc from established payers. But many of those guys (at least the more senior) likely have non-competes. It would be a tall order.
This is possible. The way IP is protected (or not) in China it’s possible they are working with the same parent, maybe even subsidiary, that makes the likes of the Wahoo, Tacx, Stages or other smart bikes! (Note: I don’t know if these other guys all own their own manufacturing, but am guessing not all do).
As DCRainmaker mentions, they are likely already working w/someone here in Taiwan based on the job descriptions requiring travel to Taiwan. Also, whether by design or coincidence, this avoids any China tariff issues.
As for the Gravat, that is made in China by a Chinese company. It has nothing to do w/Taiwan.
Clearly in a Peloton-Zwift combo, Peloton would be the acquirer (this would not be a merger of equals). However, IMO Peloton won’t be buying anyone substantial at this time. They are on a rip roaring growth path with management time and cash resources tied up in their own expansion plans (treadmills, international, and health clubs) in addition to growth in current markets. Even if Zwift made sense from a market synergy standpoint, it would take far too much human and financial resources, particularly given the differences of location and markets they serve, to be something Peloton could take on in any near term time frame. And even if they could rationalize those decisions, the financial markets would kill them (stock price-wise) for doing so - they are already under a lot of pressure to slow their growth in order not to burn through as much cash as they are currently going through.
Yes, and perhaps 18mos is more realistic. But often times companies will outsource non-critical functions particularly given the availability outside resources (i.e. hardware design and development firms). Clearly Zwift’s differentiation is, and will remain with, their software while Peloton’s (at least initial offering) is the total ecosystem experience. So it would not be surprising to me for Zwift to find a way to get this done. But I accept @GPLama view, until it is in his hands to try it, it isn’t real.
I imagine that the bike they make could end up as a trainer version of Google Pixel/Nexus phone where it doesn’t sell many but is a reference device for other manufacturers. Now they’re experimenting with steering etc I imagine they need a HW / mechanical team to build/verify and test this stuff.