Zwift's New Hardware Division (Nov '19) / "Pauses" & Layoffs (May '22)

We don’t really know the growth and retention rates of users. I am sure those will be very important numbers for the investors.

But I agree that some very poor decisions have been made over the last years.

The idea that Zwift would be better able to develop, produce and ship hardware based solutions compared to companies that already have core competencies in this area seemed like hubris. Ignoring glaring issues with the software platform also a huge missed opportunity.

I wonder if Zwifts plan to enter the hardware business in some part triggered Wahoo to go into the training software business with the RGT purchase? (perhaps it would have happened anyway?)

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Not my best work, but a stab at the current news:

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It’s also plausible - perhaps even likely, that the VC’s were never fully onboard with it, but let it play out for a while because the long-term opportunity cost was greater than the short-term costs.

While VC’s often get a bad rap (even rightly so), one thing that separates the good VC’s from the bad ones is knowing when something is a turd, and cutting the loses.

I mean, Zwift’s woes with their hardware efforts aren’t something new. We’re talking a multi-year flight here, and you’ll want to remember that some of those hardware surveys about a year ago weren’t actually Zwift, but VC companies about to invest in Zwift.

Everyone in the industry, unfortunately, knew how this was going to end. The only way it would have ended well for Zwift, would have been for them to launch 2.5-3 years ago - just ahead of the pandemic enough to have things stabilized. To be clear, as I’ve said many times, the concept of vertically integrated hardware is key to solving complex things like this. It’s why Peloton has the millions of subscribers they do (millions more than Zwft and TR combined). Sure, they’ve pivoted more towards apps, but fundamentally the majority of their users are on hardware.

Zwift was trying to solve the easy-button problem. They were just three years late doing so, and arguably without the right resources to really solve it.

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Makes sense. I do hope they do some good things to enhance their app. I always thought the hardware thing for them was a bad idea but I always have the opinion that a company should focus on their core business and with Zwift that’s their app. But I’m not a risk taker so I’d be horrible in business.

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I think there was / is a space for them in hardware as long as they can bring a differentiated product, and more importantly, a new experience to the market.

But it seems that they have discovered what some of us have felt for awhile…they can’t make a product / experience that is differentiated enough to justify their entrance. And in a market that is now flooded with product, minor product differences ain’t gonna cut it.

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So no one is looking back at the previous rumor or TR and zwift merging?

It might have giving a push to Wahoo but they were already going down that path. They had lots of pre designed workouts but because they have the integrated videos it was hard to add to the collection so they needed a platform that easily allowed differing workouts

  • Actually, I’ve thought about it, as well as seen it mentioned in just about every one of these related discussions that I am following (half a dozen or more threads around the web). It’s fresh and mentioned as a “what about that now?” kind of question.

  • Ray even covered his thoughts as a result of said question.

Didn’t Nate mention in a recent podcast (albeit tongue-in-cheek) that TR was the last independent training platform on the market? To me, that would seem like Nate would want to keep TR independent.

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I wasn’t in the market for a zwift bike as I love my Neo bike. With that I am giving zwift 6 more months and if RGT actually improves will be dropping Z for it. People are looking for value and causal riders will give a serious look to Wahoo with the content it provides.

With all of these apps and companies the high has been hit and subs will continue to drop. I think Wahoo (app only) and TR are a little more isolated vs Zwift/Peloton.

Still a yearly sub with TR but sometimes I just want to ride and spending a lot more time riding outside.

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I guess I was implying here…

I still think the likelyhood of TR selling out is low but that they may be the training platform of Zwift. Zwift for just the UI keeps TR separate with only very limited dependencies between them

Anything is possible and I have no idea what will or won’t happen. But in the spirit of fueling speculation, the Zwift update just released, now fully opens the previously “not quite flexible…” Flexible Training Plans. Sounds like there is essentially no restriction on workout access and order as they had previously done. May be nothing or could be something of an indication that they aim to be self-reliant on their training side of life vs TR or other options?

Training Plan Updates

  • Each of the last few updates has seen Zwift make their Training Plans more and more flexible. Today’s update continues that trend, opening Training Plans wide open so when you sign up for a plan, all workouts in the plan are immediately unlocked. No more waiting until the start of the week, or not having access to certain workouts.
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The workouts are already XML like in formatting. Would be nice if you could just give it a URL to pull the workouts from

You mean Neokyo didn’t do it for you?

I’m a lowly level 49 rider and am now using Zwift as my primary indoor training platform on which I run my TrainingPeaks structured workouts, but even then you’re right… after “only” using Zwift since 2019 it’s been a minute since they did anything meaningful. I guess Pace Partners were the last innovation that was worth something, and even then… not really.

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And interestingly, Wahoo has had some glaring hardware issues… so why these two companies don’t focus on getting their core competencies locked in rather than expansion into new markets is beyond me. The lack of focus and ability to analyze trends on both sides is alarming. Wahoo wants to get into the training app market, and Zwift wants to get into the hardware market, both at a time when each market is receding due to the pandemic lifting. It is forehead-slappingly stupid.

LOL, I do like Neokyo, but like many others, I wish they would just keep expanding Watopia. I’d like a legit century option without having to hit the taller passes and no need to reride / double on sections to get it. I know that’s not a big deal to most other riders who cap out at 90 mins or less typically, but there is more potential to just make that a real “world” with more options if they push that way.

I actually really like the Pace Partners and think it’s one great feature. The new additions they made to fill in and around D/C level make great sense to me as well. But there is a lot more I think they could do and have partly dragged their feet because they could. Now, maybe they will be pushed to more actual development and FINALLY unlock the level 50 cap. Give us something to strive for again.

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Wahoo bought an up and running player. Zwift was developing and planning to manufacture its own hardware. Quite different actions.
In these hard times we will see more mergers and buy outs.

Or another “mission”… those seem like relatively easy wins to me, and they’ve only had the three baked-in missions forever. I guess they’ve become reliant on 3rd-party “missions”.

But I am with you on Watopia expansion as well as more flat or rolling options on tarmac. I think they’ve gone a long way with gravel and major climbs, but it’s tough to go do anything long and steady on there unless you’re going to use erg mode or dial trainer resistance to nothing. But I can’t complain about a century considering I still haven’t properly finished either Uber Pretzel or PRL Full.

Neokyo is in NYC territory for me. Now that I’ve done all the routes, I’d rather ride literally anything else.

True, but again Wahoo had pretty major issues with their last trainer rollouts dating back to 2018 with Kickr Core and Kickr 2018s requiring multiple returns for a lot of users. Now, they finally did right by me, gave me a new Kickr 2018 after my third Core crapped out, but there was a long time where I just wanted the hell out of the Wahoo universe. I still kinda do, but just bought a Bolt V2 after killing my first one, so I guess I’m in it with them for the long haul. Roam was a dud, Rival is a dud. Elemnt upgrades have been “meh”… I do love my Bolt and V2 is a good bike computer IME.

If they want X/RGT/Systm/whatever to be a serious training competitor with Zwift, they have to get it integrated with TrainingPeaks, IMO (unless I missed that they already did that).

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Can we just talk about how dumb “gravel” routes are for virtual riding? Yes, please make me work harder to go slower for the exact same experience. At least Repack Ridge brings steering to the experience.

I thought this was one of the silliest things when they introduced it, but I completely missed the mark. The Pace Partners were a great addition…a join-anytime, ride-as-much-as-you-want group ride at whatever effort level you want. Jumping in with Coco is a great warmup before any bigger events.

I’d like to see them figure out a way to incorporate a warmup into the rides, though….especially for the A/B rides. I think if they extend the “pedal assist” feature, but have it gradually decreasing over ~5 minutes would solve the issue.

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Yeah, I am not into the gravel side either. Just odd to me when you get down to what they really are.

The “always on” aspect of the PP’s is key to me. No need to look on the schedule, skim for the right A/B/C/D level group effort/speed, that also has a duration that makes sense for you, and even if you do… the ride leader decides to not follow the prescription, disconnects or other issues dealing with people riding off the front and back… a whole lot of distraction that is not at all of interest to me. I do understand those that find a regular and consistent group ride. I’ve hit a few of them and can see the draw. But for even partly variable use, they are more of a pain then PP by a long shot.

Admittedly, I am more “anti-social” with my general Z riding in that I am purely there for distraction as the lead, and groups for some entertainment aspect to my endurance rides in most cases. With all that, the PP is a perfect solution that is no-hassle, minimal BS chat or distractions. It’s a win for me as a side-load user in particular.

They either have now, or are soon to address the pedal assist timing from something I read recently. So look for changes there. I agree there is an oddity to jumping in to one that is on the high side of your effort. I am fine for Coco, but with Bowie, I need warmup since that is about my fast group ride pace. Great to have and it works really well for that purpose. But man… if I don’t get in some random spinning first it is a real challenge.

Would be cool if you could pick one to ride, set a defined 5-15 minute warmup and then it would auto-join the PP. Great idea :smiley:

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I’d like to see zwift improve. I’d think about signing up for some of the big events in the future if there was a pile of new roads to ride. I only made it to level 34 and was pretty tired of the worlds. I didn’t ride a lot of Maruki but it seemed to use a bunch of the France graphics but it was kinda nice I guess. Neokyo wasn’t my cup of tea at all. I like the pace partners, getting in a 40km/h zone 2 ride with coco was kinda fun and an easy way to get xp. I finished all the routes and challenges so it was just grinding out levels for no real reason but the love of grinding.

Hopefully RGT improves too and there can be some competition. I ended up on fulgaz since there’s more rides than I can realistically do but it has little in the way of social experience, but that’s not a big deal for me. The most frustrating thing about zwift (for me) was that the potential of the program and its great user base is consistently thwarted by whatever the heck is going on at zwift HQ.

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