So I took the plunge on the Zwift smart trainer for 500.00USD, my first direct drive trainer.
Here are my assumptions and actual experience.
Not available yet but put on waiting list.
“This is gonna take months if is not vaporware”
/got email a week later saying they were in stock
“Okay I’ll order one, 500.00, Shipping must be outrageous”
/Free standard shipping
“Standard shipping huh? It’ll take weeks to get here”
/Arrived in two days
“Better check reviews, I’ll bet it’s junk”
/DCRainmaker -4.5 out of 5 stars
“Must only work with Zwift with their nintendo graphics”
/works on any app that supports bluetooth or ant+
Plus, cassette included and pre installed.
So far exceeded all expectations. But, it’s still sitting in a box so haven’t tried it yet. I’ll keep you posted.
It will be interesting to see how their business model plys out…I don’t think anyone really expected it to be a crap trainer since that woudl directly impact the users’ experience with their main product - the game.
My biggest question for them is what the market looks like in the short-term. COVID brought a lot of people into the ecosystem and arguably there is a very small, finite market opportunity at this time. In 3-5 years, it will look different as trainers bought during COVID crap out…but do the investors at Zwift have the patience to see that business model play out?
Their rapid growth period is over…their challenge now is maintaining the existing customer base and growing during a plateau period. As an N=1 example, I suspended my account over the summer for the first time since I joined (2016). I simply didn’t need it…the bigger (easier?) opportunity would seem to be finding a model that entices existing users to keep their accounts going year round. (I also switched my TR account to a monthly subscription and will let that lapse ~next April).
But I would expect the trainer to be a very good trainer, once the initial software / firmware issues have been addressed (see GP Lama’s comments). However, the best value out there is still the H3 trainer with the discount codes…~$400.