There are three types of indoor bike setups in use today:
- An outdoor bicycle mounted to a trainer. This may or may not be a smart trainer, and it may require the back wheel to be removed. This is the most common setup on Zwift, by far.
- An outdoor bicycle on a set of rollers.
- A smart bike, which is essentially an indoor-only combination of a bike and a smart trainer.
Designer and Inventor Paul Lancefield wondered if there was a better way. Then he created it! Called the “FastChain Aesthete,” his indoor-only frame is made to be mounted to a smart trainer and look good in your home setting.
Paul recognized that indoor cycling enthusiasts need a bike that can remain indoors without worrying about the mess and inconvenience of bringing an outdoor bike inside for use on the trainer. He also noted that most standard bike frames look unsightly in a home setting, which can be especially problematic for people who live in smaller spaces or have a lovely home that they want to keep looking at its best.
FastChain Aesthete is made from wood (oak and plywood core), and each one is expertly crafted, personalized with an engraving of the rider’s name or preferred phrase on the side, and finished by hand to ensure every detail is perfect. The design presents an “architectural” appearance, making it look like a piece of art that can be displayed in the home.
The first prototype (pictured) was manufactured out of MDF, allowing the design form and fit to be verified. Paul has confirmed that the design functions well, provides a secure and stable base, and presents no danger of tipping forward even when pedaled rigorously during a competitive sprint.
The next version, a beta product to be made from plywood and oak, will be finished with a professionally sprayed waterproof polymeric clear coat. This is being produced for a Swiss customer who wants to train on a bike that complements his home training room’s mountain view. (A photo journal of its production and installation will be published on the FastChain website over the next few weeks and can be followed here.)
One happy accident Paul discovered is that when the FastChain Aesthete is paired with a Wahoo KICKR, it can be tilted upright. In this orientation, it occupies a smaller footprint and takes on the appearance of a bespoke sculpture. This adds an extra level of design and functionality to the frame. Paul is exploring if the frame can be secured in the same orientation on other smart trainers and where possible will provide trainer-specific “wedges” so this may be achieved.
Beta Testers Wanted
Paul’s business – FastChain – is now looking for beta testers in the UK. Anyone purchasing a beta version will receive a special level of service. FastChain will be video blogging the production process, and each customer will receive regular videos demonstrating the progress of his bike.
FastChain plan that handlebar-mounted bottle holders will be available, and an optional chain guard can be added for extra protection. The prototype shown in these photographs features a wireless SRAM eTAP Force 12-speed groupset. It is finished with brown bar tape and a stylish brown Brooks C17 saddle. For indoor cycling, FastChain recommends synthetic materials for the last two items though leather versions can also be supplied if that is the customer’s preference.
Pricing for the final commercial release has not been finalized yet, but for the development period, pricing will advantageously recognize the beta status and start at £3000, with a £1500 downpayment required to start production and assembly of the bespoke customized frame.
Wrapping It Up
The FastChain Aesthete isn’t for everyone, but it will certainly appeal to, shall we say, “discerning indoor athletes” who want a stylish and functional bike frame that can be left out in the house.
The wood material and customizable design make it a unique addition to any home, and we’re looking forward to seeing the continued evolution of this innovative bike frame!
Questions or Comments
At £3,000 I do not see what problem is being solved? Buy a smart bike!
Especially as you still have to shell out for a trainer as well.
There is definitely a market for a cost effective indoor frame you could use with a smart trainer but something at this price point because it looks like a piece of art? Not for me.
Agree. I do think the idea behind this is great, and an affordable version would probably sell well to those not wanting to constantly hook up their bike repeatedly. At that price though, a smart bike is the obvious better buy.
Also being made of wood isnt really a great idea. Wood expands/contracts with humidity changes. In a room where you’re likely to be sweating etc you could find alignment issues over time. You only need warping by a few mm in a twisting direction and you’ll feel your hands being out of line with your body.
Hi Jimmy. The wood, customised with the owners name or preferred phrase, is sanded through multiple levels of grit, and three coats of polymer clear-coat professionally sprayed, also lightly sanded at 600 grit, sprayed again, buffed with a polishing compound and sprayed again and buffed again. The polymer clear-coat and process we use is the same as that used for the production of beautiful wooden sinks which last for years without water ingress and essentially establishes a very tough clear waterproof coating.
Sounds good but I’m not convinced by wood as a material for this application. During standing sprints where people also pull on the bars to oppose the down stroke, someone could be putting over 1000w of power through this frame. Wood has strength only in the direction of the grain and so laminating would be needed. Over time I don’t feel this would stand up to those twisting forces. For a hipster who has everything maybe, but an old cheap steel frame with funky paint job would serve this purpose much better, and allow the use of the wahoo climb… Read more »
So just to be clear 5 coats in total.
Thought exactly the same – it sure what problem is being solved…but a smart bike..then you can customise all your gear ratios etc. as for style the item looks nice but still has a smart trainer attached which buggers the aesthetics anyway…
Thanks Simon. I’m aware this product is not for everyone. FastChain Aesthete is all about providing a frame that enhances the home environment. It is a bespoke build and each frame is customised and hand finished.
You’re not getting it Simon:
Using natural forms to synergise integration into domestic architectural environments, this product creates a unique design language for patrons to fully express their personal aesthetic style through a sculptural expression of their physical self.
It’s for poncy design snobs with more money than sense and less sense than Watts.
I don’t see the problem in someone putting something out there in the market. I guess your problem here is with ZwiftInsider? Was this a paid promotion or something?
People like bamboo bikes or solid top guitars or actual wood flooring (vs. say ‘wood effect’ linoleum) all the time pay more all the time for reasons that have nothing to do with ‘problems’.
If FastChain used reclaimed wood, would that be better? What about reclaimed Velodrome wood? Do you think it’s out of the question that this product will lead to that product?
Not a paid promotion, FYI.
Hmmm. If it were $300, this would be appealing
500€ , you can buy an old road bike…just make sure fears are working and have a proper saddle….
It looks like a dental floss holder. I think I’ll stick with my KICKR Bike.
Why put so much time, effort and money to create a proxy that is not compatible with a Kickr Climb? Waste to effort to create a one dimensional product.
You’re about a week early with this story (should be 1st April)
This idea has been kicked around on the Zwift forums, but the main selling point was that it would be less expensive than buying a whole road bike. This is more expensive and less functional than every other option out there, so the only reason someone would buy this is if they like the aesthetics. Just my opinion, but it looks more like a piece of medical equipment than fine art. I’d rather have a KICKR bike or a bike + smart trainer in my living space.
In fairness, ideas are like… in that everyone has one. Especially where there are no stakes.
This person/company is actually trying to do something. I imagine there is considerable investment involved in time and emotion and equipment and patience of themselves and their close family members and friends.
It may turn out to be a bust, but equating it to some brain fart someone had on a Zwift forum seems a bit unfair.
I do think this is for someone, though definitely not for me. I could certainly see this starting a whole new category of similar products, some fancy and some cheap.
Let Mark Cavendish do a couple of sprints on that thing and tell me how many pieces it comes back in. Sorry, not sorry.
Luckily I don’t have to think about changing anything like that.
I have specific room for training where my bike is attached to Elite Direto XR and Gymrail Momentum X1 which allow bike move freely every direction while riding.
That “thing” above doesn’t allow any movements.
OMG… the $#!& some “inventors” come up with. All this needs is some https://www.backupbarz.com/ and it will become a black hole of uncoolness, sucking in everything in its vicinity. The only way this product makes sense is if it costs less than a Walmart bike… like <$200
I really like the idea, but now the trainer itself is ugly af….
But I’m a bit worried about the wood part, also because of sweating/moisture. Perhaps there could be a carbon version in the style of the lotus bike?
Also a folding frame would be great for ie on family holidays?
very curious where these are heading
It’s entirely possible (maybe even likely) this is Lotus-like in a few ways — including making a product (albeit at a price point that most/all would never buy) so as to make an idea permissible — e.g. to the UCI or, possibly, to the patent office.
If this was way cheaper it might be tempting but at th3 current price point buy a used bike to purchase on the trainer and leave it on it.
I loved the idea and it looks cool, but sadly the price tag just lost me. I think I’d rather just get the kickr bike, if I was going to throw that much money at it..
Good concept though..
Way too expensive, particularly that it’s a no-name brand to top it off. If you need a dedicated bike to mount indoors there are few cheaper and better (correct fit) options.
Is this an early April Fool’s article?
I can get a nice bike for $3k and continue my n + 1 path
…or you can just buy a cheap ass VeloBuild or other crappy Chinese AliExpress frame. Slap your favourite decent groupset on and viola, you have a trainer only bike at a 3rd of the price.
Think they look great and love the idea of a bespoke design. I’d worry about durability, but feel this can be addressed in a way that maintains the spirit of the design.
So you’ve basically got the abandoned Zwift smart bike then. Smart trainer and a bolt on indoor only bike setup that tilts up. Only twice the price of the concept and without the trainer, and it doesn’t look like the tron bike, or a bike at all really. Also if I wanted an indoor specific frame, I’d want some features like a phone stand, bottle holders and other useful bits. And if it’s meant to be an “art piece” it could at least look, you know, nice. It’s made of wood, but they’ve covered it in some horrible plastic looking… Read more »
I would really love to like this one and it looks amazing, but… as a lot already said, except for looking great it really doesn’t do anything that a cheap road bike wont do…
What we really need is something that attaches the pedals directly to a Tacx Neo ( or something similar ) without any chain or belt-drive and a modified firmware to simulate the gears.
Don’t know if the a trainer can be driven at such low rpms 🤔
When I first started reading, I thought to myself, what would I pay for such a concept and came up with *maybe* $500. But the group components alone costs more than that, so I’m thinking it might go for $1K. Imagine the sticker shock at $3K, plus the trainer! The business model seems to revolve around creating a piece of art that one would display in the living room of their high-end Swedish villa, owned by an eccentric (and wealthy) tycoon who places value on placing his (or her) eccentricities on full display – and cost is of no concern.… Read more »