Will the Shift Smart Trainer Bring Peloton Bikes to Zwift?

Will the Shift Smart Trainer Bring Peloton Bikes to Zwift?

A new Kickstarter project has been making the rounds in Zwift groups lately – the Shift Smart Trainer. Here’s how creator Steven Booysen describes it:

“A smart device for your Peloton, unlocking the world of Zwift with automatic resistance changes. No modifications, no cables, no fuss.”

Cyclists and spin enthusiasts alike know that Peloton is a big deal in the world of spinning. with over 3 million paying subscribers, 1 million+ Peloton Bikes sold, 1,800 employees, and a market value of ~$30 billion. And while the Peloton Bike costs a pretty penny, it doesn’t connect directly to Zwift. The Shift Smart Trainer aims to change that. Here’s the intro video:

How Does It Work?

The Shift sends and receives Bluetooth signals and easily mounts onto your Peloton Bike (or the new Bike+), automatically controlling the big red resistance knob. Zwift sees Shift as a smart trainer, so it sends incline data to Shift, which then increases your resistance to match the incline.

Since Shift knows which resistance setting you’re on, it can use calibration data and known Peloton Bike power curves to transmit estimated power numbers back to Zwift. Viola! A “smart trainer” unlike any smart trainer you’ve seen before!

It also supports ERG mode.

A separate cadence sensor is required, mounted easily enough on your shoe or crank arm.

What About Shifting/Gearing?

The Shift doesn’t just turn up the resistance to simulate hills – it has an integrated touch screen so you can easily tap to virtually “shift” your bike, changing resistance as if you’re changing gears.

Accuracy

Shift’s documentation says, “To ensure you have a consistent experience across Peloton and Zwift we have built our digital power curve (see above) to mimic Peloton’s power curve. We expect a power accuracy of ~10%, which is identical to the accuracy disclosed by Peloton.”

10% accuracy isn’t very impressive against top-rated smart trainers boasting 1-2% accuracy. But 10% is the same accuracy Peloton delivers on its own platform, so perhaps Peloton users won’t be too fussed about it. (Picky riders could always invest in a set of power pedals to get super-accurate power while enjoying the automatic resistance changes of the Shift.)

Pricing

Early supporters of the Kickstarter campaign can get Shift for £160 (~$213). Standard price is £200 ($267).

Final Thoughts

Zwift CEO Eric Min has said in interviews that they don’t view Peloton as competition, because their products and target audiences are very different. And while that’s somewhat true, it’s also true that there is plenty of overlap between the two company’s offerings. The Shift is born from that overlap.

Many Zwifters already own Peloton Bikes – in fact, a fair number of cycling families have both a Zwift and Peloton setup. By the looks of it, Shift could provide the most engaging Zwift experience available yet for Peloton Bike users. But is that something Peloton owners are interested in? Or is this a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist?

With only $13,100 pledged toward the $256,337 “all or nothing” goal (deadline Jan 17, 2021) it may just be that there aren’t enough Peloton Bike owners interested in Zwifting to get this project off the ground. We’ll know soon enough.

Shift’s final working prototypes are completed – now it’s up to the Kickstarter crowd to get it into production

Your Thoughts

Does the Shift Smart Trainer appeal to you? What are your thoughts? Share below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robert
Robert
9 months ago

Noooooo

Austyn
Austyn
9 months ago

I bought a Bowflex C6 bike back in June to replace my dumb trainer and to save some space. So this would be something I’d be really interested in, if it would work on the C6z

Rick
Rick
9 months ago
Reply to  Austyn

I’ve got the schwinn ic4 and would also buy if it works

Anthony D Davis
Anthony D Davis (@anthony-davis)
9 months ago

If it fit my Cycleops Phantom 3 I would buy it. They maybe should have thought about a broader application to attract as many potential users as possible.

Joshua Baum
Joshua Baum (@joshbaum93)
9 months ago

Will this work on Echelon bikes?

Sean
Sean
9 months ago

Great. Thousands of potential sandbaggers to make Zwift racing even more fun. [Sarcasm]

Jorge
Jorge
9 months ago

I have a Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1714 Evolution Pro Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike that is capable of supporting High Weight (300 lbs) and has a Heavy Duty Flywheel. If the shift smart trainer works with my indoor spin bike, I will purchase it.

Ed Wiser
Ed Wiser
9 months ago

While there maybe spin bike owners who would like to upgrade their bike to ride on Zwift. I don’t feel it would be good for Zwift and it has already shown that those on spin bikes in Zwift races have caused issues. Zwift would have to sort these spin bike users out. So they can compete with their own spin bikes. An not with smart trainer riders. As they are not in the same class as a smart trainer.

Jeremy Rollinson
Jeremy Rollinson
9 months ago

Not really going to cut it on zwift as there isnt a power meter on a peleton bike, just a resistance unit that can’t be calibrated. This device is just an, “automatically” adjusting resistance method. It basically replicates a “dumb” Zwift trainer set up – where zwift chart the resistance of an ordinary or dumb trainer at a certain notch setting in their algorithm and the power output at various wheel speeds. The rider on a dumb trainer has the bikes gears to alter the speed as well as pedal cadence – a peleton bike has no gears so the… Read more »

Luc Delhaye
Luc Delhaye
7 months ago

Excuse me for my Poor english. I would like to have informations about “writings” (name or/and club….) is it possible ? and how Luc from belgium

Decio
Decio
4 months ago

It will not going to work well, on smart trainers you have gears so when zwift makes it harder on inclines, you can switch a a lighter gear to maintain the cadence and generating same amount of watts, with no gears if you keep same cadence you will be outputting way more power, it may be fun for recreational rides, but not for racing

Free Zwift Trial

Newsletter Subscription

11
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x