That seat post tho…

I am seriously impressed by Zwift’s commitment to creating a “smart bike” that is locked into their ecosystem. And, just so it doesn’t go unsaid, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, it totally makes sense for them to do it.

On the plus side, they seem to have nailed it with the $1,300 Zwift Ride with Kickr Core. You get a Kickr Core, which has an SRP of $650 (can find it for significantly less sometimes), and if you get tired of the Zwift dumpster fire UX, it will work on any other training platform. So the risk is isolated to the $650 you spent on the frame and fancy Zwift controller/handlebars that come with the Zwift Ride. I think that’s a fair exchange, and a great way to limit the potential downside from opting in. $1,300 for a complete setup is a great price for what you get.

More importantly, even though its UX designers don’t know what they’re doing (LOL, Zwift doesn’t have UX people), it’s still a really solid way to gamify training inside to make it tolerable for most people. Myself included. If you’re using Zwift, there’s not much to justify spending 2-2.5x more on something like a Kickr Bike. Sorry, Wahoo, them’s just facts.

That said, there are a few drawbacks.

The most obvious is that seat post design. WTF were they thinking? They took they stiffest seat post shape you can put on a bike, cast it in metal, and then put on a frame that will have exactly zero compliance. You don’t even have tires on this beast to soften the load you’re driving through your sit bones every time you get on this medieval torture device. I don’t get it. Why Zwift? Why? We know what works back there… It wouldn’t have been difficult…

The second, is that there’s no way to personalize the crank length. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, don’t tell anyone, I’m not convinced that crank length matters that much (on a bike). I have a bike with 170mm, and 175mm on everything else. I’ve ridden 172.5mm, and 177.5mm. I wouldn’t be able to tell what was what blindfolded. I can’t tell the difference, and most of the actual research I’ve seen around cadence and messing with cranks is kind of in that space too – for most people. On the other, there are going to be outliers, and maybe not even that outlier. I don’t have a great sense for where the splits might be. There people with hip impingement, or other kinds of mechanical issues where they really need to have the flexibility to make the bike bend; because they can’t. So, probably one of those things where it’s OK, but a little more inclusive design would have gone a long way. How hard would it have been to humor the “CRANK LENGTH MATTERS” people and be inclusive for those with a legit reason to need it?

I imagine the answer is cost. But… Hopefully there is an accessory that comes later, or something like that.

The last thing is that I don’t understand why the handlebars have a rechargeable battery. Batteries are for things that move around, and aren’t located near an outlet. You need an outlet for the trainer the frame is bolted to… Why not skip the battery, it would reduce cost, maybe even enough have adjustable cranks…

I can’t imagine that 99.9% of users aren’t just going to plug that bad boy into the wall and forget about it, because the alternative is not awesome…

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