It’s not solely a Zwift turbo trainer to be honest. The Zwift Hub smart trainer is based on the JetBlack Volt but with a wipe from the Zwift-ing sponge, it fits a wider range of bikes and of course syncs very nicely with the Zwift service. I am assuming that last bit because no-one has yet tried the kit but if it didn’t we would be looking at the biggest turkey since the, er… Spruce Goose?? (now that’s a mangled metaphor!).
Anyway, the JetBlack Volt is well thought of so expect good things from the Zwift version. One of the key points they make in the marketing is ease of start-up so when you order you get to choose a cassette that suits your gearing requirements (8 through to 12 speed) and the packaging is designed to make set-up a breeze from there. There are various adaptors for quick release and bolt through frames so it should be straightforward.
Technical specs are reasonable; accuracy of +/-2.5%, maximum resistance of 1800w and a simulated gradient of 16% via a 4.7kg flywheel is more than enough for anyone not in the Tour. Interesting too that you can use it as a Bluetooth bridge so your heart rate can go through that while leaving a Bluetooth channel spare for ‘other stuff’ – this is not a problem I have previously encountered but should be of note to Apple TV users apparently! If it affects you, it affects you…
The biggest point of note is the price – £449 for an ANT+ FEC and Bluetooth FTMS enabled smart trainer is excellent value, especially with the brand new cassette thrown in. It’s all calculated to draw more users to the Zwift platform and I would say on the face of it this is a very well pitched offer.
Among the Moles, several of us now have smart trainers – Tony (reluctantly), Lloyd and JR (almost obsessively), JamesW (under sufferance), MarkJ (viewing his as a concept) and myself (very happy). I suspect Reece and MarkC are now at risk of increasing their annual bike expenditure from nothing to a lot to ‘what’s another 500 quid in the scheme of things??!’
I think each of us can see the benefits of Zwift; for Lloyd it has been transformative and it’s been instrumental in keeping fitness levels up and us moving when the weather has been really bad. Counterintuitively, I think we’ve ridden more in the winter the past couple of years than we have for a long time because by maintaining fitness it’s helped motivate us onto the trails whenever the weather allows.
This is an interesting move in the turbo trainer space and stands in contrast to Peloton’s woes. I see the virtual world aspect of indoor training expanding greatly from here.