JUMP TO:

The End of An Era: CompuTrainer Ceases Production

IMG_8229

Earlier today RacerMate, which has long made the CompuTrainer and other high performance trainers, notified sponsored athletes that the company is shuttering their CompuTrainer product line, as initially reported by Tom Demerly.  By this evening I was able to confirm those reports directly with the company, as well as get a bit more detail.  This marks a pretty significant event in the history books of indoor cycling.  No company or product has had a bigger impact on the indoor training experience than the CompuTrainer has.

The e-mail sent to athletes was short and to the point.  It is posted below in its entirety:

“It is with a heavy heart that those of us here at RacerMate must tell you that we are closing the doors on CompuTrainer. Technology and competition from larger companies have both eaten into the marketplace. As a small company with the premier indoor trainer in terms of performance and durability, we have found ourselves in a place where we cannot continue. It has been a marvelous 40+ years and we have enjoyed sharing in the victories and friendships we have made along the way.”

Chuck Wurster, Vice President
RacerMate Inc.
Seattle, WA

In e-mails with the company this evening, I have confirmed the above e-mail is correct.  A more formal and public announcement from Chuck Wurster is to be sent sometime this week clarifying further on the exact details. However, the good news is that customers aren’t entirely left out in the cold.  The exact details are still being finalized, but here’s roughly what’s planned.

The company will continue to offer support for new CompuTrainer units, within their standard 1-year warranty period.  For those outside of this period, the company will continue to sell parts and trainers until those parts/trainers run out of stock.  They’ll be treated on a first come, first served basis.  At present, RacerMate notes that once those parts are gone, they’re gone for good.  Additionally, they’ll be working to consolidate some of the general troubleshooting knowledge within the forums and their support teams, into more concrete troubleshooting guides and posting those.

Over 40 Years Ago:

going-old-school-using-a-bike-trainer-from-1976-7-thumb

While computer based training and the CompuTrainer may seem new to some, in reality the company has had a very long history.  In fact, I even bought one of their 1976 trainers a while back…just for fun.  You can read all about it here.

going-old-school-using-a-bike-trainer-from-1976-17-thumb going-old-school-using-a-bike-trainer-from-1976-13-thumb

That trainer used wind to provide resistance, and was one of the first products the company made.  Here’s a short little video clip I made of it in action some 6 years ago:

Of course, that wasn’t the product that most people know today.  For the majority of folks these days, it’s the rugged CompuTrainer that’s most well known.  This built like a tank trainer has been around in various iterations for nearly 30 years.  It’s seen a handful of different colors, as well as slight changes to the trainer frame and resistance unit.  It’s also seen variations around the controller – at one point even integrating with Nintendo.  But by and large it’s remained the same, especially since around 2000.

It was actually the CompuTrainer that was my very first electronic trainer, which I purchased back in 2007.  It’s funny, you can find my super-old ‘In-Depth Review’ on it here.  My how times have changed (on so many levels!).

CompuTrainerUnboxing

I would spend countless hours training for my first Ironman on it, as well as many more races after that.  Me and that little yellow resistance controller were BFF’s.

my-arch-nemesis-indoor-trainer-workout-2-5

In fact, so much BFF’s that when The Girl came along, we got another CompuTrainer (this time off eBay) – so we could ride side by side.

the-new-computrainer-training-room-13

I even bought their nifty dual-controller holder stand for our trainer room at the time:

the-new-computrainer-training-room-17

And this would serve as my main trainer for another half-decade more, until the original Wahoo KICKR came out.  For the most part, the CompuTrainer worked without much issue. Not perfect of course, I’d occasionally get oddities around accuracy, drift, and spin-downs that couldn’t easily be explained.  But those were rare, few and far between.

As any CompuTrainer user knows though – the real hassle was more around the cabling and wheel-on tightening mechanism than anything else.  It got easier once I realized I was better off putting the handlebar controller on another object (as seen above), as that reduced complexity each time I moved the bike.  But still, I would have loved to see a better locking system for quicker/easier removal of the bike.

Its accuracy was good, but never as perfect as people seem to believe now.  History has a way of erasing some of that.  The unit required a warm-up period of about 15 minutes.  I found that a 10-minute period was too short, and even 15 minutes could be too short as well.  If you didn’t complete the calibration, then your power numbers weren’t accurate.  That’s still true of most wheel-on trainers today, but some of the higher end options like the Tacx Neo and Elite Drivo simply require no calibration at all (it’s not even an option), and they have higher accuracy levels than the CompuTrainer does.  Still, once you understood its quirks, it was generally easy to get reliable power data.

Nonetheless – the CompuTrainer was a beast structurally.  A nearly unbreakable beast in most cases, with only one unit needing resistance unit servicing once.  It remains to be seen how long trainers like the Neo or KICKR last from a structural standpoint.  Certainly one can point to various support cases here and there – but the same is true of any trainer brand, including the CompuTrainer.  Only time will tell for those other units as to how long they last.

Then Came the Avalanche:

my-2012-trainer-recommendations-early-edition-thumb

One could debate for extended periods of time about the precise start of where CompuTrainer’s troubles began.  I’d place the epicenter between two specific points though:

A) TrainerRoad announcing their existence almost 6 years ago (Summer 2011)
B) The Wahoo KICKR announced almost 5 years ago (Summer 2012)

But in reality, the announcement of the Wahoo KICKR is more than meets the eye.  See, the reason the Wahoo KICKR was ever created was because Wahoo Fitness founder Chip Hawkins wanted a better control pad for his CompuTrainer at the time.  He actually went as far as making a prototype of the device, which he offered to RacerMate for the CompuTrainer.  When RacerMate declined (according to Chip), that got him thinking about building a trainer of his own.

Ultimately, it’s that resulting product (the Wahoo KICKR) that would kick off the arms race that would put the CompuTrainer out of business.  Once the KICKR came out, it specifically ushered in an era of open trainer application software development, an area that RacerMate resisted at all costs and every turn.

It was just before this point that Nate Pearson and Reid Weber, founders of TrainerRoad, were struggling with nearly the very same thing: How to control the CompuTrainer, and soon other trainers like the CycleOps PowerBeam?  TrainerRoad was in effect one of the first apps to catch-on and ‘go big’ as an indoor trainer platform that was trainer agnostic.  Sure, there were a handful of other apps out there like Tour de Giro and I believe even PerfPro.  Plus apps from the trainer companies themselves – but none of these ended up being the market driver that TrainerRoad was.

When Wahoo launched their KICKR at Eurobike 2012, TrainerRoad was right there alongside them in the booth.  That’s a relationship bond that’s held to this day (arguably even to the detriment of some other companies).  Other trainer companies such as CycleOps quickly got on board with TrainerRoad to offer integration capabilities.  And a year later, companies Tacx and Elite started to realize the same, heck – even Kinetic trainers did.  Though it would take Tacx and Elite another year to finally embrace openness across their entire product line.

But it’s that platform openness that would ultimately kill the CompuTrainer.  By and large, folks didn’t want to deal with wires.  And by and large, people wanted the flexibility to use their iPads, phones, tablets, and other wireless goodness with their trainers. Whereas the CompuTrainer integration was limited to wired solutions that often required reverse engineering.  As well as being mostly limited to companies that reverse engineered the CompuTrainer integration.

IMG_7383_thumb

CompuTrainer attempted to stop-gap the wireless issue by partnering with Kinomap for a converter of sorts (2014).  But the pricing was a hard pill to swallow, and the end-state product was more hacky than widely adopted.  They then came back a year later with plans to enable their controller with WiFi (2015).  But ultimately that never panned out, with the product never shipping (2016).  In many ways that WiFi offering was ill-focused.  It didn’t actually solve the issue that people wanted: ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  It was attempting to create a new standard that trainer app developers weren’t really interested in dealing with.

IMG_7358_thumb

Of course, all of this also ignores the RacerMate One software project that was occurring at the same time.  That’s the one where RacerMate got into a contract stand-off with their 3rd party developer of the suite.  That lasted over a year, with the software being held hostage in exchange for additional money from RacerMate.

a-look-at-computrainers-new-racermate-one-software-suite-7

While the exact dispute details remain somewhat unclear – the end-state reality was incredibly clear: It hosed CompuTrainer sales, and gave 3rd parties even more of an advantage over what quickly became outdated software.  Once it was finally released to market, it was antiquated at best.

These days, Wahoo Fitness sits at 89 employees, while TrainerRoad sits at 47 employees.  And that ignores the rest of the trainer app industry that benefited from trainer openness.  Companies like Zwift sit in the same employee count ballpark, and there are over 20 other apps that support open trainer standards today.  All of them having anywhere from one to dozens of employees.  The demand for interactive trainers, and correspondingly the market supporting it, has exploded with offerings.

As you can see, it would be easy to say “The KICKR killed the CompuTrainer”, and in some ways that’s true.  But it didn’t have to kill the CompuTrainer.  The process took nearly five years from start to finish, and at any point along the way the simple act of adding in ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart would likely have saved the product.  Sure, they’d eventually have to compete in other product feature areas, but with the CompuTrainer’s name recognition and brand reputation – they had the hardest part solved.

Going Forward:

my-2011-sports-technology-recommendations

Of course, it remains to be seen what happens with the company going forward.  If they don’t have too much (or any) debt, then it’d actually make for a ripe target for acquisition.  The challenge as you saw above was never that it was a bad product per se, but rather, it was just an outdated product.  Still, the company says they don’t plan to do so, and will instead focus on selling off existing trainers and parts.

Still, one has to believe there will be some interest from outsiders on turning around the company (I’ve already heard of interest from a few industry folks).  Ironically enough, folks like Kinomap showed that they could make the CompuTrainer 3rd party app friendly with little more than a Raspberry Pi board (cost = almost nothing).  The time and skills required to make the CompuTrainer ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth Smart compatible are pretty trivial.  Had the company done these modest updates, people would have continued to look past the 1980’s style hardware design, because they knew it would truly last 30 years.

All of which makes the remaining company/assets ideal for acquisition.  Assuming they sold it to anyone in the industry with any desire to make money, that entity would be able to very quickly turn it around and give it re-birth with a small wireless adapter plugged in the back (and otherwise left as-is).  Heck, they’d likely even be able to do so before Eurobike/Interbike 2017, coming up in 6 months to the day.  A prospective buyer could probably enlist companies like North Pole Engineering and others to quickly put together a wireless solution, while outsourcing the remainder of the software development to companies like Kinomap – which has recently branched into offering such OEM solutions.  None of which would cost very much, and both of those companies are as deep and close as you get to understanding every aspect of the trainer communications world.

Of course, RacerMate says that isn’t in the cards.  Though history has shown that in most cases when someone opens up a briefcase full of money, companies tend to change their mind quickly.

No matter if that happens though – there’s no denying CompuTrainer’s place in the history books as the epicenter of interactive training.  For that, they should absolutely be congratulated .  Plus…there’s still two of them in the DCR Cave for when I need accurate wheel-on trainer testing of power meters.  I suspect and hope they’ll last another 30 years.

Thanks for reading.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

115 Comments

  1. Wow, end of an era for sure. All of us Zwifters on KICKRs and other smart trainers owe a debt of gratitude to Racer Mate for blazing the trail for what we have today.

    • ekutter

      Definitely the end of an era. Us Zwifters also should be thankful that RM did so little to improve the software as there may otherwise have been little pent up demand for great 3rd party options. As a software developer in the Seattle area, I approached them for access to the 3D file format around 2007 and they basically told me to take a hike. As Ray says, just minimal effort on their part could have gone a long ways.

    • Duane Gran

      Similar experience. I wanted to help write an importer to Golden Cheetah for their new proprietary racermate one export format. It was a rather obscure binary format. They refused to give any guidance or acknowledgment that my offer of free help would benefit them.

      Great hardware but absolutely moribund business sense.

    • Mark Liversedge

      If you mentioned GoldenCheetah I suspect that turned them off immediately !!

      Given we are the ones that reverse engineered the protocol that enabled TrainerRoad, Zwift and PerfPro Studio .. a year after we had support in GoldenCheetah.

    • Chip Hawkins

      I spent many emails and phone calls trying to convince them to let me build an ANT+ interface to their hardware back in 2010. The answer was always the same, the physics in the Computrainer was too complicated for wireless transmission. This wasn’t true, but no amount of arguing from me would convince them. I finally had a face to face try at convincing them at Interbike and got so frustrated I ultimately told them if they didn’t let me build an ANT interface to the computrainer I would be forced to build a competing product. If they hadn’t been so stubborn and gotten me so fired up I probably would never have made the KICKR…

      Chip from Wahoo

    • Since I’m not a mechanic or software engineer, it is likely that nothing I have to say on this topic really moves the needle all that much. What I am is the owner/operator of a Training Ctr with a 16 station multi-rider and a 20+ year user of Computrainer as an athlete and coach. I first met Chuck W. in the 90’s and found him to be generous with his time and support of the athletes and coaches that used his product. He reached out to me from time to time to discuss evolutions that they were considering and always returned my calls when I reached out to him. When I think of Chuck, Tim, Kurt, Roger or anyone else I interacted with from the RM team, I feel nothing but gratitude.

      Like everyone else, I advocated for things that would have improved the rider experience…controller updates, simple lever style stand closure, etc. I had honest and uncomfortable conversations with Chuck when I switched to PerfPro at our studio…I can remember the vividly the pause when I said the words “Drew is kicking your ass when it comes to the software.” I also remember that he must have called me a half dozen times in the months that followed to discuss software and other aspects that might improve the user’s/coach’s experience with Computrainer. Chuck was NOT resistant to those conversations.

      I’m writing this because, aside from my sadness for the RM team, I feel nothing but gratitude toward everyone that I interacted with over the years. Their product and their support has positively impacted my career arc over the past 20 years….for that I simply want to say THANK YOU.

      FOR CONSIDERATION: Each of us that has reached proficiency in our given professions is closer to being the Computrainer, Motorola or Blackberry of our fields than we are to being the Zwift, Wahoo, iPad. There’s a recent college grad that’s closing in and will surpass US. We WILL be yesterday’s technology at some point. Will that make all of our successes and accomplishments irrelevant?

    • “FOR CONSIDERATION: Each of us that has reached proficiency in our given professions is closer to being the Computrainer, Motorola or Blackberry of our fields than we are to being the Zwift, Wahoo, iPad. There’s a recent college grad that’s closing in and will surpass US. We WILL be yesterday’s technology at some point. Will that make all of our successes and accomplishments irrelevant?”

      When it comes to careers, I’d argue the answer is painfully: Yes.

      If one doesn’t keep up with technology, process, or techniques in any given field – then they will no longer be relevant in their field. It doesn’t make their historical successes (or failures) irrelevant, but it does make them irrelevant to today’s task at hand.

      This is true be it a pro photograher shooting the NFL (having to move to DSLR cameras that can near instant transmit to wire services), or writers for the New York Times, or car mechanics about to start troubleshooting autonomous vehicles. Almost every career must advance forward in some way, otherwise you get left behind.

      It doesn’t mean we should forget history or not celebrate it, but rather embrace forward progress. As you noted, CompuTrainer had countless opportunities over decades of time to embrace change with others, lead change for others, or just really do anything at all different. Just like anyone else in society.

    • Tim

      And we’re all thankful that Racermate annoyed you into making the Kickr. Who knows maybe a direct drive would never have surfaced and maybe indoor training would never have gained mainstream popularity. WAHOO and trainer road brought reliability to indoor trainers at a price point that many people could afford. It made the whole industry wake up, sit up and start thinking about the market really wanted. I’m sad to see Computrainer go but the stubbornness they projected has resulted in better and more choice in reliable products. Thanks WAHOO

    • Eric Vos

      Thank you for a lovely trainer. It’s easy to use, the masses will love it and it will make Zwift even more rewarding given all of the increased traffic.

      I have never quite understood everyone’s unhealthy obsession with wireless trainers . Wireless on a bike is great. I do not want wireless on my trainer. A trainer has to be as durable as a hammer while your bike can be as durable as an egg. Any seasoned rider will tell you about how they had to replace a $3000 frame over a silly little accident. Nobody was hurt but the frame is destroyed. The good thing about fickle, and often unreliable, wireless components is they’re easy to use and often inexpensive to replace. The reason independent bike stores are still in business is because everybody, given the sensitivity of the eggs we ride, constantly wheel their bikes into a store for tweaking. Trainers cannot be brought into the bike stores for fixing. They can either be suffered or returned to the manufacture.

      When you unite CR with Zwift you have a perfect marriage. Any serious rider who spends significant time hammering on the trainer knows the conditions required for a trainer to remain accurate and durable without maintenance. Many serious riders will have a second bike for their indoor trainer because your favorite bike should not suffer the abuse training indoors creates. When a trainer breaks down what do you do? I don’t know about CR, mine after 20 years and seven bikes never broke. And unlike wahoo, CR never had a bevy of “refurbished” models which I assume had been returned with issues and now needed to be resold. Your trainer is far prettier and wireless. But anybody who closely inspects the two realizes one can be thrown across the room and the other one needs to be handled carefully. From a marketing point of view, I have no idea why your video shows your trainer rocking all over the place. Your trainer is stable for my hundred pound wife but when I hammer away, boy does it move.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love your trainer. I’m so glad I bought one for my wife. It’s easy for her to set up and since we live apart much of the year we can actually race together on Zwift. At a hundred pounds and all leg muscle you’ll never beat her up a hill and yet, she refuses to become enamored with wires and set up. Including a simple speedometer. Thus, the wahoo is perfect. She can set it up in a flash and not have to worry about anything. The CR on the other hand is for people who are bent on accuracy and durability – willing to take a few extra minutes to set things up. I suspect after her trainer dies you’ll be three or four versions ahead. I meanwhilenwill still be on my CR which remains accurate and durable.

      While you certainly benefited from all of the access you had to the top people at CR, I think it’s unfair of you to talk about how bad they were and how you had to make a better product. You made a very different product. It’s training for people who have no problem replacing units at $1,200 and who can’t be bothered with a couple wires.

      You provided a very different, and important, player to the market. But you did not replace the CR. You may have unfortunately put them out of business, but you did not replace them. There are a whole slew of us were not happy about this. The good thing is few of us worry about our CR Dying we’re becoming in accurate. If something does go wrong with them I know there will be parts out there for the rest of my life which I can buy on eBay.

      Wahoo, despite its ease of use, uses materials and workmanship we’ve come to expect from well priced Asian electronics. Unfortunately, while bikes can easily be rolled into local bike shop, trainers get to be abused like no bike should and yet can only be sent back to the manufacture when things go bad. If any serious rider got stuck on a desert island they would choose a CR over a Kickr. I doubt they would go for all the bells, whistles and wireless knowing that they couldn’t return the unit or merely upgrade when something better comes out.

      You have a fantastic product where you can make a lot of money and deserve a stage and bow. It is unbecoming of you to speak ill of the people who you talked to, at your benefit and their cost, for many years and then to say that you’ve come out with a better product because they were just too stubborn to listen to your good ideas. It is a very different product. It is for a different very different consumer. Unlike racermate, I don’t think anybody will call you from Scientific laboratories to ply the worlds most durable & accurate trainer – RacerMate Veletron

      Gracious in gets you grace years ahead. Coming in like this will only make you have to suffer feet of clay.

    • There’s no gloating there, just simple facts.

      And let’s be very clear: Wahoo didn’t put the CompuTrainer out of business. CompuTrainer (technically RacerMate) put the CompuTrainer out of business.

      There was half a decade of time where they could have innovated in any numbers of ways once the KICKR was announced, and they refused to do so. It’s as simple as that. And yes, these days there are far better trainers than the CompuTrainer. I think the Tacx NEO is probably the best example of this, especially accuracy wise. It’s accurate from the moment you start pedaling (unlike the CompuTrainer, which has a 15-20 minute warm-up period).

    • dave campbell

      IMO, the Racermate Velotron has been and is the best trainer out there for accuracy, etc. I love using mine. And now that RM is supporting their Velotron API and DLL package to any 3rd party sw that wants to run on the Velotron, things are going to just get better.

    • ekutter

      Am I missing something here or is the starting price of the Velotron really $7600 w/ no frame. It’s not even in the same category.

    • dave campbell

      Well, folks buy Tesla’s ,which I feel the same way about car prices. There is a market for the folks who want the best in a product. Maybe that is something you and may others cannot afford. But with how many telsa’s as an example are sold, there are plenty of folks that have a lot of extra money they can spend on the best.

    • Eric Vos

      To be more accurate, undercapitalization is what killed CR. That also is a management issue. But let there be no mistake Wahoo did not build a better product. They built a very different product which serves a somewhat different market. Too many of the innovations we demanded would not have made CR a better product. In fact, some of those innovations would have run against exactly what they were trying to maintain. Durability and accuracy. Many of us still have our 20-year-old CRs which still are doing a fantastic job in every way we need them to. Frankly, I’m glad that CR was smart enough to include an on / off button on the first their first go around with lights which told you if the unit was on and off.

    • Eric – I’m going to agree with almost everything you’re saying.

      Yeah, I’m probably guilty of being one of the 1000 cuts that killed the CT. But I was also one of it’s biggest fans. I think Chuck and Wilf committed the slowest, most painful Hara Kiri possible; they didn’t innovate, they acted like the US Patent Office in1899. “Well, everything that’s been invented has been invented, so let’s just shut down…”

      The story is that one of the principle coders, I think it’s Dr. Larry Crum, got into a dispute with Wilf, and he literally took the source code, or firmware code, and left. That’s why the RM was never successful with their own group racing efforts; everyone had the same CdA, and smaller cyclists were handicapped with higher drag. Furthermore, let’s face it, they never did a good job of explaining the 1985-style interface and calibration protocols. The chips were of 8088-level technology. The graphics chips, rather than upgrade them, they didn’t want to alter the greenboard, so they basically bought the remaining stock from the supplier and hoped they could hang on.

      The head unit could have easily handled Cat5 or Cat6 ethernet line, and/or USB, which is what Kinetic ended up doing.

      While tough as a rhino, the load generator’s cable placement was poor, the DIN cables were fragile, and everyone knows what happens when the eddy-current disc warps and the thing rings like a dinner bell.

      The owners NEVER, EVER, EVER listened. MR3? Awesome – for the late 1990’s. MR2009? Try MR2013 – wayback to worse. RM1? I think I can count about 2 people in the wattage forum who actually trained with it for a full season (there are 16,000 members). The videos? OUCH. Don’t go here.

      There were SO MANY mistakes along the way; yet here I sit, with 24 units, and over 100 more sold in my coaching career. I’m angry because it was 100% avoidable. I’m heartbroken because it was so avoidable.

      Meanwhile Chuck retires to Vashon Island and takes our money and acts blithe to it all.

      And yeah – wired trainers work every time, all the time. I’ve had more headaches in studios with wireless trainers that my hair has turned grey. They may be okay for home use, but not for industrial stuff.

    • Eric Vos

      Richard:

      CT always and only had a niche market. Remember, when they first came to be it was rare that anyone was spending more than $2K on a bike. Today’s bikes of $4-5K, which is now considered mid-range, was unheard of. My wheels are $3K. Back then you would often simply ride on the wheels the bike came with. Even if people could afford the CT, very few wanted to ride inside. People like yourself kept telling them how to better their product and they understood that yes, the product could be better but the pricing of the unit was going to be too high. And again, the niche market was just not going to get any less niche. Until the advent of online riding, sales were going to remain steady. There was a very good reason why Cycleops never took their oodles of capital and went after CT. They understood the limitations of a niche market. Cycleops could have packed a unit with Richard’s wish list and they would have succeeded in having a too expensive unit and nary one sale more than CT was capturing.

      Wahoo’s unit is doing so well not because of Wahoo but because of the developments in online training such as Zwift. Wahoo as a stand alone unit would never compete with CT. First, the software is….non existent. Yes, you can use the erg mode but there are no courses. CT on the other hand, when there was no Zwift, had infinite number of courses. Plus, you could race yourself and other players by sharing performances. Wahoo is a good unit when you marry it with Zwift but otherwise it holds little to no appeal. Without courses, past performances, etc. Wahoo would never put a dent in CT but for the Zwifts of the world.

      Private Companies are like people, they have youth, middle age, and retirement. When CT was young and middle-aged they had gumption and drive to create what they did. By they time they got old, the online products were just coming into being and they no longer had it in them. Making major shifts is not something guys want to do after 20-30 years of working hard. Hey maybe they want to retire to an island rather than meeting all our dreams.

      You toil under some false assumptions. First, CT had a large market they could tap into but for their not meeting all the things you wanted them to do. Instead, many of your ideas, including spending millions on “better software,” was NOT going to increase their sales. Instead it would have driven the CT price out of grasp. I’ve never met anyone before 2015 who said “I would buy a Ct but for the software.” Or “boy the unit is so outdated I can’t buy one.” If they failed in any regard it wasn’t the product it was the marketing. Again, they had a respectable sweet spot – a unit which was well priced, performed great enough, only had to be bought once, needed little upkeep (extra expense) and always improved people’s riding if they used the machine correctly.

      Zwift has changed the market. Now VC, fancy marketing, hardware without software, Asian products, etc. have turned a niche market into a mass market. We have people buying Wahoos and using Zwift who don’t know the difference between a Huffy and a Parlee. They just want to jump on something which approximates riding and a sexy video game. Wahoo can ignore software! Imagine what CT could have done if they just had to look at hardware and let Zwift do the rest.

      CT and their people are tired and done with us/you/business. Good for them!!!!! Small companies run out of steam after decades. When they were at their best they were the best. They dared invest, create, and deliver in a manner which no one would touch. There were dozens of indoor trainers who wouldn’t go there with a ten foot pole. And it wasn’t because they were dumb. They knew that CT was crazy good, crazy durable, crazy. If a competitor came in they couldn’t out last, out perform, etc. without losing a ton of money. The market was too small and the product too impossible to create for the price CT sold at. I once bought a $300 Cycleops only to have that plastic piece of crap break after 4 months.

      To demand that CT make our dream machine for a price we wanted, in a niche market, is sillier than all hell. To demand that they create a machine 20 years ago to meet today’s needs is silly. To insist they make changes which wouldn’t increase sales is silly.

      The owners of CT and their top brass were always available to all of us. I’ve met dozens of lowly end users, like myself, who talked to the owners/top brass. I teased the crap out of CT’s top people for those mimeographed manuals. I told them how their software looked a step above Pong. They took it well and threw it back at me. They were never blithe. It was lovely.

      You say they never listened. They did. Maybe you just weren’t thinking it though and it wasn’t their lack of listening. What you wanted was economically impossible given the market size, its ability to grow, and what people were willing to spend. CT shortcomings were well known and the Cycleops of the world understood that fixing the shortcomings would not increase sales but would make costs impossible. Finally, your complaint that they “took our money” shows a real misunderstanding. THEY WERE SUPPOSE TO TAKE YOUR MONEY!!!!!! And they were suppose to deliver. They did. They never made a promise they didn’t keep. They never delivered crap. They always answered your calls. They were down right great and we are all on Zwift and Asian plastic because of what they did.

      I hope to goodness they retire rich on a lovely island. If they don’t I’ll start a crowd funding page to ensure they do.

    • A bunch of stuff here that’s simply inaccurate. I’ll leave most of it because I have better things to do. But as far as apps go, saying there are no courses or stuff is just incredibly wrong:

      Here’s 20+ Apps that support the KICKR and other trainers, many of them have courses (thousands of video courses in fact).

      link to dcrainmaker.com

      Yes, these apps cost money. But so did RacerMate’s offerings. Further, as to say RacerMate would have had an easier time if 3rd party apps developed for it, forgets a critical part of history: RacerMate actively (hugely actively) resisted any 3rd party app development. The only option was to reverse engineer things, and even then RacerMate got all upset at it. Not to mention that some of these course videos are so much better than RacerMate’s old offerings. The video quality is one area, but also aspects like elevation smoothing, which was hardly perfect or always sync’d properly on RM’s offerings.

  2. Pascal Bocherel

    Sad end for a great product which truly deserved better. I’m still using my 2009 model connected to a PC running a USB driver, Ant+ cadence meter and 4iii powermeter to compare power outputs while riding on Zwift. Its a decent setup with a sturdy trainer responding to Zwift inclines with a better accuracy than many trainers, excluding all the recent direct drives.

  3. carlos

    The end has been coming for 10 years. Refuse to spend money on development and eke out whatever profit you could on residual reputation before retirement and users already locked-in was their business model.

    That said, the CT is still a far better piece of hardware than any of the current competitors. And wired will always be better than wireless for reliability. A few tweaks to design, replace the controller with modern hardware and control from android app and the CT would still destroy its competitors.

    All wheel-on trainers require 10-15 mins warm up time before calibration. Steel skewers and consistent mounting made a big difference. I did many benchmarks to powertaps over the years and CT was always within 2% and consistently repeatable (ran a studio with 10 CTs for a while).

    Horrible business with a great product.

    • Richard Stanford

      Honestly I’ve had fewer issues with ANT+ than I had with the CT cadence cable getting broken, either from overuse or because I’d occasionally forget about it and dismount the bike anyway. So far with KICKR/TR I’ve had absolutely no issues with that in 4+ years.

    • They could’ve easily done a hybrid, with wireless and cables, and furthermore, they could’ve set up an antenna to read ALL of the ANT and Bluetooth signals, from Polar to Suunto to Garmin and Wahoo and even that new $500 ekg system.

      But they didn’t. They did that Polar Coded, and it was a nightmare.

      YES – there are advantages to cabled systems, and had they done what Kinetic has done (Conflicts aside from another DC thread…), and used a simple USB to Printer type cable, which was ubiquitous and cheap, instead of that damned DIN cable, that would have been amazeballs. Furthermore, the connection that is currently stereo…. We experimented with Cat5 line, and it worked. It was less fragile, would snap in (no potential for accidental fall-outs), etc. All of this should have been done in-house.

      I can only think that Chuck and Wilf suffer from SAD or some other mental disorder, to have done what they did, the way they did it, for so long.

  4. John

    Adapt or die… What a shame. Predictable, but a shame nonetheless.

  5. Travis

    I’ve spent many, many hours on a CompuTrainer. For a number of years now I’ve wondered why a pioneer has been crushed by competition. One sentence in the above article sums it all up:

    “But by and large it’s remained the same, especially since around 2000.”

    All of today’s smart trainers definitely owe a thank you to CompuTrainer.

  6. Tom

    Any idea if the Velotron is also dead?

  7. I always wondered when they would cave and use ant+. It’s like cab companies and Uber, standing your ground in a changing world.

    It’s interesting how they tried to develop their own closed protocol. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that…like Polar…I’m amazed they’re still around. Is it because of their foothold in fitness equipment?

  8. Anthony

    The email makes it sound so passive “we found ourselves in a position”. I would argue they put themselves in that position, with short sighted inaction. It’s too bad. Roger seemed to try hard, yet was handcuffed by higher ups. I do hope someone buys the remnants, adds wireless and/or direct drive and opens the platform up. There’s no reason for the workhorse product in the market to die such a pointless death.

  9. As the owner of a studio with 16 CompuTrainers, I sure have appreciated their reliability and durability, and the easy integration with our PerfPro software. There’s no mention in the blog post of multi-user settings (studios) and their particular requirements. We experienced reliability problems with the several wireless trainers we tried. The CompuTrainers have been solid. Our fingers are crossed on another company picking up the reins.

    • I’ll agree, but it was ONLY because of PerfPro and ErgVideo.

      Maintaining MR3 and MR2009 was VERY frustrating. It worked, but not without hassles. Remember the requirement that you MANUALLY remove the stereo cable to calibrate in MR software? Good Lord.

  10. I’m curious to know just how many hints you’ve given them in your articles over the years Ray. Certainly all of the trainer roundups have told them what to do. When a big industry blog is outright telling people not to buy your product unless it’s cheap on Ebay that should be a call to action. That’s assuming they were switched on enough to read an industry blog of course. Contrast that with Wahoo who not only read your blog, but reply to every single comment regarding their toys then take the feedback and make things better or make better things.
    It can’t be that far off that Garmin will need to learn the openness lesson either. Their run/bike dynamics stuff needs to be opened up for it to succeed and stop being an industry joke, likewise their scale. Unfortunately right now they are so far out ahead they can still be d**ks about it and get away with it but as you point out, all that does is give people motivation to create competition. In their defence they did learn quickly from Strava and started playing nice, even if they still charge way too much for API access!

    • Bob Goodman

      I see many parallels to SRM. Sure they may have more resources, but their backwardness, lack of transparency and inability to deliver on promises is telling.

  11. dieter neirinck

    Looks like all this company needs is somebody with VC experience and somebody with a technical background who knows what customers want to turn it around. So basically Eric Min should ring some friends for money and you, Ray, should become the CEO/CTO as a hobby project. Now that you’re not slaving away for that $oftware company anymore you gotta have some spare time on your hands ? :-)

  12. Richard Stanford

    I think that their obsessive focus on SpinScan was a big problem. Sure, it was kinda interesting, and yes you couldn’t offer it if you used ANT+, but in reality almost nobody cared about it. If they’d made the ANT+ cadence sensor the “normal” path they could have offered SpinScan as an upgrade and it’d have worked fine.

    As it stood though, putting your bike on/off the CT always ran the risk that you’d forget about the stupid wired sensor and break it (again). Additionally since they didn’t offer a reliable quick release system, you had to choose between redoing the calibration on every ride or leaving your bike with the amazingly small diameter roller pressed deeply into the tire, which is just asking for future flats.

    The software was bad but in fairness their replacement software was also bad. The one thing that I do miss was the Real Course Videos (I have yet to see anyone offer the same experience when used with an OS X controller, unfortunately). “Luckily” I’d already soured on that when I did a computer upgrade and half my videos no longer worked because of their 1980s-technology licensing annoyances.

    All that meant that when the KICKR came out I sold the CT and its windows computer and went KICKR/TR without looking back. No waking up early to a flat tire that needed to be dealt with instead of working out either :)

    • Duane Gran

      Agreed about SpinScan being part of the downfall. They claimed from the rooftop that people loved this feature but I never met anyone who found it useful. In fact, the only utility I could find was to use it in direct opposition to their advice. Instead of making a nice “efficient” peanut I could use it to ride a more “effective” stomp to the pedals since the major component of force is on the downstroke.

    • Anthony

      I used it a few times. It was interesting, but nothing more. It was helpful on two occasions, when coming back from injury, where seeing the L/R balance was helpful.

      They definitely had an unhealthy obsession with this ‘feature’.

    • Tim Parker

      No problem with spin scan analysis and ANT+ per se, not that it would have made much difference to their decision I would guess…

  13. Steven K.

    Ray, would be a good time to get an update on the Kickr studio offering you reported on a few months back.
    CTs were a staple in many cycle studios. They are now left high and dry. That is a time for Wahoo to shine.
    I hadn’t heard anything about Wahoo’s offering nor have I seen any studios use Wahoo’s solution.
    Can you comment?

    • David

      I’d also like to hear more about this.

    • So Wahoo actually has a site for it: link to kickrstudio.com

      You can lookup and book classes for it. I just typed in Atlanta, and it looks like 3 studios there.

      I have a US trip planned in April for a few weeks to California, so maybe I’ll try and drop in on some random studio one morning. Though admittedly it’s likely not the ideal time of year in SoCal where the weather is nice and few people are going to be indoors.

    • David D

      Sufferfest has some studios or at least on their website they have some links to something of that sort. I used a studio in NYC, Tailwind Endurance, that had CT with Sufferfest Videos the week I was there and it was great,

    • Steven

      Ray, you got me all excited that there are all these Kickr studios out there .. but I see none in Northern CA, and only one in LA. Oh well, home pain cave it is then.

  14. I’m sure all of you know of my contentious love for this product; it was like an abusive codependent relationship. Love the product, but hate the owners and employees because outside their small, damp, wet bubble, you KNOW how to HELP THEM make the thing better.

    There were LOTS of offers to purchase the company, and put it in the hands of businesspeople and marketers who knew of the CompuTrainer’s strengths and weaknesses, and could help it break out of the ~3k-4k unit sales/yr. I’ll take some credit with Tim Becker, their ONLY CYCLIST AND TRIATHLETE EMPLOYEE WHO KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CLIENT BASE, on getting MultiRider going, and then realizing that it, too, was a four-star PITA to keep going.

    I also have a funny story about Racermate and wireless technology….

    At some point in the mid 00’s, maybe ’05 or ’06, I can’t remember exactly – I received a FedEx envelope from RacerMate, and in it was this USB Dongle that was made of clear plastic, and had the words “Dynastream” on it. I had no idea why RM would send this to me, nor what it was, and I called them up and told them that I hadn’t made an order for any replacement parts, etc. Well —– it was the ORIGINAL Dynastream Ant+ dongle.

    The story I heard was that at some point, the original, pre-Garmin, Dynastream people, out in the Vancouver, BC area, had approached RacerMate in an attempt to either sell out to them, or get them to incorporate ANT+ technology to the CT and VT. As usual, Woerster declined….. and then mistakenly sent the dongle to me.

    Instead, RacerMate pursued —- Polar technology. Any owners remember that bizarre experiment and headache, and all the time Roger tried to defend it?

    Now – there ARE ADVANTAGES to using cables; seriously. But the CHOICE of cables, and the LACK of innovation, from the “Handlebar” controller (NEVER place your handlebar controller on the actual handlebar…), to the ear clip, the paper defense of the ear clip (RIP Ed Burke), to the original ‘Shark Fin’ Cadence Sensor, to the lack of a simple backlight, and on and on and on, just left us all super frustrated for well over 15 years.

    I’ve broken up with them and made nice and broken up with them and made nice and kowtowed too many times to count. Chuck and (Deleted) and Wilifried SQUANDERED an entire generation of opportunity, and I can only hope that one of the many people who’ve approached me in the past to try and come up with a way to purchase the business and give it the care and updates it needs, will be able to find the original coder (I can’t find his name), who left and now builds weather monitoring stations for climate studies, get it OUT of one of the most expensive zip codes in the US, make nice with all of the current, disaffected owners, and then work to retake the momentum so that it DOES break 10,000 unit sales/yr, will be found and will convince the owners to sell.

    I tried to find their Board of Directors at one point to write letters of complaint, but was unsuccessful.

    Chuck lives on Vashon Island. We’ve sponsored his lifestyle since the late 80’s. Call me a stalker but I was really passionate about this product, and saw its’ potential.

    It is what it is, which is TOO LATE. They can look in the mirror, and hope it doesn’t shatter.

    • Anthony

      Sponsored his lifestyle in a pretty minimal manner I’d guess. They certainly did things wrong in terms of maximizing $ for them. They managed to depress sales far below potential, and sold a product that lasts nearly forever with very low upgrade and part sales. Not a recipe for getting too rich, other than spending next to nothing on R&D (although god knows how much was squandered on RM1).

  15. Stephen

    I knew this was coming. I owned a computrainer for several years and as new trainers started hitting the market my contacts with computrainer inquiring about updates, open platform, and wireless connectivity both over the phone and in person at interbike always resulted in an arrogant response such as “we have the gold standard of trainers, there’e no need to update to unreliable fad technologies.” Too bad because they really had a chance to capitalize on their first to the market base of customers who believed in them.

  16. Roger Moore

    Though I’m not sure at what point Richard placed me in the group of owners I was only an employee. He has thrown me under the bus so many times as the leading cause, or at least the main contributor, to why “his needs” were not being met. His opinion was that his needs were the only things that mattered, regardless of cost, and I was often at the root of why they didn’t happen. Factually untrue. 9 out of 10 times, when something happened, I was pushing for it. I pushed for nearly all of his suggestions. Endlessly. But I was simply an employee. I didn’t get to choose everything we did and didn’t do. But as the self-imposed spokesman for the company for so many years, perhaps that connection was inevitable.

    I have written and deleted so many replies to Mr. Wharton’s on-line comments. He has even called and left some pretty unhinged messages to various people at the company over the years, some calling me, as well as Chuck and Wilfried, pretty nasty things. We all had many long conversations about him. I took great offense and wanted to lash out, but didn’t, or couldn’t. I know how much an effort I put into pushing for improvements even if he didn’t. Just yesterday, on-line, I was again thrown under the bus as the main cause of CT’s downfall. Good thing I have kept track of all of them.

    I only know I constantly found myself placed in the position nobody else wanted to do, or didn’t do, and so I just did them. RacerMate is/was a smaller company than many knew and I had many hats I took upon myself. Quite thanklessly, in fact We all did, really. So to read on various sites comments being made about me, us, that were alternative facts, it took a lot of restraint to hold back responding to them all.

    What most didn’t get was that CompuTrainer was all about the physics behind it. Though this message was lost to most, the root of why many movements to wireless technologies didn’t happen is because they didn’t support physics. Comments from us (me) to this fact were written off as being a lie (mostly by Mr. Wharton) though they in-fact came from our software engineer, who Mr. Wharton falsely claimed (just yesterday) packed up his toys and left in the 90’s. No, he’s still around and struggled – even with wi-fi which was finally ready, but day late, dollar short, to wrap it up.

    I can’t get into all the dynamics of the process here, but I can say we struggled within a market who seemed to no longer care about the physics behind their sport, caring only for features. And it didn’t help when all those active on social media, including this site, dispromoted CT ignoring the one thing it could do that would be eliminated if it went ANT-based like those new trainers.

    We tested, in ways no others did, the physics of these new trainers and none did even the most basic of physics – acceleration. And this happens for everyone far faster than a 4Hz device could accommodate. We were faced with either making the CT fail the same way we were seeing other trainers failing (in our testing) or succumb. The Pres, Wilfried, chose to go down doing the right thing or nothing at all. I know the plans are to remain, but focus on Velotron, which has a unique market. Sadly, this didnt support my staying.

    This may not satisfy many of you, but it is what is. There is much more to the story I could tell, but I’m saving all that for my upcoming novel – now that I have more time on my hands.

    • Duane Gran

      Roger,

      On the matter of physics I think this is simply another version of the people who steer the ship choosing the wrong lodestar. When I got my CT back in 2010 (and for that I’m a relative late comer) it radically improved my winter training regimen and I kicked myself for not buying one sooner. I probably shared my testimony a dozen places about how it was (and in many respects still is) the best money I spent on something for the bike. Some people scoffed but if I let them test ride it their skepticism melted.

      Then along came some kick ass third party programs like Trainer Road and Zwift and another great shift occurred. If the physics is a little wrong but I have somehow whipped out an FTP busting session chasing virtual pixels, who gives a damn? It makes for great training.

      The CompuTrainer was criticized by the nay sayers as a toy for creating pretty pictures on the screen while the hard men wore a snow suit (or whatever they do to endure nasty winters) but RacerMate got caught up in the same missed boat. Good enough physics wins when the goal is to increase fitness or at the very least not go insane from boredom trying to keep it. I doubled my annual time on trainer with Zwift and it all came about at just the right time.

      RacerMate had a fine opportunity for a second lease on life with platforms like Zwift. On many rides I see people grousing about how they are having Ant+ drop outs or other issues. The CT could have been marketed as the best (debatable, but marketing language has some license here) way to reliably train on Zwift. But no… I think all I ever heard about Zwift on the RM forums was how it got the physics wrong.

    • Roger Moore

      Duane, and others,

      I’ll state emphatically there was a need for many things. The evidence of that is proven and I led many a crusade for change. I had notebooks full of feature requests made by actual users, and many I came up with that never saw fruition. I talked to everyone and anyone.

      But all of that work I wanted to do took money and money was never flowing. As a US made product, with paid programmers and welders and production people all in the US, it became increasingly hard to do things in the last few years. Competition on both hardware and software siding against the company. There were outside forces at work that had nothing to do with competitors as well, but we did find it increasingly hard to compete with programmers who worked for free in their basement, or products funded by massive corporations with deeper pockets than we had.

      Were their things we should have done? I have no doubt of that; as others have echoed for a long while. Applications like Zwift were presented with cross marketing ideas, but never came to much. Though I pushed for open platform for a few years, there were many proprietary bits they wanted to protect and these were theirs to protect as they wished to. I only saw this come to much in the last year or so.

      I did the best I could given what I had to work with. Of that I’m confident. I’m really only here, right now, to offer some closure to myself on this fact.

    • Roger Moore

      As I said, some people are just so sure of themselves they will refuse facts when presented. You know nothing of what I did, suffered, presented, failed at, accomplished, and yet you state everything as fact. Like you shared my office. You read nothing I wrote above. You know nothing. You somehow think I had some power? Now, ask me if I really care what you think. Not really. Won’t miss your comments one little bit.

    • Eugene O'Donnell

      I for one will say that Roger Moore is a great person who help many many many cyclist and triathletes. It was pretty clear to me that he was trying to help even without proper resources. He is also correct on the physics of Computrainer vs. the other stuff that has come out. I really hate that people are saying hateful things about a good Man and a great person. Honestly you got to be a pretty bad person to come after him during a very hard time in his life….. If you did not like CT then you could have bought another product. But to come after him when he is giving insight into what he thinks is really really messed up. Back to good thoughts. Roger is a good man and has been there for many many of us. I wish you well brother man. I still owe you a beer in seattle for all those times you helped me with whatever technological issues I had going on. Stay strong. Cheering for you next chapter to be a good one.

    • Anthony

      Roger, I always had the impression that you tried very hard to do the right things for the business, and were hamstrung by upper management. Thank you for your efforts.

    • Duane Gran

      Just to clarify, Roger, I mean nothing personal about this and you and I have traded ideas back and forth for about seven years now about this platform and I think I’ve always given the benefit of the doubt. I saw your efforts helping people and I can see that you were in a tough spot to represent the company publicly when the public was asking for something the owners refused to give. That isn’t easy. My point was simply that the obsession with physics and spinscan obscured the larger picture of building a viable training tool the market wants.

    • Roger Moore

      Thank you Eugene. Sincerely.

      Because I know who I am and all I accomplished… for my 37 years, I have always taken most personal criticism with a grain of salt. Shoot, what product survives for nearly 30 years without having done something right. And it’s usually also those people behind it that help it survive that long. I have no regrets.

      This, as witnessed here today, is nothing new coming from him. At some point a switch was thrown and a torrent of insults and accusations began to flow. Slowtwitch, Facebook, forums, LinkedIn, you name it. Obsession of sorts. I’m still to this day uncertain if I did something personal to cause it or not, but lacking that evidence and knowing for a fact nearly every suggestion made by said person (the name has now left my vocabulary) was pushed by me to my superiors, my conscious is clear.

      If I can say anything that echoes true, I was never a cyclist. I rode a lot as a youth, but was hired on as a mechanic in 1980. There, I’m guilty. Making and repairing mechanical things was my passion from the time I was 6 years old. It is what I do.

      In 1983 I moved to handle service of wind trainers when I wasn’t working on a punch press or lathe. When CompuTrainer came into being in ’87/88 it was an anomaly. Nothing but a Velodyne to compare it with, but my job all the sudden turned into sitting on the phone most of the day pushing this new thing. But I was still a mechanic; not a cyclist. I quickly met many awesome cyclists though. Some are well known and some are now dead. Suffice it to say I was never lacking an arsenal of user insight to cycling mechanics and theory.

      A car accident in ’93 and a previously unknown case of scoliosis discovered at that time has since thenmade it nearly impossible to sit and ride a trainer. So excuse me for that. I ride on the road when I can, but my lack of riding can not take from me what I put into my job. And said person isn’t going to, with his nonsensical words, take that away from me either.

      So there.

      Again, thanks Eugene.

    • Roger Moore

      Duane, true.

      SpinScan as a tool was never as important as what it proved about the physics. You can’t have one without the other. And TBTB felt you could not make physics take a back seat. When you ride on the road you don’t and that is the crux of the issue (in their minds).

      I’m not about to argue the need for these other things… again. I spent easily the last 10 years of my life trying. Basically I was told you cant have your cake and eat it too. And that is what I passed on then, and why we are where we are today.

      My head banging avatar on our forumx if it really mattered, was perhaps an expression of my frustration with what I knew everyone wanted and what I was told could and couldn’t happen. If I really had the power someone thinks I had, I would have still been told the same thing.

    • Just to kinda make sure folks are on the same page here…

      In general I prefer there not to be attacks on specific people in either posts or comments (employees or otherwise). I prefer that criticism when leveraged is focused more on a companies decision than an employee’s decision. Ultimately we all work for someone, and at the end of the day I don’t want employees fearful of being able to provide assistance to customers/readers here, for fear of things going off the rail down the road.

      While I disagree slightly with some of the business futures assumptions Roger noted above, I’ve always found him pretty reasonable in person and in my communications with him. As he’s clearly noted above – he was definitely hamstrung significantly by ‘management’. That’s largely on management at the company, not Roger.

      Finally, when it comes to personal things – I don’t much care how employees/executives spend the money they made from their companies as long as it’s not illegal, questionable, or isn’t harming customers (or impeding them). While I think everyone agrees RacerMate made poor business choices, I think everyone also agrees they took care of their customers. Thus, since Chuck did that I don’t much care if he lives on Vashon Island*, Mercer Island, or no island at all. As long as he’s not leaving customers in a bad spot (and nobody is saying he is), then that’s between him and himself.

      Cheers all!

      *I grew up in Seattle and lived there for nearly 20 years.

    • Richard Wharton

      I love Seattle, and I love my CompuTrainers; otherwise, I wouldn’t be so passionate about this.

      Anyone in their right mind would have quit on principal when faced with such obstacles to progression. From the bottom up. Many did. Kurt, Miki, Lucy… the list goes on.

      Chuck obviously did well at this company….. at the expense of other priorities, we now know.

    • dave campbell

      Roger, I hope Chuck will sell the company, and let someone continue it forward. For me, sure glad the Velotron is still going to be made and supported, but for it to work, one needs software. Since RM1 never got upgraded to work with the Velotron, what sw is Rm going to support for the Velotron? Just the old stuff I have been using?

      I want to say personally thanks for all you have done, and tried. We have talked many times over the years, both in email and phone calls, and never once did I find you to be anything be helpful, honest, and doing all you could to try and convince management to open stuff up and improve.

      I am very shocked that Ray has allowed posts to be left up with personal attacks. I moderate a number of forums and if anyone post personal attacks, the first time I remove the post, the second, I remove them. I guess this is why slowtwitch has such a negative reputation since Dan allows the personal attacks from folks who just hide behind their keyboards and never use a real name. I thought Ray’s site was above this but the posts he has elected to keep up show this place is just the same.

      I will continue to keep my fingers crossed CT comes back, and you are hired by the new company.

    • I very rarely delete posts. In this case, I think the two have said what they need to say.

      I’ve asked Richard both privately and via the comment two above, to shift away from personal attacks. It’s not where I want things to be here. He has agreed to do so. I think that’s that.

    • Richard Wharton

      Dave, people who knew the company and the individuals involved went out of their way for over 17 years to try and help, all to no avail.

      (Deleted this chunk. -DCR)

      I am grateful that Roger has stepped up to challenge me, and to attempt to present his version of the record. That still doesn’t excuse many of the events, people, products, and claims he made over the years, that were specious or deflecting in their nature. That Chuck has not even bothered to post anything official on the website, and instead chose to contact his sponsored, entitled athletes, speaks equal volumes.

      I am angry, but I am more saddened by their intransigence at insisting they not sell out to an interested buyer. They could ALL have written themselves a nice bonus, and left their public with a better, not bitter taste.

      I’m not going to apologize for this; there were too many testimonials about service, innovation, and decisions that were placed at Roger’s extension in their cassette-driven office phone system.

      Roger is doing well to write up his post-mortem here. I HOPE he and Ray have a Skype sit-down some time, and his 10,000 word story can come out. THEN, I may change my mind. But there are and were too many people left high and dry globally by the 15 years or more of mismanagement that the three named individuals wrought, and it left many of us frustrated, lost, and wishing for alternatives, which we only recently received.

    • Mark Liversedge

      ANT+ is not limited to 4HZ and the Computrainer controller only communicates at 2400 baud over a serial connection. The spinscan data was not sent at high speeds.

      Perhaps the lack of innovation wasn’t just funding, but a basic lack of capability.

      Mark

    • dave campbell

      I also rarely delete posts, but such over the top personal attacks, well, just does not make you our your site look, well, …

    • Roger Moore

      Ray,

      My apologies for trying to defend my honor, but when someone defames me in an open forum, it is within my right (not knowing what you will do) to try and set the record straight. I wasn’t really trying to correct Richard more than I was simply trying to explain to others reading the posts made about me of their falsehood. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but that doesn’t make them facts.

      And yes, I know much more than I can say, but I have never once lied about anything I have posted, anywhere, even when what I said is what I was told I can say. I agonized far too often to say what I said without lying about it.

      I often said things I was told only to have something push through and make it an untruth. How many Velotron software updates did that happen for on RM1. Too many times. But every time I said it, it was happening at that time and was the truth.

      My faith has always been a check for doing the right and best job at everything I’m given to do, but ultimately the powers that be on earth have a way of doing things differently. That is all I’ve been trying to say for years.

      I was blessed to have a long career with some great people. I made far more friends than enemies, for sure. I certainly don’t fault anyone for being angry, but channel that anger to those more deserving of it. I didn’t deserve what was put towards my account here, but again I’m sorry for any part I played.

    • dave campbell

      Yep, I know the RM1 was over time being worked on for the VT, as you told me.. But, it so far has not made it, and that was not your fault telling me it was getting close.

      I still say Ray not deleting the attacks posts show,, ……

      Amazing in this world now that the snowflakes just feel their opinion is the ONLY opinion that can be had, and just do personal attacks. I see it every night on TV.

    • Dave – After spending a bit of time going back through the comments here, I have deleted some posts (or sections) to remove significant personal attacks towards specific employees. Those are noted accordingly.

      Thanks for bringing it up!

    • dave campbell

      Thank You!!

    • Eugene O'Donnell

      No problem Roger. I hate this has happen. I know we all owe you and CT a debt of gratitude for making such a great tool. I tried to contact you at CT with no luck. Here is my email send me your info. eodonnellgig at gmail

    • RE: Roger Moore about physics: the physics could all live inside the controller. Modern controller can handle related computational tasks with ease. Had Racermate updated controller then ANT+ rate of communication would not affect physics in any bad way.

  17. David D

    IMO they became the Motorola cellphone of trainers. It happens to a lot of companies/products and it stems from arrogance and being in love with yourself. Your customers are not in love with you or they are in love until they find something that suits them better. Computrainer is the bag phone in a world of smartphones… Yes it’s bulletproof, but who shoots at their trainer?

    In this case they absolutely missed the boat with the “experience” with things like Sufferfest and Zwift and others. All I can do is wonder if they ever spoke to customers?

  18. RonaldM

    Ray, interesting question not yet answered. What will happen with ErgVideo, will they open there software for PerfPro or other platforms?

    • Matthew

      ErvVideo pivoted roughly a year ago and added support for the Kickr – and now that I just looked – Ant+ FEC, so modern trainers generally.

    • See my reply #79 below. It didn’t show here in-line I think due to a revision I had to make for an embedded html tag on my first crack at it.

  19. Pretty sad but when I bought my Wahoo Kickr, it was a no brainer…Bluetooth with open access to all the programs like Trainer Road and Zwift, or a more expensive option for a wired, closed system with a bunch of programs I had to buy.

    • Steven

      Brian – And with the Neo, it doesn’t even need to be plugged into the wall. So uber simple.

      I cannot imagine anyone who can afford a Neo/Kickr/Hammer buying something like a CT that just seems a generation behind the latest trends, i.e. Zwift/TR etc. The only way I see someone seeking out a CT, is via eBay … and even then, too much hassle when you could be riding.

  20. Gene

    I wonder if this would also spell the end of CompuTrainer classes? Like most people here, I started with CT classes to prepare myself for my first 70.3 and eventually 140.6. I am now using TrainerRoad with 4iiii Precision PM, Viiiiva HRM and CycleOps Fluid2.

  21. Ed

    (Zapped)

    Note from DCR: No need to go there.

  22. davie

    I’m not into indoor training nor do I own a trainer. I do however watch the tech industry and am amazed that this situation can happen over and over and over again. The parallels to Nokia mobile sad and wilful self harm are clear.

    At what point does corporate leadership forget about the needs of customers who pay their bills and disappear up a hubris of their own making?

    One only has to look at any motoring, tech, cycling (or this) blog to see the massive and rapid rate of change in the industry. Ignoring customers, sitting on your laurels, Wired connections and billions of buttons are dead. Its all in customisable, rapidly innovating software and user experience.

    – Ford’s euro small cars with trillions of buttons on the dash have finally moved to touch screens. So have most other brands.
    – Nokia (maker of bombproof phones that were closed systems and terrible to use) failed and is dead, killed by more innovative competitors (yes I know there is a new ‘nokia’ who bought the carcass from Microsoft)
    – Power meters, cadence sensors, even gearing is wireless. Bikes have hidden cabling. Its all clean and efficient and they all communicate with each other using open standards
    – Software apps are THE user experience. small, simple and EASY to set up by time-challenged people. They work on ANY system.
    – The Killer feature is what the customer wants “experience”, not what the manufacturer thinks is important “physics”.
    – Internet provides so many opportunities for company to receive feedback. Yet it is apparently ignored for at least the last 6 years? (Ray’s annual trainer recommendations for example).

    I feel sad for the people who will lose their jobs, I’m sure they are good people. But CT have only themselves to blame. No one else. If I was a shareholder, I would have fired the management team about 10 years ago for wilful ignorance.

  23. I have been riding the same one since 1995. I got it so I could train and race through medical training. I now have another one in my office for the athletes I test. What a shame if truly closing the doors. Solid piece of equipment will outlast any thing else out there. Roger has been great.

    Marc Silberman, M.D.
    Author of Road Cycling Chapter in Netter’s Sports Medicine
    Founder of New Jersey Sports Medicine and Performance Center

    • Ray Ruyack

      I remember siting in front of a 19″ TV with a Nintendo and a RacerMate cartridge….. While I lament what has transpired I am grateful for the relationship I developed with the people that made the product great.

      As a product tester for them I saw the struggles that went on. I was not privy to the details of day to day goings on. I was a voice for what I felt needed to be modified/created to make it a world class trainer. My load generator from 1994 finally gave out in 2014, let’s see how long current hardware lasts.from the other guys.

      I’ll be the first to say that the software and other forms of connectivity were lacking – but that is not an employees fault. I got the feeling that there were internal things going on and saw people leaving, but Roger was always there. To say the demise comes down to one person is beyond ludicrous and the anger I see posted from one person seems petty at best.

      I wish nothing but the best for Roger and suggest that people remember that.Ray posted this about a company that pioneered indoor training – that paved the way for all the other guys – and not a person who gave 37 years of his professional life to helping people tolerate indoor training.

      Sincerely, thank you Roger.

  24. Quentin Field-Boden

    All very sad. I found Roger very helpful when I had dealings with him. I’m still using my CompuTrainers and I hope to be able to do so for many years, they should outlast me I’d have thought. The greatest sadness has been the lack of ongoing development for VELOtron software which I’d been asking for for years. Sadly my VELOtron now only gets used with ErgVideo with RM1 Never making the grade, essentially there is no decent native RacerMate software for the VELOtron at all which to me remains pretty shocking given the cost of a VELOtron.

  25. Great piece DCR! End of an era. I still like the feel of a computrainer over all other smart trainers. Maybe its because i’ve been on one in classes and testing labs for over a decade but i trust computrainers over others. Also thanks for respecting what computrainer started in the training world and that they deserve credit for..the smart trainer. Mad respect needs to go to those guys regardless of how they chose to evolve the business.

  26. Ron

    I am a happy computrainer owner and a sad computrainer owner at the same time. I use 3rd party software almost exclusively, mostly Zwift because of the way it works for me. I am no electronics expert but I have to think that the “physics” of the computrainer is nice but an unimportant aspect to 99% of the trainer market as evidenced by the fact that there are so many competitors who do not have the “physics” of the computrainer. I love that the CT is a tough as nails design and machine. I am not all that unhappy with the wires and the use of the cadence puck has worked generally great for me. So in the end I think with respect to the machine could they could have innovated more, but from what I have read here I have to assume it was a product that was made by a company that lacked enthusiasm for the customer. No manufacturer or company truly knows better than its clients what the client wants or needs. To think so sadly always ends in the same way as for computrainer, failure. As well I am really saddened that there are indications that the company will not likely sell the technology to someone who has the desire to advance the platform and keep the brand/ machine alive. So I am now forced to get spare parts while I still can……… because this machine will still be running as long as I can keep it alive, which from what I read and my experience, it will likely last as long as I have the energy to use it.

  27. Quentin Field-Boden

    Yes Ron, it will be a very sad day indeed if nobody takes the company forward, or is allowed to as the basic core of the unit is just excellent. Sure, there could have been more bells and whistles but I like wired setups and the fact that it just – works, year in and year out. My ideal solution would have been for the company to have been taken over and maybe become the “ZwifTrainer” :-)

  28. Roger Moore

    Quentin. et al,

    CompuTrainer always got in the way of Velotron. Every time. Though I’m no longer a physical presence there I’ve been on the phone a few times already with the programmer about the known Velotron issues. I was told his main focus is now to be solely on Velotron. So I will help them as much as I can, still, to see what cam be done. Also, the developer API does everything Velotron too. Generally, because Velotron did all it did in the computer, while CT did it in the controller, most developers I spoke to didn’t like the idea of doing anything Velotron; mainly due to the DLL being Windows only. There was work put forth towards making that limitation go away when RM spent a year focusing on making a Mac version and while working with Kinomap. When the quote came back with high 6-figures for a Mac version, and the big push for wifi, this cross-platform work got pushed to the back-burner. Who know, perhaps it wasn’t too far from completion. What I do know is they are planning to continue forward with Velotron, since it is unique in its market.

    A couple other things I don’t think they had an easy way of announcing, though perhaps should have tried; prior to my leaving one of the big hits they took was the need to loose the largest office/production buildings after nearly 40 years. They were/are moving everything into the other building, offices included. This hadn’t yet caused any disruption while I was there, but I’m sure by now it is chaos there doing this, and for the communication pathways as phones got moved. The other thing that happened was the loss of the lead repair technician, who due to his tenure, took a lot of history needed to repair things, with him. Though much of it was documented, they were already struggling while I was there how to best sort that out. I’m sure that didn’t help with what ultimately happened.

    I’ll be watching with the rest of you how the dust settles, but I offered to help any way I can… because that is who I am.

    • dave campbell

      Roger, I would still love to continue any Velotron sw beta testing if RM is really, finally, going to get SW to work. As I posted, and have Jeff at RM but have not received an answer back, what SW are they going to use and support for the Velotron if they are going to keep the product. Nothing wrong with the super old CS and CS3 I have been using, but, sure does not look good to try and convince someone to buy an 11K piece of hw but using a horse and buggy piece of sw with it. You were the go to guy for with for the Velotron, and were always super responsive. If Jeff the right guy to interface with now or someone else?

  29. Jason Eldrin

    Roger,

    I understand how you feel even though most of the problems were beyond your control, but since you were often the only spokesman for the company, you will get blamed.

    I know you like to cite physics and costs as a big factor, but I would challenge you to do a 2×20 FTP workout on a CT and a Kickr over a 2 month period and then tell us if the physics model of the CT gave better performance improvements.

    You need to understand the goals of your clients. They just want to do a workout with whatever 3rd party software they prefer. Not fiddle with wires or software that doesn’t suit their preferences.

    Kickr, started up under 10 years ago and employs more folks than Racermate. If they didn’t invest in new technologies, do you think that would have happened?

    Someone was asleep at the wheel at CT.

  30. Joe

    +1 on Garmin needing to “lean the openness lesson”
    Would love to be able to batch download activities.

    • I’d echo that comment concerning Garmin.

      Great quality but so short sighted to still be ANT+ only on the head unit, cadence, speed and HRM sensors and no future plans to implement Bluetooth.

      The rise of Zwift and apps is going to seriously hurt accessory sales and head units if they don’t embrace BLE. I specifically discounted Garmin accessories due to ANT+ only.

    • Umm, they implemented Bluetooth Smart sensor support on the Fenix 5. I expect that to be the norm going forward.

    • Tony F1

      Hi Ray, response from a Garmin support only yesterday on BLE sensor roadmap. I’ve logged the idea as suggested. Shame as the Edge 1000 bundle is competively priced at the moment but need IOS support as I use FULGAZ. Any chance you can have a word?

      Hi Tony

      There are no plans to utilize Bluetooth Low Energy for our sensors at this time. However, if you would like to suggest this, you can do so on our Share Ideas page linked below:

      link to garmin.com

    • Yeah, looks like their support is misinformed. ;)

      As for past products, it remains to be seen what happens there. I’m only looking at futures stuff.

      Still, for sensors, there’s virtually no good reason to purchase Garmin sensors these days, since ones from Wahoo and others are fully dual ANT+/BLE. More or less like you noted above on the sensor-side.

  31. Thank you for your concern over ErgVideo, but it is misplaced probably due to some misinformation, being misinformed, or perhaps just failure of marketing reach to get you the message. Sure, I’ll take that on myself. It’s hard to reach everyone.

    ErgVideo has been supporting the Wahoo kickr and ANT+ devices since version 4.0 came out September 2015, which frankly was as fast as I could following news that the exclusivity agreement with RacerMate I’d honored, had been… I don’t know…forgotten? Back-burnered? The first news I got about it was in an email from another industry player with a link to an interbike article. It carried the provocative subject line: “Does this change things?” and body: “Will you now PLEASE write ErgVideo for our trainer?”, or something like that.

    So I strapped-in with a “Hell yeah, now… I guess I can!”.

    It took a 11 months, embarrassingly, from that moment, but I had a whole raft of things already on the go that HAD to roll out for that trainer year, (it was already September you see): I was obsoleting our DVD-based business into a downloads-only thing, oh and I was pushing out the new 1080HD content shot that same year in France. THAT has to roll out in a timely way. So ErgVideo 4 with ANT+ was a big re-write taking from April to Aug, to accommodate and configure wireless platforms in studios, all graphically and drag and drop and I really spent a lot of time on it. Whoa that was agony-of-second-guessing and revising designs and UX and sweating details. But it happened for the 2015 season, and it’s working well, seems well received.

    Sorry you missed the news.

    And, since you have been out of the loop, this year we also started supporting ANT+ FE-C trainers. I invite you to have a look and become reacquainted with ErgVideo. If DCR will allow me to post a link, please check out http://ergvideo.com (ah I see links embedded get punted, that is cool).

  32. Okay sorry that was in response to RonaldM’s question, I think it was inline reply to his message, maybe until I got punted to trying to put a link in my text. sorry, that or I just fat fingered it.

    As you know, I don’t pop my head up on forums much, and I’ll go back underground again. Just finish with: Don’t fret. There are lots of excellent choices in high quality trainers available, with a raft of good SW supporting them. When, or “if ever” your CT stops working, you will have trouble deciding upon your many good choices.

  33. Anthony

    First, thanks again to Roger. It’s unfortunate that the owners were so unwilling to compromise on their vision that will go down with a sinking ship, rather than compromised a bit and still be rising on the indoor training tide.

    It doesn’t sound at all like the owners were asleep at the wheel. It sounds to me like they were firmly entrenched on a position that the market didn’t agree with, and sticking with that notion was more important to them than business success. Now, not selling the assets/technology seems crazy and downright spiteful.

  34. andreas

    Well, I don’t have my CT anymore for a long time but reading this makes me sad.
    I still remember how hard and expensive it was back then to get one here in Germany…
    and I still remember the countless hours I spent on it training .

    Andi

  35. SteveT

    They lost me when I switched to Apple and had to get the special cable and use my windows computer.

    They never gave me a decent reason to stay with them. Been sitting right next to my treadmill ever since.

    Market forces rule!

    Ray still love your business plan and how it worked out!!

    Steve

  36. Stuart Murray

    It’s really saddened me that they’re finishing up. I was late to the Computrainer party, having only bought mine in 2014. I debated for a while on which smart trainer to buy and was finally persuaded to by a CT by Richard Wharton via the Wattage forum. I bought it secondhand via eBay.

    Without question the unit has been my single best purchase during my cycling career, much more important to me than my powermeters, carbon wheels etc. It’s a fantastic piece of engineering. It is always within 1-2% of my SRM.

    I use it with PerfPro, TrainerRoad and Zwift.

    Like lots of the people posting (I think) I am genuinely affectionate for it.

    It was obvious to me that they couldn’t carry on. The unit was ridiculously expensive and outdated. The handlebar unit looks like something from the 80’s. Getting the bike on and off was harder than it should have been. It just desperately needed to go open source and modernise.

    I really do hope someone can buy them out and agree with another poster that to not allow someone to buy it would be spiteful. Their downfall was brought about by hubris and stubbornness, fingers crossed someone can take it on.

    I did read that the same company also made marine instrumentation. Is that still happening?

    What I also haven’t heard mentioned is the issue they had recently with the exploding fly-wheels. I got a new one posted to me. That must have cost them a bit and I wonder where the legal cases went? Could that be another reason?

    All in, I’m honestly gutted. I’m an Electrical Engineer and passionate cyclist and I adore my Computrainer. It’s great Engineering. I’m sorry they’re closing shop and very frustrated that things have gone the way they have. They’re brilliant units and they deserve much kudos for giving them to the world.

    Stu

  37. Raeis

    Racermate also lacked some good distributors in GER/EU as it seems. The german distributor didn’t even have some sort of online shop.

    I only heard about Racermate / CompuTrainer by skimming through the list of compatible trainers in Zwift.

    Got also lucky to get one used here in Germany for under 200€, as they are extremely rare. The previous owner had no idea that he could use it with his computer. (The CT also lacked some cabling)

    Bought it only with the HR clip and made my own Stereo to DB9 cable (Together with a FTDI-based USB -> Serial adapter I had already). I reused some old wheel sensor from a bike computer as cadence sensor and it also works flawlessly to this day.

    I really dig the indestructible build of this machine. Sad to see Racermate ceasing its production, but on the other hand it was inevitable.

    • Stuart Murray

      Hi Raeis,

      I’ve got the old stereo to serial connection and I want to make my own USB cable. Do you have a wiring diagram so I can cut off the old serial link and connect to USB? If anyone knows how to connect the USB I’d be grateful.

      Cheers,
      Stu

    • Raeis

      Hi Stu,
      as you own the old cable: You only need to get one of those USB to Serial adapters and you’re golden without rewiring: link to amazon.com

      Just make sure that you get one with a chipset by manufacturer FTDI, as the cheaper ones are usually based on chipsets by Prolific which don’t work as good.

  38. Roger Moore

    Stu,

    As I understand it… the FloScan side of the business is remaining. It generally benefits from, or suffers from, oil prices. It’s been flat for some time, but has enough business to support it. Velotron on the RacerMate side has a unique market and has done well, so RacerMate will attempt to keep that afloat and focus all efforts to improve it.

    Flywheel issues were a large contributor to the bottom line, or lack thereof; as was the need to lower CT retail pricing due to, ironically, suggestions from this site and others to buy CT’s used; as well as promoting it wasn’t worth its retail value. I know many attempts were being made to renegotiate lower cost parts, but even while that was happening they lost the main source for most of these parts due to that business ceasing after the death of that businesses owner. So, lack of development included, the end of CT was sort of a perfect storm.

    I always felt I was a stalwart force to continue trying to make improvements (regardless of my successes and failures at it). I stayed as long as I did, I suppose, because after 25 years of helping people with CT I made a lot of good friends along the way. I also enjoyed helping people. The RacerMate One disaster nearly did me in, took me out. Very low point for me, personally. The last 5 years since were very hard for me as I saw firsthand the changes coming to the market and never being given resources to react to them. Funding was simply not there. Even with the last attempt, with wifi, I was brought into it very late since it was on the engineering side up until then. What I was told to be “ready for outside testing” was so far away from that. And lacked the ANT component most of us thought it would have. It took me months to work though what was literally days away from completion when we fully ran out of time.

    In the end all decisions were those made by management and often outside forces we had to react to. Could things have gone different? I have no doubt, but hindsight is always 20/20. It will be up to “them” to reflect on those choices.

    • Larry Ronsko

      Roger,

      Kudos to you for the many years you put into CT! I enjoyed working with you on the RM1 software and certainly was aware of the challenges and frustrations you faced during that period. I am happy to report that I continue to use both my CT and RM1 (4.06) often with no issues. Hoping they last many years ahead!

      Thanks again for all your hard work!

  39. Vince Majestyk

    I, for one, hope the company does shut it doors. I hope the owner is sincere in this. To watch a simple, robust, closed system engineering design from another era be turned into a modern piece of icrap by some snowflake company would be a hard pill to swallow. The current trainer market is strong with plenty of bells and whistles attached to keep even the most discerning members of the facebag crowd happy. The CT will go gently into the night as the preeminent trainer in an era where “less is more” was not only understood, but practiced as well. That “less is more” philosophy dovetailed nicely to meet my kinetic and physiological needs going on 20 years now. Much respect to Racermate for bringing this fabulous tool, warts and all, to market and sentimentally, carrying the “Proudly made in the USA” banner. Best wishes to all employees in this difficult time and much success in whatever your future endeavors may bring you. To the owner, glad to see you apparently
    going out on your own terms. Although it is a niche market, Racermate is clearly an American success story and will be remembered as such along with all the other great American company relegated to the dustbin of history.

  40. For over 15 years I have benefited immeasurably from having my Computrainer. So thanks to Roger, the team, and others for making what is the most singularly effective and robust piece of cycling equipment I have ever owned. All I’ve had to do is touch up the paint where my perspiration started to rust the frame!

    As someone who founded a company which developed and marketed high technology equipment for measuring roads, I am sympathetic to the challenges that Roger has taken time to outline in his e-mails. The biggest challenge that any company founder faces is the ability to let go and have someone else take it down a road which may not be consistent with the founder’s vision.

    Like others, I hope that the firm will be taken over, but I can also understand why an owner may choose not to allow it.

    In any event, I plan on riding my Computrainer for another 15+ years. That’s the sign of a successful and transformative product.

    Well done Racermate.

  41. WKP

    Bummer. My Nintendo-based unit saw me through thousands of hours of training without a single complaint – near-instant startup and graphics that reminded me of my childhood. I recently sold it on eBay (“upgraded” to a PC-based version) and was impressed that RacerMate saw the auction listing, noticed that it had the original blue flywheel, and contacted me to let me know about the recall & free replacement. Think any of the current crop of companies will do that?

  42. Yoeri Geerits

    Always loved my CT! I am sure we all have had our frustrations though with wireless set-up with unstable connections for a variety of reasons (network interference, development/software glitches). Why does nobody come to market with trainers that have the option to either go wireless or connect your trainer with a good old USB connection? Shouldn’t be that hard to build in a USB port to connect a CycleOps, Kickr. etc. directly your computer/trainer set-up. I realize it’s a bit counter-intuitive with ‘everything wireless’ but sometimes old-school just works better…

  43. Patrick Richard

    I just checked their website, and saw no mention of them ceasing production. Hiding that fact is a crappy thing to do.

    • robhof

      Maybe there is a change of heart and posting the closure is the final straw. Must be very hard…
      Was a great read and many lessons to be learned in this saga. Too easy to judge after the facts but the underlying story is to have a team of guys all working in the same direction to achieve the goal of improving the offering and growing the business. Starts by being tuned to your ever changing customer needs.

      I ride a PowerWatts in Canada and the bike setup is on CT resistance units… I don’t know what will happen with that but I really enjoy those classes and races.

  44. Michael M

    I received an interesting e-mail from RacerMate sales today, which confirms that the Computrainer is no longer in production and inviting me to pay a “membership fee” to obtain access to replacement parts. According to the e-mail I can purchase a “Individual Home User Membership – $100.00 – Cost for 3 Years for a Home User Membership which entitles members to a 50% discount on all replacement parts. (Note: Home User Membership has a unit limit of one Load Generator and/or one Handlebar Controller purchase per year, no limits on other parts.)”

    The e-mail also stated “As a company, RacerMate is continuing to manufacture the Velotron electronic bicycle ergometer.”

    I likely won’t take Racermate up on this deal. My Computrainer load generator is already broken, the result of a bearing seizing after I performed the replacement of the recalled flywheel. I replaced the Computrainer with a Wahoo Kickr this year and am very happy with it. I don’t see me going back to the Computrainer and it’s primitive software.

    • AC

      I’m questioning the value of that offer as well. I’m inclined to take my chances, and failure occurs, upgrade to a Kickr or the like. My CT has been super reliable, and I don’t see any reason to think it won’t be in the future. OTOH, $33 a year for some assurance that parts will be available isn’t a bad deal.

      Super weird that it says 98 comments, yet the oldest is 45.

  45. Eric

    Is there anyway to get my Compu trainer to communicate with my iPad so I can ride on Zwift with my iPad?

    • Unfortunately not. The closest you can get is ANT+ transmission via another app that has to sit on a desktop computer (CTANT+ or TrainerRoad). So at that point you might as well just run Zwift on it. Plus, I’m not sure CTANT is even available these days.

  46. Frank

    As a retailer of CompuTrainer, I felt sorry for the product and for my customers who had bought the CompuTrainers – no more warranty or spare parts which means they are their own.

    I would agree with Carlos – the CompuTrainer is still far better than the competitors. We sell Kickrs too, and I would say Wahoo is a typical marketing company who never really thought about making their products great. Meeting all the hypes is enough for them. The accuracy of the power is a joke… Maybe it changed how people ride, and it also brings the guess back to the training with powermeter. For a direct drive trainer, the Magene Gravat already outperformed the Kickr, at only 1/3 of Kickr’s price.

    Again, it’s a sad end for RacerMate, but it’s predictable for such an old man’s company who refused to change and to embrace the trend – they well deserve this.

    • Eric Vos

      I have used CR for close to 20 years. Recently, I bought a wahoo Kickr for my wife. We are spending time apart and I thought it would be cool to ride together on Zwift. I anticipated selling my old CR and going over to Wahoo. After a dozen rides on the Kickr it is painfully obvious wahoo is no CR!

      Yes, we all hate the CR’s wires and the lousy looking software despite the fact it performs majestically on a machine which is built like a tank. When you look on eBay people are selling CRs in “perfect condition” which are over 20 years old. I don’t know how many times I called people at the company and was quickly talking to one of their top dogs. Clearly, their accessibility has hurt them. Now there’s a bunch of bloggers who got to talk to the president and owners, didn’t get the attention they demanded, and took it so personally they now use this influential blog to insult them. For shame.

      I found it appalling/shameful that a guy who started wahoo gets on the site/blog and talks about how after years of working with the information he gleaned from this accessibility he now made the superior product he begged for. We all know it’s not a superior product. Yes it’s easier to set up. Yes the masses will love it. Yes the bike geeks will love to look at those blinking lights on the flywheel. Yes, wireless is lovely. I guess we should kickr to the curb accuracy, durability, performance, engineering, etc. etc.

      Wahoo – it’s very sexy with easy mounting and wireless functions. That myth that you need not calibrated is just that, a Silly myth. I have a huge problem with the company whose big push is how you don’t need to “calibrate.” I don’t know about the rest of you, but on every ride, be it on the road or on the trainer, I need a warm up. What type of fool jumps on a bike without a warm-up? The 10 minute calibration was the perfect warm up. If I was writing copy for CR, I would brag about the built-in requirement for a healthy warm up before hurting yourself. In the alternative, a bunch of bloggers can’t get over the fact that you can jump on a wahoo and allegedly go full force sans a warm up. Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid.

      Be reasonable people – it’s very easy to roll your bike into a local shop, where you bought it, and have them fix all the fancy and delicate wireless features. Those expensive, but sensitive, rims need a lot of TLC. Your electronic Shimano set up needs your bike shop. Because of your doting bike mechanic you can buy very sensitive and vulnerable bicycles. On the other hand, a trainer doesn’t get to see your bike mechanic, gets abused, gets sweated all over, and jerked around like a cheap mule. Yet it has to perform for years and remain perfectly accurate. You’re very expensive bicycle and trainer are extremely different in this regard. Why you keep demanding your trainer act like your bike is the opposite of logical. It’s like wanting your eggs to be as durable as your hammer.

      The problem with serious riders is that we are overly obsessed with bells and whistle’s. You have to buy the newest thing then try to convince everyone that there was a functional difference between the new and a perfectly working earlier model. I can see all of your significant others rolling their collective eyes while you explain the importance of those new rims, power meter, etc. When you look at these two units there is not a functional equivalent. The CR is far more accurate and infinitely more durable. If you look at the company demo on YouTube it is alarming how the Kickr is moving all over the place. My 100 pound wife does well on the Kickr, I hammered in more fear. On a CR I remain solid.

      DCR is a fantastic source of information but exhibit number one as someone who is obsessed with bells and whistles. All of us benefit exceptionally well from DCR’s obsession. The wealth of information is outstanding. It’s always on the cutting edge. Unfortunately, I think this site has been taken to the wrong place when it comes to a comparison between wahoo and CR. When you compare wahoo with CR you have one unit made by cheap labor in a foreign land which is already showing wear and tear and then you have another unit which is made in the United States and is made like a tank and is accurate as all hell. I ride a custom-made Parlee and yet, I would rather ride a Huffy than give up my CR. Answer me this Batman-how many bikes have you married up to your CR? I’ve had seven or eight different bikes on the same CR over the years. Many of you have had two Wahoo’s and one bike. Do the math. What were you getting?

      Too many of us jumped into the blogosphere, talked trash about CR and babbled on in our intoxicated fashion about the newest girl on the block. True to form, we are now trying to justify why we kicked CR to the curb and are riding on inferior machines – oh yes! no wires. I do love the blogger whose biggest complaint was that he kept on neglectfully getting on/off his bike and screwing up the wires. It’s the Indian blaming the arrow.

      If you really want to wake up, think about the big upgrade between the first and second Kickr – THE HANDLE YOU CARRY IT WITH!! Even the technophile DCR couldn’t get over the new handle in his review. It was the friggin highlight! It shows how shallow and fickle bikers really are, people literally ran out and spent another thousand dollars because of a new handle. The increased accuracy and lower noise level weren’t really there but DID YOU SEE THAT HANDLE‽‽

      There are only three important pieces of equipment you need to be an excellent rider. Legs, heart and lungs. Any serious rider who’s been around long enough has seen some guy on a Raleigh Record show up and kickr the group’s butt. CR always delivered on improving these three important pieces equipment. It did it economically, with perfect engineering, and would last longer than seven or eight of your $6000 bicycles. They were also smart enough to understand that a CR could not be as delicate as your $bicycle$. Bells and whistles may look great but they should never be traded in for the things that really counted, accuracy and durability. Yes wires suck but wireless breaks far too easy to be put on an abused trainer. Again, riddle me this Batman, what is easier to replace a broken wire or a broken wireless unit?

      Bottom line, I want to ride on an egg and train on a hammer. And I want the data to be accurate.

      I’m always reminded that the worst bike accident I’ve ever been in was the result of my looking down, for too long, at the neatest little bike computer which was mounted on my handlebars.

      Hopefully the reasonable consumers will return and the new owners of CR learn how to speak to us. They knew how to deliver perfection but they didn’t know how to deal with our bicycling fragile egos. How many times have you seen grown men in colorful tight outfits fighting over the silliest stuff in the world? Our no-drop mentality too often gives way to hammering it while the back of the ride got caught at a red light. We spend too much time on the glitter and too little time on what really matters. This is coming from a guy who rides a Parlee and wears only Rapha. So I know the sickness. I just hate the results.

    • If you compare CT to say Concept 2, you can see a huge difference in how the companies evolved.

      I purchased a CT and a Concept 2 rower around the same time back in the 90’s. At that time the Concept 2 was I believe the model C. Fast forward to today and the Concept 2 rower is Model E. Each time they made a change, the rower was a good bit better either machine wise or software wise or both. Concept 2 also made the leap from just rowers to crossfit, which brought in a totally different segment of consumers. Concept 2 introduced multiple lines of machines, which helped increase sales.

      The CT really never evolved. It’s mounting system essentially stayed the same and as far as I am concerned it was turn off. While companies like Wahoo were thinking outside the box, CT/RM had their head in the sand and refused to innovate.

      It took forever to get software made and when it finally came out it was ok. If they had opened it up, you would have seen a ton of developers doing stuff.

      When just about everyone was going wireless, RM just didn’t seem to get it.

      There was a problem with the trainer eating tires regardless of what the folks at RM or CT would say. 5 hours on the trainer training for an Ironman will do that to a tire. Had they come out with a system similar to the KICKR, that would have been welcome for a lot of riders.

      Heck had they come out with a non-electric trainer, that was a little more sexy that would have probably sold as well.

      To me CT downfall was because people who in love with their product to really make it better.

    • Whoops – meant to say “To me CT downfall was because CT/RM were too in love with their product to really make it better.”