Continuing the 2019 trend of indoor training and related acquisitions, Wahoo has just announced the acquisition of The Sufferfest. For those not familiar with the platform, the company first started out years ago making indoor training videos. But back 3-4 years ago they shifted their business to a much more interactive app-based model that focuses heavily now on the targeted power-focused indoor sessions that still maintain a significant outdoor video element as you ride various roads or races to keep you entertained. All while a virtual coach of sorts shouts at you via text on the screen.
The company has grown well over the past decade since its inception, and for many businesses the peak of their journey is an acquisition. But in talking with Sufferfest about the acquisition, they don’t see it as end-game. Instead, they see it as adding gasoline to their existing business plans in order to kick things up a notch much faster. Given Wahoo’s backing from a private-equity firm, this will easily allow The Sufferfest to do so.
But what does it mean to not just Sufferfest, but the rest of the industry? I dig in.
What it means to Sufferfest:
Before we talk about everyone else (which is just as important here), we’ll start with Sufferfest. Perhaps the biggest question you might have is whether Sufferfest would continue to support non-Wahoo 3rd party hardware/trainers. Founder and CEO of Sufferfest David McQuillen answered near instantly to that one:
“Oh god, absolutely!…It would be foolish to lock everything down to one hardware platform.”
Well, that’s good. Hopefully that’s something the remainder of the industry remembers going into the next few years as we continue to see acquisitions occur in the indoor training space. But saying the correct thing aside, David’s comments are indeed spot on. As big as Wahoo is (#1 in the indoor training space based on unit sales), the indoor trainer landscape is still varied enough that app companies wouldn’t dare limit themselves to a single vendor.
Even existing companies like CycleOps that had a strong relationship with Virtual Cycling (now Rouvy) always had significant 3rd party compatibility with virtually everyone in the trainer hardware business.
The next question then is – what’s the money gonna be used for? After all, the point of this acquisition wasn’t just about Wahoo owning a training app, but about accelerating The Sufferfest’s business. And that takes money. Sufferfest says it basically comes down to two core things:
1) Leveraging Wahoo’s position in the market
2) Hiring more people and bringing forward existing plans they’ve talked about (and some they haven’t)
Starting with the first one, Wahoo has tremendous sales in the indoor space. Hundreds of thousands of units per year, far more than anyone else. In a typical business model, the online customer relationship that Wahoo has would be key (for marketing e-mails and such). But in Wahoo’s case, that’s unlikely to be a primary driver. That’s because Wahoo doesn’t require any registration to use their products. You can buy a Wahoo trainer from any bike shop or online store, and Wahoo never knows who you are (something many people like).
However, what Wahoo does have is the box. They can stick anything in the box they like. And that could include a 3-month or even 6-month Sufferfest membership. Not only that, but they could easily open that up to existing Wahoo owners too. All trainers identify themselves, and it’d be trivial for Sufferfest to allow Wahoo KICKR trainers to connect to the platform for free, or a reduced fee (or some other promotional element). Again, the volume numbers are what matters here.
And so is the marketing. Today, Wahoo’s trainer box is fairly agnostic when it comes to 3rd party training platforms, just highlighting compatibility with a few. And certainly, I expect that’ll continue to a degree. But I’d also expect they’ll more heavily promote The Sufferfest over say, Zwift. Since most people know it’ll be compatible with Zwift anyway, there’s no loss there.
Next is Sufferfest’s plans to expand their product offerings. David says they’ll start “Really pushing forward with hiring more people, and accelerating some of the functions we want to bring on”, specifically initiatives they’ve long talked about but weren’t able to execute. For example David and his team have talked about expanded app platform compatibility (such as Apple TV).
And that also means continuing to invest in their exercise physiology portion of the platform, which David says was one of the “key reasons that Wahoo brought us on board was the sport science side of things”.
Speaking of the Wahoo side, what types of integrations might we see on the hardware-side? Well, it’s a bit less clear there, but David says they’ll be looking at how to leverage devices like the Wahoo ROAM for integration with 4DP (their four dimensional power profile), as a starting point.
Finally, on the human/jobs side of things, Sufferfest says that nobody at the company loses their jobs, and nobody has to move anywhere. They’ll be operating as their own unit, with Hobart remaining as the hub/HQ for creative elements, while Reno remains the hub for product developing/coding (which is run/lead by Reid Weber, one of the former founders of TrainerRoad).
What it means to everyone else:
So what does this mean to the rest of the industry? Well, not a lot initially. This is one of those things that’ll take some time to filter through – both from the Sufferfest side as well as the Wahoo side. Wahoo’s side will be able to move quicker with promotional/box/etc stuff, whereas as Sufferfest will take longer to ramp up new employees and projects. So it’s not something that I think will have any meaningful impact until early 2020 at best.
However, what it signals though to the rest of the industry is that Wahoo isn’t content with just being a hardware vendor. Up till now they’ve had no online platform of any significance (aside from a small backend bit to keep some of your settings synced, and live tracking working). Instead, it’s been all hardware, all the time. It also lets Wahoo join the fray of trainer companies that own indoor training platforms. For example:
Garmin/Tacx: Has Tacx training suite (TTS)
Wahoo: Now has Sufferfest
Kinetic: Has Kinetic Fit platform
Wattbike: Has Wattbike’s training platform
Bkool: Bkool indoor training platform
Elite: Has their own indoor training platform
Magene: Has strong ties to OneLap
And while CycleOps used to be tied to Rouvy, there’s no longer any strong ties I’m aware of there. Which leaves the following free-agent apps:
Road Grand Tours
Plus some others I’m sure I’m forgetting, but those are the biggest, roughly sorted by size. And all of them are pretty device agnostic, but at the same time, so are some of the manufacturer specific indoor platforms as well. For example, both Tacx and Bkool’s platforms can be used with other trainers in certain configurations. For them, it’s about subscription revenue at that point. Either they can take some of the money, or none of the money.
All of this may have you wondering two things:
A) Why doesn’t Zwift just buy Wahoo?
B) Why doesn’t Wahoo just create a Zwift-like platform?
I suspect the answer to the first would be that Zwift simply couldn’t buy Wahoo anymore. Not unless they did the mother of all funding rounds. Wahoo’s business is far far far greater than Zwift’s from a revenue standpoint. So while one might mistakenly see Zwift as bigger from a user base perspective, that doesn’t really work in real-life for units Wahoo has sold.
Next, as for Wahoo creating another Zwift-like platform? That too seems unlikely. At least in the near-term. Going back to my conversation with Sufferfest’s founder, he notes that one of the things that specifically appealed to Wahoo about Sufferfest was that they were “not a platform that’s a virtual world like Zwift”, noting further that they have “no intention to go that direction.”
Still, it’s hard to believe that long term. While Zwift and Wahoo play nice publicly, there’s no doubt they see each other as competitors – both in the short term and the long term. And there’s far too many app options on the table for Wahoo to also acquire to start moving towards the idea of a legit Zwift virtual-world style competitor. I suspect it’s just a matter of time.
Speaking of time. As I said earlier this year, I continue to expect more indoor training acquisitions over the course of 2019. And further, I continue to think we’ll see something from Zwift in this realm before the year is out. Likely more of a necessary land grab than anything else. Which of course, is who everyone is really watching.
With that – thanks for reading!
I wonder if someone will scoop up TrainerRoad, if at all. They seem to be the most focused on (non-gamified) structured training of the free-agent platforms.
I think TrainerRoad are ripe for an acquisition. They have done some great stuff recently. The calendar is really good. But compared to their rivals I think they are losing ground. If you’ve been using the TR system.. Base, build, speciality.. The plans haven’t changed that much. The workout player is poor and lacks basic functionality like some of the other players. Their workout creator is terrible and it’s still all based on %FTP when the better platforms are moving to individualisation. I love the guys, I love their ethos but they are going to get left behind without a significant transformation.
Agree with this. Love everything about the folks behind TR, but kind of wonder where they see themselves going. They compete with Zwift, but they also seem to want to compete with TrainingPeaks. I thought it might make sense for Wahoo to buy them, but so much for that.
Just to correct something; our plans have changed a bunch over the years as we look at compliance rates for each workout inside of a plan. We’ve tweaked them to make sure that the “failure” rate is within a certain range. They’ve basically evolved to be better.
You’re right that we still follow a periodized model in training, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Everything else you mentioned is being addressed :-D.
To Nate, love you guys and the platform since it has made me into the cyclist I am today. Xert’s max power available which in turn varies the intervals in real-time would be a game changer for you guys.
I’m also feeling the love for the TR guys and girls and yes the calendar, outside workouts etc are fantastic improvements but I’d like to see much more in the actual core workouts.
You’ve masses and masses of data – time to get working on it and use AI/machine learning to number crunch it all. Tailor your workouts for each specific athlete. Change the plan if you miss a day. Every single workout can be specifically chosen, you could log food (link to myfitnesspal?) – sleep data from Garmin – resting HR. You could become a personal AI coach.
You are in a hugely enviable position in this area and there is so much that could be done. Leave Zwift to do the esports whilst TR focuses on “making us faster cyclists” 🙂
TR continues to develop. Nate and the group are very quite about many things until they are about to be released. Sometimes they slip during the podcast but not too often.
Please explain to me how the plans that claim to be more about individualization do not base things on %FTP.
The new desktop app is night and day above what they did have. I can see a great foundation for many things to be coming on this new base.
With the new outdoor workouts, I see great opportunities as well. Add the fact that TR is working on bringing in the swim / run workouts from Garmin, another game changer is coming.
Thanks Nate for building such a great platform, and for continuing to drive improvements.
After 10+ years of cycling, this is my first year of structured training, using solely TrainerRoad (and no plans of switching platforms). I’m riding the fastest and strongest that I ever have. Their program, and the science behind it works. Plus the podcast is primo (and entertaining).
To me, one of the things that TrainerRoad does best is under promise, over delivering with regards to updates and upgrades. I appreciate that element of honesty, and lack of flashy marketing buzz. Can’t wait to see what’s coming down the road for TR, with or without an acquisition (imagine it’s only a matter of time though).
Agreed. Did you bring that to TrainerRoad’s attention?
Please explain to me how the plans that claim to be more about individualization do not base things on %FTP.
Because they are based on my physiology. Over threshold correct prescription of intervals is highly individual.. Depending on your physiology sir people can do 5 mins at 130% others could only do 115%. So basing everyone at the same % of FTP does not allow optimal training. You could be under or over training. A software system like WKO5 prescribes intervals (duration and time) across all zones based on your unique physiology and allows for optimal training.
This is exactly why all workouts at The Sufferfest are based on a full power profile (4DP), not just FTP. Since 4DP knows exactly what you’re capable of across FTP, MAP, AC and NM, we can prescribe the effort that’s right for YOU. FTP-based workouts are just guessing what you can do and force you to figure out how much you should increase/decrease intensity to get the right training stimulus. Why do that when you can get workouts that actually fit your capabilities?
Totally agree and I like the Sufferfest package. Especially with the yoga and strength. Would still like analytics, calendar and more variety in the amount of workouts but 4DP is definately the right direction.
Also IMO workouts above threshold are better based off %MMP. You can also base workouts off heart rate, rpe and TSS accumulated.
Many ways to skin a cat.
“I continue to think we’ll see something from Zwift in this realm before the year is out.”
Guessing on this… it seems CycleOps is a leading candidate (based on some joint sales now and in the past), with Elite as a second option (but seems unlikely to me).
If it’s CycleOps, then it’s actually SRAM that would be doing the buying at this point.
No, SRAM only acquired PowerTap; CycleOps is still under the Saris umbrella.
Ah, right. Sorry. Hard to keep this stuff straight. 😉
Now if only Trainasone, Xert and Final Surge would merge.
Hmmm. Zwift buys Kurt and incorporates rocking motion for steering control??
my 2 cents: one of the things that zwift does not have is that ‘serious training app’ that other apps like trainer road have. I mean …speaking of zwift with other cyclists always end with something like ‘oh zwift is a game, it is for social riding ‘ and so on. obviously we know that zwift has its own workout mode where we can perform all kinds of workouts our trainers are able to do …but for a lot of guys zwift remains something for fun.
So, maybe, zwift should acquire/join companies like (random) bestbikesplit or traineroad (but maybe trainerroad is too ‘expensive’ for zwift) to became the definitive training platform for indoor training.
Unless I’m mistaken, TR doesn’t do online races, which is becoming a zwift USP. True its training workouts leave something to be desired, but that’s easier to fix. Building a recognised race series that’s engaging pro teams takes some effort.
wait. zwift is already giving to online races a huge priority (sometimes it seems that is the ONLY priority for zwiftHQ).
training workouts in zwift already exist with also training plan…but a lo of people think that ‘serious’ workouts are in other platform…
Surely everyone sees that apps like TR and Sufferfest are much more of a tool than zwift.
I lasted about 2 months of watching group rides that were below my Power to weight leave me for dust, to take zwift seriously. I wouldn’t dream of virtual racing for that reason.
A year of the Sufferfest has made me a much better cyclist.
Leave zwift to the ego trippers that need to have races, I’m happy with a proper training app
Are you saying Wahoo ships hundreds of thousands of trainers a year? Seems high
At $500-per, infers 9 figures annual in trainers
Curious since this site is the info authority I.M.O., and this company remains the industry enigma based on recent investment in, product successes and gaffes, and now outgoing investments. And lack of available info of course
They employ approx 100 people, from the PR when Norwest Equity Partners invested in 2018; that would give you a rough Opex of $10M/yr, so assuming 40% margin, revenues of $25M, which at an ASP of $500 gives 50 000 units per year. So right order of magnitude.
Same page. 50,000 or so would pass the sniff test. Hundreds of thousands seems out of whack.
I use Sufferfest but was going to drop it upon my next renewal, unless they get an Android version. Hopefully this may now happen.
We’re working on something now, Chris!
Thanks David, look forward to it.
I have no apple products except a work iPad.
I would go out and buy one just to stick with Sufferfest.
An android app would be excellent, sure it will come now, but no way would it be a deal breaker
Congrats David on the acquisition. Well deserved, keep on suffering from everyone at SG
Woops, sorry about the massive picture!!
We’ll forgive you if you can get the goat to shoot lasers!
I’d like to see Wahoo incorporate Sufferfest as a backend for their head units. It’s the one thing they lack compared to Garmin with Garmin Connect. Incorporating Indoor and Outdoor in a legitimate training platform could be a game changer
Nice idea, Matt!
Hey David – curious whether we’re any closer to having sufferfest sync with ELEMNTs? I have the BOLT, ROAM, KICKR and Sufferfest sub and very eager to try sufferfest on Apple TV and / or ROAM
Id suggest to update, Garmin has TDA, TTS is EOL for a while now
And TDA is restricted to Tacx trainers unlike TTS.
Amazing, I just made my own acquisition, a Tacx Neo for my Sufferfest subscription lol!
See you in SUF, Richard!
Congratulations to David and the Sufferfest guys, well-deserved. As a Sufferlandrian and Wahoo user, this is a great match up.
Long term, I can imagine potential for greater device / sensor / platform integration, maybe leading to a kind of virtual coach that adjusts the targets mid-workout based on how well you’re going….?
And maybe a way to quickly flip between ERG and level for the big sprints.
Thanks so much, Simon! Sounds like you’ve got a winning combination, there! And, yep, we’re looking at ways to make that switch easier/automatic/etc.
The voucher in box DOES work!. It introduced me to the Tacx training suite when I bought my trainer and I stayed there as a subscription customer for 13 months until the determined incompotence and anti-customer behaviour of Tacx drove me away.
Their videos are stunning, their training tools versatile and customisable, yet it blows my mind just how poor their communication and ongoing attitude towards paying customers has been in light of a minor GDPR issue.
So…, I found myself at zwift because I just needed something that worked. Zwift has become the default option and was easy to get working with my available hardware. I still find its physics weird and unrealistic, the worlds quite small and boring after a while but I’ll be staying there until something better comes up.
You clearly haven’t tried the Sufferfest?
I too started with a few tacx videos when I bought mine. Beautiful to look at, nice to follow.
Went to zwift, got bored by the cheating and game feel of it.
Been at Sufferfest for almost a year now. The comedy, beauty and community of the whole set up is the best out there, imho.
My power figures dropped from 6 months on zwift, 3 months of the Sufferfest, surpassed them, and still improving. You can keep your level badges, Sufferfest has real challenges. Look up the knight of Sufferlandria challenge to see what a real training video challenge is
I’m a heavy user and big-time fan of the Big Three (SufferFest, Zwift, TrainerRoad, not necessarily in that order ). I don’t think the major apps are mutually exclusive option; in fact most people I know use at least two of the three.
I definitely see the benefits from this for SufferFest. But I can’t be the only one to be struggling to see the benefit for Wahoo from this? Surely a simple partnership agreement would give Wahoo largely the same access & benefit, for a heck of a lot cheaper. What exactly is Wahoo getting for its investment?
Good q and I would look to the institutional money that partially owns Wahoo.
Often those types get drunk on subscription + “recurring revenue” stories. Probably expect a 2-5 multiple premium if they can scale the subs a tad.
In that case congrats to David McQ + company on the takeout. Hopefully a good valuation.
I also use all three services – toggle back + forth with GC as the log of record. Overall this seems good news for consumers – gives Suff guaranteed longevity.
Wahoo is trying to get a subscription based revenue stream, that is what the investors want to see.
find it ironic
“It would be foolish to lock everything down to one hardware platform” and yet dont even have an Android app
One of these trainer companies is going to jump into the market with something to compete against the Peloton.
With Saris/CycleOps having had something similar I thought it would be them. They had a solid Indoor Bike with power so they had a lot to work with. Now I don’t think that is the case. They missed a huge opportunity from my viewpoint. Wahoo has to be a leading contender. The Sufferfest Product is more similar to the Peloton style app/training that is so popular. An onscreen trainer yelling at you and directing the rider. They (Wahoo) aren’t interested in a virtual world they want to build a virtual community, more “personal” experience that is easier for people to participate in and not have to piece together a lot of different components. That is the selling point of the Peloton. It is a turn key solution for the user.
Wahoo being hardware oriented needed a software side. So maybe this is a part of the puzzle. Wahoo could design and build a much better Indoor bike with resistance control then what Peloton offers. Plus the SufferFest would integrate well with their existing business model.
Counterpoint: When I look at Peloton, I see a brand that—despite their name—has intentionally abstracted itself as far away as possible from the actual sport of cycling. It worked. They attracted a very large and engaged community of people who almost unanimously want to have nothing to do with the actual sport of cycling. It’s the opposite for the indoor training brands that Ray covers. They provide products for people who are very enthusiastic about the actual sport of cycling. Their products celebrate actual cycling, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. Some of these brands may come out with complete e-bike trainers that you won’t need to attach a bike frame to, but that still doesn’t mean they’re taking on Peloton. If one of them starts marketing a new product that provides “fun aerobic spin workouts” with charismatic on-camera instructors with no mention of anything related to actual cycling, then okay, they will have targeted Peloton.
I agree that is the way the Peloton has marketed their product.
That marketing has also appealed to cyclists who would be great candidates for Smart Trainers (they already own a bike and ride regularly) yet instead they choose to spend more money on a Peloton versus investing in a Smart trainer. Clearly there is appeal to what Peloton offers.
CycleOps could have done the same but many bike brands think about products geared specifically to cycling yet have the technology to use that knowledge to diversify some. Yes some companies should and need to stay within the cycling industry. CycleOps and Wahoo certainly could develop products that compete with Peloton if they wanted to. Indoor cycling is certainly a bigger opportunity then just focusing on the cyclist segment of the indoor training/cycling market.
The one company no one is talking about is Peloton but they have to be a competitor to Wahoo. What does Peloton have that Wahoo and the other trainer companies don’t have? A heck of a lot of content in the form of online classes. Wouldn’t this acquisition give Wahoo a head start on that content and maybe a complete solution in the future meaning bike, trainer, content and coaching/training. Even if this is not the in immediate plans it gives them an option to in future that they don’t have before the acquisition
I could be wrong but if I’m right they are much better positioned for the future then their competitors. It’s a good move for them imho
To Nate, love you guys and the platform since it has made me into the cyclist I am today. Xert’s max power available which in turn varies the intervals in real-time would be a game changer for you guys.
Good coverage of the acquisition—especially for mentioning Sufferfest’s Apple TV development.
That said, I found it curious that, among Sufferfest’s other training regimens, they very recently began offering some specifically tailored to e-sports.
Nothing terribly curious there, actually. We see that racing online – eSports – is getting bigger and that there are unique physiological demands for that kind of racing. Since we’re in the business of training endurance athletes, it made sense for us to offer plans specific to that kind of racing. We wanted to get the plans out sooner….but our Sports Science team kept tweaking them until they were perfect.
Good summary – I came here straight after reading the release from the Sufferfest. I’ve been training indoors since around 2011. Back then it was the sufferfest videos, then trainer road on my trusty old Kurt Kinetic road machine. I enjoy Zwift and have tried Virtugo – now on a Kickr smart trainer. The sufferfest is the most effective, time efficient and best value training platform around. It’s the one I recommend to my friends who want to achieve their goals (one just completed his first epic gran fondo on the back of a sufferfest plan). I wish the SUF team all the best of success and look forward to seeing what they can do with more resources and better hardware integration (spin downs, integration with head units, support for more training platforms, whatever it is)
Thanks so much, Lachlan!
Due to several operations inside my skull, and time off the bike, I’m lucky enough to be in that “golden year” where any sort of cycling improves my fitness. Therefore Zwift training plans are good enough for me at the moment.
The Sufferfest 4DP and Xertonline similar are very attractive to me for next year (should my head not implode again), so a small promotion from them for me and my Wahoo Kicker would be most welcome.
Good luck to the Sufferfest people, I hope that you can continue to improve my life in indoor training.
Seems like a win win to me. Sufferfest is an awesome training application, Wahoo have the hardware that can improve that experience. I would love to see something for outdoor based Sufferfest workouts using Wahoo headunits to control, record and load back into the app.
Stay tuned! 🙂
Hey, any news on the integration for outdoor workouts? It would be great if I could see ride recorded with my Elemnt Bolt in my Sufferfest app.
The biggest win here is the Sufferfest community.
My fear was always the cost of must take to run something like the Sufferfest, so this guarantees us sufferlandrians never have to emigrate to a fortiegn land.
This also means my favourite training app can grow even more, because I haven’t seen such a complete training program, for all my activities I do.
I can’t wait for a possible dedicated training bike from wahoo, so tempting to get the Garmin version, but I’ll wait for a few more months.
So happy for the Sufferfest team
So when will Sufferfest rebrand to SUFFR?
Well, Wahoo needs to rename the “Climb” the “SnapR” first…
Part of the negotiations was that we got to keep all of vowels. 🙂
I hate this trend. Garmin/Tacx, Wahoo/Sufferfest, Zwift/Whoever they will buy with their deep pockets. All the openness and cross-compatibility that had been painfully built up in recent years seems to be in deep peril. Like cold war blocks threatening each other with mutually assured incompatibility, it only takes one careless middle management decision to push some minor sub-feature with the lock-in option and it will all escalate into massively reduced end-user utility.
“it only takes one careless middle management decision to push some minor sub-feature with the lock-in option and it will all escalate into massively reduced end-user utility.”
I’d argue that’s already happened – and Wahoo led the way there with the KICKR CLIMB. After all, they had actually committed in public to Tacx (and anyone that asked) that Tacx could leverage it with their trainers as long as Tacx took on any responsibility for the hinge aspect. That’s since been rescinded as an offer.
Specific comment: link to dcrainmaker.com
There are aspects of the Sufferfest that have not received much attention here, but are of certain value and likely an attractor for Wahoo. The sports science component is something that is fairly unique in that it is integrated into the training app. The mindfulness/yoga piece is also a differentiator and could be leveraged to broaden appeal, especially for a family subscription. A newer aspect is training plans – which begin to address a weakness of Sufferfest…for all of the sport science / 4DP wizardry (good), every user must piece together the sequence of workouts to make a training plan (bad). Recently, SF has begun to address this with custom training plans, which is smart. I imagine that that will be something that Wahoo’s investment will accelerate. Finally, based on the SF name and the original videos (entertaining for some, goofy to others), SF has been a acquired taste. Also little known outside the SF community is the developing library of ‘no vid’ workouts (and, as of fairly recently, you can turn off the entertainment in the app for workouts that do have audio/video). Marketing that to the ‘right’ audience might make SF appear to a group of athletes who would otherwise dismiss SF as too focused on the Sufferlandria narrative and miss the components that are perfectly appropriate for ‘serious’ training. Short story…David and his team have developed a number of unique/differentiating features in SF that are underappreciated. Wahoo’s marketing power and presumable ability to introduce buyers to all of the features of SF seems like a successful approach for expansion.
Thanks for noticing! Yep, we’ve worked hard to add a lot of new content and features — quite a bit of which isn’t that well known. We need to get cracking on getting the word out a bit better!
As a Sufferlandrian since January 2013 and a Wahoo Bolt user since it came out, I’d love to see incorporation of the 4DP metrics into the Elemnt line. TSS is nice but doesn’t really capture the same level of performance targets that could be driven by the 4DP numbers. David McQ? Any comment on what may be coming in this area?
Also, I think that the knowledge and experience of Neal Henderson (the director of coaching for The Sufferfest and author of many of their workouts) is a great acquisition for Wahoo. Neal has a better understanding of building plans around smart trainers than almost anyone else I’m aware of in the industry, as well as proven success with pro riders in multiple disciplines. I’ll be interested to see what enhancements to the Wahoo product lines may come out of this joining of forces.
I can see a TSaaS plan coming very soon. The cost of the trainer is still a major hurdle to many.
$100 1 time start fee
$20/month for the trainer and SF
after 30 months you can either buy out your trainer and get a discounted SF rate, or send back your old one and get the latest model.
In the above model Wahoo ends up with $700 which I am sure would cover them nicely, and they could sell the old model as a refurb for another $300 or $400.
Stop paying? Some sort of wifi check every x days to make sure your subscription is paid and if not the trainer becomes “dumb” and stuck in the lowest or highest resistance setting.
I think Wahoo has been extensively testing the “send back your old one and get the latest model” model over the last year or so.
Can you please elaborate?
They’ve had a few….er, teething issues with the 2018 Kickr.
Road Grand Tours
I’d add VeloPro to that list.
I can see Wahoo springing up with a few sufferfest studios around the world.
Imagine if Wahoo was able to use the hours of heart rate, power, and cadence data that you feed into a training program to produce an individualized model that estimates your 10-second power on a Wahoo unit without a power meter – it would be like packaging the features of PowerPod without additional accessories on your bars.
I agree that it’s not likely Wahoo will compete with Zwift. The market environment is still to fragmented and Wahoo and the virtual-world players currently enjoy a nice symbiotic relationship.
Chip Hawkins once again proves to be a great engineer and marketer!
Wahoo could buy Final Surge, then they have a training calendar app like Training Peaks, the training platform with Sufferfest and then they meld it with the Wahoo app (which is just ok…barely). Now they have bought Speedplay (which I love). If they could just make a trainer right from the beginning….every time I think about buying one of their trainers it seems like its 3/4 months of teething issues before they get it right.
Yeah, I wonder though at what point companies need full training log platforms. Meaning – it’s not a complaint I typically hear of Wahoo’s devices. Where I think the gap Wahoo has is how to reconcile the lack of physio type training load/recovery data on their devices, which often needs some sort of platform behind it all.
I think its one of those..you don’t need it and then you have it and then its like ‘wow this is great’. Its one additional box for Wahoo to tick off, or if they just integrate well with say Todays Plan or Final Surge as a partner then it works too. I just want a Speedplay powermeter and a quiet trainer from Wahoo….so not that much! 😛
You’re on the right track there, Tizzledk. But no need to buy a training plan/log platform — we’re building one within The Sufferfest and it will be released by the end of the year. ps. the new Wahoo KICKR Bike is seriously quiet. 🙂
Great opinion piece there DC!
Interesting development to note; Wahoo / SUF have offered annual subscribers of SUF a free TICKR heart rate strap (delivery charges apply). I just ordered mine!
Gotta love the cross brand promotion capability and unsubtle reminder that Wahoo is now in the SUF business. On a side note: Congrats to David on this development, your are a passionate and switched on guy. I you stay on long term!!!
Thanks so much, Nate!
David apologies about the incomprehensible ‘congrats’ I accidentally hit send in the middle of editing. So here goes take 2:
I have loved SUF since I first experienced it in a Sufferlandria gym with you leading the class. 4DP is literally the hardest thing on 1 wheel & I love the fact you take a light hearted, yet sophisticated wholistic approach to making a cyclist better.
Whilst we maybe distracted by bells & whistles of ‘virtual’, you are the real deal. Thanks for your passion & I hope you stay on with SUF a long time… wahoo would be crazy to let you go!!!
All I can say is being gobbled up by wahoo has done nothing for their client support. Having emailed 2 times to them plus submitting a new ticket I received no reply to any or them. If this is what a takeover looks like then sufferfest jumped into bed with the wrong company. They went from being the best in support to the worst…and I do mean the worst
Hi Andrew. I assure you that Wahoo’s dedication to customer service is as strong as our own and our customer satisfaction levels are actually higher than they’ve been and our SUF Services team has lost none of their passion for helping Sufferlandrians achieve their goals. I’m sorry that we haven’t got back to you — something must have gone wrong. If you drop an email to me on email@example.com I’ll get it forwarded directly to our team to see if they can help you.
Emailed you David.