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The StagesBike: A Quick Hands-On Update

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It’s been almost 5 months since Stages first announced their StagesBike at Eurobike. At the time they stated they planned to ship in Q1 2020 (which is, sometime between Jan-Mar 2020). Beyond that, it was mostly pretty quiet – as you’d expect. Also, apparently the spelling of ‘Stages Bike’, is without a space now. Maybe it always was. But hey – the more ya know!

However, this past week at the Tour Down Under they had three of the four, of the bikes on-hand, open to anyone that wanted to ride them. In fact, you could do your own side by side comparison of indoor smart bikes. Garmin was in a booth directly across from them, with the Tacx NEO Smart Bike, and Wahoo was three or so booths down (maybe 50 meters away) with their Wahoo KICKR Bike. Heck, someone even mentioned there was a Wattbike floating around somewhere (though, I didn’t see it myself). Either way, it was open season for indoor bikes…if you were outdoors in Australia.

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Now, I’m not going to re-hash all the features of the StagesBike – since that’s what my first post was for. And nothing has really changed in that respect. Here’s the 10-second specs from before, in case you want to get up to speed:

– Price: $2,600-$2,800
– Fully ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart broadcasting
– Fully ANT+ FE-C & Bluetooth Smart FTMS controllable
– Connects to apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, The Sufferfest and more
– Maximum Wattage: 3,000w
– Steering buttons: Yes, once Zwift implements it
– Braking: Yes, already implemented
– Shifting: Has multiple button-based shifting, will be customizable within app
– Gearing: Can customize gearing within app to replicate “any bike gearing you can imagine” (their words)
– USB Ports: Dual USB ports on front
– Display stand: Both tablet and phone holders built-on
– Crank lengths: 165/170/172.5/175mm

Got all that? Good, let’s get cookin’.

The Bike:

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Now, I will give you the two-second tour of these production-validation bikes. That is, these were the last set of bikes to come off the production line, to be used for validation. Since then, they’ve completed that validation and the first set of customer-bound production bikes are actually already on the water. More on that in a moment.

As noted, Stages had four bikes floating around. Two of them were connected up to screens with Zwift running (perhaps they had other apps at other times), a third was up on a pedestal for easier inspection, and then a fourth was out-front of the booth sans-display for anyone that wanted to bake in the sun while getting in their workout.

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Best I can tell, there haven’t been any noticeable changes to the external form of the bike since back in September. All the core components and design elements all appear virtually identical to my eyes.

One of the biggest notables of the StagesBike is that it has two Stages power meters on it, one for each crank arm. Thus giving you true left-right power balance. And unlike their Shimano-based Stages LR crankset, they have a bit more control over the accuracy here since it’s their own crank arm. Though, as you may remember, they also have a third power sensor on the bike up at the flywheel, used internally for cross-referencing the data.

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Above you can see those small Stages pods bumping off the top of each crank arm. Another welcomed addition compared to other smart bikes we’ve seen is the double water bottle holder. While admittedly I rarely go through two full water bottles on a typical weekday hour trainer ride – for those longer multi-hour winter sessions, it’s a handy touch.

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The display has mounting options for both individual phones as well as tablets (even an iPad Pro can fit). Further, you can mount a tablet up top and then place your phone, or another bike computer, on the grippy surface below it. Underneath that console are two 2AMP USB ports.

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The app will be used for configuring any shifting or gearing you want, as well as other aspects of the bike. Technically the app is the same Stages Link app that’s used for their Stages Dash GPS units as well.

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From a bike fit standpoint it’s got much of the same adjustability as other indoor bikes. Crank arm lengths at 165mm/170mm/172.5mm/175mm. The seat post can go up/down, as well as fore/aft, and the same for the front console display.

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However, the step-through design here means that you don’t have to deal with any thigh-gap frame/seat post rub issues like on the Tacx NEO Bike & Wahoo KICKR Bike.

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Meanwhile, the front 31.8mm handlebar means you can easily put on your own clip-on aerobars if you want to.

I did get a chance to jump on it and see how it felt. And overall it feels good. But I’ll wait till I get it back in the Cave and with regular cycling shoes and apps like Zwift or such to see reaction/power accuracy, etc…

Probably the most notable thing is the beast-like weight classification achievement the company has unlocked. The StagesBike clocks in at 160 pounds (72.5kg) all-in shipped weight, with the bike itself being 138 pounds (62.6kg). Of that, the flywheel alone is a spectacular 50 pounds (22.7kg). None of the other bikes have flywheels anywhere remotely near that. Even the Peloton bike is ‘only’ 38 pounds (17.2kg). Go big or go home apparently.

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While I was able to manhandle both the Wahoo and Tacx Bike’s up the DCR Cave stairs myself, I’m gonna finally have to use the darn lift thingy I had installed in the Cave to get it up to the upper floors (roughly this). Technically it’s certified for more than that weight. Perhaps I’ll test it with a pallet of bricks first. Yes, for some odd reason I actually do have a pallet of bricks sitting around.

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Of course, those are all problems I’ll deal with next month. Or, I’ll just sucker one of my friends into helping me get the beast up into the DCR test area.

Wrap-Up:

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So where does shipping stand? Again, as previously planned it was always Jan-Mar of 2020, and the company says they’re on target for that still. Right now the first batch of bikes is already on a ship traversing the Pacific Ocean towards the US. The main holdup at this point is simply their configuration app. That’s actually in-line with what they said way back at Eurobike, that the majority of the time they needed from a development standpoint was on the app, rather than the hardware. Stages, of course, has been making indoor bikes (mainly connected/smart spin bikes) for years, and is one of the biggest players on that market. For the app, Stages is saying they’re about 4-6 weeks out as of this week. So that puts them in early-mid March for first deliveries.

In-line with that, they’re talking about having a bike to the DCR Cave probably in the mid-late February timeframe to begin testing. As usual, I’ll wait until they start shipping to actual customers before I publish any sort of in-depth review. The same as I did for the Wahoo KICKR Bike & Tacx NEO Bike, to ensure that experience matches the end-consumer.

Thus stay tuned for later this quarter to see how things shape up (and ship out). More to come.

Thanks for reading!

—–

Hopefully you found this information useful. A full in-depth review is on the docket for the near future. But if you just can’t wait and want to buy the bike now, please consider using the links in the sidebar to make your purchase and help support this site. 

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83 Comments

  1. Robert Cuadro

    I remember when I used to make fun of Peleton because the bikes were so expensive… now I look at these and realize the price is reasonable for what they are and what they do…
    I am torn though. The Wahoo bike looks so sexy while the stages look more “traditional”

    Maybe when I win the lotto.

    • Andrew

      2k plus a recurring fee for a bike incapable of erg mode is insane

    • Sam

      Maybe price is so high cause peloton aready was?

    • carlos

      Peloton were selling the bike for ~$1k but they couldn’t sell them because they were perceived as cheap. So they doubled the price and sales took off.

    • It’s a bit more complicated than that. During their Kickstarter, for $1,500 for just the early bird folks. Non-early bird was $1,700 – but only a few people missed the early bird. So the jump from $1,70 for Kickstarter to $2,200 is actually relatively cheap in typical Kickstarter percentages, which usually see prices go for 50-70% more at retail.

      However, shortly after Kickstarter for a few months they offered it at $1,200 before then going up higher again due to the cheapness aspect. Outlined here a bit: link to finance.yahoo.com

      Peloton has long noted in various earnings calls that the bike itself is a profit center. Most folks in the industry talk to easily agree with that – the cost of that specific bike isn’t that high.

  2. FJ

    Funny that two bottle holders are considered “a nice touch”… These days I’m easily going through five bottles on a trainer ride… I guess that’s what happens when you try to do base rides in the middle of winter.

    These smart bikes look very cool, but the prices are a bit excessive for a cyclist. But perhaps cyclists are not the main target here:

    A couple of years ago when I was on a one week trip to Spain in late winter. No bike, so I had to join a spinning class to get my training in. Look to the left out the window – beautiful blue sky, 20C, no wind, mountains in the background, perfect riding day. Look to the right – class full of people riding indoor stationary bikes. I thought that was nuts until a cyclist friend of mine (and spinning instructor) explained. These are not cyclists, they are gym/fitness people.

    And that may be the target so the pricing context has to be framed accordingly. These are the same kind of people that have proven willing to spend $$$ on Peloton bikes, or personal trainers.

    As for me, my Tacx neo + old frame with spare bits is doing the job mighty fine for a fraction of the cost. I even have two bottle holders 🙂

    • I actually don’t think these are different target markets at all. Peloton a bit, but not much.

      I think most ‘cyclists’ forget how much we actually spend on our new bikes. And the prices I see for new frames keeps going up and up, the same for components. It’s gotten crazy.

      Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think indoor smart bikes in this segment of the market (which is slightly different from Peloton) will really ‘catch-on’ until the bikes are sub-$2K. Or, at least in the Peloton price point with a built-in large screen that runs apps like Zwift and TrainerRoad.

      It’s actually something I asked Stags: Could they come out with an accessory screen (something like a 30″ screen or what-not) that mounts onto the front. Basically, just steal the Peloton screen. Would the bike structurally support that, or from a cabling standpoint – could it happen? They were wishy-washy on the answer. I think both Tacx and Stages structurally could pull it off with the current bike, but clearly Wahoo wouldn’t be able too (would be far too much sway up front).

      The more I ride the Peloton bike I bought, the more I think Zwift’s gonna win this game long-term with a built-in screen bike. Sure, they might also win because of their unique market position. But man, everything about Peloton ‘just works’, which is a far cry from everything about every indoor bike & app I write about today.

    • Chris Benten

      Sure the Peloton bike works…it’s a spin bike with a suspect power meter with no control and a screen. My wife jumped on one in a store, granted early in their shipments**, and put out 300 watts. She can barely do 60 watts on my Snap. Just wait for ebike races…everyone will want to be on a Peloton.

      **Prior to their QC program to fix PM issues in their factory.

    • Yeah, I’ve heard/seen variable data from in the past.

      For the model I bought (which was used, from Feb 2019), it seems mostly OK for their use case. Not amazing, but not bad. I’ve been collecting data from each workout and it’s close but suffers from some drift over longer workouts (seems to be about 3-5% at the worst end). I haven’t quite nailed down yet if the drift is cadence or power/wattage driven. Nor have I done anything yet to address the calibration (it sounds like there’s something you can do there, but I haven’t dug into it yet).

      As for control, you use the knob to control it. While that’s not ideal for an application like Zwift with constantly changing terrain, but is actually perfectly fine for what Peloton is: A structured workout.

      I think that’s a piece a lot of people overlook when they see Peloton. Many just see the instructors with occasionally over the top rah-rah stuff. But at its core, it’s just a structured workout using power and cadence. It’s technically no different than TrainerRoad. Heck, some of the workouts are virtually indistinguishable – such as those from former pro rider Christian Vande Velde.

      Oh – and the just works factor is there, something that again, none of the companies in this segment can deliver (yet). Even on trainers. There’s lots of things I don’t like about Peloton, but I think a lot of folks focus on the wrong things to complain about there.

    • FJ

      oh, it’s true, we spend a lot of money (and time) on our bikes, but I’m not sure that can be used as an argument for “people are willing to spend $$$ on bikes, they’ll spend $$$ on this indoor bike thingy”.

      Every cyclist in my circle that I have had this conversation with has balked at the price of these indoor bikes, and unanimously they have said something along the lines of “screw that, I’ll put my current bike on a wahoo/tacx/elite/whatever for a third/quarter the cost and ride that”. These are people riding anything from $2,000 to $10,000 bikes. They can afford the price, but they choose not to swallow it because there isn’t enough value in it *for them*.

      As they evolve, and perhaps as you suggest integrate the screen and necessary hardware to run Zwift and co, the value proposition may increase for those that are either less technically savvy, don’t want the hassle, or want something that looks a bit better in their pain cave.

      And prices will probably also come down a bit. Ultimately these are nothing more than a top end turbo trainer with a cheap-ish bike frame attached to it (no need for light carbon here), plus a few extras (crankset, levers, etc)… From a materials POV I don’t see why they have to cost more than twice what a top end trainer costs.

      But this is all fun, banter and speculation. As I said, I have zero interest in these things, specially taking into account that a 63Kg indoor bike and cyclist’s noodle arms don’t make for a great combo 😛

    • “As they evolve, and perhaps as you suggest integrate the screen and necessary hardware to run Zwift and co, the value proposition may increase for those that are either less technically savvy, don’t want the hassle, or want something that looks a bit better in their pain cave.”

      Yup, I agree with you entirely here. I don’t think the value is there yet for most of these bikes at the $3,000 price points. At least for the single rider. It gets a bit better if shared between multiple people.

    • FJ

      That is a valid point – the multiple user scenario. My solution works perfect for me, but if anyone else in my household wanted to also use the bike to train (even if just the occasional 30 minute jaunt) they’ve find it difficult to adjust the position. Not to mention I’d scream bloody murder for altering my careful fine tuned over several years geometry 😀

      Incidently, if anyone knows of a stem that allows for easy/quick regulation in length to take into account for this scenario, I’d love to know about it. Would be useful to tweak bike position and experiment.

    • Andrew

      The thing about trainer road, is that you can set it on erg mode, have a phone or laptop open on a desk and watch tv through the whole workout without having to worry about a dial – I’m not sure how that would work for something like sprint intervals. For the price point, a functional power meter and erg mode don’t seem to be a huge ask. Their screen is nice, but I prefer a wahoo desk and a nice big tv behind that.

    • For sprint intervals it’s harder (i.e. sub-15s or so), though you’d be surprised at how good you get knowing exactly how much to turn to get the wattage you want.

      Ultimately, having +/- 1% power accuracy simply isn’t needed for what Peloton aims to do (which, is make people fitter). Whereas if you’re trying to track progression season after season, or even trying to be very precise about short duration intervals, the Peloton bike as designed today isn’t ideal for that.

      On the bright side, it won’t drop-out your ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart connection when your WiFi route gets a grudge.

    • gingerneil

      I think there is also a small amount of bike-snobbery (or geekery, choose your descriptor!) going on here. These bikes look too much like old fashioned exercise bikes. That works in a gym setting… but a ‘proper cyclist’ wants something that looks and feels like a proper bike, but just indoors. Its a mindset that’s been developed over many many years. Indoor trainers also give cyclists an excuse to upgrade their ‘proper’ bike – retire old components down to the trainer bike setup, and get something new and shiny to use outside. That gives more perceived value for the outlay of $$, rather than spending on something that is indoor only and ‘single use’.

      (caveat – I’m a runner, and think all of cycling is cheating. So ignore me!)

    • Chris Benten

      Absolutely nothing wrong with spin classes or doing a structured workout. My point is that there is a lot less to get “right”. As you have said on multiple occasions, (paraphrasing) …getting to +/-5% is not too difficult, it is getting to the 1-2% range is where all the work is…

      The Peloton business model is great if they generate enough monthly subscribers. But it seems to me I can do that with a $300 spin bike and an HRM if they allow subscriptions I can cast to my TV.

    • inSyt

      A dumb spin bike with wahoo/magene cadence sensor, smartphone with wahoo app and a screen with GCN Interval Workout YouTube videos provides the same workout experience as Peloton. Pelton’s main attraction is it’s online spin class videos.

      A smart bike that can automatically adjust resistance for it’s library of online spin class videos, that is something that could take market share from Peloton.

    • Mike S.

      Sorry, did you mean to say that “Peleton is gonna win this game long-term” instead of Zwift? The last sentence makes it sound like you favor Peloton because it works.

    • aeroB

      Considering Stages already makes a bike with a build in display (link to stagesindoorcycling.com), I don’t think there’s any question whether they can do it. However, a build in display could be limiting. Already have a big screen tv in your pain cave? Then why buy a bike with a large build in display? prefer using your ipad and trainer road? bringing your own device keeps the cost down.
      It makes sense as a possible upgraded model – but again, brings in the issues another person mentioned in the comments – product longevity. The current components of the bike should all be serviceable and usable for a very long time, especially given the amount of shared technology with their commercial offerings.

    • DLinLV

      Yeah, get it (indoor bike) under $2k and I am all in. My Tacx Neo OG is flawless and the Tacx Bike is encouraging, but I need it under 2K to replace my Neo. Maybe even 2200.00 as it sits today, assuming no more issues. I am on the fence to see if Garmin is good or bad for Tacx support.

      Dennis

    • Nik

      For $340, there is this adjustable stem: link to fitkitsystems.com

    • inSyt

      No, I do not favor Peloton. I’m just giving my opinion on why it is successful. I have tried it out, it’s good, but $40/month for what is essentially a spin session video streaming service is very expensive when you can get entertainment streaming services with much more content for $10/month.

      Zwift – more attractive to gamers, tinkerers, (males) and cyclists.
      Peloton – more attractive to (females and) gym users.

    • “Sorry, did you mean to say that “Peleton is gonna win this game long-term” instead of Zwift? The last sentence makes it sound like you favor Peloton because it works”

      That wasn’t actually my initial intention on that sentence, though, I support that variant as well.

      My initial intention was trying to say that I believe long-term Zwift will beat Wahoo/Tacx/Stages/etc in the stand-alone bike game, assuming they adopt a Peloton model (screen+bike+service), for a semi-reasonable fee. Semi-reasonable is debateable, but if it’s less than the price of the current crop of bikes, they’ll instantly win. However, Zwift has honestly no idea how difficult that entire process is going to be. And I don’t think they have even close to the right team assembled to do that. They struggle on a weekly basis to implement simple hardware-driven requests from their partners. The reasons for that are multitude, but mostly it’s because more or less all development approvals flow through a single individual. It drives the rest of the industry bonkers. So they will have to ‘grow up’ if they think they’re going to succeed in hardware production at any scale.

      As for the second piece – Peloton beating Zwift in numbers. Easily. Next week Peloton will announce their next quarterly earnings, so for now we’ll use last quarter’s earnings (roughly Q3 earnings, but Peloton has a wonky/offset fiscal calendar so they call it Q1). In any case, for that quarter they grew to 563,000 total bikes sold and subscribing at $40/month. Atop that they have another 100K “digital subscribers”, meaning people without bikes but that just use the Peloton app @ $12/month.

      Now, for comparison: Zwift has approx 300K paying subscribers right now (I’m using actual paying people, not the oft-quoted silly metric of people that have ever tried Zwift. Nobody cares about that. If they tried Zwift and didn’t end up buying it – they’re useless here). We know from historical data Zwift is growing at approx 100K/year – or roughly 30%. Peloton is growing at 103%/year right now for bike sales, and I suspect we’re going to see next week’s numbers completely crush it on the digital app side (because of a price drop from $20/mo to $12/month).

      Also for comparison Wahoo has shipped roughly a few hundred bikes to consumers. Tacx has probably shipped in the 1,000 or so range.

      All of which ignores the fact that Peloton already has built out their bike distribution network, something that we’re seeing Wahoo/Tacx/etc struggle with (logistics of delivery of large pieces like this). And the fact that Peloton bought their own factory last quarter for manufacturing. Or the fact that they somehow have a subscriber churn rate of under 1% last quarter. Or that they have a member workout rate on average greater than 11/workouts month (which is super higher for this segment). On the flip side, Peloton’s risks are inability to expand geographically quick enough to beat their lower priced competitors. That’s why they’re ‘losing money’ this quarter. You can listen to their quarterly earnings call and they talk about how they’d be profitable today if they weren’t investing it all back into expansion, which is logical (though, their balance sheet on that is a bit iffy on exact expenditures).

      You can read last quarter’s full report here, it’s a worthwhile read for folks to understand this business: link to investor.onepeloton.com

    • FJ

      Thanks for that post Ray, super informative.

    • Jeremy

      You can do that already. I have for the past two years used a cheap spin bike and used the Peloton Digital app and cast it to my TV. I also use Zwift with my spin bike because it has a power meter and cadence sensors.

    • Bob Kratchet

      I have the opposite opinion, I hate having my bike on a trainer for Zwift. I think it’s uncomfortable, it takes up a lot of space and it’s messy. Seems like there is always a little bit of shifting adjustment when you put the bike on the trainer, no matter how close you get the cassettes. Plus, I have two kids that LOVE Zwift (with their free accounts), with a bike on a trainer there is no way they could do their 4-5 rides a week in the winter. I love that any of us can just hop right on the bike with a few adjustments and ride. I also like that I can raise the handlebars significantly and be gentler on my neck and back in the winter.

      That said, no way I would drop $3k for a smart bike. I found a Freemotion S11.6 spin bike on Craigslist for $200. It has a built-in Stages power meter on the crank, which is perfect for Zwift. Yeah, it doesn’t change resistance on hills, but Zwift does so well with power to speed conversions on dumb trainers that hills actually feel like hills. I would consider a bike like the SB20 for around $1,500 just because it would be “cool” to have the resistance changes, but with three power meters on that bike the pricepoint will never happen. I would be ok with a single power meter and reduced price.

  3. Bikeman

    This Fall, I converted my racing bike from the 90’s to permanent indoor trainer. If I didn’t already have that option, I’d be very interested in the Stages bike. If they get the software correct, the only issue would be getting it to the second floor Zwift cave. Very much looking forward to your review as well as Lama’s.

  4. T v D

    Nice, will wait for the full indepth review.

    Meanwhile you could post the overdue Stages Dash l50 indepth review 😜 really looking forward to that one.

  5. David W

    What’s the bump sticking out of the gap in the bar tape on the drops? Shifting? Steering?

  6. David Chrisman

    I’m interested in how this one compares others for multiple riders in same household situation. With their experience making gym equipment–hoping they will make it as easy as possible.

    • Mark

      This looks very similar adjustment-wise to the Stages spin bikes at my gym. It’s super easy to use for multiple users. This bike looks very good from that standpoint.

  7. Jared

    This isn’t priced much differently than their current power meter enabled spin bikes. It would be sweet to see these at gyms!

  8. Bryan

    As a family with 2 riders and 2 kids a stationary indoor to replace our current spin bike is very high on our list. I personally spend more time throughout the year on my spin bike than my actual bike – first because of kids, second because American roads can be frightening.

    I really, really want the Stages bike to feel great.

  9. Chad McNeese

    Looking at the cranks and the apparently close shrouding around the drive system, I am wondering if there is enough room behind the crank arm to install some pedals designs that don’t have the external 15mm pedal wrench flats?

    Seems it might be a super tight fit to get an L-shaped Allen wrench behind there that is needed for many pedals (Shimano for one).

  10. Heinrich Hurtz

    Been riding a direct drive smart trainer with my backup road bike basically being permanently set up on it. I would def consider a “stationary” bike like this as a future buy. However, I put stationary in quotes because what I’d really want is one that has an integral capability to move about, similar to a trainer on the Saris Mp1 platform.

  11. Charlie Hay

    I was in the market for a smart bike, but I think I may have permanently ruled myself out…

    Explanation: I was quite wary of combining the durable (or at least serviceable) aspects of a regular bike, such as the frame and the basic mechanicals, with the shorter lifespan technology aspects of a smart trainer.

    It’s bad enough having a smart trainer with electronics/computing components that can either fail or more likely be superseded by the ongoing advance of technology, versus a dumb trainer like a Kinetic RM that can last for decades. But at least with a regular bike / smart trainer combo, the smart trainer could be periodically replaced as new technology, improvements and standards came along, while the bike part (the trainer mule) could live on for years and years (decades) if looked after and basic servicing was performed.

    With a smart *bike*, however, when the technology moves on you’re left with a giant white elephant and face having to dump the entire thing – the perfectly serviceable mechanical bits of the smart bike along with the now superseded electronics/computing bits. Stomaching monumental depreciation/loss while criminally landfilling a smart bike where much of it is still almost as good as the day you bought it…

    I don’t like the sound of that, so will stick with trying to take as modular an approach as possible, ie. where possible, keep the shorter lifespan tech separate to the longer lifespan physical mechanical parts.

    The current Sonos debacle is a timely reminder that buying durable devices with built-in electronics/computers is great for convenience but it can turn out to be an expensive business once the electronics/computing components are deemed by someone else to be old hat and are no longer supported, consigning your device to the dustbin.

    So no smart bike for me, I think.

    • youpmelone

      I think this is the best written comment I have seen on these bikes. Good thinking.
      @Ray it might be good to have a column in your comparison table with the amount of years the company will support the product. It would be a big shame if all these bike end up like Chinese bike sharing bikes.

    • Ian S

      Ultimately all the smart bikes support Ant+ and Bluetooth, which I suspect are both fairly durable standards. That feels a safe investment.

      For me these bikes work in a multi user environment, if you’re a cyclist who will have a bike then it makes much more sense to spend 600-700 gbp on a smart turbo. But if there are two of you wanting to use the bike then the adjustability makes perfect sense.

      Re Peloton, it’s a different market. Cyclists aren’t going to be drawn to that market because we tend to work to a fairly perscriptive training plan with measured TSS increases, structured intervals, etc, etc. But for someone who just wants a home fitness class the offering is compelling.

    • Charlie Hay

      @Ian S,
      I agree that the “multi-user” use case is a key appeal of these smart bikes, and for a certain cohort of people will be the overriding selling point which’ll trump everything else.

      My use case had the multi-user aspect as a “nice have” bonus rather than a “must have”, with other considerations were more important. But I completely understand that other people will have different priorities.

  12. Patrick Renschler

    How was the noise level?

    I recently picked up a lightly used Stages SC3, and we’ve been very happy with it. But the drive chain has a belt and it makes a constant vibration/humming noise when riding.

    I’ve tried to tinker with the belt tension but Stages support got back to me after watching a video of the noise saying that’s basically what it sounds like and there’s not much to be done.

    Wondering if they solved that issue with their newer bike?

  13. Charlie Anderson

    Do the stages PM pods have batteries like their road counterparts? Nit picking, but that seems a bit weird that you’d have to consider battery status on your integrated bike setup.

    • Yep. x1 2032 required each side. It uses the same pod/door as the Stages Right cranks.

    • Wouter

      Hahaha – there is no way I would want to be bothered stressing about battery levels on an indoor training bike. There really is no way… . What an incredible let down.

    • Tim Parker

      If you’re stressing about cheap, ubiquitous batteries that should last around 200 hours (if similar to their single crank sensors) then maybe there are other things to look at rather than whether you want a smart bike.. perhaps.. but let’s face it, it’s not really a gating issue is it ?

    • Kevin

      If it defaults to the flywheel power measurement when those batteries are flat, then it’s not such a concern. I’d hope this is what’s implemented, otherwise losing all power during a Zwift race would be pretty frustrating – just a brief ANT+ dropout is bad enough!

    • Wouter

      It’s of course not about the cost of batteries. To me, what would justify the cost of an indoor smart bike is that I would buy it, install it, and after that, forget about it all together. No chain lubrication, no cassette changes, no shifting cable replacement, and yes, no battery replacements. Batteries in a device that is designed to be completely stationary (and already connected to the power supply) is just not sensible.

      It might not be a gating issue. But if I am going to spend 2k+ euro on an indoor bike, I’d rather have it no such issues, including non-gating ones 😉

  14. fisao

    Wife and I are still very much interested in such a product, but now that the weight is mentioned and that I see more pictures of the sturdiness of the bike, I am a little bit worried about the bike not having much “give”. It doesn’t seem to move at all, which for regular training on such a bike and the many potential hours spent on it would be a problem for me.

    Does it move even a tiny bit? (left-right, or any direction really)

  15. giorgitd

    I’m not interested in any of these smart bikes fr many of the reasons already mentioned. BUt I really find the economics tough to swallow. Even if you need two users (or more!), each can have a unique bike, fitted for their geometry, that can be swapped on the trainer in a few moments. Now, there is no need for a new $5k-10k USD bike to be on your trainer. You have one? Great, no extra cost. You don’t? There is an endless supply of used bikes at super inexpensive prices – every user can have one for $300 USD! And, lots of benefits…one user wants a tri bike setup and the other wants a road bike and the other wants gravel geometry? No problem. And you’re taking a device that might make it to the landfill and give it a new lease on life. And, when you are done with it, you can probably get $100 USD for it. Maybe the storage/logistics of two or three bikes + smart trainer is a challenge relative to one smart bike. But the economics? No, that does not add up, even for multiple users. At these prices, at least!

  16. Ivan Futskin

    Any info what is the crankset Q-factor of this Stages trainer?

  17. Garrett

    My question, is when is a good rocking tech going to be widely available? That is what is missing from my trainer experience. I have read that the cheaper rocker boards that are out there don’t really replicate the on road feeling. Supposedly the $1000+ Saris platform is cool, but it also costs over $1000…. That will be the next big thing I’ll consider investing in, once there are more players.

    • Chad McNeese

      “I have read that the cheaper rocker boards that are out there don’t really replicate the on road feeling.”

      I started my rocker plate journey after a season on DIY motion rollers (like the Inside Ride Emotion rollers). The feel and freedom on those is the closest feel to road that I have found. However, the inertia was lower than I preferred, and I also wanted something more stable for those blackout sprint efforts and recoveries that felt a tad dangerous on the motion rollers.

      So I build my first rocker plate with the goal of making standing efforts more natural than a rigid trainer (close to the motion rollers), but give me a bit more stability, no need to steer, and the option to have any of the top end smart trainers. After years, I am very happy with the evolution I got, and see in many other rockers.

      But I also know that the “road feel” is not really the most important aspect to what I think makes rocker plates great. The pure added comfort, particularly while seated, is the biggest gain to be had from using a rocker plate. We spend the vast majority of our time seated, and while I love standing feel on my rocker, the seated improvement is the reason I continue to use my rocker.

      There is nothing natural about sitting on a saddle that doesn’t budge. The fixed nature overloads the muscles and tissues to a very negative degree. A rocker plate (even with minimal movement) have a very noticeable change in feel and saddle comfort in rides up to and well beyond 1 hour. The subtle shifting left to right alter the loading on the body, and get much closer to what happens on the road. People assume they keep the bike very vertical outside, and that is far from the truth. Even mild lane adjustments and changes are all done with leaning, and that leads to changes in saddle pressure.

      Couple that with the fact that standing on a rigid trainer is just plain odd (the movements we use are not at all like outside standing), and a rigid setup makes standing breaks feel odd. Adding a rocker makes them feel a bit better (even if the pedal to lean timing is reversed), that riders tend to stand more frequently with rockers. That along with the better seated feel make for longer riders that are much more comfortable.

      All that is to say that there are massive gains to adding a rocker plate, even if the “road feel” is not an exact replication to what we get on the road. I don’t want to derail this any more than I have, so if you or others have more questions, I am happy to handle them outside of this thread.

  18. James Libecco

    This is going to all come down to feel and noise for me. All three new bikes (Wattbike being a bit out now) will do the same thing. Which feels the best for hours of training will win for me. Sadly, I don’t know if any shop around me will carry any of these to compare, so it’s up to you, Ray to give us the ultimate show down (despite you always saying you can only tell when things feel bad)

  19. stefan

    What’s the game plan here? What on earth is the business model? Sell even less of even more high-end trainers?

    Surely they haven’t been sleeping for the past 20 years and must realize that “it’s not about the bike”, it’s the software. It’s whatever is playing on that peloton screen or your TV now. Yet all you get is an empty tablet holder. The irony, it burns.

    • Not sure I follow?

      Stages doesn’t make trainers. They make indoor non-interactive bikes for gyms/consumers (which they sell a crapton of), and they make power meters (for which they also sell a crapton of), and now they’re making smart bikes for consumers.

      All of which are using Zwift/etc… There’s definitely a business there. Whether there’s enough business for 3-5 companies at $3,000 each…that’s up for valid debate.

      That said, I definitely agree with you that all these companies are missing the mark on overall screen integration. Every day I ride the Peloton bike I realize more and more how far behind all these companies are with respect to the ‘just works’ factor.

    • I’ll confess that I’m one of the non-cyclist types that is just using an indoor bike for fitness (with Zwift.) I have to exercise while the toddler naps most of the time, and my tiny Brooklyn apartment can’t fit much of anything but a spin bike. Being able to use a real bike outdoors will have to be a dream for a few years given my situation.

      I bought a Schwinn IC4 spin bike because it was like a third of the price of the Peloton. I have an iPad I stuck on it for Zwift because the bike didn’t come with a screen (sigh.) I then noticed that the bike was misreporting watts to Zwift by a large amount (I was flying by everyone and I’m in terrible shape.) As fun as that was, I decided to get some power pedals (Favero Assioma’s) so at least I had accurate data.

      All told, I spent like $1,500. Which is still cheaper than a Peloton bike. But man, I wish it had all just worked without a gazillion hours of research and testing. A Zwift bike that fit in my apartment, worked right out of the box, and came with a big screen probably would have been right up my alley.

      Now I just have to find a way to merge Garmin Fit Files so they have both the Garmin pedal data and the Zwift speed and distance data. Nothing seems to work, blargh.

  20. Ellie

    I love the Stages bike in my gym and they are solid. Maybe i’d they could combine the Solo (it has a screen) with the ability to use Zwift, Rouvy or whatever they might be better off than reinventing the wheel.

  21. Tam

    I contacted Stages to ask them about a release date. They advised that this would be late Q1. The tone of the reply to me sounded late Q1 minimum. Considering the covid-19 outbreak I feel shipments will be delayed and this will provide an excuse for them to finish the bike off with the time the devs want.

    At the moment I think this is the bike for me as it’s the newest by far out of the other smart trainer bikes (Tacx Neo, wahoo and wattbike).

    I think the price point is just about right for me as well.

    Unless someone knows of any other upcoming bike or drop in price of the neo or kickr?

    • JC

      Just returned a wahoo kicker trainer I didn’t like and started looking for a high end used spin bike. Was about to order a rebuilt stages SC3 bike and saw ad for the new stagesbike. On paper it sounds like a great bike and would order now if I could find someplace to sell me one.

    • Lukman Nurhakim

      Yeah I would buy right now if someone has it in stock and shipped to my country.

  22. rui

    hi ray, thank you for posting this. perhaps i missed it, but does the stagebike support ERG mode? also, hard to tell from the photo, but is the flywheel enclosed? don’t want my kiddo to get his fingers rubbed or jammed into it. thx.

  23. Justin

    It is available for pre-order. Do you think you will have a review available soon?

    • In theory Stages was trying to get out a bike to me on Thursday, I don’t know if that happened (various COVID-19 restrictions are making that challenging). But if so, then my guess is I’ll want probably about 2 weeks of solid use on it before I put out a full in-depth review. But I’ll certainly be happy to post initial thoughts as I have them.

    • Niels

      That would be great, thx.

    • Derek

      Your reviews are among the best on the internet. Thank you! Any update on the Stagesbike testing or timeline? I’d really like to purchase one, but I’m going to wait for your review. It looks promising so far. Thanks again!

    • Good point, let me poke and see what’s up. I know they’re in a challenging pickle trying to get it out (since my shipment had to go international), and staying in compliance with various local regulations right now.

    • Minor update from them. They confirmed the unit did actually ship last week. They’re trying to track down where it is. It’s a bit tricky given it was shipped air freight and has two make two bounces on each side of the pond before it gets to me. Freight companies aren’t known for their technological prowess.

    • Derek

      Thanks for the update!

  24. Todd

    Preorder for the “sb20” placed. They stated a ship date of 4/6/20 so will see how close they come to hitting that target. The Stages checked all the boxes for both me and my wife to have one dedicated bike that not only does both HIIT type and training/Zwift rides but looks like a studio bike. Wattbike and Wahoo did not appeal to her and peloton did not for me. Fingers crossed the Stages got it right.

  25. Derek

    Thanks for the update!

  26. Shaun

    Mine was ordered on 3/30 by my local LBS and stages indicates it was shipping last week. Hoping soon!

  27. DJ

    Received my bike yesterday, assembled and completed first ride today.

    Overall Solid as a Rock, and smooth. ERG mode is a bit jumpy… +/- 20 watts consistently. I come from a KICKR and I know wahoo does some smoothing.

    The app doesn’t support setting up shifters yet unfortunately, but I’m sure that’s on the way. Also, was hoping they’d implement a realistic shifting feel (like NEO), but nothing yet. Also, no gear display on Zwift which make knowing what gear your in impossible.

    The phone / tablet holder is the best out there. Perfect!

  28. Lonnie

    I ordered mine on 4/13 from Clever Training, it shipped 4/16, can’t wait to get it, I’m truly desperate at this point.

  29. Steve

    I assembled mine today, couldn’t get the power meters to pair. One didn’t have a battery. The bike itself wouldn’t report power. Only cadence. ERG mode don’t work and it zwift it feels like a 53/11 or a 36/32, without any change in my effort or corse changes. Shifters do nothing. Have a ticket in. Kind of disappointing.

  30. Steve

    I assembled mine today, couldn’t get the power meters to pair. One didn’t have a battery. The bike itself wouldn’t report power. Only cadence. ERG mode don’t work and it zwift it feels like a 53/11 or a 36/32, without any change in my effort or corse changes. Shifters do nothing. Have a ticket in. Kind of disappointing.

    The app don’t even look like the one in their setup vid.

  31. Steve

    After messing with it and waking up power meters in the other stages app (not the link), turned power off, on, repaired and forgotten a few times it finally works. Erg doesn’t work, it spinning in zwift is good. Need to get the app updated for the shifters. One push feels like 3 gears on my road bike.

    Still have some issues but it’s smooth, super quiet and build like a tank. Only build issues is something is hitting the cover making noise. Push the cover and it stops. Mess with that tomorrow. I’m sure a firmware and app update and all will be well.

    • Arthur

      Ive had the bike for about 4 or 5 days now. I agree with everything said, its well built, and super quiet.

      Delivery notes, due to Covid, the carrier couldnt deliver it into our home so my wife and I had to carry it upstairs after I slide the box into the foyer. Upon unboxing I noticed a couple scratchs on the fork decal from shipping but they weren’t so bad I would send it back, plus decals are replaceable. Once we unboxed it in the foyer, it wasnt terrible taking it upstairs in pieces. Its basically put together if you’ve seen the unboxing video, but just loosing a few pieces makes it a little more manageable based on how heavy it is.

      After about 8 rides between my wife and I, I have a couple thoughts. The fact that you dont need tools to make adjustments should not be overlooked. It only takes about 30 seconds to switch between my wife and I. I now know I would hate it, if I had to use tools. 2ndly its really quiet, that cant be overlooked, I can use it at night at 300 watt intervals and you literally cant do anything to make it audible outside the room. Id go as far as to say you could sleep in the room while someone rode the bike. That’s huge, I ride rollers normally and its significantly more quite than those, there’s practically no sound. Im really happy about that.

      Also almost forgot to mention, the USB chargers on the bike are awesome for keeping the phone charged will running the app. Thats something else I didn’t realize I would appreciate as much as I do.

      Now for the not so great part, and it might be due to my setup, but I am having the hardest time syncing it for each use. Im running a brand new Lenovo X1 hdmi to a TV with the companion app running on a Samsung S8+. I think based on the bike having 2 independent bluetooth cranks, the bluetooth ERG controller, bluetooth cadence sensor, plus me having a bluetooth HRM(Tried a Bontreager one and Garmin), and bluetooth headphones(I tried without these too) its causing massive bluetooth interference. To help I bought an ANT + dongle with a 6 foot extension. The ANT plus dongle helps all things except the ERG/simulation senor, it will not work for me unless its connected via bluetooth. So every pre-ride has been a 10-15 min experiment to see what needs to connect first for all to work. Right now, Im starting the companion app first and syncing only the ERG controller, then plugging the Ant plus dongle in for all other items, and that seems to work. If I dont do that dance, I can connect the bike but no HR, or HR and no bike, or Bike and HR no ERG controller. In most circumstances it will see them, but immediately say no signal and not work via bluetooth only. Again if you’re using an Ipad you might not have any of these issues, but for me and my setup that syncing part is annoying for now. Once its synced in the way described above Im not having drop out issues, and really enjoy the experience. If anyone else solutions this let me know what you did please, thanks.

  32. Dan

    Hi Steve, I had some issues with ERG in Zwift initially as well. You probably didn’t make these mistakes, but I initially connected Zwift to the crank arms vice the bike. Make sure it’s linked up to “Stages Bike XX”. Had to make also sure bike wasn’t already connected to another device (turned off phone bluetooth) otherwise only crankarms will show up. Finally, for some reason Zwift Workout mode defaulted to “Use ERG Mode” being unchecked. Once I corrected those things it began working.

    • Steve

      I connected it as the bike, but for a while it would only show cadence on the zwift pairing screen. Finally figured out for the arms, that I had to go into the Link app and click manage crank arms, then had to change them to actually get it to connect. After that it seemed to work.

      I didnt try workout mode in zwift; only trainerroad as that is what my wife uses. Seemed to take about 20 seconds to react to a change. I am sure it will be fixed in a firmware update.

      Hopefully the App is fixed soon to adjust the shifters.

      Overall I am happy with it. I am sure the bugs will get worked out, and I expected them. Its built like a tank, super smooth and quiet, the ipad holder works awesome, easy to adjust between multiple riders, and the seat is even kinda comfy for me!

  33. Roy

    Hi everyone,
    I received my StagesBike about a week ago and so far I’m really enjoying it. I just started a Facebook group called “StagesBike Owners Group” – hope you’ll all join and we can compare notes there.

    Here’s the direct link:
    link to facebook.com
    please let me know if you still can’t find it.

    Best,
    Roy

    • Jan

      Very good , i am a member already, despite i wait for the bike. Wrote a email to Zwift regarding integration of gear on the display, and after a second email i had kind of a short answer, that they never comment on such things. Fortunately i am not dependent on Zwift, anyway i feel a little bit sad, i reach level 48, but i am sure trainerroad wan’t my money.