Wahoo and Zwift Reach Patent Dispute Agreement: Here’s What’s Happening Next


Exactly one year ago today, Zwift announced the Zwift Hub smart trainer – which priced at $499USD, immediately lit a fire across the rest of the smart trainer industry. The product was mostly a rebrand of the existing JetBlack VOLT smart trainer, which had been around for a few years in various versions, yet with far more limited marketing reach than Zwift itself. While the aforementioned fire was great for consumers, it was less ideal for smart trainer companies and their profits. And in the case of Wahoo Fitness, they ultimately ended up announcing a patent infringement lawsuit against both Zwift and JetBlack a month later once the Zwift Hub actually became available to purchase. Wahoo dropped the JetBlack suit a month after that, instead focusing on Zwift.

That Zwift-focused lawsuit has now been dismissed, following nearly a year of legal wrangling by both companies. I’ve posted extensively on the court filings that both companies made over the past year (well, until they started marking much of it as confidential). But the TLDR version is that after a series of volleys last winter, it culminated in an initial judgment last spring that served as a starting point for a longer jury-trial next summer (2024). While opinions differ on how exactly the judge ruled (you can read all the details here), the reality is it wasn’t super Wahoo favorable. The judge expressed significant concern with the validity of a number of Wahoo’s patents. But keep in mind this wasn’t up to the judge, they were instead ruling whether the case could go forward or not – and ultimately, it was granted to go forward. However, Wahoo did not receive the injunction relief they had hoped to receive, which was the main point of that court date.

Fast forward to now, and as of yesterday the judge has signed off on the lawsuit dismissal, and Wahoo has also filed documents with the US Patent and Trademark office regarding the state of the case. The lawsuit was dismissed “with prejudice” (which simply means it’s a final decision), and specifically that both sides would individually cover their own legal expenses/etc. Instead, the focus going forward would be on a licensing agreement and cooperation agreement, which I’ll outline below.

What Happens Now:

First up, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first and at least include the official statement. Albeit, I had a call with both Wahoo and Zwift yesterday, where I’ll dive into the specifics down below. Here’s the official statement:

Zwift and Wahoo Fitness today confirm the amicable settlement of all pending litigation. The agreement will see both parties embark on a renewed approach to collaboration, with a view to growing the indoor fitness category and delivering continual, ongoing improvements to customers – through increased innovation, ease of use and better value.



Wahoo has granted Zwift a limited licence to use its patents. Zwift will continue to sell its Zwift Hub smart trainer in existing ecommerce markets – US, UK and Europe.



In addition to selling Zwift Hub, Zwift will return to selling a selection of Wahoo smart trainers, bikes and accessories on Zwift.com from mid-September. The assorted range will offer customers a simple selection across a range of price points, all sold with one year of Zwift.



Wahoo Fitness will also offer customers the option to bundle one year of Zwift with the purchase of a smart trainer or bike via Wahoofitness.com.



Both parties look forward to sharing further details in the coming months.”

Ok, so let’s look at what’s happening and why it matters. The very first thing Zwift and Wahoo said on the conference call is that they basically wanted this behind them and that it was a distraction to both companies and more critically, consumers. They noted that they see this as the starting point for future collaborations on both “software and hardware”. Just for perspective, this was, to my knowledge, the first time ever since Zwift’s or Wahoo’s inception I’ve had a three-way conference call between them (Zwift/Wahoo/Me). I’ve had countless individual conference calls, but never one with both parties at once.

First up, Zwift is officially “licensing” these patents from Wahoo. Now, we don’t know what they’ll pay on a per-unit/licensing statement. Meaning, that could be a penny, a dollar, ten dollars, etc… Obviously, neither Zwift nor Wahoo are going to get into specifics there. Still, the thing to understand here is that while the internet at large probably assumes some big licensing payoffs are being made here, I doubt it. There’s a few reasons for that doubt, but one I’ll discuss for now is that neither company has a great legal to cost combination going forward. Meaning, from Wahoo’s side, a win was hardly certain (if not potentially unlikely). Meanwhile, from Zwift’s perspective, a loss would been devastating for their smart trainer plans (and potentially other hardware). However, more than that, both sides had hired very high-end law firms. Neither company picked budget legal teams, they both picked the best of the best out there. No matter how many trainers either side sells, eventually your ROI on this flat-lines.

By Zwift and Wahoo agreeing to a confidential licensing fee, it preserves Wahoo’s patents (whereas a loss would open the floodgates to those patents being invalidated). Even if that licensing fee is a penny, it basically keeps those patents as-is, while saving both companies the hassle of another year of legal drama.

However, what’s happening next is more interesting. First, remember that in the past few days, Wahoo has dropped the price of the Wahoo KICKR CORE to $599. Then, effective September 13th, Zwift will resume selling Wahoo products on Zwift.com. Specifically, the following Wahoo products will appear:

  • Wahoo KICKR CORE
  • Wahoo KICKR
  • Wahoo KICKR BIKE
  • Wahoo KICKR DESK

Next is the key bit. From that date (Sept 13th), Zwift will transition to ONLY selling trainers bundled with Zwift on Zwift.com, which will include one year of Zwift, but at a reduced price. Zwift will disclose said price on September 13th. So as an example, let’s take the Wahoo KICKR CORE. That trainer is now $599USD, but Zwift.com will only sell it in a Zwift inclusive bundle, which will be a higher price. Same goes for a Tacx trainer, or an Elite trainer, a smart bike, or whatever else. Inversely, on Wahoo Fitness, you’ll be able to get the same upsell deal too for a Zwift included bundle.

For those local bike shops, fear not, you can get the same deal there. Their piece will go live in about a month, but essentially you’ll be able to purchase whatever trainer you want (e.g., Wahoo KICKR CORE for $599) at your local bike shop, and then you’ll get the ability to pay the extra amount for the Zwift 1-year membership (versus a normal Zwift monthly membership).

So, what does this mean for the Zwift Hub price? Well, Zwift hasn’t announced any official price changes yet, but using their newly created policy of only selling bundled trainers from Sept 13th, it’s likely we’ll see the Zwift Hub price change to account for the inclusion of Zwift going forward.

Finally, I asked when Zwift and Wahoo started talking seriously about a settlement, and whether or not Wahoo buying themselves back from the banks this past spring changed that equation. They said that didn’t really impact things, and that there had always been open lines of communication, but that things started getting serious in the last 4-5 months. Which, upon pulling out a calendar is basically right after the judge made their initial injunction ruling. Which in turn was when the trial date was set for more than a year later. Obviously, that’s a lot of lawyer fees to keep paid.

Going Forward:

So, with all the financial bits out of the way, what else is changing? Well, on said threesome conference call, Zwift started out by noting that the “scope of the agreement [between Zwift and Wahoo] is much much broader [than the lawsuit dismissal]” and that “both companies wanted to return to the 2016-2017 period of cooperation.” By that, Zwift meant that they wanted to return to the pre-lawsuit days where Zwift and Wahoo were sharing information about upcoming hardware ahead of time to ensure smooth introductions/transitions for customers, as well as to allow new innovations to occur. For example, to ensure that when Wahoo announces something like Wahoo Direct Connect (Ethernet/WiFi connectivity) that Zwift is immediately ready to support it. Or vice versa, if Zwift announces some new software feature that Wahoo could implement on hardware (like when steering was announced), that Wahoo could be ready at launch.

Of course, as with some historical things, there may be a case of rose-tinted glasses here. While both companies were at least on talking terms back then, neither company actually liked each other at the executive level. There’s plenty of reasons for that, but the reality is that both of those technical items I mentioned above were hugely delayed on implementation. Now, some of that was driven by years of Zwift essentially ignoring their hardware partners (Wahoo/Tacx/Elite/Saris/etc…), with countless examples of them not even answering e-mails anymore from these companies. Based on my discussions more recently, that direction has seemed to change over the last year with some executive changes on the Zwift side.

Both Zwift and Wahoo say that the main focus going forward is going to be “on collaborations”, including specifically “on hardware and software”. One could see how perhaps Zwift will finally implement a gear shifting display for the KICKR Bike – something that Zwift themselves has accidentally leaked a few times in recent months.

Of course, one could also imagine that means a closer potential partnership on licensing more Wahoo hardware components/patents. I asked whether or not this changes their existing manufacturing partnership with JetBlack (for which the Zwift Hub is based on their JetBlack VOLT). Zwift noted specifically that “the main agreement is actually with PowerPlus, the manufacturer of the JetBlack trainer”, but then declined to talk about future hardware products. Of course, up till now, Zwift has been reasonably open about the relationship with JetBlack and how things came to be. Whether or not that changes in the future is anybody’s guess. Keep in mind that Zwift did take the firmware development for the Zwift Hub in-house, which is why we see the slight split between features on the Zwift and JetBlack variants, albeit most updates do seem to cross-pollinate eventually.

Finally – what does this mean for their competitors? Honestly, it’s too soon to tell. If this signals a price increase of the Zwift Hub, then likely those competitors will be happy. Concurrently, consumers have also clearly benefited from the price decreases announced over the last week to both Wahoo and Elite trainers. And Zwift buyers would likely also benefit, assuming a new bundled price is better than just buying the trainer+monthly subscription individually. Whereas if you were buying the Zwift Hub for use with another platform (e.g., TrainerRoad), then that’s probably not super ideal for those customers. But it’d be hard to blame Zwift for that.

With that – thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next week!


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  1. neil partridge

    I’m still holding out for a cheaper smart bike!

    • Gerome

      Could there be a link with the lake of “race mode” on kickr bike v2 ? (wahoo said it will arrive soon; back in February)

  2. Paul

    Sounds like this may be bad for consumers feels like they are going to control the price of hardware by using bundle ‘deals’. On the other hand someone like Garmin could feel ‘locked out’ and just massively undercut them both on hardware costs, they are likely in a position to afford it.
    Ultimately I think the consumer will end up coming off worse because when a company says ‘best for consumers’ it normally means best for the company.

    • It’s honestly hard to say.

      I agree I have questions on how pricing will work between Wahoo/Zwift, that will only be answered in time. But, if the bundles do represent a significant savings over the current situation, that’s good for consumers. Likewise, it’s hard to argue that all the recent price drops aren’t good for consumers either.

    • Veganpotter

      They can only take it so far as Magene is going to gain ground once they establish US distribution

    • Magene already has had US distribution for a year and a half. They bought Kinetic, except didn’t keep the US anything. Basically, they just bought it for the brand.

      Since then, we haven’t seen anything meaningful come out of it.

  3. Paul S.

    Do you think there’s any chance that Zwift will separately offer annual memberships at the reduced rate?

  4. Thomas

    So person who does not want to use Zwift hub with Zwift but ROUVY, for example, will need to waste the bought reduced subscription? That’s stupid..

    • Yes, but I can’t really fault them for Zwift wanting you to use Zwift. They’re a software company first, and a hardware company a very far second.

      Just like Wahoo has offered bundled RGT/etc type deals in the past where you’d be throwing away the 1-year sub. Countless companies do that.

    • Matjaz

      It’s strange that Wahoo will be selling bundles with Zwift – even on their site. What does this mean for the future of RGT/Systm?

  5. Chad McNeese

    “Now, we don’t [know] what they’ll pay on a per-unit/licensing statement.”
    – Seems you might be missing a word? (my guess in brackets above)

  6. Omar

    Any info on how this affects Wahoo’s training software? (Wahoo X which includes SYSTM and RGT). Apparently Wahoo recently closed their Sports Science Center in Boulder, CO. which doesn’t appear to be good news for the science behind their software platforms (SYSTM and RGT). Now that Wahoo talks about more collaboration with Zwift, what will happen to RGT? (a direct competitor to Zwift) and what about SYSTM? (the good ol’ Sufferfest platform). Wahoo seems to be going back to focusing on their trainers (hardware) which leads to asking the question about their acquired software platforms and how they fit with Wahoo going forward. Would be a shame to lose the Sufferfest (rebranded by Wahoo to the awfully bland sounding SYSTM).

    • Chad McNeese

      Ditto, I am wondering about the long term life of the Wahoo apps/services. Coupling back up with Zwift sure seems to potentially lessen the need for them to have their own app solutions. It sure seems the closing of the science side could be the first step in winding down the software side. Hard to know if there is enough revenue from that to justify the cost of maintenance and potential long term development of them.

    • giorgitd

      Sad to hear about the Sport Science Center. I was a Suffelandrian way before Wahoo was involved. The focus of and market for SYSTM is very different than the Sufferfest, although the Sufferfest videos/workouts are available in SYSTM. Still, Wahoo attempted to provide a more comprehensive experience than Zwift and it just has not been able to grow to the necessary size for continued development. Perhaps Wahoo will return to a hardware focus and sell SYSTM, maybe in pieces (RGT and everything else in two chunks?). Where does RGT fit now that MyWoosh has all the cash it can burn (presumably) and the endorsement as an eSports provider?

    • Arnold Schwimbauld

      I’ve tried both SYSTM and RGT and found them to be pretty much unusable, especially compared to Zwift. RGT was ridiculously fiddly and the interface gave me a migraine; I hated SYSTM’s sense of “humor” and, in some cases, just childish misogyny. I just want a clean, simple interface (like TrainerRoad) or Zwift.

  7. Chad McNeese

    Related to the hardware patent licensing agreement, I have to wonder of that will filter out to other makers. From memory, the Saris H3 (and all before it) as well as the Tacx/Garmin Flux trainers use a similar approach to the Core/Hub/Volt (while Elite uses a very different system entirely).

    If so, I wonder if Wahoo will be working on those makers to get licensing and fees as well? I don’t know if separate suits would be necessary since the Z one may well prove the point that it’s better to pay a fee vs take on the legal challenge and costs.

    • It’s been months since I dug into the patent filings again, but I don’t believe that the Tacx offerings had the same specific magnet/flywheel/etc arrangement that was the core item here.

      And even then, I think the judge’s statement was really the big warning flag for all involved. Given how much documentation both sides put out there into the court filings that isn’t blacked out, there’s more than enough to give a massive jumpstart for any other companies if Wahoo were to sue. And again, I think their case is relatively thin.

    • Chad McNeese

      Very interesting. Sounds almost like this was a “one & done” situation, and maybe one that Wahoo is almost lucky to have gotten what they did at this point.

      Curious to watch the upcoming winter season (N. Hemi) for selling at these new prices all around and what uptake may happen after the Covid boom. Thanks again for all the great info and background.

  8. john t

    Having some experience with Patent Licensing Fees. They tend to be around 1% of the revenues per patent with a cap around 5%. But what happen frequently in settlement is cross-licensing or different sort of financial commitments, so the actual amounts are usually lower. So if i am speculate what happened here, Zwift by enabling bundle sales with Training probable creates a win/win cross licensing scheme that both parties can feel better about. And in the post covid lockdown world, both companies really could justify this was a better way of doing business than burning cash on lawyers.

  9. Xavier Neys

    | One could see how perhaps Zwift will finally implement a gear shifting display for the KICKR Bike

    Exactly what I’ve been waiting for. About time they did it!

  10. Gina

    I just came here to say that I’m still using my Computrainer from 2009🫣🫣🫣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  11. How does this sit into the context of Zwift losing the UCI World Championships to MyWhoosh and the possibility of the migration of eRacing away from Zwift? To me, this plays into the power of Zwift as now the bundle access makes more sense for riders new to virtual platforms – purchase the bundle for not much more than the hardware cost and watch the subscriptions stick after the 12 month period. Did the conference call indicate if the Wahoo/Zwift hardware-software bundling was going to be exclusive? If Wahoo are also offering the Wahoo/Zwift deal at point of sale, then Zwift gets first dibs on new riders rather than Wahoo partnering with MyWhoosh or others for either discounted or free trials. And that becomes a nice traffic driver to Zwift!

    I think Zwift still has the greatest customer loyalty of the platforms at the moment, and if Wahoo is driving customers to Zwift, Zwifts long game will to be keep driving new subscriptions and leverage the loyalty to keep ahead of the software competitors.

    • Unsure on exclusivity, but practically speaking Zwift.com would never sell something like MyWhoosh, so that piece is off the table. And I’d assume inversely, that I can’t imagine Wahoo not doing some sort of bundled Wahoo X/RGT/etc deal in the future. Albeit, many of the moves over the last 7 days indicate something may be afloat there in that pond.

      Said differently, I don’t think MyWhoosh is really entering into anyone’s equation. While there’s always some people that are on any platform (everyone likes different things), I don’t see meaningful user uptake that’s indicating they’re seen as a threat to any of the existing companies. Obviously, with state-backed money, they can burn that candle for a heck of a long time, and to their credit they are adding various features.

      But for whatever reason, aside from some brief flash moments of people doing races for money, I’m not seeing much there.

    • Agree on the MyWhoosh gaining the attention, but longevity………something needs to be traded. No-one gives away product (even if state funded) with a ROI plan somewhere. I’m just not sure what is yet……so I’m sticking to Zwift.

      Re the exclusivity, Zwift and Wahoo will be the biggest fish in the pond, and based on the trading and contract negotiations our teams go through (in world of science, not sports), there would be trade offs and counters in reaching the agreements. Dropping the legal litigations would be an instant cash saving for both parties which will directly impact their profitabilities but nothing really gained.

      As to the mutual agreements……

      If I was in Wahoo’s position I would be pushing for the highest possible % on licencing and sole hardware promotion on the Zwift domains. To make the pain worth it, I’d want to gain an advantage by being front and centre hardware provider/partner to Zwift to gain patent percents & unit volume against competitors. If it boosts unit sales above my growth target and inspire customers to buy more of the Wahoo eco-system, I’ve a captured market.

      If I was on Zwift position, I would be wanting to concede as little licences % payable as possible so I’d take the stance of “I will pay, as long as Wahoo doesn’t then partner with RGV etc and then the consumer multiple platform choices. Give me exclusive!” and then lock the number one hardware to the number one software. I’d want Wahoo to be driving my subscription base and not diluting it by offering other platform bundles too.

      Of course, this is all speculative, but it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out long term and if other hardware/software partnerships become stronger/closer to counter.

    • Random point of note…

      I’m actually not sure if Wahoo is still the biggest trainer fish in the pond. Pre-covid, sure, I think both sides admitted that. But post-covid, I’d say there’s a strong change Garmin/Tacx outsells them. Primarily due to the distribution. Garmin’s distribution network is just mind-bendingly huge, and when you start looking at lots of countries that Wahoo doesn’t easily sell into (and Garmin/Tacx does), I suspect the differences is made up.

      Obviously, I think Wahoo is the more “popular” brand from a social standpoint. From a technical standpoint I think it’s mostly a wash at the higher end, but clearly Tacx is missing a valid CORE competitor.

    • Continuing the random note thread and pulling at it!

      My more social experience has been that Wahoo in the Zwift environment has a greater product imprint and visibility – advertising, pro-peloton endorsements, building the Wahoo pain cave and showing it on Reddit, Discord etc. If setting up an ecosystem, a Core, Headwind, Climb and a Zwift devices and you’re pretty much pulled into a single inside environment with 100% certainty of compatibility and integrations. Rarely does the Tacx product gain the same views/click/like/comments, even if they are market leaders, possibly due to the misnomers that multiple brand integrations are difficult or doesn’t give “the look”. Disclaimer: I use Elite (and we appear as about as common a Time pedal users in forums and other places compared to the recommendations and deals that appear on Wahoo’s).

      But I agree on Garmin/Tacx being a potential powerhouse. Garmin in wearables and navigation devices (both sports but also maritime) through Garmin distribution links and dealer networks must be extremely robust and component sourcing at time of scarcity or prices changes has more than enough flexible to cope. And with the wearables being so abundant and known, they must have the ability to have personal device ecosystems that Wahoo couldn’t touch – potential to look at bridges and links between turbos and wearables to give integrations and devices both inside and outside of the paincave.

      If this is a development tactic Garmin/Tacx would be looking to explore, would the next developments be possibly rebranding Tacx to Garmin or Garmin-Tacx and enhances/exclusive functionalities where Garmin wearables and head units integrate with the trainers, Garmin connect and API’s? Garmin connect with smart scales, activity trackers for daily life; Edge/Fenix etc for IRL sports; and Tacx for indoor training, the hardware ecosystem could be pretty tight.

    • We’ve seen Garmin add some minor integrations on the wearables/trainer/etc front. For example their new Venu 3 has smart trainer support.

      And there’s been a slate of smaller things that were done over the last couple years, mostly fitting into the ‘cleanup’ aisle in terms of minor tweaks that are undoubtedly appreciated by some, but probably not noticed by most.

      I think the challenge they have is that ultimately almost everyone’s connectivity to the trainer is really the app (e.g. Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc.). And yes, Tacx does have their own app and a number of people really love it, but if you use a YouTube video view counts as a proxy – nobody is making money off of YouTube videos covering Tacx stuff.

  12. Gilbert


    Does this mean Zwift has access to Wahoo’s RGT physics engine / patents? Pack dynamics 5.0 with RGT’s physics engine….

  13. Mike

    Interesting, thanks for the update.