The Stages Cycling Saga Is Only Going to Get Messier

While the cycling industry and consumers are reverberating from Stages apparently laying off their entire workforce last weekend, the reality is that the Stages story is far from over. And equally, it was far from starting this past weekend. As Stages product owners know quite well, the company had seemingly been on life support for the last year, visible to both consumers and industry watchers alike.

This follows nearly a year of continued degradation of their product support responsiveness, and loss of key long-term leaders at the company. Product support answering times over the last year seemed to extend outwards to months (if ever), even for high-end smart bike products. Finally, the last nail in the situation is that the entire Stages site now shows all products as out of stock. And that sets aside the $14M that the company apparently owes Giant Cycling (more on that in a second).

All signs are pointing towards Stages having just gone out of business, even if they aren’t prepared to admit that unfortunate reality quite yet (they haven’t seemingly responded to any media outlet). But once you lay off all your staff and stop selling products, it’s hard to consider oneself an operating business entity.

Still, countless businesses have risen from the ashes, either as a slimmed-down version of themselves or as an acquisition by another company. Stages does have valuable assets, but those assets aren’t quite as valuable as they would have been a few years ago. Let’s dive into why – and what it might mean for consumers.

Stages Product Portfolio

(Image credit: Stages Cycling)

To some, they might think that Stages was a small company without much experience in the cycling world. When in reality, they have been market leaders and innovators in many segments for quite some time. They were just doing it in segments that weren’t super sexy.

Stages were first known for their indoor cycling bikes under Foundation Fitness (what many would call ‘Spin bikes’, though technically speaking ‘Spin’ bikes are actually a trademarked thing from Spinning). Still, they sold high-end indoor bikes to gyms around the world. The company says they generate more than 110 million rides per year (many of these bikes are internet-connected devices, which actually send data back to Stages and their operators). For a long time, Stages made more indoor bikes than anyone else in the world (by a massive margin). The numbers Stages put together dwarfed companies like Wahoo, Garmin/Tacx, and others. However, Peloton’s continued bike sales has likely brought them pretty close to that same ballpark.

Stages’ main product for the Zwift-era was the Stages SB20 bike, announced in 2019 and available in 2020. The beast tank of a bike had great road feel, and included really good technical connectivity. It had a dual-sided power meter in it (versus a calculated value used in most bikes), and they had great support for things like triathlon bar extensions and more. When Stages developed the bike though, they leaned heavily on their existing commercial designs. These designs were incredibly robust, and designed for high-usage in gyms. But in a consumer setting, they were overkill. That overkill meant a very heavy bike (to ship, far heavier than their competitors). That also meant significantly reduced margins when it came to distribution of that bike, due to the higher shipping costs. So while they skipped over many of the reliability issues their competitors such as Wahoo dealt with, they paid the price in much higher distribution costs. Additionally, for whatever reason, the bike was never able to command the premium pricing that their competitors Wahoo & Garmin/Tacx were able to get, likely due to a lack of specialty features like simulated gradient control (rising bike up/down).

But Stages’ real break-out product in the cycling consumer market was actually their single-sided power meter, back in 2012. At the time, the concept was new, and totally unheard of. Previously, all other crankset power meters had been placed in other locations, like the crank spider, rather than the crank arm itself. When Stages came onto the scene, they offered a bargain-priced power meter, but paired that with sponsoring Team Sky in 2014 in the Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome Era. Given the low price they paid, it was unquestionably one of the greatest sports tech sponsorship deals in history.

While there were (and still are) challenges with single-sided power meters, it was the best marketing strategy one could ever dream of. How can the average consumer argue with “Well, if it’s good enough for Chris Froome & Bradley Wiggins, then it’s good enough for me.”. Of course, in the end, it actually wasn’t good enough for Team Sky. Per Stages own media briefing at the launch of their dual-sided Stages LR in 2014 (standing for left/right), Stages noted that the requirement came from Team Sky for greater accuracy levels. Tim Kerrison, who was ‘Head of Performance’ for Team Sky, said of asking for a left/right version:

“We wanted to make sure we weren’t missing anything.”

The new dual-sided version was actually quite accurate, even if it wasn’t likely Stages’ most popular product. Rather, the single-sided units undoubtedly remained their best seller, given the lower price.

Of course, countless other companies followed in Stages’ footsteps here, ultimately making their single-sided product idea relatively commonplace in the industry. There wasn’t much that Stages could offer from a uniqueness standpoint, aside from increasing various specific crankset compatibility options. But everyone else was doing that too.

The last main product Stages produced was their Dash bike computers. These units leaned very tech-heavy in terms of features, and were arguably some of the most deeply power-focused products on the market. Stages had incredibly deep structured training integration, including that with the recently shuttered Today’s Plan platform, as well as a similarly deep ability to customize the layout and features of the Stages Dash units. The company generated a few different models of these, in various sizes, over a time span starting in 2016.

Stages eventually created a partnership with Giant Cycling in 2022, which includes variants of the Stages Dash M200 and L200 that were simply re-branded as Giant Cycling versions. They were otherwise identical.

The challenge though is that while the Stages Dash units were very strong from a power meter integration and structured workout standpoint, they lacked many of the other consumer-focused features that people wanted at the time. Features akin to Garmin’s ClimbPro, Strava Live Segments, or full mapping and navigation wouldn’t come till well after their competitors (if ever). And that sets aside the somewhat chunky-looking visual appearance. Popularity never caught on like their power meters did.

Giant & Stages: An Intertwined Relationship

Stages and Giant shared a very intertwined relationship, with Giant manufacturing much of Stages’ product portfolio, especially on the indoor bike and bike component side. Of course, while many consumers know Giant as a maker of various cycling products – the reality is Giant manufactures countless other cycling industry brands’ products as well.  For example, years ago, Giant was the manufacturing partner for the original Wahoo KICKR smart trainers.

But on the Stages front, within cycling industry circles, the news has been swirling around the drain for months. Aside from the customer service team being gutted last year (and as a result, customer service response times), the company lost one of their key leaders, Pat Warner, earlier this year to Giant. He resigned from Stages to become VP of Product R&D at Giant Cycling. Stages and Giant had previously moved towards deeper partnerships, including Giant announcing a $20M investment in Stages Cycling. However, Giant later called off the investment, undoubtedly leaving Stages in a precarious position, given it was just at the start of the downfall of many companies in the indoor cycling industry.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stages Cycling was sued by Giant back in February, a nugget found by Bicycle Retailer earlier this week. Giant alleges that Stages owes them some $13.9m USD for products that Giant manufactured for Stages.

In looking at the lawsuit, Giant (technically their US subsidiary AIPS), lists all the components for which Stages still has outstanding payments on. It’s almost entirely high-end indoor cycling bikes and studio setups, numbering in the hundreds, as well as scrap and other charges. For funnsies (because everyone loves a good set of purchase order documents), I’ve pulled those documents out of the lawsuit, and put them in this gallery. This is the complete set of invoices that Giant alleges Stages still owes them.

Now going back to the lead players in this saga, Pat Warner was not the only person to leave Stages to join Giant. Stages’ former VP of Global Marketing, Paddy Murray, and two Stages engineers – Eric Golesh and Andy Lull also moved over to Giant. Paddy Murray became Giant’s VP of Global Sales and Marketing.

In a post on LinkedIn, Paddy Murray a month ago announced his move to Giant, saying:

“I am really excited to announce that I have embarked on a new chapter of my career by joining the Giant Group, the world’s leader in cycling innovation and manufacturing (They’ve actually manufactured every bike that I’ve been involved with since I joined the industry)! In my new capacity as VP Global Sales and Marketing, I’ll be spearheading the launch of a groundbreaking indoor cycling division SPIA Inc, reuniting with some of the most brilliant product and engineering minds in the bicycle and fitness industry, Pat Warner, Eric Golesh, & Andy Lull. It’s truly a special opportunity, and I can’t wait to dive in and bring our innovative plans to life!


Reflecting on the journey that led me here, I feel immense gratitude for my time at Stages. Working alongside some truly inspiring colleagues, partners, customers, and together we innovated and built something special. We shared unforgettable experiences and smashed our own expectations and many in the global indoor cycling and power meter worlds. The memories of our adventures across the globe bring a huge grin to my face, and I’m incredibly proud to have played a small part in shaking up this little industry we play in.”

A quick run-through of those names, Eric Golesh was at Stages (technically Foundation Fitness) from 2010 till Feb 2024, as the “Product Development Director”, prior to that he was an Engineering Manager and Senior Mechanical Engineer at Nautilus for 8 years. Meanwhile, Andy Lull was a Product Development Manager at Stages, and is now a Principal R&D Engineer at Giant. Again, remember that Giant manufactured virtually all of Stages’ indoor bikes – thus seeming to be in a prime position to continue those sorts of products going forward.

What Happens Next?

At this moment, it does not yet appear that Stages Cycling has filed for bankruptcy protection. Essentially, they’ve seemingly laid off everyone and have a two—month old lawsuit filed against them. So, while they don’t appear to be meaningfully operating the business, behind the scenes, there’s unquestionably quite a bit going on from a financial standpoint.

Seemingly, this can basically end one of three ways:

A) Stages receives an investment via fundraising (or buying a PowerBall ticket) to continue operating as Stages Cycling/Foundation Fitness.

B) Stages files for bankruptcy protection, and then goes through that process to whatever extent the courts and creditors allow

C) Stages becomes acquired by another entity, to be absorbed by that entity

Had this been 3-4 years ago, the first option to receive investment would have been an easy option. Investors for indoor cycling were plentiful, and willing to pay (and overpay) for just about anything. But those days are long gone. While investment funding is on the rise again after a recent period of darkness, investment companies would see many competitive challenges with Stages/Foundation Fitness going forward. There’s significant competition in the power meter market, such that Stages doesn’t really have the first-mover advantage they had a decade ago. And the indoor bike market is equally saturated right now, with even more competitors on the horizon. Likewise, the bike GPS/computer market is saturated with huge well-established and well-respected brands, and (also more) competitors on the horizon. It’s not a good time to enter that market either.

The second option, bankruptcy protection, is always viable for a US entity. But having laid off their entire staff, this makes it exceptionally difficult to get the business up and running again. Most entities that seek bankruptcy protection do so before the plane augers into the ground, thus leaving the business largely functional and operating. That point of no return probably happened about a year ago, at this point with losing so many key staff, and now all staff – I don’t see that as viable.

Thus leaving the last piece – being acquired by another entity. That too is challenging in this competitive environment, but will mean that Stages likely gets acquired for cheap. Certainly, the most obvious candidate is Giant themselves. Given they manufactured many Stages products, now have the last remaining key Stages technical and executive leaders, and are owed significant sums of money from Stages – it seems like an obvious play. There are countless patents that Stages owns that would be valuable for Giant, if they are trying to spin-up some sort of new division. Certainly, Giant has shown interest in that for many years – and these recent hires are obvious confirmation of that. You don’t hire that list of names to do nothing with it.

Escape Collective also pondered at other companies that could pick up Stages, including SRAM. Interestingly, this wouldn’t be the first time SRAM has picked up the pieces of a defunct indoor cycling brand. They actually acquired Velotron from CompuTrainer (RacerMate) back years ago when they went under, though seemingly haven’t done anything with it. Just like they acquired the PowerTap brand/lineup from SARIS when that ship was going down, also without seemingly doing anything with it.

But in this case, I’d struggle to see the value for SRAM here. Unlike those brands, there’s substantial consumer support overhead SRAM would have to deal with by picking up Stages. Both on the end-consumer side, as well as the corporate account (gyms) side. SRAM is too visible a company in the consumer realm to simply wave their hand and say “not our problem” to existing support commitments. Further, I don’t think SRAM would really want to get into the gym or even the consumer indoor bike realm right now. Again, that peak period passed about 3-4 years ago, especially for the massively heavy products that Stages has.

Ultimately, I suspect Giant will pick up the pieces from Stages on the cheap. But whether or not they decide to provide support for existing consumers is probably the big question. Only time will tell, and at the moment, I don’t see that being a fast process. A fact that’s going to cause problems for both regular consumers and gyms alike. If you’ve got a Stages product that breaks right now, be it a bike computer, or an entire cycling studio, you’re entirely out of luck.

As with most companies, there’s a very finite time period before consumers won’t ever return to a brand due to lack of support. The clock is ticking fast on that moment.

Hopefully, for the sake of existing consumers, Stages can find a solution that gets people the support they need, and ultimately finds a future for Stages or their product portfolio.


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  1. Alette

    I’m so hoping for a solution, ’cause I do love my Stages L200. I don’t recognize the support issues you mentioned, got nice and accurate answer on my question 4 weeks ago, and the issue with Bluetooth uploading was solved 2 weeks ago.

  2. Dimi

    Something similar to Kurt Kinetic happened a couple of years ago if I am not mistaken.

  3. Chris DeVries

    You mean Escape Collective, not Escape Cycling, right?
    Otherwise, a great read!

  4. Noam

    Really tried to read this article, but the page is jumping up and down every few seconds, probably because of the commercials on the page. Using chrome on iPhone.

    • Michael Willard

      Me too. I also assumed it was the ads. I went ahead and renewed my membership and all is well. Although I’m not on the site everyday, it’s always my first go to whenever looking for sports tech info. I appreciate the honest reviews and knowledge DC Rainmaker has to offer.

    • Bob S

      It’s fine with chrome on a laptop.

  5. Their recent announcement explains why my support ticket has gone unanswered for over 3 months. (The apparently common problem of the battery depleting quickly even when the bike isn’t being used). So I guess my only option is to replace it, but with what, 4iiii I guess?

    • CS

      My workaround to this has been to remove the batteries after every ride. A bit cumbersome, but manageable

    • Dave

      I have 2 support tickets open with them for that exact issue… the first one since April of last year. Never got any response on either despite many follow-ups. My previous interactions with their support had been stellar.

      Oddly it is only one of my PMs that suffers from the drain issue – batteries in the other one last much longer. I was hoping they’d replace the faulty one… guess I’ll jerry-rig something with an external battery holder with a larger battery, and a switch to disconnect the battery when I’m not using the bike.

      Is using a PM from a different brand even an option? Will the bike connect to it? There is no *technical* reason why it wouldn’t, but there is also no technical reason HP printers wouldn’t accept ink from another company…

      I fear their app will go defunct as well at some point, and any kind of maintenance or debugging (or even just calibrating the sensors) won’t be possible any more.

    • Dave

      (Probably should’ve mentioned – my post was in regards to a SB20, which OP never mentions. The “will it connect to the bike” question may sound a bit strange without that context…)

    • Dave Casey

      Same here. It’s the left side PM that seems to chew through batteries faster than a toddler with a box of animal crackers.

    • Chuck Griffith

      How does removing batteries after every ride help with your power meter?

    • Just noticing this now…

      But honestly, I’d skip removing batteries after every ride. To me, that’s a recipe for eventually breaking battery door and being solidly up crap-creek (given the company’s situation). Versus at worst, you buy more coin cell batteries if it burns fast.

  6. MS

    Funny enough I was calling Stages for weeks and nobody would answer and I finally got an email last week saying they were undergoing management change and being bought out. I was also told everything was on hold for orders until everything was finalized but I guess I’ll find different options for my customers.

  7. Alex

    Sounds like the most likely scenario is for Giant to just take over the Stages brand and IP? Plus remaining inventory which they probably still own anyway technically, if Stages didn’t pay for it?

    Question regarding the follwing: “The company says they generate more than 110 million rides per year”

    At first glance that looks like an impressive number but it’s just roughly 300k rides per day. For how many years can a gym use on of those super sturdy bikes and how many rides do they average per day? Even if we assume that a gym bike is in use for only 3 years (which sounds pretty low) that’s only 100k units if each unit averages one ride per day (which again sounds very low)?

    • Yeah, I had pondered that as well. But I suspect the 110m number is merely for their connected devices, and not all units might be fully connected (for any number of reasons).

    • Greg

      The little insider gossip I’ve heard is that Giant will take over the PM side and Core Health and Fitness would take over the IC stuff. Similar thing happened when Schwinn Fitness split with the bicycling side. But who knows.

  8. Jessica Winston

    Just a few months ago, Stages partnered with Precor (owned by Peloton) to distribute their bikes. I didn’t know what to make of that partnership at the time, and I’m wondering even more about that partnership now. Given Peloton’s stock, I don’t see them acquiring Stages, but do you have thoughts on this Stages-Precor/Peloton connection and how that might be impacted by the news at Stages?

    link to americanspa.com

    • Yeah, that’s a quirky one. I’d imagine that might explain some of the comments I’ve seen saying that some Stages employees are ‘volunteering’ to keep servers alive. Certainly, Precor wouldn’t want their newly distributed products being problematic.

    • cowrob

      Was it a Hail Mary that Stages management thought would bring in cash that didn’t? If they (Stages) were that close to being gone, it does seem odd to announce a deal like that unless they thought it was a lifeline of some kind behind the scenes. Or anchor line? Dragging down Precor/Peloton would have been unfortunate. Maybe Precor/Peloton saw the writing on the wall, and the deal was quietly nullified. I have hoped that Peloton can survive. It was my first ‘smart bike’. *shrug*

    • From an external facing standpoint, there’s actually very little tying the consumer-side businesses of Stages power meters/bike computers/SB20, and the B2B side of the house that Precor was looking to distribute.

      I could see a scenario where Precor buys that side of the house and continues to operate it. However, the heavy dependency on Giant for manufacturing of those bikes going forward could be tricky to navigate. Of course, it’s plausible Giant already does component manufacturing for Precor in some capacity already. I can’t find much data on that element.

  9. WRSI

    Thanks for this; I’ve been waiting for some word that didn’t amount to aggregators echoing on the same story, and you’re the idea source.

    As an owner of an SB20, the Giant angle definitely has been giving me that bit of hope about the potential for future support, at least. We already have had Zwift updates that aren’t fully supported, and the prospect of that getting worse was not heartening.

  10. cowrob

    Having had a Powertap C1 and given the ‘talk to the hand’ treatment by SRAM, I can see them buying the remnants of Stages and dumping on Stages owners. I think they did it to me and others.

    Still, the L/R Stages setup I had was really accurate, and while it worked, support requests were easily answered, not that I had many. But nothing lasts forever.

    It’s perhaps strange that with all the failings, that people are guessing who’s next. Trek? Specialized? See Hambini’s last YouTube for more.

    Post Shimano recall, and my L/R being shredded, I did think about getting another one installed (and realized that wasn’t going to happen) bit the bullett and did the Rally pedals. (Probably should have done them in the first place, but at double the price? Wow…

    Thanks for your coverage of what looks like another demise…

  11. Elliot

    Part of the M&A due diligence will uncover Stages’ list of liabilities, which will almost certainly have ongoing customer & product support at the very top.

    “But whether or not they decide to provide support for existing consumers is probably the big question.”

    The question is whether the juice is worth the squeeze for Giant to acquire Stages, vs just acquiring the talent it wants and letting the remaining Stages directors decide how to disposition the company (likely through Chapter 7). Unless Stages has IP Giant thinks it really, really needs, I’m leaning toward this scenario as the most likely outcome.

    • CowRob

      Providing support for existing consumers?

      How many got the $500 check for turning their cranks in to Shimano.

      How many consumers does Stages have left? I would have liked to have gotten more for my ‘contribution’, but I didn’t pay all that much more for my ‘factory install’ L/R system. I’m sure there are people holding on to their cranksets, but at what cost. While ‘failure is always an option’, failure would likely mean PAIN!

    • CowRob

      HAH! What hurt was spending twice the money I got back from Shimano to get what I probably should have gotten in the first place. Hmm…

      At least the Rallys can be sent back in a small box, and I can throw another pair of SPD-SL pedals on and go for a ride.

    • RonnieZ

      The support I’m thinking about are health clubs. At the health club I teach cycling classes at, we use a stages web app which connects to all of the stages bikes in the class to display FTP, HR etc, as well as show workout information for attendees.

      How much longer will this site operate? Would we receive notice if it ceases to function? Heck, If I design a workout on sunday in the software…will it still be there when i teach my class on Wednesday?

  12. Kevin

    A minor detail maybe but it seems like you would know that Stages designed the Wahoo Kickr and one of the names you’ve rattled off was on the patent related to the (now settled) lawsuit between Wahoo and Zwift.

  13. Roberto

    Good to know that a Stages indoor bike has a factory price of 476 USD (from the purchase order).
    Probably no more than 250-300 USD of industrial cost

  14. Tim

    I have 3 Stages PMs and they’re working fine for now, as they have for several years already. I’m sorry to see them go under (though I suspect Giant will absorb the remaining assets and IP) but I’ll move on to Garmin pedals when the Stages units eventually die.

  15. Mathis

    I wonder if this was a strategical move from giant all along. They went into negotiation, didn’t like the number they were asked to pay, thought “hey, We’ve got the ground for a lawsuit. Let’s just drive them into bankruptcy and get them for a much lower price tag”. Really feeling for the employees which are caught in the crossfire of some economic game.

  16. usr

    I guess Giant must be in a frenzy to find a partner in the gym tech sector to pick up that part, can’t imagine Giant wanting to plow those fields themselves, without an intermediary taking care of the details.

  17. Gary Jenkins

    I got an SB20 12/2/23. It works for a few minutes after a reset or firmware refresh. I have 2 problem reports in their system which never gets responded to. My LBS and I have tried getting someone on the phone for months with no luck. Was mulling a lawsuit for injury caused by by bike slamming to 200% resistance. Got lots of doctor bills from that incident. Thought it blew out my knee replacement.

  18. John

    This is a huge bummer. I love how over engineered and sturdy Stages bikes are. I purchased an sc3 during covid and it feels like it’ll last my entire life. Deliberated between that and the sb20 for a while and i’m glad i went that way seeing as there’s not much that can go wrong with a simple “dumb” spin bike.

    There’s not much else on the market that is built like that, if anything.

    • Mel

      I picked up an SC2 during the pandemic from a gym liquidation sale as I wanted to get into peloton without buying a peloton bike. The sc2 is built like a tank and it’s been well used in the gym before making its way to my house. The ONLY thing I wish it had was a resistance measurement on the display but I can live without it. I’ve ridden on many a gym spin bike but this will always be my favorite.

  19. RonnieZ

    I teach indoor cycling classes at a club which uses stages bikes and also their software platform (a display which shows the workout to the class, along with where each person is wrt their FTP, HR, etc. It’s pretty cool, really. If anyone is interested I can take screen grabs during my class this evening and post here…

    The bikes are best in class, but the web app has always been somewhat buggy. I am also nervous that it will just disappear when they don’t pay their web hosting provider and I will lose the 150+ workouts I have saved in their system. I have yet to find a way to export the workouts I created out of their platform.

    This is all disappointing as the members who attend my classes love the system and the bikes. I’m hopeful that Giant absorbs the brand and keeps everything functional…but if that was the plan….I can’t imagine it being handled in this way as it’s destroying the stages reputation. We were planning to upgrade another studio with Stages bikes this year….we definitely will not be using their bikes now (not that we could get them if we wanted to….).

  20. okrunner

    Glad I didn’t buy a Stages to replace my Watteam Powerbeat a few years ago. LOL. Motorola Motoactv, Tom Tom Spark, etc. etc. etc. – Ray, you must have a museum of defunct sports technology somewhere.

  21. leander

    Happy sb20 owner hete hoping Giant will buy them and support is continued.

    One month ago support in Belgium was still very fast in answering and solving a problem I had.