Bluetooth device links Peloton bikes with Zwift cycling platform
The Peloton stationary bike and the Zwift online cycling platform have both become quite popular, yet they're not entirely compatible with one another. That's where the Shift Smart Trainer comes in, as it acts as a resistance-adjusting bridge between the two.
For readers who are unfamiliar with the Peloton, it's a performance-monitoring exercise bike that links its user up with live-coached spinning classes via an integrated tablet.
Zwift, on the other hand, is a massive multiplayer online game platform, in which real-world cyclists ride with or race against one another in 3D computer-generated online environments. For the most part, users have their existing bicycle mounted on a stationary trainer. If that trainer is Zwift-compatible, its pedalling resistance level will automatically move higher or lower as the cyclist goes up and down virtual hills – in this way, it simulates climbs and descents.
If Peloton riders try using Zwift, they'll find that the resistance on their bike remains unaffected. The UK-designed Shift Smart Trainer is made to remedy that situation, by simply slipping over the Peloton bike's resistance-adjustment knob – no straps, bolts or alterations are required.
Utilizing Bluetooth, it wirelessly communicates with both the laptop or tablet that's running Zwift, and with a third-party cadence sensor on the bike. Whenever a climb or a descent occurs in the Zwift environment (along with an accompanying gradient-change signal), the motorized device correspondingly turns the knob in one direction or the other.
If needed, riders can respond to that change by shifting to a higher or lower virtual gear, simply by pressing an up or down button on the Shift's touchscreen display – doing so tweaks the resistance accordingly.
Should you be interested, the Shift Smart Trainer is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of £160 (about US$214) will get you one, when and if it reaches production. Its planned retail price is £199 ($266).
The device is demonstrated in the video below.