With the news today that Wahoo has launched the Kickr Core Zwift One smart trainer, the Zwift Hub One will, from this day forward, be discontinued.
It’s a move that marks the end of Zwift’s brief but disruptive foray into smart trainer sales, and one that appears to cement the partnership that the two brands vowed to create upon settling the patent infringement lawsuit last September. It also comes just 48 hours after the brand announced its latest round of workforce layoffs, in which the co-CEO Kurt Beidler resigned.
I caught up with both brands to talk about the details of said partnership. I wanted to dig a little beneath the outward-facing alliance; to understand how the two brands went from adversaries to amigos in the space of just a few months. It’s no secret that Wahoo wanted Zwift to stop selling the Hub, and as of today, that has happened, but does that mean Wahoo won and Zwift lost? It turns out it’s a little more complicated – and in many ways, a lot more simple – than that.
We spoke about how the partnership came to be, including how the court case forced communication between the brands; what progress has already been made; what it could look like going forward, including desires for a future in which Zwift and Systm could integrate; and what it might mean for users around the world.
If there wasn’t already enough evidence to back up the newly rejuvenated friendship between the two brands, the interview, which took place on Zoom, was with both brands at the same time. I didn’t ask for it to be a joint interview, it just happened. No need for separate slots to cover both brands; the claimed efficiencies they would go on to tell me about were already being proven accurate.
Both interviewees preferred to be known as ‘a spokesperson’ for their respective brand, so for ease, I’ll refer to them by their brand name, but the more we spoke, the more I got a feeling of genuine coalition; two brands singing from the same hymn sheet.
How did Wahoo and Zwift come to settle their differences?
“I think [the management of both companies] came to the realisation that we’re going to be better working in partnership,” began Zwift.
“Not only is it better for the two companies, it’s also better for the customers. Ultimately, they’re going to get a better experience from us cooperating well, and it’s also good for the industry and independent bike dealers when we’re playing together. We share the same vision, ultimately, to grow the…