In case you haven’t noticed, Wahoo is making a push to get your training attention. Barely a month goes by without an update to its Systm training apps or a new product release from the brand behind the range of Kickr trainers and Elemnt head units. It’s all part of Wahoo’s drive to offer a complete training ecosystem.
Still, it’s hardly coincidental it comes at the same time Wahoo is facing new competition in the hardware market and is venturing into the virtual-world and software space itself.
For all of Wahoo’s success with trainers and head units, and for all its new offerings and updates to its training platform over the past 14 months, it still faces the same difficult hurdle in being a relative newbie in the training and virtual-world market. While Wahoo has steadily grown its System platform with new and expanded features, many riders are already committed (addicted, maybe) to the numerous other options such as TrainerRoad and that one behemoth in the market, Zwift.
Wahoo played no small part in Zwift’s success, with their trainers being amongst the most widely used by Zwifters the globe over. But that relationship has soured over the past two months, even if both brands might not openly admit it.
Zwift recently took its first steps into the smart trainer market with its market-altering smart trainer pricing, no doubt taking potential Wahoo customers along with them. Then, just two weeks ago, news emerged that Wahoo is suing Zwift (and Jetblack) for what it described as a blatant patent infringement with that aggressively priced Zwift Hub trainer.
Outside the courts, though, Wahoo latest offering is seemingly countering Zwift’s budget-friendly trainer with a price-aggressive move of its own: a combined hardware and software package with one low monthly payment. Wahoo is now offering its Kickr Snap smart trainer plus access to its RGT virtual world and Systm training platform for 12 monthly installments of US$29.99. Best of all, this isn’t a lease or hire scheme – at the end of the 12 months the trainer is yours to keep.
Unfortunately, the new “Wahoo X Indoor Cycling Package” is only available in the US. Still, at that price, even prospective Kickr Snap customers with no intention of using the Wahoo X apps can save money. Fancy a Kickr Snap? It’ll usually set you back US$499, and while it is on sale now at $399 (perhaps indicating yet another new product update on the way from Wahoo), the 12 US$29.99 monthly payments total some $40 less at just under $360.
For all the new releases and updates of late, this more affordable hardware and software combo package could prove to be Wahoo’s biggest splash in the training software pond yet. While the Kickr Snap is a wheel-on trainer in a time when most riders aspire to a direct-drive trainer, at this value and with access to Wahoo’s entire training and virtual-world platforms, normally priced at US$14.99/month, it could finally tempt many new and seasoned indoor trainers across to Wahoo’s ecosystem.
If the new hardware and software package attracts an influx of new members, further updates to the Wahoo X apps might see them stick around. Wahoo has grown the Systm app from a platform with potential but that was more than a little bare at its initial launch, to a combined virtual and real-world cycling ecosystem providing structured training, virtual riding, and challenges year-round. Wahoo continues to grow System’s catalog of workouts, immersive content, yoga, strength and mobility sessions, and mental training. Furthermore, recent updates also mean those structured workouts now sync with Wahoo’s Element head units for outdoor sessions.
Wahoo has also announced a new integrated voice chat in its RGT virtual world platform. Third-party apps such as Discord have provided Zwifters with a further social connection during their virtual rides for years. Now Wahoo has directly integrated a seemingly similar feature within its own virtual world offering. It’s another small update to the Wahoo ecosystem that takes a step in the right direction towards its goal of creating the “world’s most complete training system.”
Perhaps more importantly in the Great Indoor Training War of 2022, though – and along with the most affordable hardware and software package, outdoor workout sync and off-bike workouts – voice chat is another differentiator for Wahoo that Zwift isn’t offering. Better yet, it’s another win for us, the riders. Competition is good.