This small Shift Smart Trainer controller add-on is poised to open up virtual training possibilities for Peloton indoor bike riders, letting them transition into Zwift’s interactive environment. By simply taking over automatic control of Peloton’s resistance knob and adding in its own gearing & communications capability, Shift is able to offer the immersive smart trainer feedback needed to let Peloton users make the jump from fitness-only spin training to the more social interactive riding on virtual roads…

Shift Smart Trainer brings Zwift world to Peloton indoor bikes

 

For the more than three million Peloton members out there (and more than 1 million Peloton Bikes), this new slip-on Shift gadget turns your Peloton fitness bike into a smart trainer so you can go online to ride virtual roads with friends.

Shift Smart Trainer Peloton Bike, indoor fitness bike add-on controller connect online to Zwift Watopia virtual world, Zwift-on-Peloton
c. Shift

The structured spin class fitness training of Peloton indoor bikes has made them incredibly popular. But Peloton’s own training environment is limiting once you’ve tried the more social aspects & gamification of virtual roads like on Zwift.

And since most people couldn’t afford, justify, or even find the space for both a Peloton bike & a smart trainer, Shift gives you both with a simple controller that slips onto your Peloton bike and off in seconds with no modification or tools needed.

Shift Smart Trainer Peloton Bike, indoor fitness bike add-on controller connect online to Zwift Watopia virtual world, auto resistance control

The Shift smart trainer works by automatically dialing changes to Peloton’s resistance knob to simulate grade changes in Zwift’s virtual environment. Combined with a synced cadence sensor and Shift’s on-screen gear sector, Shift manages all communication to connect to Zwift via both Apple or Windows devices, transmitting cadence & calculated power output and controlling smart resistance level.

How To Shift your Peloton into connected Zwift mode?

Shift setup will be quick & easy…

  1. First, slide the Shift controller over your Peloton bike’s red resistance knob.
  2. Then, attach a separate standard Bluetooth cadence sensor (not included) to you shoe or cranks and pair it via Shift’s screen.
  3. A quick calibration process cycles through the Peloton’s dial to get resistance levels right.
  4. Then you can pair Shift to Zwift like any other smart trainer, and ride Watopia!

 

Tech details

Shift Smart Trainer Peloton Bike, indoor fitness bike add-on controller connect online to Zwift Watopia virtual world, gadget

The entirely wireless, self-powered Shift controller works with the Peloton Bike & Peloton Bike+ fitness bikes. The standalone device has its own micro-USB rechargeable internal battery to power the controller motor, display & communication – giving a minimum 4 hour runtime, depending on terrain.

The device’s touchscreen lets you shift up or down through virtual 22-speed road gearing.

Shift Smart Trainer Peloton Bike, indoor fitness bike add-on controller connect online to Zwift Watopia virtual world, top tech details

It includes multiple channel Bluetooth Smart communication which allows it to connect with your external cadence sensor, and send that data together to Zwift with your calculated power data stream. (Ant+ connectivity will also be included when the controller is delivered to backers.) Shift claims a ~10% power accuracy, the same as Peloton claims for the base fitness bike. They call that plenty accurate to enjoy Zwifting, although you’d need more accuracy for real (virtual?) competition.

Shift Smart Trainer Peloton Bike, indoor fitness bike add-on controller connect online to Zwift Watopia virtual world, back detail

Shift says it will sync with any apple, Android, or Windows device compatible with Zwift. There are ways to make Zwift display on the Peloton screen, but Shift does not rely on accessing Peloton’s closed system in any way.

Shift Smart Trainer Peloton Bike, indoor fitness bike add-on controller connect online to Zwift Watopia virtual world, ride online

For now Shift’s development team has only focused first on connecting to Zwift, but they already have the prototypes running on Rouvy & TrainerRoad, too. Beyond that, there are plans to use the same process to add Peloton compatibility to other virtual environments like RGT, Bkool & Sufferfest in the future, as well.

How to buy a Shift Smart Trainer for your Peloton fitness bike?

Shift Smart Trainer Peloton Bike, indoor fitness bike add-on controller connect online to Zwift Watopia virtual world, indoor training

Not affiliated with either Peloton or Zwift, Shift is using Kickstarter to crowdsource funding to ramp up production of their smart trainer attachment, now that development is complete.

The Shift Smart Trainer can be backed now on Kickstarter with controllers offered as rewards from £160 / 180€ for a few remaining Early Bird pledges, or £200 / $265 / 223€  once those sell out. Delivery of the Shift controller is expected already as early as March 2021, with shipping extra.

They’ve only garnered about 1/6th of the contributions they need, with 11 days to go so far. Here’s hoping that they meet their pledge goal for the sake of all those prospective Peloton Zwifters out there…

Kickstarter.com

9 COMMENTS

  1. This article is misleading since you have to side-load the zwift app onto the bike which requires an advanced-level of skill that most users do not have. You also need to have power-meter pedals on the bike. The reason you need this is that Peloton does not broadcast your power (or cadence) over any standard protocol (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart). Instead, that’s done via wires directly into the bike itself for its own app.

  2. @Craig, neither of those statements are correct. Shift communicates directly to Zwift-enabled devices. You do not need to sideload Zwift onto the Peloton if you use an external display. Shift also calculates/estimates your power output based on the calibrated resistance data & external cadence (an extra sensor you will have to provide) as described in the article above.

  3. The promo article was misleading. The only way to get Zwift to display on the Peloton screen was through hacking the OS and sideloading the software. Otherwise you would be looking at a blank screen and a separate monitor or display device. Regarding power estimates they are not using the power measuring device within the Peloton bike but rather an estimate power curve which is notoriously inaccurate. Lastly if Peloton even changes the knob design the product would be obsolete.

  4. This all seems a really expensive way to use Zwift andbindoor training in general. Around £3000 for a peleton bike then around £45 month for their training. Then £200 for this device and the extras bits you need then the cost of Zwift. Might as well but a smart turbo trainer like the Tacx smart flow for £269 which does everything automatically as it’s has Bluetooth. For example this machine outputs 800w of power. Even if your a pro cyclist you could go for the more expensive range of turbo trainers with direct drive which outputs over 2000w for only £1200. This seems a much better use of your money.

    • I think this is more for the “I already bought into this cult and now the grass looks greener on the other side” I don’t think anyone if they were starting from scratch and wanted to go down the zwift route would choose this as an option and I am sure the Shift Smart guys would agree.

  5. I have a friend that posts his Peloton rides to Strava. His power numbers are ridiculously inflated. If this is using the same formula to calculate power as Peloton it is not accurate anywhere near 10%.

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