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