Zwift Precursor - Dragon's Den 2005

Oh how quickly tech has made it possible. I could understand their reticence, but Duncan Bannatyne just looks like a tube now :sweat_smile: I bet his gyms have lost a few quid to Peloton, Zwift etc.

Apart from laptops/Tablets, ANT+/Bluetooth along with power have revolutionized the space; from about 2012 onwards?

2012 would probably be about right, I got my Powerbeam Pro around that time and the Tacx software and others allowed you to watch pre-recorded real-life videos of courses including ADH for simulation.

A German guy started doing his own, and still does that I think you can play on golden cheetah and others. It was a nice way to see the likes of the Furka pass.

tbf I think it was the government shutting them down.

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The problem with that dragons panel is none of them have a tech back ground, not a proper one. Might be great businesses but they don’t understand tech. I cant fucking stand trying to explain technical stuff to non techie people

Yes they look like idiots now, but in some ways do they kind of have a point for the market at the time?

My guess would be its measuring power that has been the biggest force to transform indoor cycling, not the idea of seeing yourself cycling round a virtual world like a Wii fit?

ETA: True question would be what happened to his product, whether it was successful/fed into one of the current products, or was like the ones Duncan describes that already existed?

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For me, the USP of Zwift is the racing and the interactive nature of it; I’d soon get bored just riding around a virtual world without the motivation of competition tbh.

Good power pun btw.

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Slight tangent but I have only ever seen a handful of DD episodes but that guy that invented True Call was a standout. We bought Mum one years ago, best thing in the world if you have older parents.

That’s funny I am not a techie and I can’t stand it when techies try to explain things to me! I have absolutely no idea how tech stuff works, I don’t understand the language people use


One of them did say to come back when he had something portable that could clip onto the handlebars. They are not looking to do product development and the product he had needed a lot of that. 2005 was too early I guess but -
He was measuring cadence only, a poor proxy for speed
No internet, no connection to other ‘players’, just your avatar riding around a computer screen
No mention of even computer generated opponents

Couldn’t computrainer connect different users together? When did that come out?

Yep 2005 3d racing:

Agree that being able to measure power is the key thing.

It’s still pretty expensive- I don’t know how mature the technology is. Will your entry level bike from Decathlon ever come shipped with a £10 mass produced power meter?

I seem to recall TTowel on here posting about iMagic racing around 2006/2007? I think it was pretty basic, but it allowed people in different parts of the world to race one another.

I don’t think the Zwift made an appearance until about 2015 and even then it took a while before it started to gain critical mass. The rise of the smart trainer was what made the difference.

Shouldn’t we be seeing much cheaper Power Meters by now? I mean it’s just a strain gauge on a chip right? I can’t helping feeling they’re still overinflating prices.

I remember buying a 1GB SD Card for £75 in early 2006. How much are they now? :sweat_smile:


I think it’s starting to happen, check out Cadey, a Chinese company knocking out a spider based meters for £225. GPLama has given it a pretty positive review.

I had ordered one last week, but have cancelled as I’m possibly changing my crank… one of the downsides of a spider based meter. Cadey have about 8 different options to choose from and they seem to be lacking an option for probably the largest single standard… Shimano. I assume that’s because of the asymmetrical 4 bolts causing issues?

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But 99% of the population probably don’t even know what a power meter is, let alone would want one.

I guess I could see, in the future, an in built speedo that hooks up to their smart watches maybe.

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Yeah that’s probably true. But fast forward a few years- I wonder.

I think and hope all sorts of people might become more interested in lifetime health and fitness. We are living longer and better, and I sense generalky more educated about how to keep healthy. Also ever more tech savvy.So stuff that seems niche today like bike power-meters will become more mainstream. A bit like heart rate monitors were super niche in the 1980s, but now loads of people have a watch that tracks HR and offers insights into health and wellbeing.

From a tech point of view, i don’t really know how things work, but like Jorgan says yesterday’s expensive gear becomes today’s cheap gear. £1000 for a smart trainer and £600 for power pedals seems crazy expensive to me. When compared with the sophistication of an £80 smart phone. I dunno if it’s mad to hope that within a few years there will be power pedals for £50-£100 maybe even in the middle aisle at Lidl. How cool would that be? Then the world of indoor cycling would accessible to many more people.


I suspect the cost comes from manufacturering tolerances, miniaturisation, and Quality of components.

If you simply want to measure the strain on a lever and don’t care about size, weight, form etc then it could be relatively cheap. But to measure the rotational force would need 2 or 3 gauges, that have to suffer varying conditions and a huge amount of vibration and still give accurate measurements. Oh and they need to be small enough to fit in a pedal, crank or hub, and cyclists don’t like weight so they need to be light.

Things will get cheaper I guess, but I can’t imagine there is much need outside of power meters for micro strain gauges

Volumes. We sell sensors that are fitted to every new car made in EU, USA and China and we are small fry to our suppliers when compared to the smart phone makers. Pedal bike electronics must be another level of annoyance to the big electronics manufacturers.

Having said that, Peleton is apparently the biggest name in home exercising, which suggests people would prefer a dedicated set-up to repurposing other kit. And cost isn’t the biggest barrier.

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That is the fault of the techie though. Some are appalling at explaining technical things to not technical people. others do it intentionally to either be difficult or make themselves feel superior. I think one of the reasons I have done well in IT is the ability to be able to to explain things to non technical people. Back when you are a dev you mostly only speak to other devs, QA etc. But as a manager I have more meetings with board level and none of them, other than CTO have a tech background.

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