Zwift to buy out TrainerRoad?

From someone that maybe knows what he’s talking about…

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In the comments section, Ray said he’s doing an article on Xert tomorrow.


I am itching to read the Xert article that Ray mentions. Is there anything our Xert top-brass can divulge here?

Agreement with Bike the World. No acquistions yet. :wink:


I found one comment revealing. This is just one section of it. When i read something like this, my thought is, if this guy can’t figure it out, how can the average guy figure it out?

Experimenting with Xert now, and so far pleased with how it includes all the exercise I’m doing to calculate metrics and recommend workouts. Xert does have a steep learning curve: this is my second time trying it because I couldn’t figure it out the first time! (And I say that as someone with a degree from a well-known technically-focused university and decades of experience with technology.) This time around I put in some real effort to understand how Xert works and how the various apps work together. Between the complexity of getting started with Xert and their shall-we-say-questionable UI design, I don’t see it as being a good fit for the average Zwift user, unless Zwift buries Xert’s technology under the hood.

It pains me to say so but I do agree. There needs to be a proper focus on the user experience if Xert is to progress in the marketplace. And I mean proper user experience - like making complex things appear simple, and making the whole experience seem desirable. Look at how much TR has achieved in this area - somehow they make a workout app with an interval graph seem slick and cool.


That is all it takes. Time/effort and a willingness to learn something new and different.
Many aren’t cut out for that and would prefer to be told what to do (TR), not learn what to do (Xert).
They are not Xert candidates. Move along, these are not the (an)droids you’re looking for.


“Road bikes should use a CVT. 24 gears is waayy too complicated for the average cyclist.”

“Jacob Collier’s music is way too complicated. He needs to create music like Katy Perry if he wants to get to sell more records.”

“Your helicopter is way too complicated. If you want the average person to fly one, you have to have just a steering wheel, gas pedal and brake otherwise the UX is much too difficult for the average person to use.”

I’m not disagreeing with you but you have to also recognize that somethings are just hard to simplify and sometimes the complexity is a better implementation of the greater overall purpose of the product - as with all three examples above. Maybe it’s better to sell guitars than trying to turn them into Rockband video games.


There’s a lot to be said for a consistent, well thought out interface, one that makes product easier to figure out and use. The concepts behind Xert aren’t all that complicated. The way it’s presented, the interface, makes it look like rocket science.


We’ll get there. Somethings take more time, either because they are just hard, or you don’t have the people or you’re still looking to get a better idea on how to go about it. We’re in a world where all three are challenges for us. Our stuff is new and much (all?) of what we’ve done has never been attempted before. Somethiings take multiple tries to get right, especially after years of working the system, learning and getting great feedback from customers.

We’ll take more runs at improving things. Xert 2.0 as I affectionately call it, is being worked on. The math is more complex, but it’ll also be easier to make work for everyone without them having to know as much about the system.

But acknowledge that Xert 1.0 works astonishingly well. In fact, it works in spite of our limited resources and crazy ideas. I think we can all agree there is something to be said about that.


All it takes is twice? The first time the guy with the tech degree and “decades of experience with technology” gave up trying to understand Xert. The reason that he swung back around is that Trainerroad still doesn’t take into account his outdoor rides.

This is fair enough @xertedbrain :slight_smile:

Hopefully at some point you’ll be able to get a user experience person onboard the Xert team but I can imagine that’s not as easy as it sounds!

I don’t think I’ve ever used the word astonishingly, and I can’t here (yet). If I weren’t 'someone with a degree from a university and decades of experience with technology" I would have probably quit, but I see a diamond in the rough, and the data seems to add up.

Not separating indoor and outdoor is they key thing, for me.

Yup. Twice will do it for some. Thrice for me.
First time was the original 14-day trial that had only ONE workout to demo what was different about Xert. Second time I had already committed to TR but saw Xert reviewed by DCR so took another look. Like many, I dabbled and didn’t quite grasp how it could work without a calendar or seven zones based on FTP. Three zone strain model? Hmm… :thinking:
Up until that time I had only used canned plans and had recently moved up to what I thought would be a better canned plan approach. “PB for enthusiasts” was TR’s marketing pitch. Sweet spot was the game. I took the bait.
Third time was when TR failed me (or I failed TR?) for a second season in a row.
Time to try a different approach and commit to spending the time to learn Xert by doing it.
Not dabbling, not complaining, not arguing about the math or doubting the model. Just do it, study it, and compare the results. How does it differ? Why does it differ? Does it make a difference? Well, you know what happened with me.

I am sure D. Watson will get it now because he made the commitment. You also left this part out.

I usually use TrainerRoad and Zwift simultaneously, so this is certainly an interesting rumor. However, I just suspended my TrainerRoad account because they’ve so far been unable to incorporate unstructured outdoor rides into their Adaptive Training model. I have trouble staying on a structured workout plan because I will always choose to ride outside (preferably with friends) over sitting on the trainer.

Bingo – He wants flexibility plus option to ride Zwift. Freedom to ride! Xert does this in spades.

TR is stuck in calendar mode with %FTP blocks. :man_shrugging:
Been there, done that. I’ve moved on. Out with the old-school, in with a new paradigm shift.
Not ready to do that? Fine. Like I said, many are not candidates for Xert.
Does that make Xert is a niche player? Sure, but those who are content riding a daily dose of blue blocks and being told what to do aren’t ready to learn how to self-coach or don’t want to.
Now you could argue Xert should try to cater to that group in order to gain market share but that runs contrary to the current focus. :wink:


You set up a strawman there. I made no comments about the Xert method. I commented on the apparent complexity, and the confusing UI. First impressions matter. I’m absolutely positive Xert would convert more trial users to subscribers with a cleanup of the UI.

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“Make it as simple as possible. But not any simpler.”

But have you already tried? Like hiring a proven UX designer for half a year and really following him before integrating another new feature?
Unfortunately many brilliant engineers confuse themselfes with being great UX designers as well. As I am working with both for many years I learned to value them each for what they can add.

In Xert we are not talking about making a matchbox out of a helicopter. Its really so many things which probably could be simple to improve. E.g. the whole Xata. Or the cluttered onboarding/documentation. Or I tried to do this new session thing. Sure, If I’d be really motivated to figure it out I would. But people usually are not, because they have 99 other things in their VUCA lifes going on simultaniousely.
So I clicked on it, got an brain cramp and closed it for good.
I know thats hard to believe, as for you of course everything is 100% obvious and you maybe couldn’t even imagine how things could look and work differently. But thats because you built it and not because its following UX best practices.

And that is a really pity. Not because I can’t use xert. I was impressed by what It can do so I took the time to dive into it. But all these people it will turn away leaving all this money in their pockets which could allow you to maybe do so much more great things we all could benefit from :frowning:


We’re not feeling any pity here fortunately. The business is doing quite well and people are getting a ton of value from the product. Sure we might be able tweak conversion rates up a bit by creating a new user experience. The challenge isn’t the UI/UX but addressing the ability to handle the vast array of data that needs to be properly analyzed. We lose more business from people abandoning their account because the have poor results, mostly due to data errors and the inability of the system to self-correct these errors. We sort of need people to meet us half-way at the moment. That makes things complex and people get frustrated because they can’t figure it out. “Why is my TP too high/low? Why am I getting advice to do a 400XSS workout?”

But, even so, our conversion rates are already very high and while things could always been improved, it’s far from a major problem. We get far more compliments on the system than we do complaints. The complaints are just the ones that get posted because that’s a thing to do. People like to vent publicly for whatever reason.

But we do take criticisms to heart and we already know about many of the issues that need to be addressed. Wish we could snap our fingers to fix them. Unfortunately “hiring a UI/UX designer for half a year” doesn’t solve much really. You will need to a good design in the end, one that works within the framework of what the system can do, one that users will see sufficient incremental benefit from and one that you can deliver cost effectlvely. Not a simple project - lots of risk and even potential to make it worse for users if not done properly with the right people on board.

Thanks for your comments.


Xert Maths 2.0, that caught my attention!

Searching the forum for “Xert 2.0” I couldnt find anything on the development horizon for this…Any hints on where this sits in the dev timeline or priority? I.e. are we talking weeks, months, years or decades?

P.S. I confess, I’m one of those (minority?) function-over-form-engineer types, so am always thrilled to hear when subscription $ goes towards maths, data processing, and its Xert EBC integration; as opposed to hiring UX-designers. I think there’s nothing wrong with fortifying existing strengths - “a [maths] bird in the hand is worth two [UI-focused] in the bush” :smiley:


Other than my own personal inabilities I have no complaints with Xert. It seems like every time I use the program I learn something new and must say I love it. I have a long way to go, but I am known for my persistance. I will never be an exercise physiologist so may not ever completely understand the theories behind Xert, but know so far, compared to all the other programs/apps out there, Xert is the best for me.
The new sessions with video are a great new addition as well.
Keep up the good work.


Hi Armando, I would agree totally with what you say here. I am relatively new to Xert but the value is in the data analysis - seeing my progression etc. I tried Xert last winter but gave up because the data on the progression charts looked a bit “jumpy”, but was conscious I had not given it a lot of history, so resolved to use Xert this winter to track my efforts over a longer period, and will take forwards into the summer. For this winter I already had a training plan, but may decide to follow XATA more next year.

I actually find the Xert UI pretty clean - sure there are a few things I would like to be a bit better, the calendar mainly, but it works for me. In terms of UI relating to the core features - the workout analysis, the progression charts, workout builder are as visually clean if not better than a lot of the competition (Training Peaks charts for example!). There would be little added value for me in terms of having super-slick UI.

With regards to the o/p I actually like TrainerRoad as well and have on/off followed their base plans - I really dont see the added value to the customer of a potential merger. Zwift really I can take or leave, I occasionally re-activate my sub on a mid-winter bad weather Sunday to join a virtual ride with my cycling club, but thats about it. TrainerRoad is already expensive though, looking at the survey Zwift put out, it would seem like there is a possibility you would still pay $20-per-month to get the TR features, but the development budget is now diluted with the upkeep of the Zwift side of things…