Spanish bike trainer and software firm, Bkool, has stopped manufacturing hardware in order to focus on its cycling simulator software. The company will no longer be shipping bike trainers, such as its Bkool Smart Air direct drive trainer, or its more recently launched smart bike. It has sold this part of its business to Versa Design.
It is understood that Versa (also based in Spain) will rebrand Bkool bike trainers under its own Zycle brand.
In a note to its customers, Bkool stated… ‘Ending the production of our hardware was a difficult decision. Bkool pioneered the development of smart trainers. Despite our company’s size and resources, we have done a good job. But we do not believe that it is our place as a company to compete against Elite, Tacx, Saris or Wahoo, but to develop our simulator so that everyone can enjoy the best indoor cycling experience possible.’
Wences Sevillano, Bkool’s CEO, said “For Bkool, this agreement is essential for us, as it allows us to focus on the development of the best cycling simulator in the market.
“Each day we have more users who use other brands’ trainers in our simulator. Our future as a company is to offer the best simulation experience, no matter what trainer you may have. And this agreement allows us to put all our effort into it, developing the best digital product for every cyclist.”
Juan Ramón Vadillo, founder of Versa Design, said “We are excited about this new stage for our company. Through Zycle, we will not only provide continuity to the range of existing products, but we will strengthen it with new technological products, maintaining compatibility with Bkool and strengthening support with other simulators. We will apply our industrial capacity to achieve the technical excellence of the product and thus satisfy today’s increasingly demanding customer.”
Bkool’s cycling simulator was originally developed a number of years ago as a companion to its hardware business. The platform pre-dates Zwift. Although, the latter has since become a dominant force in indoor training following a number of funding rounds and its expansion into the e-sports space.
Bkool may face some challenges with its now head-on competition with Zwift in the training software space. Although, it cites almost 100,000 active users last year (around half of which are paid-up premium users) and more than 250,000 in total having used the platform over the years.