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Wahoo Fitness KICKR Power Trainer

$1,199.00

Item # WHA000I

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Item # WHA000I

Suffer smarter.

Chief among summer's joys is the ability to rise and ride before work, but as August gives way to September and October those early morning rides become unfeasible and we find ourselves confronting the indoor trainer. Wahoo's new KICKR Power Trainer is the latest model aiming to take the sting out of that inevitable transition, and—since it's birthed from the imaginations of the people who introduced the smart trainer model—it's effective at doing so. For 2016, Wahoo adds new functional features and a redesigned resistance and power algorithm, making the latest member of the KICKR family the smartest, quietest, most accurate road-feel experience on the indoor suffer circuit.

The new KICKR is more powerful, more accurate, and more responsive that its predecessor. It also enjoys improved power measurement accuracy (+/-2%), which facilitates faster communication between the trainer and whatever virtual training app you're using. When your pixelated avatar is grinding through rollers, the transitions between descents, flats, and climbs are that much smoother, and the max measurable watts and simulated grade are both increased to 2,000 and 20%, respectively. These limits border on farce, but they mean your training sessions have virtually no ceiling unless you're riding a simulation of Flanders on a motorized e-bike. Indoor training is never ideal, but the KICKR's optimized algorithm helps bridge the seasonal cycling divide by making riding inside feel that much more like riding outside.

The new design includes firmware with an enhanced power algorithm that continuously reads and adjusts the massive electromagnetic brake. If this isn't your first Wahoo rodeo, then you're probably familiar with the brand's updateable design ethos; the change to the KICKR's power measurement design brings it more in line with this attitude, and it means that the KICKR is an investment rather than just a temporary stop-gap until ANT+ and Bluetooth are replaced by the next hot thing.

The KICKR's ease of updating may also be why Wahoo claims it's compatible with more training apps than any other smart trainer. No matter how many new tech startups decide they want to get in on the virtual training market, the KICKR will always be able to gobble up some firmware and leave you basking in the postprandial glow of a screen displaying your preferred app. It also broadcasts via ANT+ and Bluetooth signals simultaneously, and it can communicate with multiple devices through either protocol, so the only real limit to your choice of connections is the number of available power outlets.

The KICKR's reliance on external power, functional features, and prohibitive weight (the flywheel alone weighs 25lb) mean you probably won't be using it outside, so Wahoo also revisited the drive belt design in order to address the original KICKR's tendency to produce an obnoxious, droning whine. The fact that this whine seems to max-out while spinning at interval intensity only adds grating insult to the injury of indoor suffering, so we're pleased to note that the belt's redesign and re-tensioning drops the unit's claimed noise output from around 67 to 61 decibels and lowers the high-frequency pitch by 90%.

There are quieter trainers, but the KICKR is the quietest model equipped with a flywheel. Flywheels increase that all-important road feel to help us stay motivated during long, winter wattfests, and the quieter operation ensures that, by the time we come out of hibernation for race season, we haven't alienated our neighbors and loved ones with months of mechanical cacophony. The old saying that "if you're still married, then you didn't train hard enough" doesn't necessarily apply anymore.

With a claimed weight of 47lb, the robust, stable body is largely unchanged—though Wahoo did find space for a few key updates to address common themes in customer feedback. The first and most obvious is the repositioned handle, which now makes for a more centered load while carrying it with one hand. The KICKR is still no lightweight, but the new handle design lets you carry the trainer in one hand and a rear wheel-free bike in the other—though navigating doorways may still be an issue. Navigating different wheel sizes isn't, though, as the blue support arm adjusts to reposition the cassette accordingly. There's also no need for a riser, though some of us in the Competitive office do prefer one in order to protect floors from tire scuffs.

The unit's final updates include purely aesthetic details like a pair of LEDs—red for ANT+ and blue for Bluetooth—that blink while establishing a connection to a device and shine steadily to indicate transmission. Again, this feature doesn't change how the thing works, but lights are cool, and we like seeing them on our tech toys. Wahoo also relocated the power port from its hiding place beneath the unit to a more readily accessible location. The stock KICKR is compatible with Shimano/SRAM drivetrains and a standard 135mm quick-release, but Campagnolo and 142mm thru-axle adapters are available separately.

  • The update to the indoor trainer that redefined smart
  • Enhanced measurement algorithm for a more responsive ride
  • Reduced noise causes less friction with cohabitants
  • Connects with multiple devices simultaneously
  • Firmware updates for future-proof functionality
  • Increased wattage and grade simulation limits
  • Direct-drive design saves your tires for the road
  • Stable base and robust flywheel

Tech Specs

Resistance:
electromagnetic
Foldable:
yes
Recommended Use:
training
Manufacturer Warranty:
1 year limited

Reviews & Community

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Avg. ride time: 4h 30m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

well worth the price

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is my 2nd kicker and its a little better than the 1st one. Mainly a little more quiet and easier to pick up. The direct drive is the only way to go while plugged into zwift if you really want to do the virtual thing. I am racing twice per week from my garage all winter and dont even think about the time anymore. I knew it was worth every penny after my first Zwift session. Absolutley no excuses to not ride with this set up and ready to go. Just put on your shorts and shoes, fire up the pc and go.

Ultra simple set up and quite

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Love it so far, but the free give - ONE gel pack. I little odd for a relatively high priced item. Anyways, the kickr has a very realistic feel compared to any other trainer I've used. But this is the first one I've tried that is "direct drive" if that's the correct term. All others were based on a traditional style trainer using a wheel against a cylinder for resistance.

Avg. ride time: 6h 2m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Three Weeks So Far

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've had my unit for 3 weeks so far and have used it at least 6 times maybe more. It is really just great. I have used it for structured workouts using controlling with the Wahoo app and it is the best trainer I have ever had. But it really shines when teamed up with Zwift.

It is build like a tank. Is very very stable.

I have only scratched the service on the capabilities of this unit. This is a game changer in indoor training.

Holy Watts

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

So the ride? Freakin' smooth. I use my Kickr with Trainerroad and PerfPro and this is perfect for what I want to accomplish. There are endless workouts and tests to have you coming out ready for race season strong as hell. This isn't your average trainer. You are training with power. You can set a target output power -say 280W or 70% of your FTP- and the trainer will adjust resistance based on the power you produce. If you produce too much, it will give you less resistance and vice versa. This way you can follow a very specific power based training, which seems to be the most efficient way of training. If you want to get fast quick, have limited time to train or simply don’t ride in the rain, then the Kickr is for you. For further info on setting up and compatibility, contact me directly at KLamb@backcountry.com 801-204-4567

Avg. ride time: 1h 42m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

week long impressions

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I love it so far. I've got rollers, and a fluid 2 turbo, but the ability to control the trainer and let it set the power is so nice for the long base rides and intervals too! You can literally put your head down, do a trainer road workout, and itll keep you right around the power you have set as a target. increase your cadence and itll back off the brake, slow your cadence and itll increase it just to keep you at your target wattage. for someone like me who lives in a flat land and wants to get up a 14er in summer a trainer that allows me to get high force low cadence work in all winter while improving my ftp and dropping a few kilos. its heavy so it wont move much while riding unless youre doing full effort sprints. i.e. 1300w efforts and ill move it around slightly. its quieter then the original, honestly i dont even notice it because im either watching netflix or dying while using trainer road and my breathing overrules the noise level of the kickr. its easy to set up as well. no confusing things to worry about. its also fairly accurate compared to my pioneer powermeter, obviously power readings from it come a second or two later but thats to be expected with smart trainers. some people have mentioned they use a front wheel block to keep it from moving around but ive not had that issue except for screwing around. i love it so far, its solid, does what it needs to, does it well, does it quietly, and has gotten me back riding consistently even after work when all i wanna do is sleep! if youre on the fence, get it!

Mistake

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I should have read their "documentation" before buying this -- it looks like something a five-person startup would come up with, not that of a real company. For example, if you're trying to install their Campy adapter, you'd better know how to assemble a freehub, because pawls and shims from both assemblies will just fall on the floor, and you'll have a little puzzle to solve. Their text-only description on how to do this is garbage, and other documentation is this bad or non-existent. Right now this thing shows my power as 0.1 Watts, which is hopefully a bit lower than actual. Looks like I've made a huge mistake.

How would you not know how to assemble a free hub? Or YouTube how to change it as its on there. Or look up more clarification on the process if you didn't feel comfortable doing it? Have you done a spindown yet as that's step one after setting it up.

Great Unit

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Great little unit! I have been very impressed with this new Kickr. It is quite, smooth, and sturdy. We will see how long it holds up for, but it sure seems well built. Expensive, but totally worth it!

Well now

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I can't really compare to older models but this mamma jamma is a beast. Right out of the box, she was easy to set up. The shimano 105 gear set was already installed and ready to mount my bike. (Here's a noob moment: I had just washed my bike and wasn't sure if I needed to lube or not... so I did cuz lord knows I need as little resistance as possible). Set up was easy and connecting to my phone was quick after downloading the wahoo app. Now I have no really clue how to use that app but I will say that each screen will give you different starting resistances. Did a couple workouts via phone app while waiting for my internet to arrive.

Fast forward: first zwift ride. Cruising along... not even a quarter mile in I have route options. I'm like

Is this really an upgrade or just marketing? Seems more like they are cost cutting by getting rid of the strain gauges. Now they are relying on speculative power rather than actual measurements. I guess the resistance goes up to 2000W and the simulated grades up to 20% now, so that's good...

There is already a strain gauge in the brake used to create resistance. Having an additional strain gauge (one that was prone to failure) meant slower reaction times from the trainer and higher incidence of failure.

You're still getting actual power, a more powerful brake, and reduced noise.