The relief from summer's sweltering heat comes at the expense of less hours of sunlight during the day. Eventually temperatures fall out of what we consider our comfort zone and we must face the very real truth of having to ride indoors. Wahoo's KICKR Power Trainer is designed to make riding indoors more enjoyable and serve purpose rather than just grunting away with a puddle of sweat on the basement floor. Wahoo is the official trainer supplier for Team Sky so they are well versed in bringing high-quality training products to the sport's best. The redesigned Wahoo adds more bike axle options, KICKR CLIMB compatibility, and new LED operation lights. Everything else remains making this trainer the smartest, quietest, most accurate road-feel experience you can have indoors.
The KICKR is a powerful, accurate, and responsive trainer. You will enjoy power measurement accuracy within +/- 2% and fast 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 smooth, and the max measurable watts and simulated grade are 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. Pairing the new KICKR with KICKR CLIMB will allow you to experience physical ascents and descents while riding along with virtual courses and performing structured workouts allowing you to get the most out of your indoor sessions.
The trainer's firmware with an enhanced power algorithm 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 new KICKR now accommodates 12x142 and 12x148mm thru-axles in Shimano/SRAM compatibility and allows for better clearance for disc and flat mount brakes.
- A smart trainer to maximize your indoor riding experience
- LED lights indicate power, connection, and transmission
- The updated beltless design is super quiet
- Firmware updates for future-proof functionality
- The direct-drive design saves your tires for the road
- Features a stable base and new, heavier flywheel
- Works with 12x142 and 12x148mm dropout spacing
- Compatible with KICKR CLIMB so you can experience virtual ascents and descents