Wahoo has launched the latest iterations of its Kickr Smart Trainer and Kickr Bike.
Both get enhanced features, with the most significant being Wi-Fi connectivity which, according to Wahoo, will “enable a more seamless and connected user experience across the Wahoo ecosystem.”
Wahoo’s focus on its “ecosystem” is confirmation that the US company, now with its subscription service Wahoo X that incorporates RGT and Wahoo Systm (opens in new tab), is aiming high with physical and digital smart training products.
The addition of Wi-Fi connectivity across the new Kickr Smart Trainer and Kickr Bike should give users significant increases in data transfer speed compared with Bluetooth and ANT+. Wahoo says on-screen stats can be delivered 65% faster than before, making workouts more seamless and eRacing more precise.
Wi-Fi also solves the issue of dropouts, according to Wahoo.
Wahoo says it’s the first major brand to introduce Wi-Fi for the smart trainers and bikes.
The other updates aren’t such major ones: both Kickr devices now have what Wahoo is calling ERG Easy Ramp, which makes it easy for riders to get back up to the required power if they get off the bike or stop pedalling mid interval. Wahoo’s indoor training product manager Tyler Harris told us that “from that stopping point we’ve ramped it over roughly 10 seconds to allow you to build up your cadence and ease back into that interval.”
Both new devices also get odometers to record total distance. This is for, according to Harris: “People wanting to know how many miles are on their trainer for servicing intervals or when third parties want to sell it as a used trainer.”
Wi-Fi, ERG Easy Ramp and the odometer are the three updates that the Kickr Smart Trainer and Kickr Bike share; the Bike additionally gets its resistance pushed up to an “industry leading” 2,500 watts via a new motor design that Harris says also makes it even quieter.
And finally the Kickr Bike gets a new direct connect port so that it can facilitate every connection protocol riders might want to use, whether Wi-Fi, hardwired, Bluetooth or ANT+.
Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer and Wahoo Kickr bike specs
Visually the new Kickr Smart Trainer - which would be 'V6' but Wahoo simply wants it to be referred to as "new" - is more or less visually identical to the previous version, the Wahoo Kickr V5 (opens in new tab)- which won a place on our 2021 Editor's Choice list of best products.
It carries over the the same 16lb flywheel as the V5 as well as the Axis feet that provide up to five degrees of side-to-side movement.
Wahoo has replaced the red ANT+ LED and replaced it with a white Wi-Fi LED.
Here’s the spec list for the new Kickr Smart Trainer:
WiFi Connectivity • ERG Easy Ramp • Odometer • KICKR Ride Feel • KICKR AXIS Feet • Auto Calibration & Updates • 2200 Watts of Resistance • Climb Compatible • Wahoo X - Train Without Limits
The new Kickr ships with an 11-28 11-speed Shimano-pattern cassette made by Sunrace: “Through our studies of users of the Kickr the 11-speed is most common," says Harris. "We are seeing a trend more towards 12 but 11 is still the most common because a lot of people use their secondary bike on the trainer.
Any plans to offer more speeds?
"Yes, certainly we’ll be looking to expand on that. We offer a Campy freehub adapter and SRAM XD and XDR freehub adaptor so all types are covered."
We were also big fans of the previous Wahoo Kickr Bike (opens in new tab), giving it a place in our 2020 Editor's Choice list.
As with the Kickr Smart Trainer, the Kickr Bike is visually the same, keeping all the same features including the adjustable-length cranks, but getting that boosted resistance plus the Wi-Fi connectivity, ERG Easy Ramp, odometer and Direct Connect port. Here's the full spec.
WiFi Connectivity • ERG Easy Ramp • Odometer • Direct Connect • Industry Leading 2500 Watts of Resistance • KICKR Ride Feel • Integrated Climb (20% Incline/-15% Decline) • TruFit Adjustability • Virtual Shifting • Auto Calibration & Updates • Wahoo Ecosystem Compatibility • Wahoo X - Train Without Limits
The new Kickr will sell for £1,099.99/$1,299.99 and the new Kickr Bike for £3,999.99/$3,999.99.
That’s an increase of around $/£100 compared with the previous versions. We asked what Wahoo makes of Zwift going in the opposite direction, after the non-cyclist fitness crowd, with its very simple, basic and cheap new smart trainer the Zwift Hub (opens in new tab). Harris replied: "Over the past two years [since the previous Kickr version] we’ve seen increased logistics charges, inflation, component price increases and that’s coupled with the new prices.
"I think [the bargain-priced Zwift trainer] makes sense from Zwift’s standpoint," he continued. "We’re all trying to grow the indoor space. The more people we get riding indoors we all win. We’re going to monitor it closely and see how it goes, see what the reaction is, but it’s a win for everybody.”
Harris concludes: “We now have more of a software roadmap built around the Kickr plus Wahoo X than we’ve been able to deliver in the past. So the end-to-end delivery is the most important thing and that’s what I’m most excited about. And we’re going to see more updates throughout this fall. This is just the starting point for the new Kickr and Bike."
For more information on both new Wahoo products visit: www.wahoofitness.com (opens in new tab)
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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