New ‘99% Accurate’ Wahoo KICKR Trainer Launches

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new wahoo KICKR mk5
A glamour shot of the new Wahoo KICKR – Mk5

Yes, it must be time to start thinking about those dark nights spent spinning away in front of the screen in the hope of spring fitness. And the new 5th edition of the Wahoo Kickr is aimed at helping you achieve all of those goals. We got one delivered to the pain cave of our resident pasty-pale indoor trainer expert, Rob Lockhart to see what he thought:

New Wahoo Kickr – +/- 1% accurate

Yes, today Wahoo launches its 5th generation of the KICKR smart trainer. This updated version of this top of the range, direct-drive trainer uses a proprietary auto-calibration process that Wahoo claims has improved the power accuracy to +/- 1%  (up from the previous generation of Wahoo KICKR’s 2% accuracy) and comes equipped with their new AXIS cushioned feet to give a ‘real-feel’ to your virtual ride. 

wahoo KICKR mk5
Just make sure you pre-glisten those legs before taking any selfies…

This year has seen many of us stuck at home due to Covid 19 leading to a surge in indoor cycling. Indoor training has become more and more accessible and enjoyable (speak for yourself – Ed) over the last few years thanks to the development of smart trainers and various third party apps providing virtual worlds, videos, training plans and virtual cycling communities. Indoor cycling has never been more entertaining, we even witnessed the pro’s competing for the yellow jersey in a virtual Tour de France.

Direct drive smart trainers require the user to remove the rear wheel and connect the bike to the trainer that’s fitted with a standard cassette. Compared to a wheel on trainer, direct drive trainers tend to offer a quieter, more realistic ride and are also relatively simple to set-up and maintain for consistent ride feel and reliable data.

Wahoo Kickr in the box and set-up

Taking the Wahoo KICKR out of the box, it feels reassuringly heavy and looks impressive. The steel construction is well made with a clean and attractive aesthetic design. The Shimano/SRAM compatible 11-28 11-speed cassette comes ready mounted to the freehub and included are adapters for 130mm and 135mm quick release and 12x142mm and 12x148mm thru axles. The freehub is compatible with 8, 9 and 10 speed cassettes and there is a spacer included to do this. If you’re running 12 speed, you can either fit a SRAM NX Eagle cassette, or there are replacement XD and Microspline freehubs available to buy. No word yet on Super Boost Plus yet…

wahoo KICKR

The Wahoo KICKR is very easy to set up. Rotate both the legs outwards until they click into position and adjust the height depending on your wheel size. The KICKR is compatible with 24in, 650c, 700c, 26in, 27.5in and 29in wheels.

Once you have your axle type setup it is a simple process to mount the bike in the same way as fitting a rear wheel. If your floor isn’t completely level it is simple to adjust the height of each foot by screwing them in or out. This was a bit of trial and error, I found myself adjusting the feet and getting on and off the bike a few times to get it feeling right.

There are three sizes of discs included that you fit to the feet at the end of each of the extended legs that allow for the new AXIS side to side movement. The small size disc is for riders weighing up to 63kg, the medium 63 to 81kg and the large is for over 81kg. In our household we share a trainer so the only issue I can see with this design is that it could be inconvenient having to change the discs each time a different rider wants to use the same trainer.

The adjustable feet allow a bit of natural side to side movement while in use

Plug in the included power supply and the trainer is ready to connect to your device and preferred app using an IOS or Android device or a WIndows PC or Mac via bluetooth, legacy ANT+ or ANT+ FE-C. The previous generations of the KICKR required a spin down calibration but this version is auto calibrated so we’re ready to ride. 

First Impressions

Over the short period we’ve had the trainer we tested it in the two most commonly used modes, ERG and Sim.

wahoo KICKR
No one has a home cycling ‘studio’ like this. No one…

ERG mode sets the trainer’s resistance for you, so no having to shift gears. In this instance I selected a workout on Zwift (we will be testing the KICKR in other apps over the coming weeks) and then the app controls the Wahoo KICKR adjusting the resistance to meet the target power . During ERG mode the KICKR’s data output is very steady, with the resistance reacting very quickly to any changes. It felt very smooth with seamless transitions between interval efforts.

I then tried a couple of rides in sim mode where the third party app (in this case Zwift) can adjust the resistance to simulate gradient and air and rolling resistance whilst taking into account your weight and virtual kit choice, much like in the real world. The KICKR didn’t disappoint here either, the changes in gradient felt smooth and realistic. The heavy 7.25kg (16lbs) flywheel provides a good feeling of momentum.

This is the absolute top end KICKR model from Wahoo. Though you can go for the whole trainer bike if you’re keen.

Adding to the realism is the new side-to-side tilt provided by the AXIS feet. I’ve always personally favoured indoor trainers that incorporate side to side movement. Not only does it feel more natural and is great for out of the saddle efforts but I also find that it relieves pressure build up on the saddle making long indoor rides a bit more comfortable. The KICKR’s new side to side movement is a welcome addition.

Like its predecessor, the new Wahoo KICKR is extremely quiet so there’s no need to worry about disturbing the neighbours or waking the whole house up if you’re doing an early morning training session.

The new generation of the KICKR won’t disappoint. It’s an attractively well made device that would enhance your indoor training. It is Wahoo’s premium offering and at a retail price of £999.99 it may not be in everyone’s budget but with many years of good use it would represent a good value investment. We will be putting the KICKR through more extensive testing and a more thorough review.

Features

  • Direct drive 11 speed cassette with 11-28 ratio included. Compatible with 8, 9, and 10 speed.
  • Max Simulated Incline 20%
  • Max Power 2200 W
  • Flywheel weight 16lbs (7.25kg)
  • Total weight 47lbs (21kg)
  • KICKR AXIS feet allow the installed bike to tilt up to 5 degrees from side-to-side, for a more comfortable and realistic ride.
  • Accuracy +/- 1%
  • Electromagnetic resistance
  • Auto calibration 

There are other versions available, of course, including include the KICKR BIKE smart bike (£2999.99), KICKR CORE wheel-off trainer (£699.99), and the KICKR SNAP wheel-on trainer (£429.99)

All the details are available over on WahooFitness.com.

Review Info

Brand: Wahoo
Product: Kickr
From: WahooFitness.com
Price: £999
Tested: by Rob Lockhart for
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