Indoor training is, for many, one of those necessary evils. Whether it be as part of targeted training, just a way of turning the pedals in amongst life’s other priorities, or simply a way of avoiding the worst of the weather; few would argue that a turbo trainer doesn’t have its uses.
As trainers get smarter, they seem to be getting at replicating real world riding. We are personally not going to be fully bought in until someone designs a trainer that accurately replicates a mid-ride cake stop. Wahoo’s tech bods are probably working on that at the moment, but in the meantime, they have launched a new indoor trainer that replicates riding up hills. The KICKR CLIMB is “an innovative new product that adds physical grade changes to indoor rides on KICKR Smart Trainers”.
Why is this necessary? Well, “The world we ride in isn’t flat, which is why we believed the indoor riding experience on the KICKR should follow suit,” says Wahoo Fitness CEO Chip Hawkins. Thanks Chip, we appreciate that insight. Taking our tongue fully out of our cheek, then this looks like a good idea. Specificity is often king when it comes to training. Planning a hilly race? Now you can train for it. Equally, anything that adds some interest and variety to training programmes can only be a good thing.
So, how does it work?
When paired with the new KICKR and KICKR SNAP Smart Trainers, the KICKR CLIMB responds to workout and virtual course data in real-time, mimicking real roads and mountain climbs by raising and lowering the front fork of the rider’s bike to match ascents up to 20%, and descents of -10%. [Now, we reckon we could cope with this downhill training]. These real grade changes create a more immersive virtual riding experience while also engaging climbing muscles and improving pedaling technique to enable the rider to become a more efficient and powerful climber.
In addition to reacting to grade changes from external sources like Zwift, TrainerRoad, or from pre-loaded routes on Wahoo’s ELEMNT & ELEMNT BOLT GPS cycling computers, the KICKR CLIMB can be ‘locked,’ wherein it only responds to commands received from the bar-mounted remote, enabling the rider to manually adjust the grade with the simple press of a button.
The KICKR CLIMB supports a wide range of modern hub configurations, including quick-release, 12×100, 15×100, and 15×110 thru axle hubs. At the moment, Wahoo claim it is only compatible with their KICKR (£999.99) and KICKR SNAP (£499.99) trainers.
The KICKR CLIMB Indoor Trainer Grade Simulator will be available this Autumn at select retailers and on WahooFitness.com for £449.99. This obviously isn’t a small amount of money, but we expect there will be a small group of folk who take their training seriously enough to justify the outlay.