Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer Buyers Guide

That time of year is upon us again. The evenings are getting shorter by the day, there's a chill in the air and the roads are pretty much constantly wet. So, with all that said and the fact you've clicked on this this blog then I imagine you may have been contemplating an indoor smart turbo trainer to keep you fit over the winter. I say winter - I use mine all year round. There are lots of different technologies out there and many different brands / types of trainers. We are lucky enough to sell Wahoo and is a brand we really love, so I have put together this buyers guide together to tell you about the WAHOO smart trainer range and hopefully help you to make a decision as to what's the right trainer for you. Before we dive into the range 

 

What is a Smart Trainer?

 Before we dive into the range I will try to explain what a smart trainer is for people who are completely new to this type of technology. A smart trainer is a device that allows you to enjoy an immersive cycle experience from the comfort of your own home. Smart trainers connect to a computer device and transmit cycling data which the software then takes and mimics real world cycling on a tv/computer screen. Different trainers and different apps do this in different ways but the core is the same - communication between device and computer.

Smart trainers are so effective as training tools because they can be used anytime, are safe, and supply the rider with information to help them better their fitness and cycling. They are also really convenient (no need to wear all the gear!) and it's actually easier to monitor strength and fitness progress thanks to the abundance of data you get (wattage, cadence, heart-rate, W/KG, FTP).

It's important to remember that smart trainers are nothing without the apps they connect tpo. Software applications such as Zwift, Trainer-Road and SYSTEM are the applications that take the data and create virtual cycling worlds, complete with training programs, races, group rides and many more awesome features.

 

 Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer logo. Wahoo is an american fitness brand producing smart cycling technology.

The Wahoo KICKR series

Wahoo are an American brand that is at the very forefront of smart training technology. They have market leading products in all price ranges and have developed loads of innovative technologies and supporting products to ensure their customers get the very most out of their training. If you want to maximise every workout, enjoy simple setups and have great customer support then Wahoo is the brand for you. The question is which trainer best suits your needs?

 

 

Wahoo Kickr Snap - wheel on smart turbo trainer by Wahoo fitness and part of the famous Wahoo Kickr Series

Wahoo Kickr Snap (£429)

Kickr Snap is Wahoo's entry level smart trainer that packs a punch. It has been lauded as the best entry level smart trainer on the market, taking plaudits from reviewers and riders alike. The Kickr Snap is a "wheel-on" trainer. What does this mean? It means that you keep the rear wheel of your bike attached when using the trainer. The rear wheel of your bike sits on a roller which will adjust its friction according to what 'gradient' you're climbing or what training program you are running. The simplicity of the Kickr Snap is what attracts so many customers, with its easy quick release system, super accurate data and stress free compatibility with apps and Wahoos own software. If you're relatively new to the world of bikes and you want to dip your toes into the smart training world but want to ensure you get the best possible trainer for your budget then the SNAP is the trainer for you.

Main Features

- wheel-on trainer

- +/- 3% power accuracy

- 12% gradient simulation

- quick release compatible (for axle rear wheels see this adaptor - 

- bluetooth / ANT and compatible with all the main apps (Zwift / Trainer Road etc)

 

 

 Wahoo Kickr Core - £699

If you can justify spending a bit more then the Kickr Core make that temptation all too appealing. The Kickr Core is Wahoo's mid-priced smart trainer. Unlike the Snap, the Core is a direct-drive trainer. This means you must your remove the rear wheel of your bike before pairing it with the trainer. A direct drive trainer offers a stiffer, more accurate and realistic riding experience which allows you to take your training to the next level. The Core can be setup within 5-10 mins of opening the box and as true with all Wahoo products, is super easy to pair with all the training apps out there. It has a maximum climbing simulation of 16% gradient and the wattage measurement is accurate within 2%. Having such an accurate trainer makes all the difference when pushing to achieve your goals. The Core does not come with a cassette as standard but please have a look at our bundle as we are offering a fitted cassette for a small extra cost. (see here for Kickr Core Bundle). Want to get serious about your training but don't want to re-mortgage? Look no further than the Kickr Core. 

Main Features

- direct-drive trainer

- +/- 2% power accuracy

- 16% gradient simulation

- quick release / 142mm / 148mm compatible (everything included in box)

- bluetooth / ANT and compatible with all the main apps (Zwift / Trainer Road etc)

- no cassette fitted (see our fitted cassette offer)

 

 

 

 

Wahoo Kickr V5

The V5 is Wahoos latest iteration of the flagship 'KICKR' trainer. Their highest specced direct-drive trainer leads the class of trainers at this price range. Kickr V5 boasts a 1% wattage accuracy, 20% gradient simulation and can handle a maximum of 2200 Watts (don't take too much notice of the last stat unless you're Chris Hoy!). These figures make Kickr the go to trainer for the rider that wants to take their training really seriously and get the most accurate data possible from a direct-drive trainer.

Kickr V5 also offers practical features such as foldable legs to make storage easy and there is no need for calibration or spin-downs thanks to clever firmware. The trainer comes with a fitted 11 speed cassette out the box and has an in-built cadence sensor so no need for any external sensors to be fitted to your bike. Wahoo have also added new technology called AXIS FEET which allows the trainer to mimic the side to side movement which is experienced when cycling outdoors. To sum up, the Kickr V5 is the most capable direct-drive trainer on the market and this is the trainer for you if you want a practical, super accurate and tech leading direct-drive trainer.

Main Features

- direct-drive trainer

- +/- 1% power accuracy

- 20% gradient simulation

- quick release / 142mm / 148mm compatible (everything included in box)

- bluetooth / ANT and compatible with all the main apps (Zwift / Trainer Road etc)

- 11 speed cassette fitted 

- foldable legs

 

 

 

 

KICKR BIKE 

If you're still reading this blog it can only mean you have the budget and appetite for the best of the best. You've arrived at the grandioso of indoor training sublimity - KICKR BIKE. The creme-de-la-creme, top of the pile, king of the hill indoor trainer is likely to tick all of your needs. From practicality to class leading accuracy and the most realistic ride feel on the market - this trainer really does has everything. Enough waxing lyrical, below i'll explain why Kickr bike is such a special piece of kit and how my own personal experience of using it over the last year has shaped my opinion.

The first thing I noted when using the bike is its practicality. It can be setup to fit any rider so if you have a household of sporty people then KICKR BIKE removes the problem that comes with other trainers - swapping bikes.  For another rider to get going all they have to do is adjust KICKR BIKE with measurements from the Wahoo bike-fit wizard. Pop in your measurements and the app will instruct you how to set up the bike for the best fit possible. You can even line up your outdoor bike and the app will make calculations to simulate your existing riding position/geometry. We are all fussy with bike setup so this is an awesome feature. Another practical aspect that stands out is how quiet the trainer is. In fact, it's so quiet that I can listen to a podcast from the speakers on my phone sat next to me on a table. It sounds almost like a UFO, with that low pitched type hum/whir, not dissimilar from many science fiction movie sound effects! Although the trainer is a fairly sizeable bit of kit, you can still move it with relative ease thanks to the wheels on the underside of the y-section legs. 

Moving onto technical features. KICKR BIKE will tilt backwards or forwards depending whether you are cycling up or downhill! This feature is one of the main draws to the bike because you get such an immersive feel when you're riding. You'll almost forget your inside! It not only aids the riding experience but it also plays a really important role in your training as different muscles are activated when climbing or descending so it ensures you are getting as close to a real cycle work-out as possible. 

Another feature I have really enjoyed is being able to adjust my gear ratios and shifting styles. If you're focusing on power and flat riding then you can set a really low gearing or if you're a climbing king you can set your gear ratios really high. All with a couple of clicks in the Wahoo Fitness app. You can also change which buttons do what on the shift levers so you can feel comfortable and focus on what's important - the riding. Another great feature of KICKR BIKE is that you can now steer on certain apps using buttons on the shift lever. Another key to making it the ultimate indoor cycling experience. 

The KICKR BIKE does command a high price tag but it also delivers in being the smartest smart trainer on the market and offers key features which combine to give the best indoor cycling experience possible. I recommend this trainer to households with multiple riders and to any rider who wants to get the best possible indoor cycling experience available in the world today.

Main Features

  • Power Accuracy: +/- 1%
  • Drivetrain: Belt Drive
  • Maximum Simulated Grade: 20%
  • Minimum Simulated Grade: -15%
  • Maximum Power Output: 2200 Watts
  • Wireless Software Updates: Yes, via the Wahoo Fitness app
  • Connectivity: ANT+ FEC and Bluetooth

 

 

To finish...

I hope that you've enjoyed reading through the blog. If you have any queries or compatibility checks then please don't hesitate to get in touch with me at james@fifecycles.co.uk.

We carry these trainers in stock year round and offer free tracked shipping across the UK so we are never too far away.