The Wahoo Kickr, was one of the most interesting and innovative new products to hit cycle training when it launched in 2012. It was ahead of the curve in the Smart Trainer market and paved the way for sites like Zwift as well as becoming a halo product that helped companies like Trainerroad gain traction too. Most importantly it helped cyclists continue to move their thinking towards training more scientifically.
However, 4 years is a long time in the Smart Trainer landscape and I’m excited to see a new improved Kickr launch today at Eurobike. It’s an evolution rather than a revolution with Wahoo talking about improvements to the algorithms they use on the flywheel to make the riding experience better. Wahoo are also talking about a 14% noise reduction and claim it’s the quietest direct drive trainer on the market (a claim Tacx previously had for it’s Neo). The noise reduction has been achieved by redesigning the gearing and belt system. If you watch this video from DC Rainmaker, you’ll hear for yourself a significant drop in noise levels:
The redesign of the KICKR increase the maximum power output ability to 2000W, increases the maximum simulated incline to 20%, and according to Wahoo, all with consistent power accuracy of +/-2%. There’s a new handle to improve mobility, and LED lights to indicate ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth connection status, which could be very useful for diagnosing any connection issues.
The Wahoo site is updated with the new model today and I believe it should be shipping immediately too (although this isn’t confirmed by the PR people – I’ll update as I find more information).
Here’s a direct link to the Kickr product page: http://uk.wahoofitness.com/devices/wahoo-kickr-powertrainer
The new and improved Wahoo Kickr jumps into a much more crowded landscape than when the original launched. Have they made enough updates to keep their lead? I can’t say.
Competitors like the Tacx have launched not only the Neo but now the new Flux also launching at Eurobike. Elite have announced the new Drivo (which should also be at Eurobike). There’s the new CycleOps Hammer as well as Kinetics new smart trainers (which I’m not sure are as smart).
Regardless, I think these products are fantastic for better structured training. My own experiences on the Wattbike convinced me that training with both power and heart rate is the best and most efficient training method. Of course, none of these products come cheap and if you want to stick with a traditional trainer, Trainerroad is a fantastic tool. After 2 years on a Wattbike that saw me ride nearly 6,000km on it, I’m far less put off by the price of these products as I know they’ll get hundreds of hours of use in my house. The biggest challenge is deciding where to invest my limited funds. Right now the Wattbike is my likeliest winner but it’s not a smart trainer and it’s a lot more expensive again.
I’d very much like to get hold of one of these high end trainers to review and am working on it. I’ll keep you posted. Personally I’d like to try one before I spend the money. I know a Wattbike works for me, I don’t yet know if one of these will.
Thanks for reading
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