Wahoo has just released the Kickr Direct Connect dongle, a £79.99 piece of hardware that plugs into a Kickr smart trainer for a wired ethernet connection into your home network.
Wahoo says that it’s aimed at users who have problems with wireless connectivity to the internet and experience drop-outs while riding.
“While a wireless connection works very well for most riders, those who have connectivity challenges, or those who simply cannot risk a dropout during an important race or workout will be able to ride with increased confidence and reliability by using Kickr Direct Connect,” says Wahoo’s Tyler Harris.
Of course, one requirement is to have a wired ethernet port that’s close enough to where you’re riding to plug the dongle into. With most home networks wireless, that may mean you need to wire in a new port to your router or move your trainer nearer to it.
There’s also the option to plug the Kickr Direct Connect dongle into an ethernet port on a computer, but then you’re reliant on the robustness of the network link from the computer to the network – again, many are probably not cabled these days.
Your Kickr trainer also needs to have the necessary port to plug the dongle into, which is currently only available on the latest version 5 of the Kickr.
So, for the moment, the Kickr Direct Connect dongle looks like a niche product, although it’s something that some users will probably find a really useful adjunct to their indoor training platform.
Now you can use steering on your Kickr Bike
It’s one of a number of features that Wahoo has built into the machine, to make it compatible with future enhancements to indoor riding.
“When we designed Kickr Bike, we intentionally built in features we knew wouldn’t be usable at launch, but which would be huge assets to our riders once the software platforms caught up to our hardware,” says Harris.
Steering is controlled by thumb buttons on the inside of the left and right brake lever hoods. There’s another button that lets you make a U-turn.
There’s no setup needed, with Zwift automatically detecting that the Kickr Bike supports steering functionality, to get a more realistic feel of manoeuvring around other riders.