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Is the Wahoo Kickr Rollr the indoor trainer we never knew we wanted?

Smart idea or a solution looking for a problem?

Wahoo Kickr Rollr

Update 31/05/22: You can now read our Wahoo Kickr Rollr review

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Wahoo has launched the Kickr Rollr, a set of smart rollers that promise to combine the “convenience and natural ride feel of rollers” with the “performance advantages of a smart trainer”.

Offering a claimed maximum resistance of 1,500 watts and a maximum simulated gradient of 10 per cent, Wahoo says the Kickr Rollr is aimed at riders who want “the convenient training experience that rollers provide” alongside smart features such as controllable resistance and connectivity with interactive indoor cycling apps.

Available now and priced at $799.99 / £699.99 / €799.99 (or $1,399.99 / £1,199.99 / €1,399.99 bundled with a set of single-sided Wahoo Speedplay Powrlink Zero power meter pedals, which have also launched today), the Kickr Rollr requires the use of an external power meter to provide power measurement.

When an on-bike power meter is connected via ANT+, the Kickr Rollr can connect to indoor cycling apps such as Wahoo SYSTM and Zwift, and control the resistance like a typical smart trainer.

Wahoo Kickr Rollr specification

  • Price: $799.99 / £699.99 / €799.99
  • Weight: 22.6kg
  • Flywheel weight: 4.7kg
  • Claimed accuracy: N/A (requires external power meter)
  • Maximum resistance: 1,500 watts
  • Maximum simulated gradient: 10 per cent
  • Connectivity: ANT+ / Bluetooth

How does the Wahoo Kickr Rollr work?

The Wahoo Kickr Rollr offers a new take on smart rollers.

The Wahoo Kickr Rollr takes the idea of traditional rollers and adds a resistance unit, a 4.7kg flywheel and smart connectivity.

Smart rollers aren’t strictly a new idea. Elite, another big name in the world of smart trainers, has made the Arion Digital Smart B+ rollers since at least 2017. That device has its own built-in power meter, though our review showed it isn’t particularly accurate.

The resistance unit is claimed to be capable of providing up to 1,500 watts of pedalling resistance and of simulating gradients up to 10 per cent.

When paired with a power meter and a compatible bike computer or indoor cycling app, the Kickr Rollr can then vary the resistance at the rear wheel to simulate gradients, or to guide you through interval workouts in ERG mode.

Up front, in place of a second roller for your front wheel, Wahoo has put a wheel mount, which it calls the Safety Tyre Gripper.

This mount holds your front wheel securely in place in a manner that isn’t dissimilar to some roof-mounted car racks for bikes.

This is unlike typical portable rollers, which usually require you to remove your front wheel.

This makes learning how to ride the Kickr Rollr easier than a set of traditional rollers. Still, if that’s a skill you’re interested in learning, check our guide on how to ride on rollers.

Having the front wheel held in place is said to make riding the Kickr Rollr much easier and safer than riding normal rollers.

Of course, all of these extra features mean a significant amount of added size and weight versus standard rollers. For example, a set of Elite Arion rollers (non-smart version) weighs just over 9kg, whereas the Wahoo Kickr Rollr weighs 22.6kg.

Wahoo says the Kickr Rollr “makes the ideal warm-up platform before events or big training sessions”. We expect to see Wahoo-sponsored professional teams using the Kickr Rollr to warm up before time trials and key road races throughout 2022 and beyond.

You’ll need access to a mains power outlet if you want to utilise the Kickr Rollr’s smart features and full resistance range (resistance is capped at 450 watts without a power source), though.

Why doesn’t the Kickr Rollr have a built-in power meter?

Being able to measure your power output is arguably a basic requirement for any smart trainer in 2022, so it’s curious to see Wahoo – which has a history of building accurate power meters into its direct-drive smart trainers – not build one into the Kickr Rollr.

Wahoo admitted it simply wasn’t able to build a sufficiently accurate power meter into the Rollr, however.

This is because the Rollr can’t directly measure pedalling force, and there’s no good way to account for the varying losses due to rolling resistance from the tyres either.

In the end, Wahoo decided allowing the Kickr Rollr to pair with an on-bike power meter was the better option.

Wahoo is launching the Kickr Rollr alongside its first power meter, the Wahoo Speedplay Powrlink Zero power meter pedal system.

Since the Kickr Rollr connects to power meters via ANT+, it should be possible to use practically any modern power meter to do this.

Of course, if you don’t own a power meter, that leaves you in a bit of a bind. You can still use the Kickr Rollr as a set of non-smart rollers, but it means missing out on its key selling point.

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To ease the transition for anyone in that situation, though, Wahoo is selling a bundle containing the Kickr Rollr and a single-sided set of the Speedplay Powrlink Zero power meter pedals for $1,399.99 US / £1199.99.