Wahoo brings WiFi to its updated Kickr smart trainer and indoor bike

Wahoo has announced its the next generation of its flagship smart trainer and smart bike, along with price increases for both

Wahoo Kickr v6

Wahoo has announced the sixth generation of its flagship Kickr smart trainer and the second iteration of the Kickr Bike, the brand’s smart indoor bike.

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Though they use form factors practically identical to the preceding models – the Wahoo Kickr V5 smart trainer and the original Wahoo Kickr Bike – Wahoo has added WiFi connectivity to both models, as well as a number of other refinements.

On top of this, the price of each model has increased to £1,099.99 / €1,299.99 / $1,299.99 for the new Kickr smart trainer and £3,499.99 / €3,999.99 / $3,999.99 for the new Kickr Bike.

Wahoo for WiFi

The headline new feature on the Wahoo Kickr V6 is WiFi connectivity.

According to Wahoo, the addition of a 2.4 GHz WiFi connection offers significantly greater data transfer speed and stability compared to Bluetooth or ANT+ (the two wireless data transmission protocols most smart cycling devices use).

Wahoo even goes as far as claiming this “helps solve most drop-out issues and delivers your on-screen stats over 65 per cent faster than before”.

Given the high-end status of both the Kickr and Kickr Bike, this feature is likely targeted at serious esports racers, for whom a slow connection or data dropout could be a competitive disadvantage.

The Wahoo Kickr Bike V2 gains WiFi capabilities and a Direct Connect port.

Wahoo says this makes the new Kickr the only smart trainer to support WiFi, although it believes the rest of the industry is likely to follow suit.

Wahoo says it also enables both devices to automatically update their firmware, as required, when connected to a WiFi network.

In addition to WiFi, the new Kickr Bike gains a Direct Connect port, which enables the bike to be connected directly to a computer or smart device via an ethernet cable.

As with the previous model, the new Kickr can be connected to the internet via an ethernet cable using the Kickr Direct Connect dongle (available separately).

Wahoo’s Direct Connect dongle can still be used with the new Kickr V6 for a hard-wired network connection.

ERG Easy Ramp and odometer

Another new feature added to both devices is ERG Easy Ramp.

Wahoo says this helps ease the transition back into an interval should you have to stop for any reason (perhaps you forgot to turn on your fan, for example) during an ERG mode workout.

Instead of requiring you to immediately return to the target power, ERG Easy Ramp builds the intensity back up over a period of 10 seconds.

ERG Easy Ramp is a quality-of-life improvement, which should make ERG mode workouts a little smoother.

Both the new Kickr and Kickr Bike now have a built-in odometer to enable you to accurately track how much riding you’ve done on each.

Wahoo says this can be useful for keeping track of chain and cassette wear, and – like the odometer in a car – for proving how much use a trainer has had to a prospective buyer on the second-hand market.

The new Kickr Bike V2 also sees a bump in its maximum power.

The new Wahoo Kickr Bike has also seen an increase in its maximum power output to 2,500 watts, up from 2,200 watts on the previous version.

Wahoo says this comes as part of a set of “under the hood” changes to the Kickr Bike, which will also make it a bit quieter.

A decade of the Kickr

Those with keen memories may be aware the first-generation Wahoo Kickr launched around this time 10 years ago.

While the form factor of the original Kickr closely resembles that of the latest version, the landscape for software and competitors has shifted significantly in the intervening years.

Wahoo has recently built up a formidable portfolio of software offerings to complement its hardware, such as Wahoo SYSTM and Wahoo RGT, but the biggest shake-up arguably came in the form of Zwift – the massively multiplayer online cycling (and running) game, which launched in 2014.

Wahoo recently added RGT Cycling to its portfolio of indoor cycling software.

Accelerated by the various lockdowns of the last few years, imposed by many nations in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, interest and participation in interactive indoor cycling has boomed.

Such explosive growth is likely to slow from this point onwards, but Wahoo is optimistic about further opportunities in this area nevertheless.

Tyler Harris, product manager at Wahoo, says we’ve yet to reach a plateau with smart trainer technology, and there are more innovations still to come.

Wahoo now has a broad ecosystem of indoor cycling hardware and software, but says there’s still room to innovate in this space.

The addition of WiFi, in particular, opens up new avenues for brands such as Wahoo to implement additional features, Harris says. However, he wouldn’t be drawn on the specifics of what these might be or when we might expect to see them.

Responding to a question about the recent launch of the Zwift Hub (an aggressively priced, entry-level direct-drive smart trainer), Harris says Wahoo sees the potential of the “growing of the pie” as a benefit to everyone in the industry, even if it means a new competitor in the hardware space.

Wahoo Kickr V6 and Kickr Bike V2 availability, specifications and pricing

The sixth-generation Wahoo Kickr smart trainer is available now, while the second-generation Wahoo Kickr Bike will be available from October.

As with previous-generation models, the new Kickr will ship with an 11-speed, 11-28t Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo compatible cassette pre-installed.

Both devices are fully compatible with Wahoo’s range of indoor cycling apps, such as Wahoo SYSTM and Wahoo RGT, as well as third-party apps such as Zwift and Rouvy.

Wahoo Kickr V6

  • Price: £1,099.99 / €1,299.99 / $1,299.99
  • Maximum power: 2,200 watts
  • Claimed power accuracy: +/- 1 per cent
  • Maximum simulated gradient: + 20 per cent
  • Flywheel weight: 7.3kg
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth or ANT+
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Wahoo Kickr Bike V2

  • Price: £3,499.99 / €3,999.99 / $3,999.99
  • Maximum power: 2,500 watts
  • Claimed power accuracy: +/- 1 per cent
  • Maximum simulated gradient: + 20 per cent / – 15 per cent
  • Flywheel weight: 5.9kg plus enhanced motor
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth or ANT+