Wahoo’s forthcoming Powrlink Zero power pedals and Kickr Rollr smart rollers were on show at Rouleur’s Live show in London last week, giving us a chance to get a first look at two completely new products from the company.
Staff were unable to give precise details of the products, as the launch dates are still not confirmed, so our report is based on what we gleaned, what could be seen, and a little educated guesswork.
The Powrlink pedals take the same form as the existing Speedplay design (Wahoo bought Speedplay in 2019 – you can read our latest Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals review), with a 3mm increase in stack height to accommodate the power meter. Claimed accuracy appears to be +/- 1 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Kickr Rollr builds on Wahoo’s range of indoor cycling products and was apparently developed at the request of the UCI for use in warm-ups at races.
Unlike Wahoo’s line-up of smart trainers, there doesn’t appear to be any power measurement built into the Kickr Rollr, which remains a prototype at this stage, but this is an intriguing product built, it seems, for a very specific use case.
Let’s take a closer look at the Powrlink and Kick Rollr in turn.
Wahoo’s venture into the power pedal market is apparently largely to satisfy requests from Speedplay pedal users for a system using their preferred pedal.
That’s no great surprise. Power meter pedals are an increasingly popular option with riders, thanks to the ability to easily switch pedals between bikes, unlike a crank or spider-based power meter. The Garmin Rally pedals and Favero Assioma Duo pedals are among the best power meters we’ve tried.
Still, the power-sensing innards of any power pedals always creates additional bulk, which was obviously a challenge with Speedplay’s minimal design.
The result is neat, only increasing the pedal’s height by around 3mm. A further circular structure, which sits tight against the crank, contains more of the electronics.
The Powrlink Zero will be the only model of Wahoo’s power pedal, and we understand that it’ll only come in black, and not replicate any of Speedplay’s past colourful offerings.
With Wahoo remaining tight-lipped on the Powrlink, the best source of information about the new pedals was their box.
Key details include a claimed accuracy of +/- 1 per cent, battery life of approximately 75 hours, and Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity.
The spindle is made from stainless steel, the pedal offers 0-15 degrees of adjustable float and the stack height is 13mm. And the weight? 276g apparently, compared to 222g for the current Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals.
The box also states: “Using algorithm-based metrics that go well beyond simply recording applied force, Powrlink Zero helps riders better evaluate effort through precise power output [+/-1%], left/right pedal balance and cadence.
“[With] 3-Axis individual adjustability – with independent fore-aft, left-right, and float adjustability, Powrlink Zero utilises Speedplay’s innovative platform, allowing for a truly optimised fit that enhances performances through better biomechanics.”
Charging, which should be infrequent, is via a split USB cable, with twin ends, which can charge both pedals at the same time.
Wahoo Kickr Rollr
On first appearance, Wahoo’s Kickr Rollr look like half of a set of conventional rollers, but narrowed and crossed with Feedback’s Omnium.
Wahoo says the UCI requested a device that would allow riders competing at World Championship events to warm up in an allocated area, without needing to disassemble their bike in any way.
We don’t know how many brands were asked to fulfil the brief, or how Wahoo’s rollers were selected, but they were in evidence at the recent Road World Championships in Belgium.
Only 30 sets currently exist, all still considered as working prototypes, and all 30 were used in Belgium, as that’s the amount the UCI wishes to have available at events.
The unit consists of a wide, supportive channel at the front, which is said to accept all tyres up to 2.1 inches, and two oversized rollers at the rear.
A locking lever between them allows the telescopic main strut to be adjusted to the correct wheelbase, and then the front wheel is clamped in place.
The front-wheel clamp has a hinged support with a wide stance, and two long, vertical blocks, which have a rubber inner face.
These can be wound inwards and outwards by the centrally mounted chunky ball grip, to clamp or release the wheel. Therefore, mounting a bike for the first time should be possible in no more than a minute, and require no tools or technical knowledge.
Wahoo’s design does away with any clamping force on the frameset, instead transferring it to the front wheel. We understand that a number of wheel companies have already evaluated the system and found no cause for concern.
As for how it works, we think that it can operate without any external power source and provide around 400W of resistance from its attached flywheel, which makes sense as a warm-up device.
We don’t believe that the unit has any built-in power measuring capability for two reasons.
Firstly, the rear wheel is only resting on the rollers, and can move from side to side, and bounce, which would reduce the accuracy of any power measurement taken there. Secondly, as we reported above, Wahoo is concurrently debuting its own power pedals.
The Kickr Rollr can connect to power meters via ANT+ and Bluetooth, so will be compatible with any modern pedal or crank-based system. When connected to a power supply and WiFi, the Wahoo can operate as a smart trainer, and is likely to be able to record power up to 1,500W.
On the example displayed, the T-shaped frame the rollers are mounted to has minimal ground clearance, and four flat, broad feet at its extremities.
There is currently no integrated way of levelling the trainer to compensate for uneven ground, although that could change before production begins.
As far as we can tell, when not in use, the front wheel support can fold flat, and the roller unit can telescope inwards a little to reduce the overall length.
Unless the rear section gains a hinge, or can be fully removed quickly to significantly shorten the trainer, it’s unlikely you’d employ the latter feature between uses, but we’ll have to wait and see the final product.
The height of the rollers and flywheel won’t change, so storage for those with limited space is likely to mean sliding the Wahoo under a bed, or propping it up against a wall.
We have no pricing information at present, and there’s no definite launch date either.
Update 09/12/2021 – An earlier version of this article stated the Wahoo Rollr may be available before Christmas 2021. Wahoo has since confirmed the Kickr Rollr will not be shipping until 2022.