Wahoo’s Kickr is now in its third generation, first launched in 2018, and although it still looks similar to earlier models it’s has evolved and now includes plenty of extras to help improve rider experience further.
Out of the box, the Kickr is instantly user-friendly and a sensibly placed grab handle makes it easy to lug it around and keep the unit balanced when moving it – which is crucial because it weighs 21.3kg. The compact design also helps here.
Wahoo’s Kickr smart trainer. Simon Bromley/Immediate Media
Wahoo Kickr Smart set up
Initial set-up couldn’t be easier with two foldout stability legs and height adjustable feet for uneven surfaces.
The two stability legs on the sides fold back into the centre, making for easy storage and packing down to 53cm long x 22cm wide x 47cm high, which is impressive.
There’s also a fixed central main beam that’s height adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of wheel sizes from 24in road and mountain through to 700c road and 29in mountain bike – it also helps everything remain level regardless of bike size used.
The Kickr works directly with quick release axles but also comes with adaptors for 12 x 142mm and 12 x 148mm thru-axles in the box, so it covers most bikes and axle set-ups and works with disc brakes too.
An 11-speed, 11-28-tooth cassette comes in the box as well and the unit is compatible with 8- to 10-speed set-ups too, so you should be ready to go.
I was pleased to see a generous sized power lead and had no need for an extension cable. Connectivity is via ANT+, ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth to control things with a smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android), Wahoo’s Elemnt head units or a computer working with both Macs and PCs. Connecting with Zwift couldn’t be easier either, which is was my chosen training platform for testng.
Wahoo Kickr Smart ride
With the bike slotted in, the set-up felt extremely stable from the first pedal and this only continued, even when working hard out of the saddle.
For those counting their top-end power, the Kickr works up to 2,200 watts, which is plenty, and I was impressed by the power accuracy, which was within 1 per cent.
What also struck me was how quiet the Kickr is, with as much noise generated from the bike’s transmission system and my heavy breathing on tough climbs and intervals. It’s almost silent and even quieter than its predecessor, making it a considerate choice if you’ve got neighbours to consider. It also makes it a good choice if you have wooden floors, which can amplify sound.
The handle is well positioned centrally. Simon Bromley/Immediate Media
Ride feel is good on the latest Kickr and better than its previous incarnations, which is largely due to the bigger flywheel that weighs 7.25kg. It’s one of the best ride feels out there at the moment, especially under £1,000 / $1,200.
Wahoo add ons
As with any indoor trainer, you do generate a lot of heat and sweat, which is where a fan comes in handy. So, if you want a bit of luxury, Wahoo has you covered with its Headwind smart fan.
As well as keeping you cool it’s designed to recreate realistic wind speeds up to 30mph – and as your heart rate or speed increases so does the fan.
If you want to take realism to the next level, Wahoo also offers its Climb indoor gradient simulator. You simply remove your front wheel and attach the forks to the Climb simulator and it will move as you climb or descend on screen.
It’s a clever piece of kit, and along with the changes in power brings realism one step closer. It works with inclines of up to 20 per cent and descents of 10 per cent.
Wahoo Kickr Smart overall
What I love, and is a bigger motivational driver, is how well and easy the Kickr is to use with Zwift. It means you can ride set courses, ride with your friends or even race strangers or in some case professional riders. Long gone are the days of noisy turbo trainers in front of the TV.
The Kickr offers a wonderful ride, is quiet, easy to use, packs down small for easy storage and has a host of cool add-ons.
The app power readings were also very close to those on my bike and produced accurate recordings. While it doesn’t come cheap it’s worth every penny and really is the gold standard of smart trainers.