Wahoo launches cheaper Kickr, plus trainer-controlled fan

£699 / $899 Kickr Core direct-drive smart trainer debuts with Kickr Headwind smart fan

Wahoo's Kickr revolutionized indoor training, but the power-measuring smart trainer that works with third-party apps to control resistance is cost-prohibitive for many. Now, Wahoo has a £699 / $899 Kickr Core that uses the same technology and flywheel but with a different leg configuration.

The company also has a new category of product: the smart fan, with the speed determined by your effort level (heart rate, power or speed, via ANT+).

Wahoo Kickr Core

The Kickr Core uses the same technology as the top-level Kickr, but with a fixed frame instead of folding legs
The Kickr Core uses the same technology as the top-level Kickr, but with a fixed frame instead of folding legs

Built using the same main internals and construction as the original Kickr, the Kickr Core is a direct-drive smart trainer, meaning that you remove your rear wheel and mount the bike directly on the trainer. This style of smart trainer is more accurate in power measurement and resistance delivery than wheel-on smart trainers that resemble traditional trainers, where your rear tire presses against a roller.

To get the cost down to £699 / $899, which puts it in competition with the Tacx Flux Smart and Elite Direto, Wahoo opted for a fixed-leg frame, and forewent the cassette that comes with the regular Kickr. (The cassette, in our experience, is not high quality anyway.)

The Kickr Core has a claimed +/-2% power accuracy, with a max resistance of 1,800w and a max simulated gradient of 16%.

Power accuracy is a claimed +/-2%, and the Kickr Core works with 8- through 11-speed drivetrains, both quick release and thru-axle
Power accuracy is a claimed +/-2%, and the Kickr Core works with 8- through 11-speed drivetrains, both quick release and thru-axle

Like all smart trainers, the Kickr Core works with apps like Zwift and TrainerRoad, and you can also control it with a Wahoo head unit like the Elemnt or Elemnt Bolt.

It works with quick-release and thru-axle frames.

Wahoo Kickr Headwind

The Kickr Headwind adjust its speed to your effort via an ANT+ for speed, heart rate or power
The Kickr Headwind adjust its speed to your effort via an ANT+ for speed, heart rate or power

In addition to the Kickr Climb, Wahoo created an indoor product that simulated climbs and descents. With the Kickr Headwind, Wahoo has a fan that can simulate riding wind speed. 

A new category for the bike world, the Kickr Headwind can blow up to 30mph / 48kph, with fan speed controlled by your effort level, measured in speed, power or heart rate. You can also control it manually to one of four speeds - but you don't need to spend £199 / $249 for a fan that does that.

Unlike the Climb that is Kickr-specific, the Headwind works with any trainer.

The Kickr Headwind will be shipping later this month.

Other Wahoo products for 2018: Kickr Climb, original Kickr updates

Speaking of the Climb, Wahoo said the gradient simulator will begin shipping later this month.

The original Kickr received a few updates, including a claimed reduction in sound and a slight repositioning of the handle to better accommodate all disc bikes. 

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

Related Articles

Back to top