Have Wahoo changed the future of indoor training?
"It's the most intuitive, capable, real-feeling- and raddest - stationary trainer right night" Bicycling Magazine
Launched in September at Eurobike, cycling's biggest cycling trade event, the Wahoo Kickr Bike garnered plenty of attention. There were a few foibles highlighted by early magazine reviews of demo units, but Wahoo have spent the winter months ironing out the technology. Their updated Kickr Bike is ready for the public and is available for pre-order, with delivery at the end of March.
Pitched as perfect for anyone committed to improving their fitness and getting a real riding feel of a bike, there are three areas that their bike excels at against the competition: connectivity, fit, and feel.
Unlike its competitors, including Peloton, Wattbike, and a traditional set of rollers, the bike connects with all the major training apps. Wattbike and Peloton has an integrated screen displaying propitiatory software, whilst Kickr Bike does not. The bike sends all your data to any screen you link it to, Zwift on your Apple TV, or TrainerRoad on your laptop. Last year, Wahoo purchased training app, The Sufferfest, meaning if virtual racing on Zwift doesn't float your boat, then there is more out there to keep you pedalling.
The Kickr Bike comes with a 42cm bar and a saddle, but is ultra-customisable. Switching the bars is simple; narrower, aero, gravel — the choice is up to your bike fit. Wahoo also claim a ten minute out-the-box set up time, too.
The Kickr Bike comes into its own with the fit setup app. There are five adjustment points: standover height, saddle height, setback, reach, and stack height. You take a photo of your outdoor bike and the app gives you the measurements for which to adjust the bike, mirroring your exact geometry. There is also a setting for crank length from 165mm to 175mm.
Handy if you share a turbo with someone else in your household, there is no need to keep switching bikes, re-calibrating or removing wheels — you just store your settings, adjust and go.
There are no actual gears to shift, just programme it to feel like the Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo drivetrain you're used to riding, or one that you wish you had on your bike. Feel like riding eTAP? The KICKR Bike will make it feel just like you are. The bike mimics the functionality right down to the clunk-click feel of dropping into different gears.
The bike itself is based around a high-tech flywheel, which will increase resistance (like a traditional turbo). There is also a motor that speeds you up to add the sensation of coasting, braking, or shifting.
At the front, Wahoo have employed the technology from their Climb unit. A piston mechanism at the rear of the bike adjusts to changes in elevation in real time. The range is a 20% incline to a 15% decline. You can, of course, sync the unit with a third-party app, like Zwift, to get the feel of a road, or manually adjust the incline yourself with a button located on the left hood.
"Wahoo has set the bar for the ride feel and execution of the pedaling part of the bike" - DC Rainmaker
All in All
Instead of dragging your cruddy bike through the house, re-calibrating resistance, relocating sensors, and potentially removing a wheel, you just hop on the Kickr and ride, at a moment's notice. That's Wahoo's aim: streamline your training and get the best out of the time you have. The Kickr Bike and all its incredible technology is more expensive than most indoor bikes with units priced at £2,999.99, but most of the competition don't offer what Wahoo Kickr Bike can.