Wahoo’s KICKR stormed onto the scene back in 2014. And, at that time there wasn’t much else like it.
The direct drive smart trainer had a built-in power meter. This was huge for the trainer market as you could now train with power without having to invest in a power meter. Plus it had Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, and electromagnetic resistance that could be controlled by an external app or device. The KICKR certainly raised the bar for smart trainers and since 2014 we’ve seen a plethora of other companies offer their take on these new-age trainers.
The KICKR is reasonably priced when compared to others on the market. And it comes with a few goodies; quick release skewer, 11-speed cassette, disc-brake pad spacer, and cadence sensor. The adjustable feet can level out uneven floors – believe me we have one, and the feet work well. The neighbours won’t be complaining too much either as the KICKR emits just 61 decibels. Wahoo has it dialled in the app department offering a wide range of compatibility with a range of apps and devices.
The best feature, in my opinion, is that I can control the KICKR with my Wahoo ELEMNT. It also works with other cycling computers such as Garmin. Basically, you can set the resistance from a computer (watt target, or resistance percentage), and virtually ride one of the previous rides or courses saved in your head unit. Or, just do interval sets at a set wattage. While the computer tells the resistance unit what to do—increasing and decreasing resistance based on the course selected—the KICKR sends speed and power data back to the head unit.
The KICKR is dead simple to set up and use as it comes pretty much assembled. Drop the bike on (check the shifting), pair an app or device, do a spin down calibration, and go! The KICKR is reasonably quiet so you can still hear Phil talking about the key riders to watch in the TdF. The resistance unit offers smooth power changes, and reacts quick enough so that short intervals aren’t wasted waiting for resistance to build. Believe me, I have suffered through many hard intervals on the KICKR, and it does the job well!
I found the power reliable and there or thereabouts with other power meters (crank or pedal) on the market. I didn’t have the power drop out at all during the last year of using the KICKR. Well, the power did go down when my legs felt weak, but that’s beside the point. This a great tool for any cyclist as it allows you to put some extra miles in without wasting too much time. I have found a smart trainer to be the staple of all my riding. And, the KICKR is a worthy investment.
Distributor: FE Sports
Words & Images: Liam Friary & Cameron Mackenzie
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