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Wahoo Fitness ‘KICKR2’ Trainer In-Depth Review

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Ok, technically it’s not called the KICKR2.  Technically, it’s actually just the ‘New KICKR’, but, that makes for a confusing title in Google search terms (and life in general).  Thus from here on out it’s called the ‘New KICKR’.

In any case, welcome to the new KICKR review.  In talking with Wahoo, the aim of this unit isn’t a revolutionary new design, but rather a more evolutionary set of upgrades to the KICKR.  These upgrades fall in five distinct categories:

1) Make it quieter: A reduction in both volume, but also more importantly tone of the sound (it’s not silent)
2) Increase precision: A change to the hardware will increase their accuracy claims and reduce failures
3) Improve Responsiveness: Another hardware change increases the responsiveness of the unit during massive instant leaps of power (i.e. 150w to 500w).
4) Make connectivity easier: Add in new connectivity lights to understand what’s connected
5) Add a handle: They’ve made the handle useful and big, and re-adjusted the weight so it doesn’t flop around and hit you in the shins

They also made a small bump to the maximum resistance levels as well.  But, more on all of that in a bit.  Now, if you want to skip the whole reading thing, you can simply watch my gigantic overview video here.  I talk about the specific changes above, as well as dive into an initial audio overview.  Later in this post I do a nifty side by side audio comparison between the new and old KICKR.  I used all of my video skillz to produce it. It’s got special effects and other magic.

As you may have seen, earlier this summer Wahoo started teasing the new KICKR.  And by ‘teasing’, I mean having Chris Froome warm up on it during a key time trial stage at the Tour de France.  You know, your average low-key teaser.  A bit later, they went searching for the next most capable rider to test with.  That person wasn’t available, so thus they gave me the trainer to try out instead.

The unit is a final production unit, and from the same batches that will start shipping today (yes, today) from retailers.  Once I’m done with it, I’ll send it back to them as usual.  With that, let’s get rollin’!

What’s in the box:

First things first is getting the whole kit unboxed.  It’ll come in a nearly identical box to that of the original Wahoo KICKR.  Or rather, two boxes.  The outer brown box shell protects the inner pretty box.

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Inside you’ve got the pretty box:

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Crack that open and there’s a solid pile of hard foam to keep the KICKR from getting bruised during shipment.

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Once you dump everything (somewhat carefully) out on a table, here’s what you’ve got.

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First up is the new KICKR itself, in all its magical glory!

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Next there’s a small pile of bags.  The first bag contains the power cord and some instructions about not standing in a pool of water while you plug it in.  Pro Tip: Follow this suggestion to avoid zapping your new KICKR and yourself.

The pile also contains a (old) quick start guide for the KICKR.

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The power cord is dual voltage, so you can be on 110v (US/Canada) or 220v (basically everywhere else) and have no issues.  It uses a similar power cord connection to that of the KICKR SNAP, and later-produced original KICKR’s, which have a flexible adapter sticking out the back of the trainer to connect to.  This minimizes the chances of snapping the power cord when you trip on it.

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Next, you’ve got a Wahoo RPM2 cadence sensor.  This is included standard in all KICKR boxes these days, which is pretty nifty.  This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cadence sensor that pops on your crank arm. Finally, you’ve got a small tool for disc brakes.

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With that, your unboxing journey has completed and it’s time to get it to your man (or woman) cave.

Setting it up:

The first change that you’ll have noticed in getting the new KICKR to its semi-final resting place is that new weight-balanced handle.  No longer does the KICKR swing down and put a bloody gash in your shins.  Instead, it just smoothly goes into the air.  Unless your upper body strength needs more gym time, in which case the KICKR is still probably sitting where you dumped it out of the box waiting for your BFF to rescue it.

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Now that you’ve transported the 48 pounds of goodness down to your training hole, you’ll first want to expand out the legs.  You’ll do so by pressing the little blue dots, which are locks.  This allows you to fold it up afterwards.

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Then you’ll go ahead and change the height of the KICKR (unless you’re riding a short bike).  By default it’ll be at the lowest setting upon shipping from the factory, so you want to set it to a more normal height.

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Next, go ahead and plop on your bike.  To do this you’ll simply remove your rear wheel and place it on the trainer as if it were its own wheel.  It comes with a quick release skewer, which I just leave in the KICKR at all times.

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You don’t need to put a wheel block under the front wheel, as it simulates level.  However, I prefer a wheel block to keep my wheel nice and straight.

Now, when it comes to a direct drive trainer, some folks will have preferences for a (rear) wheel-on trainer because it means you don’t have to remove your rear wheel.  Whereas other folks will prefer a direct drive trainer as it provides greater traction than most wheel-on trainers and also reduces tire wear.  Both are valid opinions.

I find the first comment (taking off wheel) will vary based on exactly how finicky your bike is.  For example, on my Cervelo P3C triathlon bike, the way the rear drop-outs work is a pain in the ass.  Whereas on my road bike, it’s silly easy.  So it just pops out.  Of course, neither take more than 15-20 seconds.  But the same could be said for putting the toilet seat down and we all know how that goes.

Note that the new KICKR is only shipping with an 11-speed cassette.  But like before, if you want to swap out the cassette for another type or speed variant, you can simply follow Wahoo’s instructions on their support site.  It’s pretty straightforward.

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Finally, just for lack of anywhere else to put it, here’s a couple of quick comparison photos showing new vs old KICKR.  The easiest way to spot them from afar is that grey handle.  New KICKR = grey handle, old KICKR = no grey handle.

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Ok, let’s move onto actually using the thing.

Usage Details:

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Now for this section I’m going to focus on some basics of using an electronic trainer, but I’m going to keep things fairly KICKR-specific. The reason is simply that I’ve got so many trainer reviews to write and duplicating the same content over and over and over again on the apps that all basically work the same seems kinda silly to me.

Instead, I’m going to cover trainer apps as part of a Fall 2016 refresh of my existing massive trainer app guide, otherwise reading every new trainer review over the next month will get a bit repetitive.  By and large, once you start pedaling, these apps make the individual nuances of each trainer disappear.

Where the differences exist in these trainers are instead in aspects such as responsiveness, sound levels, slight protocol differences, power accuracy, resistance maximums, and finally hardware form factors.

We’ll start with some of those protocol differences.  The new Wahoo KICKR follows in the footsteps of the existing Wahoo KICKR, which means it transmits on dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  These days that’s commonplace, but when the original KICKR first came out, they were the first to do either protocol openly – let alone both.  Atop the KICKR you’ll see new lights for both.  The ANT+ light is pretty much always on, since it’s always transmitting, whereas the Bluetooth light will only illuminate when an app makes a connection to it:

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The KICKR (both variants) transmit the following data streams:

– ANT+ Power with speed
– Bluetooth Smart Power with speed

It does *not* transmit cadence; however, the included Wahoo RPM2 pod does transmit both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart cadence.  This is a slight difference from Tacx, which transmits all of that (albeit estimated) from the trainer itself.

Next, the KICKR allows control from apps over the following protocols:

– ANT+ FE-C Trainer Control Protocol
– Bluetooth Smart Trainer Control via Wahoo API’s

The first one (FE-C) is a well-documented industry standard (read more about it here), whereas the second is essentially the de facto industry standard after Wahoo was the first to roll such a thing out.  Every trainer app out there supports it, and any apps that don’t support it you’ve likely never heard of because nobody uses them.  So it’s not really even a discussion point when it comes to Bluetooth Smart trainer support and the KICKR, heck, even their competitors support the KICKR using Bluetooth Smart in their respective software suites.

If you were looking at other trainers, such as those from Elite and Tacx, you’ll see slightly more mixed app support on Bluetooth Smart control. So depending on the apps you want to use, you’ll want to triple-check that they support your specific trainer brand on the protocol you plan to use.

You can also use various head units to control the KICKR.  This includes the Garmin Edge 520/820/1000, as well as the Wahoo ELEMNT.  In my experience, the Wahoo ELEMNT is easily the best head unit for controlling a trainer in ERG mode in terms of ease of use – especially for manual ERG mode.

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It’s super easy to increase/decrease wattage quickly manually, versus the funky menu system on the Garmin units.  On the flip side, the Garmin units support more automated workout modes that the ELEMNT doesn’t yet support.

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In any case, I used it with Zwift, TrainerRoad, and the default Wahoo Fitness app (plus the ELEMNT).  All worked without issue in terms of the basics, though I’d give the slight edge to Zwift in terms of responsiveness.  TrainerRoad was good, but I found a few cases where doing intervals that it seemed to ‘miss’ the start of an interval by a couple of seconds (albeit I was somewhat thankful for the extra break).  It’s unclear to me if that has anything to do with the new KICKR (unlikely), or just the implementation that TR has, or simply because it was cloudy that day.  In the grand scheme of things it’s not a huge deal, but we are talking minutiae here so I figured I’d mention it.

(Update from TrainerRoad folks: They dove into my files and diag data to see what occurred.  In a nutshell, the app had connected to the ‘older’ KICKR ANT protocol, vs FE-C, which is more susceptible to interference.  The diag logs show I was getting drop-outs (that’s not shown to me mid-ride though).  They do a bunch of retries, which is the delay I saw occasionally but not always.  It sounds like triple-checking that it’s using either ANT+ FE-C or Bluetooth Smart would solve the issue).

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On Zwift, all of my recent rides have been using the new KICKR, and actually both on the desktop app using ANT+ FE-C, as well as on the new iOS (iPad) app using Bluetooth Smart.

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And of course, you can just use Wahoo’s free native app to control the power in ERG or similar power control modes (i.e. resistance levels, etc…).

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Of course, the main reason you buy such a trainer is the ability to control your resistance.  Be it to simulate a ride outdoors while watching a synchronized video, or to specify a very exact wattage for punishing intervals.  That’s the key difference between a smart trainer and a ‘dumb trainer’ (one that requires you manually hold a given effort/power output).

All electronic trainers have specified maximum levels that they support.  These typically are listed in two different metrics.  The first is the maximum power (in watts) output that it can sustain.  After that point, it’ll simply be unable to resist any higher.  The second is the maximum incline that a trainer can replicate.  Again, after this point it’ll simply fail to provide enough resistance.  Neither cause the trainer to break, but rather they just can’t go beyond this point – like a car hitting their top speed – ‘I’m givin’ it all she’s got!’.

Now interestingly, both of these metrics are based on speed.  Essentially the slower you go, the less resistance trainers can output.  Most companies provide these metrics at either 20MPH (30KPH), 30MPH, or 40KPH for max wattage, and at 6-10MPH for max incline.

In the case of the KICKR, the max incline is 20%, which is well beyond what you’ll actually use in any common training apps. For example, Alpe d’Huez as a ride has an average grade of 8%, though some very brief peaks to 12%.  And it has a max resistance wattage of 2,000w.  For 99.99% of people, you’ll never need anywhere near 2,000w.  Myself, on a *very* good day I can just top out at 1,000w.  The new KICKR saw a slight bump in incline from 15% previously.

Sound Levels:

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Ahh yes, the sound of not silence.  Or rather, lack of silence.

The new KICKR isn’t silent, nor anywhere near silent.  But it’s also quieter than the original KICKR.  14% according to Wahoo in some fancy test suite.  But it’s not the decibel levels that matter here, but rather the significant change in tone/pitch.

Now someday I’ll write all about trainer sound and noise testing.  I’ve learned a lot over the years, and the more I do the more I realize how hopeless it really is to give folks a truly accurate view of the sound levels in videos (let alone measure them).  There are a massive number of environmental factors that truly do have a huge impact:

– The room materials (which can make trainers quieter or louder due to echo, noise dampening, etc…)
– The size of the room
– The exact distance of the camera and/or decibel meter
– The mode of the decibel meter
– The type of mics used
– The sound levels of the mics used
– The exact position of the mics relative to different sides of the trainer
– How the mics capture different tones
– How I edited the audio (normalized levels)
– The speed of the trainer
– The cleanliness of the drivetrain on your bike
– The shifting accuracy (tuning) of your bike’s drive train
– Whether or not I remembered to turn on the @#$@# mics
– And other items I’m likely forgetting

Any one of these items can make the entire trainer sound dramatically different.  I think I might put together a funny video showing just this some day.  It makes doing repeatable tests over the course of years very difficult.  So instead, I’m going to focus on ‘in the now’ type tests by showing two trainers side by side in as close of conditions as possible.

But before I do that, let’s talk about that change in tone on the new KICKR.  They’ve changed the belt that was used (Update: They changed aspects of the hardware below the belt and where it interfaces), which in turn has significantly reduced the high-pitch whine that you used to hear on the original KICKR.  It also reduced the noise levels (again, by a claimed 14%).  In my testing, both claims seem easily supported.  Again, it’s not silent – don’t let anyone try and convince you of that.  But it is quite a bit better, with the tone changing things the most.

To demonstrate that I put together this side by side video.  It’s the pinnacle of my video editing skills (my mountain top is pretty low), but it gives you a side by side back and forth comparison between two units spaced identically apart with virtually identical setups across the board.  It’s probably as absolutely close to a perfect setup I can get given the conditions I have.  If someone would like to purchase a sound-stage for me in central Paris, I’ll consider a DCR Annex.  Until then, go forth and enjoy:

As you can see, the big change there is tone, but also that drop in overall volume will make some difference.  As noted earlier, it’s not the quietest trainer out there, but it’s not bad either.  Plus, most people have a fan running anyway – often zapping any further sound savings.

Accuracy Testing:

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Next we’ve got accuracy testing, where I look at how well the unit tracks from a power accuracy perspective.  To do this I’m using a bike with numerous power meters on it.  This specific bike is configured with the following power meters: Quarq RIKEN, PowerTap P1 pedals, Stages Power (Gen1), and LIMITS.  I’ve excluded LIMITS from this, because… well… it just makes for confusing graphs.  And I removed Stages because I didn’t want the left-leg only bias to skew things.

For power accuracy testing I’ve pulled some of my rides on the trainer to look at how well it responds, both in different apps but also different use cases.  I tried to vary aspects like workout responsiveness in structured workouts with that of Zwift responsiveness.  During these sessions I also varied cadence a fair bit, to suss out any oddities there (I didn’t see any, but it’s an area that can impact power accuracy).

Note that the new KICKR received a pretty significant change in terms of how it measures power.  Specifically, they removed the strain gauge they previously had in it, and instead are measuring resistance of the brake itself, which they found increased their accuracy and also increased responsiveness (since it short-cut a logic loop of having to check another component).

They also said it more importantly reduced failures, specifically noting during a call: “We found that the [original KICKR] strain gauge was sensitive, and had a high failure rate.”  And thus when they “eliminated the strain gauge, it reduced failure rate”.  This may help to explain why some people had accuracy problems with the KICKR, yet others had no issues at all.  Failure may also not be black and white in this case either, especially when looking at components such as this gauge.

Note that they still do recommend an occasional roll-down calibration be done on the unit.  For all my testing I did a roll-down prior to starting, though I did NOT do one once I began (I normally do in my regular training about 10-15 mins in).  But I wanted to see how it fared without that.

So with that – let’s start with a session on Zwift.  This means my power is variable (like an outdoor ride), and not constrained to a given wattage level.  Here’s the overall chart:

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You can see everything tracks very well, and I don’t see any obvious drift beyond that warm-up period.  It looks like the new KICKR starts slightly higher than everyone else (only talking a couple of percent), but within 10 minutes it settles out and stays the same throughout.

Next, to dive into a couple of key areas, I want to focus on one of the sprints I did.  This helps to illuminate how quickly the KICKR responds – both in terms of feel, but also power accuracy.  Here’s that first major sprint (smoothed at 5s), to see how all the units react:

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As you can see, it tracked very well across that sprint.  And looking at other areas of the ride, it also tracked well, such as the basics of steady-state usage along the rolling sections.  You’ll see here that in general the KICKR is the higher of the numbers, though not much.  Within the +/- 2% that we see.

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If you want, you can dive into the above ride here on the DCR Analyzer.

Next, here’s a structured workout on TrainerRoad.  I did this workout to see how well it holds certain power levels.  Here’s the overview (note: I’ll update the screenshot later and add in the P1 data, I had a file mismatch in the database and need to re-grab the file from that head unit):

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What’s interesting here is that you can see that the KICKR is basically broadcasting the power it’s told it’s supposed to hold.  Which is why the line looks so darn blocky.  I suppose that’s fine, though it’s not realistic.  Nonetheless, if I smooth out the Quarq data enough, I can see that it does line-up perfectly throughout the workout.  The points where you see the drops are simply where I failed to hold the power.

Next, let’s look at some of those peaks again:

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Again, it’s kinda wonky data to look at, but technically it’s executing on this correctly and matching the Quarq.  Note that I did NOT use any sort of PowerMatch here.

However, this doesn’t 100% tell the entire story.  See, it doesn’t show you what I was supposed to do (or rather, it was supposed to do).  For that we need to skip over to the TrainerRoad screenshots and focus on the first interval.  Note how the line showing the planned workout doesn’t perfectly match that of the trainer.  In this case, I saw a few instances where it took a few seconds before the KICKR reacted.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that’s more of a TrainerRoad issue than a KICKR one (every once in a while I hear of similar issues from folks).  Whereas on other intervals it perfectly responds.  Again, we’re only talking a few seconds but it’s worth nothing.

(Update: See earlier explanation up above from TrainerRoad after they pulled the log files from my ride.  In short, it was connected on the legacy channel, which is more susceptible to drop-outs than ANT+ FE-C or Bluetooth Smart.)

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Here, I’ve zoomed in on that section:

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Note that the later failures to hold power were purely mine, and my overzealousness in power numbers after who knows how many test workouts that day and how little sleep I got. #NotPoweredByEPO

You can analyze the above workout in the DCR Analyzer here.

Finally, here’s one last workout using the iPad version of the TrainerRoad app (as opposed to the desktop version above).  I did this because I wanted to see if changing platforms might help (and I had time to burn today waiting for WiFi).  In the desktop version I was using ANT+ FE-C, whereas in the iPad version I’m using Bluetooth Smart over KICKR’s native protocol.  Plus, it’d dive deeper into the whole responsiveness thing on tougher 30×30’s.

Here’s the overall view:

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What’s really interesting here is that the KICKR is simply broadcasting the target power, and not the actual power.  The actual power is varying a little bit towards the end of the interval.  To me it’s interesting that we see this super clearly on workouts like this, but less so on Zwift because of the fact that it’s not in an ERG mode.  Now remember that I’m recording the ANT+ output onto a Garmin head unit, which means that I’m seeing whatever the KICKR thinks the current power level is.

(Update on this from Wahoo Fitness: They confirmed what I’m seeing, and it appears to be a decision they made on how they broadcast power in ERG mode to not include accelerations – which is why I didn’t see it in Zwift.  They’re going to make a tweak in the software which should immediately resolve this and thus give you the real data.  As you saw, the unit nails accuracy; it’s just that it’s missing the jumpiness normally seen.)

And finally, the deeper dive into a few intervals from the TrainerRoad standpoint.  You can see it starts/stops the intervals perfectly this time, which makes me believe that it may have been more of a delay on the FE-C side versus the BLE side.  Each time it nails it, as seen on the comparison page:

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And lastly, you can dive into the DCR analyzer here on these.

Overall I’m not seeing any accuracy issues of concern with the new KICKR in terms of hitting the targets specified.  Whether that’s because my unit was checked 98 times over before being hand-delivered to me, or because the changes Wahoo has made with respect to their power measurement have resulted in higher accuracy – I don’t know.

However, I am seeing an oddity where it’s broadcasting power levels that aren’t necessarily correct.  It’s broadcasting target power, versus actually broadcasting the measured power.  In many cases those are the same, but as I showed above – that’s not always the case.  Hopefully this is something they can tweak in software (Update: Wahoo plans to issue an update to solve this.)

Update: Many of you have asked for more clarity on the strain gauge changes, how that impacts accuracy, and more definition on what accuracy changes are coming.  I sat down with Chip from Wahoo Fitness at Eurobike and recorded a big long thing purely on accuracy.  But that came out like crap (audio issues).  So we did it at Interbike, and it came out pretty well.  Here it is below.  It’s definitely pretty technical, so if you’re a geek – I suspect you’ll enjoy it.

Trainer Comparison:

There’s a boatload of trainer reviews that’ll be publishing to the site over the coming weeks, based 100% on when companies get me final production units.  The next review you’ll see is the Elite Drivo unit.  Sorry, I had wanted to have that done before the KICKR one, but alas trying to hit Eurobike embargo release timelines for other products shifted the Drivo writing a few days later.  Sorry!

As I alluded to on a recent podcast and post, I think the core driver for early season trainer sales will simply be availability of new models.  Despite companies announcing trainers sooner this year, they’re struggling to actually ship them.  So if you need a trainer for September you’ll have a far more limited set of competitive options than that of late October.

As of present though, with all known trainers for the 2016 season announced, I see the main competitors to the KICKR as such:

CycleOps Hammer(time) Trainer: At the same price, this is a dead heat between the two units.  Quite frankly it’s just going to come down to running them side by side to see who exactly is quieter and who exactly has better accuracy.  With the KICKR2 available now, and the Hammer not coming till October, that may sway some people’s decision.  There’s also some greater compatibility aspects with the Hammer’s hardware that’s worth considering.  I’ve honestly got nothing more I can add in terms of deciding between this and the KICKR2 until I have both final production units side by side in a quiet room.  Again, it’ll be all about accuracy and decibels. Preview post on the Hammer here.

Elite Drivo Trainer: This is a very strong competitor but at $100USD more, and is the one that’s really going to give the KICKR2 its run for the money, primarily because of the very high level of accuracy here (within 1%), as well as the quieter sound levels.  I’ll be publishing a side by side video with the new KICKR in the Drivo Trainer review, but in short it’s quieter than the KICKR2.  My understanding is that this unit has begun shipping already in limited quantities, and that should be ramping up considerably over the next few weeks – so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get early season. Preview post on the Drivo here.

Tacx NEO: Obviously, the big boy in the room these days.  I think it’s clear that the NEO has become the best electronically controlled trainer on the market today, both in terms of sound as well as accuracy.  But it’s also $400USD more than the KICKR.  In Europe, pricing is a bit different.  Sure, if you’re in a situation where the NEO is at a price point that makes sense for you – then I’ve got no qualms using it.  I love riding mine, especially since there’s no need to do calibration.  I will be releasing a final and full in-depth review based on a recent production unit later in September.  In the meantime, my hands-on post on the NEO is here.

Tacx Flux: This is the wildcard player here. It’s priced $300+ cheaper than the Elite/CycleOps/Wahoo options above (at $899), but it also states a slightly lower accuracy level.  Sound-wise it’s equal to or quieter than all but the NEO.  Now here’s the thing on accuracy.  Officially it specs +/- 5% accuracy, but that’s because they’re accounting for the warm-up period (10-15mins) in that claim. From my discussions with them it sounds like once you get beyond that, it’s very stable (possibly in the 1-3% range).  Since calibration/warm-up is pretty normal on trainers, I don’t view this as a huge deal.  If (and this is a BIG IF) they can truly get the final production units within 2-3% after warm-up, then it’ll dominate the above units due to the price.  Oh, and they have to ship it.  Right now Euro folks won’t see it till mid-late October, and other continents not till early November.  So again, a few more catches.  Perhaps buy some cold weather gear?  Preview post on the Flux is here.

There are of course many other trainers out there, but I’ve tried to compare the KICKR to like units in terms of price, features, and accuracy levels.  Expect my full annual trainer guide to be out at some point in September.  I may break it into two pieces and give you a quick overview next week, then more details later in the month once I’ve got more time on the newer units (and to validate nothing comes out at Interbike, which I don’t expect).

Interview of note:

While at Eurobike, I interviewed Chip Hawkins, founder of Wahoo Fitness.  We talked not only about Wahoo Fitness, but also about the KICKR2 (and the KICKR1) and many other things.  I figured it might be of interest to folks here as well, so I’ve added it below:

Summary:

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Overall, this latest trainer from Wahoo continues to be a strong option in the market.  I think one of the strongest reasons you’d have for buying a Wahoo KICKR is simply app compatibility.  It just has the highest number of apps supporting it.  Of course, all the major apps (Zwift/TrainerRoad/Kinomap) support everyone, but when you get to some of the smaller apps (FulGaz for example), they’ll have more limited support for other trainers.  Whereas basically every app supports the KICKR lineup.

On the sound front, there are quieter trainers out there.  Wahoo officially states that they are quieter than the Drivo and Hammer, but I’m not so sure about that.  I’d say the Drivo is quieter, but I still need to do a back and forth comparison.  The Hammer would be a tough call.  Of course, it’s not quieter than the NEO.  But I think that at $400USD more, the NEO is somewhat in a different category (unless your budget situation makes it the same category).

From an accuracy standpoint, I see good things there when comparing it against other power meters.  It’s working well for me, and I don’t see any drift that would be of concern either.  The numbers match across a wide range of power levels, and the responsiveness of the unit in apps is good as well.  What I don’t like though is the broadcasting of target power vs measured power, which can skew how well you did or didn’t do in a workout in situations where you miss the mark.  The recorded data might show something that isn’t true. (Update: If Wahoo issues a software tweak/update as discussed this evening with them, my concern here will be resolved.)

The new KICKR is literally available to ship today, which none of the other new trainers this season can claim.  Whether or not you need that new trainer this week is probably the bigger question though, and one you’ll have to decide for yourself.

With that – thanks for reading!

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Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

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325 Comments

  1. David

    Any word on if the new belt will be available to purchase and compatible to retrofit to the original unit?

  2. Josh

    Ugh. Magnus or this…Ray it’s my birthday today, whatta ya say, I’m torn.

  3. Chris

    How do you pedal that fast?

    That’s an amazing cadence.

  4. luis

    “We found that the [original KICKR] strain gauge was sensitive, and had a high failure rate.”

    so are they replacing the old faulty one with this one?

    • John

      If I’m reading this correctly, Wahoo is using a completely different technique to measure power with the KICKR2.

    • Ray

      I know Kickr has gotten quite a bit of flak for power drift and other power inconsistencies, but part of me wonders if this was a cost-reduction driven decision. I.e. they removed the strain guage and how are they now measuring power? Is it just calculations? And is it true power or estimated power?

    • luis

      “a high failure rate.” – sounds to me like they should do a recall but we all know that ain’t going to happen.

    • Jeff Carlson

      Looks like it is calculated, although it doesn’t seem to matter for the most part as it appears to be accurate

    • I’ll try and get Chip to give me a video walk-through explanation of the new measuring system and why he says it’s better. He walked me through it a bit tonight, but repeating all the science/logic behind it would be tough for me to do off the top of my head. It’s not just calculations, but rather additional sensors.

      As for failure rates, keep in mind that also includes failures that they caught in QA between production lines and you, which was an aspect as well.

  5. Serge

    Hey Ray, are you implying that Tacx has a new Neo coming up in Septemeber or I read it wrong?

  6. Geoffrey

    @DC……did you mean “zapping” here? “Pro Tip: Follow this suggestion to avoid swapping your new KICKR and yourself.” I think you mean zapping…..

  7. Fabio Mux

    Thanks Ray for the review. I don’t know if i could see the live Q&A with wahoo this evening but i hope that:

    1) you will ask him about the ‘broadcasting of target power vs measured power’ issue
    2) there will be a why to see/read what wahoo will answer later

    i ll read again the review later. great job !

    Fabio

    • Yup, indeed.

      So I chatted with Chip tonight about it (albeit I think before/after the broadcast), and they think they know what’s going on there and it’s an easy change.

      Essentially in ERG mode (what TR was using), it’s filtering out the accelerations in that broadcast, which is why I see such a ‘clean’ file. If you dig into the data deep enough, you do see slight variances. It was a decision they made to maximize stability output, but he agreed it didn’t seem to make much since in this case. Anyways, it sounded like a very simple firmware update change to just output a different metric instead.

  8. Simon Sheehan

    Have Wahoo indicated how long they will support the original kickr with firmware updates etc? I hope it’s not going end of life any time soon.

    • Wahoo Murray

      KICKR firmware is pretty stable now, but if something comes out we will do updates. While I couldn’t put a number on it, we will still support the current KICKR for many many years.

  9. John

    Do we know if the “New KICKR”/KICKR2 has better support for 32t cog cassettes and mid-long cage derailleurs?

  10. Did you omit the actual price of the new unit? Is it priced the same? What is that price? Can’t find that info in the article. Everything else…. STELLAR!

  11. Dr. Matt

    I’m most interested in seeing what this will do with the original KICKR pricing. Any thoughts on buying the original?

    • marklemcd

      Seeing it for 1079.99 USD at Performance. If that’s the discount, I don’t see why I’d buy the old over the new.

      I was hoping the original would come down to the 900 range.

    • It’s the same price as the original KICKR, but not the new discounted price for the original KICKR. Meaning, it says at $1,199, whereas the original KICKR is currently discounted as a sell-off at $1,079.

  12. Jeff

    “remove your weight wheel”

    rear not weight

  13. Ray

    Glad to see your review here.

    An unnamed retailer leaked the entire product description by making their kickr2 page live prematurely.

  14. George Doyle

    Broadcasting target power versus measured seems like a complete joke. Post workout interval analysis basically is not possible unless you are recording from a separate PM. Did the Old Kickr do the same?

    • The old KICKR showed actual power (or what it measured, at least). Really useful on sprints so you knew if you were making the target or not.

    • So I chatted with Chip tonight about it (albeit I think before/after the broadcast), and they think they know what’s going on there and it’s an easy change.

      Essentially in ERG mode (what TR was using), it’s filtering out the accelerations in that broadcast, which is why I see such a ‘clean’ file. If you dig into the data deep enough, you do see slight variances. It was a decision they made to maximize stability output, but he agreed it didn’t seem to make much since in this case. Anyways, it sounded like a very simple firmware update change to just output a different metric instead.

    • George Doyle

      Thanks for the clarification Ray, great review by the way!

  15. Patrick Myers

    The side by side (literally) video was VERY helpful. Thanks Ray!

  16. Jeff

    any chance of a “from above” or “from front” pic of the diagonal block in front of the non drive side drop out?

    Difficult to tell but it looks like it would get in the way of chain stay mounted disc brake.
    For a post mount disc brake on chainstay the bottom of the post mount is about 15mm above the height of the top of the dropout & about ~15mm inboard of drop out.

    A little concerning as from the picture the disc brake clearance looks closer than the Neo (with the Neo calipers often had to be removed) although obviously difficult to tell scale on internet pics

    • I’ll take one in the morning, it’s kinda dark out now.

    • Hi Jeff,

      First off will also say: Ray, I have a ton of respect for your site – phenomenal reviews all around.

      I actually recently began my cycling blog and have just received my Wahoo Kickr 2016. I ride a Cannondale Caadx and can definitively say that in my case, there were no issues whatsoever with my disc brake caliper. If you want to see more information / pictures of that set up: link to cyclehaven9w.blogspot.com

      My pictures really don’t do the product justice, relative to Ray’s professional grade pics!

  17. I wont be replacing my KICKR with a KICKR2, mostly because they didn’t change to yellow stripes on the flywheel like that one guy had this summer.

    It is difficult to measure, but my biggest complaint about the KICKR was its ability to keep up with big changes in wattage. Has that improved? The text says so but no wored on how it feels.

  18. MattB

    Hope you didn’t injure yourself during this review, resulting in going ‘out on a limp’…. (it should be ‘limb’, and while I know you appreciate corrections I still feel mean! /grammarnazi).

    Kudos on the Ray vs Ray video, all it was missing was some snide remarks to other-Ray about his effort/cupcake penchant 😜

    • Thanks, fixed.

      On the split-screen, it actually wasn’t something I had planned before hand. I had planned to just do a simple cut back and forth. Had I planned it, I might have had more fun with it. Next time. :)

      But I was doing some split-screen stuff for the VIRB + GoPro videos, and came up with the idea there.

  19. Adam

    Great review, Ray.
    I hope this makes it into a prize draw at some point. I’d love the opportunity to win it, it looks perfect for me. I’d buy one but, yeah, student and all :-\
    Keep up the good work!

  20. I stuart

    Definitely quieter and a far nicer tone to it. Big fan of the kickr but given how close the pricing is between kickr and Neo here in the UK I think most people will probably go Neo. Unless you need the more flexible fitments that the kickr gives you.

  21. babyboomer

    I purchased the “old” KICKR a month ago, but I was curious about how the new KICKR might differ. Regarding the noise, the whine produced by the KICKR is louder than any other trainer I’ve used. However, I’ve gotten used to it and actually kinda like it! Fumbling around underneath the unit to make the electrical connection is not ideal, but it’s manageable. From my perspective, the most significant improvement in the new KICKR is that of the handle. I think the handle on my old unit is practically useless.

    The biggest problem I’ve had with my KICKR is the cassette. With the original cassette, the chain made quite a racket! I swapped it out for a Dura Ace cassette I had lying around, and it improved – but it’s still not optimal. In this respect, it’s rather temperamental. One minute it’s humming along without any problems, and the next minute the chattering starts. To be honest, this behavior is usually triggered when I change gears. Frequently I can recover by fiddling with the gears. Anyway, even my old KICKR is a significant improvement over the “smart” trainer it replaced. Now, if only I could retrofit the new handle!

  22. Zac

    Does the mountain bike adapter still work on the new model? The non drive side dropout area looks a little different…

  23. Jeff Carlson

    I wonder if it is even possible to transmit actual power data since an algorithm is feeding the power input for electromagnetic resistance. Thus another algorithm would be necessary to calculate speed of the flywheel to extrapolate power, wouldn’t this just be sort of a feedback loop???

    • Yes, it is.

      So I chatted with Chip tonight about it (albeit I think before/after the broadcast), and they think they know what’s going on there and it’s an easy change.

      Essentially in ERG mode (what TR was using), it’s filtering out the accelerations in that broadcast, which is why I see such a ‘clean’ file. If you dig into the data deep enough, you do see slight variances. It was a decision they made to maximize stability output, but he agreed it didn’t seem to make much since in this case. Anyways, it sounded like a very simple firmware update change to just output a different metric instead.

  24. Nick

    Ray – I am still a die hard Computrainer user. I use it with the PerfPro software and it is awesome. I notice that at the end of articles like these, you never include the Computrainer in the comparison section. As far as I can tell, the Computrainer is more accurate that just about everything else and it can simulate greater grades. I know that it is a dinosaur and the hardware is pretty blah, but is there a reason that you never include it? PS – great article, as always. Thanks for all the work you do here.

    • The CompuTrainer isn’t more accurate than these trainers these days (in fact, it’s well known to drift quite a bit in the first 10-15 mins).

      Max resistance appears to be 15%, which is below what the top-end trainers are offering these days (KICKR, NEO, etc..). It tops out at 1,500w, which is in the ballpark s others, though typically you’d get slippage above that (versus direct drive you’d just spin-out). It’s also more expenisve ($1,600).

      But more than that, I just can’t recommend it on really any level. I could see if you could get a unit for maybe $500 (used), maybe. But that’s it. I know there are a handful of people that do have random connectivity issues with wireless trainers, but that doesn’t even make up a fraction of a percent of the interest-traffic I see.

  25. Andy C S

    “Tacx Flux: (…) Sound-wise it’s equal to or quieter than all but the NEO.”

    So I read that right and the Flux is quieter than the Drivo?

    • Yes, based on the conditions I’ve been able to listen to the latest unit from Tacx in, I think it is. But, I haven’t managed to drag it away to a silent room yet somewhere.

  26. Tom

    Can someone help me understand what this means: “broadcasting of target power vs measured power” and how it applies?

    I didn’t understand the explanation from the interview either….

    • Target power is the power level you tell the KICKR to set in ERG mode (not applicable to other modes). i.e. I tell it to use 250w, and the KICKR will hold that. But, there’s aspects such as if you instantly sprint out of nowhere that it’ll fluctuate a bit – so that’s measured power.

    • Tom

      Thanks. So, if you do a workout in erg, you do or do not get a number of your actual work?

      If not in erg mode, say doing a free ride in zwift, that would be measured power output right?

  27. cycloscott

    For current users… How do you have your head unit set up if you already have a PM on your bikes? Do you record the output from the powermeter or the Kickr? Do you display them both while on the trainer?

    And has anyone used this with GoldenCheetah? I’m thinking I would use GC to set up workouts, and not even bother connecting to it via my GPS unit.

  28. Nigel Doyle

    I wonder if a new version of the Snap will be coming out? I had one, the power accuracy was a joke, exchanged it and the replacement also had awful power accuracy. In the end I returned the second one for a refund.

  29. SeanU

    Nothing to drag me away from the NEO. It’s quieter, does not need calibration and also works with all the apps I know.

  30. Stefan

    I have accuracy issues with my 1. Gen Kickr and I still have warranty.

    In the past contacting Wahoo’s support was pretty useless, just got some standard response on how all powermeters are different and bla bla bla. Not really addressing the issue that my three powermeters report all about the same and only the Kickr would report (to a varying degree) totally different numbers.

    Based on this “They also said it more importantly reduced failures, specifically noting during a call: “We found that the [original KICKR] strain gauge was sensitive, and had a high failure rate.” And thus when they “eliminated the strain gauge, it reduced failure rate”. This may help to explain why some people had accuracy problems with the KICKR, yet others had no issues at all. Failure may also not be black and white in this case either, especially when looking at components such as this gauge.”

    Can I claim warranty? I definitely won’t buy another product from such a company but since I’ve already spent so much money I’d like to improve the situation. At the moment I need a second powermeter to get accurate and above all consistent wattage readings.

    And I won’t start complaining about the “silence” claim.

  31. Alejandro

    Great review! Would love to see a video comparison of the sound of the new Kickr vs the Cycleops Hammer in the same setting. By looking at your video preview of the Hammer it seems to me that its pitch is lower though the rated decibels are higher. Which one do you think is quieter?

    • Once I get a production Hammer I will do the same. Now that I’ve kinda figured out the trick to doing those videos, it’s pretty easy for me to knock out.

      I actually don’t know which one will be quieter. At this point it’s been 3+ months since I touched a Hammer, and the sound conditions were vastly different from the KICKR (in terms of environment). Also, I get the impression there’s been some Hammer internal changes too. So, I’d say any past judgements should be taken with a grain of salt until we see something.

  32. Spiro

    Any news on a newer or updated Wahoo SNAP? I’m holding off this upcoming cold season until these shoot outs happen

  33. Kai

    Thanks for the review, Ray!

    Curious how nü-KICKR compares to the original KICKR on these 2 points:

    “2) Increase precision: A change to the hardware will increase their accuracy claims and reduce failures
    3) Improve Responsiveness: Another hardware change increases the responsiveness of the unit during massive instant leaps of power (i.e. 150w to 500w).”

    Did you notice improvements in both areas? In your review of the original KICKR it tracked closely to Quarq and Stages readings, but I don’t know where to look to see if nü-KICKR is tracking even better. And whether or not responsiveness has improved between KICKRs requires a qualitative assessment that is not mentioned here.

    Would like if you’d included the original KICKR in the trainer comparison section, though granted owners of the original are probably not the intended market.

  34. Schneum

    Hello,
    am I getting it right that there is no way of syncing the 1300€-Kickr with Garmin Connect due to restrictions by Garmin?
    I downloaded the Wahoo-Fitness-App and syncing to Garmin Connect is still provided the menu but not executed sucessfully!?
    Thanks for clarification!

    With greetings from Germany,
    arne

  35. Michael

    Hi. I try to monitor responses but there’s a lot to keep up with. Apologies if this has already been addressed.

    Is there any “road feel” difference between the Tacx Neo and the KICKR2? For example, do they feel any different when resistance is increased/decreased during intervals? Or in the feedback you get when you’re “letting off the gas” or “keeping the pressure on”? If apps and “feel” are my deciding criteria (not noise, not precision, not price) is there a big difference between the Neo and the KICKR.

    Thanks.

  36. Ray,

    How did the NP compare for your interval sessions between the quarq, P1, and Kickr? Specifically in the 30×30 session. Another user in the wattage forum saw significantly less output from what the kickr was reporting to TR when monitoring with a P2M (251 NP vs 233 NP). See thread here: link to groups.google.com

    Would be interesting if the firmware update you have mentioned would report closer to actual values like you observed when riding in zwift.

    • nevermind, found the detailed data that you linked….

    • Yup. Also see the comments inline the post on a few things.

      And just for clarity on others, the linked to Wattage discussion is for the older KICKR.

    • Keith M.

      Actually that data/thread is from a “New” Kickr. I got it off CC before they took the page down.

    • Gotchya. Missed that on my phone.

      So, in re-reading that, I think it may have been TR + the older protocol being your cause. I’d try BT, or, triple-check it’s connecting on FE-C on ANT+ instead of the old ANT protocol on KICKR.

      My workout shown above sounds pretty similar to yours. You can see that wandering when TR was having connection issues on older protocol, and they saw that in the logs. This is likely caused by WiFi/etc…, whereas FE-C and BT are better (with BT being best as it channel hops).

      Shoot me a note if you want to use any of the analysis tools and I’ll get you hooked up. You’ll just need to be able to do concurrent recording of your data sources (i.e. one PM attached to one head unit, another to another).

    • Keith M.

      Thanks. Yeah so I was connected via BT for that workout. Was really hoping that the new model would solve these power discrepancy issues. Fingers crossed a firmware update will help.

    • Keith M.

      But yeah I would be interested in comparing the Kickr/TR recording vs. P2M/810 if that is possible. Only have one Garmin.

    • Hit up the TR guys support. They can pull your log file and tell if what (if any) abnormalities they saw.

    • Hey Jeff/Ray,

      Here’s Jeff’s setup for that ride on TR:

      Wahoo KICKR Bluetooth Connection
      Recorded KICKR power data
      No dropouts

      Those little dips are just him not pedaling, as shown on his other TP graph which I’m assuming is another power meter that was used during the session.

      The KICKR really smooths the data out and you get those artificially smoothed lines. Then, when you stop pedaling, it kinda keeps reporting your power for a bit then drops to zero.

      So what the TR ride vs the TP graph represent are the difference in power measurement between a KICKR and a P2M (which I think Jeff was asking about).

      We’ve built a feature we call PowerMatch which tries to adjust for the difference between the KICKR and your power meter. One thing to realize is that once you pair a power meter your power is NOT going to be super smooth and exactly on like the KICKR reports.

      Jeff’s TP graph tells the tale pretty well. Although the KICKR reports exactly perfect intervals, the first five sets of intervals on the TP side reduce in wattage.

      Here’s some info about PowerMatch: link to support.trainerroad.com

  37. Jon

    Not sure I saw this asked directly or commented on but if I have the original kickr and mainly use TR app for my rides – is the kickr2 enough of an improvement to consider making the investment to upgrade.

  38. Jacky Wong

    Believe Neo is much quieter than new Kickr and zwift can shake your Neo.
    However, new Kickr doesn’t have the frame compatibility issue.
    Furthermore, new Kickr has a handlebar and it is easier to move around.
    it is hard to make the decision…

    • Fabio Mux

      really difficult for me too the decision. Here in europe the price difference is not so high and i really don’t care about the noise level (I have a lemond revolution now, it seem like a space shuttle even at 150watt but i love the incredible road feel it brings).

      what i’m looking for is the possibility to sim bike courses i need (mostly european ironmans) and to create custom workouts because i’ve a coach and i only need to build what he ask me ( such as 3 hill ad 10% for example) so i don’t need TR programs or similar ones.

      Ray i hope i can use a kickr or a neo as i use a lemond revolution…as a ‘plain simulator’ in short words.

  39. CeeDubb

    Downhill simulator?

  40. babyboomer

    I just want make sure I understand the definition of direct drive. Although all of them are of the wheel-off design, between the KICKR, the Hammer and the Neo, only the Hammer and the Neo would be considered direct drive. Is that correct?

    • The generally accepted industry term for direct drive is basically anything without a wheel on the bike.

      There is a tiny handful of people that want that to mean something more strict, but realistically all but the NEO have some level of belt system within them.

  41. Jon

    Thanks for the review. I was planning to get a Kickr Snap in a few weeks, but reading comments about power inaccuracies, the hassle of having to do a spin down 10 minutes into each ride, and the availability of an updated Kickr, would you recommend I go for the new Kickr instead?

    • Spiro

      I had the same question. I really wanted the Kickr Snap too but can’t justify $500 more for the Kickr2. To me, that’s significant. The real question is, does the supposed PM reading really make a big difference in training? I mean, is the SNAP that inaccurate or is this just becoming an Internet rumor. Reading DCRs review, I thought it tracked reasonably accurately. Also, I didn’t get the impression one needs to do the spimdown before every ride . Guess I’m just thoroughly confused. Can anyone clarify?

    • Chris

      I see a 5-8 watt difference to my P1’s. The real difference is speed measurement that my bike computer sees (real speed) vs Kickr snap. I have not tracked that down. Look up Chris Benten on Strava. I post both Wahoo and what the Garmin sees.

    • Chris

      Sorry, what Zwift puts out vs. garmin. In Wahoo app the speed matches garmin. Something in Zwift setup I have not figured out.

    • That’s actually pretty darn solid difference between the P1’s and the KICKR.

      For the speed differences, just triple-check your Garmin wheel circumference – that’d be the difference (under bike profiles).

    • Chris

      I will check my setup but the speed difference is not consistent. Zwift is faster going downhill and slower going up. Reading is approximately the same around 20-22 mph.

    • Mattv

      I have a Neo and a Kickr. My Zwift setup is with the Neo. One thing that I have noticed (mostly in races) is that if I am in a group and I stop pedaling even for a second, I lose all sense of inertia and really have to hammer to get back on a wheel, so I always keep pressure on the pedals, even if I’m just soft pedaling. I assumed the virtual flywheel would be programmed to allow you to coast a bit without losing that inertia. I have not ridden the kickr enough on Zwift to remember if it does the same, but I think the flywheel does that inherently. Has anyone else experienced this with the Neo .

    • Steve

      I’ve noticed the same thing in zwift with the neo, the inertia is not quite right.

  42. Sean

    How does the new Kickr look in terms of being able to accommodate a bike with 140mm disc brakes and a caliper that is on the inside of the chain stay?

  43. Dave Pratt

    I have the original Kickr and spend way too much time on it with TrainerRoad. I dealt with the noise issues the same way you suggested, just put it in a slower gear so it doesn’t turn as fast. What really torques me off about the unit is that for $1000+, they couldn’t put a damn $0.50 switch on it to turn it on and off? Sounds like they didn’t do it with this one either. Since I don’t like leaving electronics on all the time, I have it plugged into a surge protector. A nit, but one that I’m reminded of everytime I use it.

  44. R

    Ray – would you recommend the new Kickr over the Elite Drivo?

  45. Hi Ray, I picked up the new KICKR from CT recently. Thanks for the discount! Well, not a technically a discount; “rebate points” would probably be more accurate. But definitely thanks!

    In any event, have you noticed that wattage tends to drift downwards as the KICKR warms up, just like rolling resistance drops as a roller-based trainer (e.g. a Computrainer) warms up? I rode a test workout this weekend comparing wattage reported from my Power2Max Type-S power meter against power reported from my Wahoo KICKR as I was riding an easy set of short test intervals in PerfPro Studio (I wanted to keep the effort relatively easy so I could keep my cadence and pedal stroke even between efforts). This was starting from a totally cold trainer. On all of the intervals, the KICKR reported dead even watts, maybe fluctuating by a watt here and there. The Power2Max fluctuated a lot– as all regular power meters do– the image attached is smoothed to 20 seconds. My P2M always reports a little on the high side. But what concerns me is how the P2M line is getting closer between sets to the KICKR line. In fact, the average of my P2M data over the first interval is 235 watts while the average over the third interval is 226 watts. After this interval set, I kept riding and experimenting. I eventually shut down my PC and just let my ELEMNT control my KICKR. When I rode the exact same interval set, my P2M reported an average of 222 watts (image of ELEMNT-controlled ride not shown). So that’s a drop of 13 watts (about 6%) over the course of about 30 minutes— well outside the claimed error tolerances of both Power2Max and the KICKR as far as I can tell.

    Fortunately, PerfPro allows the power meter to control the trainer, which may be my workaround. But I was still hoping that watts would be more consistent between devices than this experience demonstrates.

    • Interesting, I haven’t seen any drift like that. I can’t remember off-hand, but it would be interesting to grab the zero offset values from the P2M before and after the ride – as that would narrow down which of the two are actually drifting. :)

    • Jeff Carlson

      Yes perform a roll down at startup and after 15 minutes or so of warm up and check temp/offset values

    • Well, it did feel a bit harder at the beginning than at the end, so I’m hoping that it was the KICKR that drifted. 😉 I didn’t go into the test with the expectation that there was going be a drift so I didn’t record my zero offset before and after. I’ll take a look at that next time I do a comparison ride.

      As far as the KICKR is concerned, I thought that a spin down calibration was only required every 2 weeks or so or after the unit has been moved? I hope using the “new and improved” version of the KICKR doesn’t mean that I have to treat it like my 15 year old Computrainer and do a spin down every time I ride it after I’ve warmed up. Certainly, the product documentation didn’t tell me that.

      I’m quite distrustful of the power reading off the KICKR until someone can convince me otherwise. First, the elimination of strain gauges is a big concern. What did they replace them with to actually MEASURE watts? Second, the reported data is just a little too even for my comfort level. There are huge wattage differences at different points of the cadence cycle and the fact that I get such perfectly smooth watts raises a huge red flag for me. I was hoping that this would be addressed in the firmware update, which hasn’t yet appeared. Now with the potential power drift, I’m even more concerned.

    • Fabio Mux

      it is what scares me. I don’t have a PM on the bike so when i read issues like the one happend to Ken the first thing i think is that if it’s happened to me I would not have noticed anything with a lot of wasted time on my kickr.

      that’s why i’m waiting for the tacx neo indeep review from ray.

    • Just to clarify – did you do any calibration/roll-down?

      Wahoo still recommends it for the most accuracy. Things like temperature variances being a bigger impact.

      As for elimination of the strain gauages, I recorded a big-long thing with Chip about it before I left Eurobike. But as it seems anytime I record any audio with Chip, he has some wonky forcefield that just hoses up any audio sessions I do with him. I may put up the clunky audio version here in the comments for those curious, and then re-record it next week at Interbike. But he goes into great detail on why the new method is better, and how they’re actually looking to roll it back to V1 KICKR’s as well to improve accuracy there.

      For it looking too smooth, I talk about that up above in the post with TrainerRoad and the change they’re (Wahoo) going to make to make it look right. It’s a minor firmware tweak on how they handle in ERG mode what they broadcast.

    • Yup. I did a spin down calibration of the KICKR right after I set it up. I used the Wahoo app and it did seem to hang a few times but eventually it succeeded.

      I’m hoping this is just a minor hiccup that comes with any new product. It would be really interesting to know how eliminating strain gauges resulted in a more accurate product. I’m hoping it’s not just a cost-saving move and really is more accurate. Can’t wait for the firmware update!

      Thanks Ray!

    • jeff carlson

      Ken,

      Spin down should not be necessary with every ride. I would only be concerned about a rolldown if you notice your offset drifting with increasing temperature, thats why I would check at different points just once during a workout.

      As for it feeling easier at the end of an interval 2 things. 1) What gear and or what speed are you using erg mode in? I posted data above from a different user who saw such drift, but he was running 53-11 and the resistance unit couldn’t keep up at those speeds. I can post a link to the data but when switching to a more reasonable gearing his NP between a PM and the kickr were within a watt of each other. 2) What is your HR telling you? Is it drifting downward on such intervals or are these really short intervals?? I find my HR tracks remarkably to changes in wattage on the new kickr. It does feel that changes in cadence can take the resistance unit a second or two to equilibrate.

    • Thanks Jeff! I wasn’t pushing anything nearly as large as a 53×11. I’m not one of those guys who pushes their trainers at 35+ mph to make their trainers smooth out their efforts. We all know folks who do that, right? ;-). The first interval could have hurt more just because, well frankly, it was the first interval. I wasn’t warmed up (I noted that the trainer was cold when I started) so everything hurt. I get that a trainer that relies on tire pressure needs a spin down with every workout because roller pressure is going to vary every time the bike is inserted or removed. But I wouldn’t expect a slight temperature change of about 5 degrees to make a 6% difference in a direct drive trainer– especially when that bike hadn’t moved since I did a spin down the day before. As a side note, your reply gave me an uh-oh moment when you mentioned that the KICKR’s resistance unit couldn’t keep up with the high speeds associated with another rider’s 53×11 gearing. I’m not sure that’s what you meant, unless this guy was super human; a KICKR should be able to generate accurate resistance within the speeds that us mere mortals can ride. On the other hand, I could imagine that measuring power off a system with a heavy flywheel spinning ridiculously fast could introduce drift when compared to another power meter much further “upstream” (such as a pedal based PM) that is moving much more slowly. Thanks also for the tip about heart rate. As this was an effort to test to KICKR and not to test me, I wasn’t wearing an HRM. I’m a touch leery about putting much faith on HR indoors, though, because MY temperature during indoor workouts fluctuates enormously and definitely tends to drift. Unfortunately I don’t think it would advisable for me to do a spin down calibration of that. 😉

    • jeff carlson

      Yes you are correct, now that I see your data, the problem is different for a user in such big gearing. It was the latter, they observed drift (actual power drifting lower) WITHIN an interval as measured upstream (crank) of the crazy fast spinning flywheel, not drift between repeated efforts.

      FWIW here is a 5×5 I did last week on the new kickr. Power vs HR were very consistent for the first 4 intervals, ignore the last interval where I increased the wattage. When working out indoors I use a really big arse fan, hydrate well, and ride shirtless. Also most efforts are less than 90 minutes. As such (within said time frame) I generally observe very little aerobic decoupling with repeat efforts, neither it seems with my new kickr nor did it seem to happen with my old trainer (using a powertap and an on wheel trainer)

  46. Tim Chase

    “New” kickr just arrived from the big brown truck, bought direct from Wahoo. There is side-to-side play/wobble in the main shaft that my 1st gen does not have, doesn’t seem right. The securing bolt seems tight. Can anyone tell me if this is normal? A quick YouTube video here: link to youtu.be

    • jeff carlson

      securing bolt as in for selecting wheel size??? that amount of play does not seem normal, I do not observe such play on my unit

    • Tim Chase

      The hand bolt/knob which secures the wheel size is tight yes. The play mostly comes from the back of the unit where the (flex arm?) meets the base. There is a bolt there which is tight as well. My “original” kickr has no such play whatsoever. I agree, I’m thinking this is not normal.

    • Correct. Not normal as long as that bolt is secured. Looks like something got damaged in shipping.

  47. Priit

    “What’s really interesting here is that the KICKR is simply broadcasting the target power, and not the actual power.” I don’t think this is interesting at all – reporting target power instead of real power is basically cheating! Even if they change it with the software update, since they don’t have built in powermeter even their reported “real” power values will be also rough (ideally +/-2%) estimates that are dependent on the effectiveness of their temperature compensation algorithms and assume that trainer works exactly as ideally intended by the factory. Any play in bearings due to wear or some other small imperfection will distort these “real” power values and Kickr power will be way off I guess. You can see such worrying results already reported even in comments above. So as I understand, the Elite Divo beats the new Kickr hands down except the looks. Kickr looks really cool as Divo resembles some ugly vacuum cleaner or something. Until Kickr doesn’t include real error prone powermeter as Divo does they are not even in the same league. Ray seems to have some soft spot towards Kickr that’s why it didn’t get devastating review I guess.

    • I always like when folks literally make things up along the way, this being a prime example of it.

      A) It currently does this *reporting* of power in ERG mode, which Wahoo has already stated they’ll change. That was my concern, and hence why I used the word ‘interesting’, which is often used in a variety of contexts. Of course, the underlying controlled power is accurate, as shown in those graphs. You’re skipping over that really important fact.

      B) What bearings specifically are you referring to? This is where I insert the ‘you have no idea what you’re talking about’ card.

      C) As noted above, I’ve got a detailed KICKR Power Meter Strain Gauge Q&A with Chip that I shot at Eurobike that I wanted to post. But the audio is mostly hosed up, so I’m just going to re-shoot it at Eurobike, but I’ll still try and put together something to link to here temporarily until then, as bad as the audio may be.

      D) In general, I find it more useful to talk to the engineers that actually built the products about the technologies that are inside them, than folks that go around saying the bearings are going to wear down and cause accuracy issues…when…ummm..yeah, bearings.

    • Priit

      Sorry, if my comment above was not on the “bright side” :). By “bearings wear” I actually meant any moving mechanical part Kickr has. Anyway maybe it helps stupid me to understand the whole issue if somebody simply explains how exactly the new Kickr measures or estimates the power.

    • Here’s the video I shot from Eurobike with Chip from Wahoo Fitness discussing everything you ever wanted to know about the strain gauge in the KICKR (and lack thereof in KICKR2).

      HOWEVER, be warned again that the audio is horrible (at least by my standards). It’s perfectly listenable and easy to understand 99.9% of the words spoken, but the mics were doing something weird.

      Unlisted video here: link to youtube.com

    • Thanks for the video, Ray! Very helpful and enlightening. I don’t doubt Chip’s reasoning and Wahoo’s idea that the new KICKR is super accurate. Also, he makes a great point about how power spikes after an acceleration and so the brake shouldn’t oscillate after big power jumps to accommodate that (that happened all the time on my old Computrainer). Plus, his points about the differences between outdoor and indoor riding make sense. Well, to a point… At the end of the day, most of us ride outdoors with strain gauge based power meter and so we expect our trainers to report wattage like a strain gauge based power meter. I’m also still getting weird differences in my data (now my Power2Max is reading 10w lower than my KICKR when it was just the opposite less than a week ago). Is it the KICKR, my Power2Max, or just the difference between a strain gauge system versus a system that uses a well-modeled brake? Who knows? Or I could be one of those two or three units that come back in a typical week for them. Otherwise, it’s a great unit and I’m super glad I have it. I do wish, however, that it was a few months from now and that I have all the firmware updates that Wahoo is implementing.

    • Keith M.

      I am seeing the same thing – previously Kickr was reading high relative to my P2M, now it’s reading 10-15 watts lower than my P2M. If this was consistent I wouldn’t care so much but it’s concerning that sometimes it’s high and sometimes it’s low. Will do a workout tonight and post results.

    • Fritz

      Well, that does it for me! I hoped that new Kickr will finally resolve power accuracy issues my old one always had but apparently not. The Kickr was a great trainer some years ago and we must credit it as Wahoo started that all open connection protocol training software connection thing. But now the market has much better alternatives. I deffinitely will upgrade to Elite Drivo so I don’t need to swap my P2M powermer any more between the old trainer bike and my main racing bike to control the trainer with trainer relay. I guess Kickr is still fine to someone casually training but for anybody seriously doing power based training the lack of accuracy and drifting power values are not acceptable at all.

    • Jeffrey Collin

      Keith when you say 10-15 watts lower is that NP at the end of the workout or just during certain intervals/wattage ranges?

    • Keith M.

      Both. I did Geiger (sweet spot workout) last night. Had to dial intensity on TR down to hit targets. TR/Kickr gave NP of 217. P2M recording on 810 gave me NP of 231. Inverse of what I experienced previously, though that was a different wattage range. (See post 79) I did a spindown after a workout per Wahoo support a couple of days ago, could be related to that.

    • Just again as a reminder on power meter comparisons & troubleshooting – it’s incredibly helpful to record the zero offset values at three points:

      1) Start
      2) 10 minutes in
      3) Finish

    • Haha… it’s funny Fritz that I’m wondering just the opposite this morning. Just how accurate is my Power2Max when it comes to temperature variations? Who knows? It may we’ll be that the KICKR is the far more accurate technology when it comes to implementing a load on a trainer– or maybe not. Or is this just inevitable when comparing a calibrated brake against a strain gauge? Or will this all change when the firmware upgrade that Chip mentioned comes around? Should be an interesting few months as this all shakes out with Wahoo.

    • What I’ve learned with power meter testing over the years is that they are far more variable than people realize. One day one will be slightly higher than another, the next day inverted. Very often very little reason or rhyme. It’s something that you don’t really notice until you’ve done a crapton of power meter data collection with 3 or more units to start really seeing the pattern of lack of patterns.

    • Jeffrey Collin

      Hard to know without more controlled testing, perhaps with multiple units and power meters we could find out, but I totally agree with you Ken. Even then I think you need something even more concrete than one against the other, such as comparison to a high precision dynamometer. I’m not saying the Kickr is necessarily free of imperfection, but all we truly have at this point is anecdotal evidence.

    • Jeffrey Collin

      and +1 to ray, one power meter can’t be treated as a perfectly accurate gold standard

    • Totally agree. Sometimes I fall in the trap of expecting perfectly reliability between power meters but after comparing power meters, I know that isn’t true. The new KICKR puts this issue under a magnifying glass because of their change from a strain gauge to a calibrated brake. My gut feeling is that the latter approach might be the right one after all. But, we’ll see. Maybe the inconsistencies between power meters might be a great blog post in the future for Ray as it may defuse the perfect reliability that some readers expect from these products.

  48. Vincenzo

    Long story short, main differences between Kickr1 & Kickr2:
    1. New handle.
    2. No built-in real powermeter any more.
    3. In Erg mode broadcasts only target power that you have set in Traineroad and know anyway.
    Did I miss something?

    • I bulleted the five changes in the first two paragraphs. 😉

      #3 on your list below is changing in an upcoming firmware update.
      #2 on your list doesn’t really matter, as long as the unit is still accurate.

  49. Rodrigo

    Hi Ray,
    I am not using eletronic trainers but am thinking on getting the kickr. I am already a zwift user and use it with my quarq. If I use it with the kickr, will I have to do any sort of programming with garmin or the wahoo head unit or it will be just setting the training with intervals and goal watts on zwift? Thanks. It might be a dumb question…

  50. Thanks for this great review ! It motivated me to replace my old-dusty Elite trainer. Smart training is fascinating. ERG mode paired with TrainerRoad app is something any cyclist who want to access to the “next level” should experience.

    Did not have time to compare accuracy of the Kickr with my PowerTap pedals. Will have a look this coming week-end.

    But one of the great thing to mention is how super-quiet the Kickr is ! With ERG mode, you can almost stay on 34×21 all the time, the trainer will adapt resistance automatically. Don’t foget that the lower gear you’ll use, the quieter your trainer will be. Forget about the speed (and distance), just focus on power.

    • rgurney

      Both the old and the new Kickr can be made quieter by carefully adjusting the belt tightness through the spindown time. ( This can be found online in a Wahoo Fitness Youtube video – 2 simple adjustments.) Contrary to some online sources, the correct spin-down time should be about 23 seconds, not 15. I verified this with the good people at Wahoo Fitness. A shorter spindown time means the belt is tighter. As it tightens it puts more tension on the spinning parts inside, creating more noise. There is a happy medium where the belt will not slip but moves smoothly and as quietly as possible. Yes, the new Kickr is quieter than the old – noticeably so, but both benefit from proper adjustment to further reduce noise. My new Kickr arrived from Wahoo with a spindown time of 19 seconds but I made it even quieter by changing the time to 23 seconds. Don’t be afraid to experiment and tweak this adjustment a bit.

    • thatmdee

      Great info. I only just realised that the spindown time on mine (42 seconds!) was way too high. After logging a support case with Wahoo, I was told to tighten the belt as per the video.

      I’ve since done this, and my spindown time is down to 30 seconds. A massive improvement, but still need to knock another 7 seconds of that. However, I’m a little worried about tightening the belt much more — there’s a few horror stories out there of belts snapping :\

      Oh, after tightening the belt, I’ve also noticed almost a squeak/whirring sounds that chops in and out at higher flywheel speeds.

  51. Hi DC

    As ever a great review.

    I am considering purchasing a 2016 second generation Wahoo Kickr for use on Zwift. Would you (or readers who use the new Kickr / Tacx Neo) mind sharing your thoughts on the following points:

    1. How quick is the Kickr to respond when you sprint (in seconds) e.g. from 250 Watts to 500 / 750 / 1,000 Watts? How does the speed of response to power changes compare to the Tacx Neo when you sprint?

    3. What is the free wheel like down hill on Zwift on the new Kickr? Do you find yourself getting dropped or having to put down power to stay with a group while they free wheel? How does it compare to the Tacx Neo?

    Thank you

  52. Heith

    I own a Kickr(original) and I don’t have any of the power problems others have had. But my trainer hardly ever moves. It’s basically at my work and I use it 2 times per week.
    I have ordered a Drivo but after listening to the interview and the fact the Drivo just got pushed back to mid Oct. I’m thinking about cancelling and just getting the Kickr16(2). Problem is, after looking at actual price of all these new trainers, the Kickr is over-priced. Although the Drivo MSRP is $1,299 and the Hammer is $1,199 they are really 20% cheaper. I got pre-ordered the Drivo from Performance for $150 cheaper than I could get the Kickr because Wahoo doesn’t allow sales. I could pre-order the Hammer for $200 cheaper than the kickr. You can get the Neo for $100.00 more than the Kickr..When the Flux comes in with a MSRP of $899, the real price will be $675..Then what?
    if Kickr were smarter than they already are. They would drop there prices now, I know a lot of people are waiting for all these new trainers to come out. But they are waiting….Waiting for the new NEO, waiting for the Drivo, waiting for the Hammer, waiting for the Flux…..If Wahoo dropped their price, a lot of people would stop waiting.

    • Chris

      Performance puts the Kickrs on sale regularly and REI occasionally; both @ 20% off.

    • Jeff

      At the very least buy a kickr at full price and REI will give members 10%, and don’t forget to factor in you get a cassette included with your kickr….

    • Heith Masters

      Yeah, I need a home trainer now. Kickr it is. Performance gives 10% back also. They also have a crazy no questions asked guarantee policy like costco.

  53. sean beattie

    if you had a choice and noise was not an issue which trainer would you buy a tacx neo or the new wahoo kickr?

  54. Tom

    Has there been any word on when Wahoo will issue the software fix for the TrainerRoad erg mode? I’m looking into getting one and this seems like something that would be a major deal breaker.

    • Heith

      I just received the 2016 today. There was a Firmware update(3.1.1) but no release notes, so I’m not sure if it was the one everyone is looking for.

      I played around with it for about a hour. It’s accurate. It’s so in sync with my SRM I spent about 20 minutes fixing a problem that didn’t exist. I set up 2 riders/trainers in Perfpro one with SRM and the other w/ Kickr2016. I seriously kept updating the SRM offeset and making sure the profiles were different. The numbers were too close all the time. I thought the Kickr profile was picking up the SRM signal..At the end I had the phone app running with Perfpro for the Kickr. Garmin and another profile running for the SRM. I guess it’s like what Joe Dirt’s Dad would say,”Its just does”.They are tide together. Within a watt or 3 half the time and exactly the same the rest of the time. I was getting annoyed thinking something was wrong.
      It’s very responsive. It reacts instantly to interval changes at twice the speed. I changed the Interval offset from 3sec to 1 second in Perfpro because it was hitting the intervals way faster. God forbid I do a VO2 effort 2 seconds longer than need be.
      Anyways, very happy with the trainer. Right now I’m not really worried about the erg stuff. Just doesn’t seem that noticeable.Then again, I could have gotten the update.But if I didn’t, I trust it will come and It wouldn’t make the slightest difference in actual work performed.
      Way easier to carry, fixed the problem with Di2 11s derailleurs topping out in 10th gear, and a tiny teeny weenie bit quieter. You actually need the other one next to it to realize it’s quieter. I couldn’t tell the difference without putting the bike on the other one and thinking..Oh, yeah, I guess it is.

    • +1 Heith. While I had some initial adjustment pains to the 2016 Kickr, I’m now convinced it an absolutely incredible trainer– best one I’ve ever owned. I’ve never been on a trainer that can hold such steady watts and that can adjust so quickly to changes in wattage. For instance, I could never do something like 30 seconds maxVO2 intervals effectively on other trainers because they would take at least 5 seconds to get to a steady value. Not so with the KICKR. Tonight, for instance, I did a 2 x 20min effort at a moderate wattage but some sudden jumps. The watts on my Power2Max (which is shown smoothed to 20 seconds so isn’t as “crisp” as the raw data) reacts pretty much immediately with the change in wattage. Thanks also for the tip on the PerfPro interval offset! Definitely needed for such an reactive trainer as the new KICKR.

    • Jeff

      That 2×20 using your P2M to drive the kickr or are you just monitoring with the P2M? That is some really nice looking data!

      I’m still loving my kickr as well, super consistent and great feel/response time.

    • Tim

      Looks like v3.2.0 beta is out for the KICKR 2016

      “Optionally including acceleration power in Erg mode.”

      I just updated with the iOS Wahoo Utility app, no password was required. Test ride to come later today.

    • Keith M

      How did you get the firmware?

    • Brent

      Yes, please tell us how you got the beta software via the utility app.
      Thanks.

    • Ken

      Just google “wahoo secret swipe”

    • Keith M

      All the videos I’ve seen are with a previous version of the Wahoo Utility app. I am using the current version on current iOS. Not sure how to do it. Anyone done it on this setup?

  55. Heith Masters

    Update and notes after yesterdays full workout.
    Ok, there’s a break-in period with this trainer. I’ve found the Temp doesn’t matter that much because I think the new sensors take care of that pretty well. But the coast down numbers did matter with mine.
    So, on day 1, I play with it and did a coast-down after initial warm-up 15.4sec@90f(32.2c) from that point on, it was spot on w/SRM. I let it cool and tested without a spin-down and it stayed spot on. I then warmed it back up, did another spindown about 1.5 hours after playing with it.19sec 38c. Still very accurate.
    Day 2: I did a 1:40′ workout in erg mode with a-lot or low inertia work in the small ring. I noticed a little drift so I zeroed the SRM it went from 465 to 460 during that time..Not enough to change anything, SRM’s are pretty stable. I then did a spin-down/coast-down which came back at 24.5mph @108F, 10sec longer than original. At that point, the trainer was off.reading 15w-19w lower than SRM, making the workout a little too hard.
    I also noticed the machine got much quieter than from day 1. Noticeably quieter than the original Kickr.
    So I got off quickly, tension-ed the belt following the instructions from Wahoo’s youtube video I previously watched. Did a spin-down(16sec 104F) and everything was back on target.
    So, with my unit after a couple days from the factory it needed a minor adjustment after it broke in. Not sure if this is normal but it seems the belt and bearing break-in a little fairly quickly. So if you have any issues, first make sure the belt tension is between 15 and 19sec.
    Also should note, I thought once I tighten the belt back up it would get loud again. It didn’t seem to, so that’s good.
    I’ve done several spin-downs since and they have all come back around 15.8-16.5sec so the belt hasn’t slackened since. It could have also have been a slightly loose pinch bolt..Maybe the belt never stretched at all. Either way, the belt slightly slackened after 3 hours of initial use and that cause a longer coast-down which seemed to effect wattage while temp hasn’t. Not a big deal but thought I should note here.

    • rgurney

      15-19 is the correct spindown time for the Wahoo Snap. The correct spindown for the Kickr is around 23.

    • Heith

      I’m getting mixed info on this through-out the net. I’m in no way saying you’re not right, nor that these guys are wrong. Maybe Wahoo can chime in at some point.
      link to support.zwift.com coment

      link to youtube.com watch around 5:00 mark onward.

      I know mine seems to work better with my PM at this range. I just used SpeedyCal android app to check my SRM and the slope is correct. avg.26.77 set 26.8

    • Keith M

      Per Wahoo support when I contacted them previously: “Typical spin down times will range from 16 to 24 seconds (for the 2016 KICKR).”

    • rgurney

      I recently spoke to a young lady at Wahoo Fitness about this particular video. She was concerned because she felt it was incorrect information.

    • valleycycle

      Did she give you a spindown range or just say that the video isn’t correct? My experience with Wahoo support is that while they try to be helpful, they don’t know how their products works.

  56. West

    If money is not the issue, do you recommend the Neo or the new Kickr? I will be using it with a Garmin 1000 and Zwift? Thank you, in advance.

  57. Keith M

    Kickr has been working great since I started using power match (auto setting). When I tried it on the old Kickr it felt like the power fluctuated wildly every 10 seconds as the Kickr adjusted but I don’t really notice that with the new Kickr. I have been doing a lot of sweet spot stuff and I am hitting intervals within a watt or two and my kJ and TSS are bang on for the workout. Haven’t done any shorter vo2max stuff with the power match on though, might not work as well for that stuff.

  58. Ted Hou

    There isn’t a Garmin Connect Discussion thread, so I am posting this here.
    Wahoo says Garmin is preventing the upload of ride data to GC. Is this Garmin BS? Ray, can you tell Garmin how many of us are very disappointed in this unfriendly action? Why did Garmin do this? Do they really need ransom $?

    • They’re mostly correct. I’m not sure what 3rd party apps are still faking uploads, I’m sure some, as I’m sure it’s still technically possible. But Garmin has continued to clamp down on it. And it’s actually not the $5K fee thing. They just don’t have an API for ingest of data (only export).

      Previously, companies basically faked being a user to upload data (my guess is some still do).

    • Ted

      thanks. So no workaround…Wahoo mentioned to me to upload to GC from Strava…
      I currently move data from GC to Strava. Do I have to enable connecting to GC from within Strava now?

  59. Steven Hawkswell

    Have had the new Kickr for a couple of weeks now and seem to have an issue with power readings relative to those from my Stages PM. The Kickr is giving readings around 20% lower than I have been getting on the Stages either indoor or on the road. I am not too worried which is more accurate but at the moment I have no comparable data from the two and will need to use a lower FTP on the kickr (200 as opposed to 240 on the stages) which is not ideal. I have done a number of spin downs with the time coming in around 15s which seems a bit low according to advice on here and I guess that might be the problem. Am using either the Wahoo app or Zwift and getting the same readings. Any help appreciated, am currently busting myself to put out what kickr is saying is 250W and I know it isn’t!
    Thanks

    • valleycycle

      I have a Kickr 14 (old Kickr), and I have always had an offset between the Kickr and Stages power meter which gradually changes during a workout. I’m currently evaluating a beta version of firmware which calculates power without the strain gauge similar to the new Kickr, and I still have an offset, although the offset behaves differently than when using the strain gauge. I have been collecting graphs of the data and the offset is not consistent during the ride, sometimes having a jump and then having a fairly stable offset again at a different value.

      The way I deal with the offset is to manually adjust the offset in TrainerRoad as I do the workout, and I feel better about that than having TrainerRoad try to automatically adjust for the offset. The control by external power meter in the Wahoo Fitness app does not appear to work for me.

      My theory is that the new Kickr (and old Kickr using model based power calculation) have a fundamental problem. I think the model cannot accurately predict power across the usable temperature range among different units, and the spindown (and advanced spindown) is not enough to adjust the parameters of the model. Every unit probably needs to be calibrated across temperature to be accurate. I would not train with it without using another power meter as a reference since the offset is not stable. Perhaps other people have Kickrs that behave differently, but that is how mine works, and I complained about it since the first week I had it with the response always being that firmware will fix the problem.

    • valleycycle

      Just to add a little more to my previous comment, I still think that a Kickr is a good training tool. For someone training with power an external power meter needs to be used (e.g. the same one you use outside, Stages, 4iii, SRM, etc.) since no two power meters give the same results, and the Kickr power offset does not appear to be stable during a workout.

      With the beta firmware I have been using, my main issue is that it takes about 30 minutes for the Kickr to settle on an offset that seems to be fairly stable for the rest of the ride (I tried up to three hour rides, and I always see the first ~30 minutes with a different offset). Without looking at the external power meter data, I would be training in the wrong zone without knowing it. Since I use a power meter on the bicycle outside, I need to see the same data reference indoors too and not rely on the Kickr (or whatever other smart trainer I would use).

    • Mike McManus

      I just bought the New Kickr and it is reading watts much lower than I think it should. I did an easy TR program and compared heart rate and PE to prior workouts on this TR session. HR was 20 bpm average higher and PE was much higher. If I base a new FTP off this resistance I will be in the “basement” for the new FTP. Apparently this isn’t uncommon. See this thread link to forum.slowtwitch.com

      I will contact Wahoo tomorrow and see what can be done to get to a reasonable level of resistance. I don’t care about precise power accuracy but somewhere in a reasonable ballpark and consistency.

    • valleycycle

      The best way to deal with this is to use an on the bicycle power meter as the power reference and adjust the Kickr offset as needed to meet your training targets. So, for your FTP test, the Kickr can be in Level mode and you will get the power information from your power meter which will be good for both inside and outside rides.

      I’m still struggling with different offsets from different spindowns, and even from different days without redoing a spindown. Since I use an on the bicycle power meter, it doesn’t matter so much, other than adjusting the offset. Also, I usually need to adjust the offset within a ride.

      I’m assuming that this will get better with each firmware release, but as you probably know from the V1 Kickr, it was never resolved.

    • Rick

      I stumbled across this from another website where people were complaining of the same problem. I have a brand new Kickr Snap with the same problems. As per advice from Wahoo I deleted and reinstalled the apps, turned everything off and started again. After Spindown I sat on the bike and span for ten minutes watching the power reading. At a steady 27kph the power reading bounced all over the place between 105 and 140w.

      Then I switched to ERG mode and set it to 140w. this felt more like 250w. I ramped up the resistance 10watts at a time, by the time I got to 180watts, it was unrideable. I couldn’t even stand on the cranks and get them to turn.

      There is clearly a problem with the sensor in the unit. The guy in this Youtube video explains how he worked out the issue and how he fixed it.

      link to youtube.com

      I won’t be doing that. Mine will be going back to the shop.

  60. Michael Sparshatt

    Hi Ray – am expecting to have my new Kickr delivered tonight, but am a little confused as to whether it will work with Trainer road without an Ant+ dongle (which I forgot to order). I have a pretty new Windows laptop with Bluetooth 4.2, but the TR and Wahoo support sites seem to suggest I’ll need the dongle as well. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • valleycycle

      I use an ANT+ stick, so I don’t know. TrainerRoad support is one of the best. E-mail their support team, support@trainerroad.com, and they will probably respond quickly.

    • We don’t support native BT on the PC (yet), so you’ll need an ANT stick.

      But…if you have an iPhone or Android phone with BT 4.0 (if you’ve bought them in the last few years it will have it) you can control it without a dongle!

      Just search for “TrainerRoad” in the App Store or Google Play Store :).

  61. Heith

    I’ve downloaded the beta and did 30sec intervals to test it. There is no smoothing and i did not do a calibration. I offset the Srm but I did not calibrate trainer its been just the way it is for 3 weeks now. Well with the exception of the new beta firmware. Purple is trainer. You can see its very reactive to fast jumps in power.

  62. Heith

    I should also not the first few I was 53t/16t. Then I went to 39/19 to see if a lower inertia would change things. The last 3 I went back to 53t. I also sprinted harder in the middle. I didn’t use smoothing because they were really short. Also to note the trainer reacts better than the SRM. If I put a little extra power down,just a quick jolt. The trainer reads it instantly while the srm barely notices. It makes for jumpy numbers and on longer intervals I’d definitely use at least 10sec smoothing

  63. Heith

    Oh, I might as well give you the original Kickr with 5sec smoothing. Same SRM but I had smoothing on. You can see the original is still quite good. I did do a spindown before this ride but rarely do on this trainer either.

  64. Gavin Robinson

    Just a follow up, I have updated from the kickr 1 to the kickr 2, everything is working fine except my garmin 810 now wont pick up the new kickr as a speed sensor to record some kind of distance whilst recording on my garmin. Has anyone else had this issue or know a fix?

    • Just upgraded myself. The Kickr2 appears to transmits speed within the power stream, so if you’ve got the Garmin paired to the ANT+ power it should give you speed/distance. Works fine on my old Garmin 800 when selecting no Speed/Cadence in the Kickr2 bike profile I have set up.

    • thatmdee

      Apparently the speed use the same ANT+ channel as power. I believe a firmware update for the original Kickr allowed a separate broadcast signal for speed?

      I’m a bit disappointed by this, as I cannot broadcast speed (and thus distance) to my Vivoactive HR, as it won’t connect to power meters. It’s a bit frustrating to see an older video of Ray’s where he connects speed from the Tacx Vortex Smart to the original Vivoactive — a mid-range smart trainer which is less than half the price of what I paid for the Kickr2 here in Australia.

      Anyway, I contacted Wahoo about this — and this was their response:

      “Unfortunately at this time we are only broadcasting the Speed and Power data through one channel as they are calculated together with the our power model. I can certain pass this along to our developers and project managers to evaluate. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.”

      I know speed isn’t a great metric, but it is a bit frustrating not having a complete activity recorded in Garmin (and on my watch) without having to push the FIT files from Zwift to Garmin Connect..

    • Just to clarify – the KICKR has never transmitted speed by itself, only as part of the power channel.

      That said, the way Tacx does it here really is the best overall option – for exactly the use case you noted.

    • thatmdee

      Thanks for the clarification!

      I thought I recalled you mentioning here on the original Kickr article the possibility of a firmware update to broadcast speed separately.

      If I were to purchase a Fenix 5 when released, would it allow the capture and recording of speed data on the power channel?

    • Yes, totally compatible with the Fenix5.

  65. Tom

    I just got my new Kickr and I’m a bit disappointed. Using power match with my Quarq in TrainerRoad It takes around 30 seconds to “ramp up” to target power when I start an interval- What gives? I updated the firmware and everything.

    • Heith

      Try using the power offset instead of power match. By using the power match you’re adding a control loop. The kickr16 is very fast at erg mode if you let it do the work. Also from what I’ve seen, it’s more reactive to changes in power than my power meters. Offset just works better, faster, smoother.

    • Tom

      How can I determine the power offset between my quarq and the kickr?

    • You could record a workout on two separate devices, and see what the offset is across different power meter levels.

      Generally speaking power match was aimed at trying to close a larger gap between a power meter and a trainer. If you don’t see an offset of any significance (more than a couple of percent), I wouldn’t really worry about power match – as all it’s really going to do is make a worse experiance.

  66. Jet

    Hi Ray, just want to say a massive thanks for your review. Just bought my new Wahoo today and it’s working pretty well except the belt (or the belt plate) makes some weird clicking noise – some guys on youtube also have the same problem and I am just keen to find out if this is normal? Thanks!

    link to youtube.com

  67. AJ

    I just tried out my kickr2 for the first time this morning. It’s a lot louder than it seems on Ray’s video, so I packed it up for return. Tacx Neo on the way!

  68. David Ardley

    I am on my second kick2. I had an original kickr since new and these units seem to generate a squeal that sounds like metal rubbing. It seems to be coming from where the sensor lives. Its odd that two have the same issue so it may be something else. I have logged a support ticket.

    The sound file is here link to dl.dropboxusercontent.com

    I would be useful to know if this sounds normal or not. Any ideas on what the issue me are welcome.

    • rgurney

      Sounds like a tight belt. Check the spindown time. Should be around 23-25 seconds. Adjust accordingly and recheck the sound again.

    • David ardley

      Both trainers have slow down a lot quicker than the old kicker. I would say 15 sec. can you suggest pointers to where you adjust the belt and if this is something that can be done without voiding the warrenty. Thx

    • rgurney

      David – 15 seconds is too brief a spindown, confirming a tight belt. Adjusting the belt does not void any warranty and instructions can be found easily on Youtube. Aim for 23-24 seconds.

    • valleycycle

      David,

      The Wahoo Fitness App has a spindown function that will tell you the spindown time. From your posting “I would say 15 sec.”, it appears that you didn’t use the app to spindown function in the app.

    • David Ardley

      Hi – as follow up the squeal on the kick2, I had this back from Wahoo support. Looks like a manufacturing fault:

      Ian Evans (Wahoo Fitness Support)
      Oct 26, 2:29 PM EDT
      Hi David,
      I am terribly sorry about that. We have been getting several reports of this and we believe they are all from the same production run. With that being said, we are going to personally swap out your KICKR. We will need to get a courier scheduled to pick it up. What address will they be picking it up from? Additionally, what is a good phone number we can list on the order? Lastly, can you please send me your serial number?
      Thanks,
      Ian

  69. Ken

    Ray I noticed in your zwift setup that you select the kickr as your power source instead of your stages power meter and you connected via Bluetooth instead of ant+. Is there any reason you wouldn’t want to use your power meter as the power source instead of the kickr in zwift? Also my new kickr seems to transmit two signals for ant+ one that says “wahoo….” and the other that says “wahoo…FEC”. What are your thoughts on optimal configuration with the new kickr and separate power meter on zwift?

    Thank you!!!

    • If on the iPad app, you have to connect via BT. If on desktop, I virtually always connect via ANT+.

      For me, I always use the FE-C signal (on desktop), because it’s directly controlling the trainer. Versus if I set it to the power meter, then it’s not going to control the trainer (read-only).

    • Ken

      Thanks Ray!

      So let me recap (I’m not tech savvy). I’ll be using the ZWIFT desktop app and will configure the new kickr this way:

      Controllable trainer – Wahoo Kickr FEC
      Cadence – Power meter (stages/quarq)
      Power source – This is where I’m confused. Do I use the Wahoo Kickr FEC OR can I use my power meter (stages/quarq)? Both come up as options. Would it be more “accurate” to have the external power meter as the source and let the Kickr control the resistance?

      I appreciate any help you can provide on the optimal configuration. Thanks again Ray!

  70. Mike

    Does anyone know the beginning serial number which doesn’t have the production flaw, or the serial numbers to avoid, as commented on by Ian from Wahoo?

  71. Tom J

    Don’t own a Kickr, but was taking part in a study recently using Kickrs…not the new ones, I believe.

    Question is this: has anyone run into a problem of belts snapping under use? I was not the most powerful of guys in this study, but I had *two* kickr belts break under me during the study. One in the middle of the workout, an increasing wattage ‘go till failure’ workout, and the second one after the workout was done when I was trying to get it spinning again. Still some tension on the belt, but I was not stomping all-out to try to get it moving. Just applying steady pressure.

    Anyone have any similar experiences?

    • Weird. I think I’ve only heard of one belt snapping ever in all the years.

      Almost wonder if someone was tweaking tension on the belt for the study, and did something they shouldn’t have (given you had two break).

    • Tom J

      Interesting. I don’t know how they were setting up the machines mechanically. The study started you off at 1 watt/kg, and then increased the wattage linearly based on your weight. You just cycled till failure, which was defined as not meeting the goal wattage by a certain amount (so if you were still spinning but well below the target wattage, you were done).

      The first belt snapped when I was in the mid 300 watts. There were Cat1 and 2 guys in this study, pushing a lot more wattage than me. That one snapped in the middle of the study, while I was around 90 rpm or so–started hearing a ticking sound at first, got louder and I could feel it through the bike, and as one of the guys went to see what it was (thought maybe it was an indexing problem with the derailler), snap.

      Second time, I had finished the study, gone till failure, and then wanted to get spinning again for recovery. The trainer was still up in the 300s, and I was applying steady pressure trying to get it moving from a stop. That one just snapped all at once.

      As far as I knew, they weren’t tweaking the Kickrs themselves at all, just running a specific program. But I don’t know. Yeah, I was the only one who had the belt break–they had other problems with bluetooth HR interference between the two units they had, but the belt breaking was all for me :/ I took away a pretty poor opinion of the Kickr from that study (only time I’ve used one, they’re too rich for my blood :)) but maybe that’s an unfair opinion to have if my experience is a non-standard deviant.

      Thanks :)

    • Yeah, all those problems just don’t really sound normal to me. Like BT HR interference, virtually never hear of that (sometimes ANT+ interference, but I can’t remember ever seeing BT interference on the HR side).

  72. Mike

    Hi

    I am new to the world of smart trainers and the associated apps out there. Wondering if there is some basic help / guidance on this:

    New version of the wahoo Kikr
    iPad Air latest iOS
    Sufferfest app

    During the videos my wahoo kikr and cadence sensor seem to disconnect from the app

    I don’t seem to have this issue with the wahoo app

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • MaverickNH

      I just set up my Kickr2 today with the Wahoo Utility app, which did a firmware update before I did a spin-down. I also had disconnects with the Sufferfest app – running fine for 10min then no connection. I switched to Trainer Road which ran fine for 60min. I’ll try Sufferfest again but needed a workout, not an IT problem solving session.

  73. Is there an app-controlled, variable speed fan to provide ‘simulated wind’ matching road speed? A key component to developing power is dissipation of heat (as we know skelentail muscle is extremely inefficient = heat production). I’m new to the bicycle trainer arena and haven’t noticed any mention body heat dissipation by convection. Thanks!

    • Dolan Halbrook

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. Some company could make a killing this coming year putting out a reasonably priced ANT FE-C controlled fan!

    • David (frostbyteva)

      I thought of using a Raspberri pi with the dongle and some fans to try and build the same thing. Ended up being more complicated that I had intended and gave up. Family, work, bike, doesn’t leave time enough to tinker.

  74. Mac Brown

    I just ordered a Kickr 2 from clever training and the VIP membership. Strangely, I had compatibility issues with my frame. I have a Cannondale Supersix, 2012 edition, and it has 130mm dropout spacing and works with the original Kickr. I find it hard to believe that it doesn’t work, as this is a fairly normal bike, but they have told me to ship it back.

    Frankly, after looking at the proximity of the arm to the “130/135” adapter, I find it hard to believe this works with any bikes at all.

    Anyone else have this problem?

    Thanks!
    Mac Brown

  75. Dana Whitaker

    I am hoping Santa delivers a kickr for christmas. I noticed the latest one was on sale, but they are out of stock and offereing alternatives…..which kickr do i want? I am going nuts trying to compare. Help me please.

    Thanks so much

  76. Isaac

    Hi Ray,
    Din´t you have issues with gears skipping/shifting with KICKR cassette?
    Have an 11sp ultegra groupset on my bike, bought a brand new KICKR (3 uses only), and couldn´t find a way for gears to shift smooth on KICKR, even though in my bike are perfect. The issue is that the gears needs some barrel indexing on the KICKR, but afterwards, need to re-adjust when mounting on bike, and indexing on the KICKR it´s not easy stuff, it´s annoying.
    Read in some forums people replacing kickr cassette with the ones as they have on their bikes for better shifting, but I´m not sure about that. I´m thinking to take my Bike/Kickr to LBS so they adjust both properly, even though didn´t wanted to get to that point.

    Any experiences or thoughts on issue are welcomed,
    Cheers!

  77. Frank D.

    Hi Ray and al.,

    After reading another very insightful product review here, I am a little bit thorn since I can get a Kickr1 2015-2016 on sale at $400 (CAN Dollar) off the retail price of a Kickr2 2016-2017 at a local bike shop.

    I already have an independant power meter but I am really looking forward to the ERG mode.

    I could live with the high level of noise since I wear headphones, although the high frequency sound maybe annoying in the long term for the family while I am in the basement pedaling. Based on Ray’s test, it may be less annoying with Kickr2.

    Otherwise, the power accuracy and possible reliability issues in this regard mentioned here and on other forums for Kickr1 maybe another yellow flag compare to the new one. Again, Ray’s assessement seems to answer these claims and some friends who own one told me they have not experienced any of these problems yet.

    Given this good deal and the aforementioned feedback I got, I am really leaning toward the Kickr1. Am I forgetting something about other things/issues that would make the Kickr2 a better option for the long terme (couple of years)? I may be also able to get this one with an online $170 rebate (CAN).

    Any thoughts on this?

    Many thanks! :)

  78. Jay

    Is the Flux quieter than the new Kickr would you say?

  79. Eric

    Hi Ray,

    Bit late to party. Could you sometime dig into what exactly ‘incline mode’ means? Exactly what are the limitations to it? 15% and 2000w sounds terrific but watts (joules/second) sounds like the wrong sort of measurement to generally characterize climbing forces.

    An example: I have a mtb ride I do (in the summer!) that starts with 2700 foot gravel road climb. The first 3 miles average 15 degrees but spots are 20. I ride it on my singlespeed. Because I’m old and fat my cadence is sometimes down to 10 rpm. I’m 200lb and averaging 270 watts but peak will be much higher. Can this thing simulate that load? This seems like a simple question but don’t see specs anywhere that hint at an answer.

  80. John

    Did the update to power reporting in ERG mode (e.g. broadcasting target power, not actual power) ever make it into the KICKR firmware?

  81. Jeff

    I just purchased a kickr 2. Something is not right. I had originally paired it with my Elemnt however it seems to lose connection with the elemnt constantly so I paired it to my phone (turning the elemnt off, note phone BT was off when using the elemnt to eliminate BT issues). The phone app seems to keep connection better but am unable to control the resistance of the Kickr. No matter what mode I am in the resistance is not changing. I even set it in Resistance mode to 100% and could still easily pedal in my highest gear.

    Been in contact with Kickr support but I only get one email a day with them.

    • Jeff

      Okay so after a little more debugging I noticed that anytime I sent a control command to the kickr like changing resistance level it would lose connection. Watching this happen it almost looked like it was resetting. So I looked at the power brick and noticed the green led on it was barely lit. I measured the output voltage on the power brick and it is only putting out 4.9v and it should put out 12v. So appears my issue is a bad power supply. Emailed wahoo about the findings.

  82. Rene Jensen

    Hi,

    Thinking of buying this, to combine with Zwift. Have a question you maybe could answear.

    If you have a power meter on your bike, like Quarq, that measure cadence and power to a paired unit like Garmin 520/1000. Do i really need a VR/Smart trainer like KICKR that measure power and cadence, to get all the benefits with Zwift controlling the resistance from what ever you are “training” on zwift? Is it possible to make Zwift read power from the Quarq and still having it to controll the KICKR. Or is it best or easiest to skip the Quarq and make KICKR do all the work.

    Love your reviews! :)

    Regards

    Rene

    • Heith

      Yes, zwift, traineroad, perfpro, etc. All allow you to use the bikes power meter to show and record data over the trainers power while the trainer is adjusting the power(erg)or slope. So your TSS scores & other metrics will be coming off your regular PM if you choose.

  83. David Sembiante

    I’ve spent a few weeks with the Kurt Kinetic Smart Control. Bug ridden app and still does not integrate with Zwift. I want my money back. So disappointed in Kurt Kinetic. I should have gotten the unit you are reviewing. My “Smart Control” is useless for what I needed.

  84. David Blume

    I have never been able to get my Kickr to work properly in ERG mode or to be accurate with power. Wahoo says that the units use an optical reader to measure power – literally an optical sensor that reads the pattern on the flywheel (not the brake as the article states). Hard to see how this is accurate. Keep your flywheel and sensor clean!

    • David Sembiante

      Hi David.

      You are scaring me about Kickr. Ugh. Maybe nothing works as advertised with Zwift and I just stick with my old KK fluid trainer.

      I think the power calculation is easier than you might think….they know the mass and they know the velocity. Knowing that I the resistance I bet it is just a simple physics calculation. Probably a few percent off, but okay for what I’m doing.

      I just am looking for some fun in Zwift, something that will get me on the bike in the winter. I can’t believe how hard the search is.

      Ugh.

      David

    • Eric

      Have you ever actually tried zwift?

      If you already have a kk trainer you might go ahead and buy the inride pod. $50 on amazon. I found intervals using their free iPhone app to be way fun and very sustainable for winter training. The sufferfest workouts are scary!

      I’ve tried zwift with my kk, also on a friends wahoo kikr and power was all over, ugly and frustrating. I gave up because it also wasn’t fun.

    • David Blume

      I updated my Kickr with new firmware this weekend and it does seem to be working reasonably well. In sim mode it works well with Zwift. The ERG mode is still a challenge.

      The one issues I do have now is that the new firmware disconnects the strain gauge. I don’t know if its related, but the unit now shows power when I am coasting.

      DB

  85. Yunwei

    Just wanted to give people a heads up. I ordered my KICKR2 a week ago and was excited to try it out. Turns out my 2014 Specialized Crux Carbon Disc frame has clearance issues with the trainer. My disc caliper mount was having issues hitting the handle of the KICKR and interfering with the dropout mounting exactly in line one the trainer. I took my frame off the trainer and there was definitely a small pressure mark on the KICKR2 handle and on my rear disc caliper mount area of my frameset.

    The Specialized has a 120mm rear disc caliper mount and Wahoo does say in their support documentation that rotor sizes smaller than 160mm the caliper may interfere with the trainer (they recommend taking the caliper off). However my frame’s issue was the caliper mount and not the disc caliper itself.

    Thankfully the handle of the KICKR2 can be easily removed with three allen bolts and now that the handle is off, the bike mounts up just fine. This is the short term fix, but long run unless I file a small notch into the thermoplastic handle, I will have to live without the KICKR handle…

    I haven’t found anybody else talking about frame fitting issues with the KICKR2, but word to the wise checkout any clearance issues before committing to the product!

  86. Jeff

    Ok here goes. After buying and returning 2 Kickr Snaps and trying a 3rd at my local bike shop… I am now the proud owner the new wheel off Kickr. The first snap shook so badly my whole house vibrated. The other 2 were completely unable to calculate wattage. Using my Powertap C1 the discrepancy at 310 watts was 90 watts!!! It was an exponential problem. the harder you went to larger the discrepancy. When the unit at the LBS did the exact same thing as mine in regards to wattage we decided it was more than just a single issue. We put my bike on the wheel off Kickr and the power numbers matched up completely with my power meter.

    Long story short. I am very happy with my wheel off Kickr (new version) … 2 hour rides on Zwift result in only 4-5 watt average differences with my power meter. Even at a 1,000 watt sprint it was within 4 watts! It isn’ t as quiet as they describe IMO … they claim “It’s as quiet as your favorite fluid trainer” and it is most definitely not as quiet as my Kurt Kinetic. But the noise is something I can live with. The road feel is the best of any smart trainer I have had (Kickr Snap and Tacx Bushido Smart). I can’t wait to log many many hours on this trainer!

    • Colin

      Hi Jeff, how is the road feel of your new Kickr compared to your old Kurt Kinetic? I have a KK Rock and Roll and I’m trying to decide whether to make the move to a smart trainer.

  87. Heith

    We got another Kickr 2016 yesterday so I tested it against SRM. Just a simple ramp test. Kickr recorded with Perfpro and SRM recorded with Garmin. The gap in the Garmin file is just during the calibration of the Kickr.

  88. Mac Buddy

    Concerning the sound level.

    Which one is more silent?
    Kickr or Kickr Snap?

    I wanna have it in a room close to the child’s room (which wants to sleep).

    • Heith

      The machines are the same, but the spinning wheel with all those spokes(basically a fan) and tire friction adds another layer of sound in the room. So although not necessarily louder, the cumulative noise could overwhelm. In my cave, when i run 2 kickrs i can keep volume the same but with kickr&snap i raise the volume but i don’t think the decibels are higher just more cumulative noise

  89. DT

    I bought mine from CT. I am having trouble because when I have my Fenix 3 on sometimes the watts come down to 0 as if it loses connection with the iPhone and connects to the Fenix (which is not the device I am using for the workout). I noticed that when I turned the Fenix off, it does not happen again. This did not happen with the kickr 1. Any comments??

  90. Scott H.

    So the Wahoo site has the refurbed Kickr v1.0 for $650 (possibly today only 12/26). I’m tempted to bite and wondered if anyone had any thoughts?

  91. Karim

    Curious if the electronics like Bluetooth and chipset are upgraded from the 2013 to the 2016? Similar to a newer generation smart phone–I assume that there is tech inside the brain of the machine. Thanks.

    • I’m not aware of any changes there. Though to be honest, there’s little reason for that specific component to upgrade the BT chipset, since nothing has really changed there.

      Going forward into mid-2017, then a BT5 chipset would make sense, but even that doesn’t really buy the KICKR much in this scenario (if anything).

  92. Mike

    The watts produced feel 30 to 50 watts low for the effort and resistance felt. On Trainerroad my FTP is only 145. It is consistent/repeatable and heart rate appropriate for the zones if not too short. I don’t have a power meter. I have done an Advanced Spindown and Wahoo said the brake resistance was within specs. Anyone else experience watts reported being much lower than it should be and if so thoughts as to a fix. This is my second K2. The first one had so much resistance in ERG I could not get it to 150 watts to do a test Wahoo wanted me to do. This one works fine with TR-just beats up my ego. At 145 FTP Zwift would be useless unless it reported a much higher FTP.

  93. Mike

    Correct Ray. Kinetic Road Machine with VP of 185 FTP. I realize VP can be very inaccurate but repeatable. However I’ve ridden 30 years most of the time using HR as a measure of effort. Long ago when the earth was flat I raced cat 3. Based upon who I can or can’t ride with a 185-190 FTP “feels” about right. I’ve ridden next to a friend 10 lbs heavier than me at 200 watts on his power meter. Not easy but not near death.

  94. 1) minor question but what size 11 speed cassette comes with the kickr? Can’t find that info anywhere or how they know to send you a 10 vs. 11 speed cassette? Even when I put one in my “shopping cart” they didn’t give that info or ask.

    2) Am probably going to buy the kickr vs. the others. Feel like I got burned going joule gps instead of garmin a few years ago and it was like I bought betamax instead of vhs in terms of support and interacting with others. All other things being equal-ish b/n this and the Hammer will go with the one that seems to have won the race to be the most used/supported.

    • Heith Masters

      Mike- i know this sounds weird but are you testing ftp in erg mode? erg mode takes a little adaptation from progressive trainers or slope/simulation mode. Alot of people struggle in erg mode at first. Try testing with a 1.5% slope in a big gear so you don’t have to deal with the micro bursts erg mode causes and a big gear to increase road feel. I bet your numbers improve.
      Darren-11/26T sram 1130 cassette.

    • RE: Cassettes

      I believe the default these days is 11-speed for Wahoo (default shipping), unless stated otherwise.

    • Mike

      Thanks Keith. Trainer Road automatically changes from ERG to resistance during the ftp test. So I will have to blame wimpyness and old age :-) but there is a thread on this issue on slowtwitch.com under Accuracy of New Flickr.

    • Thanks! Just wondering what size 11 speed cassette too. Would be nice to be able to choose (e.g., instead of standard 11-25, would run 11-28 like on my current outdoors bike, especially given steep (!) slopes on Watopia).

  95. Mike

    :-(

    Corrections-“Keith” and “Kickr” not “Fickr”

  96. Colleen Montoya

    I have the “old” Kickr, purchased it in November 2015. Is the “more accurate power readings” in the new Kickr, along with more smooth transitions between rapid low and high power efforts (I’m assuming when using Erg mode) worth an upgrade to the new Kickr? The noise level in the older model doesn’t bother me or others in our household, so I’m good there. I’m just curious whether the more accurate power and the smooth wattage transitions are worth the investment in a new Kicr. ?

  97. John Watson

    Apparently the max resistance of the KICKR is 999w not 2000w. It can read that amount from the built in power meter but can only apply 999w to the brake. I just checked this with wahoo support. Sucks that I had to spend $1200 only to find out I can’t do short intervals above 999watts.

    • Hi John,

      I’m not sure who you spoke with at Wahoo but that is incorrect. The KICKR brake can generate a constant torque regardless of speed. The actual power it generates is limited only by how fast it can be driven at max brake and in reality is well above our marketing claims and what any human can do.

      Thanks,
      Chip from Wahoo

    • Hi John,

      Caught up with Kyle in our office that you talked to. To clarify, our App only allows you to set ERG mode up to 999 Watts. That was a conscious choice just because we didn’t think anybody would ever want to set ERG mode that high and space in that screen was at a premium. It can be set higher, but not currently by our app. If you want to do intervals above 999 Watts I suggest level mode pretty high like 6 then just give it everything you’ve got.

      thanks,
      Chip

    • eric

      Hi Chip,

      What is the max torque? Could I use it to simulate climbing on a singlespeed?

      Eric

  98. Colleen Montoya

    Hi Chip, any chance you can respond to my comment regarding improved responsiveness and accuracy of power–new Kickr versus old Kickr, and whether the improvements are significant enough to entail purchasing the latest model? I’ve had my Kickr just a little over a year and am a bit bummed that the power accuracy in the model I have supposedly has flaws. Also, I’m curious about the responsiveness in big wattage jumps and the comparison between the two models. thanks.

    • Heith Masters

      Reply # 182(first new Kickr) & 184(old Kickr) should help.. #237 is our second new Kickr. Still have the original and on carpet or rug, its really quiet.

      Honestly if you have a good old Kickr and your bikes derailleur doesn’t hit the belt guard you shouldn’t need to upgrade. I don’t think it’s anymore or less accurate than the new one and once you are up and riding, you can’t tell which one your on..

  99. Colleen Montoya

    Very helpful, Heith! Thank you!

  100. Manuel

    I purchased a Kickr2 from a good shop in London (UK), brought it back as it makde a very loud high pitch sound, which changes depending on frequency – kind of rattling/grinding, hard to describe. It’s like the Kickr1 but way louder. Checked with the shop 3 other units and they all had the same issue. The demo unit (in the shop) didn’t have this problem. Now waiting for the UK distributor to take a look.

    Could be a bad batch? Any other cases?

  101. Redvision

    I’m having huge issues with a brand new wahoo kickr 2. Constant signal drops in both ant+ and Bluetooth when using bkool, zwift, trainrroad and even the wahoo app.
    Have tried wahoo support, followed all their advice including using only Bluetooth, only ant+, trying different devices (ipad, Pc, Android) but it none made a difference. Even tried using the kickr in the garage away from any wireless signal. Fed all this back to wahoo and today instead of offering more support they closed my ticket!

    Had enough now. Returning it for a refund.

    • Jon

      That doesn’t sound good. I’ve had a Kickr 2 since September and the only issue I had was when trying to use it via Bluetooth with the Zwift Mobile link because my 2011 MacBook Pro didn’t have BT4. It would have trouble connecting in the first place and I’d have to restart the iPhone to get it to connect. Also at that time there were some issues with the resistance dropping down to nothing. Zwift support were fairly useless. Wahoo support suggested switching to Ant+ because they had seen lots of customers having issues with Bluetooth and Zwift. Zwift finally acknowledged that the MacOS Sierra upgrade has caused them to experience Bluetooth issues – but it took several support requests for them to acknowledge it. In contrast, wahoos suggestion to use ant+ with Zwift worked perfectly and I didn’t look back. I’m now using Zwift with my iPad using Bluetooth and having no problems at all.

      If you have tried multiple devices, different software, Bluetooth and ant+ then surely your Kickr2 must be faulty and wahoo should replace it.

      I’ve used wahoo for over 4 years and their support has always been excellent. In fact I got a kickr rather than a neo because I heart bad things about tacx support.

      I would give wahoo another try – explain everything you had tried and ask for a replacement under warranty.

  102. Rick Kenney

    I know you can recreate prior rides using the Tacx Neo (a friend in Switzerland does this all the time). Can you do the same with the new Kickr?

  103. Jay Baker

    Any news on this supposed firmware update for the new kickr? I have the new one which i really like but was expecting there to be an update to show actual power rather than the brake power. Its far to clean power graph to be actual power.
    After DCR discussed this with wahoo i thought it was going to be sorted?

    • It’s been in beta for a while. If you ring up Wahoo support, I believe they’ll give beta access.

    • This update went public the other day (Jan 24th 2017 iirc) allows switching off power smoothing in ERG mode. Tested on a Kickr2, and it’s a beautiful thing. :)

    • Mike George

      Hi there, Loving the news about this… I would like to think im that smooth but i know im not… quick question.. can this only be turned on using the wahoo app?

      Just wondering whether i could put this into use on trainer road

    • Sonny

      The power smoothing is turned on and off in the wahoo app and the setting “may” be stored in the Kickr itself. At least that was my experience using the Sufferfest app.

      I used the Sufferfest iOS app this morning for the first time after updating the Kickr firmware and had turned off power smoothing using the wahoo app after I updated the Kickr. The Sufferfest app showed actual power so the setting may be stored in the Kickr itself and when using other apps like Trainerroad, will also show actual power.

  104. Filippo

    Hi,

    First, your website is truly great. A lot of useful information presented in a organized way. Thank you very much.

    Second, I have been trying to buy the new kickr on CleverTraining using your coupon code but it doesn’t work. It says that the item is not valid with coupon codes. Oddly enough, the coupon code would be working if I were to buy the elite or the tacx neo.

    Am I missing something?

    Thanks,

    Filippo

    • David Chrisman

      Hi Filippo,

      Some manufacturers don’t allow the discount which includes Wahoo–so to get Ray’s discount–you join the Clever Training VIP programs ($5 I think) and then you will get the coupon discount in the form of points that can be used/applied on anything else at Clever Training.

    • Filippo

      Thank you,

      Filippo

  105. Nico

    I am very interested in the Kickr2 and it’s a plus that it comes with a cassette, but I’m confused with the cassette size as indicated at Clever Training: “Drivetrain: 11 Speed Shimano/SRAM (compatible with 8, 9 and 10)”

    My bicycle uses SRAM 10-speed setup, and I’m hoping to have the shifting just as smooth on the trainer as with my wheel, so I’m trying to figure out if the compatibility noted above with the included cassette does match this, or if seeking out a separate SRAM 10-speed cassette would make more sense? In doing some quick searches, it’s difficulty to discern the compatibility or necessary adjustments to mix this 10-speed and 11-speed setup.

    Any insight?

    • West

      I had to put on a 10 speed. The included 11 speed did not work with my set up.

    • Nico

      Thanks for the input.

      I need to look up more the differences/similarities between Shimano and SRAM; for example, I’m curious if I purchase a SRAM 10-speed cassette if it would then be as simple as swapping out the existing 11-speed one that comes with the trainer.

    • West

      Either brand of cassette should work. However, when switching from an 11 speed to a 10 speed, you will need a spacer to make up for the missing space. I went to my local bike show and they did everything to make it work. Enjoy!

    • Nico

      Thanks for the comments, West. Do you know what kind of spacer (what size?)? Curious if I can purchase one ahead of time. Was the spacer put on inside the largest or outside the smallest cog?

      My LBS doesn’t sell Wahoo’s line of product, so I’m hesitant to request their assistance when not shopping with them.

    • valleycycle

      The spacer is 1.85mm wide. The 11 speed Kickr should include it in a bag. Otherwise, most shops should have extra spacers since they are generic to fit cassettes on 11 speed freehub bodies. You need it for both Shimano and SRAM. For Shimano, unless it is Tiagra 10 speed, you also need to install the 1mm spacer that is included with the cassette.

  106. Mike George

    Hi Ray, love your site… my go to for information . A quick question i was hoping you could help me out with

    Whats your opinion on training using erg mode (currently use trainer road) In big ring or small ring?

    i use a new kickr

    The high inertia Low inertia option

    Big ring = High inertia
    Low ring = Low inertia.

    I must say in the small ring it feels a lot more difficult (shown by the increased heart rate) and simulates more of a hill climb compared to the more inertia assisted big ring ( bit more like a flat road)

    At same wattage its very different feel, and harder in the small ring,, was wondering if you have any opinions on this?

    Also! 15 minutes in… worth a spindown on the new kickr before the warm up ends?

    Regards

    Mike

  107. Brian

    I ended up buying the new Kickr after reading this review, specifically the power accuracy details. The unit I received isn’t anywhere NEAR yours. At 200 watts in ERG mode my Stages power meter reads 25 watts higher, well outside of Wahoo’s 2% claim even if you assume the Stages is off as well. I contacted Wahoo support and they gave me a line about how every power meter is different. “There will be some discrepancy in power readings between the KICKR and third-party power meters. There are a lot of factors that go into that, such as where the power reading comes from, but it is completely normal.” Completely normal? Pretty unacceptable a the price point.

    I answered all of their initial questions and they havent gotten back to me. I tried calling for help today and their support line rings to voicemail.

    • valleycycle

      25W at 200W is 12.5% which is a big difference. I use a Stages and do not have such a big difference, although it also depends on my power output. At lower power levels such as 150W my power meter usually reads higher, and at higher power levels (like 330W), the Kickr usually reads higher. I’m not sure if that is due to my left leg doing more or less compared to my right leg at different power levels, but at those ends it can vary from 5-20W average difference for an interval. The average power difference for the entire ride is usually fairly close, like 3W unless I need to redo a spindown.

      Make sure you do an advanced spindown in the Wahoo App since that can make a big difference in the power accuracy. For me, it seems that I get the best results when doing an advanced spindown starting when the trainer is cold, and a standard spindown when the trainer is completely warmed up (I usually do it after a 1.5 hour ERG session at 170W). I rarely redo the advanced spindown, and I occasionally redo a regular spindown.

      Either way, the trainer will never perfectly match the power meter. The best thing to do is use software that does power matching such as PerfPro Studio or TrainerRoad. It is good that you have a Stages power meter, so just use that as the reference instead of the Kickr, especially if that is the same bicycle you use outdoors.

    • Keith M.

      I had a previous generation Kickr that I exchanged for the current generation one. Still having same issues with power accuracy. At lower wattages my P2M and Kickr are within a few watts. But as the watts increase the difference increases. As a result I have to use powermatch with TrainerRoad which works fairly well for long intervals but for shorter stuff I am almost always over the target initially and then under for the rest of the interval which is annoying.

    • Brian

      Stages in Orange, Kickr ERG mode in Blue

    • Yeah, that’s pretty far off. What calibration steps have you done on both units?

      As noted of course, using a Stages power meter for comparisons though is especially tough.

    • Brian

      I calibrate the stages before each ride either on my Garmin (in the case of the data shown above) or the stages app on my iphone. For the Kickr I do a spin down after a 10 min warm up.

      I have heard some mention an advanced spin down but I don’t see the option.

      Very disappointed thus far with Wahoo support. Going on 48 hours without a response and when I called yesterday it went to voicemail.

    • valleycycle

      Brian,
      Your issue most likely is that you need to do an advanced spindown. I think you need to do it with the Apple version of the Wahoo Fitness App since Android may not have that option. Don’t expect an exact match with your power meter afterwards, but it should be much closer than it currently is.

      For the Apple version of the app, if you do not see advanced spindown after selecting spindown, tap the comment text five times and you will see the advanced spindown option.

    • Brian

      Part of the response I received from Wahoo:

      The Stages at the crank arm and the KICKR at the rear axle -so the Stages will report higher power numbers because it’s reporting at the crank set at your foot and the KICKR takes it at the rear axle which will be lower due to heat loss in the drive train.

      If this was the case everyone would be reporting issues.

      Very disappointed with my support experience with Wahoo.

    • That answer is absolutely 100% correct though in terms of how it works. What was the remainder of the response you received?

      Have you done the advanced spindown noted above?

    • thatmdee

      I’ve never been able to work out the Wahoo software and spindowns..

      On one hand, the Wahoo Fitness app (android) never seems to complete a spindown.. It just gets stuck on ‘coasting down’. The spindown in the Wahoo Utility actually does complete, though.. (i’m assuming one of these applications is old/deprecated)

      In Wahoo Fitness, I’m unable to get any advanced spindown option to show. It shows in Wahoo Utility, but only references the Kickr Snap..

    • Heith

      Can I just say in theory, yes, but the wrong theory.
      The measure of power and down-stream accuracy theory came from the thought of measuring horsepower with car motors. They measure HP from one of 2 spots. 1.@ the crank(always higher) and 2. @ tires (always lower). With a car this is true for the reasons stated above. But with a bicycle, it’s not, for this reason. You can only apply as much force as the force pushing back(resistance). In other words you can only apply force to resistance. So if you put down a huge amount of force with zero resistance, you really didn’t apply any force and the strain gauges will let you know.

      With a bicycle, if the force is measured upstream or down stream the losses will be equalized with resistance(upstream) or the force(down stream). If you remove all the drive train(like measuring a engine from the crank), then yes the statement above is correct. But the drive train is not removed therefor any losses would be accounted for on the resistance side and vice versa.

      Newton’s 3rd law: for every action there is a equal and opposite reaction.

    • Science would disagree with you. It’s well tested, proven, and demonstrated over and over again that a drivetrain loses efficiency between the foot and the road. It’s not just some theory, it’s reality. That reality is enumerated as lower power values the further you get from the foot.

      Starting point for your journey: link to cyclingpowerlab.com

    • Heith

      Yes I agree. 100% that the force at the foot would be higher than the force to the ground after all the losses from the drive train and tire and wheel flex. But the strain gauges are between all that loss and all that force.
      I really do agree with all the losses in drive train and power at the ground versus power at the foot. All I’m stating is the fact that all those losses are being measured with strain gauges. And on one side, you have resistance, and on the other, you have force. You simply cannot apply more force than resistance. In other words, once you add all that heat and drive-train loss, total power is reduce at both ends. Even if you think Force from the foot isn’t reduced the resistance is. I’m not saying you aren’t going to use more energy or your body isn’t working harder. I’m just saying by using strain gauges the power should be equalized force/resistance.
      I swear I’m not trolling on purpose. I’ll look deeper into this and figure out why Newton’s 3rd law does not apply. Maybe it’s his first law and the minor accelerations of the human body not being efficient. But on a machine at a steady state the 3rd Law should apply.

    • Brian

      DC,

      I have done advanced spindown but the brake factor never changed.

      When i got the Kickr out of the box the belt was tightened to 33 seconds brake factor was 0.94, power was off by 20 watts or so

      Wahoo asked me to tighten the belt to 15-22 seconds. I tightened to 22. Did an advanced spindown and brake factor was still 0.94. Power discrepancy did not improve, Kickr got considerably louder

      A week later and Support said they couldn’t “see” that i had done the advanced spindown on their end. By this time the belt had loosened to 25 seconds. I tightened to 19 seconds. Completed an advanced spindown and brake factor was 0.93. Again, power discrepancy did not improve, Kickr got considerably louder.

      Wahoo has been very slow to answer. Usually 4 days after i respond. And their support phone number goes straight to voice mail. I asked for a replacement and they said i haven’t demonstrated that there is anything wrong with the unit I have.

      Unless they can help me troubleshoot it will be going back before the 30 day return period. Great ride quality, horrible accuracy and customer service. I have gotten more help on this forum than from Wahoo.

    • Heith

      So I had time to look at the link on power losses and yes we can all agree there are power losses. What the link doesn’t address is are those power losses measured at the SRM. I say they are. Because the SRM is between the losses and the Force.
      Simple experiment: link to youtube.com
      Think of it like this, if you have a 500w motor and 250 watts of resistance you only have 250 watts measurable. What we are talking about; are these losses being measured given the placement of the strain gauges? I’m saying the loss between the chainring(Bike) and the cassette(kickr) is in fact being measured. If the energy is lost between the force and the resistance then it is also lost between the resistance and the force.
      I believe that the losses take place but given where the power meters are located I believe they should measure the loss.
      Examples
      1. Sprint on a MTB with wide open suspension vs. a road bike. You might hit 1,500 watts on the road bike and only 800 watts on the MTB, why? Did you sprint less hard? No, the losses showed up on the power meter.
      2. Do the same experiment on the trainer. Bet you can’t hit 1,500 watts on the trainer and no it’s not because you aren’t getting full motion. That may be part of it, but it’s because those losses or lack of resistance is being measured.
      3. When you get out of the saddle on your MTB and your rear tire slip, you still expend a large amount of energy as you foot slams forward but the power meter looks at it as if you did very little as the resistance has gone. The energy was used but because the resistance was not, the power meter could not measure.
      So, I’d return the device not measuring accurately.

      My point is, there is no reason you should have a 20-30 watt discrepancy between a chain-ring and cassette at a constant state and the power meter companies know this. They know that those power losses are calculated with there tools because they are between those losses. The customer service guys might not know this but the physics guys do.

    • Heith

      I would like to apologize about the wrong statements I made below or above. I went through the entire drive-train and found differences with the stages vs. other power meters. It does matter where the PM is placed. I had a lot of help getting me through my stubborn thought process but in the end I can confirm that there is a difference, not much but a difference. Please take any comments I made previously and disregard them as they are not accurate. Again I apologize for the wrong statements and I hope it doesn’t or didn’t effect anyone’s customer service relationship. Sincerely sorry

    • No worries!

      I see there’s now one heck of a Wattage forum thread. :)

    • Heith

      Yes, a few people showed a tremendous amount of patience for the Internet. In the end I think it was a net plus. As I had to get off my butt to learn, they had to figure out a way to teach the unwilling. I also think it might have needed it a little. Not 5 pages, but, you know.

  108. Cristi

    Just wondering if anyone has an idea of what values should we expect from performing a spindown calibration. My unit gave me 30 seconds at 30 degrees. Does that sound ok ?

    • Brian

      Per my recent support discussion with Wahoo it should be 15-22 seconds. My came from the factory at 33-35 seconds and I have been having really large power accuracy issues versus by power meter. They instructed me to tightened the belt to 15-22 seconds but I haven’t had any increase in accuracy. Only a large increase in noise.

      I hope you have better luck with Wahoo Support than I’ve had.

  109. Mindy Kaufman

    I am debating between buying the SNap or the Kickr 2. My only concern- Does the SNAP feel natural, or does the KICKr 2 have a superior ride feel?

  110. Joe

    I’ve had enough with broken Tacx fluxes– it’s kickr 2 time! Anyone know of current discounts for USA buyers?

    • You likely won’t find much in the way of Wahoo flat-rate discounts, as the company doesn’t permit it these days.

      However, you can use the DCR Clever Training VIP program and get back 10% in points that way (that you can spend immediately). Plus, it supports the site. :) link to dcrainmaker.com

  111. David

    Hi Ray. I have a combo Kickr2, Garmin, DC Analyzer question. I have a new Kickr 2 and have been controlling it in ERG mode from the Wahoo app and recording the output on both the app and my Edge 520. The Edge is showing multiple power drop outs at irregular intervals, but always for three seconds each. The power doesn’t actually seem to drop, but the value is recorded as a zero. Any idea what may be causing this? I thought I saw a slowtwitch post by you that indicated this may be a long-standing issue.

    I then used the DC Analyzer to confirm that the power in the Wahoo app remains steady, which it does, and to easily see the Edge drop-outs. I uploaded two sets of data, and in both cases the power comparison data showed a time offset, but the HR and Cadence data did not. Additionally, this offset started at about the five minute mark in one file and around 20 minutes in the other. I can correct it for the sections I was examining, but then all of the other data is offset. Any thoughts here?

    Links to the two files:
    link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

    Appreciate the help, and really enjoy your work.

    • RE: Edge drops

      This looks like classic interference, likely WiFi interference, but hard to tell. The other classic case is when a Garmin unit drops all sensors due to Bluetooth overloading, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here – since you didn’t drop on cadence or HR. Which leads me to believe simple interference on the Wahoo side only. There’s no rhythem or rhyme when it comes to one ANT device dropping vs another. I can have 6-10 ANT+ devices online at once on a trainer ride, and one will drop for a few seconds but none other will, and than 28 minutes later, a totally different one drops.

      RE: Offsets

      What’s actually interesting here is that it shows the offset splitting in the file for power, but not for cadence or HR data (which remains matched). Did you pause at all by chance?

      Depending on the answer to that, I can follow-up and see if there’s some quirk we’re not accounting for. Typically for me I never hit pause in comparison sets to avoid issues like the above.

      Oh – and finally – thanks for trying out the Analyzer and dropping a note!

    • David

      Thank-you for the response Ray. I have verified that I did NOT pause either of the workouts that show the power time offset.