• REI

Wahoo KICKR 2018 Trainer In-Depth Review


Heads up! Wahoo has released  2020 V5 Kickr – jump to that in-depth review of the latest/current Wahoo KICKR here for the most recent trainer!

Like clockwork, Wahoo announced a new KICKR trainer at Eurobike this year – the KICKR 2018. Following an Apple-like release model, Wahoo has refreshed their high-end KICKR trainer each year, usually adding minor tweaks along the way that in culmination end up being fairly important if one skips a few years.  And in some ways, this year’s change was probably the biggest yet: They made it silent.

Really, it’s actually silent.

Oh, and it’s got a significantly bigger flywheel for more inertia.

And that would probably be the headliner for any review except one minor complication: They also announced a new trainer – the KICKR CORE.  And guess what?  That trainer is silent too, costs $300 less, and has almost every feature the higher end model has.  None of which takes away from this review of the KICKR 2018 unit – but it’s something that you should absolutely be aware of when making a purchasing decision.  While I’ve ridden and tested the KICKR CORE (in this post), I don’t have a review published for it.  That’ll happen in the coming weeks, assuming FedEx doesn’t lose any boxes this weekend.  All of which I discuss in my summary section of this post.

In the meantime, this review is all about the full-blown KICKR – for those that want the very best Wahoo has to offer.  Note that Wahoo sent over a loaner unit to try, which will get boxed up and shipped back after this and the CORE review.  If you found this post useful, feel free to hit up the links at the bottom to help support the site.

With that – let’s dive into it!

What’s in the box:


Out of all the trainers I unbox each year, I enjoy unboxing the KICKR the most.


Well, not because I have some quirky like for the blue chevrons or the crazy dense packing foam.  Nope, it’s because it takes me the least amount of time to get it up and working.

The Wahoo trainer is the only direct drive trainer that comes with a cassette installed.  For some reason the other companies think we enjoy purchasing and installing a cassette separately.  Not only that, Wahoo is one of the few companies that keeps the entire trainer as one pre-installed piece.  So I don’t need to do an arts and crafts project to get it working.

(Manly men call that using tools, I call that a pain in the ass sitting on a dirty garage floor wrestling with a 50-pound hunk of metal with spinning parts)

So this is what you get when you turn that Wahoo box upside-down and remove the box contents:


Inside is the KICKR itself, alongside it is a small bag of extra parts as well as a power cable.  I don’t have any photos of it, because I did a video unboxing of it. At least until the point that one of my cameras stopped recording about 80% of the way through.


The power cable is the same power cable as Wahoo has always used, which is dual voltage (110-220v), so you can take it anywhere without issue.


I do recommend cutting a Wahoo logo out of the manual and sticking it on the power block so you don’t mix up which is which. The Wahoo cord has no Wahoo logo on it otherwise.


Alongside the manual you’ll find the included Wahoo RPM cadence sensor.  This works inside and out to give you cadence from the KICKR.  Most other companies transmit cadence from the trainer itself, but the Wahoo units don’t do that – so they include a sensor as well.


Additionally, you’ll find axle adapters in the back, to be used for threading thru which axle type you have (quick release or thru-axle).

Finally, there’s the trainer itself:


As you can see, the cassette is already installed.  An 11-speed cassette by default, but you can swap it out to whatever you need if required for other speeds.  The freehub supports 9/10/11 speed cassettes, though only SRAM/Shimano. Like the 2017 KICKR, it does not support Campagnolo cassettes natively, but for those running 11-speed, it’s not really an issue as it’s compatible with mixed components (as this article dives into extreme detail on). [Update – Sept 2019: Wahoo now has a Campagnolo adapter available!]

With that, let’s dig into the details.

The Basics:


With the KICKR all laid out on the training mat there’s actually one thing you’ll need to do – which is to ‘raise your seat post’. Actually, it’s not technically the seat post, but rather the post under the main portion of the trainer.  This matches up to your specific bike size, so unless you’re riding the same small circus bike that my wife is riding, you’ll unlock the gigantic screw and lift it up.


While you’re at it, if you didn’t already – you’ll want to spread apart the two trainer legs.  This keeps you from tipping over. Riding with them together would be a poor (but relatively short-lived) experience.

DSC_7365 DSC_7361

Speaking of to-do’s, you’ll want to insert the small skewer attachment in the sides of the unit. You’ll find these in that small baggy, and there are different ones for regular quick-release skewers versus thru-axles.  The KICKR 2018 supports 130/135mm QR, 12×142, and 12×148.


Next, like most other trainers you’ll need to plug the KICKR into an electrical outlet in order for it to provide any meaningful amount of resistance.  Otherwise, it’s like a limp biscuit and doesn’t give too much resistance or broadcast any power (or allow control).  For those wanting to do car-side intervals at a race, you can pick up a car outlet adapter online and it’ll work fine, as it doesn’t draw much power.


The cable is a two-part design that allows it to break-off in the event you trip over it.  Handy for the days you will undoubtedly trip over it.  It also bends at the point going into the KICKR, again, handy for when you inevitably do trip over it.

The KICKR has two status lights on it – below the handle in the back.  A red one for ANT+ connections/control, and a blue one for Bluetooth Smart connections/control.


The resistance control on the KICKR works in a few different ways, as well as by different applications/methods.  But most of this all boils down to two most common core methods:

ERG Mode: Setting a specific power level – i.e. 225w.  In this mode, no matter what gearing you use, the trainer will simply stay at 225w (or whatever you set it to).
Simulation Mode: Simulating a specific outdoor grade – i.e. 5% incline.  In this mode, it’s just like outdoors in that you can change your gearing to make it easier or harder.  Wattage is not hard-set, only incline levels.

In the case of simulation (aka slope) mode, the KICKR 2018 can simulate from 0% to 20% incline, which is pretty high, though not as high as Elite’s Drivo II at 24%.  But realistically, if you’ve ever tried riding up 24% inclines on a road bike, you’d probably fall over.

The key thing I look for in trainers is when it comes to either resistance controllable mode is how quickly it responds.  The KICKR has a long history of responding very quickly, but it’s still something I dig into within the power accuracy section.  You don’t want a trainer that takes forever to simulate a quick change in incline, or is laggy when doing intervals.

Meanwhile, as for the second mode (ERG mode), that’s when the KICKR can be specified to hold a given wattage (i.e. 300w)  In that case the company claims up to 2,200w of resistance.  They don’t specify what speed though, but it’s likely 40KPH or higher.  Realistically though, you don’t care about that. I can only barely break 1,000w for a second or two, and even the strongest of cyclists out there can’t come anywhere near these numbers, let alone at these speeds.  Said differently: The peak resistance numbers on trainers like the Elite Drivo 1/2, Wahoo KICKR, CycleOps Hammer, and Tacx Neo are really all for show. Nobody’s touching them, and it just doesn’t matter practically.

What does matter though is whether there’s a delay or not in changes to resistance, and with the KICKR 2018, I test that in my 30×30 test down below in the power accuracy section. So check that out.


Note: If doing similar tests on your own, be sure that in the default Wahoo Fitness app you deselect the ERG mode smoothing option.  This option will artificially smooth your power data to make it look pretty (it’ll look crazy perfect), but doesn’t actually match what the KICKR is doing from a power measurement standpoint.

2018-07-20 18.02.01 2018-07-20 18.02.11

So what about road-like feel?  Does the bigger fly-wheel make a difference?


Sure, I’m sure it does – but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference, even riding them side by side.  The thing is that the original KICKR’s flywheel seemed to please most people anyway.  And while the new one might be better (I can’t seem to tell the difference in my workouts), it’s definitely not at the legendary (and now defunct) LeMond Revolution Pro trainer level. But of course that trainer was as loud as a jet engine and wasn’t resistance controllable. So comparing apples to cucumbers here.

As I’ve long said – for me personally, it’s hard to separate the fact that I’m riding indoors from outdoors. It’s still a trainer, and I’m still looking at a wall in front of me.  My brain can only turn that off so much.  Overall I think the unit’s got a pretty good road-like feel.  I’m not sure if it’s the absolute best out there (trying to compare them all over time is near impossible), but it’s pretty solid.

Finally – to briefly cover calibration – the KICKR should have a roll-down calibration done.  Wahoo says it’s more like every once a while versus every time, but the key things would be when you move it around or change temperatures or do anything substantial to it.  If it’s sitting in your living room at a stable temp, you can do roll-down calibrations far less often.

The process is quick and simple though.  Simply hit the calibration command on your favorite app – and then speed up to about 22MPH, after which you’ll stop pedaling and let it coast down.  It times how long it takes to determine the calibration factor, and automatically applies it.

2018-07-20 18.02.44 2018-07-20 18.02.54 2018-07-20 18.03.00

Don’t worry though – I’ll talk all about power accuracy in later sections.

App Compatibility:


The Wahoo KICKR set the standard on trainer + app integration years ago when it was first introduced, and to this day that’s still mostly the case.  Virtually every app out there is compatible with the Wahoo KICKR series, even Wahoo’s own competitors like Tacx/Elite/BKool that make apps are also compatible with the KICKR series.

That said, the Wahoo KICKR actually isn’t the most ‘universally compatible’ trainer these days.  That’s because Wahoo has yet to implement the industry standard Bluetooth Smart FTMS trainer control protocol.  But in some ways, that’s more of a technicality than anything, because as I noted – every app already supports Wahoo’s own trainer control standard over Bluetooth Smart anyway.  So from an end user standpoint it has no meaningful impact to you.

The KICKR 2018 transmits data on both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, as well allowing interactive resistance control across both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  By applying resistance control apps can simulate climbs as well as set specific wattage targets.

In any case, the Wahoo KICKR 2018 supports the following protocol transmission standards:

ANT+ FE-C Control: This is for controlling the trainer via ANT+ from apps and head units. Read tons about it here.
ANT+ Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard ANT+ power meter, with speed baked in as well.
ANT+ Legacy Wahoo Trainer Control: Some older apps might still use this to control the Wahoo KICKR, it’s what Wahoo first started out on, but today most apps would use the FE-C variant.
Bluetooth Smart Wahoo Trainer Control: This is Wahoo’s private method of controlling trainers
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard BLE power meter with speed as well.

It DOES NOT however, support these protocols (which trainers from Tacx and Elite do support):

ANT+ Speed/Cadence Profile: This broadcasts your speed and cadence as a standard ANT+ Speed/Cadence combo sensor.  Wahoo doesn’t do this for any trainers.
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Profile: This broadcasts your speed and cadence as a standard BLE combo Speed/Cadence sensor.  Wahoo doesn’t do this for any trainers.
Bluetooth Smart FTMS: This follows the industry standard Bluetooth Smart FTMS control, which is basically the Bluetooth variant of ANT+ FE-C for controlling trainers.  Wahoo doesn’t do this yet.

So basically, the only meaningful takeaway of the above is that you don’t get cadence data from the trainer itself.

However, as you may remember from the unboxing section – the KICKR 2018 comes with the Wahoo RPM cadence sensor for your crank arm.  So in that sense you’ll get both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart cadence data (assuming you install said sensor).  Or if you’ve already got a power meter or cadence sensor on there, you can keep that as well.

Finally, It’s these same standards that also allow you to connect via head units too. For example the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT as well as Garmin Edge series support ANT+ FE-C for trainer control, so you can re-ride outdoor rides straight from your bike head unit to your trainer.


In the case of the KICKR 2018, these easily pair up that way.  You can also use it for recording data as well too.  For example, for my accuracy testing section, I recorded the data on a Garmin Edge 520 and a Wahoo BOLT.  From there I’m able to save the file and upload it to whatever platform I like.

For me, in my testing, I used Zwift and TrainerRoad as my two main apps (which are the two main apps I use personally).  In the case of Zwift, I used it in regular riding mode and workout mode, whereas in the case of TrainerRoad I used it in a structured workout mode.  I dig into the nuances of these both within the power accuracy section.

But ultimately, the Wahoo KICKR series is the most widely supported trainer out there from an application standpoint. I’m aware of no trainer apps (out of the 20 or so that I track), that don’t support the KICKR.  Everyone does, and usually across both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart variants.

The Sound (or lack thereof):


Let’s just get this out of the way nice and quick, like pulling off a band-aid: The KICKR 2018 makes no sound.

I’ve seen lots of funny comments around this topic, almost doubting it, but really, it’s silent.  The only thing you’re going to hear is your drivetrain, and at super-high volumes a very faint whirring sound of the flywheel spinning.

The design of the Wahoo KICKR 2018 has been changed from previous years to remove the sound (obviously).  The first portion of that was changing the belt type (again), to entirely eliminate the sound.  But with the belt-type change was also a mechanical change to accommodate the new belt type.  Meaning you can’t just swap these new belt’s on old KICKR’s because the grooves are different, and it’d be like trying to run a train on the wrong gauge of track (i.e. freight train versus inner-city subway).

This same change was also implemented on the new KICKR CORE as well.  And thus, that too is also silent.  Again, I want to reiterate this point because I’ve seen some confusion on it: The sound/volume levels are identical on both the KICKR 2018 and the KICKR CORE (also introduced the same day – July 8th, 2018).

Really, they’re identical.

What’s not identical of course between those two trainers is the flywheel weight and the frame that holds up the trainer.  But neither of those impact volume and both of those are things for a later section of this post.

Just to illustrate this point I included a sound section in my YouTube video about the KICKR 2018.  But, I also recorded this separate snippet as well so you can hear it nice and close with just a phone:

Now – there is one slight downside to the new KICKR 2018 and sound (as you might have heard if you listened above), and that’s what happens if you stop pedaling.  With the new KICKR 2018 the flywheel is metal, which doesn’t mean a whole lot per se, except that the metal reflects the noise of the freehub slightly more. So as you stop pedaling you hear the freehub sound as you normally would, but that noise appears to reflect a bit louder off of the metal exterior of the flywheel than it did in previous models. Still, it’s barely noticeable.


In the grand scheme of things, this is hardly a big issue – you have a freehub on all quiet direct drive trainers as well – like the Tacx Neo too.  It’s just the way the sound bounces is slightly more here.  Speaking of which, here’s a complete comparison video I put together between the KICKR 2018, KICKR CORE, and Tacx Neo:

Of course, the answer to this one is simple, Finding Nemo like: Just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling.

Power Accuracy Analysis:


As usual, I put the trainer up against a number of power meters to see how well it handled everything from resistance control accuracy, to speed of change, to any other weird quirks along the way.

In my case I used two different bike setups, one half of my time on one, another half of my time on the other:

Canyon Bike Setup #1: PowerTap P1 (Dual), WatTeam G3 (Dual)
Canyon Bike Setup #2: Stages LR (Dual), SRM Exakt (Dual)

This is all in addition to the trainer itself.  Note that because you remove the rear wheel I can’t use something like a PowerTap hub to compare as well (which I would use in power meter testing normally).

In my case, I was looking to see how it reacted in two core apps: Zwift and TrainerRoad.  The actual apps don’t much matter (at all), but rather the use cases are different.  In Zwift you get variability by having the road incline change and by being able to instantly sprint.  This reaction time and accuracy are both tested here.  Whereas in TrainerRoad I’m looking at its ability to hold a specific wattage very precisely, and to then change wattages instantly in a repeatable way.  There’s no better test of that than 30×30 repeats (30-seconds at a high resistance, followed by 30-seconds at an easy resistance).

There’s two ways to look at this.  First is how quickly it responds to the commands of the application.  So for that we need to actually look at the overlay from TrainerRoad showing when it sent the command followed by when the KICKR achieved that level:


So let’s zoom in one one of the intervals, showing the ramp in power from approximately 140w to 428w.  As you can see below, the timer shows 4:02, meaning 4 minutes and 2 seconds, that specific interval started at 4:00.  Thus, it took two seconds to ramp between those two.


That’s right about perfect. As is often the case, I slightly overcommitted in the first two seconds, going to 472w before the KICKR wrangled me back into the 420’s.  That’s totally normal for most trainers as there’s usually a surge and slight cadence shift.  Also, you don’t really want 0-seconds either, as that’s like hitting a brick wall.

Then there’s the accuracy piece here – was the KICKR accurate during this?  For that I’d compare it to another two power meters, though I can only find one file at the moment – the WatTeam Gen3 prototype.


In this case things look very close, with the WatTeam tracking about 12-18w higher at ~430w.  That’s right about normal for two power meters at totally different parts of the drive-train. Perhaps the WatTeam is a tiny bit higher, or the KICKR a couple watts low.  We won’t know for this specific one with only two power meters.  But that’s why I have other rides anyways with more power meters.  Either way, throughout this you don’t see any bizarre spikes or drops, especially during the shifts of power.

Next, let’s switch to a Zwift ride – this one actually just from yesterday.  In this case I’ve got the KICKR 2018 data alongside the Stages LR (dual-sided) and SRM Exakt (dual-sided).  I must first congratulate the SRM pedals for flippin’ finally being at least in the ballpark of the others for once.  Gotta start sometime I suppose.


Now obviously at a high level these are all very close.  We see a little bit of lower-separation from the SRM pedals, which appears to be an issue with the left-side pedal specifically (potentially still installation, calibration, or just life status – unsure).  But the Stages LR and KICKR track really nicely.

If we look at some closer sections – for example these surges here (all this data I show smoothed at 3-seconds), you’ll notice that mostly the KICKR is below the Stages from a power standpoint, which is where it should be.  However, you do see in some of the peaks of these sprints that the KICKR very slightly overcommits on the power.  This is a semi-common problem on some trainers when you quickly pull back the power after peaking.  It’s barely noticeable, but it’s there for those that want to nitpick.


You can see it again during this sprint – just barely reaching over the top of the others, when it should be at least equal or below the other two:


But to be clear – we aren’t talking much.  If you look here it’s only about 13w on 720w, which is well within the margin of error for these devices collectively, especially once considering different placements on the bike/drivetrain.


Finally, let’s look at another Zwift ride – just for the heck of it.  In this case it’s compared against the PowerTap P1 pedals (dual), and the WatTeam Gen3 (dual as well).  As you can see at the high level – overall pretty clean.


If we look at the sprints on some of these, you’ll see the KICKR is reading barely high at the peaks as well – matching the WatTeam.  But again, the difference to the PowerTap P1 is only a mere 14w on 660w – so pretty small and also within the margin of error.


One thing I do appreciate and want to point out is that it doesn’t overcommit drastically when I pull back the power.  That’s a more common issue where some trainers can’t seem to control their flywheel when you do this and it overshoots your power (I’ve seen the KICKR SNAP do this in the past for example), but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

Finally, in the event you want to look at any more data, here’s one more ride you can crack open and look at. It’s a bit messy because Zwift crashed half-way-through and thus Zwift loses data/control until I restarted the app and split it across two rides.  But, if you do check it out you’ll notice the power values match the other power meters – so that’s what counts.

Ultimately, I’m not seeing any issues here.  I know certain folks will harken back to the days of the original KICKR, which had issues with its power meters (primarily getting dorked up during shipping, as explained a few years back here).  But this is a 4th generation KICKR, far removed from those days – and these days I simply haven’t heard of people having any meaningful Wahoo KICKR accuracy issues in the last 2-3 years since they made that shift.

For fun, I mostly treated this KICKR like crap – to see if perhaps shipping-type things would occur again.  Specifically, I dragged it to Eurobike.  It sat un-tethered in the ‘trunk’ of the RV as we drove across and around Europe, bonking around about 2,000KM of driving, being whacked against things and constantly dragged out/moved around.  I did rides after that (as seen by yesterday’s ride), and all seems well.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Trainer Comparisons:


I’ve added the Wahoo KICKR 2018 into the product comparison database.  This allows you to compare it against other trainers I’ve reviewed.  For the purposes of this table I’ve compared it against the Elite Drivo II, CycleOps Hammer, Tacx Neo and the KICKR CORE.

I know that’s a lot for one table, but it’s kinda the important blend. One one hand you have the higher end units (Drivo II/Hammer/Neo), but the KICKR CORE is essentially just a KICKR 2017 that’s quiet.  So if you had done this two weeks earlier, you’d have compared that as a trainer that cost $300 more.

Function/FeatureWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated July 16th, 2024 @ 1:55 pm New Window
Price for trainer$1,198$499$1,199USD$1,199$1,369
Trainer TypeDirect Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)
Available today (for sale)YesYesYesYesYes
Availability regionsGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobal
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWirelessWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYesYesYesYes for broadcast, no for general useNo
Flywheel weight16lbs/7.25kgs12.0lbs/5.44kgs20lb/9kg13.2lbs/6kgSIMULATED/VIRTUAL 125KG
Includes cassetteYes (11 Speed SRAM/Shimano)NoNoNoNo
ResistanceWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)NoNoNoNoYes
Maximum wattage capability2,200w @ 40KPH1800w2,000w2,296w @ 40KPH / 3,600w @ 60KPH2,200w @ 40KPH
Maximum simulated hill incline20%16%20%24%25%
FeaturesWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerNoNoNo9EUR one-time feeNo
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)NoNoNoNoWith accessory
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoNoNoNoYes
MotionWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Whole-bike physical gradient simulationWith KICKR CLIMB accessoryWith KICKR CLIMB accessoryNoNo
Can slide forward/back with movementWith Tacx NEO Motion Plate (Accessory)
Can rock/tilt side to side (significantly)NoNoNoNo
AccuracyWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Includes temperature compensationYesYesYesN/AN/A
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)YesYesYesYesN/A
Supported accuracy level+/- 2%+/- 2%+/- 3%+/- 0.5%+/- 1%
Trainer ControlWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YEsYEsYesYesYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart FTMS (Trainer Control Standard)No, but supports most appsYEsYesYesYes
WiFi or EthernetNoNo
Data BroadcastWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Transmits power via ANT+YesYesYesYesYes
Transmits power via Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYesYes
Supports Multiple Concurrent Bluetooth connectionsYes, 3 ConcurrentYes, 3 ConcurrentNo, just oneNo, just oneNo, just one
Transmits cadence dataYesYesYesYes
Bridging or re-transmissionNoNo
PurchaseWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Competitive CyclistLink
DCRainmakerWahoo KICKR V4/2018Wahoo Fitness KICKR CORECycleOps HammerElite Drivo IITacx NEO Smart
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Again, you can mix and match the products in the comparison database as you see fit here.



So here’s the thing – the Wahoo KICKR is the best trainer Wahoo’s ever made. It’s quiet, works with every app out there, is easy to use, and doesn’t require an arts and crafts project to get it up and running.  It’s spot-on accurate, reacts quickly, and the flywheel is the best Wahoo has ever offered.  All of that is great, Wahoo has no reason to be ashamed of it.

Except one minor problem: KICKR CORE

It’s the younger sibling that realistically most people will want instead. It’s $300 cheaper and is still just as silent. It’s got the same flywheel from last year (which is the same from every previous year) and all the electronic functions that the KICKR 2018 has.  The only hardware difference aside from flywheel is that the legs are static, versus going up and down.  That’s it.  If you had told anyone before July 8th (when the KICKR 2018 was announced) that they could save $300 to not make the legs go up and down and get a silent trainer – everyone would have taken you up on it.

Now it’s easy to say Wahoo shot themselves in the foot here – but that’d be missing actual reality: They had no choice. Both Tacx and Elite were already eating Wahoo’s lunch with their $899 Direto and Flux units over the last two years.  Except neither of those units was as good as a KICKR, and neither was totally silent.  So Wahoo basically just one-upped both of them with the CORE.

But again, this isn’t about the CORE, it’s about the KICKR 2018.

The only downside here is that I think Wahoo isn’t super competitive when compared against the Tacx Neo from a features standpoint – such as being able to operate without any power or being able to simulate things like cobblestones.  Of course, generally the Neo costs more so that’s probably OK – but for those countries where it’s a wash, I’d likely go Neo.  Also note that everyone has varying opinions on which has better road-like feel, Neo or KICKR. That’s as political as it gets. I’m good with both.  Of course, if you want to use the KICKR CLIMB, then you’ll need a Wahoo trainer.

In any case – hopefully this helps you to decide.  If not – drop a comment down in the comments section and I’ll do my best on helping you flip that virtual coin.  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.

If you're shopping for the Wahoo KICKR V4/2018 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you shop with TPC (The Pro's Closet), you'll save $40 on purchases over $200 with coupon code DCRAIN40! The Pro's Closet has been a long-time partner of the site here - including sponsoring videos like my cargo bike race, as well as just being an awesome Colorado-based company full of good humans. Check them out with the links below and the DCRAIN40 coupon!

Since the Wahoo KICKR V4/2018 is no longer sold, I recommend looking at Wahoo KICKR V5/2020:

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

I've also put together a quick list of some of my favorite or most compatible accessories for this unit:

The original trainer desk. They're awesome for stacking (more)

The original trainer desk. They're awesome for stacking up nutrition, phones, and extra things you need for that short or long trainer ride. It can hold a tablet up on edge too.

The KICKR CLIMB simulates a climb by raising (more)

The KICKR CLIMB simulates a climb by raising and lowering the front of your bike, recreating climbs up to +20% and -10%.

The headwind fan is one of those fans (more)

The headwind fan is one of those fans that's probably overpriced, but it's also just a really darn good fan. I know of nobody (including myself) that's bought one that's unhappy with it. Super strong and you can turn it on from your phone if you forget.

And finally, here’s a handy list of trainer accessories that most folks getting a smart trainer for the first time might not have already:

There's no better bang for your buck in getting Zwift (or FulGaz/etc) on your big screen TV than Apple TV - it's the primary way I Zwift.

Basic Trainer Mat

This is a super basic trainer mat, which is exactly what you'll see me use. All it does is stop sweat for getting places it shouldn't (it also helps with vibrations too).

I use Apple TV for Zwift the vast majority of the time, but also just for watching YouTube/Netflix/etc on the trainer. The Apple TV remote sucks though. This $8 case fixes that, it's a silicone strap that makes it easy to grab, but also has a strap to easily place on the edge of your handlebars. Boom! Note: Not compatible with 2021 Apple TV Edition.

Front Wheel Riser Block

Here's the thing, some people like front wheel blocks, some don't. I'm one of the ones that do. I like my front wheel to stay put and not aimlessly wiggle around. For $8, this solves that problem. Note some trainers do come with them. Also note, I use a riser block with *every* trainer.

Honeywell HT-900 Fan

I've got three of these $12 fans floating around the DCR Cave, and I frequently use them on rides. They work just fine. Sure, they're not as powerful as a Wahoo Headwind, but I could literally buy 20 of them for the same price.

This desk is both a knock-off of the original KICKR Desk, but yet also better than it. First, it's got wheel locks (so the darn thing stays put), and second, it has two water bottle holders (also useful for putting other things like remotes). I've been using it as my main trainer desk for a long time now and love it. Cheaper is better apparently. Note: Branding varies by country, exact same desk.

This is by far the best value in trainer desks, at only $59, but with most of the features of the higher end features. It's got multi-tier tablet slots, water bottle holders, non-stick surface, adjustable height and more. I'm loving it!

Lasko High Velocity Pro-Performance Fan (U15617)

One of the most popular trainer fans out there, rivaling the Wahoo Headwind fan in strength but at a fraction of the price. It doesn't have smartphone/ANT+/Bluetooth integration, but it does have secondary outlets. I've been using it, and a similiar European version lately with great success (exact EU variant I use is automatically linked at left).

I've had this for years, and use it in places where I don't have a big screen or desk, but just an iPad or tablet on my road bike bars.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

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  1. BikePower

    I’m replacing a CompuTrainer and the one thing I always disliked about that trainer is the need to ride for 10 minutes and do a spin-down before each ride. It sounds like you still need to do that every so often with the KICKR, but the NEO does not require periodic calibration. Is that right?

    Also the NEO is bit more accurate with regards to power, allows the bike to move laterally a bit, simulates road vibration and has downhill wheel assist.

    Leaving price out of the picture (they are fairly close in price now anyway), and assuming you don’t need something like the CLIMB, is the NEO the way to go? Thanks!

    • Correct, you should do it every so often – though, in fairness to even that statement with the KICKR, I didn’t re calibrate the unit between the Alps/trip and getting back home – and it stayed spot-on.

      Road-feel wise it’s purely a religious type debate. I’ve heard both sides of it.

      So yup, really comes down to whether you want CLIMB or not (or other nuances like riding it without it being plugged in).

  2. Richard Kaufmann

    So if I want a great trainer setup, and don’t like wasting money for no benefit, do I go Neo or Core + Climb? Seems odd, but you’ve convinced me there’s no significant difference between the 2018 and the Core. And I’m willing to dish out for the Climb, but only if its more than a gimmick.

    • BikePower

      Personally, on longer trainer rides it sometimes gets uncomfortable with the bike always in the same position. If the bike position changes (with the CLIMB) then it could make those rides less uncomfortable because your weight would be distributed a bit differently on the bike as the angle changes. Don’t know for sure because I haven’t tried the CLIMB, but it’s a factor that might swing me to a Wahoo trainer.

    • Michael Coyne

      That actually is the first thing that GPLama observed (not expecting it) when he tried out the CLIMB for the first time.

      Also as somebody who has trained on a long, flat (albeit windy) sandbar for a long time only to suddenly move to a very hilly area and back – it absolutely makes a difference whether you’re using the right muscles/motions. I used to pick windy days and bike into the wind as a substitute, and it definitely isn’t. To me, regular trainers’ way of increasing resistance definitely feels more like increasing the wind. It’s not bad, but it’s just not the same…

    • Richard S Kaufmann

      So I pulled a Crazy Ivan and went with a Stac Zero Halcyon. Ray’s video and Stac’s replies to the thread sealed the deal.

  3. MartinR

    Thank you, Ray! Can all these trainers (Kickr18/Core/Neo/Drivo2/etc.) handle very low speeds at high gradients? Like you would normally experience on a MTB bike riding steep trails.

  4. FJ

    Yup, given the above, I totally agree. Between the Neo and the Kickr, price differencial is a factor depending on where you are. Here in Switzerland, the Neo can be had cheaper than the Kickr for example (and cheaper than the Drivo too) for around $1200. So:

    If you want the Kickr climb, don’t care about terrain simulation, want something that is easier to move/carry around, get the Kickr

    If you want terrain simulation, want slightly better power accuracy with no need to calibrate, and don’t intend to move the trainer too much, go for Neo

    Personally I was waiting for Eurobike before making my choice. Just received a Neo yesterday since I’m definitely in the second bucket above

    • MartinR

      Agreed! However, the NEO should be made portable because it doesn’t require power and thus is ideal for warm-ups.

  5. Gabor Jordan

    Thank You for the review, and do not misunderstand me, do not want to criticize and it is a very minor thing, but in general, I do not recommend to put a logo on the PSU that way. It has to dissipate heat, that loose paper is good insulation.

  6. Jeff Y

    So the last purchase I made based on DCR’s recommendations was the Watteam Powerbeat G2. That has been an absolute disaster with 5 sensors and 3 pods and now they want me to send them my crank for a “Professional” installation….or…. give me 20% off the G3. But this isn’t about the Powerbeat. Everyone would love the best, but why pay $300 extra. As a triathlete, I can’t reach 2000w let alone 1000 (although the G2 says I can do 4600+w) and all I need is an accurate simulator to keep me in shape during the off-season and train on those rainy days. Gonna be the Core for me.

    • Chris McReynolds

      The trainer’s frame is more versatile on the “Smart” versus the “Core.” If you have an ordinary road bike with 700c caliper brakes and a level floor to operate on you don’t need to pay for the upgrades. If you have disk brakes and or different sized wheels you’re adapting to – and/or you run around setting it up before events on the road and don’t want to fuss as much with getting it level – you might want to pay for the upgrades. It’s not just the bundled cassette.

  7. David

    Great review as always. Two questions:

    1) Have we reached peak trainer? That is, it sure seems like all of the major manufacturers have mastered building a quiet high end trainer with about as good accuracy as you can hope for or need. Is the future all about the doodads and features that they can add on (like the Climb or road feel enhancements or, I suppose, VR features at some point)?

    2) Is there any difference between how the Kickr and Core interface with the Climb? Can’t see why there would be, but this might be an important consideration for some. And are we getting a full Climb review anytime soon?


    • 1) Yup, I agree, it’s going to be harder and harder to make unique trainers. It’s going to be all about ‘extra’ type features like you noted.

      2) No difference to my knowledge with respect to CLIMB. CLIMB review in the next week or so.

    • David

      Cool. Thanks. Please feel free to tell us that we simply *must* have the Climb. I just can’t otherwise justify upgrading from my perfectly good first gen Kickr. Or is a rusty skewer on my four-year old Kickr a good enough excuse to upgrade the whole thing? ;)

  8. Charles Morgan

    Another difference with the Core version (from what I’ve read elsewhere):
    The Core version doesn’t include a cassette and also doesn’t include a cadence sensor.

    • Robert

      Just checked on this and you are correct. You need to buy the cadence sensor for the Core, which is $40. The issue for me on this is I will use more than one bike on the trainer which means I need to buy two sensors. How can critical information such as cadence be an option on a high-end trainer? Especially when they include it on the other versions. Wahoo can’t afford to include this feature? Probably only costs them $5…Wahoo if you are reading this, this is the kind of BS that will stop me from buying your products. Stop going Apple on us and include the sensor on the Core unit.

  9. Ken N.

    I currently use the Tacx Neo but used to use the original Kickr. For me, the most important unique feature that the Tacx has is the ability for the bike to tilt left and right which is absent from the Kickr. On a sprint in Zwift, there is a lot of lateral torque as I am pushing down on one pedal while bulling up on the other pedal and handle bar. The ability of the bike to lean left and right both makes the sprint feel much more natural, but most importantly to me, it limits the lateral stress on the rear fork. Bike frames are not designed to have the kind of lateral stress applied to the rear fork that one can generate in a sprint with the rear axle locked in place. When I used the Kickr, I used my old backup aluminum frame bike for fear of damaging my good bike. With the Tacx, I use my carbon road bike without worrying. Of course, with the Kickr Core $700 less than the Tacx Neo, if I were buying a new trainer today, it would be hard to justify the extra cost even though I love the Neo and think it is clearly the best trainer if money is no concern.

    • Dan

      Having broken a specialized aluminum frame on a powertap, (top tube to seat tube cracked in front of weld) I looked into stresses a little bit and carbon out lifecycles aluminum by quite a bit. However, of course as always, do what you feel is best for you.

    • Jon

      Get the best of both worlds with the ‘built-like-a-brick-$hit-house’ KICKR and put it on a home-built (or soon to hit the markets) Rocker Plate!! I couldn’t be happier with my setup done this way! (BTW, thanks for the great review as always Ray, I’ve sold my 2016 KICKR and have on order this 2018!!)

    • Ken N.

      Dan, its not that I thought the aluminum bike would handle the stress better, it was that if my 20 year old aluminum bike died, I wouldn’t care. In fact, it would give me an excuse to get a better backup bike. :)

  10. Ivan

    Ray, could you please tell me, do you know if new Kickr 2018, or even better, is Kickr Core compatible with long cage derailleurs? It would be a nice setup for my M5 recumbent, which has 11-36 cassette.


    • Stuart

      I run a medium cage derailleur (Shimano R8050) on my road bike, which is fine on the original Kickr. Given that the Kickr is basically designed to be the equivalent of a rear wheel for a bicycle, I can’t see there being any issues with running a long cage derailleur on it, although this is NOT definitive advice. Worst case might be that you need to lift the Kickr Core up a little bit to give enough clearance, but I’d be surprised. (Again: this is NOT advice based upon anything more than what I’d expect to be the case. I have not seen either of these devices in person, let alone seen them with a long cage derailleur in action.)

    • Ivan

      Thanks Stuart, i’ll try getting definite confirmation from Wahoo, although after i sent this first question, i saw that Ray wrote that the new Tacx Flux now supports long cage derraileurs, but..if Wahoo Core will be more sillent, i’ll try my luck with that one.

    • The thing with both the CORE and the KICKR is that there’s simply nothing for the derailleur to run into – since it’s air below it till you hit the ground. Thus unless your derailleur hits the ground on your bike, you’re good here.

      Whereas with both the FLUX and the NEO, the frame of the trainer tapered down towards the ground away from the trainer body.

    • Ivan

      In that case, great :-) thanks!

  11. Luke

    Hi, I am new to zwift and have set it up an an Apple TV 4 with an elite turbomuin with a misuro Bluetooth sensor. Given that Apple can only support 2 blue tooth sensors would I be better off upgrading to a neo over a kickr due to the seperate cadence sensor on the kickr? Thanks

  12. Vince

    I replaced the original kickr with the NEO last spring. I like the kickr app better but the NEO base eliminates the floor vibration the kickr had, which was an issue for me because my trainer set up is on the third floor. How does the new kickr 2018 vibration control compare to the NEO?

    • Steven Tran

      I’m interested in this two. I had the original Kickr as well and it vibrated like heck, but I lived on the ground floor. When I moved up to the next floor, I sold it and got a Neo, but there is still some vibration. BikeRumor had a comment today about the Kickr “[not] vibrat[ing] the whole house.” Is that true? Unfortunately, these things matter when living in old apartments with hardwood floors.

    • I haven’t heard of anything from Wahoo on that front.

  13. Moritz Haager

    So this sounds super fantastic but so did the review for the original gen1 kicker which I bought based on that review. That unit has been a disappointment to me coming nowhere close to the stated accuracy despite multiple emails to wahoo, buying the calibration kit etc. Contacting Wahoo multiple times they never resolved this problem and never offered to replace the unit or the strain gauge. I eventually just have up. Probably should have just returned it but I never did. I had bought it with the intent of putting a dedicated trainer bike in it but I have had to run a powermeter equipped bike on it for accurate workouts which defeated the purpose. It’s a nice feeling trainer but really I could have spent a lot less on a dumb trainer to use it in the way I do now for a similar experience. And the so called upgrade I to get power from the brake rather than the strain gauge really did nothing to alleviate this. Call me jaded but this experience has left me feeling rather cool towards Wahoo trainers, and smart trainers in general, especially given how expensive these units are.

    • Markus

      You describe exactly my experience with the gen 1 and Wahoo’s customer service. And my sentiment with regards to Wahoo because of this.

      Furthermore, I often wonder if these media samples get special treatement (e.g. testin) before being sent out to the reviewers. Or perhaps reviewers simply do not have the time to log enough time with these devices in order to discover all the glitches.

    • RE: Reviewers getting special units

      The vast majority of the time, reviewers actually get crappier units than consumers. In fact, this KICKR is a perfect example of that. From my understanding all the units that went to reviewers came from the first production run (straight from factory to PR agency and then straight to media). Except, during said production run they forgot to grease the freehub. So reviewers had to do that.

      In fact if I look at all trainers that I’ve reviewed, almost every case had initial units being considerably rougher than what consumers got – often just due to software.

      RE: Duration

      Not really an issue there. I used my first KICKR (that I bought as well) for a few years, never developed any issues. Lots of people have older KICKR’s without issues too.

      RE: Gen1 KICKR Accuracy

      I’m surprised the update didn’t fix it for you – it seemed to fix it for most people.

      RE: Customer service

      I do agree that years ago Wahoo’s customer service left a lot to be desired. But these days that doesn’t seem to be the case. I think they got the message there.

    • Gerald Brown

      Thats very much my experience also (with a Kickr 1) . Accuracy too low to be used, no real help from Wahoo and had to buy a power meter for my “trainer bike”. Accuracy now a bit better with updated firmware but not accurate enough to be usefull.

    • Robert Libralon

      Me too!, wahoo gen 1.0 was/is absolutely useless without the use of an external power meter. Very disappointing. Unfortunately, I don’t trust the wahoo 2018 version too.
      I wish the reviews of smart bike trainers would concentrates more on finding power drift problems.
      I suspect we have different versions 1s to DCRainmaker

    • Stephen

      I have a gen1. I put in a heap if effort trying to make sense of its quirks as a powermeter, and finally gave up and bought a crank based powermeter.
      Amogst other things, I found that the strain gauge worked much better than the ‘brake’ model (which produced crazy-high power readings – maybe because I did the advanced spindown on a hot day – and drifted badly over long rides).
      Wahoo were helpful at first and then just stopped responding – I assume the found my queries ‘difficult’ and decided not to entertain it any further. It left me feeling small and ‘an irritation’ and in my mind’s eye I see the workers in the wahoo customer support room saying ‘not that guy again’ and the supervisor saying ‘just stop responding’. It’s a shame, because I would have accepted them saying something like ‘it’s as good as it’s ever going to get’ or ‘it’s an old model and we dont want to devote resources to fixing it’, which I think was actually the case. Before that, they were very responsive and helpful.
      Despite my aggrievement, I just bought a 2018 model, because the quiet operation and bigger flywheel were compelling. But I probably wont ask them to troubleshoot accuracy again.

    • Barry D

      Your experience with the gen1 sounds very similar to my experience right now with the 2017 model. It is really frustrating because my gen1 worked really well and upgraded to the 2017 for the CLIMB. I also bought a ELEMNT BOLT before the 2017 model which I really can’t use paired to my Kickr now if I want good data because it preferentially uses power readings from my Kickr.

      I have been getting help from TrainerRoad and they noticed that my offset just drifted way off during my rides when these issues arise. When a major drift happens it is often preceded by a big drop in power, but not complete loss of resistance. I also find that at best the Kickr is about 10% higher in readings than my Vector2 pedals before it drifts at all.

      Been trying to get help from Wahoo now and I got one reply in a week after initial e-mail basically asking a series of questions I had already answered in my first e-mail. Admittedly, I didn’t summarize well, but since my reply clearing things up I have heard nothing. Pretty concerned I will have this problem last and there is a glaring difference in customer support between Wahoo and TrainerRoad (often get a reply the next day or same day).

    • Ruthless Cur

      I have to echo these responses too. I have a kickr from late 2015 that I’ve tolerated for inflated power readings (+25%) for 3 years. I did eventually give up on correcting this after Wahoo support had no real solution. I just contacted support for the “advanced spin down” solution, but not holding my breath. I want to sell my old kickr but won’t get a decent resale return if the power readings are off. My past experience with wahoo’s inability to own up to their short comings has prevented me from pulling the trigger on the 2018 model.

    • Jack M

      I bought one Kickr 4 and returned it. A second replacement unit had the same issue as the first one and I will also return it. There seemed to be some sort of mechanical issue inside the flywheel or belt system. It really kicked in on Zwift for steep gradients and watts above 200 w. Feeling was if something was creating more resistance for a split second, and then released. This lead to a periodic “beating” noise, and a very unsmooth riding feeling. Vibration throughout pedals to the whole bike. Definitely not what I expected, esp since both units had the same issue. I tried different bikes, different settings on the trainer app – the issue remained and really seems like a mechanical error. I will now go with the neo…

    • Hi Jack M,

      Please be aware that the mechanical issue you experienced was limited to a very small percentage of units and has since been corrected. We sincerely apologize for your experience. If you contact Wahoo support at the following link and reference this post, we will do our best to make it right.

      link to wahoofitness.com

      Sorry again, and thanks for your feedback, Jack.

    • Harald H

      Hi Wahoo Customer Champs,
      I trusted you on the small percentage of units concerned and the fact you stated the problem was fixed. Bought a kickr 2018 on Nov 9. The first ride was OK, on the second appeared a rubbing sound on a climb and since the third its knocking while pedaling. While freewheeling it makes me think of an easter rattle.
      I think, that was it as for my experience with Wahoo trainers. In addition, my Blue SC got stuck during firmware update.

    • nunya

      2019, I have had 2 trainers, both problematic. Rest assured, the problem is not addressed. It’s too late for me to return the trainer for a refund now. Talk about buyer’s remorse.

    • Kevin K

      This post was in Nov18 yet there are still posts on the Wahoo Facebook group being posted today Sept19 with these issues..

      This is where I am at….
      I would like to upgrade my original KICKR that I have had since launch after a sucessful Kickstarter campaign in 2013. I was really disappointed when the CLIMB was announced and that it would only be compatible with the KICKR18.
      I have always been a advocate of Wahoo and all their products of which I have had many, their customer support has been second to none in the few occassions that I have needed them.

      My quandary is after all the issues the KICKR18 has had I no longer have any confidence in a new KICKR but I wish I still did.
      I have 2 friends who i recommended a KICKR to and both have had and having issues with the unbalanced flywheel and the clanking sounds.
      I held out buying last year in the hope a KICKR19 would be announced and have waited until Eurobike finished but alas no new model. Even an announcement of a KICKR18.1 would have been enough for me had it been sold on a promise that a new serial number would assure me that the 2 issues with the 18 model were fixed.

      Now I dont know what to do! My original KICKR is still ticking along nicely so an upgrade has to be more than another smart trainer of any brand i.e. a CLIMB or I may as well stay with what I have.
      I would buy the KICKR BIke in a heartbeat but

      1. Its not available until after winter
      2. Who knows what issues it may have also…

      I am so disappointed that the 18 model has had this affect on my opinion of Wahoo and who knows how it has affected there place in the market.

      I do not want to find myself sending back unit after unit due to issues and wishing I’d listened to myself. But I really want to enhance my indoor experience beyond what I have now.

    • Hi Kevin-

      Sorry, to clarify – do you actually have a trainer/CLIMB (broken or unbroken)?

      I guess to me this is a good example of a bit of the internet echo chamber. It doesn’t sound like you have a unit, let alone a broken one.

      I don’t doubt there are still the occasional Wahoo unit that breaks (most likely from people way back when), but I don’t think it’s really an issue for new purchasers anymore. Comments around issues have entirely dried up compared to the mess that was last fall.


  14. Thanks for the great review! My 2018 Kickr comes on Monday. I’m currently using a Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart, and I think this is going to be one heck of an upgrade from that – no more dialing in resistance on my back tire! I’m also planning to purchase the Climb later this year – maybe Christmas!

    I enjoy your articles and YouTube videos – very well done!

    Ride on! John

  15. martha long

    What do y think is the best ant for these trainers w apple computer?

  16. Bob

    Heya DCR,

    The comparison table has the Kickr Core listed at 18% “MAXIMUM SIMULATED HILL INCLINE”. That should be 16%, no?

  17. Chris

    For me the important advantage the Neo has is that there is no need to calibrate it. It saves time and hassle: you can track your metrics during warm up….

  18. Husain

    Can you replace the free hub body with the new Shimano Micro Spline down the road?
    Thanks for the review.

  19. H M

    the reason that other companies don’t install the cassette is that is more of a PITA to remove the 11sp cassette to then install your 9/10sp one, than just leaving it off ( two tools not one etc). than just to leave the 11sp one off …

  20. From a system point of view Wahoo has done a really cool job.

    Wahoo KICKR 2018 (or KICKR CORE) combined with the Wahoo CLIMB, Wahoo KICKR DESK, Wahoo Headwind Fan. Tacx doesn’t have a desk, fan nor a climb-simulating device.

    I’m a Tacx Neo fanboy but the Wahoo system-as-a-whole is really really good. :)

    • Ian S

      I like Wahoo the company, and its good for us all that they continue to innovate, but I’d love to get sales numbers on desk and fan….you’ve got to be deep in the wahoo kool aid to pay those premiums for a table and fan.

      Kickr looks good but at the same price point of the Neo most people would still go Neo. Proven to have a highly accurate PM, more features (road feel, etc, etc) and works without power (though the use case is probably limited here). Core against flux is a different story though, I’d go Wahoo at that price point.

    • I suspect the fan will be low*, but the desk sales numbers sound more impressive than you’d expect.

    • MartinR

      Having seen the knock off desk, I’d expect the sales to plummet (if not corrected for the price or sued for counterfeiting) ;)

    • Yeah. Ironically, the knock-off desk fixes the one main issue I had with it: Wheels that didn’t lock.

      That said, I see two sides of the coin:

      A) I’m opposed to blatant knock-offs like this. The styling and such were 100% identical. It’s as knock-off as you can get.
      B) On the flip-side, Wahoo hasn’t innovated on the desk. Simply things like water bottle holders and USB/power ports are what people want and would pay for. Why can’t these be added?

      Just my two cents.

    • Eli

      The wheels make the bar along the bottom pretty high so if you accidentally step on them the desk can tip pretty far. The easy fix is to bend some cans to duct tape to the bottom corners so it can’t go as far if stepped on.

      I would have gotten the wahoo but way to expensive and wahoo limits them going on sale (the 20% off a full price item from REI) I expect the wahoo to cost more and be of better quality but why spend over twice as much?

      Baskets on the side near the bottom for the large power supplies of the kickr and climb would be nice. Those things are big and heavy so good for giving the desk extra stability plus moving off the floor of the basement in case of a few inches of water from a bad rain storm would be nice. And a basket for a surge strip

    • Andrew

      Can anyone point me to knock off kickr desks? The ones I’ve found are out of stock/unavailable. Prefer not to pay kickr prices for the desk. Thanks!!

    • The main one is this one: link to amzn.to

      But it looks to be out of stock for a bit. :-/

    • Andrew

      Thanks Ray! I placed an order, hopefully it ships. Talk about capitalizing on cyclists, pretty crazy how much these tables are. I’ll asmit pretty blantant copy :P

      Btw I ended up upgrading in the 2017 kickr for the 2018 mainly for the silence. With baby on the way and I think this will pay for itself ;) thanks again for your insight and love the write ups you and your wife publish!

  21. Nikolay

    Hi. Im using the gen1 Kickr, combining it with Power2Max powermeter. Im using Trainerroad exclusively. I dont feel that noise is any problem for me from the trainer now. As i understand that i dont have any accuracy issues as im using external powermeter or am i missing anything?
    Do you think its worth upgrading from the gen1 Kickr to the 2018 unit in terms of quality of workouts?

  22. Juan Becerra

    Hi Ray! Great review, as always! I still have the 2016 Kickr, and I also have a problem with my downstairs neighbors (As I live in a pre-war apartment in Manhattan) who complain not about the noise, but the vibrations I generate when I go over 200+ watts.
    I was able to make it better by using PeaceMaker anti-vibration panels but looks like I still wake them up when I jump on the trainer at 6am.

    Have you ever measured vibration as well? If so, how is this version compares to older models?


    • Mattv

      Yeah, the vibration from trainers is really the big issue in apartments, not sound. When I lived in an apartment, I always felt super nervous about disturbing the other tenants. Until you been underneath someone using a trainer, it’s hard to be sympathetic, but it is annoying. I suspect if the flywheel has even the smallest amount of eccentricity, it will be annoying at speed.

    • I haven’t measured vibrations. Though, I would assume doing so would have to somehow take into account the surface/flooring/beam design that said trainer is on. Some surfaces and structures would resonate more than others.

    • Juan

      Thanks a lot, Ray!

      Yeah, it’s that old, wooden, box-like flooring from old apartments in NYC. Not much I can do about that part, except putting anti-vibration materials as I did.
      I will give the new Kickr a try and see if there’s a difference, so I can make the investment.

      Thanks again!

  23. Juan

    Yeah… I am trying to do something about it. That’s why I was wondering if this new version had somehow improved that part.
    Anyway, I called my LBS, they will get me a unit to test before I buy it. We’ll see.

    • Mattv

      Juan – I think you have a new career as a trainer- apartment- vibration blogger. Of course, you may need to hire a lawyer, but a small price to pay for advancing the canon of knowledge on bike trainers. Clearly, not enough has been written on this subject.

    • Juan

      Hahahaha Yeah, I would definitely consider that! At this point the whole co-op board is involved, I hired a sound technician to measure the dB noise levels generated at her place and since the result came out negative, we just jumped into the legal arena. I hired a Lawyer who’s also a cyclist, but since we are both homeowners, this might take a while.

      I would consider ending this conflict by buying a trainer that generates fewer vibrations. I already experimented with 5 different noise and vibration isolation materials. I am an expert! LOL

    • Mattv

      Whoa, you are in deep! I’m going to be reading the Post looking for your story

      Have you gone down and listen to it when someone else was riding? I’d be curious to know how objectionable it is. I have a full rocker board suspended by wagon inner tubes. I bet that would isolate it.

    • Stefan

      Any updates on this? Recently moved to a different apartment and my wheel on trainer is too “vibrant” for the neighbors downstairs. Have placed it on an anti vibration mat on top of a board resting on 4 tennis balls, still too loud. Looking for any kind of trainer that will let me train at home without my neighbor threatening (again) to have me thrown out of the apartment building (he owns most of the flats in the building..).

      Have heard that the Tacx Flux S is supposed to be silent too, and assuming the Kickr core might be the same as the full Kickr. Any updates on this would be greatly appreciated!

  24. ms

    An advantage of the Kickr over the Kickr Core is the adjustable height. i like to use a wheel block to keep everything nice and steady. If you raise the Kickr up to the 29″ height and use a block it levels it with a wheel block and a 700C front wheel. All the metrics are unaffected.

  25. John Kim

    Any specs on that 11 spd cassette?

    It looks like a 11-32?

  26. Chris

    Would I notice any difference in the ride feel between this and my gen 2 (non-climb) version?

    • Perhaps if you rode them back to back to back you might be able to pick-out the difference in terms of flywheel, but I suspect you wouldn’t notice it.

    • TomG

      Thanks for the write up.
      I’ve always felt that inertia is important for a road-like feel BUT that’s more through thinking about the differences between outside riding and static rather than a direct experience of multiple trainers.

      Do I take from this comment that you do not feel that the difference in feel between Kickr 2018 and Kickr Core is significant?

  27. Johannes

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for another excellent review. One question: I am a sprinter type ride and sprinting outside on the road with traffic etc. can be rather dangerous as I recently experienced. Thus, my plan is to do my sprinting workouts on a trainer. Would you recommend the Kickr for that or another trainer?

    Btw, we ran into each in Sentosa/Singapore at this kiddy water playground. Hope you had a good time with a nice ride or two :)


    • Hi Johannes!

      Good to hear from ya (and funny to run into you!)!

      I think you’re good either way. You can see Shane throwing down a 1,500w sprint on gravel in there without any issue (and somewhat purposefully hard/sloppy in terms of throwing the weight around). I suspect the KICKR might be marginally better for sprints simply due to base weight, but in my experience it’s negligible.

    • Johannes Seehusen

      Thanks very much, Ray! That helps a lot :)

  28. Eli

    Have they done anything about how the adapters stay attached to the kickr or provided a place to stick the spacer for a disc brake when the bike isn’t attached? Would be nice to take my bike off the trainer and not have to deal with making sure I don’t lose the spacer and be able to move the trainer without the adapters falling out and rolling away (getting lost in the basement is a pain)

    Seems like they haven’t since the Climb I just got has that same problem and doesn’t even come with the disc brake spacer anymore. (not a part all bike shops seem to carry so a pain to find)

  29. Fabio Pires


    The P1’s are still your main pedal power based?

    As always, thx very much.

    • No, I primarily use Vector 3 these days.

      The reason you don’t see them in this post was more of a logistical thing than anything else – I was using the WatTeam Gen3 prototype units, and we installed it with the PowerTap P1 pedals that day as I had the Vector 3 pedals on another bike. I didn’t dare want to swap pedals after that, else it would upset the apple cart from a calibration standpoint.

      Then I shifted back to my Stages LR setup, but moved onto testing the SRM Exakt units.

      Once I’m done with all that, I’ll be back to Vector 3 for me – which have been working without issue.

  30. bikeman

    any word on a price drop or sale for the 2017 KICKRs?

    • Generally not. Wahoo usually takes the approach of basically quietly going from one version to the next with little older inventory. I know this year in particular they were well over expectations in terms of sales, so I suspect they didn’t have a lot of inventory to work with.

      Sometimes in the fall they’ll sell off year prior inventory to an online retailer or two, to use as Black Friday type deals. But there’s definitely not guarantee of that.

  31. Justin

    Great write up but curious about why Kickr places a weight limit on their trainers. Are they the only ones versus their competitors that does this? Where would you stand on a smart trainer if you busted their weight limit? Or do you feel that the lawyers are “making” them set a limit? Thanks!

  32. Ian Smith

    And no word in this review that unlike Tacx Neo and Elite Drivo this Wahoo Kickr IS NOT Campagnolo compatible – you can’t use Campy cassettes on Kickr 2018 (and 2017). And Wahoo dosen’t sell Campagnolo freehub body for Kickr 2018! “In depth” review… You know, there are actually a lot of people on Campy hardware.

    • So many people that on my entire KICKR 2017 post comments section, only a single comment about it was ever made (and then one more comment of something re-confirming that same comment when the question was asked). This, a year later.

      Definitely worthy of note somewhere in the review I agree, but hardly a lot of people seem to care.

    • Also, worthwhile noting that a quick look at Campy cassette compatibility will yield that you can generally mix and match 11-speed cassettes between the three manufs without any major issues (especially for indoor). Meaning, you could use a SRAM/Shimano cassette with an otherwise campy system.

      This post details it rather nicely:
      link to cyclingtips.com

    • Ian

      Shimano and Sram cassettes don’t work with Campy properly. Don’t misinform people.

    • Read the article about the details, inform yourself on how things actually work and the nuances involved. Also, read the comments on said article about people running that configuration just fine (again, for 11-speed).

      Else, don’t buy a Wahoo if you really don’t want to. I don’t care either way.

      Seriously, you’ve come into this all angry and I’m giving you information to make an informed decision (and giving your very factual numbers on how many this apparently impacts over the last year). I don’t care what you buy – but don’t mislead others.

    • Paul G

      It bothers me that the Kickr is not properly Campagnolo compatible, major fail by Wahoo IMHO, especially for those running 10 speed Campagnolo.

  33. Nikolay

    Hi Ray.
    Im using the gen1 Kickr, combining it with Power2Max powermeter. Im using Trainerroad exclusively. I dont feel that noise is any problem for me from the trainer now.
    As i understand that i dont have any accuracy issues as im using external powermeter or am i missing anything?

    Do you think its worth upgrading from the gen1 Kickr, which i use with external powermeter to the 2018 unit in terms of quality and of workouts and precision of data?

    • If your using the power meter, you’re effectively sidestepping any accuracy issues (you can easily find out if you have accuracy issues by recording the power output from both KICKR and P2M and comparing them, there’s plenty of options free and paid to do so, the DCR Analyzer is just one option). There are inherent challenges with powermatch though, in that sometimes it’s not super stable or reactive. But if it’s working for you – then all’s good.

      Personally, I’d find something else to spend $1,100 on than a new KICKR if you’re happy with what you’ve got, especially on the noise front. Just my two cents.

  34. Neal Leddy

    Just for absolute completeness, KICKR 18 overseas orders not being shipped yet according to wahoo support

  35. Barry D

    My wife bought me the 2017 model and preordered the Climb this past Christmas. I have often not been an early adopter and this update is a big reminder why. Would love to have a more silent trainer.

    Also, I have been having random times when my Kickr 2017 just drops power in erg mode when holding a wattage using TrainerRoad and Sufferfest. TrainerRoad was helpful in trying to troubleshoot, but think I have to contact Wahoo again about it. Have you ever heard of this happening with the 2017 Ray?

    • Generally speaking, the only time I have *ever* had drops in ERG mode is when there’s a communications issue between the app and the trainer. But this applies to all trainers, and not directly the KICKR. Meaning, Tacx, Elite, Wahoo, etc…

      In most cases, it’s WiFi interference (perhaps having a WiFi access point too close), or it’s having the ANT+ stick too far away. While there’s always the slim chance that something is defective on your KICKR with the communications side, I’d focus troubleshooting on trying to minimize the distance between your ANT+ stick and the trainer itself (ideal distance = ANT+ stick under/next to it).

      Of course, if you’re on an iPad/iPhone/whatever with Bluetooth Smart, that’s harder. But by the same token I don’t tend to see as many issues there.

      Finally, when it comes to ERG mode specifically and holding wattages – the way trainer apps work is that they send the trainer a wattage at the start of a set (i.e. 350w). The trainer won’t change to another wattage until the app has given them something else. So if the trainer is holding 350w, and then randomly stops holding 350w, that sounds like the app or another device gave it a command for a new wattage level.

    • Barry D

      Thanks Ray.

      Did a lot of the troubleshooting that you listed off already on my own and talking to TrainerRoad. I am using TrainerRoad on a PC with the ANT+ stick sitting next to my Kickr using a cable to the USB port. There is very little chance of WiFi interference too as my router is far away and I have my PC connected with an Ethernet cable plugged into a TP-Link power adapter to power chances f the computer losing signal.

      I am waiting to see if the most recent firmware update fixes things for me although my lighting conditions were fine, but maybe l’ll be lucky and it’ll do the trick.

      My only other guess was the Wahoo Fitness app was causing issues somehow, so I have switched off PowerMatch, Erg smoothing and Erg speed sim. Then closed the app and restarted my iPad.

      I had been using PowerMatch for the Sufferfest so the data in Sufferfest would be pretty close to my Vector2 pedals (find the Kickr is often about 8-10% off the Vector2 pedals). Also, I hoped it could work so that I wouldn’t have to disconnect my Kickr from the Bolt to have data closer to what I’d see outside since if the Kickr and Vector2 are connected to my Bolt it uses the power data from the Kickr.

      The reason I asked was because I never, or very,very rarely, had these issues with the original Kickr in the same setup.

      Again thanks for your suggestions and time Ray.

  36. Basil leRoux

    In your Power Accuracy Analysis you say……. “I must first congratulate the SRM pedals for flippin’ finally being at least in the ballpark of the others for once”. Anthing to read into this about the SRM?

    • I think that line about covers it.

      I’m still hoping that there’s some magic trick into getting them consistently installed that doesn’t require magic fairy dust each time and waiting 2-3 weeks for them to settle.

  37. Arjun

    Do you think this is a good time to buy the Kickr SNAP 2017? It looks great and seems to suit my needs/price point, but I’m just worried that it’s been a year since released and a better model might be coming out soon. Do you see similar priced models coming out in the near future? Thank you so much!

    • There are no further Wahoo trainers expected this year. I do expect other trainers from other companies though. But I think in the $599 price point, more or less all are about the same. So I don’t expect much shift in that category.

    • Arjun

      Thank you so much! I ordered the SNAP, thank you so much for your help. I am amazed that you take the time to reply all of your comments.

    • Christian C

      How about the Tacx Neo? Is there an update coming this year or are they set with the updated freehub from a few months back?

    • MartinR

      Good question! I don’t know but I’d like to see a handle for better portability and a new case for better frame/disc brake fit + wahoo climb compatibility.

  38. Kev Turnbull

    Hi would it be possible to share the code on the belt for the kickr18.

    In your opinion would it be possible to put the new large drive wheel and sprocket / tensioner on a kickr 17?

    • Shane Miller put together a good explanation of why you wouldn’t be able to retrofit the 18 belt to a 17″

      “1) The larger drive wheel is needed to increase the surface area of the new vertical grooved belt. Or it’d likely slip at high torque.
      2) A larger drive wheel means it’ll spin the flywheel faster… so they had to increase the size of that.
      3) The internal gearing interface changes so that’s the third major component + the belt that needs changing.
      4) There would need to be a calibration/verification process on all of the above if it existed.”

      From his YouTube video in the comments: link to youtube.com

  39. Tim

    Hi Ray,

    I’m thinking about buying the kickr 2018. I’m not sure though whether I should wait until after Interbike for the rest of the industry coming up with their announcements. Do you expect more action at that top level later this year?
    Many thanks.

  40. ms

    After one week here is my take on the Kickr 18.

    1. It is quiet.

    2. As measured against a Quarq D4, it is within 2%.

    3. On a dead level floor the outer leg levelers must be extended to keep it from rocking(pivoting) over the center leg axis as the center support extends below the two outer legs. Thus, it can emulate for a rocker plate by adjusting the two outer leg levelers.

  41. Julian

    Excellent review. I am dead set on getting the Climb so now left wondering if it is worth $300 for the extra 4% incline or go with the KICKR?

  42. Philip

    Thank you, Ray!
    Great review as ever!
    Two questions from someone who currently only rides rollers indoors but is preparing to join the world of 21C indoor trainers:
    1. When the Kickr (or Core) is in simulation mode and you hit an incline on Zwift (or any other app) that exceeds the trainer’s capacity (eg a 25%+ gradient on the Innsbruck World Championship course) what does the trainer do? Does the 25%+ gradient simply feel the same as a 20% gradient would? (Or a 16% gradient in the case of the Core?) Or does the trainer have a clever way of dealing with that situation? The answer to this question could sway me towards a Neo … (which I think can handle up to 25% inclines).
    2. Which of the Kickr, Core, or Neo is the gentlest on your precious bike?
    Thank you!

  43. Hi Ray!
    Thanks for the great review!
    Do you have any where instructions on how to re ride a route from the Edge? I am particularly interested on a 70.3 route for a race I have done in the past that I will be doing again later on this year, but I could not find info on the wahoo website.

  44. Peter Beatty

    Hi, thanks for the review. In the look at the pending Flux 2 you commented on it usefully reducing the speed at which a high gradient could be maintained, effectively moving it into the realms of reality. Do you have figures for the Kickr18 and KickrCore along the same lines ? It seems to me that training indoors may as well be as close to reality as possible, though I’m not sure how much practical difference these changes make to the average amateur ?



    • I don’t have those figures yet, but Wahoo is on-board with a larger push from the trainer industry to standardize around those. We had a meeting with all the trainer companies at Eurobike about it.

  45. Robert

    Core does not include cadence sensor. You need to dish out another $40. A part that probably costs Wahoo $5 should be included on a machine that costs $900. This greedy little tactic will stop me from buying from this company. Elite Directo here I come.

  46. Sean Devlin

    In the comparison video, what is that wobble board the trainer is sat on and where can I get one?

  47. JC

    Well I sure don’t want to sound rude or ungrateful to somebody who graciously provides us all this information for free(thanks, DC!), but I’m also bummed that Wahoo leaves the Campy crowd hanging. Their CS should at least have the honesty to say they have no plans to change…I was strung along for over a year by thier refusal to tell me anything other than “we are actively working on a Campy solution…” even to point of suggesting I buy a V3….now it’s V4 and no Campy.. In the end I went with a NEO, but I would also appreciate if you did mention the Campy incompatibility on reviews, even if relegated to the fine print….I’m on a 10s so I’m doubly hosed, LOL. Thanks! ?

    • Mattv

      I second this. I was ready to hit “buy” when I realized it wasn’t Campy compatible. Although its true that you can use a Campy 11spd with an 11 speed shimano, it’s difficult to adjust and makes significant chain noise. (Campy is finicky to adjust anyway).

      A while back you could buy an (expensive) campy cassette with a shimano body from Wheels Mftg., but they no longer have it.

      What bothers me is that Wahoo doesn’t say it’s not campy compatible. Their product page should “Not Campy Compatible” , or if they do, it’s hidden somewhere…

  48. Michael

    Does it not come with a heart rate monitor strap?

    • No. I’m not aware of any trainer that comes with a HR strap these days. The only exception is sometimes Wahoo does holiday bundles of sorts with all sorts of products in there.

  49. Robert


    Can anyone tell me the difference between the Kickr 2017 vs the Kickr 2018…I saw a nice sale on the 2017 model but am willing to pay more for an upgraded 2018 version.

    Thank you

  50. I wish Kickr Core can support the gradient up to 20% which would fully utilize the function of the Kickr Climb.

    Also, Wahoo should consider a trainer for sprinters and the other one for climbers.
    I would rather pick a trainer that allows me to train for climbing 30-40% hill than sprinting for 2000W.

  51. Matt

    Ray, do you know about whether the 2018 Kickr experiences any kind of power accuracy drift at sustained higher power outputs?

    I had a Kickr Snap which I used last winter but got rid of it mainly because of the horrific power drift which made it basically unusable for power training. For example, I found that going up Alpe du Zwift at around FTP, at the start right after the spin down calibration ten minutes in, power reported seemed OK. But by the top, power was reporting low by almost 15% versus my NGEco. This was most evident on long, sustained intervals, leading me to suspect temperature compensation working, or didn’t exist.

    I wanted to know if you have experienced anything like this with the direct drive Kickr, or if, after an hour at FTP, the power accuracy remains solid. I don’t like to put my nice bike with the real power meter on the trainer (I have a fairly decent aluminum bike I use for the trainer and commuting) so I really need power accuracy to be solid with no external meter. +/- 2% is fine, as long as it is still +/-2% an hour into a hard ride.

  52. Andrew

    Bought the 2017 a few weeks before the 2018 release. I haven’t used the 2017 much since it’s been insanely hot here in SoCal. In your opinion is it worth upgrading to the 2018?

    • No.

      I mean, the only real advantage you’d get here is being silence. Which of course for some people is important, but I’d guess living in SoCal you probably have less utilization of your unit than someone in Greenland.

      Now if you offloaded your 2017 KICKR (resold it), and then picked up a CORE for probably about the same price, that might be worthy.

    • Andrew

      Thanks for the reply and input Ray!! You’re reviews and insight always appreciated!

  53. Tom F


    I’m looking for a quiet fan to complement a quiet trainer. Is there one out there that provides enough air and is noticeably more quiet than others? I use a high velocity floor fan set up right in front of the front wheel at the moment, but it’s quite loud even at its slowest setting.

  54. LookingforSmarterTrainers

    From what I can tell, the new CycleOps H2 doesn’t change too much from the original (which is the only review I can find here at the moment). So I’d lean toward the 2018 KICKR as the better option with it now being silent.

    However, I haven’t been able to find much on the H2 yet and the comments on power-drift with past KICKR models that may also apply here would have me choosing a platform like the H2 that may be noisier but consistently accurate.

    Can anyone chime in on drift with the newer model now that it’s been out a little while or any experience with an H2?

  55. Ulli

    Thank you for all your work, much appreciated!

    Your DCR 10% discount code “DCR10BTF” doesn’t seem to work at Clever Training for the Wahoo KICKR 2018 and other Wahoo products, is that correct? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately, Wahoo restricts the coupon code usage there. But, you can still get back 10% in points, which you can turn around and use right away on accessories. So that’s like $120 in accessories (or anything really): link to dcrainmaker.com

      Thanks for the support!

    • Schmidt911

      Just purchased the Elite Direto from steep and cheap (the parent company is back country, who also owns Competitive cyclist) for $625. This included an additional $60 discount code. I had to contact back country directly to get this $60 as was not processing through the steep and cheap online site. But for $625 total it was worth the little extra effort. Selling my 3 month old cyclops Magnus…so many problems and Cyclops service sub-par.

  56. Fraser Stewart

    Hello, just bought a kickr 2018 and set up according to the instructions. But when I pedal I get a clicking/popping sound that I feel in the pedals too. I have been through the troubleshooting and even changed the bike on the trainer – but the click/pop persists. Also notice a small bit of play in the flywheel with the cassette on it. Have you hear of this issue – is it known? Is there a fix?

    • Daveymorrisuk

      Fraser (et all) – Have you seen these sorry trails of posts and YouTube vids?

      link to cyclechat.net
      link to road.cc

      Surprised its not been raised here to date.

    • Martin Hochheim

      After reading all the posts with about the problems with the new kickr I wonder if wahoo has made a Statement about that. Seems to be a large scale production problem. I just ordered mine yesterday, but am afraid that I will have the same issues. What a shame for such a hyped, but also expensive product

    • I guess I don’t really understand why someone would spend so much time trying to self-fix something as someone noted in those threads…rather than just calling/e-mailing Wahoo support and having them swap out the unit (which they’ve happily done).

      Also, when you’re shipping a couple thousand trainers a week, and there’s even just 1% failure rate, you’re going to see issues as noted in those threads. Again though, I still don’t understand some of the drive in those threads to try and take apart everything and fix it.

    • Fraser Stewart

      I understand your point. However, I talked to my LBS about the fix and they were happy to do it for me (as it was straightforward). So I elected to get the “fix kit” from Wahoo and they made the repair. The unit now works perfectly.

      I also got a voucher from Wahoo for £100.

      So the update really is that I am bat in the game and happy with the Kickr. And wonder what to spend the voucher on!

    • Martin

      So, as feared, after just the second ride mine started to sound exactly like in the videos (first klicking, than shrieking noises). Sure there is the opportunity to write them, get a new one, and may be lucky that it works now.
      But I really am stubborn in that way. Three people I know of in my tritathlon club have bought the kickr from different suppliers at different times. Even though this are just three orders, this seems an odd ratio, if the problem just happens at 1% of the buyers.

      For me this was a nice try with wahoo, but I will return in straight away to the retailer and will go to Tacx instead.

      I guess this is the perfect advertisement from wahoo to Tacx and fear that there are many like me who are first movers, willing to spend a lot of money just to be heavily disappointed.

    • Martin

      To complete the comment: “Three people I know of in my tritathlon club have bought the kickr from different suppliers at different times. ” …and all have the same issues with the kickr.

    • Drogalla

      I went through all the pain,

      – first unit was exchanged for another one,
      – then same issue and opted for the key replacement kit and the voucher
      – After say 5-6 hours, same issue again

      Having gone through all this, lost faith unless they change the construction and will return my unit again and look for sth else.

      Curios to hear whether other users have had the same experience *after* the key replacement

    • Mark

      Sadly, I ended up purchasing a Wahoo Kickr 2018 (instead of the Tacx Neo) and right out of the box, it’s making a loud annoying noise when pedaling and coasting.

      Strangely, Wahoo is proposing two options: (1) self repair or (2) getting in the queue to get a replacement. This is quite disappointing. It seems like Wahoo is stuck with a widespread issue. They should test all units before sending them to distributors. Now the end user is stuck with dealing with this problem. Really not fun. I was talking with the store where I bought it from and I was told they have a lot of defective units from the first wave (October).

  57. Simon

    Hi Frazer,

    I has the same problem with my unit, I raised a support ticket with Wahoo and provided a short video as evidence. Their support team were quick to respond and I am now just waiting on a replacement unit to be sent.

    I’d suggest you get in touch with Wahoo about this, they seem pretty good in dealing with such issues.

    • Fraser Stewart

      Thanks Simon- I have raised a ticket with Wahoo but just described. I will film a short video tomorrow and pass to them when they reply. Thanks. One of these things I don’t want to just live with as it is a bit annoying the constant knock through the pedals. And the fact it costs a lot!

    • Brent A Kendall

      I had the same problem and same, raised ticket and waiting for replacement unit to be shipped. In testing I saw the same issue on multiple bikes so ruled out that it was a bike issue before sending my support request to wahoo. They were quick to respond, wahoo seems to always provide good service.

    • Simon

      Just to follow-up on my case…

      I opted for a replacement and was please to find that Wahoo’s support team had arranged delivery of a new trainer and to pick up the faulty one at the same time.

      I have done a couple of hard rides on it now and it appears to be working correctly with none of the knocking noises.

      So far, so good as far as I am concerned.

  58. DangKoop

    I have the same issue that others reported. I was required to send my unit back last Monday oct 22. I wasn’t offered a kit to fix it myself. They were supposed to ship a replacement unit last Friday. I haven’t heard from them since, despite contacting them for an update. Not too happy with the process thus far.

    • GaG

      This is a widespread and known problem. They are dealing with it as best they could. I received a defective unit on 10/16 and contacted them on 10/19 after using it. The problem is two-fold–they are short on stock and they are receiving a good number of defective units back. They advised me that they would implement their fix and my replacement was shipped out on 10/26. I’ve used it for about 50k and there have been no issues yet. I’m hopeful that it’s all good from here, but we’ll see….

    • Hi DangKoop,

      Sorry about your experience. I tried to locate your ticket, but was not able to find you in our system. Please reply with your ticket number, or contact Wahoo Support and ask for this to be escalated. I will ensure your situation is addressed and resolved quickly. Thanks for the post and feedback.

    • DangKoop

      Ticket number is 465568. Thanks for checking in for me.

    • DangKoop

      My last contact was sent to customer service yesterday morning. Still no response, and no follow up from the post above. Initial contact was made 10/18 with my broken unit shipped back to wahoo on 10/20. Passing two weeks now and still no resolution.

      I really enjoyed my Kickr the first month while it was working and I was ready to drop the $$ for a climb. I would fully recommend the unit once the kinks are worked out, but this experience with customer service on a $1200 unit has been rough to say the least.

    • Hi Daniel (DangKoop),

      We apologize again for the delay and have offered a coupon code through your ticket for use on our website. Your replacement has been shipped and the tracking number is available in our most recent response.

      Sorry again for the inconvenience. Please let us know if there’s anything more we can do for you – we hope you enjoy your replacement!

    • Hi,
      I’ve literally just bought a 2018 Kickr and on my first ride it developed a knocking noise / vibration. I’m very, very disappointed after having to return TWO 2015 kickr core units with vibration / imbalance issues previously.

      Here’s a video link: link to youtu.be

      I have lodged a ticket (#475845) and am hoping for a speedy resolution – at the moment I am wondering why on earth i bought another Wahoo product (or how I could recommend them to anyone else) but hopefully you can help me speedily.

    • Sorry I meant I previously had issues with two *kickr SNAP 2015 units

    • graeme thompson

      Hi GaG,

      I’m on my 2nd unit now and that has failed after 200(ish)k.

      I think that there is a larger problem here. I wont be accepting a replacement.


    • Harald H

      Same for me, on Nov 8, On Nov 21 I requested a refund because of noises and knocking experienced after 3 hours of use. Nov 23 followed m’y request for a RMA. That demand was merged into my first one, but still I don’t have the RMA. Curious that Wahoo site claims 2 business days for treatement. Hope I’ll get my money back.

  59. Greg A.

    Excellent review. Thanks!

  60. andrew stevenson

    do you anticipate another 20% off clever training sale again this november?

  61. Andy

    Thanks for the review! I am a little confused about the compatibility of this trainer (and the CORE) with Canyons. It seems to work just fine on yours, but I’ve read that there are issues with Canyon frames and the Wahoo direct driver trainers.

    So, I wrote to Wahoo. And they told me, “Unfortunately yes that is true. The spacing on the Canyon is very narrow and wont fit on our KICKRs it will work on the KICKR SNAP, but not the direct drive KICKRs. Apologies for this.”

    Am I wrong that your Canyon works with the KICKR? Do you have an ultimate? Would disc brakes make a difference here? Thanks!

    • S. Savkar

      I am surprised by the comment on Canyons. I have a 2017 KICKR and my wife has a Canyon, no issues at all. In fact in terms of compatibility, hers is actually better than mine as we don’t need to tinker at all with the rear derailleur while for my giant I do everytime I put it on and off the KICKR.

      Hers has disc brakes and the new ultegra (I guess not really new anymore) gear set.

      Both endurance frame bikes. But not sure if that makes a difference or not.

    • Andy

      Wahoo tells me that it’s specific to the disc frame, which is apparently narrower. Too narrow to fit the adapters:

      “the disc version has like a 133 rear drop out so it doesn’t fit very well. Some users have flipped the spacer to the 135 and made it work but we can’t recommend that”

    • Pedro Perez

      What Canyon is this? Mine is an Ultimate CF SLX 9.00 but mine has a thru axle 12 x 142. I ordered a KICKR yesterday, are there issues with Canyon thru axle?

    • Andy

      I have the same frame as you (Ultimate CF SLX disc). Here’s what Wahoo told me: “the disc version has like a 133 rear drop out so it doesn’t fit very well. Some users have flipped the spacer to the 135 and made it work but we can’t recommend that. I think it will still work, but you have to modify the spacer and then that will void the warranty, just not worth the hassle.”

      I’m not sure which warranty he’s referring to, but I do know that Canyon’s frame warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by trainer use. Also, to mount the Canyon on the trainer, you have to pop off the little aesthetic cover here:

    • Yeah, odd that Wahoo would make such blanket comments like that. Especially given that they often use Canyon bikes at media events and at conventions/conferences/events to put on the KICKR’s.

    • Pedro Perez

      I got the 2018 Kickr today and it worked great with my canyon using the 142 thru axle adapter.

      I may need to get a sram cassette because this one is making sounds. Or my chain is old. The cassette and chain make more sound than the wahoo. It is super quiet.

    • Pedro Perez

      It worked great with my canyon using 12×142 thru axle adapter. No issues at all. (I got the Kickr today)

  62. Paul Smeaton

    I’m 62yrs of age just finished my full year on a road bike, 10k Kms, need an indoor trainer, I cycle for my own fitness not a racer, no power metres etc. Will use Zwift on a MAC what should I get?

  63. pomale

    No KICKR, lots of them are noisy and it’s difficult to get an RMA. Wahoo site claims 2 business days to get one, today, on the 6th I still haven’t got it. Tacx Neo or Neo 2 should be fine if you want to spend that much money. By the way, did you try Rouvy? I don’t know Zwift but I think it’s too race oriented wheras Rouvy offers lots of virtual rides all over the world. Free trial periods are available.

    • Hi pomale,

      At Wahoo Fitness, we pride ourselves on delivering top-quality customer support and are working hard at fulfilling all our customer’s needs during our busiest season yet. Please understand that while processing times may be slightly longer than normal, we remain dedicated to ensuring you’re fully satisfied with your purchase.

      If you’ll reply with your ticket number or call us at 1(877) 978-1112, we’ll be happy to see how we might expedite resolution for you and sincerely apologize for any delay you’ve experienced so far.

    • pomale

      Hi Brad, thank you for reading one of my numerous mails since last Wednesday. I think that the proposition to replace my KICKR 2018 after collecting the noisy one next Monday is a no-go. Last Friday I requested explicitly an RMA, I still stick to my decision. I just want to get refunded as it is claimed possible on wahoofitness site. Looking forward for the RMA.

      Kind regards

    • pomale

      Hi Brad,
      I‘ve sent my KICKR back to the Netherlands warehouse with the RMA that you‘ve sent me. It arrived on Dec 7, today, Dec 14 I didn‘t get any refund on my PayPal account. Is Wahoo just another crap company? I‘d like to have something else than just rice and potatoes and vice versa for Christmas.

  64. Oliver Delfs

    Hi DC Rainmaker,

    thank you for all of your content.
    For me it is not that simple to find the right answer / Choice between Kickr or Tacx.
    Here is my bike: link to cube.eu
    My aim is to ride and train on Swift.
    How does the Mountainbike Groupset influence/works on Swift?
    And which cassette should i fix on the smart trainer? The same as my backwheel?

    Greetings from Hamburg, Oliver

    • pomale

      Hallo, you could contact Cube or Tacx directly. Tacx offers lots of info in the specifications section. If I were you, I’d avoid KICKR, first because it is limited in gradient and second because of noise problems which I experience since my second ride (60 db when just pedaling slowly).

  65. Graham

    Hi All,
    I purchased a CORE a couple of weeks ago. It developed a clicking sound (wahoo clickr!) after about 30 miles on zwift. A number of forums have been buzzing about this issue and it appears that the noises stem from the lower drive pulley and the belt tensioner pulley. Both of these spin on bearings that are being (IMO) taxed heavily by an over-tight belt. I suspect that Wahoo tightened the belt to that extent to up the max wattage claim for the model (which is really a silly business we all get hung up on). On the lower drive pulley there is the added issue that it is secured with a woodruff key that appears to be too small for its slot in some units and produces a knocking sound. This was not the case for my unit. The woodruff key it was nicely seated and tight as was the set screw holding it. However, there was still ticking noises as the trainer turns. With the cover off I could see and feel that it emits from the bearings in the belt tensioner pulley (which was massively tight – way too tight for the longevity of threads on the adjustment screw and apparently the tensioner bearings). Moreover, the clicking became more and more pronounced as I returned the tensioner to its factory set position. The remedy was simply to back off the belt tension and now its quiet. Wahoo have been OK to work with, they are a conscientious company, but probably quite overwhelmed by this design flaw at the moment (controlling the message and the volume of returns). They are a stand-up company though and certainly stand behind their products. I would submit that this is not a 1% issue at all. It is much larger than that, numerous people have had two or three replacements with the same symptoms, the probability on that is well beyond 1%. I can’t help feeling that DC and Shane Miller have an interesting conundrum here. In their role as beta testers/respected reporters, how do they best respond to what appears to be a widespread design issue or QC problem for a very popular brand of trainer? given that we all spend a chunk of money based on their trusted recommendations (this is not a jab – I think both of these guys are great, and watch and read everything they produce)

    • (Minor administrivia note: This review is the main KICKR, and not KICKR CORE review, that’s a separate post).

      That said, regarding this:

      “I can’t help feeling that DC and Shane Miller have an interesting conundrum here. In their role as beta testers/respected reporters, how do they best respond to what appears to be a widespread design issue or QC problem for a very popular brand of trainer?”

      I try and balance figuring out whether an issue is truly widespread or not first. While I know we all feel like because we ourselves hit something that it’s widespread – often time it really isn’t. Same goes for seeing other confirmations of the same issue out there on the interwebs. I think a lot of times we forget just how many units of something are being shipped. So even if we see 30 other people having that issue, in the case of the KICKR or CORE, that’s 30 of 15,000-25,000 units each shipped. So relatively small.

      Still, as for what I did – in the case of some of the KICKR CORE oddities, I stuck an update note in that review for example talking about some of the issues and such. I do that when I tend to see a flurry of questions, though I usually caveat it with how widespread i think it is based on what I see – and then more importantly, how the company is handling something.

    • Mattv

      Ray – I’ve always been curious how you make money off this site. I k now you have donations, but that can’t be that much. Do you get paid for work for these manufacturers?

    • Nope, I take zero dollars from any company in this space. Just my thing.

      The supported through three basic ways:

      1) Google Ads: I block all the companies in this space as well, but basically if you search for women’s lingerie on Google, you’ll get lingerie ads here. If you search for vacations in Peru, the same thing.
      2) Purchases via Amazon, REI, or Clever Training: If you buy any gadget using the links here to those companies, I get a bit back. I don’t care what you buy – could be toilet paper or more women’s lingerie – but, it all helps.
      3) Paid DCR Supporters: Those are the folks that get little yellow ribbons next to their names in the comments. They get adfree, and a few other tidbits.

      There’s a few other minor sources of income out there, but all pretty small comparatively. There’s the DCR Analyzer, if folks want to make comparison charts. I do write for a few magazines here and there, and then advise some Wall Street type companies (basically taking what I write here and consolidating it into 15 minute conference calls).

      The key to making all this work, which is pretty much true of most of the internet, is just volume. Millions of people per month (mainly because I block all the companies that want to advertise with me).

    • Mattv

      It’s great you can make a living doing this. I’m just amazed you can do it. I don’t think there will be shortage of gizmos to review for a long, long time..

      Just plan for your future…

  66. Richard

    I agree with Graham – this can’t be a “1%” issue as it seems to me that the kick18 has a fundamental design flaw. The silent belt has to be really tight to stop it slipping but that puts too much tension on the tensioner cog. The Woodruff assembly key that holds the tensioner bolt in place has a really thin screw creating the tension. That whole assembly is not fit for purpose which is a huge shame on an otherwise high quality piece of machinery. Mine failed after ~20 hrs of use. Wahoo offered to send a replacement within 1 day of me sending a ticket. I’m waiting to see if that happens. To be honest though I expect the replacement to fail too (I’ll update) but we’ll see.

  67. Graham

    Hi DC and Richard,
    Just to clarify – the woodruff key is a rectangular piece that slots into a spline groove in the lower flywheel drive pulley (the one behind the 6 mm? allen key bolt on the lower pulley in your picture (normal 14 mm bolt on the CORE – so you can’t see it without removing the bolt and washer). When seated correctly and made to close tolerance, a woodruff key is a long-established and reliable means of turning a spindle or spline. I think this arrangement was part of the new design for 2018. It would appear as though wahoo got a batch of keys that were too small. This allows some play that probably shows up and worsens with the ebb and flow of the pedal stroke. Replacing the woodruff key is easy and solves the out-of-balance washing machine/knocking sound. The unbelievably high belt tension is another matter entirely. Not only does it very nearly buckle the tension set screw (which should be a much larger bolt), it also puts too much stress on the bearings for the tensioner pulley and the lower drive spindle. I half suspect some ham-fisted hack at wahoo who thinks they are qualified to decide, said to set the belt tension that high without really testing the consequences or the need to. As I indicated, it is tension that is not needed. I have backed way off on the belt tension and the unit runs great and is very quiet. I have decent stomp and can generate around 1300 watts for a couple of seconds (though I almost never see the need for it). Even at that, I can detect no slip of the belt at this lower tension setting. This is what I would expect looking at the design (which I think is very good). The belt is grooved and has excellent surface area contact with the drive pulley and it is wrapped around the pulley increasing the contact patch further. Wahoo is apparently sticking to their settings, and is advocating the factory set tension – I think they are dead wrong.

    • Jari

      Graham – by backing off the belt tension, did you notice any differences re: power accuracy? Still waiting for my replacement to come in but I’ve seen this tip mentioned on other forums, seems to make sense in terms of taking some stress off bearing load.

    • Graham

      Hey Jari,
      All I can say is that it feels pretty normal. I did the spindown calibration after letting off the tension. The wahoo app didn’t indicate any problem for calibration. At the crank it feels the same, but I don’t have any other means of checking it so I can’t be certain.
      Wahoo is sending me a new tensioner assembly, despite the fact mine is now quiet. I wasn’t all that interested in extracting my pound of flesh from them. They seem like a rock-solid customer-oriented company. The kickr’s are very simple gadgets mechanically speaking. Just like your bike, you get can get them running sweetly with a bit a considered futzing. So far I’ve heard of, clicking, knocking and grinding from the new units. Clicking and knocking are tensioner and woodfuff key respectively. I was able to induce some grinding sounds by very minor changes in the position of the rear cowling. It is held in place by two 2.5 mm allen bolts. If you loosen them and move the cowling a mm or two in one direction or the other the belt comes into contact with the cowling and because it is hollow when assembled with the front cowling, this noise is amplified into a grinding sound. If you center the cowling before tightening it goes away. I can’t decide if I enjoyed the troubleshooting and it was just a bonus with the purchase, or if it should have been right, right out of the box. Either way, its pretty clear that adjustments fix most of the ills. Its a great trainer, super quiet – I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

    • Jari

      Thanks for the response Graham, I have Stages and 4iiii PMs so I plan on running some power comparison tests, and will keep the belt tension in mind whether I want or need to mess with it. My previous unit seemed fairly close in the short time I had before it started knocking. I’m in a queue for a backorder replacement Kickr 2018 so I’m hoping the next unit is from a newer production run with some improved QA but we’ll see.

    • Richard

      You are a kickr futzing expert Graham! I’m hoping Wahoo replace mine and hopefully I’ll be able to keep that one silent (perhaps with your help!).

    • Richard Law

      So thought I should post an update. My first kickr 18 v4 (via Wiggle) starting vibrating my house and despite fiddling with it became unridable a few days later.

      Wahoo replied within 24 hrs to me sending a ticket (inc. serial # photo and short video(audio) of the device) and offered either a refund or a replacement kickr. Theorizing that maybe they would send me one with better QC I decided to give them another chance; mainly because I liked it so much while it was working!

      It arrived 10 days later (even though they said 3 days but I’m not really complaining as I still think that’s pretty good – especially as I still haven’t sent the other one back to them yet!).

      2 weeks of riding and it has so far been perfect. Smooth, silent, great response to resistance changes and feels great to sprint with it, free ride and do intervals in ERG mode. I think the particular torque takes some getting used to (vs. my old on-wheel dumb trainer) but I’m slowly getting used to it. I hope I haven’t jinxed it by posting here. If, as DC says, they are shipping thousands of these, then hopefully I was just unlucky and hopefully they get on top of their QC/minor design issue as when it works it feels really great and I wouldn’t want to ride indoors on anything else.

  68. Rainer Egretzberger

    Hello All,

    is the Kickr able to control a power of about 80W with a pedaling frequency of 90 and a gear ratio with the big ring in the front and some middle ring in the back (e.g. 50/23). With my Neo I have no problems to control this, but I tested e.g. the Flux S and this trainer was not able to control a value of below 150W with this setup.

    Maybe someone has already tested this or is so kind to do this test for me 

    I want to purchase a second trainer for my girlfriend and this issue is very import for the trainer decision.

    BR Rainer

  69. Tom

    This review should begin with a bolded note about the serious issues with this product. I read this review and went ahead and bought the trainer. Within 2 days it was dead and will have to be replaced. Having dug around in the Facebook forums I now realize that the 2018 Kickrs & Kickr Cores have serious issues and should probably be recalled.

    I’ve lost confidence in DC Rainmaker because of this. I realize now that I can’t rely on the reviews here for the full story.

    • Like all my reviews, this review represents my usage of the trainer (in my case, two different units – one initial test unit from Wahoo, and then now later another KICKR from a regular retailer store). If/when I see substantial issues outside of my experience, then I usually call those out in an update later (like I did with the CORE review, btw).

      When folks write reviews based on Facebook/internet forums, that’s no longer a review. It means they’re just assembling anything they can find into something that fits the narrative they want. Either a person has used a unit or not, it’s as simple as that.

      Given Wahoo’s making roughly 1,000 KICKR’s per week, if every person was having issues – then that’s all you’d hear about. Just like that’s all we’d hear about with Tacx Flux S quirks, Elite Drivo issues, or Kinetic issues. In reality, the vast majority of people are just fine.

      No doubt, Wahoo’s had some teething trouble with their new manufacturing facilities – but there’s nothing to indicate it’s widescale. Rather, the simple reality is that when people have issues they post about it…and when they don’t, they don’t post about it. It does suck when you or I are on the receiving end of a broke-unit.

      (As an aside, I actually went back and checked the affiliate data for Clever Training related to KICKR’s and return rates – virtually identical to last year % wise. Certainly, some people like yourself wouldn’t show up there if Wahoo is swapping units, but anyone actually returning would have to go through a retailer.)

    • Mattv

      This site is useful. “Internet experts” regurgitating third hand info not so much. The thing I’ve learned is to buy bulky, expensive stuff like trainers from your local bike shop. I had 3 tacx neos that had various serious problems. Even a unit in the bike shop I went to had a problem, so i just gave up on it and bought something else. I might pay a little more, but in the long run it’s less frustrating.

      FB and forums are almost useless sources of objective information. The information there *might* be useful, but i wouldn’t base a buy/no buy decision on them. Buy local.

    • Gryphon


      “Serious issues” and “dead” are not accurate terms to describe the “known” issues with the Kickr 2018. The overwhelming complaint of this model is the knocking issue. The knocking issue is annoying at best but does not adversely impact the ability of the trainer to do what it’s designed to do, with silence being the notable exception. If, in fact, the issues with your unit were more serious than that, to the point that your unit was “dead,” well then that’s another situation entirely. I would submit that those issues are extremely rare, and at that point, it’s unfair to lump the problems your unit has with the problems that most defective units exhibit.

      A full recall of all the units when not every unit suffers from the problem? When they will replace defective units at their cost? When they will send you an easy DIY fix kit to solve the problem? I would submit that your drastic and unfounded call for a recall saps any credibility your review may have possessed. Further, your demonizing comment regarding Ray’s work here is so inaccurate, generalized, over-broad, and patently unfair that it will be readily and appropriately dismissed by the readers of this site. I credit Ray for his level-headed responses to comments like yours, and luckily, comments like yours are few and far between on this site. I suggest you return to the FB forum.

  70. Tom


    I trust that the review does reflect your experience with the trainer you received and I think it’s commendable that you updated the Core review. However, the comments section here raises enough concerns about this product that I would think it merits further research and a mention in the article itself. I know I would have greatly appreciated it. I wish I’d read beyond the article, down into the comments, where people are discussing how to fix their new units. Some people appear to be “okay” with having to replace parts in a new product, which is a cool attitude, but I would at least like to know that I might need to do some tinkering if I buy this trainer.

    I actually feel sympathy for the folks at Wahoo and the headaches they are probably experiencing as they try to deal with the issues. I hope the engineering challenges aren’t insurmountable and that the products will be reliable for a reasonable lifespan. Acknowledging the known issues seems like it would be a step in the right direction for everyone.

    I do appreciate you letting these frank discussions take place in the comment section, and even responding. That’s part of how this site earned my confidence in the first place. Let us hope you are right–that the issues with the Kickr ’18 are too minor to mention in a review. I have my fingers crossed that my second unit (currently on its way from Wahoo) will work as smoothly and quietly as my first did before it stopped transmitting Bluetooth and Ant+ data a few days after unboxing it.

    Anyhow, that’s already too many words for a first-world problem. Seasons greetings to all!


  71. Blackforest

    Is it possible to do the Spindown after training?
    I want to avoid the 10min warmup an interruption of the training.

    The Temperature of the Kickr after training is about 25 Celsius higher than at beginning.
    After Training is before training ;-)

    • ms

      That is how I do it. About once a week I do a spin down after I ride. The result should be an accurate measure after the trainer is warm.

  72. Ryan

    Does it matter what gear you’re in when you do a spindown?

  73. Craig Holtz

    Kickr or Kickr Core vs. Peleton?

    Will the Kickr/Kickr Core damage or weaken my bike frame? (Trek Domane)

    • No damage concerns with any trainer/frame unless you get really excited and somehow manage to tip it over while on a balcony and fall a long distance to the pavement below.

      As for trainers vs Peloton – it’s sorta a different discussion. I really like Peloton as a product, I think it’s incredibly well executed. But it’s kinda like ice cream vs donuts. Both are fantastic, but it just depends on what you’re in the mood for.

      Trainers control the resistance for you (simulating incline/wattages/etc…), whereas Peloton doesn’t. You have to change the resistance using the twisty knob in front of you on the bike. Basically like an old school spin bike.

      However, that bike has a well integrated hardware solution inclusive of a screen that trainers (even the Tacx bike) currently lack.

  74. Per Sommerlund

    Hi guys,
    Any posetive og negative comments on the Kickr 18 version 4.0?

  75. Joseph C. Galitzin MD

    I purchased a Kickr and a Climb last week. I’ve been using a Neo for the past 18 months, but wanted to add the Climb as I felt that would be more specific for training for a Gran Fondo. I’ve never had a connection issue to my Apple TV with the Neo, but now I’m having all sort of problems getting my HR stap (Wahoo Tickr or 4iiii) and the cadence sensor to pair to Zwift. I’m using my Zwift app as well on my iPhone. I’ve spoken with Wahoo technical support, but they don’t have any ideas. I reloaded the Apple TV software. Has anyone had a similar issue? Any ideas?

    • Louis Matherne

      Sounds like you are hitting the BT limit of 2 on the Apple TV. You would not have experienced this with the Neo because cadence is built in. You’ll need to use the companion app on your smartphone to add additional BT devices.


    • Joseph C. Galitzin MD

      That’s what I thought. But the app does not find the devices. Sometimes it works, other times it just searches or connects and rapidly drops.

  76. Joseph C. Galitzin MD

    I finally got my 4iiii to work with my Wahoo, Zwift. Using my own PM for power and cadence. The Wahoo Tickr was one BT connection too many. It finally connects with no issues.

  77. Kevin

    Hi Ray, AWESOME review!

    I hope it isn’t too late to ask this question/get a response from you, but how well do the multi-level stands work? I live in an old house and i use this trainer in my back stairway, which has a steep grade. The biggest factor of me deciding between this KICKR 2018 or the CORE would be the ability to be level when I ride.

    I know 300 is a lot, but I have expiring gift cards so I am wondering if it makes more sense for me to splurge on the system at 1200, or buy the Core at 900 and spend the 300 on accessories (floor mat, climb, etc). Any input would be appreciated – thanks!

  78. Steve Mack

    I read this review (thank you DCrainmaker!!) and decided to purchase a wahoo kickr 2018 from clever training at a great sale price (using FALLVIP coupon code) in their Nov2018 sale. It arrived and set up went pretty well, although I had to loosen the large hex bolt to raise the trainer to 700c position (not mentioned in review) it was just too tight to move otherwise. I re-tightened and installed my bike and began using it. Everything went well until a knocking sound got increasingly louder over a couple weeks. I contacted clever training and they honored the sale price and replaced with a new unit, even paid postage to send it back, and I actually got to speak with them on phone!! Great customer service. So far new unit is quiet. As an aside, I use my iPhone SE and it pairs well; cannot use chrome book . Thanks for the informative review, which I referred to a lot. -S

  79. Steve

    Thanks for the review, I have a 2016 kicker, just now the power block has failed and ordered a new one. The new one doesn’t work, not happy. The replacement part is different to my original and noting that my original is the same in your pictures. Have you or others come across this issue?

    • All KICKR’s use the same power block. Technically, the 2018 KICKR/CORE used slightly different variants internally, though frankly, you’re a heck of a lot better off using any previous KICKR power block for the moment. :)

  80. John

    Seems weird to not support Campagnolo or XD driver freehubs. Does this mean no support for Shimano’s upcoming Microspline freehubs? At this price point I’d hate to get locked out of newer tech.

    • So the Campy issue is mostly solvable since most folks these days are likely running 11sp cassettes, so one can easily use a Shimano 11-speed in its place without issue (other speeds are an issue).

      But XD driver hubs are trickier – but it looks like some people have found workarounds: link to forums.mtbr.com

      Still, I think the whole XDR thing will only become more of an issue in the near future, as alluded to towards the end of that thread.

  81. JCG

    I’m running Campy Super Record. Been using my new Kickr straight out of the box with the provided cassette without any issues. It’s actually quieter that my Neo with a Campy cassette. Also, I alway had clearence issues on my Neo that I could not fix even with the provided spacers. Not a problem with the Kickr.

  82. Mark Davenport

    In evaluating the speed of response of resistance changes to changes in application commands, you showed very clearly how quickly (~2 sec) the Kickr responded to the essentially vertical ramp ups in the Training Road 30 x 30 intervals.
    However, it would be very helpful to see how quickly the resistance changes in response to gradient changes in virtual courses in Zwift or Rouvy. You could plot gradient and resistance or power versus time to eyeball a numerical value for delay/response time. I ask after demoing a 2018 Kickr on a virtual video course where the delay seemed substantial. Climb changed faster than resistance.

    • Generally speaking if there’s delays on that, it’s the app itself. When I’m testing in Zwift, I’m looking for these sorts of issues, so if I do see delays I’ve definitely noted it. No issues here from the trainer standpoint.

  83. suzanne doyle

    Bkool is now Europe. How does it compare to Wahoo? Purchased new Wahoo: made troubling noise, wouldn’t connect with cycling apps, when connected had problems with detecting speed. I returned the Wahoo, concerned about buying another. Thinking of buying Bkool Air instead, but would like to read your review before purchasing. Many Thanks

  84. Warren Klibbe

    Hi All,

    I recently upgraded from a Kickr Gen 1 to the 2018 Kickr Gen 4 and I have to say I genuinely surprised that nobody is talking about the additional weight of the flywheel. It’s taken me a long time to get used to the heavier weight and there are still instances when riding online (Zwift) where you have to consciously push hard or get dropped from a pack.

    I find the Gen 4 riding experience to be no realistic of what it’s like riding outside — unless of course your riding along dragging a 30Kg weight behind your bike..


    • Louis Matherne

      I recently made the same upgrade and have not had your experience. If anything, I find the 2018 Kickr to be far better in terms of being locked in.

  85. Ben

    I seem to be having the known issue with this KICKR (sudden scuffing/rubbing). I’ve heard great things about Wahoo support, but I’m having an awful support experience. I submitted a ticket. Took 6 days to get a reply. I quickly said that it was actually behaving itself again and I’d wait to see if I had the problem again. Problem happened again a couple days later, so I said I’d like to go ahead with the replacement after all. That was 10 days ago and I haven’t heard a thing. I even tried calling last week. Was promised a reply to the ticket that day, but haven’t heard anything. Tried to call today and they’re closed for some reason. I know they’ve had a lot of growth recently, but this should be a fairly easy return (seeing as they already said it needs replacing).

    • Hi Ben,

      We’re terribly sorry to hear of your experience. The agent initially assigned to your ticket has been out sick recently, and though we typically have safe-guards against situations like this, it appears your ticket was missed for reassignment because of its prior on-hold status.

      One of our top agents has now been reassigned your ticket and has already responded within. Our sincerest apologies for the oversight – it is certainly not the prompt and friendly experience we strive for. We’ve since revised our out-of-office process to avoid similar situations in the future.

      Thanks for your patience and understanding in the matter. We’re doing our best to get your issue sorted out quickly.

    • Ben

      I appreciate the quick response and I can understand it’s an unusual situation. To be fair, I’ve definitely had good service experiences with you guys before. Was just getting a little frustrated about the lack of response. Thanks again!

    • Ben

      Just a quick followup to say that Wahoo took care of me. I understand now where I was caught in a weird situation with my ticket going on hold and the employee being out for extended sick leave. Once the ticket was picked up, my return was quickly processed and the new KICKR is working great.

      Problems aside, I have to say that it’s great how quiet the new KICKR is. It’s actually surprising how much I can hear the drive train compared to being outside, but that’s nothing to do with the trainer. I also really like how the rear axle now pivots.

      My biggest remaining wishlist request would be for some side to side flex. I don’t know if Kurt Kinetic have the patent on this with the Rock ‘N Roll, but it would make riding indoors so much more comfortable.

    • Louis Matherne

      You can build your own or buy a commercial “rocker plate” platform. I love mine and using with a Kick 18 and Climb.

      This Facebook group has everything you need to know – link to facebook.com

  86. doug clark

    I’ve got a new kicker 2018 and also a stages left prm. I consistently read about 10-11% high on the kicker prm than the stages.stages prm. Both units have been zeroed in there respective ways. Stages prm is monitored by my Garmin 1030 and the kicker prm is monitored by iPhone app. Is there any good explanation for this large discrepancy? Can I get these two to agree better?

    Very puzzled… Doug

    • J

      I still need to test this further, but you can try playing with the amount of w/u time before calibrating devices to bring them closer; ie i’m seeing a larger discrepancy from a :10min w/u before calibrating, vs a shorter 3min w/u. However, I’m also seeing some drift from the Kickr after ~ :10, with the Kickr reporting lower than Stages, so I still need to get a handle on that. On a KICKR 2018/Stages gen2.

      I’m using my Stages for power most rides anyway to be consistent with my outdoors data, but there will be times ie, when I want to do ERG workouts and I’d prefer using Kickr power reporting for slightly better responsiveness.

    • J

      Oh and PS differences will be expected from drivetrain loss, possible left/right discrepancy, but 10% does seems pretty high -eg 20-30 W for the avg persons 200-300w ftp is a lot.

  87. Rich

    Doug – You may have a left side bias adding to the drivetrain loss, or more likely your Stages just overeads (or the addition of all 3). Kickr needs proper spin down calibration not just unweighted zero offset but despite its issues with breaking, it is (2018 – v4 anyway) rated as consistently accurate (after spin down) whereas Stages can go all over after a while. Without a 3rd PM to reference it’s always impossible to really know 100%.

  88. Ralph

    Just purchased my 2018 Kickr and Climb.. sweet setup up.. great for rainy day spins inside. I’m running a Campy Super Record 11s and would prefer to change out freehub to suit Campy cassette? as I find there is a lot of chain noise when dropping down through the gears.. drop us a note if there is or a work around. The advertised Wahoo Campagnolo free hub is not compatible with this generation of Kickr as external dia of Wahoo free hub shaft is approx. 17mm and internal dia. of free hub is 15mm or so.. trust me I found out the hard way..

  89. Mark

    Any word on an announcement for a new KICKR? I see that Wahoo usually announces new models at Eurobike in July. This year though Eurobike isn’t until September. I’m considering buying a 2018 model but I’ll wait if a 2019 is coming soon. ?

  90. John C

    Hi all, wanted to share my experiences with my 2018 kickr. The first unit developed the horrible knocking within about 2 months of purchase and using it 3-6 times per week. Customer service was great and a new unit send immediately. Within 1 week of the new unit the same horrible knocking developed; again customer service was great and for 3 months now the new unit has had no issues. So I wanted to share that the wahoo customer service is great, but I hesitate to recommend the kickr, despite wanting to buy a second unit for my wife. I just worry about what will happen after the warranty expires on a unit that is expensive (though fully worth the price when it works!).

    • Ben

      I have the same concern. My unit was replaced. Customer service were great (after a little hiccup). The 2nd unit works, but it still isn’t right to me. It’s not bad to the point where I want to return it, but I get a little noise at times that doesn’t seem right.

      I’ve done really well in the past selling on used KICKRs. Hopefully I’ll be able to do the same with this one when the time is right.

      Saying all that, it’s definitely my favorite KICKR so far. It’s so much quieter.

  91. Oisín

    I have an original Kickr, still working well.
    I am considering upgrading to a gen 4.0 2018 model, mostly because I want something new and because I’d like it to be quieter.
    Has anyone here upgraded from a gen 1 to a gen 4 kickr? How did you like the new Kicr? Thank you!

    • Warren Klibbe

      Hi There,
      I’ll be curious to hear people’s comments as my feedback is just an N of one.

      I upgraded from the earlier 2014 version to Gen 4 2018 Kickr about 6-mo ago. I have to say I’ve been a little disappointed. The much heavier flywheel is supposed to provide a more realistic feel, however to me that is not the case and in some scenarios when you race/train on a platform such as Zwift you need more power to get your avatar moving, and then in a bunch the power fluctuates greatly, resulting in occasions when you are dropped. Also I run a 10-speed Campagnolo group set which is somewhat incompatible with the 10-speed cassette provided — my gears jump between cogs, which is further exacerbated on climbs or when you want to put the power down.

      Lastly, while the unit was initially quiet, within 1-2 months the unit started to make a very loud whirring noise and vibrate (both when pedaling and free-wheeling). I called my local dealer and Wahoo and they offered me a warranty replacement or to have the unit repaired locally — seems this was a known problem. I had it repaired however the issue came back a couple of weeks later.

      To be honest, these instances have really negatively impacted my earlier positive experience from the 2014 Kickr which I loved. I am planning on purchasing a Tacx Neo in the coming months and see how that experience is vs Kickr.

      Hope that helps.

    • Oisin

      oh, that does not sound good. Thanks for the info. I am not encouraged to get a gen 4.0 now…
      I heard about that mechanical problem, I thought that Wahoo got it fixed on later recent revision Kickrs.

    • Rich

      So I bought a kickr18 that broke within 2 weeks but Wahoo customer service were great and the replacement unit is still going strong 8 months later with many hours of hard use every week. It does make some odd noises intermittently (which is a bit worrying) but for the most part it feel really good.

    • Hi Warren,

      We’re sorry to hear you’ve had these issues with the KICKR ’18. Please be aware that KICKR ’18 comes equipped with an 11 speed cassette (not 10 speed as stated in your comment) which is the most likely reason you’ve encountered shifting issues. However, since there is currently no KICKR ’18-compatible freehub that supports 10 speed Campagnolo cassettes, we recommend upgrading to 11 speed as nearly all 11 speed cassettes are compatible across all brands.

      Additionally, if you’re still experiencing abnormal noise with your unit, please open a ticket at link to wahoofitness.com (be sure to mention this message in your request) and we’ll be happy to make it right for you.

      Sorry again to hear you’ve had these issues. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

    • Louis Matherne

      I upgraded from an original Kickr to a the latest gen 4 November 2018. Unlike some here that have had issues, might has been completely trouble free. It is much quieter than the original but what I notice most is the more locked in control from what ever app I’m using. There is still the occasional delay in changing the power relative to where the app says it should be but generally it is more on than off.

      Having said all of this, I would have been fine to keep using the original. The new model isn’t a huge improvements over the original but silence also isn’t a major concern for me.


    • Oisin

      Thanks for your responses, I chose not to upgrade.
      I guess I’ll wait for a gen 5 or something! ??

  92. Thomas

    Hi rainmaker,

    Thanks for your great review.

    My kids asked me if they could put their 26 inches mountain bikes on my new wahoo kickr core if I buy one. Would be great to see my young boys in front of zwift races.

    Do you know if it is compliant with MTB (hardtail)? I would not care on power values or cadence for them.


  93. Howdy Ray,

    FYI, Wahoo recently designed, released and are now shipping new Campagnolo Freehub bodies for the Kickr18 V4.
    Buy online and select Kickr18 from the dropdown here:
    link to au.wahoofitness.com

  94. Alan Jones

    [Update – Sept 2019: Wahoo now has a Campagnolo adapter available!]

    Is this true?? Released?

  95. Ben Farnsworth

    I have the original KICKR 14. I have never used it that much but have decided to move more of my training inside.

    Is it worth upgrading the the KICKR 18? Is there likely to be a KICKR 19 later this year?

  96. Peter

    Hi there,

    Is ist normal That the wheel with the chevrons And the piece where the led lights are on get very hot ? And that the ANT+ LED starts fluctuating ?

    Br Peter

  97. Alejandro Estela

    Hi Ray, I’m reaching out to you to see if you’ve heard of a problem I’m having with my 2017 Kickr.

    From about a month or 2, I started noticing that when ever I was coasting the chain would get pushed, as if the freehub wasn’t doing its job properly. I did some maintenance, cleaned, re-greased but that didn’t help. I reached out to Wahoo Support and sent them all the evidence they asked for and they dictaminated I have to change the flywheel (USD 100 + 70 shipping), since its nothing to do with the pawls, or bushings.

    Seems pretty weird that a casted part would be causing this. I took everything apart and started searching for problems and ended up finding that the dented ring (the one where the pawls lock when applying power) is completely off-center and is very evident when removing the freehub and making it rotate. The bearings and everything look perfect, except that ring, which causes that sinusoidal or intermittent push on the freehub.

    I’m searching for people who have had the same issue and what Wahoo has done to solve it, since my Kickr has recently gone out of warranty they don’t want to cover anything out of a ridiculously expensive repair, which is caused all in all by a terrible manufacturing defect. I believe this will get worst with time due to heat and wear, which will warp an already “under pressure” ring.

    On the picture attached you can see the difference there is from one side to the other of the borders. This obviously is magnified while moving.

  98. Alejandro Estela

    And then.. I didn’t attach the picture.

    Hopefully someone had the same issues and can shed some light on to this!

  99. Brad Jenkins

    I decided to semi-retire my faithful Kickr Snap and picked up a new Kickr 2018 a couple of weeks ago during the Clever Training sale. Right away I noticed that I could not mount my 12×142 thru axle bike to the trainer because the drive side bushing was undercut and would not fit in the dropout. I contacted Wahoo and they quickly sent me a bushing with a deeper cut that fit my dropout correctly. I tried to mount the bike with the new correctly fitting bushing only to discover that the Kickr axle measured 141mm in width creating a 1mm gap between the bushing and frame. When tightening the thru axle, I immediately noticed the frame deflecting and the derailleur moving to a different position. This caused the bike to shift wildly incorrectly. I removed the bike from the trainer and began to measure all the hub widths on several sets of wheels that I have. Not surprisingly they all measured exactly 142mm wide. Next, I measured the width of the axle on my friends Tacx Neo2 and it was precisely 142mm. I then contacted Wahoo again and was told “this is normal to compensate for the many different frame designs that are available”. I was told I have 2 options; 1) return the unit for a full refund or 2) adjust the derailleur every time I put the bike on the trainer or take it off to ride it on the road.
    Have you seen this issue before? Can you verify the hub width on your Kickr 2018 with the 12×142 thru axle adapters in place? This doesn’t seem like a reasonable response from a company like Wahoo and I wonder what is really going on. Obviously, they are outside industry specification here and many other people must have this issue.
    I did a little experiment; I had cut a shim out of a 1mm thick piece of plastic and placed it inside the bushing creating the 142mm width, low and behold, the bike fit perfectly and shifted perfectly. Any idea what gives here?

    • Richard

      Had the same experience, did you resolve the issue?

    • Brad Jenkins

      Yes Richard the issue has been resolved. I purchased a stainless steel round shim from McMaster Carr to replace the plastic one that I had fabricated. The trainer now works flawlessly with my bike. I needed a 1mm shim, however, my friend needed a 1.5mm shim so be sure to measure your particular kickr axle. The shim is placed inside the thru axle bushing supplied by wahoo, effectively extending the axle width to the proper distance.
      I have since measured a bunch of 12×142 axles and have found that they can vary in width so this is not really a wahoo issue in my opinion anymore. I recently measured a new DT swiss hub at 143mm + ! The important thing is that your kickr axle width matches your particular 12×142 hub width. If you need to further fine tune things you can purchase cassette shims [I didn’t need to do this].

      Link to McMaster Carr shims: link to mcmaster.com

      I had purchased the 12mm ID x 18mm OD x 1mm thickness.

    • Richard

      Hi Brad, thanks for the detailed info that definitely sounds worth investigating. Does the appropriately thick shim go inside the non-drive side axle adaptor?

    • Brad Jenkins

      Richard, my kickr axle was short on the drive side, so I put the shim in the drive side. You should use a caliper to determine your cassette offset and compare that to the kickr. I checked my cassette offset by measuring from the axle end to the 11 tooth cog on both the 12×142 hub & the kickr. Hope this helps!

    • Richard

      Great thanks for your help. Off to buy some measuring callipers! Seems crazy to have this situation on a £1000 trainer

  100. naiboo

    i´ve bought a refurbished wahoo kickr core. the unit itself works great (as far as i can tell because it is my first turbo trainer).
    I´ve the same sound as in this youtube video. It is a light rubbing sound on each turn of the belt.
    link to youtube.com

    what do you think about this?

  101. Gustavo Gomez

    Zwift Insider just did a test using Bluetooth on wahoo kickr and the conclusion is ftms matters. It seems the resistance doesn’t work properly on bluetooth mode (standard resistance instead of the rider’s weight) and there’s not proof zwift is using wahoo Bluetooth propietary commands.

  102. Richard

    Anyone else having an issue removing the original freehub from the Kickr ’18? I have removed original lock nut and it looks like the freehub should just slip right off but I cant get it to budge at all.

    link to support.wahoofitness.com

  103. Greg Wang

    Question regarding power with only one head unit (say a Garmin 520 Plus)… if you really cared about balance for some reason and have a dual-sided PM on your cranks, is there a way to use the PM from the cranks while also being attached to Kickr via FE-C?

  104. Gary Hoff

    My 2018 worked pretty well, at first. This year, with my Apple Mac Laptop and up to date Android phone, I am having trouble with the different sensors connecting. About 60% of the time I am wasting 15 to 45 minutes, starting, stopping, unplugging, replugging on to have sensors drop out part way through a ride or even be recognized. Tonight my trainer would never quite get recognized even with the phone 2 feet away and the Mac about 4 feet. I changed the batteries on my wahoo cadence and heart strap and used the Ant+ adapter for the Mac but all I got was “searching”. The Wahoo Fitness and Wahoo Utility apps on the phone won’t pick up my sensors either. The apps are up to date. Very frustrating. Wahoo used to be on top, but now….
    I can go to the YMCA and use a Keiser spin bike with their app with almost zero issues ever. Why should I ever buy a Wahoo trainer of any kind anymore?

  105. DG

    Great article, thanks.

    I’ve just bought a Wahoo Kickr 2018 after some of these reviews.

    Although the flywheel is pretty much silent, I’m still having issues with the my Shimano 105 groupset on the cassette that comes with the Kickr. I feel the drivechain is knocking against something in the lowest gears. I’m going to presume I need to mess around with the rear derailleur to get the clean noise in this video?!


  106. Louis Matherne

    Add me to the list of Wahoo KICKR 2018 owners with a bearing issue. At least I think that is what it is. Over time, it got louder and louder. Sometimes a low rumble and other times a high pitch, usually the latter. I bought my KICKR in November 2018 so I’m out of warranty.

    However, I contacted Wahoo by email and included an audio file. No questions asked, they sent me what appears to be a new unit. I had to send mine back first but as soon as it was registered as being with UPS, they sent out the replacement unit. I was without for only 4 days. I could have asked them to send it first but I have an older version 1 KICKR and just used it for the few days I needed it.

    So this is the only problem I’ve had and it has been great otherwise. Clearly customer service is great but will I be having this problem again in a year?


    • Gryphon

      Unfortunately, the answer to your last question is most likely yes. I’m on my third KICKR 2018, which was a new, recently produced model and it is starting to generate the metallic chatter-like noise after about four months.

      I do agree, however, the customer service has been outstanding. When it came time to get my third one, they sent it out before I had even returned number two. It seems to me that this design was just flawed from the beginning. I expect their next standalone KICKR will be a derivative of the magnetic design that they have on their bike.

    • Neil Katz

      I bought my 2018 Kickr from a friend. A month later I started hearing loud noises. Contacted Wahoo support and I have the known problem with early versions of the 2018 Kickr. As my unit is out of warranty they are charging me $250 for a replacement plus shipping. Since the failure is due to a design flaw and not normal wear and tear I think Wahoo should replace it at no charge. Going to try to escalate with support and see if I can get them to waive the $250 fee.

  107. MJK

    Would you go with “certified recondition 2018 Kickr” for $749, or New Kicker Core fo $899?

    • oak

      Solid debate. I’m in the same boat, and leaning towards the refurb: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Realistically, I think the chance of ‘success’ on either is the same (meaning, Wahoo has made no known changes to the hardware design at this point) – so might as well get the full KICKR for $150 less. I have zero issues with buying reconditioned hardware, it basically goes through the same factory QA process anyway. And carries the same warranty.

    • oak

      Is there a difference in the 2018 kickr vs the current kickr smart trainer? I haven’t been able to dig anything up, so I’m guessing there haven’t been any major changes since the 2018 release.

      All my searches found were there were some issues upon initial release, but I didn’t see a newer review for the kickr model than this.

    • The 2018 KICKR is the current version.

  108. Christopher Haswell

    Do you know if there will be a newer version of this coming out any time soon as dont want to spend and fing out in a few months a newer version is out.

  109. Peter

    Hey DC – Do You think Wahoo will release this year any updates/new version of KICKR? current Smart was released in 2018 as I recall.

    What are Your thoughts and when should we expect sth new from Wahoo? Thanks

    • Typically speaking Wahoo has released a new trainer variant/refresh almost every year at Eurobike (or a bit before it in some cases). Last year there was the new KICKR Bike instead.

      Whether or not they, or any company, can manage to get a new product through their product development cycles given the current world situation is a big question. Developing new software is one thing, developing bulky new hardware is exceptionally difficult to do with people working from home.

  110. Richard

    Has anyone experienced a rubbing sound combing from the trainer once the flywheel has been going a while and presumably ‘warmed up’? Any suggestions for fixing?

  111. Even though Wahoo came clean with the problem they are facing with Kickr18 and claim to have it solved, it is unfortunate that users still experience the same problem from new unit they purchase most recently.With current situation that put smart trainers on high demand worldwide this is the perfect time for wahoo to launch its problem free ( hopefully) 5th generation Kickr20.

  112. Ben

    Pretty specific question.
    I am aware of the changes to broadcast an estimated cadence from the kickr towards the end of 2019. 
    On my F6, I want to record the pedal Dynamics information from the Assioma AND the Speed and Distance information from my Kickr.
    Each sensor (Kickr and Assioma) has 2 broadcast protocols (BT and Ant+), I’ve tried all 4 combinations of the 2 sensors and 2 protocols and I can only seem to have either the pedal Dynamics from Assioma or the speed and distance (and power incidentally, but critically, not the pedal Dynamics) from the Kickr.
    I’ve read some suggestions about connecting the kickr as only a ‘speed and distance’ sensor but the F6 option is ‘speed/cadence’ sensor and that doesn’t work.
    Anyone able to help?

  113. Jordi Moran

    Hello, my Kickr 2018 has limit speed to 72km/h with my 29” MTB.
    Why are there limit speed?
    Is it correct?

  114. Martin

    Hey Ray, have you come across any alignment issues when installing the bike compared to your road setup? It feels like I need to adjust the barrel even though my road setup is fine. I’ve read this a lot too – any news?

    • Yup, it’s not super uncommon – however, in the vast majority of cases i see (especially with a KICKR wih a pre-installed cassette), it’s because someone (bike shop, whomever) didn’t put the correct spacer in place on your bike. You can get away with it there, because you just then re-index everything to ‘wrong’. But once you align that to the KICKR which is almost guaranteed to be done correctly (since they only do one type of cassette in the factory), it leads to issues.

      In other words, I’d double-check your cassette and ensure only a single spacer is installed.

    • Martin Owen

      Thanks. My bike is an ex-team race bike So I would hope it’s all been installed correctly ?

  115. Rodolfo Araujo

    Hey Ray! Coming from a Hammer to Kickr 2018 I have been missing the auto-off feature from the former. The Kickr only turns off if unplugged from the wall, while the Hammer had a inactivity time-out. Am I missing something here?

  116. Pcanh

    No sorry . ..the wahoo kicker 18 ,they break i have gone though 4 since november 2019! 1st one lasted 4 month! Developed a airplane noise! 2nd was a grating noise. 3rd lasted 16 mins out the box..4th got sent back from new did not open box. Wahoo customer service very good can’t fault them. Even the guy was not happy with the build even he said there was a manufacture problem. Oh and the chain alignment was terrible, tried all sorts blocks different chain’s, has for power readings on zwift very good on there, I had the kicker climb has well that was good.

  117. Alan Barlow


    Thanks for the brilliant content as always. I never buy anything without reading your reviews and have done fkr years. Again, thank you. I live in the UK and wahoo have some reconditioned units for sale £849 for the kickr and £599 for the core. In the interests of a bargain is it worth it…. Or should I buy new?



  118. Courtney Weaver

    Thanks for the informative review!

  119. SC

    Hi, i have chance to buy a kickr 2018 in second hand , (stil in warranty from atual owner) , i contact wahoo and they say the warranty can´t be transferred its true?
    Best regards

    • Neil

      When I had an issue with the 2018 Kickr Wahoo asked if I could get a copy of the receipt from the original owner. If I could get a copy of the original receipt they would have replaced my kickr and no charge. Unfortunately, the original owner did not have the receipt, so, I had to pay (they gave me a good discount) for a refurbished replacement.

  120. Myck

    Thanks for the great review Ray.

    The new Neo 2T and Kickr seem to be both very good, and I am considering both. I think it will come down to which one is easier to adapt to use with two separate and very dissimilar drivetrains. One is a Disc-equipped SRAM AXS eTap 12-speed (142-12 thru-axle) and the other is an Ultegra 11-speed std quick release axle. I realize that I will have to buy at least one new cassette if not two as well as the XD/XD freehub, but which system is easier to swap between. I am also a bit worried about using the 2.7 mm spacer to provide sufficient space for the SRAM disck brake on the NEO which would require spreading the frame dropouts by 2.7 mm. Not sure if the Wahoo unit does not have this issue.

    Since you have used both systems, it might be useful to get your input on swapping out drivetrains ease-of-use for the two systems. Thanks.

  121. Chauncey Messino

    I see wahoo has certified reconditioned 2018 kickr in stock for $999 They get decent reviews on there website. Was all set to buy one until I started reading comments here. Being a middle income guy I cant see paying that much for something known to have lots of issues. I wonder what percent of people have bought one and never had an issue? I would imagine most people only post when they have problems. Now I`m back to thinking I should just stick with my bulletproof Kinetic with inride

  122. Gabe

    I received a 2018 refurb unit.

    On the app it says v5.

    Anyone know if that’s the latest before the 2020 update of hardware revisions?

  123. David Greenyer

    I had a 2016 model that worked fine and fancied a climb in the front so sold the perfect 2016 and bought directly from Wahoo a 2018 ‘certified reconditioned’ model. it lasted about 10 rides before the bearing went, and now makes a lot of noise.

    Have been in contact with Wahoo who asked me to upload a video and proof of purchase.

    About a week in so far and I am on my third day of waiting for their courier to collect, they keep apologising but asking me to stay in for another day.

    Given what I have read here and elsewhere I’m not convinced that I should have bought this or if a replacement will solve the issue see as some people have had to receive multiple units before a unit was received that worked OK

    I asked if I could pay the extra for a new one and they wouldn’t accept my money, I asked for a refund and guess what – no can do

    I would recommend buying only new and possibly another brand :-(

    • Chauncey Messino

      I ended up buying a refurb kickr core direct from wahoo. So far a month and a half riding around 5 times a week and no problems. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

  124. Johnny V

    Hi DC

    I love your site and have been reading lots of reviews and viewing quite a few videos. Keep up the amazing work!

    I would like your advice/opinion. I can buy a reconditioned 2018 with 2 years warranty from the official EU Wahoo website for 1000 and/or the new Kickr Core for 800 Euro. What I really want is the V5, but it is sold out and I do not think I want to wait for it. That might be another month or more.

    Would you think the certified reconditioned 2018 would be a good choice and a good deal? For example: When on a training mat you would not notice the additional movement you get on the V5 I believe. 2% accuracy over 1 % accuracy. Or do you think that the new Core is better/safer option at 800 Euro?

    Your opinion/advice would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Up until a week or two ago, the KICKR V5 was actually less accurate than the KICKR 2018. Now I’d say it’s awash.

      I don’t have any issues these days with the reconditioned KICKR18’s, I think they’ve proven over the last year or so that those units seem fine based on what people are saying (meaning, I haven’t seen any concerning number of complaints).

      The CORE is a great option if you want to save a few bucks and most people (probably all people) would never notice the difference, aside from the legs. Plus, if you’re looking at getting a KICKR CLIMB, then you can put money towards that instead.

  125. Johnny

    Hi all,

    my 2018 Kickr is consistently reading 7-10% below my P1 Pedals and Rotor 2inPower cranks.

    I’ve done the following;
    New ceramic BB
    completely degreased and re waxed chain
    Fitted a new Ultegra casette
    Degreased and relubed ceramic jockey wheels
    Factory spindown

    I’m running Rotor Q rings, but don’t think this would cause an issue?

    I’ve contacted Wahoo support, who just say that the trainer is calibrated and they would expect drivetrain losses.

    I feel that 7 – 10% is way too high for drivetrain losses?

    I’ve attached my mean max power graph from a race last week, which shows the reasonably constant difference.

    Can anyone let me know, is this normal?

    I also have the general power comparison from the ride if helpful.

    • Yeah, I’d say that’s too high for drivetrain losses.

      The challenge you’ll have though is your oval rings. They’re known to hose up power measurement on power meters. Though, ROTOR does claim to get it correct for non-round rings (PowerTap is wishy-washy on the subject).

      It sounds like you’ve done all the right things. Any chance you’ve got a friend with a bike + power meter you can throw on for good fun?

    • Johnny

      Thanks Ray. That’s my next port of call, a different bike with round rings and then with oval rings to see what the variability is there

    • Peter K.

      Hi Ray, I have similar issue with my Kickr18 and Garmin Vector 2 pedals. The Kickr is measuring around 10 watts less then my V2. Measured several time via your analyser. Is there a way to adjust on of the two get rid of this bias ?

    • Hi Peter-

      10w on how many watts? Meaning, 10w on 80w, or 10w on 250w.

      Taking 250w, that would mean 250w for Vector 3, and 240w for the KICKR18. At +/- 2% for the KICKR, that gives a range of 245-255w. And for Vector 3, that’s a range of 237-243.

      However that doesn’t account for drivetrain losses, which would be 1-3% in general, depending on how clean things are. Point is, 10w (not 10%) is actually not all that far apart, and in this case, if the Vector 3 is higher than the KICKR – that’s the correct order.

    • Peter

      Thx Ray. The reason for the difference is OK. I just would like to adjust one of the 2 so the numbers get more equal so FTP calculations don‘t get messed up from indoor and outdoor measurement systems. Is there a way I could add 10w in Kickr or deduct 10w from Garmin ?

    • Peter K.

      Thx Ray. The reason for the difference is OK. I just would like to adjust one of the 2 so the numbers get more equal so FTP calculations don‘t get messed up from indoor and outdoor measurement systems. Is there a way I could add 10w in Kickr or deduct 10w from Garmin ?

    • Adjusting either would be tricky. What’s a better approach would be to use power match instead. That basically tells your KICKR to use the Garmin Vector units as the main source. And you’d want to do that because you wouldn’t have the KICKR out on the road.

      You can specify in the KICKR app settings for setting that up.

    • Peter K.

      Thx Ray

  126. S. Savkar

    Seized up fly wheel!

    Has anyone had a similar issue? I was doing the Tour du Zwift last evening (stage 3) which was a virtual 4k or so of climbing. All was going great, got to the top of the ride, and then decided to turn around and just do a light pedal back down to cool down.

    All of a sudden, boom, my flywheel on the KICKR completely seizes up. It is not related to electronics or some misfire. I tried everything i could including turning everything off, letting the KICKR cool down.

    I have found a video where a guy had the same issue and it turns out a piece of magnetic tape (MAGNETIC TAPE) comes up one of the four coils inside the flywheel and that tape wedges between the outer wheel and the coils and brings the darn thing to a stop.

    I am feint of heart in taking apart the KICKR, so I guess i have to go to my LBS to see if they can fix things.

    But curious if others have had this same problem. Seems crazy that this caused the issue. I have had my ’18 KICKR for about 2 years now, otherwise all was good.

    Here is the video if anyone is interested on someone else who had a similar problem: link to youtu.be


    • S. Savkar

      Just as an update, after calling Wahoo, even though I bought the KICKR in May of 2019 so this is far more than a year, they agreed to replace the borked KICKR. That is really awesome of them and so if anyone else runs into issues there is no reason not to call Wahoo to find out what they will do.

      This clearly feels to me to be a design issue in any event – so not making me happy would have been a big mistake for a piece of hardware only 2 years old. This thing should last longer than that, so they are doing the right thing.

  127. Bob Mowat

    I have a Wahoo Kickr 16 and am considering upgrading to Wahoo Kickr 20 is the device is materially quieter.
    Do you think I will notice the difference in lower noise?

    Thank you,

    • S. Savkar

      Is noise a serious consideration for you? If your ’16 is working well enough I’d almost wait until things calm down so there is far better supply of trainers than now. Right now feels like you are forced to pay full price for an upgrade while usually in “normal” times twice a year you could get those 20% off deals.

      I have had the ’16, ’17 and ’18 KICKR and to be honest when I upgraded from the ’17 to the ’18 if the noise was better, it wasn’t to the point where I really noticed that much. Just was not like all of a sudden I had a whisper quiet setup! Given the other mechanics around the chain/chainrings/casette.

      I upgraded from the ’16 to the ’17 because of the KICKR Climb, and then got an ’18 because I moved my ’17 to my upstate house where I still use it a lot. I never feel like when on the ’17 it is so much more loud than my ’18 setup at home.

      Now I have upgraded to a KICKR Bike at the main house, and frankly that has a lot more noise! More related to the whine, etc. But again, now that I am used to it, I almost like it. Frankly the whine at times has a cadence that almost acts like a metronome for me!

    • Agree with S.

      That said – to the core of your question, yes, the KICKR 2020 is significantly quieter than the KICKR 2016. Essentially, the KICKR 2020 is silent (save your drivechain), versus the KICKR16 is most definitely not. But, if you’re used to it, then…more money for ice cream?

    • Bob Mowat

      Thanks to both of your replies! Much appreciated! If I can and the “used-market” for used Wahoo Kickr’s is strong. I will try to do the upgrade so that the “net” cost is $300-$400. We’ll see…. Thank you.

    • S. Savkar

      A buddy of mine recently called up Wahoo and he had a ’14 KICKR (I don’t recall may have been V1 or V2). in any event, they were willing to sell him a refurb one for $200 off or a V5 for full price.

      But may be worth double checking what you could get one from Wahoo if you call them about your existing KICKR.

      To be fair, his KICKR was having a little wobble so it was really time for a replacement.

    • Bob Mowat

      S. Savkar, Will try calling them too. Thanks!

  128. gregory rhodes

    Just got a Kickr Core. In TrainerRoad FTP 20 minute test the resistance mode cycles dramatically. Any ideas on this or how to fix it? Communication problem TR on laptop to Kickr?
    Never a problem doing this on PowerTap and Fluid 2 trainer. Love the Kickr but trying to figure it out.
    Thank you,