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Wahoo KICKR CLIMB In-Depth Review

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After nearly a year, Wahoo has finally started shipping the Wahoo CLIMB to customers. Real-life, actual paying customers. For those not familiar, Wahoo’s CLIMB is a ‘grade simulator’, which basically means it makes the front of your bike go up and down, replicating the climbs and descents of your nearby hills (or in my case living in Amsterdam now, the meanest of canal bridges).

Of course, given the $599 price tag of such a product, opinions roughly fall into one of two camps: ‘Holy crap that’s cool’, or ‘Stupidest waste of money ever’.  Regardless of where you stand on that scale, there’s certainly more than enough pent-up interest for the product.  One only need to look at either my or Lama’s YouTube video view stats for our respective early preview CLIMB videos last summer – easily the most ‘popular’ product out of Eurobike 2017.

In any event, I’ve been using a loaner CLIMB unit now since February (it’s final hardware, with now final software). Which, for those keeping track – was one of the many planned shipping dates along the way.  I decided to wait on writing and releasing this review until Wahoo had finally shipped a unit to a normal human. Not a media person, nor an industry person, nor a celebrity. A real-person somewhere. And today is finally that day.

Thus, here are my thoughts on this after a really long time with it.

What’s in the box:

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The CLIMB arrives in a relatively tall box – which of course makes sense given the unit itself is tall.  And that’s before we talk about the significant quantities of packing foam and plastic bags to keep it safe – enough to keep it safe from any zombie apocalyptic event:

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Inside you’ll find a pile of parts, summarized they are:

A) The CLIMB (one single piece/unit)
B) A crapton of metal axle adapters
C) Power brick + power cord
D) Quick release skewer
E) Manual

It’s pretty straightforward really…once you dig out all the parts from under all that plastic.

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In fact, the main CLIMB device is just barely small enough that you could probably toss it in your (large) suitcase and it would just barely fit. You know, just in case you always wanted to travel with it.

In any case, let’s get to setting it up.

How it works:

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After you’ve unboxed it, about the only work you’ll need to do is figuring which of the 98 pieces of metal in the box are the right ones for you.  See, those small bits of metal are the various adapters for your front fork. Roughly they’re divided into two camps: Thru-axle and standard quick-release skewer.

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In my case, I’ve used both.  I use the quick-release variant on my road and tri bikes, as seen below:

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But I also used the thru-axle variant on a loaner bike I was testing the Specialized power meter on:

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No matter which ones you’re using, they come in Noah’s Ark like pairs. Each adapter has two adapters, since you need it for both sides of the CLIMB:

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The challenge then becomes what the heck to do with all the other parts. Meaning that now I’m back to just the quick-release variants. Where do I stash all the thru-axle ones so when I successfully convince The Girl I need another bike, that I haven’t lost the parts by then. James Huang of Cycling Tips noted that it’d have been ideal if the CLIMB had a little drawer to stash the parts inside of it somewhere for safe keeping.

Next, we’ve got the power adapter. This thing is a beast. It’s like your KICKR power adapter got fat and lazy over the winter and had a few too many donuts. As in, a box of donuts every day. A GoPro for size comparison.

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My bike almost weighs less than this power adapter. Definitely does once we add the cord.  No matter, this dual voltage power beast gets plugged into the wall. Without it, you’re not going anywhere.  The other end gets plugged into the CLIMB itself.  It’s got a nice flexi cord on it so if you trip over it there’s a moderate chance it’ll just pull the cable out.

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I’d note that as an experienced tripper over this cable, my tests reveal two things:

A) If a bike is on the CLIMB: Nothing exciting will happen. The weight of the bike keeps the CLIMB in place, and the cable departs cleanly from the CLIMB.
B) If there is no bike on the CLIMB: Depending on the speed of your pedestrian activity – the CLIMB will likely go for a flight. Not a very high one, more like just toppling a giant. It’ll happen in slow-mo as you think the CLIMB might right itself, but in most cases it’ll go toppling down. Thankfully, despite doing it a bunch of times – it hasn’t broken anything.

In fact, for the most part, the KICKR CLIMB acts a bit like one of those silly punching bag dolls. It’ll mostly just rock itself back to center and stay upright. There are limits of course, but it’s not as tipsy as a 21-year-old after five shots.

Note that if you’re trying to find the ‘optimal’ placement for the base, there’s a quick trick: After attaching your fork to the CLIMB, simply lift up your handlebars and let the CLIMB balance itself and place it back down again.  Note though, you’ll want to ensure that the CLIMB is at the zero-point, which is marked by the little notch you can see below (thus in the below photo it’s at a much higher gradient):

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Now with it plugged in and mounted, we’ll talk about that remote control. It’s got a mere three buttons on it, and it is tethered via a 1980’s style spiral cable to the CLIMB itself.  It attaches to your handlebar via a stretchy band:

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While at first it seems kinda silly to use a wired remote – I actually kinda like it. Mostly because it’s one less thing to lose and charge. Old-school for the win.

The remote allows you to override the motor and simply lock it into any position you like.  The main reasons for doing so are:

A) You want to simulate grade (or more grade) where there is none in your app (such as an ERG mode app)
B) You want to un-simulate grade when there’s too much of it (you’re tired of going up and down)
C) Your partner bought ‘this awesome thing’ and you just want ‘this stupid thing’ turned off

No matter the reason, the lock option overrides the app immediately and stays that way until you manually unlock it via the button again.  Meanwhile, the up/down buttons are used for increasing or decreasing grade.  The KICKR CLIMB can simulate grades of up to +20% and declines of –10%.

The remote is also used for pairing your unit to the Wahoo KICKR, KICKR SNAP, and KICKR CORE.  This is required in order for the CLIMB to do anything meaningful. See, as I’ll explain in painful detail in the next section, the trainer itself is actually what controls the CLIMB – not the app directly to the CLIMB.  So you have to pair it to a KICKR variant (end of story).  To do so, you simply hold down the middle button till it starts flashing, and then wait for a quick double-blink to indicate it’s paired up.

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So with everything done, let’s say you’re in Zwift and riding along.  How does it work? You’ll pair your Wahoo trainer as normal to Zwift – in either of the controllable modes (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart):

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Then, you’ll just ride. The KICKR takes care of controlling the CLIMB. There’s zero pairing or configuration from within Zwift that you can do to the CLIMB (Nitpickers corner: There are some minor things via some hacks I talk about later in the post).  The unit will automatically go up and down based on the grade displayed in Zwift (or any other app):

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In fact, the unit initially went so fast that Wahoo had to tame it down over the course of the development cycle.  Meaning that this isn’t a super-slow up and down like a merry-go-round horse. This thing can change gradient as fast as the course throws it at it.

In fact, that’s actually the one criticism I have of it: There are sometimes odd disconnects between what the trainer is doing and what the CLIMB does. You’d likely never notice these in 98% of Zwift or other apps, but in one spot in particular – you probably will: Zwift’s Richmond course. Specifically, the ‘wall’ – aka – the only climb in Richmond.

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It’s here that due to a nuance of the roadway gradients, the CLIMB will very briefly (for about 1-1.5 seconds) dip down to –1% mid-climb (from 3-6%). Meanwhile, the KICKR doesn’t appear to react as quickly. It might technically be reacting, but you wouldn’t notice it like you notice the entire front of your bike randomly kissing the ground.

I’ve talked to both Zwift and Wahoo about it, and there isn’t an easy fix here. In the case of Zwift, they note that the grade does that in real-life. It’s a bit hard for me to entirely validate that. There might be a momentary flat section in real-life, but I’m not sure about a negative dip. Meanwhile, Wahoo notes that technically Zwift could use their underlying API to actually send slightly different commands to the CLIMB to address these sorts of oddities.

Beyond this one second of Richmond Zwift course crapiness, I’ve not had any other questionable situations – it does exactly what I want it to. It goes up when the course goes up, and it goes down when the course goes down:

One minor thing to be aware of though is that if you’ve set/left the Zwift default of 50% trainer difficulty (in your Zwift settings menu), then the CLIMB will also only emulate 50% as well. So a 14% climb becomes a 7% climb.  And more meaningfully, a 6% grade becomes 3%. Just keep this in mind if you haven’t changed it to 100%.

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As for the noise? There’s a slight engine motor sound that you might notice if you go from +20% to –10% in one shot.  But when you’re just going from 1% to 2%, it’s unlikely you’ll notice it after accounting for your drivetrain/trainer/fan noise.

Now what makes the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB so simple is in some ways the very thing that limits its sales: It only works with recent Wahoo trainers, not 3rd party trainers.  See, that gets to the nuances of how it all works. Which definitely requires you read onto the next section. Cause we need an entire section for it…trust me.

Apps and Compatibility:

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While I briefly discussed this in the previous section, I wanted to highlight this a bit more here so that it’s super clear. When it comes to other hardware and software companies, the Wahoo CLIMB is compatible with nobody and everybody all at once.  Here, let me explain.

From a hardware compatibility standpoint, the KICKR CLIMB requires one of Wahoo’s latest trainers.  That’s only the following:

– Wahoo KICKR 2017 and 2018
– Wahoo KICKR CORE
– Wahoo KICKR SNAP 2017

Previous trainers won’t work because Wahoo cites hardware compatibility concerns. In the instance of the full KICKR trainers, those concerns appear valid, since the rotation of your (likely carbon) bike frame would hit the metal frame of the trainer, and could break it due to force on it. So that’s valid.  But no such limitation seems to exist on older KICKR SNAP trainers, which structurally have an identical frame.  Even Wahoo admitted last summer that on the older KICKR SNAP units, at worst you might see some scratching of the paint on your dropout.

Note there are at least one or two bikes that aren’t compatible at all, mainly due to the front disc brakes hitting the casing of the CLIMB in the most extreme upwards gradients. Wahoo doesn’t have a list of these yet, but it sounds like Giant Propel Advanced 2018 Disc is on the list, and possibly one other bike someone e-mailed me a few months back that they tried at an event, though, I can’t seem to find that e-mail in the fray.

And as for 3rd party trainers, that’s also a non-starter.  See, Wahoo’s pairing process is only to their trainers.  So the KICKR CLIMB pairs specifically to the trainer itself, rather than an app.  That allows it to work out of the box with any app, as the app doesn’t even ‘know’ about the CLIMB.  Instead, the app talks to the KICKR like it always has for years, sending it grade commands (i.e. 5% incline, or –2% decline).  The KICKR/SNAP trainer simulates that grade and then wirelessly passes along that command to the CLIMB at the same time.

From a development standpoint, it’s actually stunningly beautiful and simple. It eliminates apps from having to code anything different, as it ‘just works’ using all the same protocols as before (ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth Smart FTMS, as well as Wahoo’s own ANT and BLE protocols).  You could even take a trainer app that hasn’t been updated in three years, and it’ll work with CLIMB today. Cool stuff.

Now, there is an interesting exception to this.  See, after launch Wahoo realized there was a use case in apps that may only send wattage, but might want the bike to go up/down anyway.  For example, Sufferfest. It only sends commands making things more or less difficult, it doesn’t replicate an outside course. But there are elements of certain videos where the user is supposed to pretend they are climbing.  This solves that, as now the trainer can actually climb even when there’s no climbing in the video itself.

Finally, some people have asked about ways you can have the CLIMB simulate more grade than Zwift sends out. Specifically, if you’ve reduced your trainer difficulty setting on Zwift to a lower value than 100% (by default it’s 50%, but some people that do a lot of racing want it in the 10%-25% range for competitive reasons).  In this case you wouldn’t get much movement on CLIMB because it’d be reduced by a significant amount.

But, one DCR reader (Motti) found a workaround on it, which he listed in the comments section a few weeks back.  Here’s the condensed version of what he recommends doing:

“In the Wahoo Fitness [Smartphone] App under the KICKR configuration (once you have paired your CLIMB) there is a field for you to enter your wheelbase. A bike with a shorter wheelbase will require slightly less travel from the CLIMB to produce the same slope than a longer bike. Thankfully the engineers/coders did not limit the number of digits in this field! Therefore it can be used as the “correct for trainer difficulty multiplier” and wheelbase simultaneously. This makes me VERY happy!

 

Three steps:
1. Look up your wheelbase (mine is about 1000mm)
2. Divide your wheelbase by your trainer difficulty setting from the perfs xml file
3. put the result in the wheelbase field

 

So for my bike and setting it shakes out like this:
1. 1000mm
2. My difficulty is set at 20% so : 1000m / 0.20 = 5000
3. Enter 5000mm in the “wheelbase field” in the Wahoo fitness app KICKR setting

 

Now the CLIMB will simulate the full slope (accurately enough for our purposes) regardless of the trainer difficulty setting!! You just need to remember to adjust this number if you ever change you trainer difficulty setting in Zwift.”

It’s not likely to be a solution for everyone (and Zwift could technically solve it quite easily natively by using the Wahoo API noted above), but I wanted to include it in here nonetheless. Also note there’s some additional background bits detailed in that link.

Ultimately, while Wahoo has limited it to their own trainers, it’s that very thing that’s also made the ‘just works’ factor very high – the apps don’t have to do anything by default and everything just works.  Wahoo has occasionally chatted more informally about the idea of opening it up to other trainers. But I don’t really get the feeling that’ll happen anytime soon (if ever).

Wrap-Up:

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As I started this review, you’re either in one of two camps: Either you think it’s super cool or super stupid. Nothing I write will likely change your mind.  You probably came here if you were in the super cool camp simply to know whether there were any major issues.  And to date, I don’t believe there are.  I’ve been using my unit since February without issue (aside from my Richmond hill quirk).  I like it, and it works well.  Also, I’ve beaten the crap out of it.

It’s flown from Asia to the US, then to Australia, then back to Europe. Then bounced around all sorts of moving trucks and cargo bikes, all while being dropped a few times not in a box. It still works just fine.

While I think it’s expensive, it doesn’t sound like there’s a ton of room in this generation of product to reduce that much. Wahoo says the components required to make a unit that meets safety goals (both for the rider and little kids that may want to stick their fingers in while nearby) increase the cost substantially. I can’t realistically confirm or dispute that.  For now, I expect the price to stay there and the competition for an up and down gizmo to remain zero.

I would say though that the addition of the KICKR CORE means that you can essentially ‘save’ $300 on the CLIMB though by getting the CORE instead of the main KICKR (it has the same resistance/etc as the 2017 KICKR but it’s silent now).  So if you justify it that way, it’s ‘only’ $300 instead of $600. At least…that’s how I’d pitch it to my significant other.  If you’ve already bought a KICKR, then I can’t help you pitch it to your ‘Boss’. Sorry.

With that – thanks for reading, and feel free to drop any questions down below!

Found this review useful? Or just wanna save a bundle? Here’s how:

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 the time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP Program, you will earn 10% points on this item and 10% off (instantly) on thousands of other fitness products and accessories.  Points can be used on your very next purchase at Clever Training for anything site-wide.  You can read more about the details here.  By joining, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers.  And, since this item is more than $49, you get free 3-day (or less) US shipping as well.

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99 Comments

  1. David

    Been waiting for this. Glad to see that it works as advertised. A different question about value, though: do you think it’s actually a useful training tool? Is it just cool or will it actually make you a better cyclist? Not sure how one would answer that, but that’s my dilemma.

    • Boris

      I’ve heard from a guy, who has a climb now, that his bottom does not hurt that strong any more. Because of the climb he changes his position on the bike more often – which comes handy during long (2-3h) sessions.

      …would say: Qualifies as useful training tool.

    • As for me, I’m mixed. I think if you’re doing a lot of climbing in a race and live in a place that has zero climbing – then it might make sense. So, for someone like me where there’s virtually no hills in/around Amsterdam, if I were competing in an Ironman that had hills – I might consider it.

      Beyond that, it’s fun – but I’m not sure it’s earth-shattering either. I think it’s actually most interesting on descents to be honest – like in Zwift on the super steep down sections. Unfortunately, none of Wahoo’s trainers can motor the bike forward like the Tacx trainers – so you don’t quite get the complete sensation.

    • Laurens Bloem

      Have you done the pilgrimage to Het Kopje van Bloemendaal already?

  2. John

    Thanks for the review!
    Because of the grade limitation of the kickr core (16%), would that mean that the climb only goes to 16% when connected to the core?
    Thanks!

  3. Joe

    Another great test again, Thx.

    But there is other stuff needed as well for the ultimate racing experience:

    .) computer controlled shower for simulating rain (and togeather with fans below maybe snow & hail)
    .) computer controlled fans all around the trainer, capable doing hot/cold air for simulating temeratures between -10 and +55 Celsius and front/side/backwind
    .) computer controlled device which gives random pushes from left/right side to simulate “the greatest fans of all” wanting to touch you, dogs/deer/other animals make you wiggle and maybe kick you out of the saddle to simulate crashes
    .) random bike faults (chain, wheels, …) to simulate real live and have you to fix it by your own
    .) light control, to simulate flies in the eye
    .) …. any other suggestions?

    😉

    • Chris

      I know you’re mostly kidding but this is pretty cool too. Helps with the immersive feeling:

      link to youtube.com

    • Chris

      Couldn’t you just go – you know…outside ?

      At that point, short of unleashing a barn into your house and tearing out the roof – I don’t think your significant other would be okay with a hail machine in the pain cave. But, who knows?

      (Yes, I know that you’re kidding as well)

    • Chris

      That’s a pretty cool video. Thanks for sharing.

    • Louis Matherne

      .) random cars running you over and ambulance to take you to the hospital. 😉

    • the5krunner

      I think there’s a bit of patent infringement going on here

      link to thunbergia.files.wordpress.com

      #joke

      But the Climb was better than I thought it would be. Certainly more than a gimmick.

    • Chris

      if you want hail and rain, you could always set up the Kickr Headwind in front of a bucket of shaved ice or water…

    • Gareth

      Not always. I’m in Middle East and currently it is 44 dec C outside! That and the drivers are absolutely crazy, means that I train inside a lot….

    • Chris

      And as a retired Marine – well, let’s just I’m pretty sure all of my neighbors would frown upon if I recreated MY experience in the Middle East on a road bike simulator… including but not limited to the Haboobs and hail in April…

    • John

      Are we supposed to be in awe because youre an ex Marine?

      Ffs get over yourself…jeez

    • Chris

      Not at all. I was simply pointing out that my experience in the ME might have been a little bit different to Gareth’s because of where we are located and why we were there. Simulations are about recreating the experience of ‘being there’. And negating the combat aspects – try riding through a Haboob and let me know how that works out. It’s like the angry love child between a sandstorm and a hurricane, except with talcum powder-like dirt. Pretty impressive stuff. Gets everywhere. Took me 2 hours in a shower sitting in a lawnchair to finally get the water to stop running a muddy red color.

      And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there are no such thing as Ex-Marines. But this is a forum on cycling. If you want to vent your angst over the US Marine Corps, there are numerous forums to do that online that don’t include this one. So – How about the Climb? What do you think of it ? How about the videos showing the cycling caves ? What would you like to see adding to increase the realism of indoor training ?

    • DQ

      As someone who is not a marine, I dont find anything wrong with comment. I think if anyone could over themselves it would be an internet troll named John. Ffs indeed.

    • WattsUp

      Outside riding is limited to a) specific times of the day when b) the weather is at least not horrible, and c) times of day when I think I might be able to avoid a ride in the back of an ambulance (or worse).

      None of those conditions apply to my Kickr.

    • Chris

      “… ride in the back of an ambulance… None of the conditions apply to my Kickr”

      When I read this my first thought was “rollers” and the older style trainers that squeezed the skewer (and had a tendency to tip over while sprinting, I had one made by Giant that they gave me when I bought my advanced back in the early-mid 2000s, that thing was a death trap) Those definitely could result in an ambulance ride. And an awkward explanation the following day at work.

      “What happened ?”
      “I fell while riding my bike.”
      “What road were you on ? ”

      ….

      “My living room.”

    • DAN

      No ambulance ride involved but a few years ago in a marathon session on my rollers I dozed off…..and woke up as I was crashing……..like ohhhh F……………………….

    • Chris

      Ouch. Blood, carpet burn, and lycra don’t ever go together. Even in the red light district in Amsterdam, they’ll charge you extra for that. (So I’ve heard…)
      glad that you made it out in one piece.

  4. Chris

    Any word on if the early September date for the Kickr Core is firm or if it might get pushed back? I’d like to order the Core first so I can get my 10% Clever Training points and then buy the Climb. Really the only way to save some money on these as far as I know.

    How is the Climb on the Cycleops Thing?

    Also, seems like a lot of companies, Zwift included, are getting in to the smart bike arena. With Wahoo now having the front and back of the bike sorted, do you think there’s a possibility they introduce a smart bike? Could be very cool with a front end that goes up and down.

  5. Joe

    What kind of stress is placed on the frame and the rear dropouts? Is there any binding or rubbing when the front end moves? Should there be similar pivoting clamp adjusters as they put into the front dropouts?

    • Chris Garwood

      No more stress than usual, it’s only compatible with 2017 > Kickers because … Well I let dcrainmaker explain (With the new KICKR 2017 there’s a secondary spacer of sorts that fits in to allow your bike to rotate freely)

      link to dcrainmaker.com

      “The reason all comes down to where you put the quick release skewer into the trainer. On existing KICKR’s, this means that your drop-out (the part that sits over the skewer/wheel) would have come in contact directly with the KICKR structure, clamping it on. That meant that as the bike went up and down it would be grinding against the KICKR. And after a season of up and downs on Zwift there’s a very likely chance you’d injure your bike (or worse). With the new KICKR 2017 there’s a secondary spacer of sorts that fits in to allow your bike to rotate freely:”

    • Jojo

      Interesting, why not building a longer skewer and put on every side a hull between frame and hull. For sure it has to be strong enough for all the forces, like sprints etc.

    • PedalMonkey

      People have been sprinting on 2017 Kickers since 2017 with no issues, so not sure what issue you are trying to make

  6. Tyler

    How close are we to a new summary review/recommendations of all trainers on the market?

    I’m suddenly switching from the ‘holy crap are trainers dumb and expensive’ to the ‘this looks like an efficient way to workout’ camps, due to having to retire my running habit because of serious injury.

  7. Eric

    Thanks for the review. In your review you mentioned if you have an older snap it is possible to use the climb without any possible ramifications as long as you dont have a carbon bike. Did I read this correct and will be able to use it with my Trek Emonda ALR aluminum bike?

    I would love it and would rather not buy another snap if I can help it. Of course a disclaimer always has to be put out there.

    • Chris

      Theoretically you could use it manually via the remote and might just scratch some paint on the dropouts as it moves (which a light coating of wax would help mitigate). However, the 2016 Snap doesn’t know how to talk with the Climb so it won’t automatically adjust. I’m guessing that this will be change via a firmware update now that they’re shipping, and I’m sure that Ray will tell you the moment that it happens because it was quite the point of contention in his First look article.

    • Eric

      Thank you and great to hear.

  8. JD

    If there is a market for this type device there must be a simpler way to design it.
    For example, a hydraulic shock-style lift connected to a special hub with QR skewer that clamps to ANY fork, thru-axles included.
    That should work with any trainer that supports pivoting at the rear end with sufficient disc brake clearance.
    Neither design addresses the issue of how unnatural a fixed trainer is OTS. At least the bar and hoods are in a more realistic position for ascending/descending while seated.
    Even so this function seems better suited to a complete trainer like the Wattbike or VirtuPro Smart Trainer, or a smart trainer with the hydraulic lift built-in.
    How close are your shoe tips to the floor at -10%?

  9. Eli

    Wish they would come with a way to have the adapters not easily fall out when the unit gets tilted (assuming you are no using quick release). Ok, they go in farther then the kickr so a slight improvement but it still happens

    • My adapters are pretty snug – I’ve never had one fall out, even when I’ve tipped over CLIMB entirely.

    • Eli

      Had to move them around in the basement to deal with flooding and they don’t really stay (fell out of the kickr and almost fell out of the climb but was paying more attention then) If you use quick release and leave the skewer in then you shouldn’t have any issues.

  10. Charlie Anderson

    How stable does it feel out of the saddle? From the photos, it doesn’t appear to have much of a base footprint. Any fear of tipping over?

  11. Eli

    Any word on Xert or any of the other training based apps adding support for this?

    Wish there was some way to have zwift pass the grade to the trainer without the trainer being pairs as a controllable trainer. Say you use xert to control a workout but want zwift as your distraction so want the trainer to follow the profile of the land but xert to use erg mode

  12. Paul Whitelock

    I discovered (the hard way) that it’s possible for the Climb to damage the front forks on some bikes.

    I have an older Trek Madone 5.1 that I use a back-up. I bought the KICKR 2018 and the Climb and decided to leave the Madone set up as a trainer bike. The first ride everything was great, until I noticed some black streaks on the Climb. It turned out that those black streaks were carbon dust caused by abrasion of the forks as the bike moved up and down on the Climb.

    It seems that the front forks are just narrow enough to rub against the Climb, but not narrow enough to be noticeably tight. The result was that it shaved off some of the carbon fiber creating a notch on the inside of each fork leg.

    Wahoo offered to accept a return (even though it was purchased from Clever Training), but I like the Climb so much that I decided to keep it (since the damage was already done).

    I suggested to Wahoo that they list a minimum fork clearance on the product page, because otherwise you really have no idea if a bike is compatible until you actually unpack the box and try it. I imagine most bikes will have no problem, but if a bike is not compatible it would certainly be nicer to know before you make a purchase (and have to return the Climb, or worse, have a bike damaged by the Climb).

    • Chris Gautreaux

      Same thing here. My 2010 Trek 2.3 is spaced at 140mm. It ate up the inside of my fork where it rubbed and this was before even really riding it.

  13. Peter

    I wonder if Wahoo would consider a trade in option on older trainers. I have a 2016 Kickr already but no way could I justify buying a newer version to use this.

  14. Steve W.

    Showed my (non-cycling) wife your gif of the CLIMB in action. She said it was cool. I said cool just not $599 cool. She said get it. I’m flabbergasted. You can still be surprised after 40 years of marriage.

    On another note: I thought that I was the only one that controlled my fan with Alexa because I kept forgetting to turn it on.

    • I sure hope you already pressed order.

      Don’t lose the opportunity before she changes her mind!!!

    • Mattv

      Don’t get it. Take her on an nice trip to somewhere she likes and remind her how much you love her.

    • Who says it’s one or the other? 🙂

    • Mattv

      Hehe. True, but if you have to choose, always chose family…. 🙂

    • Dallas

      Here is where I am confused, I have one of the original Kickers and a Cervelo R3, and I can lift up the front of the bike without any interference from the trainer. So given this, I don’t understand what the issue is with the older trainers…unless my trainer bike combo is a one off situation.

    • Yup, and I can do the same on my original KICKR as well with all my bikes.

      The challenge Wahoo faced though is primarily disc-based bikes, but not all. They basically didn’t want to get into a situation where someone didn’t check a compatibility list and attached it to a KICKR+CLIMB and then snapped/broke something on the CLIMB (especially a carbon frame). So by forcing to the new KICKR17+ with the redesign on the back, they ensure that can’t happen on any frame.

      While there appears to be a bike or two that rubs the fork on the front of the CLIMB near the very top plastic cap, that’s an entirely different game than the rear. In the case of the rear pivot, it could have actually snapped the frame in a worst case scenario. Whereas in the front, it’d be just the brakes rubbing on the upper case area, and even that can actually pop-off with minimum force (mine has).

      Now, as I said on the KICKR SNAP however…that to me is just a sales push.

    • Chris

      I think after the shellacking Wahoo took for all but abandoning their bike computers in order to work on these devices, it would be foolish if they gamed their consumerbase once more and didn’t open it up to the 2016 Kickr Snap. So I personally see that being updated via firmware in the relatively new feature.

      But for those people trying to use their other trainers with the climb (and even perhaps to protect their $$$$ bike frames) Is there any reason you couldn’t insert a Teflon washer inbetween the skewer and the fork ? This would be a cheap fix that would protect the frames as they pivoted up and down on the trainer. Looking at Amazon, looks like you could buy enough even for YOUR bike collection for about $5 USD.

    • I’m pretty sure the SNAP 2016 ship has sailed.

      Frankly, not enough people put up a stink. :-/

    • Eric

      I am thinking wahoo will not update the snap firmware even though they could do it. Like DC said before it possibly more of a sales push as technically my older snap will work just fine. I get it but will be disappointing if they dont update it.

      Also I know some people that had dedicated trainer bikes with nice components but with a steel frame. I am thinking with a steel frame the dropout wont ever break.

    • Steve W

      covered all the suggested bases….

      Took wife to Colorado, Told her that I loved her, Paid off the last of our daughter induced college student loans…got the climb 🙂

  15. Mattv

    I’m in a third camp. I think it’s cool, I’d like one, but I’d rather but $600 into my daughter’s college fund.

  16. Trinadad

    Really enjoyed the humor in this one. Thanks for the hard work.

  17. Ron

    I received my Climb about four weeks ago. I ordered it even though I was a bit a skeptical about it. After using it I have to say I like it quite a bit. It makes the trainer experience much more enjoyable. I cannot exactly explain why that is so. However, riding while standing on a static trainer bike always seemed odd, but with the Climb it now feels more “natural.” It is also nice to change positions more often. I’d be hard pressed to fully justify the $599, but I am glad I purchased it and would do so again having used it. The comments stating they’d rather place the money in a college fund may leave me with a tinge of guilt, but….ahh, what’s a happy dad versus an education? Haha. Perhaps I should mention that I am a college professor.

  18. Gareth

    Can you tell me the shippings wights and dimensions of the climb?
    I’m overseas but will be traveling back to uk soon so wanted to know if I could either get it posted or bring it back on the plane (along with a core) I’ve looked all over but couldn’t see weight info
    Thanks

    • Ron

      Regarding the shipping dimensions, I purchased my Climb directly from Wahoo. It was shipped with the retail box inside a snug shipping box. The shipping box’s dimensions are 30-1/4″ x 18-1/4″ x 8-1/4″ (76.8 cm x 46.4 cm x 21.0 cm). The retail box is about 1/8″ smaller for each of the three dimensions. The packing list states the total weight is 27.68 LB (12.6 KG).

    • Gareth

      Thank you 🙂

  19. Jeff

    So does the kickr cease to change resistance based on grade when connected to climb? Basically what I’m asking is does the trainer talk to the climb and turn itself off for hills and let the climb do all the work?

    • It still changes grade. In fact, it’s the boss.

      If the KICKR doesn’t receive the grade change commands from the app – then the CLIMB won’t do anything. Effectively, the KICKR is the middle-man.

      The KICKR receives those commands (i.e. 5%), changes itself while concurrently telling the CLIMB to also do 5%.

  20. Rob S.

    Unrelated question: I see you have a Stages crank-based power meter on your bike. I had read that, initially, there were firm-ware issues with this meter. Have those issues been resolved? I’m looking at the Stages and the Pioneer…

  21. Boris

    I’d buy immediately a CLIMB, if…

    – it could be used with other trainers (e.g. mechanically the Tacx Neo would go as only other rear end caps are needed)

    – apps (e.g. FulGaz, TrainerRoad, Zwift) could control (via ANT+ and/or BLE) the grade of the CLIMB directly and not just via MITM (KICKR)

    – apps (especially Zwift is quite suckish in this regard, as it disables Neo’s Roadfeel when ErgMode is activated) would allow to use ErgMode with CLIMB and Roadfeel concurrently

    – “Trainer Difficulty” and “Grade Difficulty” could be setup separately – less shifting, but much change of position would be possible or vice versa.

    So, I guess I have to wait till CLIMB v3 (~2020 maybe) gets released, or so. 💸

    • Markus

      yes, “trainer difficulty” vs “grade difficulty” is also the main aspect that keeps me from getting one right now. And I would have to replace my 2016 Kickr for that.

      Wish Tacx came up with a Climb, wouldn’t mind getting a Neo.

    • RE: 3rd party compatibility: Yeah, I’d love to see more pressure applied from consumers to Wahoo on this point. Especially for them to pick and choose specific trainers that are compatible (i.e. Tacx Neo).

      RE: Apps: This is ultimately though just a variant of #1 above – since if you had this you wouldn’t require a KICKR. The main concern here from Wahoo’s standpoint is legal based, in having folks snap/break a bike with a non-compliant trainer. Insofar as passing mixed commands, apps can do it already today. TrainerRoad already does so.

      RE: Trainer Difficult vs Grade Difficulty: To me this is totally on Zwift to address. The Wahoo API supports this today (as it’s exactly what TR already uses). I agree, it’d be nice to see these split. On the flip-side, I never really understood why in racing they allow anything other than 100%.

  22. Charles Morgan

    The issue that is not mentioned in the article:
    Even when Zwift is set at 100% difficulty, although a e.g. 10% ascend in Zwift moves the Climb 10% up, a 10% descent in Zwift only moves the Climb half of that, viz. 5% down.
    I noticed this behavior myself. In addition, this behavior is mentioned in a recent video by Shane Miller, gplama. It is also mentioned in a zwiftinsider web page article about the Climb.
    However when I spoke to reps from both Zwift and Wahoo a few weeks ago about this “feature”, no one knew anything about it. Wahoo said it’s a Zwift issue for Zwift to figure out and Zwift said it was a Wahoo issue for Wahoo to figure out, thus both implying it is a bug to be fixed, not an intended design “feature”.
    I assume that the halving of the descent in the Zwift software is designed that way because the Climb can only physically descend half as much as an ascent (10% vs 20%).
    However IF that is the reason, I disagree with it. I would rather descend at a 1 to 1 ratio (down to of course the full 10% physical possibility).
    So this is the question:
    Is the halving of the descent of the Climb by Zwift a design feature or is it a bug?

    • For full disclosure, I worked closely with Wahoo on the integration of the CLIMB with FulGaz.

      The original intention on Wahoo’s part was the CLIMB would “just work” with any app (and before they realised the issues Ray has mentioned, with any trainer too). In reality, it should work “out of the box” with any app that can communicate with the KICKR, but it works a lot better with some custom integration. In FulGaz, we send the grade to the CLIMB 2 seconds before you see that gradient. This is how it moves smoothly from grade to grade, rather than jerking from point to point, or lagging behind.

      With the halved gradients on descents in Zwift, The CLIMB simply does as it’s told, so if it’s only pointing downhill half as far as expected, some software told it to do so. I can’t speak on behalf of Zwift, but I know anecdotally that the feel of the descents is halved so people don’t spin out all the time. That would explain why this is being seen by CLIMB users and probably makes for a better user experience. In FulGaz we put a minimum grade limit for the CLIMB instead.

    • Boris

      @Mike Clucas: Thanks for sharing that little insight

  23. John K.

    Ray,

    Just out of curiosity the bike pictured appears straight level at the lowest position.

    So how can you train/simulate a 10% decline from that position?

    • I think it’s just an optical illusion from a camera angle/etc… It definitely feels like it’s declining when I go down into the -10% grade position for sure (I feel like I’m sliding over the bars).

  24. Brett Martin

    You mentioned, setting the zero level on the climb so it aligns with the notch. How exactly is this calibrated if it doesnt align with the notch?

    • Brett Martin

      Or, put another way, if it is zeroed at the notch and your bike doesnt feel like it is level at this point for some reason. What then? It seems like a rough way to calibrate zero to me.

    • I think then you have to basically raise or lower the rear of the bike to adjust accordingly. Or, put a plank or something below the CLIMB. I’m not aware of any zero-offset of the climb.

    • Steve W

      I don’t think that the notch is necessarily the zero point with the kickr snap. With different wheel sizes, you’ll have different zero points. With the snap, you put in the wheel size and the wheel base and the climb calculates the zero (level) setting. You can find it by setting the climb manually until the angle is zero in the wahoo app or do the easy thing and press the center button on the remote (what wahoo calls the “lock, pair,and level button twice. With a 700c wheel and a 1000 mm wheelbase, my zero point is significantly higher than the notch (on a level floor). Given all that, I’m not sure how the +20% -10% range is preserved 🤔.

    • Interesting, I only briefly played with it on Snap, mostly on the various Full size KICKR and CORE models. Will have to poke into that!

    • Steve W

      Actually I was suffering from brain freeze. I think that the notch isn’t the zero point for the Snap because the bike just may sit higher in the Snap since it’s a wheel on top of a roller. I’m only guessing since I don’t have a Kickr or Kickr Core, but Wahoo includes a front wheel block with the Snap but says it’s not needed for the Kickr or Kickr Core…

  25. Warren

    Soon we will never ride outdoors again!

  26. Wyatt

    So could the CLIMB be used with something like a KK Road Machine that you can move your bike up and down on no problem, but just in manual mode with the remote or does it always need a KICKR? It would basically be an expensive riser block at that point, but one that you could control on the fly (similar to controlling the incline on my treadmill).

    • It can always be used in manual mode (where you use the remote to go up/down) – no matter the trainer.

      Whereas with a KICKR, apps can automate it.

      If one were in the situation of having a KK Road Machine now, one could get a climb and use it in manual mode, and then down the road when budgetary approvals permit, go to a Wahoo trainer (SNAP at lower end, CORE in mid, KICKR at full). All of which support it.

    • Wyatt

      Cool, that’s what I thought. I think going to the CORE from the Road Machine would probably be the better first step, but we’ll see how prices shake out in Canada–right now it’s looking like $850 for the CLIMB (good lord!) and $1200 for the CORE. Will be interested to see what Interbike brings first though.

  27. Livio

    I see that climb work also with trainerroad.
    Whit the step of gradient for any % of Ftp value.
    Any experience?

  28. Sherman

    Ray or others,
    I understand the wheelbase work around to negate the Zwift Trainer difficulty setting, but will the wheelbase number need to be set each time when using other apps that allow for changing difficulty? Like Rouvy etc…. Any insight appreciated!!