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Wahoo CEO Details Fixes for Issues Surrounding KICKR 2018 & KICKR CORE

KICKR-Fail

Since the Wahoo KICKR 2018 and KICKR CORE were announced back at Eurobike 2018 (in July), it hasn’t entirely been smooth sailing for either product. While both have been enormously popular, and certainly the vast majority of people haven’t had problems – those words haven’t been much comfort for those that have run into issues. Especially if they’re on their 3rd KICKR.  To those unlucky folks, it would seem as though every KICKR made was broken.

So while at CES two weeks ago I got the chance to chat with CEO Chip Hawkins about the issues the company has faced, and whether the company feels like they’ve got a handle on them. As well as a bit of clarity on exactly how many people (or percentage) of the units this impacted. As always, it’s a bit tricky to tell by looking at forums or Facebook pages, since for the most part only people with broken units bother to reply. Whereas most with perfectly functional units continue about their daily life unaware.

I had wanted to film a video there, but the logistics didn’t quite work out. Instead, we ended up filming a video via Skype call a few days ago – with one of the Wahoo engineers present (plus CEO Chip Hawkins) to detail the issues and the fixes Wahoo has put in place. I wouldn’t really want to call it an interview per se, as that’s not really my cup of tea.

Instead, I generally prefer to provide a bit of background, and then ask some starter questions and let companies discuss the technology themselves. With a few more clarifying questions tossed in. After which, I give some closing thoughts. To cut right to it, here’s that video:

Again, I realize a 21-minute video is a bit long for some to watch, but I personally prefer listening to a company explain the details of an issue and how it came about, than a 2-minute canned PR piece.

The Tech Details:

In case you’re looking for the ‘too-long, didn’t watch’ version, here’s the basics of what was covered in bulleted fashion. Again, since it was mentioned multiple times – this won’t impact everyone, or anywhere near everyone. Wahoo noted after the call that the issues in total represent about 3% of units shipped (read-on to understand how someone could end up breaking multiple consecutive units though). Here’s the quickie version of that video:

– KICKR 2018 Noise Issues: This was primarily due to a locking key that wasn’t designed for certain states, and would end up being too loose and rattle. Wahoo has provided a self-repair kit you can get from support. Or, they’ll swap your KICKR out for you. Your choice. Wahoo implemented this fix the week of Sept 24th, 2018 (units made after that), however, keep in mind that it takes about four weeks on the water (by ship) before units hit distribution centers. And then more time before they hit retailers, and finally more time before they end up in your living room. The self-repair kit can easily be requested from Wahoo support, and they note it’ll take about 20-40 minutes to complete the procedure. I’ve had one friend that recently did the self-repair kit and it fixed his issue pretty easily.

– KICKR CORE Noise Issues: This is a slightly different issue than the KICKR 2018, and in this case is a much quicker fix requiring no additional parts. It’s simply opening up the CORE and tightening a few things. Quick and easy. Wahoo has a detailed PDF as well for this.

– KICKR CORE No Power/Speed Issues: This is probably the most challenging issue of all. This is the result of electrostatic discharge (ESD) that results in killing the onboard chip responsible for that. Totally dead killing, no half-deaths here. There’s no recovery from this except a unit swap. Wahoo details in the video what they’re doing to address this. The first step is switching to new power supplies (the power brick thing you plug in the wall) with discharge grounding. This should help most people. The second is adding an ESD diode to the CORE itself. They did note that this has actually been the same since the very original KICKR, it’s just that the KICKR sales volumes Wahoo has now are dramatically bigger (read: they’re selling way more units). It’s notable that when Wahoo support sends folks a replacement KICKR, they are very explicit in telling folks not to use the older (non-protected) power supply and instead to use the new power supply.  They even have a nifty picture to tell them apart with green and red text.

In particular though, the death by ESD bit is heavily environmentally weighted. Meaning, it explains quite logically how a single person could manage to kill 2, 3, 4 KICKR’s in a row. If you’re in a carpeted room with socks on, and manage to ‘shock’ your bike/trainer, that’ll do the trick. Trainer dead. Whereas if you’re in a concrete or other hard surface with little static electricity build-up, it’s less likely to happen to you. For example in the DCR Cave, it’s just a concrete beast. I don’t think I’ve shocked myself on anything yet (thus, no ESD issue on my trainers). Whereas if I was back in Washington DC, my living room there likely would have killed units like no tomorrow.

– KICKR Stickers Flying Off: While a somewhat funny problem if you sprint too hard – Wahoo says they’ve ordered better Elmer’s glue, and the stickers are no longer flying off. They do have sticker replacement packs in the event you unlocked the STICKR KICKR achievement.

Got all that? Good.

Chip in the video also noted that as much speculation as there has been on whether Wahoo’s new factories were to blame, he said that while he wished he could blame them for this, ultimately it was just engineering design mistakes.

A few people have asked since posting the video about a few other random issues. For the most part the above issues where the vast majority of what I heard from folks over the last while. Whereas some of the ancillary items people have noted seem to be far smaller in scope (such as potential belt overtightening and bearing wear). I honestly also think a bit of some of those questions are folks confusing some issues together (some are legit issues, but some are the result of a bad game of telephone). Still, I’ll ask Wahoo to clarify those items and what changes (if any) have been made and note them here when I hear back.

Wrap-Up:

To say the trainer industry is perfect would be untrue. Almost every manufacturer has had challenges in recent years (or even this year). Certainly Wahoo with their trainer this season, Tacx has also had some stumbles primarily with the Flux lineup, JetBlack with accuracy earlier, Kinetic is struggling a bit with software integration, Elite struggling with the Zumo release, and CycleOps…well, actually, CycleOps is good. Mostly because the only thing that’s new in their new 2018 units is they painted them black instead. I suppose that’s one way to do it.

Of course, someone will invariably recall the days of the CompuTrainer or some other product from years ago. But the reality is that big brands like Wahoo and Tacx are roughly shipping more trainers per month than CompuTrainer did in total over their entire 20+ year existence. Obviously CompuTrainer was the grandfather for all these brands, but comparing the two isn’t exactly Apples to Apples. More like Raisins to Watermelons.

Still, companies like Wahoo and Tacx need to ensure that quality is meeting consumers expectations, especially for the price point. I think we’re seeing that with why Tacx continues to push back the Tacx Bike shipping date, as they work to ensure they don’t have any stumbles like they’ve had in the past. And certainly for Wahoo, dealing with swapping out heavy trainers isn’t a cheap proposition by any means. Both in terms of shipping costs, but also the personnel required from a support standpoint too.

Hopefully though the video above helps explain things a little bit.

Finally, I don’t really have any overall concerns with recommending any of these brands/trainers. My guesstimate prior to the discussion of the impacted % of people was pretty close to what they provided. It may not feel like that if you’re on the wrong end of things, but the key difference between this year and even just a few years ago is simply how many trainers companies are shipping. This segment is exploding in popularity, and all of these companies are struggling to meet the demand. But by and large, the vast majority of people on all these brands don’t have issues. They’re off happily Zwifting or FulGazing or what-not.

With that – thanks for reading!

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180 Comments

  1. JR

    Before and after replacing two Kickr18 with the new key and bold, I have noticed the ribbed wheel isn’t running centered and is wobbly. Wahoo support is telling me nothing is wrong with that and if the Kickr isn’t making any noise anymore all is fine. Any one else seen this or can comment?

    • Dave Lusty

      Doesn’t make noise on a concrete floor. Try it on a normal floor in a modern house and it’ll sound like a jet engine. I swapped mine for an actually silent Neo 2 as the noise from the vibration of the Kickr was unacceptable

    • Sam Gyde

      The pulley wheel is not centered. I experienced the same and the solution provided by wahoo (the key replacement) didn’t make lots of difference in terms of noise and vibration. I am waiting for follow up from their support team which was very good so far. Sam

  2. Paul

    I have a masters degree in crisis management. It’s a shame that Wahoo don’t think this is a big deal, because it is, they will have lost countless sales to Tacx over the last 5 months because their brand has been tarnished by this issue.
    Even the tone and body language in this video shows that they don’t understand. If someone is training in winter they want to train, not be without a working trainer for many weeks whilst they are constantly swapped out.
    They should have got in front of this and made a video as soon as they understood the issue, not assume that people will keep coming back for another replacement.
    They used to make good trainers, but they seem to know little about their customers or crisis management.

    • codyish

      Every trainer company has issues, and these issues affect such a small number of units (and an even smaller number of people), and they are actually supporting and correcting these much better than many other companies would or do across the industry. To a man with a hammer everything is a nail and to a man with a Master’s in Crisis management…

      This is probably more of a blip for a company that has a really solid reputation.

    • Patrick Myers

      To codyfish’s point, there were issues with Tacx’s first run of Neo trainers too. Search for Neo gumball to see what I mean or read the comments in Ray’s review of it. Indeed, I had to send mine back for a new unit. It affected only a small portion of the units, but not ideal for an at-the-time-$1600 trainer.

    • Nick

      I was thinking the exact same thing. I hate that they downplay this by saying it’s a small amount of users and then forget the percentage of people affected. I also wonder what the benefit of spending a half hour fixing it yourself is versus shipping a 50 lbs trainer back to them?

    • “I also wonder what the benefit of spending a half hour fixing it yourself is versus shipping a 50 lbs trainer back to them?”

      They give you a credit to the Wahoo store, I think it’s like $100 some people have said. So enough to buy a sensor or two. Or almost half a Wahoo BOLT.

    • Paul

      It’s not the number of units affected that’s the issue, it’s the complete silence from Wahoo on the problems. Zwift riders & wahoo forums on facebook and twitter full of people vowing off Wahoo, all just for the sake of a statement from the company. It’s very poor management.

    • Lukasz

      I’ve had two Neos with rattling sound issues. One from 2015 another made in Sept 2018. Both required disassembly with their dedicated key and the issues did not return. I’ve had a few other Tacx products, no issues there.

    • RossF

      Or, do most consumers not notice the problems?

      That’s a metric I’d love to know.

    • Honestly, you can’t really not notice this problem. Either:

      A) Your trainer is dead
      or
      B) It sounds like a pinball machine.

      A consumer would notice.

  3. Ray,

    I don’t want to criticize Wahoo in this case as I’m not invovled in these issues, but a general comment that always comes to my mind when I hear about general issues with cycling stuff (be it a production or design problem with a model of some equipment/device, or a recall, or anything like that) is that cycling goodness has unreasonable costs for what you get, specifically if you compare with other markets where similar capabilities/functionalities/technologies are available at much better prices and with a much higher level of reliability (for instance just think about the price of head units compared with the price of mobile phones).

    It’s not uncommong that some equipment goes on the market and quite soon you hear about general production or design problems that are investing the population of hte buyers/users to a certain percentage.

    Production problems may always happen but for the amount of money cycling companies are generally charging the technologies and capabilities they put in your hands, I would have expected a higher level of accuracy in what they do prior the sell.

    This market is what it is, and I guess we’ll have to accept how things go, but when such kind of things happen, I tend to be not much sympathethic or comprehensive in the respect of these companies, they should simply use better our money before putting something on the market.

    I generally see quite a good after sales support from cycling market companies, but everything happening with After Sales is always happening when the problem is mine and not theirs, and I’m just in their hands.

    cheers
    Luca

    • Eli

      Cycling stuff is more expensive, but the size of the market is way smaller which means they have to charge more to pay for the development costs. If you sell a million cell phones and the cost of development at part of the cost of the unit is $10 you will pay for a $10 million dollar development. For a unit that sells in the 50,000 unit range you’d have to charge $190 more just to spend that much on development

    • DrPeperino

      But they don’t need to re-invent the wheel each time, they can leverage existing technology in many cases.

      Take for example the touchscreens: this is a very well established technology, and still the highest pieces in the Garmin head units line up are far from being exciting in the responsiveness and reliabilty of their touch screens.
      And additionally: they are replacing units because borders of the screen are getting blueish..

      I can’t believe there are differences in their specific case of implementation of this technology that justifies such bold issues (leading to general warranty replacements) seen just after issuance on the market.

      When you charge 500 and more bucks for a head unit I’m expecting a high level product and I think they are simply not delivering on this.
      When you buy cycling stuff in general you know that dealing with widespread issues, embrassing recalls or the like is something to be kept in consideration even when you are choosing the top notch. You must hope that the brand will also decide to keep you covered with their service level, but you will in any case need at least to raise a complaint, take action to return the fauly part/unit, and wait for the resolution.

    • Eli

      Your example of touch screens is a great example, but not in how you think of it. Sure touch screens on cell phones are very well established but how do cell phone screens work when wet? Rain, sweaty hands, etc? How about with gloves on?

      Also touch screens in cell phones are very much part of the LCD panel itself. Is the LCD screen the same on a garmin as a cell phone? How well do the both work in bright sunlight? Battery drain? The border problem Garmin is facing is because their low volume part has issues with how the bonding between the parts has gone.

      So while they don’t need to reinvent the wheel they can’t use the same mass produced part, they need something different

    • DrPeperino

      I know it’s not exactly there are differences between a mobile phone and a head unit, but our life if packed with touchscreens of any kind for various purposes.

      And in any case, the price of these pieces of equipment is totally unreasonable compared to the technological value that the companies put in your hands, and this is true for anything that goes around the world of cycling.

      If they keep charging these prices they should at least ensure that the product is reliable.

      I’m complaining it is unacceptable that such incredible percentage of what goes on the market might be affected by widespread issues or problems that most of the times lead to warranty claims and customer service calls.
      They should simply ensure that at the end of the day if we paid that much at least the product is well validated.

  4. Felkerino

    Perfect timing, Ray.

    A riding buddy of mine had the exact same instant-death issue with two new Kickr Core units. They bought them from a local REI and were able to take them back rather than deal with Wahoo direct, but they have sworn off Wahoo for now.

    I was weighing whether to get a Core, a regular Kickr or a discounted Tacx Neo 1 from Clever Training, and went with the Neo because of the issues my friend encountered. My Direto 1 had to be replaced by Elite after 500 miles use with a bad noise (bearing?), and the 2nd one is out of service now awaiting a replacement belt and tension pulley.

    You are right, the rush to meet demand seems to be straining the manufacturing side, and it is worth highlighting. Maybe the companies could release new units earlier in the year to reveal issues before the heavy winter use period.

  5. I got the self repair kit for the Kickr ’18 but couldn’t implement it. I couldn’t get the new ‘key’ they provided to fit.

    Luckily a local Wahoo dealer was able to perform the repair for free.

  6. v

    Nice post…it it nice to know that some (no all) companies cares about their customers!

  7. Dave

    Is there anything that can be done to protect the older kickr’s from the ESD issue?

    • James

      (Electrically) Earth the trainer and touch the (electrical) earth before you touch the trainer. I’m guessing the new power supply earths the trainer. Too bad if you are in Japan

      ESD is a known design issue and there is plenty of design guidance online and in standards to prevent it.

  8. Ulmer

    And of course I purchased a Core just 2 days ago… I’ve looked around and googled but don’t see the picture that shows the new and old power bricks, or the document about addressing noise on the Core. Anyone locate these? Maybe they can be linked from the post. 🙂

    Would be nice if Wahoo provided a way to determine if you have the updated unit. Doesn’t appear the manufactured date is on the sticker on the trainer. Maybe it could be determined by serial number?

    • Brad

      I contacted Wahoo about the power bricks, because I have an older one. Below is their response, plus a picture so you can see the difference in power supplies.

      Thanks for reaching out! The issue is not with the power brick, but with the power board in the unit itself. Our CEO has confirmed with us that swapping the power supply will not address this issue directly.
      If you are not currently experiencing issues with your unit, then there is no need to worry as this issue is affecting less than 5% of our total units sold.

    • Brad

      Picture didn’t attach correctly last time.

  9. Brian

    I really want to like Wahoo. I enjoy what they are doing in this space, and they come out with some really cool stuff on a regular basis.

    But every single product I have ever purchased from them (from cadence sensors, to footpods, to phone cases, to their apps) has been buggy and frustrating to use as a result.

    • Chris Garwood

      Really bizzare isn’t it how two people can have two different experiences, I’ve got Cadence, Ticker, Ticker FIT, Desk and Headwind and all been fine, had a Kicker MK1 after 2.5 years, which I sold to get a Neo, had two in 6 months and the Kicker is still going strong to the guy I sold it to 🙁

  10. Rick Brown

    Anyone have a link to the Wahoo PDF on how to tighten things in the Kickr Core? Ray mentions that the Wahoo site has a PDF on this, but I can’t seem to find it.

  11. Kevin D.

    ” Both in terms of shipping costs, but also the personal required from a support standpoint too. ”

    Should’t that read ” Personnel ” ?

  12. codyish

    Cycleops is not quite good. A few months into own my Hammer I noticed a very faint rattling noise at low flywheel speeds once it was warmed up. Generally, it was no big deal, it just sounds like some cable or something knocking around inside and the noise of the trainer covered it up. By a year later it’s a straight-up RATTLE that you can hear all the time if you turn the fan and music off. I took the case apart to see if there was something that could be zip-tied or moved out of the way or tightened and found nothing. Check the forums and found plenty of other people with the same issue and they all seemed to get a different solution from Cycleops support (ranging from “that’s just how it sounds” to “send it back and will fix it for $200). I didn’t feel like shipping a 50lb trainer just hoping they would actually fix it and the lack of real thru-axle compatibility drives me crazy so I sold it to somebody who doesn’t mind the noise and bought a Kickr 2018.

  13. Chris

    What was never answered was, in my opinion, Wahoo’s biggest mistake – multiple failures.

    I, and others, have received replacement units which also failed with the same problem (noise). If it is such a simple fix why did replacement units, in some cases two replacements, also fail?

    It has meant I’m doing all I can to minimise my losses and move elsewhere, having been a happy Wahoo customer for four years.

  14. Neo.e92

    Unfortunately, i was one of those who got unlucky with this Kickr 2018 model. Two in a row i got i “burned” by poor quality. Both on that noise coming out after less than two weeks on each unit. After the second one went caput, i just have it credited for a Tacx

    Unnecessary down time during this winter period is really aggravating. For the amount of money we spend on these trainers we should also expect the same level of quality.

    No more Wahoo products for me.

  15. Bob Burbar

    I’m actually glad to see that the comments here are not universal praise like in the YouTube comments section. I’m still a bit baffled that I’m hearing about so many 2018 Kickr’s having issues. I’m not fully satisfied with my second replacement unit myself, and more importantly I’m very worried about the long term reliability of the unit. I’m sitting here worried I bought a (quite expensive) lemon.

    What I’m really wondering at this point is if we would have heard anything at all from Wahoo (CEO or otherwise) if it were not for DCR’s own Kickr having an issue. It’s great that we’re hearing something, but it’s a bit worrisome that it all kicked off with 24hrs of DCR’s unit showing the issue, instead of during the wave of faulty initial units as far back as October.

    • There’s currently 165 comments on the YT video, hardly all of them are universal. Far from it.

      As for the timing, they had already agreed to provide a statement/video/something days before my KICKR died.

  16. Bob Burbar

    On the topic of additional issues, does anyone else have issues with the connection constantly dropping to the Wahoo Utilities app? It could hardly update the firmware on my replacement unit (took tens of attempts), and ever since it’s impossible to use the app to test different wattages as the power/speed constantly drops. It only stays connected for 2 or 3 seconds at a time. It doesn’t seem to the be the full power/speed not being reported issues as it’s intermittent yet consistent.

    Worried I’ll end up being unable to update the firmware.

    It’s happening across multiple iOS devices I’ve tested, yet holds a steady connection to Zwift on an iPad.

    • aL

      I just posted about connection issues in the Kickr Core review. I’ll copy it here –

      Anyone else have issues with the Kickr Core connecting to a Wahoo Bolt? The initial pairing would take ~30 seconds, then the connection would drop for awhile. After 15 to 30 minutes of spinning with a bad connection, drops would be minimal.

      I originally thought it was my set up but after wasting 15-30 minutes every time I tried using the Core, I thought I would do some investigating. I don’t see anyone else complain about this here. Just a lot of fried boards, clicking and bad bearings.

  17. Should be “too long, didn’t watch”….

  18. Neil Jones

    Slightly OT, but as you referenced it, do you know what the latest is with the Tacx Neo Bike? Last week Tacx were categorically responding that they *would* be starting shipping this month, but distributors in Europe don’t now seem to be expecting any before well into February at the earliest. It’s understandable that Tacx don’t want to ship a dodgy product, but frustrating when they say “watch this space for updates” but then never actually give updates when things do slip. It’s as if they think that if they don’t say anything, no one will notice.

  19. RR

    good timing. i literally just received a new kickr 2018 in the mail – had the sound issues. i bought it through clever training and wahoo couldn’t have been more professional about replacing it and getting me a new one just a few days later. still a huge pain but the customer service was excellent.

  20. peter

    I have the original Kickr (2014 I think). Late last year it started getting dropouts while riding. This year it got a lot worse. I wrote to support and they had me do several tests and then gave me the option of having the unit rebuilt or replacing the optical sensor. Both had costs associated. I chose the optical sensor route (cheaper and the unit seemed in good shape otherwise) They sent me me the sensor and instructions for replacement. All is good with the unit now. This is a 4 year out Kickr, has to be out of warranty and they spent time with me (4 to 6 emails) to help with my problem.

    Products have problems great companies support them. My hat is off to Wahoo.

    • bruce

      wow, I have exactly the same problem on an original Kickr, ride starts off fine, but the dropouts increase as the ride progresses. The dropouts cause the Kickr to increase the load on the trainer, which really destroys the quality of the ride. I have had multiple calls with Kickr support and no resolution. I have been down the road of cleaning the optical sensor with denatured alcohol with no improvement.

  21. Frank

    I’m one of the people who has gone through multiple Kickr Core’s and I’m trying to figure out how my environment could be due to environment. Mine is set up in an insulated garage on a rubber mat, and poof two of them have gone. Could it just be that I’m plugging & unplugging the unit? I know the power draw is low, but I prefer to not have something plugged in and drawing power 24/7 unless it needs to be.

    • Frank

      I can’t seem to edit, but given what they say in the video with this being a problem for all Kickr’s am I going to be right back to the same problems all over again when a new Kickr ’18 arrives.

    • James

      ESD issues will be worse on an insulting rubber mat. For background info- All electronics when being assembled or repaired should be worked on an anti static conductive and grounded/earthed may.
      As for your set up : Charge can build up especially in dry air and you in your polymer based clothing can be charged up or sweaty you can provide the discharge path frying the unit or you provide the charge to fry the unit.

  22. Bob Goodman

    My suggestion is to plug it into a power bar, and then use the switch on the power bar to power the unit down. When you unplug it from the wall, you remove the ground connection, which makes it more susceptible to the ESD. By leaving it plugged into a power bar, you retain the ground connection. As well, make sure you discharge yourself before touching the kickr by touching a grounded item (pipe, metal electrical box, etc).

  23. Eli

    Your explanation of the ESD issue makes it seem like it impacts all units as it was the same since the very original KICKR. So not just the KICKR CORE. The way they don’t want us to do anything about it cause its an issue that is unlikely to happen is fine but does leave a slight concern. Currently I have a KICKR 2017 and use it in a cement floor basement which means very low chance of having a static discharge. But what if I move after the warranty expires and put the trainer in a much more static prone environment. I could fry my KICKR and not be under warranty. Will they be like Garmin and if the issue is a known issue like this they will still do it under warranty?

    BTW anyone else notice how active Chip’s eyebrows are? Though guessing it was a way to signal to others off camera

    • “BTW anyone else notice how active Chip’s eyebrows are? Though guessing it was a way to signal to others off camera”

      Chips facial expressions transcend across all videos from all eras. For example, this one from a few years back at Eurobike – a Livestream I did at the DCR RV. Nobody else there except us: link to youtube.com

    • Eli

      I guess it was much more noticeable in the section when someone else was talking off screen with just him in the shot. Body movements from someone actively talking don’t stick out as much

    • Hi Eli,

      Wahoo stands behind its products even beyond our stated warranty. We believe you should have confidence in your purchase and offer a team of support experts dedicated to ensuring your experience is as fantastic and trouble-free as possible.

      As you mentioned, the issue only affects a small percentage of units, so while it’s unlikely that yours will be affected, in the event that it is, Wahoo is prepared to offer full assistance and/or replacement where necessary. Rest assured that customer satisfaction remains our top priority as we work hard to remedy manufacturing faults both at their origin and in each affected Wahooligan’s home.

      If you have an issue, no matter what your warranty, please contact our support team and we’ll make every effort to make it right.

      link to wahoofitness.com

    • Jonathan Weeks

      I’m sorry Eli but your comments do not reflect my experience – with Wahoo customer support – which frankly has been awful. I moved from the UK to Japan for work. An oversight meant my Tacx Neo wasn’t shipped to Japan. So I was in the market for a new trainer. I’d had the original Kickr and been pleased with it. And I liked the innovative products Wahoo was releasing. So i decided to get 2018 Kickr. In fact, I decided to go all in and get the Kickr, the Climb, the Headwind, and the Desk! I tried to buy the items from the Wahoo website but the website would not accept my order – for some reason it didn’t recognize my post code (the only website where I’ve had this issue). I contacted Wahoo customer support. They couldn’t help and essentially just shrugged their shoulders. No suggestions about where else I might go to get the products, just a washing of their hands. I should have heeded the warning signs but I was still keen to get the Kickr etc. so I kept looking around and found the items on Amazon Japan. I duly ordered the set. The set up is great and I enjoyed the first couple of rides until the clunking started. I contacted Wahoo support. They asked for a video of the Kickr in action which I provided. Wahoo confirmed they would replace it. I sent the order details and the serial number looking forward to receiving a replacement so I could get on with my indoor sessions. Then today Wahoo came back to me saying that “Wahoo does not sell our products through Amazon directly, as this was purchased through a 3rd party retailer you will need to contact the seller for further assistance.” You can imagine that made my blood boil. Having tried many times to order through the Wahoo Japan website without success, getting the brush off from Wahoo, and then managing to get the products through Amazon – and now Wahoo won’t support the products because I didn’t buy them from Wahoo directly. I’m going to stop now before I write something I might regret.

    • Jonathan

      My reply above should have been addressed to the “Wahoo Customer Champions” not Eli. My apologies.

  24. Alex S

    The microcosm of Wahoo amusing ineptness in some matters. You can set up your unit to be controlled by the external PM – but only on the iOS devices. Their Android app is simply missing this option – and has been for years now.

  25. Eli

    Might want to mention how long it takes to swap trainers for those who are in that boat. I had my KICKR 2017 swapped in November, shipping mine out to them on Nov 13 which because of the way fedex works (drop off locations near me don’t get picked up from in the afternoon) got scanned into fedex on Nov 14 and received by Wahoo 10 am on Nov 16. The replacement KICKR was shipped out Nov 24 and I got it Nov 28. So just over 2 weeks. Kind of frustrating when they initially promised 3-5 business days and never sent any emails about any delays so no communication from them.

  26. Craig Schaepe

    I am glad they addressed two of the three problems I have had. The third though is not considered a problem even though 2 of my 3 Kickr’s had the problem. It is vibration of the flywheel (not noise) when doing 85+rpm and higher without braking forces. So during a spin down it is very evident and when going downhill. I feel the vibration through the frame of the bike. On the third kickr it was factory tested as within spec for vibration but it still exhibited this issue. Admittedly it was better than number #2 but no where near as good as #1 which died for other issues or my 3 year old Snap. It seems that they don’t have a good tolerance on balancing the flywheel. I gave up returning after #3 and try to ignore it but I would have expected better for the premium unit.

  27. James C

    I feel kinda special that I unlocked the STICKR KICKR achievement! Will wahoo support be sending out free power bricks re the ESD problem?

  28. Dembo

    Strange how we got to a point where hardware is basically treated like software: If you buy early there will be bugs. They might get fixed via patches (e.g. self repair kits or the Vector 3 battery caps) or not at all (Suunto comes to mind). As somebody who’s replacement Flux now sounds worse than a thirty years old VW Beetle I just hoped that neither Boeing nor EADS learn from the outdoor industry. Even in today’s fast moving mass markets it has to be possible to ship products with an expected failure rate of 1% or less.

    • Miro Lehky

      Dembo…early build aircraft have problems and are typically over their target weight (hence over fuel burn and under range) until the manufacturing process matures. This is normally compensated by selling the initial airframes at a discount until it’s optimized to meet reliability and weight targets.

    • Dembo

      Understood – but just image the amount of hardware, software and different process chains that need to work hand in hand to produce a plane that doesn’t crash. No compare that to training technology – not easy but surely several orders of magnitude smaller than the challenge of producing a commercial passenger plane.

      Now, I wonder what would be the plane-equivalent of a trainer that shorts itself out due to static when you take it out of the box…

    • Usually critical engineering, like in planes has a lot of backups, over engineering and fail safes in place.
      Such an approach is not relevant to say a bike trainer. It would be overkill and pointlessly increase costs. Planes are incredibly expensive for a reason.

  29. Craig Schaepe

    One other small thing I have noticed on my Third Kickr 2018 is that I get audible hum sound from the unit when active. I have had 4 Kickrs 1 Snap and 3 2018’s. Only the latest did I notice a hum coming from my stereo while the kickr is active. If I stop pedaling 1 or 2 seconds later the hum disappears. I am familiar with ground loop issues with stereos having setup quite a few. But this is new and maybe related to the new power brick. With the music playing and pedaling it is not noticeable but to some who want to pedal in silence it maybe .

  30. Jade Kizer

    I’m not buying the explanation from Wahoo. I received 3 faulty units in a row with no power registering. I’m in a basement, on a rubber mat, with extra ground on my power strip. All 3 brand new out of the box, no power. If this were a 3% issue, the odds of getting 3 bad units in a row would be 1 in 37,000. Check out the Zwift forums for more stories. The customer service was good and fast, but I don’t think they know what is going on. After the 3rd dead unit, I got my money back.

    • Jared Verbeke

      Agreed. They are definitely downplaying how widespread this issue is. I help run an amateur racing team in the USA and half of us who ordered wahoo units have had to return them. 5 out of 10 of us have had the key issue, so either we all got units that came from one bad batch or this issue is on a lot more units than they are saying it is.

    • AC

      Good customer service is making products that don’t require customer service.

  31. Dam0

    Ha, was going to email you saying you should do something relating to failures (as I’m on my 3rd Flux). Good article.

  32. Tod

    I would take issue with the statement in the video “no one has said wahoo support isn’t amazing”.

    I don’t have a trainer from wahoo (rather an elemnt) so I can’t speak to the direct topic of this article. But the support I receive from wahoo is far and away the absolute worst I have received in the sports tech industry. And I have a very low bar for what I expect from support in general.

    • Tod

      For example, here is how my latest support request went:

      Me: explaining problem.
      Support rep 1: link to basic information about functionality in question
      Me: Yep, I did that.
      Support rep 1: Basic trouble shooting advice
      Me: Yep, I tried that.
      Support rep 1: We can’t do anything, contact the other company involved.
      Me: Okay, I contacted the other company but their device works with several non-wahoo devices I have, so it’s probably fine.
      Support rep 1: Here is a link to basic information on the functionality in question on other companies website.
      (re-assigned to new support person)
      Support rep 2: Pastes basic information about functionality in question. And also says something that they clearly misread my earlier comments.
      Me: Clarifies that they misread my earlier comments.
      Support rep 2: Try the basic trouble shooting information I pasted anyways.
      Me: Yes, I tried it many times. It’s the obvious thing to try.
      Support rep 2: Asks for some basic info and some other things.
      Me: Supplies it promptly.
      (nothing for 12 days)
      Wahoo silently closes my support request.

  33. Bushdolphin

    Great information, but more concerned than before. After one and a half weeks still waiting for my kickr core replacement to be shipped – I have the ESD issue.

    The trainer was on the wahoo mat placed on a tile floor with the connection in a surge protector. I am lucky to have a dedicated space and the unit has not been moved.

    Mr Hawkins suggests that these issues are likely to be environmental. This implies that any replacement would be susceptible to a repeat performance.

    With this logic, would it not be better for wahoo – for the small percentage with the ESD issue – to say, here is your money back, go but something else?

  34. JB

    Free extended 2yr warranty upgrade for all 2018/Core owners peace of mind…whose with me!!!

  35. Bob

    I’m a dealer for Wahoo and have sold MANY 2018 Kickrs since they came out. I can tell you that we had issues with over 50% of them, which leads me to believe that they are trying to make this seem like a much smaller issue than it really is by stating that only 3% of the units were affected. To make matters worse, we’ve even had issues with the replacement units they have sent. The 2018 Kickrs are great when they work, but this issue has been all too common and a huge hassle. To Wahoo’s credit, they have been easy to deal with, but it does take nearly 2 weeks to get a replacement.

    • Eli

      I wish they offered an option where you give them your credit card number to ship a replacement unit and only charge you if you don’t send your broken unit back to them. Wouldn’t only have to be out a trainer for a few days in that case. Some computer companies do that.

    • AC

      Garmin in fact will do that, and will offer up a fairly low cost refurb’d replacement if you have problems after the warranty period is over.

    • Eli

      Why can’t Wahoo?

    • AJAY KUMAR

      I bought my Core from CT on Black Friday, received it 3 to 4 weeks later and it quit 2 weeks later over christmas holidays. Initially, I tried to figure it out myself and after 3 days, I gave up and tried to contact them. We played email replies as they wanted me to double check it was not working and this led to holiday shipping delay. I was pretty upset and when I filed a support comment, I got back a smart ass remark. Anyway, they did finally replace it by shipping me a new unit and asked me to mail my broken one within a week after I receive the new one. After reading these comments, will see how long this lasts. I did consider returning this for Neo but will give them a try.

  36. karl

    I don’t have one of these, but this reminds me a lot about when we have issues in my industry (IT).
    We don’t expect it to be perfect , cause nothing is, and a lot of new things are rather rubbish on day one.
    It’s how the vendor treats you when you have issues, how they listen and how they make it right.

    Sounds like Yahoo gets it. I’ll remember this when I buy a trainer.

  37. Disgruntled Wahoo Customer

    We purchased 11 Kickr Snaps. We have replaced 13, yes, THIRTEEN, of them. How/why have we replaced more than we bought? Because their complete lack of quality control has sent us bad replacements and we’ve had to replace the replacements.

    “Chip in the video also noted that as much speculation as there has been on whether Wahoo’s new factories were to blame, he said that while he wished he could blame them for this, ultimately it was just engineering design mistakes.”

    3% defect rate or not, someone at Wahoo should be held accountable for the complete lack of quality control and testing. Chip in the video should be held accountable for not hiring a competent QA group that should have vetted the product during engineering design long before it got to manufacturing and shipping. I would NOT recommend anyone to purchase a 2018 Wahoo product – or 2019 for that matter. It’s clear they have a incompetent Quality Control department, and resolving the short term engineering issues does not necessarily mean future products will be any better quality.

    • Kenneth Xiao

      I am curious to know Wahoo’s organization structure. I am actually local at Atlanta and proud that we have a cycling company here like Wahoo. I am a Quality Professional, as it appears to me that Wahoo doesn’t have a competent Quality function group. Those issues should not have gone through out the door, even if they are design issues, they should have addressed it before put into mass production. I am almost certain they don’t have FMEA process in place, and most likely a very poor ECN process in place, if there is any. I sometimes ran into Chips on Columns Drive, maybe I should talk to him next time when I run into him again.

  38. Erik T O

    Hi,
    Has anyone else been having issues with the rubber caps one the KICKR Core? Mine have repeatedly come off the feet, during sprints and out of the saddle climbs.

  39. Duncan Tindall

    I’m definately on the Tacx side of the Pepsi/CocaCola of the trainer debate. But even I have to say in Wahoo’s defence – “Tacx I-magic software”. For anyone who lived through that, and has got out of the secure asylum that they would have ended up in, then all these issues now are small fry.

    In some ways the issue is the reverse of ‘selling more’ as it goes mainstream, but that previously these trainers were so niche that the volume wasn’t there to fund the quality control that was desired. Now that the volumes are large then sure the total number of ‘fails’ is higher, but the proportion is much much lower than it used to be n the bad days of the early 2000s.

    *Side note, if anyone wants a working i-magic complete with Windows 1995 PC to run it on which has been kept off-line as a dedicated Tacx PC since 2002 then you’re welcome to come and pick it up 😉

    • Bob

      I wondered if someone would bring that up. I swore to never buy another Tacx product after they got me for a Genius AND an I-Flow. My plan was to buy a Wahoo trainer this season, but not after reading all these posts, and having had repeated failures with Tickrs.
      Actually, the Genius, once upgraded with the smart kit is still useful, and the hardware seems solid. I’m waiting for Rays review of the new Elite when they sort it, then it’s that or a Flux.

    • Duncan Tindall

      I swear I got more exercise trying to connect and reconnect the I-magic than I ever did out of riding. And the good old days of emailing the ride files, then downloading the shadows for the ‘weekly’ races 😉 So 2005.

      But then the otherside is just how groundbreaking it was.

      FWIW then the two Neos I’ve got now have been fantastic (one for me, one for Mrs T). Admittedly this is from a hardware standpoint and I have still avoided the Tacx software out of self preservation. Having said that my view of software from that part of the world in general is not high as a result of TomTom sat Nav as well…. So if I’d not been intending to use it via Zwift then I am not sure I would have gone Tacx again either.

  40. Frank

    What surprises me the most about this story is the fact that something as basic as ESD is causing these issues.

    Wahoo: maybe next time send your new products to an EMC testing facility. This is fairly standard practise and will catch these kind of issues.

    link to tuv-sud-america.com
    link to ec.europa.eu

  41. dizpark

    My take – you have to be nuts or a serious gambler to buy a Kickr now. Also, as stated in a number of comments above, the video and the write-up does not address ALL the quality issues that Kickr has. Look at this user’s Kickr innards after one and half month of use (possibly the source of ‘vibration’ issue).
    link to cyclechat.net

  42. dizpark

    I chuckled at this ‘bit’
    >>Kinetic is struggling a bit with software integration
    Probably the understatement of the week

  43. Rog

    I had the optical sensor problem after about three weeks of use on my first kicker core purchased in November of 2018. Called customer service and they shipped out a new core the next business day with 2 day shipping so I can confirm their customer service has been stellar. My replacement has worked flawlessly so far… fingers crossed. Luckily, I have a power tap that I can use with my dumb rollers if the core would fail again. If it fails a second time I will likely try to return it or get a different brand. As far as usage goes, I love the core and is exceptionally quiet and smooth and I’m really happy with the electronic braking (erg mode) during trainerroad intervals.

    • JD

      Can you describe how the electronic braking works in ERG mode?
      Is it simply a function of the firmware or something else?

    • Rog

      Yeah, erg mode is a setting for smart trainers that allows 3rd party apps like trainerroad to control the resistance of your power meter to meet the prescribed power output for intervals during structured training. The trainerroad app communicates with the core to do this and the electronic brake adjusts accordingly to apply the resistance. It’s really smooth and is easy to perform structured intervals… all I have to do is keep a steady cadence and erg mode does the rest, no switching gears. There are other modes too like slope and resistance mode which work good when tooling around in zwift and will simulate grades.

    • JD

      I have the same ERG control with a Hammer but was wondering if a Kickr handled it any differently.
      Does a Kickr brake the flywheel when an interval effort ends and recovery period begins?
      Or does it simply lower resistance and you wait for the flywheel to wind down until your cadence meets the lower resistance?
      I think flywheel weight to simulate road feel has a downside in ERG mode especially during high burst intervals with short recoveries. You end up spinning in air much longer than you would on the road.

    • theboxers

      My experience has been that the resistance lowers to the point that gives the required power. There was no braking. In some cases that requires very little adjustment in others it can take upto 10 or even 15 seconds to complete the adjustment.

      I have found that doing power intervals on the small ring and upper half of the cassette makes the changes quicker and smoother.

  44. Louis Matherne

    I find it rather remarkable that these trainers have this ESD issue and there is no suggestion that it can be permanently fixed. Notebook computers are handled constantly. I frequently experience a static electricity discharge when I touch them. I’ve never experienced this kind of failure. I don’t understand why this can’t be fully resolved.

  45. Tim

    I purchased two Kickr Cores for my wife and I about a month apart. They both stopped reading power/speed in early January. I live in a cold, dry climate (Northern Wisconsin), where shocking your finger when touching metal in the house is a fairly common occurrence, so the electro static discharge (ESD) issue totally makes sense as to why both of our Kickr Cores broke. Problem is, the power bricks I currently have with these broken Kickrs is grounded, yet these still got fried. I am being shipped new ones this week, but this video does not mention a timeline for the fix of the ESD diode being installed on the board that Chip mentioned in this interview video. Seeing as both my Kickrs got fried with a grounded power supply, I’m concerned that just getting new ones with grounded power supply (which I already have) will not solve the issue and this will happen again, as it happened to both my current units. I’d hate to have to go through this hassle again.

  46. Keith

    Thanks for this article. I love my kickr Snap but am on my third one. The first intermittently dropped Bluetooth sync but averaged about once every ten minutes. The second had bad bearings as evident by black bearing packing escaping from the roller and loud noise and vibrations. Wahoo customer service was great with both issues. However I have concerns that my current (third) trainer also has bearing issues, albeit less severe than the last one. In any event, I appreciate the insights and hope Wahoo continues with great customer service and keeps striving to improve their products.

  47. Andrew E

    No problems with my Core other than stickers flying off during extended threshold efforts.

  48. James

    Just a note that power surge is not the same as ESD (electrostatic discharge). Power surges come from you mains power normally due to lightning strikes or machines/appliances/factories turning off or solar power kicking in. This is annoying but easy to design for. ESD is a pain in the butt – it’s the zap you get when getting out of your car. If your design is susceptible to it, it’s going to take more than a diode to fix.

  49. ms

    The article references ESD as a problem in the Kickr Core. Is it restricted to the Core or does it affect the Kickr 18 as well?

  50. Mattv

    Hey Wahoo!
    I want a model with a larger flywheel… Lemond Revolution but with ANT+
    Make it so.

  51. Bob Goodman

    If we consider the key way to be the root problem, then the issue is how does that key fit to the shaft groove and the pulley groove. It has to be tight in both to be effective in conjunction with fixing bolt. But as I understand the repair process, although the key should be tight enough on the shaft to require a pliers to squeeze it in, it’s not necessary for the pulley to require a force to push onto the shaft and key. So there still might be some play between pulley and key. That’s where the application of loctite 660 would help. It will fill gaps both between key and shaft, and between key and pulley groove. This is probably why trainers that wahoo has fixed and sent back to customers, end up getting noisy again.

  52. Aimee

    That’s it! I’m just buying rollers… Been on market for new toy.; really intrigued by zwift, and like… But, seems like the technical issues (software and hardware, i.e.these wahoo issues) complicate the simple process of turning pedals over in a stationary location too problematic… Seems like all “trainer” manufacturers current models are buggy, or if not buggy, require multiple protocols to be compatible with apps… it shouldn’t be this hard to pedal your bicycle in a stationary location…

  53. G

    Kickr Core unit #3 is on the way to me now. Both died in the ESD manner that has been so often described.

    I think this site is amazing, and I’d also like to believe that the pressure you (and others I’m sure) put on Wahoo made them go public – my bike shop called me yesterday with information about the power bricks as well (I had swapped out bad unit #1 for #2 through them – for unit #3 I went right to Wahoo).

    I did find once it got cold and dry here in the NE, that is when my first Core failed. The second one didn’t last two days in the same conditions. Jibes with the story from the folks on your interview.

    Give Wahoo credit for acknowledging the issue and trying to fix it. I was very happy when the thing worked and I hope it does again because it’s made winter exercising so much more enjoyable. I have been inconvenienced, yes, and there’s no doubt the failure rate is higher than they are saying – but they are addressing it and are not being silent.

    I just wonder how aggressive they would have been without Ray and the Internets… I bought the unit based on the review here – so kudos to you and your continued influence. And I will also say buying it through my local bike shop was a great experience as well – no matter the headaches…

    • G

      UPDATE – unit #3 failed within 30 minutes. Grounded myself, was careful on what where I touched, had new power supply as others had in pictures.

      Something is REALLY not right here. I’ve already got my bike shop looking at other manufacturers for me – I am awaiting a response from Wahoo but this is crazy.

      I’m not sure the fix is really a fix, and I suspect the percentage of failed units is way higher than what they are letting on to. I’ve never experienced anything like this with any product I’ve owned.

      They did ship me out a unit in near record time (this latest, #3) but it being funky right out of the box makes me wonder if it was ever working correctly?

      I haven’t received a response on unit #3 (not quite 24 hrs) and phone support is timing out. This is getting strange fast…

    • Scott Saarinen

      I am also in the same boat and I’m curious about your resolution. My third unit just arrived and was dead out of the box with the ESD issue.

  54. Jonathan Wass

    I am just not buying their statement that these issues are affecting a low number of customers.

    Anecdotally the numbers just aren’t lining up with my experience. For instance, our local club (which is composed of more runners than cyclists) has roughly 400 followers on our Facebook page. Out of that 400 followers there are at least 4 of us with failed Kickrs. Taking it a step further, 2 of us experienced 2 or more failing Kickrs (one had an issue with ESD, but another had multiple replacements to deal with the dreaded noise issue). Using their math, you’d have to assume that 1/4 of our club bought new Kickrs (which I highly doubt).

    In addition, if it is affecting such a low number of customers, why is a statement even needed? Just ship them a functional Kickr and all would be well, no?

  55. AD

    I just wanted to say that I think these quality issues go back a few years with Wahoo. I had 3 x Snaps and eventually gave up on them. I was still within warranty, a refund wasn’t an option, so I stumped up the extra for a proper Kicker. It certainly works better but every time I have a drop out on Zwift I tend to blame the trainer -possibly unfairly – it could well be something else – largely because I lost a lot of trust with the brand over the issues I had with Snap units.

    The customer service support for the Snap units was simply painful. Different time zones resulted in different conversations with different people who had different levels of technical understanding. It took so long to get their recognition that there was actually a problem.

    These are priced as a premium product and in my opinion the design and manufacture simply isn’t good enough. I won’t be buying anything other than sensors from Wahoo in future I’m afraid.

  56. EmersonNZ

    I’ve returned 2 Kickr18s. So har the 3rd has done 200km and no issue. I would like to be upset… but the reality is the customer service has been fantastic each time including shipping a unit from Australia to NZ over night in one case. Not what I expects for a $1k+ product but it goes to show good service can make up for a lot.

  57. Bob Goodman

    My 18 Kickr just began to make some suspicious noises (onset of the knocking), so I obtained a repair kit from my LBS, and proceeded to follow the instructions. My observations support my theory that just replacing the key and bolt will reduce the incidence of these failures but not totally eliminate them. In my case, the old key came out easily, and the new key went in just as easily (no pliers needed). That tells me that the manufacturing tolerances of the keys, and keyways on both the shaft and the roller are sufficiently large that you can get still get a sloppy fit of key in keyway, even with the new larger sized key. The force that causes the knocking is caused by torque between the flywheel and drive. A high sudden torque change (sprint or sudden resistance change in workout) will cause a twisting force which should be resisted by a tight fitting key in keyway. If there is not a tight fit, then the only resistance to this twisting force is the friction of the washer behind the bolt. The new washer is flatter and stiffer, so there is more surface area for it to hold against the end of the roller compared to the older, bent, flexible washer held against the roller with the lower torque bolt. BUT, if the key and keyway fit is loose, then even that friction will be insufficient to resist the twisting force.
    The root cause is tolerance buildup resulting is key and keyway loose fit in some units, even with the new keys. Once again, this is exactly why you would use loctite 660 in this type of situation, to fill the gaps and make the key to keyway interface fixed.
    I note that the original key was square on the ends, which is a bad design, and has been replaced by the new key which has rounded ends, which is the appropriate design for a key.
    The question for me is why the Core uses a setscrew, which is appropriate design method, vs the Kickr which does not and instead uses an axial bolt with washer? A properly designed setscrew arrangement with the key can handle the higher torque rating of the Kickr vs the Core, and I think its better than the axial bolt which depends on the friction of the bolt’s torque forcing the washer against the end of the pulley.

    • Bob Goodman

      Further to this key issue, Wahoo now uses loctite 609 (this is NOT regular threadlocker loctite) as a gap filler for the keyway when they assemble the new trainers. It’s really important to understand that this requires the correct type of loctite, and the precise usage including how to apply, cleaning and activator. If you are not familiar, don’t try at home. But, if used correctly with the correct fitting key, will eliminate the root cause of the locking. It shows that Wahoo is definitely aware and going after the root cause of this issue.

  58. Chris

    On my third 2018 Kickr. I find if I climb for a while (20 mins or more) at about 280 to 300w and then at the top ease off and spin, it makes a real screeching noise (like a dry car fan belt etc). As soon as I reapply power the noise goes.

    Anyone else get this?

  59. Karl

    Anybody out there who has done or is doing the key fix? What is the distance from the bottom of the tension screw head to the top of the pulley plate? I measured mine with a Vernier caliper but didn’t set it. I then moved the caliper before retensioning so lost the tension (slap on wrist already done).

  60. Liam

    I’m in the market for a smart trainer but I just can’t bring myself to part with a hell of a lot of money for a product that has a short life. I’m not just talking about Wahoo.

    I guess it’s still early days for the smart trainer. Hopefully we will see costs come down, reliability improve and more competition in the next couple of years. Fair play to Wahoo for speaking out, but companies always do the “it’s only a small percentage of products affected” talk. Give us some real numbers.

    Wahoo need a kick up the ****. £200 for a small desk makes me trust them even less.

  61. Dan

    Ray,

    How much had you used your Kickr before it failed?

    • I’m not 100% sure to be honest. I got this unit back September-ish, and it’s been used a bit here and there. I think The Girl put some miles on it, and I know GPLama actually used it as his trainer for the week he was here.

  62. AL

    So I purchased a KickR 2018 and i had a dead speed sensor as per this video. Tried to return back to Wahoo and at first they wanted to ship me a replacement unit, but when they realised I’d purchased it from a seller on eBay, they didn’t want to have anything to do with it, hiding behind their terms and conditions of return (no original proof of purchase, no support)
    Disappointed and fuming, to say the least!

  63. Johnny E Ayo

    Add to distribution

  64. Stefan

    This is probably thee reason why my Kickr Core ordered on Black Friday still hasn’t shipped yet. Wahoo needs all their Kickrs as replacement units…

    • Where’d you order it through? Generally speaking I don’t think they’re two months behind right now for CORE units. A couple of weeks, but it’s really up to whether the retailer put in orders earlier enough to cover.

    • Stefan

      Hi Ray,
      I ordered at powermeter24.com since they had a 20% Black Friday discount. The website mentioned a period of 20-40 working days before shipping. That hasn’t changed since. I wrote two e-mails but no cigar. I could, however, not find any online vendors in german speaking countries that had Wahoo products in stock in a reasonable amount in the last two months…

    • Honestly sounds like PM24 probably just oversold and didn’t update the site.

      To put it in perspective – the units that Clever Training had for the Black Friday timeframe, were from orders placed in August/September. Most retailers will make allocations months in advance for popular products. Sometimes it works out…sometimes not.

      Not saying Wahoo isn’t to blame here (as obviously, if they were all caught up, this likely wouldn’t happen). But in general, when I see any major disconnect between a single retailer and others, it’s usually the fault of that single retailer (be it PM24, REI, Clever Training, etc…).

    • Kwisatz

      PowerMeter24.com is FAMOUS for selling things they are NEVER able to deliver !

      You can find negative experiences everywhere on the internet,…

    • Stefan

      Thank you for the information. I just googled PM24. Seems it’s time to claim my money back!

    • Bob

      Not disputing that, but I’ve bought 2x Vectors and a Fenix3 from them, and their service has been good. 1x set Vectors failed, they replaced them immediately. Can’t complain.

  65. Roy Danks

    Kickr Core number 2. Junk. Just like the last one, it sets up and calibrates fine. Went for a spin on Zwift. Got back on tonight and it doesn’t sense any power or speed. My phone connects. And it shows connected in both the Wahoo and Zwift apps. I’ve done all the trouble shooting. Since I actually work for a living and can’t get
    On with their support during normal hours I get no help. Website: completely useless. I’m sending back and will NOT be buying another. My advice is to not patronize this “business” and get your products elsewhere. Total junk. And I’m being as nice I can be now because I’m in a rage about this thing.

  66. Brad

    I just killed my kickr core tonight. I touched my bike saddle when I was getting on my bike and got a shock, which must have been enough to kill the speed sensor in the kickr core. I was initially thinking the shock issue could only happen by touching the kickr core directly, and not from touching my bike.

    I just opened a ticket with Wahoo so hopefully they’re able to quickly send a replacement unit. Given how easily this happened, it feels like it’s only a matter of time until the next one has the same problem.

  67. Brad

    Old power brick. I had it plugged into a surge protector and a grounded outlet. My bike is an aluminum frame, so that could have also had an effect.

    I even opened a ticket with Wahoo about the power brick a little over a week ago and they said replacing the brick was not necessary because the problem is due to a chip on the board and only affects less than 5% of units sold.

    My guess is that it affects nearly 100% of units sold. It’s only been on the market around four months and already at least 5% according to Wahoo have had this issue. For me, this is the first time I’ve gotten a static shock and that was enough to kill the kickr core.

    • Brad

      Wahoo responded today that they’re shipping a replacement unit. In the email about the replacement, they are still referencing the image of the power bricks, saying to only use the new one and to ship the old one back with the damaged unit.

  68. Heavy Metal Maniac

    I just followed the PDF for tightening the Kickr Core – was really annoyed about that “knocking” sound it had.

    Now the knocking sound has gone 🙂 But instead it has got a new, just as annoying whirr/buzz when spinning 🙁

    When was that Tacx Smart Bike ready for delivery? Cause I am about to throw an almost new Kickr Core out the window….

  69. Add me to the list of a Kickr Core with the ESD problem. After 2 months of running it without issues, last Saturday, no speed, no power, no resistance, no matter the app I use or protocol, BT and ANT+. Contacted Wahoo CS, and waiting for replacing it! It seems to me that there is a general problem with this, more and more units are failing. Fran

  70. Jim S

    I’m curious if anyone has thoughts about wiping the outside of a Core with an antistatic laundry sheet to prevent ESD? I’m considering purchasing a Core, but have managed to get some mighty big shocks in the winter in the room where it would go.

    • Louis Matherne

      I’d be really surprised if an antistatic laundry sheet worked. If ESD is a concern, I’d find a way to ground the bike or the Core with a grounding strap. Technically, the grounding strap needs to be connected to you since you are the source of the electric charge but this would be the next best thing.

    • Louis Matherne

      As I’ve thought about this some more, I don’t think a grounding strap on the bike or the Core will make any difference. Technically, they should already be grounded. You can test this with a ohm meter between the bike / Core and a water pipe in the home. Should be a low reading. The problem is the charge the cyclist is carrying. That needs to be removed before touching the bike or trainer.

  71. Dave

    My Kickr 2016 developed a bearing noise and Wahoo replaced it with a 2018 Kickr. Great customer service but – the new Kickr has developed a buzzing noise after about 1 month of use.It wasn’t particularly quiet from the start either. Seems like quite a few people have had similar problems with this noise particularly with the Core.

  72. Louis Matherne

    Ray,

    I’m curious if Wahoo has tracked where these ESD failures are occuring geographically? Seems to me that someone in Colorado is more likely to experience these failures than say, someone in Georgia.

    Louis

    • Jenny

      Interesting point. I’m in Missouri and it died the ESD failure within 6 weeks of use. It is on a rug, on top of a concrete floor. We’ve had quite a bit of snow and it actually died WHILE snowing outside. So I would not say an exceptionally dry day. Also, I’m curious why people are focusing on the power brick. In the video, the CEO indicates that just taking the unit out of he box can cause a shock and failure to the sensor. That, to me, sounds like the power brick is a bandaid on a broken arm. I’m returning my Kickr Core to the store this week. I will never, ever give my money to Wahoo again. I find it beyond unacceptable that they continue to sell an expensive product with a known defect. The ESD is not just a minor issue. They have taken my $900, sold me a product that they KNEW was defective and, sure enough, was rendered completely useless with SIX WEEKS of ownership as a result of that defect. They have, essentially, stolen my time and money. I will be able to get a refund on my money, but my time is gone (time waiting for the trainer to ship, time setting it up, time troubleshooting when it suddenly quit working, time combing the internet to figure out what was happening when the wahoo website offered no clue as to the defect, time packing it back up, time returning it to the store, time buying a different trainer from a competitor, lost time without a trainer). Why doesn’t the Wahoo website CLEARLY indicate that this can happen and what to do when it happens? I probably spent 3-4 hours trying to figure out why it suddenly quit working mid ride. Apologies for the rant but poor customer service like this really burns my grits!!!

  73. Stefan

    My 4th kickr core is on his way 🙁
    No ESD problem, but noise problems.
    The first kickr worked well for one month, then it started rattling after an half hour of riding on it.
    The 2 following replacement units had a sort of scraping sound internally (belt or flywheel) from the first use on.
    I need to say, i am quite satisfied about the consumer support itself, I made a clear video of the problem every time and they send a replacement unit directly without further questions.
    I live in Belgium, the first 2 replacements were shipped from the Netherlands. The last replacement has now been shipped from Atlanta (still on his way), hopefully they did an extra quality check on this now one.

  74. Michael

    Kudos to Wahoo customer service. I documented the problem in the service ticket with a video/audio file and they replaced my noisy 2018 KICKR promptly and without question. I probably could have done the repair myself and used the credit towards a CLIMB but I chose the return method so that I would have a factory validated trainer. Thank you Wahoo.

  75. Gabe

    THREE Cores and now ONE Kickr later this has turned in to an absolute joke. All have failed (power/speed).

    I’m going to do one more exchange just because the Kickr apparently doesn’t have the same problem – but come on. Who does this to their customers?

    This trainer is great – when it works. At this point why not admit you need to redesign and give a date for when the new model with ESD on the board will be out?

    It is an insult to keep exchanging units in a russian-roulette-like manner. I’m sucker to do it ONE last time but if this next one fails I think we need to get the word out beyond here and Ray.

  76. Jeff

    I keep reading that only a small % has been affected. With some many posts I’ve seen on Zwift, DCR, Sufferfest, and the Wahoo Support Group FB page I thinks it’s much bigger than being made public. When you have people with multiple failures (I’m waiting for my 4th one, 2 cores and an ’18 have failed, 2 for power and 1 for noise) that indicates not just some people were unlucky and got a “bad one”. Take into account the infrequent users who just may not have had the problem yet or the correct conditions and I’m willing to bet almost every unit could fail due to static or ridden hard enough for the keyway failure. The customer service has been great but as someone else pointed out, I’ve been out a trainer now for a cumulative 4 weeks and counting during prime indoor training season.

  77. BPmessenger

    Ray – As the owner of a 2017 Gen-3 model (the one before this years) I was thinking of upgrading because of the lack of sound (my neighbours should probably chip in), but the amount of headaches don’t seem worth the pain and suffering.

    Given the disaster of this year’s trainer, I’d be shocked if Wahoo doesn’t take all the learning from this process (including their choice of production partner) and put out a really solid 2019 gen-5 version. Any thoughts on if/when they would do this. Or do you think they’ll skip a year since it’ll likely likely piss off a lot of people who bought the Gen4.

    • I don’t know.

      I think it all gets back to what the real % is that’s this is impacting. If it’s indeed in the low-single digit percentage, then it’s probably not a real risk for most buyers and in some ways it ends up being a bit of an echo chamber (which is my rough gut on this, not that it really matters).

      The bigger challenge is actually if they decide to skip the annual cycle this year, since then in effect they’re left with a ‘lemon product’ in many potential purchasers eyes. They’ll find posts and comments like this and assume (whether rightly or wrongly) that all units are bad. And thus will wait till a V6 (or whatever version is next). That’s a tricky spot to be in.

    • Gabe

      I get the concern that some of this may be speculative, but beyond this echo chamber here the interwebs seem to be littered with comments and concerns (both on forums and in product reviews at merchants). This is a decent sized problem no matter how you skin it.

      It would be interesting to see if bike shops are being told to hold off on selling the units – and if there ever be a “recall” (and has there ever been in this business??).

      Your point that people are more prone to complain herein is valid – but I smell something a bit more fishy afloat as every time I kill one of these suckers. The response has followed an interesting and revealing progression (first just bad luck – then a bad unit – now just a bad power supply – now just a bad board – etc..). All on an arc that conveniently mirrors your work here.

      I understand you may want to keep Wahoo in your good graces because access to the manufacturer is one of the many reasons you have such an excellent site here – but has there ever been anything of this magnitude in this business? No offense to us in the biking community, but are we really that LARGE a subset? 3% of the world, sure – but I think this is more than 3% of the biking community that uses a trainer made by wahoo…

      And is a solution really at hand or will the swaps just continue until the weather is warm and the issue goes away (until next fall/winter??). I haven’t heard smack from Wahoo since the start of the week when I killed #4 which leads me to believe they are waiting on something before they send it to me (and in the end – I’m ok with that).

      The biggest lesson (to me) is even though the interview with you seemed like a good move for Wahoo (and is now referenced in their support conversations btw) there might be more lessons to be learned from this if their explanation was either too early or really wasn’t enough considering the severity of the situation. I think in someways it almost warrants a follow up.

      I know no trainer is perfect, and for the record I’m also lining up the next manufacturer should unit #5 go south. I really like the Core form factor, etc – and I know a sucker at this point to be holding out for so long. Caveat Emptor to the grave on this one…

    • ” No offense to us in the biking community, but are we really that LARGE a subset? 3% of the world, sure – but I think this is more than 3% of the biking community that uses a trainer made by wahoo…”

      I think a lot of times people are forgetting how quickly the indoor trainer industry is growing. My guess would be north of 100K trainers from the 2018 Wahoo season. As such, even simple math says 3% is a crapton of units. Zwift is pushing a subscriber base over 200K themselves, and TrainerRoad is probably half that. Plus plenty of people that are using other platforms/etc…

      I do agree that I don’t think they’ve really solved the ESD issue to the level that seems to make a difference (someone on the livestream today went through 7 units thus far). Whereas I think they’ve largely solved the noise issues on both.

    • Gabe

      POSITIVE update – unit #5 has proven reliable, in the exact same location the other 4 failed. Almost a month of riding (yay).

      I will say the weather has changed here in the NE and my setup is not as dry and “static-filled” as it might have been during the height of winter.

      And therein lies the rub – while I think Wahoo’s done something with the guts that now makes it less prone to failure, I won’t be able to put it in the same environment for a long while.

      That’s my concern, for myself and others, that if there is still an issue (or like a later post pointed out, you move yours in to an environment not good for this batch) what will be the outcome IF the unit fails a year or even two later?

      I highly doubt we’ll see a recall (voluntary or otherwise) and to Wahoo’s credit they have been very responsive in replacing the units (I’m still under warranty). If they don’t call out this run, I do hope they keep notes and a liberal replacement policy should this show up again wayyyy down the road.

      And I’m on a Kickr now, I moved off the Core after failure #3 figuring it was that exact unit (and then had the first Kickr (#4) promptly fail). I think I like the Core better in terms of form factor, etc – I’m going to stick with what is now working but I still really like the Core.

      I’ll update my youtube comment as well in the next few days…

    • Louis Matherne

      What is it about the Core that you prefer over the Kickr?

    • Gabe

      Form factor. Weight. Cost.

      I like the Kickr, but I’m not a guy who needs the bigger flywheel and/or can use cadence to any real benefit.

      I’m on my trainer when the weather is bad, and I utilize it primarily to keep in shape for my clear-skies outside rides on weekdays at lunch (and weekends for longer).

      Plus with the Apple TV and the bluetooth limitations, I can’t even use all the features on-screen.

      The handle is a nice touch, but considering the fact the bike never moves from its position anyway I will only need it if I decide to move.

      Again, I only pushed for it with Wahoo because I perceived the ESD problems to be exclusive to the Core. Had I known the full story (still not out there btw) I would have gladly stuck with the Core.

      Someday soon it will be the product they envisioned. I just hope they remember us folks when a static charge *surprisingly* kills a unit from this batch 2-3 years from now…

  78. David Hughes

    It’s 3rd March and my THIRD Kickr 2018 replacement has developed the same problem as the previous two!! I must be very unlucky considering that only 3% of units are affected.
    Whilst the customer support is first class the Kickr 18 is definitely not up to the job!
    £1000 smart trainer, COME ON WAHOO, get your act together it’s getting a bit monotonous raising tickets with you!!

  79. Ian

    Given that ESD protection under the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive is required to display a CE mark to sell in Europe, and the manufacturer has to be able to demonstrate compliance, and given that that the manufacturer appears to be claiming that it’s units haven’t had such protection since day one, then that would appear to indicate that they either knew of the problem and dishonestly put a CE mark on their product, or didn’t know about the problem which would indicate a failure to test for ESD, which would also make the CE mark possibly fraudulent as the manufacturer would have signed a declaration of conformity without testing for conformity?

  80. Rob

    I’ve just received my 4th Kickr18. As others have said, I can’t really fault the willingness of the support team to send out replacement units though I have now gone beyond my 3 strikes rule. I made the decision to buy a climb which don’t get me wrong I enjoy using it but this has locked me in due to lack of compatibility with other trainers.
    My previous Kicr18 and this one were both supposed to be ‘verified’ units shipped direct from Wahoo in the US to Europe.
    I’m not sure where to go from here if the 4th one packs up, I can’t see it doing the 2 years that my Kickr2 did and still going strong.
    I’m sorry to say I think Wahoo have cut corners in manufacturing, testing and QA on this one and sat back waiting for orders to roll in off the back of their previous good record.
    In addition to the noise problems the zinc plated knurled knob had all the plating coming off on unit #2 and #3 has left a deposit of corroded, rusty metal debris on the mat which I’m guessing is due to a paint process issue as it’s coming from the inside of the tube.

  81. Fred

    I have a training center and we had this issue with most of our units, took forevenr to get support from Wahoo and even some of the replacement had this issue… Not a good year for Wahoo and with the “non-support” we had this year we are definitively not buying these units for the training center next year…

  82. Angus

    I moved my Kickr CORE (purchased November 2018) to the living room tonight and subsequently onto a carpeted floor. About 10 minutes in, I got off the bike, moved my fan, got back on, and BAM – speed / power not showing up. Kickr CORE dead.

    I’m a huge fan of wahoo, but this is pretty disappointing.

    I didn’t know about this issue, until researching it and ending up here (Thanks Ray).

    • dave

      My 2nd Kickr 18 has developed a buzzing noise – I noticed that there is also a noticeable flywheel wobble. Don’t know if there’s a connection
      Wahoo support have been great but it seems like there may be problems with QC ?

    • Angus

      Just to follow-up here. Kickr broke 13th March.

      It’s now 19th March, and I’ve set up a brand new (and working) kickr core in the living room 🙂

      That’s pretty swift customer service, this was even after they said they were something along the lines of “a week out from shipping units”.

      Thanks again Ray

  83. Bruce Nation

    It sounds like Wahoo has a real QC problem. I’ve had to return 2 ELEMNT Bolts and now my KICKR 2018 just died.

  84. Raiontzukai

    It’s extremely unlikely mine died from static. I use my trainer in a wooden floored basement and put my socks on next to the unit. I never even touch the trainer right before hopping on the bike. I was 7 minutes into a session when my Core stopped reporting power and giving resistance.

  85. Guillermo Guerini

    This is a x-post from the original Kicker Core review post, but I’d like to get some feedback from people affected by this issue.

    REI started their spring members sale today (20% off one full item). I also have $110 in dividends.. so that means I can get the Kicker Core for less than $650. But I’m afraid I’m getting a lemon considering people are still having problems with it. I’m coming from a 3 year old Tacx Vortex (so far so good, but the noise……..). I will probably be able to sell my Vortex for around $400 (don’t ask!), making the Kicker Core “investment” only $250. What do you guys think?

    • It’s honestly a hard thing to determine. There’s a thread over on Slowtwtich with someone asking the same, and basically most people are like ‘my core is fine’, which roughly matches what Wahoo says.

      On the flip-side, if you get stuck with a dud, it sucks.

      However, on the bright side – no matter what you decide to spend that REI coupon/dividends on, if you use my REI link you help support the site here. 😉 link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Oh well.. I pulled the trigger on the Core (thanks for the link). I hope it’s a good unit, if not I’m sure REI and/or Wahoo will take care of me. And my credit card doubles the warranty of products, so I should be protected for at least two years. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  86. Nicholas SW

    Bought my first one back in December and it lasted 3 rides, but was reasonably quickly replaced by Wahoo and got their replacement one in Jan. That replacement unit has now died; lasted ~20 rides.
    Won’t be giving it a 3rd try.

    FWIW, if anyone considering a Kickr Core, I’d suggest something else. This isn’t a product ready for market.

  87. Mike E

    My first Kickr Core unit (bought from CT through the link in early December) died during the first ride completely loosing resistance. They sent the replacement quickly without mentioning anything about power supply, and I sent the old unit back with accessories from the new unit (don’t know if they sent me a new power supply model) just before seeing this post. The replacement worked without issues for a while but couple of weeks ago lost power and speed readings without loosing all resistance. They shipped me another replacement, this time with photos of power supplies and message to only use the new model. But when new replacement came Wed, it had old power supply model. I emailed and then called Wahoo support – the person on the phone told me that I was shipped “platinum unit” that doesn’t need new power supply model. Any idea if that can be trusted?

  88. Arek S

    Unfortunatly my fourth kicker replacement has developed the same issue as the other 3 (terrible vibrations and noise) even though it was 49th week of production. So, after the so called fix. I don’t believe the 3% faulty units is true otherwise I would be extremely unlucky. I have reported the issue 3 days ago and so far not a single reply. It is really upsetting considering how much they cost.

  89. Dan P 123

    I have owned my Kickr core for circa 3 weeks & last night it developed power drop out problems – Highly erratic, although heart rate & Cadence were picked up consistently, so I know my Ant+ connection is solid.
    Before that it had really bad vibrating problems for the first couple rides (Washing machne bad), but in the end it improved, to just become a medium level of annoyance.

    I I had assumed by this point in time ( April 2019) that all the initial poor stock was used up & all the fixes were in place. My unit came direct from Wahoo, so was not old retail stock. there I can only assume this is still a big problem for Wahoo..

    Really annoyed. I only put in my support ticket today, so time will tell how well they sort out my problems. The really annoying thing is as i only worked out on 2 x 20 minute work outs yesterday ( trying to see if the problem was with my set up) i discarded both Zwift sessions, so I now have to recreate them again to share with customer services – Grrr..

  90. Aaron

    3rd Kickr 18 incoming to me. My first replacement lasted about a month and a half before the extremely loud bearing screeches started up again.

    I have a family member who has two Kickr Smart Trainers from past years and both are silent after thousands of miles.

    I really hope #3 is the fix I need, but I have my doubts. They told me this is a “platinum tested unit”, which sounds a little like some Multi-Level Marketing jargon, but hopefully it means I can be done monkeying with this issue once and for all.

    • Tim

      Same thing here. My KICKR ’18 failed in December, the replacement failed last week. #3 on the way, tech support says I’m “in the queue”. I really want to support Wahoo but this is getting old.

  91. Ziad Haydar

    Could you please share a link to the pdf that describes the fix to the 2018 Kickr core noise issues.
    Thank you very much