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Wahoo’s KICKR Bike with Built-In CLIMB: Everything you ever wanted to know

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In a move that probably shouldn’t surprise anyone– Wahoo has joined the indoor smart bike fray, with their new KICKR Bike. This unit is far more than just a KICKR and a CLIMB squished together on an L-shaped chunk of metal. It’s actually an entirely new KICKR design, one that far more closely resembles that of the electromagnetic unit that is the Tacx NEO series, than the KICKR’s of the past. And while the CLIMB is similar, this one has greater depth than its standalone sibling.

But none of this will come cheap. The bike comes in at a staggering $3,499 – the most expensive indoor consumer-grade smart bike on the market, announced today or previously (and the Wahoo bike is the last unit on the new indoor bikes lineup at Eurobike).

But you know what? I’m impressed. No, not with the Wahoo Bike per se (though I am on that too), but with the fact that they managed to keep it under wraps until this morning. In some cases – literally. No, really, on the show floor at Eurobike it was under gigantic confidential boxes until the unveiling. But more impressively from the 100+ units out in the wild this year in various people’s homes all around the world as part of their KICKR Bike testing program.  It’s that testing program that Wahoo hopes will give consumers more confidence in this product after some of their hardware related challenges this past winter.

I’ve had various cases to test the bike over the past year, culminating in a ride on the final version last week. This post isn’t a review though, just a bit of an early hands-on look. I’ve got a final production unit set to be delivered straight from the factory in the next few days that I’ll be working on for my final review. It’s there that I’ll cover things like power accuracy and broader app compatibility and integration. If the unit arrives in the next couple days as expected, then look for my review in a few weeks.

With that – onto the details!

The Specs:

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No better place to start any indoor training device than the tech specs, after which I’ll walk you through the bike from front to back, every single part with all sorts of details you probably didn’t need to know.  Now as I noted earlier this morning on the new Stages Bike, some of these specs will be familiar to trainer folks, whereas you’ll find a new slate of specs that we need to start being aware of as more bikes hit the market. Things like supported crank lengths, adjustability limits, and handlebar extendability. But first, let’s start with the more common trainer-based metrics:

– Supports ANT+ FE-C control & Bluetooth Smart FTMS Control
– Supports ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart power broadcast
– Max resistance of 2,200w
– Max simulated grade of 20% up, and 15% down
– Flywheel weight is 13lbs
– Claimed accuracy: +/- 1%
– Ability to customize chainrings, cassettes, and shifting preferences via app
– Single USB port on front
– Ability to add in triathlon/TT bars to bike (future accessory)
– Supports 165/167.5/170/172.5/175mm crank arms lengths
– Max rider weight: 250lbs/113kg
– Has brake levers like a normal bike
– Has normal shifters to simulate SRAM/Campagnolo/Shimano setups
– Has multi-connection Bluetooth support

Ok, with the specs out of the way, let’s start at the back of the bike and walk through all the components. First up there’s the flywheel in the way back, which connects via belt drive to the crankset that sits underneath you. From a noise standpoint, as you can hear in the video, it’s super quiet– with only the slightest of hum.

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Down below the entire set up, there are two wheels, allowing you to roll it around as you see fit.

In between the crankset area and the base wheels is the actuator for the Wahoo CLIMB, which is built into the bike. This enables the bike to simulate grades of 20% upwards, and –15% downwards, pitching the entire bike from the center point, rather than just the front of the bike like with the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB

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Next you’ve got the crankset, which includes a five-holed arm that allows you to specify a crank length of 165mm, 167.5mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, or 175mm. You can pick the pedal of your choice and you’re off and running. Exact same design as the Stages Bike.

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From an adjustability and fit standpoint, the unit has levers at numerous spots to tweak your bike fit. Specifically:

A) Overall seat post height
B) Forward/back of seat post
C) Forward/back of front handlebars
D) Up/down of front handlebars

You can see the levers throughout the bike:

DSC_6371 DSC_6370

This isn’t terribly different than anyone else. However, what is unique here is the fit system. All of this is done via the Wahoo app, which helps set up your bike. Rather than you playing a guessing game, there’s three core ways you can set up your fit:

A) Using a professional bike fit scheme including: GURU Fit System, Retul Fit, and Trek Precision Fit
B) Using a photo of your bike, whereby the app will determine your bike fit and give you matching numbers for the Wahoo Bike
C) Using your height measurements, whereby the app will give you the correct measurements for the Wahoo Bike

Here you can see for example what happens when I choose to use one of the fit providers:

vlcsnap-2019-09-04-09h59m47s354 vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h00m09s056

Which then allows you to put in the exact specifics of that particular provider:

vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h00m43s075 vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h00m38s575

Or in this case, choosing to scan my bike, or simply elect to put in my height measurements:

vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h00m58s839 vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h01m19s393

This same app-driven concept expands even further when you get to the shifting. Up front you’ll find the shifters and brakes. These shifters mirror traditional shifters, rather than button-driven ones like most of their competitors. So it’ll feel just like a normal bike. The upper buttons control the CLIMB up/down, while that inside button is for steering (left or right, depending on the side).

DSC_6377

That concept is carried through to the app where you can select which shifting type you’d like: Shimano Di2, SRAM eTAP, or Campagnolo. And then from there you choose the exact crankset configuration you want, from chainrings to cassettes. You’re basically mirroring your real bike inside the app:

vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h01m50s616 vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h02m00s397  vlcsnap-2019-09-04-10h02m04s429

At the base of the handlebar system is a small display screen. This display screen shows your current shifting position, and when the CLIMB goes up and down, it shows you the % of incline.

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In my opinion, this is the only part of the bike where things are a bit of a let-down. Looking down towards your crotch to see the shifting position isn’t really ideal at all. And at this point it isn’t yet showing gear indication on Zwift either (like the Wattbike Atom), though I suspect that’ll change soon.  Next to the display is a small button to lock the CLIMB from going up and down.

Finally, note that there’s a single USB port to use for charging:

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Though there isn’t any form of tablet holder or such here, nor any place to put your phone – again a weird oddity compared to every other bike out there. Wahoo says they’re looking to have an accessory at some point in Q1 2020.

First Ride Impressions:

So with all the specs behind us, what about actually riding it? Well, for that I’d refer you to my video above – where I show you how well it works and walk you through a few of the concepts in real-time in the middle of Zwift.

However, a few bulleted thoughts like I did for the Stages Bike earlier this morning:

– The biggest takeaway I had was ‘clean’, everything just feels so clean and smooth on the bike itself
– The drivetrain feels great, and there’s zero weirdness in the pedal stroke or grittiness, again just clean
– The adjustability levers are easier than the Tacx Bike, but I do worry they’ll scratch the frame over time (the unit I tried last week scratched, but there may be minor tweaks to come there)
– The app-based customization is the real star of the show with the Wahoo Bike. It’s miles ahead of what anyone else offers. Many, many miles.
– The CLIMB going up and down is more or less the same as the existing CLIMB, so if you’re familiar with that, it’s roughly the same here
– The downhill drive on the KICKR Bike drives forward the downhill sensation, roughly like the Tacx Neo series. Feels pretty similar
– Shifting was great, super quick. Loved the fact that it uses real-life shifters and that they match my preferences (SRAM eTAP in my case)
– Brake levers were also good, though Stages has them beat with actually making it impossible to pedal when you hold the brake levers tight (like a real bike)
– The lack of a display holder or such is a huge disappointment
– The lack of a place to put my phone – also a huge disappointment
– And finally, the position of the shifting display is a bit awkward. I’m sure it’ll get better as apps adopt gear shifting display for the bike
– Overall feel of the ride is very good, pretty happy with that.

Ultimately, this feels like a blend of a KICKR and a Tacx NEO, which is mostly what it is from a technology standpoint. All in all, it feels good, but again – I’ve gotta keep saying that the app-based pieces are so far beyond what anyone else is doing today, and they make a real difference on the bike.

Against the Competition:

Ahh yes, you wanted it – a complete chart of competitive specs. After all, this is the Eurobike of the indoor smart bike, and there’s no better place to highlight all these specs than the DCR Comparison Database and Charts. So I’ve slated up all the big competitors into the chart below. This chart will automatically update over the course of the day as new offerings are announced:

Function/FeatureStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated September 18th, 2019 @ 5:42 amNew Window
Price for trainer$2,600-$2,800USD~$2,500USD$3,199$3,499
Trainer TypeIndoor BikeIndoor BikeIndoor BikeIndoor Bike
Available today (for sale)Q1 2020YesYesYes
Availability regionsGlobalUK/South Africa/Australia/Scandinavia/USAGlobalLimited Initially
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYesYesNoYes
Flywheel weight50lbs9.28KG/20.4lbsSimulated/Virtual 125KG13bs/5.9kgs
ResistanceStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)No (but kinda)NoYesYes
Maximum wattage capability3,000w2,000w2,200w @ 40KPH2,200w @ 40KPH
Maximum simulated hill incline25%25%20% (and -15% downhill)
FeaturesStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerYes (actually measured independently)YesYesNo
Can rise/lower bike or portion thereofNoNoNoYes
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)Yes (with compatible apps)NoWith accessoryYes (with compatible apps)
Can rock side to side (significantly)NoNoNoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoNoYesNo
AccuracyStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Includes temperature compensationYesYesN/AYes
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)Cross-references power meter dataNoN/AYes
Supported accuracy level+/- 1.5%+/- 2%+/- 1%+/- 1%
Trainer ControlStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYesYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart FTMS (Trainer Control Standard)YEsYesYesYes
Data BroadcastStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Transmits power via ANT+YEsYesYesYes
Transmits power via Bluetooth SmartYEsYesYesYes
Transmits cadence dataYesYesYesYes
Indoor Bike FeaturesStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Brake levers or buttonsYesNoBrake LeversYes
Shifting typeButtonsButtonsButton BasedNormal bike levers
Can customize shifting (Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo)Coming in appNoIn future updateYes (Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo)
Can customize gearingComing in appMininimalYesYes (both cassette and chainrings)
Supported Crank Lengths165/170/172.5/175mm170mm170/172.5/175mm165/170/172.5/175mm
DisplayNoNoYesSmall display near top-tube
USB PortsTwo Ports (Fast Charging)No2 USB Ports (2AMP)1 USB port
PurchaseStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLink
DCRainmakerStages BikeWattbike AtomTacx NEO Bike SmartWahoo KICKR Bike
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Oh, and before you ask why I haven’t included some products into the above – here’s the quick and dirty answers:

Peloton Bike: It’s not a ‘smart’ bike in the sense of the above, it doesn’t allow you to set a specific power level (it does tell you the current power level). Rumors are Peloton is working on such a bike, but nothing today.

SRM Bike: This was also announced today, with full smart integration. I’ve got a chat with them in a few hours. Stay tuned!

True Kinetix Bike: This will likely be in the above chart by the end of the week. They’re planning on shipping me a test unit in the next week or two, and I’ll be meeting with them this afternoon. I just want to get a clear understanding of timelines and capabilities (specifically the ANT+/BLE bits) before I add them above).

VirtuPro: It could also get escalated into the above chart, I’ve talked about it in the past. But I need clarity on when they’ll (actually) ship it with ANT+/BLE support, and realistic timelines to that. Else, it’s a proprietary solution that doesn’t really fit what the tables are designed for (the rest of the bikes here are compatible with all industry protocols).

Again, I’m more than happy to add products into the database. In general, my rule of thumb is I want hands-on time (or butts-on in this case), and I want some realistic level of clarity on delivery time frames.

Summary:

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There’s zero question this is an impressive piece of hardware…and software. The initial ride feel is great, and the crispiness of the system is one of the best. The fact that it mirrors my bike in any way I want it to – from the exact shifting setup to the chainrings, is huge. Of course, with that comes one heck of a price tag – the most expensive indoor consumer bike out there – $3,499USD.

Of course, the real challenge for Wahoo will be production. Not so much quality, but just throughput. They’ve set expectations early that there will be limited stock this year. Some units may actually squeak out to early order as soon as next week, but retailers are being told to expect limited supply in October – and continued limited supply the remainder of the year. Only certain geographies are getting supply at launch, with more locales to follow in 2020.

I’m keen to get it into the DCR Cave in the following days and put it through its paces from an accuracy standpoint. After all, this is totally new technology for Wahoo from the ground up. About the only thing that’s carried over here from the previous generation units is the Wahoo logo. The electromagnetic resistance design, the actuator system for CLIMB, the shifting – everything is new. And as we know, new carries risk. Wahoo believes they’ve mitigated that risk with the largest program they’ve ever had of beta testers globally pounding on bikes for almost a year all-in. Time will tell whether that’s the case.

With that – stay tuned for plenty more to come, and thanks for reading!

Update: Pre-orders have begun for the Wahoo BIKE via Clever Training. There’s roughly one shipment per month, with the first shipment expected early October (and more limited). The site will update once each shipment is filled. Using Clever Training helps support the site here, and if you use the DCR/CT VIP program, you’ll get 10% back in points  you can use immediately (which, is officially a crapton of points). Thanks for the support!

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131 Comments

  1. Bestevaer

    It looks neat. And I like how silent it is. But $3500?! That is quite something.

  2. Matt

    It accepts fit coordinates – but what are the possibilities to use it also as a fit bike for a system like FIST which is about rider feel. Is it adjustable enough and does it also output the parameters?

    • Chader

      I see this as a better option when compared to something like the Retul Muve SL. The Kickr lacks the easier access and fine tune of fit during pedaling. But the Muve is more expensive to start, and the Kickr includes power measurement and control.

      If the Wahoo app uses standard Reach, Stack and such, it could make testing for bike size from geometry charts really easy. The silly Muve requires separate rulers and such because they don’t have direct measurement from the bike itself. Just a mistake from a use standpoint, IMHO.

      Depending on a shop layout and planning, I see the Kickr Bike as a real option for fitting and sales uses.

  3. Mike

    Hmmm, be good if they spent time fixing all the issues that people are having with the previous Kickr’s, Elemnt’s etc.
    Can anyone see the market they are after? I’ll stick my head and say it’s not the roadie. Indoors I’m going to put my bike on a trainer, why? Because that’s what I ride outdoors, little point sitting on an ‘exercise bike’ and then have to get fitted to that!
    You don’t see Peloton or Watt Bike delving into the trainer market do you…

  4. SEN-MING YOUNG

    I am worried that the quality of wahoo is very inconvenient to repair.

  5. Adam

    How can you store it? Is it possible to pack it easily to store in a cabinet or under a bed?

  6. David E.

    Is there a way to put aerobars on this thing? Cool that I could set it up with the fit settings of my tri bike, but not very helpful if I can’t put aerobars out front.

  7. Erin Kirsten

    looks awesome and nice and quiet too, I would rather fork out 3500 on a bike that I could take on the road as well though

  8. Tommy

    Considers selling atom. Sees price. Reconsiders.

  9. Mike

    Don’t Wahoo see people using a 32t cassette :), of course I saw a Custom option but surprises me there isn’t a 32t by default, I know this sounds stupid… but not having a place to put phone or tablet is a big turnoff for me, they want me to spend how much and yet I have to provide my own stand !, people who will pay this much will want to be using TrainerRoad or Zwift, Wahoo should really sort this out.

  10. Mike

    Oh… and it is nice to see them supporting 165mm crank length for short arses like me :), this is why I would not buy a Tacx Smart bike even though I am a Neo user

  11. Neil Jones

    I’m genuinely interested why having some form of indication of what gear you’re in (either integrated or via an app) is seen as a significant feature, when there’s no such display on a ‘real’ road bike. Indeed, it seems to be an inside joke that when MTBers get on a road bike for the first time their first question is how they’re meant to see what gear they’re in.

    Is their some subtle mechanical feedback from a bike that better cyclists than me rely on which just isn’t there on a trainer/indoor bike? Or is it just geek factor (which I’m all for!)?

    • Lemoose

      On a real road bike you can look down and see which gear you are in and what you have left 😂.
      Also there is a slight haptic “bump” when changing gears (see spec page on Wahoo’s site)

    • Neil Jones

      ^OK, so having just posted this it dawns on me that you can’t visually check by looking at the front and rear mechs as you can on a bike (not something I personally tend to do much, I just keep clicking and if nothing changes any more then I just need to pedal harder) – so I guess that’s what it replaces?

    • Kirby Krieger

      The Elemnt (and I suspect all Wahoo computers — and likely other non-Wahoo computers) allows one to display either a numerical or graphic representation of the current gearing. Works well. I have it set to show on most pages.

  12. Tim Grose

    Interesting. Like the fact you can choose (and even change) your crank length and pedal choice. What is the fit range do you think? In other words would beanpoles like me (at 1.95m) who are bit taller than you be OK? This seemed somewhat borderline with the Wattbike Atom offering athough with the “Pro” the extended seat pin worked albeit could not get in any position anywhere near my TT one.

    • Rob

      I’m in the same boat as you. It looks like this can use a standard seatpost, so we might be able to install a really long one to get some extra adjustability. Not sure if there’s a “pipe” we could clamp a stem to that would give us non-TT positions though…

  13. Philip

    I was wondering what the footprint is compared to mounting a bike on a conventional Wahoo Kickr, i.e. how much floor space does it take up compared to a regular Kickr?

    • Lemoose

      I guess you can sort of deduct that from the videos or the product shots on the Wahoo site…
      more compact in terms of length as there is no front wheel.

  14. usr

    That’s some heavy gold rush atmosphere going on, with a whole peloton (pardon…) of stationary bikes being announced by trainer companies at the same day.

    Where do I sign up to sell shovels?

  15. Frank-enstein

    Impressive stuff, and all of a sudden $1,200 trainers look like a bargain!

    At least we now have an answer to the post ROAM question of “what the hay-ell have Wahoo product teams been doing for the last 2-3 years???”

  16. Frank-enstein

    Idea:

    1- Sell current road bike for $1,000
    2- Buy shiny new $4,000 Rubaix on end of season clearance
    3- Explain to wife I just saved us $500 from the cost of a Wahoo bike

  17. Roberto Cuadro

    The price on these bikes is not that all unbelievable. Between my KICKR 18 and Climb I have what? $1800 already spent… I am seriously considering getting a spare frame to have a dedicated Zwift setup. I know I know, first world problems but still. By the time I find another Trek Madone frame to use I will be close enough to the $3500 price point that, if this was out last year, I would spend the money on this instead.
    Maybe 🙂

  18. Jon P.

    What is the possibility of any further announcements from Wahoo for product updates in Q4? New version of KICKR perhaps?

  19. Pietro

    Hi Ray, I’m using an oval (or not round anyway) chainring, is there the possibility to use a similar setup also for this bike?

    • Derek Chan

      Doubtful. It’s a belt drive and I don’t think anyone even makes oval belt drive rings. Looks like 5 bolt mount even if it was possible to mount a third party ring you’d need a belt of the correct length.

    • Pietro

      Yes from the hardware point of view I am also doubtful, even if in theory for wahoo it would be also doable, but what about from the software point of view? They could increase the resistance in a certain position of the pedal stroke and ease it in the other position, responsiveness and frequency would be the challenge but in theory it’s possible…

    • Chris Benten

      Perhaps this: link to bikeradar.com

      And a trainer…

  20. Kevin LaCour

    $3500, and there will be accessories? To hold your phone/tablet?

    *gulp* – any add on smacks of poor product planning or an obvious attempt to extract more money from the potential consumer.

    Steering is accomplished through buttons, and not actual steering?

    *gasp* – does the handlebars turn? Could it support the new zwift steering (built-in or thru the companion)? It doesn’t appear as you mention buttons to steer.

    A display with less information than my gym’s spin bike?

    *sigh* – at $3500 I don’t want to have to look to add on solutions to get a display of important information positioned correctly.

    A single USB port?

    *meh* – again, at $3500 you’d think there would be 2.

    I’m guessing at this price point they are shooting for the early adopters, not the general consumer. At that price I could get the Kickr KOM bundle at $1600, and have $1900 dollars to buy a bike dedicated to the trainer.

  21. fisao

    Product design is not on par with (aimed for) premium market expectations.

    Those hanging cables will be what people will remember about the first Wahoo Bike.

    Also: little to no storage on the unit for phone or remotes etc. (go buy their 250$ desk I guess…)

    Not impressed Wahoo, your bike seems like a pre-production version with no design review.

    • Lemoose

      Hanging cables are probably a trade off to allow you to swap the handlebars with your own easily…

    • fisao

      sure, but that can be done with pull-out cables, or extendable ones or semi-rigid cables that can me formed/molded, or even no cables at all. Many solutions to this. It is unlikely that an owner will change the handlebars frequently, so make it look pretty at that ridiculous price. There is just too much here that brings the perceived value down A LOT.

      And that matters in this market segment.

  22. Terry Steer

    Any info on what heights of riders this is suitable for? Minimum and maximum? Or maybe put it another way, what size frames can I configure this as? (My wife rides a 44cm – will she be too short?)

  23. Tiago Silva

    In your chart you have that “MAXIMUM SIMULATED HILL INCLINE” for the “TACX NEO BIKE SMART” is 25%.
    Does the tacx NEO Bike smart has that feature???

    • Lemoose

      I think that refers to the simulation of gradient as in increased resistance vs actually tilting the bike up or down on the BIKE.

  24. Simon

    V. ugly. Looks like a prototype that has been knocked up in the workshop with whatever box section was lying around.

    Then again I said the same about the element (not the box section bit) when it was released, but quite liked it when I saw it in the flesh.

    At $3500 I doubt I’ll ever see one of these in the wild though

  25. Dlow

    My only comment. And it’s not price related because there is clearly a market for it otherwise, why make it? How would Wahoo/Tacx-Garmin/Atom handle servicing these units. Because something will invariably go wrong or break and by being one one platform you’d be out a trainer bike for extended periods of time. Whereas you can theoretically load a regular kickr into your trunk and easily return to your dealer.

  26. Paul S.

    Do this or any of the new smart bikes allow easy switching between multiple users? For the expense and the fact that they’re going to be taking up floor space permanently, for a family it’d be nice if they easily supported more than one person (push button switching like my car has would be very nice).

    • fisao

      sharing an indoor bike with my wife, I have the same concern. Unfortunately I believe that we will see this sort of service only from V2s onwards across the board.

      For now, the brands are still developing their own product characteristics and ease, precision and execution of such a feature won’t be a factor until V3. (hope I am wrong)

    • trey10325

      Paul, I have the same interest. These bikes need a way to rapidly change dimensions between 2 or 3 riders, or at least have positions memorized for easy back and forth.

    • EV

      Ease of use by multiple family members is exactly the reason I am going to buy one of these new smart bikes. Tired of switching bike and adapters on the trainer, and having to clean bikes off before bringing them in the rev room. Adjusting a couple of posts to marked numbers will take ten seconds. I may be lazy, but I can’t see ever needing something that simple to be automated.

    • Paul S.

      What are you going to do about crank length?

    • Chad McNeese

      Along these lines, the current bikes appear to have scales (millimeters?) on them for easy documentation of desired setups. Record the numbers on a side note or even something attached to the trainer.

      Related to the more time consuming changes (like crank length, which matters for those with larger discrepancies in height), is saddle choice. We all know how picky and particular we are about saddles. I expect any house with 2 or more users to need a way to swap saddles quickly too. Some look to be easier than others (Kickr Bike could be as easy as 2 posts with a different saddle), but some use a more complex and expensive mount.

      Add to that pedal preference as something that may need to be addressed. I expect there will be real questions like these when people finally get them in hand and stumble on these little hiccups.

    • SnotRocket

      Same thoughts here – price point is more palatable if this easily supports multiple users. I’m wondering if the entire seat post can be removed and allow a second user to use the bike by dropping in their seat-post & seat.
      Crank length would still be off, but I could get past that.

    • Paul S.

      Well, weight isn’t a consideration and price apparently is meaningless, too, so I can think of several options. For example, create some kind of snap-on/off crank arms, which would take care of both the length and the pedal problem. A dropper post might be good enough for the seat problem; I’ve used crappy hotel exercise bike saddles before, but yeah, easily removable seat posts would work, too. Maybe even handlebars that in addition to pitching up and down and sliding forward/back expanded/contracted a little. It’s not going anywhere, so regular bike components aren’t necessary.

    • Robert

      Yes I was thinking the same thing as well. I ride different saddles road (Shimano Pro Stealth) and TT (ISM Adamo PN 3.0), so simply adjusting the seatpost won’t quite do the trick. Also run different cranks lengths (175mm vs 170mm). May see if I can get a 2nd seatpost in order to do the saddle swap that way. On pedals, likely will need to move back and forth with each “bike” swap.

  27. Jared

    This looks really awesome. I’d order one today. But at $3,500 the one year limited warranty is a nonstarter. It should be five years.

    • damien roy

      Lot of indoor riders and even companies like Saris have been working on rocker plates or platforms allowing side to side movements. Not sure what is the percentage of indoor riders using rocker plates but there are quite a few out there and the benefits are real. It is disappointing to me that this new Wahoo bike is not offering any side to side movement. Is there any technical limitations or a pure choice on Wahoo side?

    • EV

      Doesn’t look it would be that hard to make this thing rock sideways. Personally, I didn’t like the feel of a rocker at all, so I’m glad they didn’t go that direction. Maybe best left to the after market since it’s not really a widely accepted thing.

    • Chad McNeese

      I have seen at least one Wattbike Atom mounted on a rocker plate. They love the motion once they got it done. The heavier weight of the setup lead to stronger springs, but the concept is the same as the other rockers we have seen.

      link to facebook.com

  28. Michael Scotti

    Does this support sequential shifting like the AXS E-Tap?

  29. Jim Robertson

    Apologies for not remembering/applying all the communications protocols, but could the absent gearing settings be corrected by pairing the device with my Edge 1030? I guess even if that’s true, then there’d be the issue of where to put the bike computer. I wonder also if there’s some way that the Edge could record the simulated distance ridden on the Wahoo Bike?

    My first thoughts on seeing the email from Wahoo this morning were:
    1. DAMN!
    2. Now I won’t have to clean up the S-Works Roubaix to ride indoors in the Montana winter!
    3. Wait a week or so to see what DC Rainmaker thinks: two clicks (trackpad, not Di2 shift levers) DAMN (again)! He already has a post up!
    4. I’ll need a mortgage to buy this thing!

    • RTellis

      When I pair my Kickr Core to my Edge 820 or FR945 it sends speed data which when combined with time gives me distance that’s pretty believable. Of course it doesn’t match up to Zwift distance unless I ride a very flat course in game. When riding something like the Tempus Fugit course my Edge and Zwift distances are pretty close.

    • Jim Robertson

      I left a message with Wahoo support, hinting that I was applying for a new mortgage to buy this thing. It took them a few days (I’ll be they’e inundated with questions. Here’s a portion of their reply (regarding what info I could expect to see archived on my Garmin computer:

      “At this time, you will be able to get ride distance, cadence, power. It will not display gear information and it really depends on what platform your are using regarding simulated grade. There is a gearing display on the KICKR BIKE.”

      The lack of gearing information surprises me a bit. Once Wahoo’s engineers have gone to all the trouble to create the simulation, INCLUDING ring and cassette specifications, one would think it wouldn’t be TOO much work to transmit it to recording devices.

      I think the 1030 bases grade information on real sensors – or perhaps on map data – I don’t remember, but if it’s the latter, I guess it would fall to the VR ride publisher to provide that data. Probably won’t be too long before they’ll be able to include “real” flats, crashes, and obstacles. Imagine me sitting in my living room and struggling past the Red Devil on Alpe d’Huez!

      They also say “We leave the option of mounts to the user. They are very simple to install. “

    • I agree it wouldn’t be hard to transmit it over the ANT+ gear shifting protocal. Though, there’s no standard/method for transmitting elevation.

      Garmin semi-announced at an industry event on Tuesday night that there’s a lot of integration points they’re working on between trainers and head units related to the Tacx acquisition. They highlighted some of them that I might detail in another post. Knowing Garmin, it’s likely those will become spec standards that others can follow.

      As for gear information to apps via BLE, that’s a mess – as Zwift has kindly demonstrated (not their fault). Each company is doing individual things. It’s almost like these companies and apps should talk to each other…oh, right.

    • Jim Robertson

      Thanks for the follow-up!

      I think the 1030 uses both GPS data and an altimeter to calculate gradient information. I’m sure I could find it in your incredibly detailed review of the 1030, but there are SO many comments there by now that it’s hard to find things that you didn’t cover in the basic review itself (not a criticism, just an acknowledgement of how much we’ve all learned and wondered about from the comprehensive review itself.

  30. SB

    A smartwatch. Please, just develop a smartwatch.

  31. Chris Stewart

    Your code does not seem to work on Clever Training

    Would you expect it too?

    Thanks

    • No, the 10% discount code won’t work on this Wahoo product, but the DCR CT/VIP program does. So you’ll still get back those 10% in points, which you can turn right back around on and use effectively as cash for any other transactions. So this product would give you 350 points, which are worth $350USD as a credit in your account.

      You could use that to buy 1xWahoo FAN + a TICKR FIT HR strap + probably something else random. Or, you could buy a lot of sometime else randoms. 🙂

      Thanks for the support!

    • Chris Stewart

      ok so we have to sign up for VIP program then order?

    • MB

      Yup, Chris, sign up is easy with a one-time small fee, and then you get the points / credit back as Ray noted (as well as free 2-day shipping going forward no matter how little you spend!).

  32. mattv

    They should have built a scale into this.. It would have been great for Zwift racing verification.

  33. Tyler

    Has the TACX Neo bike been revealed yet?

    link to buy.garmin.com

    From the looks of the display, fans, tray for phone, ability to accommodate a Garmin head unit, etc., the TACX seems much more thought out for user interface.

  34. Derek Chan

    Looking more closely at the aesthetics zwift should partner with some company to hack a mtb geometry trainer to a mechanical bull. Fun times

  35. Nunya

    I hope it doesn’t have the annoying noise problems of the 2018 Kickr. 2 trainers so far and it still squeals and grinds. It’s too late to return it. It would be horribly inconvenient with a bike.

  36. Scott

    Ray, based on your first impressions of the Kickr Bike and the new Stages Smart Bike, which do you think is the better system in terms of performance, rider-comfort, and future adaptability?

  37. Seth B.

    Do you anticipate in the future being able to use the Peloton app with these new smart bikes in such a way that the power from the bike is actually used/transmitted? It would be nice to have one device for a family where some prefer the spinning classes and other prefer the zwift/etc experience (without compromising on the experience, which I imagine using the Peloton app without their bike to be at this point)..

  38. Tim Grose

    So presume all these companies have done some market research and seen that there is a demand for static racing bikes as opposed to more your Peloton style of “spin” bike. But is there? How many Wattbike Atoms are there out there for instance? Not sure am seeing it or is it largely to add an option into an existing line up of trainers to stay relevant? With about £3000 to dispose of on a bike, I thinking either whole new (outdoor) bike or nice frame and add other bits later. Also they always seem like road bike equivalents. Can you actually get into a TT position like a proper TT bike?

  39. Mitch w

    The shroud of the smart trainers has fallen. Begun the indoor bike war has.

  40. Charlie Anderson

    Didn’t Cyclops try this indoor bike thing 20+ years ago?

    Seems like deja vu, but I guess apps will allow these to have traction.

    link to fitnesssuperstore.com

  41. JB

    Is there really a market for all these expensive smart bikes which got announced today??? If yes, I’m not earning enough money!
    Prices for bikes go up, expensive GPS devices, expensive watches, expensive everything… I already have a very hard time explaining I need a (new) 1000$ trainer and a new Garmin Forerunner945 or Fenix6!

    I mean really, unless on some monthly payment/rent-buy scheme this is out of my league. And I reckon also for a lot of my cycling friends. If these apps like Zwift want to have everyone on a bike they need to come with a 500$ bike, not a 2500$ or more one!

    • mattv

      Of course you need to make more money!!
      Spend more money, borrow, borrow, borrow.
      Have you not heard of a credit card?
      You just have to time your death so they can’t take it all back before you are done using it.
      Why go to the grave with a positive balance? You need this stuff!!!!!

    • Chader

      Welcome to the free market, which will ultimately decide the value and worthiness of these products. Presumably these companies have done some market research to determine the feasibility and pricing for the smart bikes.

      All that is interesting but academic, and now get to see how they really get adopted. I think these are interesting products and solve a group of problems for particular buyers. They will NOT be the right solution for everyone. But if enough people get them to satisfy the product & related costs, I am happy to have more options in the marketplace.

    • GLT

      +1

      There may be appeal to customers new to Wahoo that aren’t traditional the core readership of Ray’s blog. Price seems a bit high, but if it allows the buyer to drop their health club membership then it prices out okay over three or four years of ownership.

      I suspect there are now more solutions of this type than will continue on in the long term, especially at the higher price ranges, but time will tell.

    • henau212

      There is absolutely a market for this. People riding 10k bikes will have no problem spending 3,5k on this (and there a lot of people on those bikes out there..).

      You also have to see the early adopter side.. This bike is packed with new tech that will trickle down to the smart trainers etc in the upcoming years (so every segment will benefit). Also, I think it is legitimate to expect a wahoo bike like this to hit 2,5k or less in the next years when this tech hits ‘mass market’ and gets cheaper.

  42. tomtom

    i’m very excited about all the smart bikes being announced at the moment. i’m planning to buy one this autumn and a key consideration for me is noise as i’m mainly going to use it while my wife and/or baby are sleeping. would you be able to add noise level to your overview table, ray, or rank them further down the line?

    • They’re all frankly super quite – and all about the same. But I’m planning on doing a KICKR BIKE vs Wattbike Atom vs Tacx Bike shoot out in the next two weeks, so that’s a good place for that.

      I think in the video I discuss the sound level is almost identical to that of a microwave. The more I think about it, it’s about as perfect as you can get.

  43. Ben

    Does it need to be calibrated?

  44. Darin Via

    Ordered my Tacx Neo Smart Bike last December. This (the Wahoo) looks awesome, but think I will stick with TACX as I am a complete Garmin user and in my experience, like things like like things. Hope I made the right choice.

  45. Peter Beatty

    Do we think that’s all from Wahoo now ? Am I safe to order a 2018 kickr now ? Been holding off in a case of an updated model.

    • There’s no further hardware announcement planned from Wahoo. The trainers you’ve seen here are what’s out there, plus a few I’ve yet to finish posts on:

      A) 4iiii Fliiiight
      B) Elite Tuo
      C) JetBlack
      D) Some indoor bikes

    • Steve

      Other than “Paint It Black” (one of my favorite songs), is a 4iiii Fliiiight any different than a Stac-Zaro Halcyon? Have they fixed the road feel issues in sim mode?

    • Chad McNeese

      Here is what I have seen listed elsewhere:

      – Now it comes assembled. So no need to figure out the spring pins and magnets positions.

      – No spoke magnet to detect movement. Instead, they are using an optical sensor to detect spokes movement.

      – It also has an auto-centering so you can just attach the bike to the trainer and just ride.

      – Dual Bluetooth channels.

      – Claims of an improved experience without a flywheel added to the bike.

    • As Chad noted, substantially different actually. I’ve got a full post/video I’m working on now, assuming the kids don’t wake-up from nap early…

  46. klaus

    All new smartbikes (Wahoo, Taxc, Stages, …) need their own configuration app. If your smartphone is too old or the seller stops supporting the app in 2-3 years, you will not be able to configure your smartbike.

    Configuring smartbikes requires an open (!) Standard so you can continue to use and configure your smartbike when a vendor disappears from the market.

    • usr

      Just get an old beater off eBay as a dedicated smartbike configuration terminal if you are amongst the few who would not have a compatible device. At those price points it barely makes a difference.

      The open standard already exists btw, it would be trivial to run a local web server on a tiny controller in the “bike”. Actually this might already happen, as the backend for the app. A lot of IoT devices are operating that way, but that comes with its own set of problems.

    • Technically speaking you don’t have to configure your bike with the app, it’ll work and broadcast on open standards just fine. The only detail that the bikes ideally need to increase ride file correctly is your weight.

      There’s already discussions around getting weight passed in the specs, though I don’t know where that stands (last I remember it’s part of FE-C but not part of FTMS, hence why Tacx has been hesitant on FTMS for the NEO/NEO Bike, since it requires it for proper road feel).

  47. Chris

    I pre-ordered one.

    Things I like:
    Quiet operation. I live in a NYC apartment with a wife and 2 kids and train at 5AM – they already hear me coughing, cursing and panting – eliminating chain clicks and gear shifts helps.
    True bike fit based on my Retul fit
    Simplicity of everything being in one package and a much smaller footprint (48″) than a bike with a trainer attached.

    Things I don’t like:
    Questionable reliability – if one thing breaks, do I have to replace entire unit? I still have to fix my kickr core every 3 weeks from the knocking (though it only takes 3 minutes now as I’ve done it so often). Wahoo’s reliability in trainers isn’t strong (but love my elemnt)
    No phone/tablet holder. This is a ridiculous oversight and should not be a cost to add on given this price tag. I don’t want to buy a computer stand for an Ipad/mobile.
    Price – Once you factor in tax and shipping, you get to $3900 really fast

  48. Hans

    It’s really nice to have options for crank length, but is the q-factor normal by road bike standards?

    My old commercial-grade Wattbike Pro had hideously wide q-factor cranks and I had to machine a custom set of cranks for it… which was a bit of a pain.

  49. Johannes

    This really brings me in a conundrum. I’ve a preorder on the Tacx bike since 8 months and now that they are very close to start shipping, Wahoo offers this tempting thing … Go with the Tacx or wait until the Wahoo bike is available in Europe? Don’t know what to do!

    Ray, do you know what the price in Euro will be? And which bike would you prefer? Tacx or Wahoo? 🙂

    • Johannes

      And one more question 🙂 What about the stability of the Wahoo bike? It doesn’t look super sturdy and I am wondering how it deals with full power sprints. What is your take on this, Ray? Thanks very much 🙂

    • Stability is totally fine. We were outside on some bricks in front of a garage, it wasn’t perfectly flat.

  50. ChrisTexan

    Looks pretty cool, and would be a nice platform for fine-tuning ride fits at home (crank length in particular) where that’s really a challenge without otherwise finding and paying for getting a professional fit.

    Curious, especially at this point, why they didn’t actually allow the bars to pivot for steering input. Yes, more complicated, but at this price, having stationary bars and pushing a button to “turn” seems a bit off. (They could have maybe also potentially made the stem mount cambered in some fashion to simulate “lean/counter-turning” a bit if done that way, since it’s free-hanging). Nice first look!

    Also on the bars, are the control units independent of the actual bar (looks that way from the pics with the cables coming out independently), meaning you could swap them onto a matching bar of your preference? For instance if you ride an aero “flat-top” bar, or need a different bar width? If they are standard mounts, could the drop from the cost and you supply your own?

    Seems very nice overall, just wow, that price tag! That’s the price of a nice, new full bike!

    • Chad McNeese

      Yes, the brake/shift levers are “normal” mounting (and connected via wires), so you can swap to your own choice of handle bar. It will require a full re-wrap of bar tape to do the swap from the stock ones.

  51. JD

    I will assume they learned their lesson and the CLIMB component is hydraulic or worm drive based with no belt to snap. 🙂

    • Chad McNeese

      Best guess from the pics is a mechanical linear actuator with ball screw or similar threaded/nutted connection

      I am 99% sure it won’t be hydraulic, because that is a more complex system in many ways and far more likely to develop fluid leaks, air entry or other issues.

  52. Luke

    I think it’s a piece of art/talking point you can have in your apartment on display opposed to the traditional separate “pain” cave type setup. It’s interesting that both Stages & Tacx have created very bomb proof setups, blockish and hide me away options, which probably last a life time, and Wahoo have gone for the “I look cool show me off” approach.

    • Chad McNeese

      The Stages is a pimped up spin bike, and certainly no thing of beauty. It sturdiness is apparent and an asset, but it ain’t sexy.

      But I have no idea where you get that the Tacx bike is a ‘blockish… hide me away’ option. There’s no aesthetic bucket that includes the Stages and Tacx other than preference. Beauty is in the eye… and all that, but the Tacx is a sculpted and shapely design… not blocks at all.

      In fact, the blocky design is the Wahoo with nearly all straight and square angles, with minimal curves. It’s industrial in contrast to the Tacx. Even the balance of exposed metal vs plastic leans the Wahoo to mechanical / structural vs the seat sedate and homey plastic on the Tacx.

      IMO, a designer sculpted the Tacx,while an engineer designed the Wahoo… if you get my meaning. Art played a bigger role in one situation than the other.

    • JD

      Stages looks like a solid exercise machine you’d find in a top end gym.
      Tacx looks like a hovercraft bike you’d ride through the desert in a Star Wars episode.
      Wattbike looks like a robot dog that opens doors and fetches things.
      Wahoo looks like a mechanical bull at a western bar. Yeehaw!
      None of them are going to win any design awards but that’s not their target market.

  53. Casey

    Curious if this could be used in a studio/commercial setting (with multiple users per day)?

  54. Darin Via

    DC Rainmaker, any worries about sweat at the electronic and USB connections right under the bars?????

    • Not at the moment, the port is basically on the underside of the little box there, so sweat would have to go in a pretty weird way to get to it.

    • Darin Via

      Thanks for the comments Ray!! I still have concerns. Used to short out my tribe DI2 with the junction connection at the bottom of the bottom bracket. Unfortunately I am a heavy sweater and that box is right where the sweat drips off. I recognize most will then drip of the bottom outside cornes of the box, but I bet some of will continue along the box where the cable will serve as a wick. Well see!! Bet that location is internally routed soon.

  55. Horst

    Hello Ray,

    will it be possible to simulate a Rohloff Speedhub 14 gear shift (or pinion 9/12/18 gear) to at least halfway achieve a MTB setting?

    Greeting Horst

  56. Johannes

    Does anyone have a clue what the pricing in Euro will be? What would be your best guess?

    I’m still torn between staying with the Tacx or waiting for the Wahoo bike. If the pricing will 3499 Euro, I would probably choose Tacx, but for 3099 Euro, I might change my mind 🙂

    Thanks

  57. MB

    Ray, any notes on how much the KICKR Bike vibrates through it’s legs when riding?

    I’m in the NYC open-a-shovel-stand market and my KICKR 2018 trainer while audibly quiet still vibrates too much for my downstairs neighbor’s liking. Wondering if the Bike is my salvation . . .

    • Mattv

      I feel for you. I used to live in an apartments, and all the older trainers I had were effectively not useable by me because it was too disturbing to the neighbors. Noise has very little to do with it. In fact, rollers were the worst. I’m surprised the new Kickr has not solved that problem. This should be part of every trainer review.

    • No notes yet, I’ll circle back when I’ve got some notes (and a unit in-house). My guess is low vibrations, since it’d be more akin to a Tacx NEO than a KICKR, which is usually pretty good for folks with apartments that have less than optimal flooring situations.

  58. Christian

    A little pricy for me…

  59. Leon Evans

    Please make sure your review covers a time trialling configuration. I am looking to the wahoo smart bike to replace having to use my expensive TT bike as my indoor training tool (I’m a pure TT’er so only train on the TT bike, in the TT position).
    The ability for a smart bike to replace my race bike to avoid wear and tear on it would be a godsend but we need reviewers to test it in the TT configuration.

    • I’d love to, but I don’t think it will initially. My understanding is they won’t have the TT bars available till a bit later this year.

      I could of course replace them with my own bars, though that gets back to the accessory bits for buttons and such (also later this year).

  60. Perry

    How difficult would this be to outfit with aero bars similar to Zip, Profile Designs, etc?

  61. Howe

    Would like to see a detail user comparison with Tacx NEO Bike Smart!

  62. Sherman Heydrich

    Crank Arm Length: No 180? With all the choices they give there is no 180? Lost me there otherwise I would buy as I love the climb unit and waited years for it to be invented! Ray tell them to add 180 long crank option please??

  63. Chisholm

    Anyone know the exact gearing available.
    The tacx smartbike only goes up to 53/11 I use 54/11 and ride in that all the time.
    Some pros use 58?