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Wahoo KICKR Bike In-Depth Review

At $3,500 the Wahoo KICKR Bike is Wahoo’s most expensive product. And one of the most expensive indoor training products you can buy. It’s also the company’s first go at creating not just an indoor bike, but actually an entirely different technological way of doing resistance within a ‘trainer’. While at first glance you may assume this is basically just a KICKR+CLIMB melded together on steroids, the reality is that technologically it’s vastly different internally.

The flywheel is a new electromagnetic design that’s akin to what Tacx has used in their NEO series for years, while the CLIMB portion no longer uses a belt, but is fully linear actuator driven. Not to mention creating an entirely flexible shifting system that can replicate your outdoor bike, from SRAM to Shimano to Campagnolo. All while trying to adhere to the normal industry standards around communicating with apps on ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.

While the KICKR Bike just started landing in people’s homes a week or two ago, I’ve been riding the Wahoo KICKR Bike for about two and a half months. I’ve got plenty of rides on it, as have numerous visitors to the DCR Cave during that time period. Be it people at the open house to GPLAMA and DesFit, not to mention my wife… all of whom have put mileage on it. So plenty of time to find the good, the bad, and maybe a bit of ugly.

As usual, once I’m done here shortly with this media loaner I’ll get it all boxed up, tumbled down the stairs, and pushed out the door back to Wahoo. Just the way I roll. If you find this review useful, feel free to hit up the links at the end of the post to help support the site. With that – onwards!

(Note: At present Wahoo is only taking orders for bikes to the North American market. The company has previously said they expect to start on the European market in early 2020, however, given the delays with only a handful of bikes just recently delivered to the US market, I don’t expect we’ll see European sales come online anytime soon. Wahoo has also ceased taking new orders as well until they can make some progress on the huge pile of existing backorders. Due to the weight and size of these products, virtually all distribution from Asia occurs via oceanic cargo ship – which compounds the delays.)

Unboxing & Setup:

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Someday I’ll get around to editing the funny VLOG-style video I shot getting this bike out of the clutches of FedEx and the Dutch customs authority. But what you need to know is that I got it out. That’s all that matters here! And then, like any true resident of the Netherlands, I pedaled it home via bike from the airport: Smart bike atop cargo bike, held only by a daisy chain of bungee cords.

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Once back in the DCR Cave, it was time to unbox it. Albeit, a job partially done by the customs authority. The entire top of the box lifts off, revealing the contents inside. The main portion of the bike is pre-assembled, leaving you a box of parts and then a secondary support piece below the flywheel:

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Here’s a look inside that box of parts:

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And here’s the contents spread out, which includes the handlebars, seat post, power cable, a spare set of pedals you’ll never use unless you host an Open House, as well as the bike feet/frame support posts. Oh, and the manual.

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And a quick close-up gallery of those pieces:

Assembly is pretty straightforward. First, you’ll attach the legs:

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Then, you’ll attach the handlebars – just as you would on a real bike:

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Don’t forget to plug in the two cables to the ports at the base of the front stem:

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Then take the seat-post and stuff that in the hole:

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While this seat-post does have a special ruler on the back of it, you can actually swap it out for any seat-post of your liking. This allows you to have two saddles (perhaps for two family members) and easily swap them. I suspect some day Wahoo will also offer secondary seat posts as accessories in an online store or something.

Then there’s this giant-ass warning card:

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It asks to install these two washers:

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The point of these washers is to keep your pedals (after going through the crank arm hole) from hitting the frame of the bike:

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Go ahead and plug your bike in:

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Oh, wait, don’t forget to double-check your feet levelers are in a happy spot so you don’t get any undesirable wobble from the base:

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Then send out the Roomba to clean-up the mess you’ve made:

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With that, we’re ready to cover some basics before we start into the whole bike fit bit.

The Basics:

For this section I’ll cover some of the basics of the hardware, before we get into setup of rider fit as well as things like gearing and shifting, plus app connectivity. All of which are detailed in separate sections.

We’re going to start where all things start: The wall.

Yup, your power outlet. Like most smart trainers, this bike needs power to function, and comes with a beast of a power block (and a pile of appropriate international wall connectors). Here’s a close look at the power brick specs:

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Once you’ve got it plugged in, you’re pretty much ready to use it. You’ll notice that the small display near the front of the bike is lit up. This display shows your current gearing, with the most forward number indicating your virtual chainring, while the rear number indicates your rear cassette:

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Below that little display is a single 2 AMP USB port. You can use it to plug something in, though there isn’t really a great place to put whatever you plugged in:

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Next to that are two ports, these are where you (should have) plugged in your shifters. There’s an extra port though for auxiliary accessories. That might be triathlon bar shifters some day, or it could be some sort of other accessory. Either way, the expandability is there. in fact, the reason you see the cables as all in disarray as that Wahoo wanted people to be able to make any adjustments in size/fit and not have to deal with re-doing the cabling. While I do appreciate that sentiment, I think they could have done a bit more cleanup there.

That display though will also show your current incline using the integrated CLIMB functionality, which tilts the bike up and down. And you can manually control the CLIMB’s functionality by pressing the two buttons on the left side.

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The CLIMB can recreate a +20% incline and a –15% decline. And it’s a bit different than the existing KICKR CLIMB, because in the case of the KICKR CLIMB it replicated that by raising and lowering your front fork. Whereas here it’s actually tilting the entire bike, so the pivot point is in the center of the bike (as happens on a real hill), versus just the front. That means you feel the downwards a bit more since it’s effectively raising your seat too. Here, this video snippet demonstrates it well:

(I had to very slightly tweak the playback speeds since the KICKR CLIMB and KICKR Bike have different specs, so they’d start/end at the same time)

Note though that certain bike fit positions will max out the CLIMB’s downwards incline capabilities to a lesser number (such as –10%). Also note that even when you set Zwift to 100% trainer difficulty, for some bizarre reason Zwift still halves the downhill gradient for the CLIMB position. So a 10% decline becomes a 5% decline, which means you don’t really feel it.  Other apps like FulGaz don’t have this artificial limitation, and hopefully it’s something that Zwift will eventually fix (it was there on the KICKR CLIMB too).

Next, there’s the flywheel, which is the big round thing at the back of the bike. That’s where the inertia comes from that replicates the feel on the bike. It’s somewhat quiet, though it is louder than the Tacx Bike. It can replicate downhills too by spinning the flywheel forward, making it feel like you’re coasting down a hill, based on the information Zwift sends it. The overall road inertia feel is quite good on the KICKR Bike.

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Now I said ‘somewhat quiet’ above, because this bike is like a jungle when it comes to making sounds. Ya never quite know what it’s gonna come up with next. But, I’ll roughly categorize them here:

A) Regular riding: For normal riding there’s a constant hum that’s not too bothersome, roughly akin to a fan on low
B) Riding at certain cadences: If at 63-64RPM you’ll hear a metal-sounding resonance that increases in volume the longer you stay at that RPM (to a surprisingly loud level). Another range seems to exist in the 78-79 RPM too, albeit more of a high pitched sound. Wahoo says the resonance is normal.
C) Harder efforts/sprints: With certain fit positions/movements, I’ve found this specific bike creaks a lot – like a bed when doing the horizontal shuffle. This seems to happen mostly at higher wattages and harder efforts, but not always. I listened to DesFit for nearly an hour the other day riding it, and he managed to creak the bed bike the entire time. I didn’t ask if he always rides like that, but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Wahoo believes the creaking is fixed on newer bikes, and have offered to send a newer bike over to see if that solves it. I’m going to guess it will be solved initially, but I’m curious to see how it handles longer term. There’s no question that as more people have gotten more riding time on this specific unit, it’s gotten louder and louder.

Now, for normal riding, here’s a comparison between the three bikes on the market. Again – this is exclusive of any funky sounds:

Now, to wrap up this section I’ve got a quick little summary of things I do and don’t like about the bike from a basics standpoint. I hesitate to call this a pros and cons list, though that’s more or less what it is. I’m sticking it here in the middle of the review so people that just skip to the end without reading will miss it (and thus hopefully read the whole review to make an informed decision – nuance matters). I’ll ignore any accuracy likes/dislikes in this section and keep it more on practical things, also ignoring spec-specific things too. Basically, this is more of a practical list of likes/dislikes:

Things I really like:

– The integration with CLIMB is awesome, feels better than KICKR+CLIMB (due to angles)
– The road feel inertia is great, especially ramping up
– The app for initial bike setup is awesome
– The app for configuration of gearing/shifting is even more awesome
– The actual execution of the shifters is the best in the industry

Things I really dislike:

– How the eff is there no place to put your phone/tablet/M&Ms/etc?
– You put a USB port there for what purpose if there’s no place to stash/connect anything?
– The gearing/incline display is in a useless position. Who looks at their crotch while riding?
– The front-end wiring looks ugly (even if it’s for extendibility)
– Single water bottle cage

You’ll see the same list formatting on all my indoor bike reviews. With that, onto the details of rider setup, and then shifting

Bike & Rider Fit Setup:

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Now that the KICKR bike is built, it’s time to get it fit to you. Later on in the post I talk about multi-user considerations and swapping positions. The KICKR Bike offers plenty of adjustability, which, depending on the width of your crotch, should cover virtually every possible scenario. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to your crotch again later. Or, my crotch as it may be.

At a glance, you can adjust the bike in these five ways (plus more if you include loosening the handlebars and changing the orientation there):

1) Saddle height (up/down)
2) Saddle position (forward/back)
3) Handlebar height (up/down)
4) Handlebar position (forward/back)
5) Stand-over height adjustment (up/down)

In the case of the KICKR Bike, the seat height is actually two metrics blended together: Stand over height + Saddle height.

Here’s a quick gallery of all of those measurement bits. One odd quirk that both Wahoo and Tacx have duplicated is only putting the rulers on one side of the bike. Heck, there’s even grooves in there for both sides. Seriously folks, just do both sides – I’ll pay you an extra $1 if you really want to apply the stickers on both sides.

To adjust any given bit you’ll simply slide open the lever for that particular component. It’s quick and easy and works really well:

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The only issue I’ve seen with this is that the manufacturing tolerances around the seat-post assembly aren’t great. In particular of the back seat post (horizontal movement), where when extended out towards the max there’s easily 1-2mm of play there. Wahoo says this is by design.

Wahoo offers an app integrated fit guide, and it’s incredibly detailed, all driven via an app. You’ve got three options for how to set up the fit:

A) Take a photo of your bike, and with a tiny bit of assistance it’ll automatically replicate the sizing for the KICKR Bike
B) Utilize a well-known bike fit measurement system from GURU Fit System, Retul Fit, and Trek Precision Fit, which will give you the right measurements for the KICKR Bike
C) Enter in your height and inseam, as well as preferred position (relaxed/endurance/race) and it’ll give you the KICKR Bike measurements

To get started, you’ll crack open the Wahoo App, and then choose the FIT Method that you prefer. For example, if you choose the Retul Fit option, it’ll ask you for those five specific metrics, and then you press continue:

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After which it’ll give you the specific five measurements you should configure the KICKR Bike for.

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Next, if you’ve got a bike that’s already configured, you can take a picture of it:

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It’ll show you how to line things up:

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And then you go around and place dots on various parts:

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Afterwards you’ll measure the distance between the two wheels, and input it into the app. In theory, it gives you the measurements, but somehow that didn’t quite work for me (nor did a do-over). Perhaps I need to get a better bike fit…

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And finally for the last FIT method, you can enter in your specific height and inseam and it’ll spit out the correct sizing numbers as well:

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And then here’s all the data and instructions it’ll give you back – which was incredibly close to my normal bike fit:

Either way, beyond my specific photo-sizing issue issue, it’s the type of nuanced well thought through detail we frankly don’t see a lot of in the sports tech space.

Of course, sizing it to you is going to vary a bit based on your exact fit. And there’s no better example of that than the ‘thigh gap’ issue I talked about on Twitter recently. Which is that some of these bikes have rather large top-tubes, as such, you’ll rub your thighs against it while riding. Here’s an example of the slight bit of rub on the KICKR Bike:

I rub on both the KICKR Bike and Tacx Bike, but not on the Wattbike Atom. That’s because the Wattbike Atom frame is super thin compared to the beastly Wahoo & Tacx Bikes.

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But it’s not entirely black and white. See, while the Tacx Bike is thick, it only extends below the saddle, so for some people they’ll never touch at all because their legs extend forward beyond that point. Whereas on the KICKR Bike there’s no escaping it – that’s the width all the way across. The only hope you have there is that your thighs gap enough by the time your leg length cross over the top-tube.

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In some cases you might rub more when lazy pedaling, and less when your legs are working harder and more extended. Now, the brute-force way of determining whether or not you’d rub is to simply take out a piece of cardboard and cut it to the measurement above, and then stick it on your bike and see if you hit it a bunch.

While I do rub on both the KICKR Bike & Tacx Bike, I’ve gotten used to it and it doesn’t bother me appreciably. It seems to impact me more when I’m easy pedaling than pedaling hard. Each person will be different here depending on your fit. For lack of anywhere else to stick it, the Q-Factor on the Wahoo bike is 150mm (Q-Factor is basically the distance between your feet, measured to the point the pedal touches the crank arms), which is about 10mm more than my road bike (but 10mm less than the Wattbike Atom). As I’ve said many times before, I think the debate around Q-Factor is hilariously overthought. After all, people swap between mountain bikes and road bikes throughout the season (or even the week) without any issue, which have dramatically different Q-Factors.

Next we’ve got crank length, which is adjustable to the following settings: 165/167.5/170/172.5/175mm. To adjust the crank length you want you simply put your pedals into the appropriate hole of this crazy 5-holed crank-arm design:

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It may look a bit…bear-paw…but, practically speaking it works great. I like simple solutions, and this nails it.

So what about triathletes? The KICKR Bike does not include any aerobars, but you can add your own. There are no practical limitations here, as it’s just like a normal road-bike handlebar with a normal front stem. Attach your bars, and go forth riding. Again, down the road Wahoo says they’re going to offer some sort of integrated aerobar accessory kit, but there’s no pricing/availability/pictures of that at this time. Here’s my RedShift aerobars attached to the KICKR Bike:

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Beyond the aerobar attachment, all other TT/triathlon-type aspects would really fall more under the rest of the FIT section above. Given the flexibility here, I imagine most folks will have no issues finding their right fit here.

Finally – what about multi-user scenarios? Well, not today. But soon.

Wahoo’s working on the ability to create multiple bike profiles with the app. The idea being that you can customize the exact gearing and shifting setup you want, and then label them. For example perhaps one for a general road bike setup, another geared more towards climbing, TT, etc… But that doesn’t directly solve the multi-user scenario.

Instead, Wahoo says that the plan is that once any user connects to the bike with the app on their own phone, it’ll push down that configuration to the Wahoo bike, inclusive of the rider’s weight (which is super important for correct road feel). That should roughly work, though I’d love to see a bit more thinking around that concept. Since the KICKR Bike lacks a meaningful display, there’s no way to know (or even confirm) it’s got the correct rider profile details. What’d be an interesting solution for that is to update the name of the bike as broadcast over BLE & ANT+, so that when you paired it Zwift it’d say “Ray’s KICKR Bike – TT” or “Bobbie’s KICKR Bike – Road”. Or perhaps that equation is driven more from the apps like Zwift itself – able to change all these settings based on who is logged in.

Still, it’s a general problem that hasn’t really been solved for the industry yet, but with Zwift looking to build their own bike – it’s something that’ll need to get solved sooner or later.

Shifting, Braking, and Steering:

There’s no bike on the market, indoor or outdoor, that has nailed shifting and gearing as well as the KICKR Bike. It’s not that it feels better than an outdoor bike per se, but rather that you’ve got endless customization of the shifters. Want to ride eTAP? No problem – done. Switch it up tomorrow for Shimano Di2? Sure. How about go all Italian with Campagnolo? Sì.

And that’s before we even talk things like chainring and cassette customization – or the planned upcoming multiple bike profiles.

But stepping back a second – the purpose of adjustability to shifting in an indoor bike may not seem obvious at first. But this bike is replacing your outdoor bike, and on that bike you’ve got a specific gearing setup you’re used to. Be it the shifters type (such as Di2), or having a different gearing combination (like a compact crankset). If you’re going to do an app with lots of climbing, you’ll want to replicate that compact crankset (or, change into such a crankset).

And while the software side of the Wahoo bike’s shifting realm is by far the star of the show for the entire bike, it’s equally as much the actual hardware. You’ll find these shifters feel like real outdoor shifters – this seemingly perfect blend of SRAM and Shimano shifters, all with some semi-hidden buttons on the insides that could be used for later functions. You can even squeeze the brakes if you’re bored (it won’t immediately stop your avatar in Zwift though).

First, let’s start on the app. The Wahoo bike supports the ability to configure your gearing via Wahoo’s app. It allows you to specify 9/10/11/12 speed cassettes, and then individually choose the range of the cogs in the cassette. For the front chainring you can choose 1/2/3 chainrings, and the sizes of each. Note that functionally speaking what you see below is virtually identical to what Tacx does on their bike, but practically speaking it’s faster/easier to configure than Tacx.

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Next, there’s the configuration of the shifters themselves. It’s here where you can specify Shimano (Di2 or Mechanical), SRAM eTAP, SRAM Mechanical, or Campagnolo.  Once you select a given shifting type there’s also a little menu that explains them all, in case you aren’t familiar. You can’t do any of the complicated synchro-shift type stuff at this point – but I suppose there’s always something for down the road – it would be a mere software update.

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Again, the shifting setup is the star of the show for the Wahoo bike – I can’t overstate that enough here.  And here’s how the shifters look, which mirror that of real bike shifters:

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Now, the one downside of the Wahoo shifting system is that the display is in a really bad place. As I talked about elsewhere it’s just not good location-wise, since you’re always Chris Froomeing trying to see it.

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Atop that, Zwift isn’t displaying the shift data yet from the Wahoo bike (only the Wattbike Atom at this time). For Tacx bikes, it’s not as big an issue because you can see it on the display in front of you. Now, Wahoo actually does send this information over to Zwift in their data stream. In fact, FulGaz displays it today already:

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It’s worth noting that none of the indoor bikes today (including wahoo) support the ANT+ Shifting Profile at this time. While not a big though, it’d be cool if that data was transmitted and then recorded by apps or bike computers, just like it is on a real bike. This really shouldn’t be that hard and I’ve yet to think (or hear of) any technical blocker here. Wahoo already supports this ANT+ profile in their ELEMENT/BOLT/ROAM bike computers.

So what about steering? Well, physically it’s there – but there’s nothing hooked up yet software-wise. Like other bikes on the market, the KICKR Bike has two steering buttons, one per side, on the inside of the handlebars in almost the same spot as you’d find additional remote buttons on a normal set of Di2 handlebars. For braking, they’ve got levers identical to outside road bike levers that have a fairly similar feel to a real road bike.

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When you hold the brake levers, it’ll stop the flywheel at the back of the bike. But it won’t actually stop your avatar in Zwift immediately. And in fact, if you try and pedal while holding the brakes, it’ll actually make your avatar go faster.

The reason is that Zwift is looking at power output to drive your avatar’s speed. So when you apply the brakes, it simply stops the flywheel – it doesn’t control the speed within Zwift (and Zwift has no concept of integrated braking yet). And extending that further, if you apply the brakes while pedaling, that (understandably) spikes your power, which in this power-driven world means it actually makes you faster (versus in the real-world you’d still slow down).

Ultimately, for all these companies – these features are really on Zwift to implement. The gearing shifting data is already there and documented/broadcasted by Wahoo (as seen, FulGaz has implemented it). Zwift has already implemented a variant of this for the Wattbike Atom on certain platforms. But nobody is using any standards here, which is somewhat ironic because there actually is a gear shifting standard, so it’s unclear to me why the indoor bike and app companies just wouldn’t use that (and funnel it over BLE, akin to what Tacx did back in the early days of ANT+ FE-C over Bluetooth Smart).

Still, I’m going to continue to give Zwift a hard time on this.  They’re the industry leader here on the trainer app side, but lack any sort of cohesive hardware integration team or even a single individual that ensures these sort of features are lit up when companies bring them to market (at the request of Zwift no less). I could write an entire novel on all the Zwift hardware integration stumbles there…and that’s just from this year alone.

Nonetheless – the good news for Wahoo is that once Zwift decides to do something about it, it’s not hard for Wahoo to implement it. Hopefully for people spending $3,500 for this bike – that’s sooner rather than later.

Apps Compatibility:

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The Wahoo Bike follows some but not all of the industry norms you’d expect from most trainers these days.  As you probably know, apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, SufferFest, Rouvy, FulGaz, Kinomap and many more all support most of these industry standards, making it easy to use whatever app you’d like.  If trainers or apps don’t support these standards, then it makes it far more difficult for you as the end user. And while I used the term ‘most’, the reality is that the leftover bits not yet following the industry standards (Bluetooth Smart FTMS) are handled by most apps supporting Wahoo’s own Bluetooth Smart protocols anyways (and Wahoo says early 2020 they’ll implement FTMS).

With the latest firmware, the Wahoo Bike transmits data on both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart as well, allowing interactive resistance control across both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.  By applying resistance control, apps can simulate climbs as well as set specific wattage targets.

To be specific, the Tacx Bike supports the following protocol transmission standards:

ANT+ FE-C Trainer Control: This is for controlling the trainer via ANT+ from apps and head units. Read tons about it here.
Bluetooth Smart Wahoo Trainer Control: This is Wahoo’s private method of controlling the trainer. At this point it does NOT yet support FTMS, but that switch-over is planned in early 2020 according to Wahoo last week. I suspect the issue is the same as Tacx not supporting it, in that the FTMS standard doesn’t support a way to configure the rider’s weight, which is important for correctly applying the ride feel.

Note: At this time (Dec 2019) the KICKR Bike does *NOT* support transmission of standard ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart power meter data streams, like all past Wahoo trainers. The company says this is coming shortly – perhaps as soon as the end of this year, but it may slide into early next year. The ramifications of this are most apparent if you use a watch or head unit to record your training data for training load/recovery purposes. That’s not available at this time.

The Wahoo bike includes cadence data for any of the connections, so that data is baked into the power meter and trainer control streams. When you go to pair an app to the KICKR Bike you’ll see the cadence channel shown as well:

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It’s these same standards that also allow you to connect via head units too. For example the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT as well as Garmin Edge series support ANT+ FE-C for trainer control (or Wahoo Bluetooth Smart trainer control), so you can re-ride outdoor rides straight from your bike head unit to your trainer. But you can’t yet pair it as a regular power meter, only a trainer.

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(In case things are still a bit confusing: You can connect to the trainer via ANT+ FE-C, but just not as a regular power meter. Meaning if you want to re-ride an outdoor ride on your Wahoo/Garmin unit, no problems. But if you want to do a Zwift ride and then just record a copy of your data to your Garmin for training load/recovery purposes, that’s not yet possible like it is on every other trainer/bike in the market.)

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

In any case, here in TrainerRoad using Bluetooth Smart on an iPad:

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What you may notice though is that the calibration option is actually present. In reality, if you try using it, it’ll fail. This is by design, the Wahoo KICKR Bike doesn’t require any calibration (nor does it support it) – that’s identical to how the Tacx NEO & NEO Bike series works.

Beyond all of the gearing/shifting features we discussed in the app, as well as the rider fit options, there’s not much else app-wise for the KICKR Bike. Except firmware updates of course. These usually just take a couple minutes. Quick and easy.

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Note that the Wahoo KICKR Bike does have downhill drive simulation, which means that as you go down a hill it’ll drive the flywheel forward so it feels like you’re going down a hill. I’d say this is OK, but it’s not quite as realistic a feel as Tacx’s. Something about the speed doesn’t quite feel right. Though inversely, I feel like Wahoo’s flywheel realism while you’re pedaling and specifically accelerations feels slightly more realistic than Tacx’s.

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On the flip side, Tacx has their ‘road feel’ on the NEO & NEO Bike, which simulates cobblestones and such. Wahoo could look to implement that as well in the KICKR Bike (assuming no patent issues from Tacx). That feature works by stuttering the flywheel at just the right frequency (we’re talking milliseconds here) to replicate the different road conditions/patterns.

Remember, this is a very different technology than on a typical Wahoo KICKR. This is an electromagnetic flywheel (essentially the same as the Tacx NEO series), versus a more traditional flywheel found on a Wahoo KICKR trainer. That’s the direction I suspect you’ll see the entire industry take for mid to higher-end trainers, going into 2020. The point being the potential for how Wahoo decides to tweak/leverage that is just beginning.

Power Accuracy Analysis:

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As usual, I put the bike up against a number of power meters to see how well it handled everything from resistance control accuracy, to speed of change, to any other weird quirks along the way. In the case of indoor bikes it’s a bit more tricky to have 2-3 other power meters, since you typically can’t swap out the crankset or rear hubs. So you have to rely upon other power meter pedals.

No problem, I’ve got plenty of those. I’ve set up the bike in three different configurations over the past few months:

Config 1: With Garmin Vector 3 pedals
Config 2: With Favero Assioma Duo pedals

Within this timeframe I’ve also seen multiple firmware versions, with most of the data below from either the most recent or version prior to it. The most recent firmware version adds in the ability to turn off ERG mode smoothing, which gives us more granularity for measuring ERG mode power accuracy.

We’re going to start this parade with today’s ride actually, a Zwift Race. Or, well, it was supposed to be a race until the Zwift Apple TV app froze as the starting line clock struck zero. Again. So, I just rode instead. In any case, here’s that data from a high level against the Favero Assioma pedals:

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For the purposes of the above chart, I applied a 10-second smoothing factor simply so you can see through the haze of constant shifts in power as I bridged various groups. Here, this is what it looks like for just a small couple minute section without smoothing:

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It is actually really quite close – with the only differences being at the single-second level (meaning, second to second there might be variances due to recording/transmission timing rates). If we smooth the above chart to a 5-second rolling average, here’s what it looks like:

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There’s some very slight shifts in who has a higher power versus the other – usually within a couple watts, which is within the spec of both units. Even on a bike like this there’s still going to be some very slight drivetrain losses. So in theory the Favero Assioma pedals should be marginally higher than the KICKR Bike power.

Here’s a look at a casual sprint. For sprint closeness – this is actually astoundingly close. Very rarely do I see two power meters/trainers this close when we’re talking 1-second power (the below is not smoothed), let alone at these power levels.

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And cadence accuracy? It seems incredibly close to the Favero Assioma – albeit, always 2 RPM offset (lower):

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Whereas on another ride comparing against the Vector 3 pedals, it’s precisely the same:

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So let’s shift to that other ride. This one another Zwift ride up/around the Volcano – a race I believe. This set is compared against the Garmin Vector 3 pedals. Here’s that data set:

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Again, this is so silly close it’s barely worth analyzing. The only times it isn’t close are where I’m having some sort of ANT+ drop issue on the head unit connected to the Vector pedals. It might be the pedals, though I saw some other drops this week on other devices too – so my guess was something was interfering with ANT+ signals in the DCR Cave that week from a WiFi standpoint. When it happens, it seems to happen in rashes.

In any case, here’s a random snippet – as you can see, crazy close with zero smoothing applied:

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Ok, because the Zwift simulation mode bits are boring, let’s shake things up a bit and head over to TrainerRoad. In this case I’m using ERG mode (the fact that I’m using TrainerRoad is irrelevant here from an accuracy standpoint – it behaves identically within Zwift). We’re gonna start with my famed 30×30 test. I do this for *every single* trainer I test, and the KICKR Bike is no exception. It’s simply a repetitive interval of 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. This tests how quick the trainer responds (or bike, in this case), and how accurately it does so.

Not only am I testing for underlying power accuracy, but also the ability to hit a given wattage target correctly within a specified timeframe. Typically I target about 2-4 seconds to ramp up from approx. 150w to approx. 400-430w. Note this is with the latest firmware that now disables ERG mode smoothing (so we can see the actual power info):

Here’s the workout and results from TrainerRoad:

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Well…huh.

That’s not terribly ideal.

What’s not ideal you ask? This isn’t ideal:

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It’s overshooting the intervals (and the undershooting the exits of intervals). My cadence on these was crazy constant. Like, robotically perfectly constant. Yet, the trainer has a really hard time holding the correct initial setpoint wattage for the first 1-3 seconds. That’s 40 watts over (468w vs 428w). That’s basically the *exact* same issue I saw with the NEO 2T and Tacx NEO Bike when they first launched (since solved on the NEO 2T, and slightly less pronounced of an issue on the NEO Bike, at least in the above test…more in a second).

In the case of Tacx, their issue was that their flywheel was so powerful they hadn’t refined that swing in power yet. A brute that hadn’t yet learned finesse. Now, before I show it getting worse, let’s talk about the responsiveness – did it get to the set point (even if correct) efficiently?

Yes it did. And it did so smoothly too (smoother than the beast of a Tacx Bike). It felt right. So good work there, just gotta stick the landing next time.

And what about the actual power meter accuracy side of the house? Well, that’s pretty good too. The Favero Assioma and Wahoo KICKR Bike are very very close once I apply a 3-second smoothing to take care of any recording latency type issues. Here’s the data:

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So ok, power accuracy is fine. And responsiveness is fine. But what if I try a different ERG mode workout?

Thus I pulled up Adams, which has a bit longer sustained efforts.

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Holy fuzz line balls Batman!

Now – at this point I’m sure a bunch of Wahoo employees are saying:

“But DCR, you disabled ERG mode smoothing, of course it’ll be fuzzy! That’s why we wanted to keep you from disabling it!”

And sure, that’s correct, but that’s also missing the point. It shouldn’t look like this. Period. It doesn’t for *any* other trainer or bike I test. More work is clearly needed here to find the right balance. But, that’s actually not what I’m concerned about.

Instead, it’s these spikes at the start and end of every interval that are the problem:

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Yes folks, that’s 130w over the actual set point. Mind you, the others aren’t magically better. They’re only better by comparison. The others range from 50w to 75w over the set point.

And, lest you think this is just an ‘ERG Mode Smoothing’ setpoint thing, check out the underlying data:

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The Favero Assioma is showing the exact same power. Meaning – my legs really are having to put out more than 100w higher than what the workout specified. Coach Chad of TrainerRoad (or my own Coach Alan) would be displeased at this. But on the bright side, at least the bike is accurate.

Note that I’m seeing this behavior on the latest firmware across all ERG mode workouts, be it TrainerRoad or Zwift.

Ultimately from a power accuracy standpoint though, the KICKR Bike seems pretty much spot-on within all my tests. However, folks on TrainerRoad (or Zwift) will at this point notice the overshooting and undershooting of the unit in the first few seconds of any structured ERG mode workout. While the actual power is accurate, the KICKR Bike is not correctly hitting the right target outputs – usually by 50-75w high, but as high as 125w.

As noted, this is essentially the same issue as seen by Tacx with their new NEO 2T/Tacx Bike flywheel design. And I suspect it’s gonna take Wahoo a bit of time as well to sort out their issues there too. This is more noticeable on shorter intervals of higher intensity than longer ones. On the bright side, at least the power itself is accurate – even if the set point isn’t. But again, I suspect they’ll be able to sort this out.

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

Indoor Smart Bike Comparisons:

Here’s a complete spec comparison between the three bikes. Though, many of the nuances of above aren’t necessarily captured in the tables below. Instead, these tables focus on the major specs between them. Still, they’re good for a quick glance. I’ve also included the new Stages Bike in there, though that won’t ship till Q1 2020.

Again, just go visit my massive shoot-out post for a more detailed dive between them.

Function/FeatureWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated March 1st, 2020 @ 2:25 pmNew Window
Price for trainer$3,499$3,199~$2,500USD$2,600-$2,800USD
Trainer TypeIndoor BikeIndoor BikeIndoor BikeIndoor Bike
Available today (for sale)YesYesYesQ1 2020
Availability regionsLimited InitiallyGlobalUK/South Africa/Australia/Scandinavia/USAGlobal
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYesNoYesYes
Flywheel weight13bs/5.9kgsSimulated/Virtual 125KG9.28KG/20.4lbs50lbs
ResistanceWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)YesYesNoNo (but kinda)
Maximum wattage capability2,200w @ 40KPH2,200w @ 40KPH2,000w3,000w
Maximum simulated hill incline20% (and -15% downhill)25%25%
FeaturesWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerNoYesYesYes (actually measured independently)
Can rise/lower bike or portion thereofYesNoNoNo
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)Yes (with compatible apps)YES (WITH COMPATIBLE APPS)NoYes (with compatible apps)
Can rock side to side (significantly)NoNoNoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoYesNoNo
AccuracyWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Includes temperature compensationYesN/AYesYes
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)N/AN/ANoCross-references power meter data
Supported accuracy level+/- 1%+/- 1%+/- 2%+/- 1.5%
Trainer ControlWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYesYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart FTMS (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYesYEs
Data BroadcastWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Transmits power via ANT+NoYesYesYEs
Transmits power via Bluetooth SmartNoYesYesYEs
Transmits cadence dataYesYesYesYes
Indoor Bike FeaturesWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Brake levers or buttonsYesBrake LeversNoYes
Shifting typeNormal bike leversButton BasedButtonsButtons
Can customize shifting (Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo)Yes (Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo)In future updateNoComing in app
Can customize gearingYes (both cassette and chainrings)YesMininimalComing in app
Supported Crank Lengths165/167.5/170/172.5/175mm170/172.5/175mm170mm165/170/172.5/175mm
DisplaySmall display near top-tubeYesNoNo
USB Ports1 USB port2 USB Ports (2AMP)NoTwo Ports (Fast Charging)
PurchaseWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages Bike
Amazon LinkN/ALink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerWahoo KICKR BikeTacx NEO Bike SmartWattbike AtomStages 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: I just don’t see this as a competitor in this space. At $5,000, it’s mostly for various research purposes and is designed in that realm.

True Kinetix Bike: It’s not really shipping globally (just in the Netherlands), and by their own statements is still in a bit of a pre-production state.

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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For a first go of a smart bike, what Wahoo has done is pretty darn impressive. While I disagree slightly on the practicalities of some aspects of the bike, the actual execution of much of the details for the riding experience is spot-on. As I’ve said numerous times in this post and elsewhere, by far Wahoo’s shifting and gearing setup is easily the best in the industry. It’s not just the software, and not just the shifting hardware – but the blend between them. It’s what everyone should be aiming for as a starting point going into 2020, anything less just won’t be acceptable. And the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB integration into the frame is the cherry on top (even if downhills while at 100% trainer difficult are still halved by Zwift for no logical reason). The natural sway and movement of the bike is much appreciated too, it just feels more like a bike. It rides more like a bike, than the others.

Still, Wahoo made the choice to replicate an outside road bike, indoors. Whereas Tacx in their decision tree essentially upscaled a trainer into a full-fledged indoor bike. In the case of Wahoo, that gained them things like the natural movement and shifters, over Tacx. But it also meant that simple things like ‘Where do I put my phone?’ or ‘Why is the gearing display in such a bad spot?’, seemingly were incomplete afterthoughts. One of the big strengths of the Tacx bike is the entire display console that doubles as a place to store things and hold tablets (with multiple USB ports). Sure, I could add a $250 Wahoo KICKR desk, but even that is clunky due to the CLIMB portion going up/down. I’d love to see Wahoo create some sort of KICKR-bike specific tray off the front to hold phones/tablets/gels/etc – all the things you use on an indoor bike versus an outdoor bike.

And certainly, some of you will think that’s a funny thing to complain about. And then I’ll ask to see pictures of your cave setup and find you using a $35 hospital bedside tray jury-rigged next to a $3,500 indoor bike – to hold your gels and phone carefully strung to the USB port of your bike going up and down, for that long trainer session. And then it won’t seem like such a trivial thing.

Still – I think Wahoo has set the bar for the ride feel and execution of the pedaling part of the bike. Aspects like the bearpaw style crank length system ‘just work’, and the app integration around bike fit are also exceptionally well done.  And hopefully one day the aux ports will mean shifting on the bar ends of triathlon/TT aerobars too. Of course, I do worry about shipping timelines, and early production issues (which based on early regular user reports, don’t seem limited to my sample).

If Wahoo can sort out those early product quirks, then they could be in a very strong position in mid to late 2020 to crown themselves the best indoor smart bike king. Until then – I think it’s a bit early for anyone to carry that title. But, Wahoo’s bike on paper is the closest to it.

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

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

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

Wahoo KICKR Bike (US)

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187 Comments

  1. ACD

    Thanks DC, a great review as usual. I’m very tempted but the bike looks quite unstable in use. I know you are saying that is all to do with the outdoor bike feel, but I worry about the long term impact of all that rocking and swaying around.

    • Indeed – it does look unstable, but it feels great. 🙂

      I agree with you about long term (like, years) usage on some of the joint/movement points. Wahoo says they’ve taken that into account on engineering. Ultimately we’re just going to have to wait and see. But, we do know that Wahoo’s customer service is pretty much top notch – so hopefully if issues do arise they’ll take care of them (as they did with the KICKR’s this past year).

    • ACD

      Those Kickr problems (for me going back a couple of years, not just last year) really weren’t great.

      It’s fair to say that Wahoo’s customer services impressed me more than their quality control.

      So I guess that’s what’s making me nervous… maybe I’m not cut out to be the early adopter!!

      But hey thanks again for all your work Ray… it really has been invaluable over the years and I’ve finally made # 1 post on a review!!!

  2. Derek

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the review. This bike is definitely on my list. Just wondering how Wahoo (or even Tacx) plans to carry out maintenance and/or replacement units given the size and weight? It’s not like your current Kickr where you can just throw it in the back of your car and take it back to your local LBS. And if you’re serious about your training being without a trainer for several days/weeks will wreak havoc on your training plan.

    • Definitely a valid concern. And honestly, I think we’re just gonna have to wait and see.

      We know from some Tacx servicing already for example that some pieces are very modular and easily serviced with support kits. While other parts are whole bike shipment/replace scenarios.

  3. Ihsan

    I gotta be honest, I don’t get the “pivoting from the center is more realistic climb effect” comment. Didn’t make sense when GPLama made the same comment, doesn’t make sense now either. When you’re riding your bike, your front wheel starts rising up first doesn’t it? Once the gradient stabilizes, it stays like that, and when you crest the climb, your front wheel starts loosing elevation first.

    I know we’re just talking these transitional states of just-starting-the-climb, and just-starting-the-descent, but to me, the stand alone KICKR climb’s version of simulating the hills seems more realistic.

    • I’m sure some math wizard can explain it better than I can with angles and such. I was actually going to put a little level on the saddle today but forget to do it.

      But from a feel standpoint it feels quite different. Maybe it’s because your butt is pivoting locations now (going backwards or forwards), versus before it was just your handlebars going up/down?

    • GLT

      It appears from Ray’s video that when the center pivot simulates descent, seat is elevated as the handlebars dive.

    • Ray nailed the butt feeling. Wait… that doesn’t come across as it should.

      If I’m riding up a hill outside, the bike pivots around the bottom bracket. On a Climb the bike pivots from the rear axle. The Kickr BIKE tilt feel is subtly better… It’s a less “I’m on a hoist” feeling on the bike.

    • Ihsan

      I Don’t doubt your (both you and Shane’s) reflections and “butt pivoting” comment helps clarify understanding the subtle difference you guys say there is. It’s just that I can’t wrap my head around it. To me, the front wheel is the initial point of “impact” so to speak. Perhaps if one to have a fixed pivot point, pivoting bottom bracket it is a better approximation of a variable pivot point (outdoor riding) than pivoting rear axle

    • Ihsan

      I Don’t doubt your (both you and Shane’s) reflections and “butt pivoting” comment helps clarify understanding the subtle difference you guys say there is. It’s just that I can’t wrap my head around it. To me, the front wheel is the initial point of “impact” so to speak. Perhaps if one to have a fixed pivot point, pivoting bottom bracket it is a better approximation of a variable pivot point (outdoor riding) than pivoting rear axle.

    • Steve W

      I’m also in the ranks of the confused. if a bike begins an incline, the front wheel rises and the bike pivots on the rear wheel – the point of ground contact. Pivoting around the bottom bracket necessitates the rear wheel dropping every time the front wheel is raised. This just doesn’t happen. Of course, I could be missing something here…

    • Tomorrow I’ll try and science it up with some measurement of different points and angles.

  4. Justin Kaplan

    Hey ray
    Great reviews and really appreciate the in depth analysis. I can’t decide if I should take the leap and buy it. I’m a triathlete doing 5 ish hours a week on the trainer and I really hate switching off my tt bike to go inside vs outside. Should I wait for v2.o or take the leap now? Seems like you might be implying wait.

    • It’s honestly tough. I think it’s a great bike but one that I think will see various quirks for early adopters for some months to come. If you like the early adopter life – than go forth!

      I have no doubt that people in Eurobike 2021 or something will be like: Oh, that was so early in smart bike land…so much has been dealt with now (like steering, braking, manufacturing issues, accuracy, maintenance, etc…).

      The grey area is people that want one in the next 1.5 years. Obviously, Wahoo isn’t going to have a KICKR Bike 2020 or anything – they’ll still likely be trying to catch-up on back orders by next August. I suspect we’ll see Tacx make some minor improvements to their bike next summer for the 2020-2021 year. They’ve mostly got production stabilized now, so there’s no reason to not look to make improvements for some of the areas that people dislike the most (or like the most on the Wahoo bike). Plus we’ve got Stages jumping in with their bike in the coming months, and Wattbike with the Atom X for commercial usage too.

      Frankly, the best deal right now in smart bikes is probably the Tacx NEO Bike scratch and dent sale at $700 off. That’s almost something that you could buy now, and then probably offload next fall for the same price you bought it if you found a hotter dance partner (since those scratch and dent units will soon go away) – given it just looks like normal wear anyway.

    • justin kaplan

      Thx ray for the always insightful analysis.

  5. Steve B

    Did you notice any wear and tear on your inner thigh or bib shorts from the thigh rubbing? That is a big concern of mine…

    • No, though from a kit standpoint I’ve got so many kits that I rotate through – and a lot of them are pretty worn from years ago.

      Between the Tacx and Wahoo bikes I got used to the rubbing. They rubbed in very slightly different places/ways, so the first few rides I felt it, and then my leg HTFU’d up.

    • Mattv

      I was going to order one, until I saw this comment on the rubbing. That would drive me nuts, especially for something so expensive. The whole thing looks kinda prototype”ish” in execution, frankly.

      I could only see buying this if I was willing to unload it next year, when they actually come out with a version that has the kinks worked out….

  6. Chad McNeese

    Thanks for yet another deep review.

    This all leads me to really want to see the 2.0 version of the Kickr, Neo and Atom bikes.

    Maybe Stages and others can even capitalize on the learnings from these early wins and losses.

  7. Jared

    Do you think there will be discounts anytime soon (biannual 20% off trainer sale for example)? I’m really torn between buying now and selling Neo 2 or waiting until version 2.

  8. Jared

    Wouldn’t a trAy to store phone (or M&Ms) need to be on a gimbal or something because of the climb feature?

    • Perhaps. But that’s why man or woman invented ziplock bags. If you just zip-tie the ziplock bag to the handlebars, the M&M’s will stay perfectly accessible and oriented at all times, using gravity.

  9. Pietro

    I’d like a lot to evaluate this bike, but I have an issue: I use an oval chainring on my MTB (I ride and compete only on MTB), and I managed to mount the same chainring on the bike I use on my kickr setup, as far as I’ve understood I’d have no chance to do it here.
    Would this affect my training? I’d be afraid to train slightly different muscles and to suffer from this once I switch back to the oval chainring…

    Any idea?

  10. Mike

    I’m with you on the storage Ray, for a trainer that costs so much I would expect a tablet stand to be included

  11. MAGNUS

    I have the entire Wahoo training eco system and was really looking to this bike… And then got super close to getting the factory blemished Neo Bike. But like many have noted I think there’s a lot that they can ‘easily’ improve upon. The top tube design, phone/tablet holder, better usb placement, perhaps even integrate a small fan and/or desk space. Okay, the last one might be a bit of stretch but certainly they can add a small flat space for food/phone/table/etc.

    I usually have no qualms about being an early adopter or first gen guinea pig but for this price point I have to hold back.

  12. Andrew Linquist

    Excellent review as always. Quick question – do you know if the regular Kickr Climb has the same problem halving the gradients on the downhills in Zwift?

    • Sadly it does indeed. If I remember correctly there’s some hack you can do to trick it though. I haven’t attempted that on the KICKB Bike to see if it applies there as well.

    • Andrew Linquist

      The only hacks I’m finding online have to do with changing the wheelbase, which would change the descent % but would also change your ascent % too (so doubling the descent might halve the ascent?). At least I think that’s how it would work but I don’t have the gear available to test it or your mad coding skills.

    • Correct, that’s the hack. I haven’t personally tried it, so I’m unsure how it works on both sides of that equation.

  13. Niclas Granqvist

    Blueooth has the User Data Service (UDS) for configuring things like weight, height, age etc…

  14. Thomas

    Great review Ray. Always a pleasure to read. Love your deep dive into the details 😉

    “Still, Wahoo made the choice to replicate an outside road bike, indoors. Whereas Tacx in their decision tree essentially upscaled a trainer into a full-fledged indoor bike. In the case of Wahoo, that gained them things like the natural movement and shifters, over Tacx”

    This particular sentence is the reason why I think the KickrBike is 1-2 generation ahead of Tacx. Also this is very good spotted from Wahoo. Fixed indoor bikes is not the future. Flexible “outdoor replicable” are.

    I have many years of experience riding a Kettler Racer bike. That bike is ROCK solid. It doesn’t flex a mm anywhere – at all! This works, it does… But rest asure the difference from a Kettler bike to my current Neo2T is massive in comfort. There’s a huge difference with that little flex Neo has. I’m very suprised Tacx never transformed that into their NeoBike..?!

    So if you’re considering one of these bikes, you must evaluate your need. If you do trainings less than 2h and don’t care much about tranferring the feel of your roadbike, the NB is an option. But if you’re the more advanced rider (like me) and want the ultimate package – the KickrBike it is.

    That the way I see it…

    • Yeah, I think it’s a blend. I think the KICKR Bike is a generation ahead of the Tacx Bike on paper and in specs, minus some of the logistical basics things. For example the lack of place to put stuff (together with that USB port), or the gearing display locale/visibility – those all Tacx lead.

      Tacx also leads from a production stability standpoint (where they are manufacturing-wise and some of the bugs to deal with). We were actually chatting about it on the podcast just yesterday (should go live today or tomorrow). The way I see it is that Tacx has roughly a 3-5 month lead on Wahoo, however, I think that lead will evaporate by next spring sometime. At which point Wahoo will have sorted out all their teething issues (hardware and software). Sure, it won’t fix the display/front end, but accessories could.

      Which is just about perfect for Tacx to come back to the table with a Tacx Bike 1.5 for Eurobike 2020. Personally, if Tacx simply redesigned the front end of the bike to duplicate Wahoo’s shifting/handlebars, that’d be huge. Sure, it wouldn’t solve the CLIMB/movement aspects, but, if they lowered the price to $2,999 or something, I think it makes it really compelling.

      And then there’s the ATOM X wildcard…

    • DJH49

      Hello,
      Maybe instead of redesigning the whole bike they could offer a shifting/handlebar upgrade? The handle bars are removable?

    • Steve

      A redesigned shifting front end would be great, and it would be great to be able to buy it as an upgrade to the existing Tacx Bike. I hope they go that route.

    • Thomas

      They have to!

      Imagine a mini KickrBike without the climb module, for around the same price for a NeoBike. What would you choose…?

      If Tacx want to stay in this game, they will have to offer upgrades at an affordable price. The same goes for KickrBike! Both these bikes are so expensive that this has to be possible.

  15. Juan Carlos Rodríguez

    Hi, first of all thanks for your awesome reviews.

    I am from Spain and I am thinking in a smart bike because I have an old spinning bike (Fassi) and it was very old.

    Related to the 3 famous smart bikes, tacx is the one that convinces me the most but I am a little worried about your comment about the rub of the thighs.

    In the search of the different options, additionally to the most famous (and expensive)3 bikes, I have seen the bike that seems to be the substitute of the bkool bike: the zycle zbike (link to fitnessinn.co.uk).

    what do you think about it?

    It´s more simple but I would like to know your opinion.

    And I would like to know your recommendation for me : I use normally workouts to my indoor trainning (this is, short trainings with different intentsity intervals) and the possibility to use simulated routes like zwift or bkool is new for me (I am very curious).

    Do you think that it´s better for me the (smart bike roller + bike) or a complete indoor smart bike.

    The first option would fit better if I was thinking in go out for ciclyng outdoor but I am not sure about that because I have a limited available training time.

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Bradley Tipp

    Put in my first ride on the KICKR bike today by riding a route i do outdoors all the time via my Garmin. Initial thoughts:
    Wow – the incline really works – almost too well on the downhill. not perfect as the downhill needs more overspeed to better simulate a real downhill.
    The power feels right and my ‘road speed’ almost perfectly matched my outdoor use. Total time and power were very representative of a ride outside.
    It felt like riding a bike more than riding a stationary trainer. The small movement on it was good.
    No issue with any leg rub at all – I seem to have loads of space (i’m 5’7″ and 140lb)
    Like the gearing system but it doesn’t reflect the gears I use outside. The hills seem harder, but I may just be getting used to this bike to be honest.

    Overall very happy so far with the interactivity and only expecting it to get better with time.

  17. Justin

    If I already own a kicker and a climb, along with a dedicated bike for it, is there anything else this brings to the table. Any major difference in ride quality. Trying to replicate the outdoors as much as possible indoors. Zwift and the climb do a great job, just curious if this is another step, or too similar for that huge price job.

    • David Schaller

      No need at all unless you want to free up your frame. I bought for multi person family use and to free up frame for my son.

  18. Jared

    So if you were buying one for your own use to replace a perfectly good trainer would you buy now or wait and see what comes out next year?

  19. Neil

    I took the leap and jumped in and got one from my LBS. Biggest early adopter issue is the fitting system has not worked for me at all. I got the same error you did using a photo of a bike that fits me (calculation error) and the fit system using my measurements is way off. Wahoo support has been very slow as well. Got one response in three days and it asked me to send a second round of pictures (after sending pics with the intiial request). Found a facebook group for the bike and it appears that this is a wider issue with the best solution being a tape measure and plumb bob. Pretty disappointing on the issue and the lack of Wahoo customer service response (given their rep for being responsive).

    • BikePower

      Regarding the Wahoo fit system, I wasn’t able to get it to work using Guru fit data, Retül fit data, or using the photo analysis. It kept telling me to “try again later” (no message about calling Customer Support). Ended up spending a bunch of time making adjustments until I ended up with something that felt acceptable.

    • Neil

      Thanks for the info. Got a reply from Wahoo today that they are looking into it. In the meantime, they suggested doing a manual fit as you did. Please contact their customer support to maybe help light a fire that it gets addressed asap. Thanks.

  20. Bradley Tipp

    just to get notifications on updates

    • Chad McNeese

      FYI, you can subscribe for notifications without the need to comment.

      See the line under the primary comment box:

      “You can click here to Subscribe without commenting”

      Click that and you are notified without the effort of commenting (and adding an unnecessary comment).

  21. Anthony Anicete

    Hi Ray,
    I use 150 mm cranks. Can the crank arms be changed?
    Thanks for the review

  22. David Schaller

    I have the kickrbike. Frustrating to have issues with the Standover Height setting as during rides the bike becomes unusable as it continually falls from my “E” setting down to “D”. Appears to be too much “slop” (not tight enough tolerance) between the “sleeve” and the “post” in my frame. Feeling fortunate I bought from a local dealer as an exchange appears necessary.

    • David Schaller

      Wow……just spoke to the local IBD that I purchased it from and they said Wahoo has told them they cannot exchange the bike, but that the local bike dealer has to “fix ” it. Yet, it is not a part that was assembled by the dealer. The issue is with the assembly as it was shipped by Wahoo. Weak sauce Wahoo. Keep this up and you will submarine your product launch….

    • Jared

      I’m very on the fence about buying or waiting. Your comment might seal it for me. Also if they want the bike store to fix it what would happen if bought online? My bike shop has some great mechanics but I don’t think I’d want them messing with the internals of a trainer.

    • Thomas

      This is getting surreal! Last year we had the Kickr gate. That must have cost Wahoo a shitload of cash. Then this year Tacx was slightly hit with their Neo. But that must have cost them something.

      Moving forward to both bikes today. Now this strategy that these companies seems follow is really quite alarming! They simply just release the units though they’re not ready for it! In each their way both Tacx and Wahoo hava their release issues.

      Now imagine the car industry did the same! Wonder how long a brand new super car would last with the same amount of issues and maintenance support.

      It’s really that alarming.

      I’m definitely in the first-mover category. But I was -at least this time – fast at spotting the issues, so I returned my bike for a refund – waiting for fall 2020 to buy one (KickrBike).

      But thing is, at current state, with the picture of current manufacturing capabilities your comment just makes me nervous. It definitely tells me they’re not in control with the processes.

      One other thing. Is this bike build on Wahoo own factory in US or is it “made in China”? Not being able to support with spareparts could indicate that.

      Maybe you can you DCR crab tell us that? Where is this bike build?

      But with this, I hope that they (Wahoo) read along and understand the severity in this. They must do everything they can to sort it out FAST!

      Currently they are playing with their customers loyalty and their own brand reputation. That game can readily end in a catastrophy if not played well.

      And my last point. I hope that Wahoo have learned their lesson with this. Don’t release products that are not ready for daily use.

    • I chatted with the Wahoo folks late last night their time about this thread, they’re on it and sorting out what’s up. It might take a couple days for that game of telephone to get untangled. Hang tight!

      As for the KICKR Bike’s, they’re made in Vietnam.

    • Thomas

      Thanks for the reply Ray.

      From the place where I work, we have had similar experience in what I believe is going on right now. We are producing frequency converters. It’s absolutely not the same, but the similarity lies in the sourcing. I’d bet Wahoo placed their production in Vietnam for one reason only – cost reduction. That’s ok as long as they can make SURE and that’s a big MAKE SURE they can deliver on quality. If they can’t, the cost reduction beyond gone.

      I know from own experience how difficult it is to fix quality issues abroad. Although everyone are trying their best, not being on site, not having the absolutely same understanding of things just adds to complexity. Also culture can play a role here.

      The only way for Wahoo to fix this is to standardize ALL their processes and remove all possibilities of error. That’s a loooong haul to do that and it takes people on site to do this.

      I can now understand why Tacx is in a MUCH better position on this, doing their bikes on their own site in the Netherlands. I’m not saying Wahoo can’t get there. They sure can. But the response time will always be longer.

    • Wahoo’s been in Vietnam for a while now – the KICKR18 and fans are made there for example.

      (While there were/are some KICKR/CORE issues, Wahoo’s been pretty clear those were/are engineering/design issues and actually not factory QA type issues.)

      Ultimately, there’s just not enough information yet to understand the issue here on asking an LBS to swap parts. Maybe the idea is that an LBS can pull this off more easily than the average consumer. I don’t have a problem with that line of thinking for very specific mechanical things, but it’s definitely a shift. Generally speaking I wouldn’t trust an LBS to do anything with a trainer, it’s just not what they specialize in. But…times are changing – and as many LBS have learned – either change or go out of business.

    • Thomas

      Wasn’t the KICKR their initial start in Vietnam a few years back? I think I recall reading about that quite some time ago.

      In all honesty, I don’t think Wahoo always tell you the REAL quality issue. They simply would reveal their weaknesses in doing so. Also sometimes it’s hard to tell what is actually the problem/root cause. So whether it’s in enineering or manufacturing. Hmmm yeah I’ll leave that one open 😉

      Both the KICKR and the FANs are much simpler products than the KICKRBIKE (assembly parts, tolerances etc.). The KICKRBIKE is much more complex.

      It’s going to be interesting to see how Wahoo will deal with service in the future? Maybe the LBS can do it, as long it’s the mechanical parts.

      Kettler actually has a 3. party service team to fix their bikes! I have had a visit from them once. The bearing in the flywheel was done. I emailed them, they replied with an date. The guy came to my adress, fixed the bike within an hour. While the bike was still under warrenty it didn’t cost me anything.

      The point here is that Kettler has early realized that sending these heavy bikes back and forth makes no sense. So they teamet up with an external service partner. Maybe that’s solution on a long run. Taking your KB or NB to your LBS is also not easy. Both bike are assmbled and difficult to move around.

    • David Schaller

      Couple of thoughts:

      A) It is the market standard to produce items such as this in E Asia

      B) Thanks Ray for you terrific Ambassador – ship. I have not heard anything from Wahoo, or their local IBS (who has my number), but my fallback is to take it back this week and wait for another unit hoping that this issue is not wider spread.

      C) If there is ONE item on this bike that Wahoo should QC/QA with authority and complete thoroughness prior to shipping it is the frame assembly. It is the most meaningful part of the shipping weight and bulk. Pain to replace. And its performance can not be inferred to be correlated to after shipment assembly

      D) My wife just sold my kickr and climb so I don’t have a fallback plan 🙁 Unless its Tacx if the resolution process fails.

      E) Neither myself, or a friend who also has the kickrbike have noticed any issues with some of the other items discussed (rubbing of thighs, or vibration or resonance at certain rpms)

    • Thomas

      On E.) This is because they know what they’re producing, but they’re not within six sigma in their processes. This result in some units that is actually perfectly good. But also units with issues. All this in random order.

      Having the manufacturing on the other side of the world doesn’t make easier to fix. I’m not saying they can’t. Eventually they will. But they definitely choose to do it the hardest way.

      @DCR try asking Wahoo’s CEO whether he still thinks it was the right decision to start the unit on Vietnam? Products with this importance should have started in their own manufacturing and then slowly moved to Vietnam once ready for it. Having backup manufacturing ready until all transfer issues are gone.

      Maybe I got a bit technical here. Sorry for that. I don’t mean to say Wahoo choose wrong here. Like I said, they just choose a harder way. And at the same what have questions stating to pop up about spareparts. Which will also be a clarification. Eventually it will be all good. But as I see – patience may be a big part of it.

    • Nobody starts manufacturing in their own non-existent facilities. That and they simply don’t exist. You manufacture in facilities that are designed for manufacturing and that you have pre-existing relationships with.

      I have zero reason to believe any of this has to do with Vietnam, and more to do with Wahoo working through early kinks. Just like the Tacx bike. After all, the Tacx bike is manufactured in the same building as everyone at Tacx – and they – of all companies – have had more QA issues than anyone else in the industry. Heck, they’ve had to effectively write off hundreds of NEO Bike’s after shipping them across an ocean because nobody looked at them during manufacturer apparently.

      Manufacturing isn’t about having a factory in your own backyard. It almost never is. It can certainly help, but again, Tacx proves it isn’t a deterministic factor. It’s about having a manufacturing partner that:

      A) You control with all your own processes laid atop theirs
      B) A product that’s actually designed well (which usually takes a while)
      C) QA/QC processes that validate things going out.

      Finally, as Chip himself said – he’d love to be able to blame a manufacturer. That’s the easy button. Nobody would know any different. It’s what most companies do. But he very openly admitted they were their own engineering issues. There’s no real logical reason to do that unless you just want to be honest (which, is a good thing).

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m not defending Wahoo here. The vast majority of my concerns of the KICKR Bike are around things I don’t consider acceptable for a $3,500 product. But having dealt with plenty of those things over the last 3 months, at almost every turn the answer was a variant of ‘Huh, we’ve added a new process or design change to change that in future builds’ – not ‘Huh, our factory didn’t do it right’.

    • Thomas

      Fair enough – openness is good. Don’t get me wrong here either. I’d actually like to buy one of these bikes. But not until they get it right.

      However I’d still argue that it’s easier to solve issues in your own backyard than abroad. I have personal experience in this and believe me that what seems crystalclear to us can seem total opposite abroad. I’m not saying Wahoo are experiencing this. But issues will be harder to solve.

      Now let’s finalize this by wishing they soon get their issues fixed so that we can buy that damn thing 🙂

    • David W

      I don’t believe that Wahoo has any significant manufacturing facilities in house. Manufacturing in the US would mean using a US based contract manufacturer. Then, once things are sorted out in the US, moving everything somewhere else. And going through the learning curve a second time. I think that the long term easiest path is working through things with a manufacturer that they already know and trust.

      My bigger concern is after sales repairs. I am hoping that they locally stock most of the replaceable parts and have replacement instructions. Sending trainers back and forth to Atlanta is both slow and expensive. Most of the parts except the frame could be replaced at your house provided that they were available..

    • David W

      I don’t believe that Wahoo has any significant manufacturing facilities in house. Manufacturing in the US would mean using a US based contract manufacturer. Then, once things are sorted out in the US, moving everything somewhere else. And going through the learning curve a second time. I think that the long term easiest path is working through things with a manufacturer that they already know and trust.

      My bigger concern is after sales repairs. I am hoping that they locally stock most of the replaceable parts and have replacement instructions. Sending trainers back and forth to Atlanta is both slow and expensive. Most of the parts except the frame could be replaced at your house provided that they were available..

    • Bradley Tipp

      David,
      I had a similar issue dropping from B to A. I had a response from Wahoo about how to tighten the lever that secures the frame. Basically do it up, then loosen the 3mm bolt and turn the lever back to 11 o’clock position (there are spines to align to) and then retighten the 3mm bolt and tighten the lever back to 12 o’clock. This has solved the issue of the bike dropping for me.

  23. Rob

    I just wish they included some kind of built in Tablet / Phone Holder 🙁 But I can see myself investing in the one of these in later iterations quite easily.

  24. Tommy Thornton

    How many BT channels does the KICKR bike use to transmit cadence and power? One or two? I’m wondering if you can use the KICKR bike and HR monitor with AppleTV without resorting to a BT bridge.

  25. Bradley

    Great Review as Always!!! Out of these four Smart Bikes, I would also like to know which one(s) are the easiest and most convenient for a multi-user setting. Maybe detail on the changes required for each rider, such as fit and computer settings or profile switching and which one has the least amount of complexity.

    • There isn’t actually a multi-rider setting for any of them. 🙁

      Thus, the physical changes are relatively similiar between them (knobs and such, some slightly better than others, but overall roughly a wash). The app changes all require a user connect to the bike to update the weight and/or gearing changes.

      Wahoo is planning on allowing bike profiles in the new year, which should help considerably in that respect.

    • Bradley

      Thank you!!! Profiles would be awesome.

    • Bradley Tipp

      Profiles are out now in a firmware update along with Di2 Synchro shift! Wasn’t expecting that this side of Christmas.

    • Bradley Tipp

      Checked Synchro Shift and it all worked perfectly last night.

  26. RSTL13

    Got my kickr on Thursday night and finally got it up and running on Zwift. I had tried the TACX bike previously but had issues with rubbing and didn’t like how “solid” it felt. Here’s my thoughts after a few rides:

    – assembly was super quick. The longest part was getting the app to recognize and pair with the bike (had to uninstall and re-install the app).
    – I have zero rubbing issues on the wahoo but had terrible rubbing issues on the TACX (goes to show that each person will be different)
    – I love the natural built in movement on the wahoo. This actually feels like an outdoor bike being ridden inside.
    – I’m going to be in the minority here, but I like not having a table or holder of any kind on the front of the bike. This bike looks like an outdoor bike and simulates it well. Unlike the TACX bike where I felt like I was on a trainer with a tablet, etc. I have a table next to the bike and that works perfect for me.
    – The climb is great and works perfectly with zwift if you turn up the trainer difficultly setting.
    – I get resonance noise at 62-65 rpms and 100-105 rpms, but it is still much quieter than an actual bike.
    – My watts seem low and it is sluggish at times. I’ll have to check my weight, etc in the app.

    Overall very happy with the change from the TACX to the Wahoo. I think each bike has its merits and people will like them for very different reasons. I just have to figure out the watts (maybe I was too tired on those first rides).

    • Bradley Tipp

      I agree with your experience. Zwift is really engaging on the Wahoo Bike.

      I also get some different resonances and the occasional clicking, but i’m putting it all down to being an early adopter. None of them are very loud or bad to the extent that they cause any issue. It is more just that you notice them and that the expectation is silence.

      My Watts seem to be pretty spot on with a ride I did yesterday.Basically hit my outdoor numbers on similar climbing grades and HR numbers were spot on too.

      The gearing yesterday seemed to be pretty spot on, but the day before on the NYC course I seemed to be undergeared.I was laboring up climbs that were not that bad, but had me in bottom gear. Its hard given you don’t get an incline reading to directly compare while you are doing it.

      I also feels (I stress feels) like the change between each gear is more than the equivalent of the same gear change on a real bike. I notice this the most on downhill sections. On my road bike i would be in 52/11 or 2/11 yet I hit the same speed in a much lower gear on Zwift. It is like the downhill isn’t being aggressive enough to let me freewheel as i would on a road bike.

      The gear changes seem pretty good and I suspect can be better with more time replicating them in software.

      Overall I am very impressed and more importantly enjoying the indoor rides much more than before.

  27. Don Lycette

    I have had the Kickr Bike for two weeks now. I’ve done structured workouts in ERG mode, Zwift races over and under an hour long, and a couple of easy recovery rides. Overall, I like the ride. The tilt is so good that I turned it down a bit, putting the Zwift trainer setting at 75%. It was like a roller coaster so I calmed it down a bit. The noise was a bit surprising, as it can howl at the right rpm/power combination. Under most riding conditions, it has an electric hum which isn’t too bothersome. My only suggestion concerns the gear changes. The first pedal stroke or two after a gear change is quite hard, unlike a gear change IRL. Can they work on the firmware to make gear changes less jumpy in power/resistance feel on that first pedal stroke?

    • David W

      My experience with the Kicker Bike is the same as the others. I had a Tacx bike for two days before I sent it back. I had bad rubbing. No rubbing on the Kickr. I like the ride feel. I think that it is better than Tacx and I love the Climb in Zwift. I have the same resonances at particular power/cadence combinations but it is not loud enough to be annoying. It is quieter than my drivetrain was on my Neo.

  28. Jeffrey

    Thank you for your always excellent work.

    I’ve had my Trek Domane 5.9 in my computrainer for the last 2 years. Today I broke the drivetrain side rear dropout and need a new bike for the CT, or one of these. I ride about 400-500 km on Zwift per week as I don’t ride outside anymore. I am going to buy something 8n the next day or so.

    Wondering if the Garmin Edge 1000 would Bluetooth to the Wahoo Bike so the gearing data would be displayed on it? It does that with my Di2 set up on the Domane.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Jeffrey

  29. Cycling Cecil

    Hi DCR

    Great post, very insightful, thanks. Just one quick question: do you know how low the saddle will go on the Kickr Bike (and ideally on the Stages Bike and Neo Bike too)? I am looking at buying one of these 3 machines but it will be used by both my wife and myself equally, so it will be a disaster if it doesn’t fit us both. I am 5’8 and she is 5’1, so the saddle needs to go pretty low! Do you have any view on which bike will be the easiest / least annoying to live with if we need to change the setup (to fit my wife or myself) on a daily basis?

    Cheers

  30. Renato

    Could this bike perform the same function as MUVE Retul or Exit II by identifying through 3D analysis the size of a future bike?

    • Chad McNeese

      Yes, I think you could use any of these bikes (Kickr, Neo, Atom, etc.) as a Sizing & Fitting tool. The large range of adjustability and general similarity to “regular” bikes could be used for that task.

      These bikes are notably less expensive than the dedicated fit bikes from companies like Purely Custom and Retul. There is a give and take to them, since the dedicated fit bikes often allow for position adjustments while the rider is on the bike and pedaling. But at roughly 2-3 times the price, they are quite an expensive buy for a shop.

      I think these could be a nice alternative to the other “real fit bike” options.

  31. Matthew Nelson

    Just set up my new Kickr Bike. Things have progressed a long way since the Elite Real Axion using CDRoms. I like to use Rouvy, and see some wattage spikes out of nowhere. do you have any experience with Rouvy? It is my understanding that Calibration is not necessary so I am just wondering? Thanks.

  32. Jared

    Is it louder or quieter than a Tacx Neo 2?

    • David W

      At most cadences it is quieter than a Neo2 (which I also have). The drivetrain with a Neo2 is louder than the Kickr Bike. However, at certain cadences the Kickr Bike has a metallic sounding resonance that is a lot louder than otherwise. To my untrained ear it sounds about the same as Neo2 plus drivetrain so certainly not super loud but louder than at other cadences.

    • Jared

      Thank you for the response. Happy with the upgrade so far? I’m having a real hard time deciding if I buy now or wait until next season. I do like biking more outside but when reviewing my strava stats I sadly realized I did more miles (and hours) inside this season than outside.

    • David W

      Yes, I m happy with the Kickr Bike. I much prefer it to my real bike on the Neo. Quieter, less maintenance, less wear and tear on my real bike, and the Climb! Originally, I thought it was a gimmick but it really does add something to Zwift.

    • David W

      Yes, I m happy with the Kickr Bike. I much prefer it to my real bike on the Neo. Quieter, less maintenance, less wear and tear on my real bike, and the Climb! Originally, I thought it was a gimmick but it really does add something to Zwift.

  33. Guilty

    I would appreciate if someone could help me out. I am a little fuzzy when it comes to some of this. Just keep in mind I am new to Zwift and indoor training.

    I am interested in getting the Wahoo bike and using it with a 4k apple TV for Zwift. The part that I am struggling with is the ability to go back and look at the data. Right now, I mostly (99%) of the time use Garmin to do that. Specifically, I use a “old” edge 800. It looks like I would not even need to use the edge to sync to Garmin. I can just sync Zwift directly to Garmin. Is that correct? From what I understand in its current state everything (speed, cadence, etc) will sync over to Garmin except for the power data? Is that correct? Just trying to get a idea of what would be missing.

    I also am looking at pairing a heart rate monitor, in addition to the cadence and trainer bluetooth connections. The next thing I noticed is that there are not enough bluetooth connections. Apparently the 4k Apple TV only allows up to 2 bluetooth connections besides the remote. I saw someone mention a dongle but it appeared to be battery powered. For myself, I would rather not worry about yet another battery. Is there a better way around this?

    • Bradley Tipp

      I don’t use Apple TV, but this might help anyway. All your data (including power) can be synched to Garmin and Strava and other platforms. On Garmin you get all the data, but Garmin connect won’t ‘work out’ your training effort and so you don’t get the productive/peaking/unproductive info. This is due to how Garmin use firstbeat (on a Garmin device) to calculate that and pass it to Garmin connect…. i.e. Connect is dumb even though it has the data is has no algorithm to calculate the impact. I use Elevate on Strava which does do this for you. Today you can’t ‘connect’ your Garmin to the bike (except as a trainer) to also record the output while you are riding on Zwift. I imagine that Wahoo will add ANT+ broadcasting in a firmware update in the new year as this is a highly requested feature.
      You can have one Bluetooth channel for the bike (it has the power/cadence in that one channel) and use the heart-rate monitor on a second channel. I would imagine that would work. I use a PC so it isn’t an issue for me.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if it doesn’t make sense and i’ll try better at explaining it.

    • DJH49

      Hello
      Maybe using the companion app could help the bluetooth issue, this youtube link may help:
      link to youtube.com

    • Guilty

      Thank you both for the info. The companion app looks like it will solve the bluetooth problem, which is great. Thats also good info on the Garmin connect. That was more positive than what I had in my mind. So with that now it’s just a matter of saving enough money up to purchase. Thank you again for the info!

  34. Daniel

    heh, anyone else having the issue of wahoo not posting their less than stellar review on their website?

    • Jared

      What is your review?

    • Daniel

      I guess I’ll just post it here. Tho seems kind of dumb given there is a giant ass review from DC above, but it annoys me that I typed it all out and its doomed to the abyss, so eff it. I gave it 3 stars, 5 for quality and 1 for value

      I have several hundred hours on a tacx neo and this is basically what I will be comparing the kickr bike to as it’s the only other smart trainer I’ve ever used.

      First off, the two things most people are probably interested in, noise and thigh rub. It is most definitely louder than my neo, there is also an annoying high pitched whine that varies depending on the RPM and power. It’s not terrible, when I have music and my fan on, it’s not super noticeable, but I will catch my inner voice occasionally “whine whine”‘ing along to it, which is annoying. but for the most part its fine, but it’s definitely a step down from what I’m used to. I’m 6’1” and about 200lb and slightly more muscular than your average cyclist and my thighs definitely rub. Personally it doesn’t bother me in the slightest and I only notice it when I pay attention to it, but if you are OCD and this is something that is going to bother you and you are even close to my measurements it’s something you are going to have to deal with.

      Unpacking and setup is incredibly easy and smooth, it maybe took a half hour max to have everything set up. I bought this trainer specifically because I only have room for one trainer and my girlfriend has gotten into biking and having to change bikes on the trainer is not something I wanted to deal with so this seemed like a great option for us to both be able to use. It also just looks sexy, especially compared to the tacx bike which looks like an ugly fitness gym bike.

      That said there is a lot lacking with this trainer. It doesn’t broadcast via ant+, so if like me you want to do a sufferfest workout while riding on zwift and tracking the workout on your garmin you are SOL. It also doesn’t work very well when you are outside of a normal RPM for your cadence, it doesn’t matter if you are in ERG mode or cruising along in your smallest cog on the little chainring, if you do more than 130rpm the power ramps up, so doing high cadence drills are out of the question. I was doing 700 watts in my 34/32. It also seems to not work well at low RPM, at 60 rpm the pedal stroke is not smooth, its not like this constantly it seems to be dependent on power, sometimes it’s fine and other times it’s terrible. Shifting is also another problem, the way the display is set up if you have a towel over your bars it basically covers the display and there is no real feedback for when youve changed your gears, so unless you are on a flat “road” at steady cadence lots of times you are left wondering if you actually switched gears or not, and when you can tell it’s because it suddenly got harder. It’s just kind of jarring, not like a real gear change This is all something I’m assuming can be fixed with a firmware update, but who knows when or if ever that will happen. Do you really want to pay almost 4 grand for something in hopes that some day it maybe works as good as something less than half the price?

      There is some good with this trainer tho, it seems to be very well made, and switching between setups is pretty easy. The climb aspect of it is fun, tho for serious training it’s mostly a gimmick you wont use that often because your workout rarely lines up with the terrain you are riding on, but it’s very engaging for the casual ride or zwift race.

      Bottom line is that unless you are buying this specifically because you only have room for one trainer or because you want the latest tech or the sexiest looking trainer in your pain cave, it is not worth it. You can get a more functional smart trainer and have $2K left over to upgrade your current bike or buy an entire bike that is pretty decent to stick on it.

      I’m giving it three stars because it seems to be well made, it definitely is sleek and sexy, and I’m optimistic that firmware will fix in the future all the things that are currently wrong with it. But if I’m being honest, it’s probably more because I just dropped $4K on this and I need to feel good about it rather than it’s actual merits, because there is a lot lacking and it doesn’t perform near as good as the Neo I have that was less than half the price (and that is also portable and I can take to races or on road tips)

    • Justin

      Great review thx so much

    • Bradley Tipp

      Daniel I think you are being a little harsh in this review.

      First off the ANT+ broadcast will happen in the coming weeks, and it is only Garmin’s system that is effected by it because of the way Garmin license firstbeat(per device) and connect is dumb, in that it just takes in the numbers and doesn’t actually calculate them. Connect has all the data, it just doesn’t calc the impact… Elevate does as an example.

      Second you are saying that ‘outside of normal RPM for your Cadence” – I don’t think I have ever hit 130RPM and a rarely go under 60 (though I did the Epic KOM on Wattopia yesterday at 56 and the bike felt perfectly fine at that RPM). So I think you are trying something outside the bounds of a normal user/system. Yes maybe it should still function perfectly, but as i said I think it a little harsh to highlight an out of normal situation.

      I agree that the shift display is not great, but I don’t have a shift display on my road bike either! + I use a fan so I don’t need to cover my bike – the Wahoo Headwind (with HR synch) is bloody fantastic at stopping me sweating all over the bike. I bought it with the free credit on Clever Training for buying the Kickr Bike and I have been ‘blown away (sorry) by how good it is. Wish I had invested in this years ago. I also agree that the gear change isn’t perfect, but it is pretty good and in Di2 synchro mode works really well up and down the cassette.

      Third – The Climb mode is really excellent and the first time I can practice hills using the right muscle groups and out of the saddle. I have been blown away by how great Zwift is on the hills with the bike. Very immersive (almost sickeningly so with a big screen in front of me). It isn’t a gmiick for me and is one of the main reasons I think people would go for this trainer of a standard one.

      I, like you, bought it so my wife and I can easily swap between our settings. I have her saddle on a separate seat-post (27.2mm standard) and the swap takes 1 min between us. + you don’t have to have a bike and the associated wear and tear all set up…actually two for to of you.

      I’m very aware that i’m on an extended beta program with the firmware, but given they already added Di2 synchro I have high hopes for things to just get better and better. Given the beta view I am really happy with how the bike is engaging and has made my training much more involving.

      Finally, yes it does make some noises, but I don’t really notice them and they are certainly not an issue for me.

      I hope you feel better about the $4K… I feel pretty good about it – oh and buy the Headwind!

    • Daniel

      I can see how some of my complaints can come off as harsh and maybe picky, but I’m complaining about things that I regularly do on a trainer that costs over $2K less, not things that no trainer does or only something a more expensive model can do that I wish this one did (not that such a thing exists in this case), so I don’t think they are invalid criticisms. I regularly do cadence drills as part of my training, and can no longer do them on the kickr bike. And I don’t need a shift indicator on my road bike because I can always tell when I’ve changed a gear (tho technically we do have an indicator, its a glance down at the cassette). I don’t think these things are that outside of a part of the markets use case that such information has no merit, which is why I wanted to leave a review, so that other people would have that information. I made sure to justify my reasons so that anyone like you who wouldn’t care about those gripes would be able to take what I was saying and discard it in their decision making process, and why I think it’s pretty crappy wahoo didn’t post it.

      I’ve actually thought about getting the headwind, but I’ve been skeptical about it because it looks so small and I sweat more than most. I’ve got a 20″ floor fan I’m using that is loud and ugly….maybe I’ll see if there is anywhere around me that I can actually see how the headwind works, because if it did the job that would be much preferable!

    • Bradley Tipp

      Agree with you that Wahoo should publish your review and that this should all be better. I think i’m just more comfortable with being on a beta product. Totally agree that at $4k that shouldn’t be the situation.

      My observation is that as every company becomes a software company, they are all finding it hard to produce complete products on release. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is a car infotainment system, a camera, a phone, or in this case a bike trainer. in many ways the ability to update the software(firmware) over time means that you can release early and correct over time is a double edged sword. Products are not even feature complete on release in many occasions.

      p.s. I sweat out 3lbs of net weight in an hours ride – it used to pool on the floor around me and I needed a bike bra and towel to protect my bike. With the headwind set to HR synch I only sweat out 2lbs now and 99% of it just evaporates off me, with only a few drips of sweat on the hardest efforts. I was very skeptical about it an only got it as it was effectively free. I assumed the HR synch would need a lot of adjustment, but just went with the initial settings where it maxes as I go over 150BPM. Very impressed with the result and could probably do away with the bike bra, except it has two front pockets for my phone and tv remote control and a small towel :-).

      Hope you get to try it somewhere and it works for you.

  35. Jared

    Are you going to return it or keep it?

    • Daniel

      I’m going to keep it. I only have room for one trainer and I’d still rather deal with it’s faults than hassle with constantly swapping bikes on my neo. If I had room for two trainers or if I was the only person who would be using it, I definitely wouldn’t keep it.

  36. Alan Brown

    Thanks for a great review of the Kickr bike which I just
    Pulled the trigger on yesterday and finally unloaded from the back of my truck this morning. Unfortunately the guys at Brands cycles in Wantagh weren’t too conversant with the nitty gritty of the communication between the Kickr bike and the Apple TV display. When I asked any questions, they said things like, “sorry, I only know android, but it’s easy. I am planning on using the fullgas ap with Apple TV and since I have a Garmin 820 I wanted to know if my current Garmin heart rate monitor will automatically be shown on the tv screen or do I have to purchase a Kickr sensor. Sorry if I missed this in your review but I zoned out a bit about 3/4 of the way through. I actually have not set it up yet. I am still recovering from humping it into the house. I am old whic probably explains why I had so much trouble getting it up the stairs and certainly why I am not really conversant with all the Bluetooth and ant+ terminology. I did find my ant+ dongle after a long search yesterday, which I used to use with ZWIFT and my cyclops dumb trainer which I will never be using again after I get this thing set up.

    • Jared

      You can just use your garmin heart rate monitor as long as it’s bluetooth with the apple tv. you don’t need the ant+ dongle

  37. Masuo

    Hi Ray,
    awesome review along with Shane’s. thank you very much.

    there is one issue that I’m having and not sure if you or anyone else has a solution (so far I keep getting standard answers from Wahoo).

    the Kickr Bike works great on Trainerroad (ERG mode) and one of the test I did today was to ride in resistance mode and had no issues. when I ride in Zwift, I’ll start in the big chain ring and big cog in the back 54/28. every time I change gears, the power increases until I keep a steady cadence, then the power drops. this happens every time I change gears. normally on the road, using 54/21 @85 rpm, I should be around 180 watts, but on Zwift, the power increases until I get to 85 rpm, then drops to around 60 rpm. I’m using iPad and HDMI cable.

    any suggestions would be welcome. hope to Ride On.

    • Hi Masuo-

      Honestly not sure what to say there. I’d say that’s definitely not normal, at least if I’m understanding the scenario correctly. My only bet would be to circle back to Wahoo support again and push back a little more.

      Or, at least understand what they think should be happening. But assuming TR has set an ERG mode, and assuming you’ve held a given cadence and aren’t shifting – then it shouldn’t be changing power output at all. That’s for sure.

      Sorry!

    • Masuo

      Hi DC,

      thanks for your insight. I also tested in TR w/o ERG mode (resistance) and all was good. power was steady when cadence was steady. this lead me to believe that it’s Zwift, but I’ll check with Zwift.

      sorry. the standard answers came from Zwift, not Wahoo.

      thanks again.

    • David W

      I have seen the same sort of thing- change gears and the power spikes. Then drops down after a few seconds. I suspect it is a power servo problem.

    • Masuo Robinson

      Hi David,

      thanks for your comment. what was the outcome?
      did they have to replace the bike?

      funny that it works in TR, but not Zwift.
      will wait to hear from you before contacting Wahoo support again.

  38. Alan C Brown

    Hmm, just wrote a long comment which was erased because I didn’t click a box correctly. Won’t bore you.
    Thanks Jared for the answer on the Garmin HR sensor. Just set up my Kickrbike and tried to match it to my IF road bike. The problem is that I am 6’3″ /190 cm and the seat post is 5cm too short all the way extended.Do i need to buy a longer seat post? I am old and I am shrinking but I can’t wait that long to lose the extra 5 cam. I don’t want to be switching it out with my road bike post.

    • Bradley Tipp

      I’m assuming you have already extended the main unit to the E setting(i think that is the biggest). If so then you can use any standard seatpost (28.2mm?) in place of the one that ships with the Kickr. I have one for my wife with a seat that she prefers that we just swap in when she is riding.

    • Bigalbrown

      Big WHOOPS and sorry. Reread the great setup review and discovered the adjustment for stand over height and fixed that issue. Sorry if I wasted anyone’s time.

    • Bigalbrown

      Thanks. My bad. I discovered that about 5 minutes before your post 😀.

  39. RSTL13

    I’ve got about 6 weeks and 700 miles on the KICKR so far. Loving it more each day. The natural built-in movement makes it very easy to stay on the bike without getting uncomfortable. I did a 3 hour ride a couple of weeks ago and felt better than I have on a ride that long in a long time, which I attribute to the natural movement and flex (plus the climb feature).

    The resonance continues at the 62-65 range and hasn’t gotten any louder or quieter after the miles.

    Overall, I still say it’s definitely worth the money for someone that wants a smart bike. I had the TACX but the lack of movement and rubbing issues didn’t work for me.

    The only thing is a few firmware issues. The KICKR Bike has a slightly longer lag on Zwift than other trainers I’ve used (maybe 3 seconds as opposed to 1-2 seconds on other trainers). When you change gears, the first couple of revolutions are harder than they should be. And finally….. where is BROADCASTING? I thought Wahoo would have sorted that out by now.

    At least it’s allow able to be fixed via updates. Other than that, I am very happy with my choice.

  40. BikePower

    I’ve been using a new set of Garmin Vector 3 pedals on the KICKR Bike and capturing power data from my Zwift rides on a Garmin Edge 530. I’m also capturing the power data from the KICKR Bike in Zwift. When I compare the average power for each ride I’ve found that the value reported using the Vector 3 pedals is typically about 4% lower than the value reported using the KICKR Bike (sometimes it’s 2 – 3%, but mostly it’s closer to 4%).

    This power difference seems to be the same regardless of the length of the ride (1 to 2+ hours) and the difficulty (recovery ride or a hard ride).

    Since I use Vector 3 pedals for all of my outdoor rides, this is a little concerning since 4% is quite significant and my rides (indoor and outdoor) are all logged Training Peaks and Today’s Plan which would throw off the data if the KICKR Bike power data is included. On the plus side, it is nice to have a method to put out 4% more power in a Zwift event 😉

    Anyone else notice the KICKR Bike reporting higher power values than other power meters?

    • Jared

      I don’t have any data to prove it but mine feels like it’s reading slightly lower than my tacx neo it replaced. It could just be that my fit is more dialed in on my ride bike.

    • David W

      I’ve compared my Bike to my Assioma pedals and they agree quite well. Usually well under 5W at 250W.

  41. Led

    So, got a Kickr Bike today. Got it all put together (pretty easy), set up and, boom, creaks like a mofo. I’m 6’2” and 185, so not tiny, but certainly not so big as to cause creaks. It’s creaks with any pedal stroke done at over 30-40 watts and it’s pretty loud. Very, very annoying. Had to take a day off of work to take delivery and there is no way to send the damn thing back without paying freight.

    Hopefully, Wahoo has a fix.

    Other than the horrible creak, I was fairly impressed.

    • Led

      Further investigation revealed that the creak is not present when the bike isn’t plugged in (i.e., just rotating the cranks without AC power). Also discovered that the flywheel makes a metal-on-metal grinding sound when coming to a stop. Don’t know if that’s normal,

    • Yeah, realistically Wahoo will likely have to replace it. There are a few things that can have WD-40 applied, but realistically it only goes so far in that scenario.

      One minor thing to double-check though is that larger frame up/down sizer is correctly in (any) slot. Meaning, that it’s not in-between holes and that the lock-pin is fully locked. This can actually happen where you think you’ve got the pin in (the main portion), and it’s actually not fully engaged.

    • Led

      I will check it. Thanks for the feedback as always and great site.

    • Jared

      I had to have 2 bikes replaced. It was annoying but Wahoo support was great. They send you two boxes to put the old bike in and send a new bike. I’m not sure if you bought direct from them or from a dealer. I actually bought from Clever Training but Wahoo handled all the issues directly.

    • Led

      That’s good to know Jared.

      What was the issue with your bikes if you don’t mind me asking?

    • Jared

      The first bike had a ding in the flywheel that had touch up paint applied. It also had a big scratch on one front of the bike. The second bike had a scratch some resonance at ~100RPM. Third bike is good so far.

    • Led

      As an update, Wahoo has been a little less helpful so far than their reputation, but I’m trying to be patient. This has been going on for five days now and I’ve submitted about 5 separate videos that they’ve requested. Clearly, something isn’t right and they say it’s a noise they haven’t yet heard (which I find hard to believe since it seems to be clearly documented above by DCR). Feeling very much like a beta tester for them. It would be better if they would send a replacement and then figure out the issue on their end rather than having me help them with it. We shall see.

    • Led

      Follow-up: they will replace the bike. Hopefully the second is a bit better.

  42. Megan

    Thanks for the detailed reviews Ray! I’m stuck between the Tacx Neo Smart Bike and the Wahoo Kickr. I like the Tacx Neo front end (display, phone tray, etc) but I did also have some thigh rub when I demo’d one and don’t know if that would drive me nuts! My biggest question to you is re: the Wahoo Kickr – if I understand what I’ve ready, there is no display at all to read your watts/HR/cadence other than through whichever app you are using?? I noticed that you had your bike computer mount in the Kickr’s handlebars, so is this a way that you can still see your data without having to use a separate app that you are watching from a TV (yes Wahoo, this would have been nice to have a way to attach a Tablet, etc!) 😉
    Thanks!

    • Bradley Tipp

      The short answer is yes – put your Garmin/Wahoo and then link it…

      Longer question – Why would you want a(nother) display? it’s just something else to fail.

      Either you are using an app (Zwift, Rouvey, TrainerRoad…) via a pc/iPad/Apple TV or you are using a ‘bike computer’ to control the trainer. I don’t get why having another display is a good thing?

      if you want to attach a tablet you already have then there a re a tonne of mounts out there already to attach whatever you already have in whatever way you want to do it.

      Am I missing something?
      p.s. I hope this come across the right way. I’m genuinely interested in ‘why another screen’ ?

    • Megan

      I don’t always use a specific training app and sometimes like to do my own work out. For these times it’s nice to know what my data is without having to figure out a place to attach a tablet or TV

    • Bradley Tipp

      And you don’t have a bike Garmin/Wahoo device/watch to sync that data to? i.e. you wouldn’t be recording the data?

    • Certain data types aren’t shown in all apps. For example – gearing. Yes, the Wahoo bike has a gearing display, but it’s in a crappy location. And at present Zwift doesn’t support gear display information. FulGaz does however, but that’s it.

    • Bradley Tipp

      I don’t get the gearing issue though…

      Yes it would be nice to know what gear i’m in (looking forward to Wahoo broadcasting power/cadence/gear so I can have my Garmin record and display at the same time), but why does anyone care what gear they are in? (When i’m outside i don’t have gear displayed, but do tend to ‘just know’ what gear i am in) especially with Di2 Synchro shift…

      if it’s too hard to pedal then you change down, if its too easy you change up… at either end of the spectrum nothing happens… 🙂

      It isn’t as though the bike + Zwift is so perfectly reproducing the experience of being outside that it matters. Outside, my gear choices on the flat and hills are different from what I experience in Zwift on a similar climb or TT route by a gear or 2. Being on a trainer i tend to have a higher cadence 100+ vs 90-95 ish on my road bike so unless it was perfectly reproducing the outside experience then it is always going to be slightly out…

      Is this an issue? – I think NO is the answer for me..

      p.s. I know post can come across wrong and I think i’m just trying to say that it isn’t a big issue – very slightly annoying. I also think that as the apps add more info (Zwift gear as an example) then these issues go away. If I was Wahoo I would prioritize other features that are not going to be overcome in other ways first. product dev is always just a prioritization exercise. Maybe it would be good for Wahoo to ‘open up’ a little about their product dev schedule and prioritization of ‘coming features’ – but I know how reluctant(for some good reasons) dev teams are to do that..

    • Yo Yo

      This has been our experience with ours. Gearing is relative as I experience it, and if it doesn’t change gears, I’ll change the chain ring.

  43. Paulinblack

    Thanks for the copious detail both here and elsewhere on the site. Am hoping to be able to start some indoor training in March to recover from a broken neck (cycling accident). Since its going to be a year or so before I can get outside again, I thought I’d take the plunge on the best indoor experience I can get. Am torn between getting a Kickr Core and Climb or waiting for the Kickr Bike to come out in the UK – Any news on when that might be? I’d hate to go for the Core and Climb if the Bike replaces it soon after, but I guess that there is no guarantee that the first Kickr Bikes will be problem free. And being a heavy rider, I guess I will stress the initial design somewhat! I assume that 2nd gen Kickr Bikes will come along in late 2021, so the Core and Climb would be the better bet until then?

    • Bradley Tipp

      Someone in the posts above had their Wahoo Dealer agree to let them buy a core and climb and then trade it for a bike when it became available… might be worth asking whoever you are going to buy it from in the UK if they would do something like that?

    • Paulinblack

      Not sure I’d find a dealer prepared to do that!

  44. Alan Brown

    Hi and help. What does the bar graph on the left side of the screen represent? Cadence? This is the FulGaz view of my ride on Apple TV. Why doesn’t it show up when I upload my ride to Strava?

  45. Steven Fasano

    Excellent and comprehensive review

  46. Tim P

    Ray, I just took delivery of my wahoo bike. I surprised by the small amount of front to back movement when shifting weight on the bike. Did you experience this? In the grand scheme of things it’s not the end of the world but it’s not very realistic. The bike is stable but there is some front to back flex for sure. Would love to know if this is a “feature” or just a byproduct of the design. Other than that the bike is amazing.

  47. Einundsiebzig

    TRANSMITS POWER VIA ANT+ and Bluetooth = NO

    Does this mean I am not able to see Power simultaneously on a Garmin Edge for example, while paired to Zwift?

    • Bradley Tipp

      It does 🙁 – waiting on a firmware update to enable this…

    • Jared

      I mentioned it to Wahoo support and they made it seem like broadcasting regular Ant+ power was low on their priority list.

    • Bradley Tipp

      I suspect it is, as it’s only Garmin users who appreciate that; however a: there are a lot of us! b. delight us as customers rather than have us 2nd guess your motives… your motive should always be to delight your customers :-).

      p.s. This is all caused by the way Garmin licences First Beat and that Garmin connect is effectively ‘brain dead’ – other platforms still process the fit fie well enough – Garmin use the device to do the calc for the training status rather than having Connect do the calc.

    • Einundsiebzig

      Too bad. So the Kickr Bike is off my list… I always pair my Neo to trainerroad and ride my workouts there, while simultaneously being connected to Zwift via Ant+ Power and Cadence. I would not give this up for any new bike…

    • Bradley Tipp

      I just connect Zwift to my Garmin and Strava accounts to synch the data there and then use a Strava addin to do ride analysis. The only thing I am giving up currently is the training status on Garmin, which I can get on other platoons anyway.
      The Kickr Bike is pretty awesome. The incline feature has really helped my winter training come up with much better climbing using the same muscles I use on the road.

    • Einundsiebzig

      I searched and saw a Wahoo Employee using the Kickr Bike with Sufferfest for controlled Workouts and Zwift for broadcasting Power and Cadence to the program simultaneously! So missing broadcasting was maybe only a beta Firmware thing?

    • BikePower

      It seemed to work about a month ago with power data over ANT being sent to Zwift and to an Edge 530. Only tried it once because I put Garmin Vector pedals on the bike and have been using them for power. Maybe there was an update at some point. Might be worth trying again.

    • I haven’t heard any mention of it being added by Wahoo folks, nor is it listed in the firmware updates.

      There’s ways you could technically achieve both concurrent Zwift and Sufferfest with the dual-channeling of Bluetooth Smart control, then deselecting the ‘controllable’ side on Zwift after pairing.

    • BikePower

      I checked this again today, and it does work, though not using the ANT+ power sensor setting.

      What I have is the KICKR Bike set as a trainer on the Edge 530, and the trainer sensor uses an ANT+ connection (the trainer is set by going to Menu -> Training -> Indoor Trainer -> Trainer Sensor). I can then use the Indoor ride profile on the Edge 530 to record my Zwift ride and I do get power data on the Edge 530 and in Zwift.

      I used this set-up briefly before putting a pair of Vector 3 pedals on the KICKR Bike and didn’t have any issues recording a Zwift ride on the 530 with power.

    • Bradley Tipp

      Interesting. I have used the 530 to control the Kickr bike for a trainign session, but haven’t had it just record the Zwift session. Will try this later today. Be good if this works as it will then update the training status in Garmin Connect – I’ll have to link the Tickr HRM to the 530 over ANT+ .

    • BikePower

      I think you just need to make sure that you do not have a power sensor enabled in settings. If you’ve set up the KICKR Bike as a power sensor, go into settings and disable the power sensor (you don’t need to remove it) and the 530 will use the trainer for power.

    • Bradley Tipp

      Yep works perfectly! Nice find :-).

    • Justin Kaplan

      So ray and rest of the forum – now that’s it been a couple of months and several firmware updates – should I buy ? Really trying to convince myself but don’t want to be disappointed with version 1.0 (and also don’t want to wait until version 2.0)

    • RE: Pairing as FE-C

      Yes, that’s always been a possibility, but it’s also playing with fire a bit. It can result in tug-of-war type scenarios between the two (Zwift & Edge). In theory, the Edge shouldn’t be sending commands via FE-C as long as you don’t touch it. But, that’s also a bit of theory (and a few years of watching comments shows that theory doesn’t always hold up – whereby it might actually send a check command or such).

      It also doesn’t help watch people (where FE-C isn’t implemented), nor people with Bluetooth only watches (Suunto or Polar).

      Not saying it’s a totally dead shim, but just be aware that if you start seeing funky behavior – it’s almost undoubtedly that.

      Cheers!

    • Einundsiebzig

      Ray, this is an answer to the broadcasting question from Wahoo:

      “Ray’s information is not entirely correct and is quite deceptive and confusing. The only limitation of the current data output for BIKE is if a user is trying to use the BIKE with a very old watch or Garmin computer that doesn’t support the ANT+ FE-C profile. All bike computers and most watches released in the past 3 years have all had support for FE-C.”

    • I’d recommend responding back to Wahoo with the following then:

      “Wahoo Support’s response is laughably incorrect. There are zero watches that support ANT+ FE-C today in the market. None. So in essence, no watches can connect to the Wahoo KICKR Bike. There’s nothing deceptive or confusing about this.”

      Dear Wahoo – I know you’re watching this thread. Get your crap together and stop spreading misinformation. I have an exceeding low tolerance for companies that do that.

    • Bradley Tipp

      P.s. When I say perfectly, the file that the Garmin has its full of dropouts, so while it did record the Zwift ride or want a copy of the Zwift file….

    • RSTL13

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Hopefully wahoo sees this and pushes the firmware update. There are lots of garmin users on this thing I am sure. It is 3 months that the bike has been out. Just get it together and push it out.

      Other than that, they put out an awesome product… even the resonance and gear change resistance things are completely tolerable. Just get broadcasting out and move forward.

  48. Einundsiebzig

    Question: Can the gearing/shifting be paired with a bike computer (ANT+ or BT), like Di2 or eTAP? As the Gearing Display is in an inconvenient position at the Kickr Bike, this should be a “must have option”. Just my 2 cents!

    • Not at this point. Technically totally possible, but it’s not been implemented yet.

    • Einundsiebzig

      Thx Ray for some plain talking! I forwarded this to Wahoo.
      I would have been very disappointed, as a new customer finding out, that they did not tell exactly whats going on. Meanwhile I found, that this was already discussed at the garmin forum about the Forerunner 945: link to forums.garmin.com

      And I totally agree, that the gearing display’s position is a disaster. Most people use a sweat cover, which would make it almost impossible to have an eye on it.

    • Einundsiebzig

      Another answer from Wahoo:

      “What’s deceptive and confusing is Ray is stating that the KICKR Bike do not transmit over BT, it does. Ray may be correct, there may be no watches that transmit over ANT+ FE-C, but there are numerous computers which do. I apologize I am not an expert in Garmin and other manufacturers watches, but I am an expert on our products. It will connect to a cycling computer over ANT+ FE-C and still transmit via BT. I am sorry Ray chose to focus on the one miniscule piece of incorrect information.”

      My initial question was if it is possible to connect via regular ANT+ or/and BT.
      With my Tacx Neo for example I am using Zwift (connected to Power and Cadence via ANT+ broadcasting) running Trainerroad or Rouvy for workouts on my iPad (via Wahoo ANT+ Dongle) and use it paired over ANT FE-C to control the trainer and replicate the workout.
      I guess this is not possible with the Kickr bike and that was the question I asked Wahoo…

      So I guess I have to use at least BT and ANT FE-C to ride with the same programs/configurations I am riding right now on my Tacx Neo? ANT+ is not broadcasted?

    • They’re now confused about their own products. From the review, here’s what the KICKR Bike transmits:

      ///
      ANT+ FE-C Trainer Control: This is for controlling the trainer via ANT+ from apps and head units. Read tons about it here.

      Bluetooth Smart Wahoo Trainer Control: This is Wahoo’s private method of controlling the trainer. At this point it does NOT yet support FTMS, but that switch-over is planned in early 2020 according to Wahoo last week. I suspect the issue is the same as Tacx not supporting it, in that the FTMS standard doesn’t support a way to configure the rider’s weight, which is important for correctly applying the ride feel.
      ////

      As noted above, the Wahoo BIKE does *NOT* transmit a standard ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart power meter signal, like all other Wahoo trainers do. Saying something “transmits via BT” is like telling someone to go buy batteries for their product without telling you which battery to buy.

      Most trainers, including Wahoo’s trainers (but not the bike), broadcast four basic things concurrently:

      1) ANT+ FE-C: Trainer control protocol via ANT+/
      2) Bluetooth Smart FTMS: Trainer control protocol (technically Wahoo broadcasts their own variant of it, but that’s immaterial to this discussion)
      3) ANT+ Power Meter Device Profile: Inclusive of both speed and cadence channels, as well as power.
      4) Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Device Profile: Inclusive of both speed and cadence channels, as well as power.

      It’s these last two that are key for compatible with non-Wahoo/Garmin bike computers, as well as all watches out there, and numerous apps. The whole point of this entire discussion was pairing to non-FE-C/FTMS compatible devices with the BIKE, which the bike plainly doesn’t do. Wahoo has confirmed themselves it doesn’t do it, and that it’s on their radar to do it down the road. I frankly don’t understand why Wahoo Support is arguing with this point. If they’re confused on this, they should walk across the hall and talk to anyone within the Bike division.

      To your original question – no, you can’t dual-run apps concurrently because the two apps will try and take control on both workouts since both are using the FTMS or FE-C control protocols. The one exception to that is that I think in Zwift you can deselect the ‘Trainer Control’ option after selecting it, which might be a workout for Zwift specifically.

    • Einundsiebzig

      Thx Ray, this is exactly what I thought and mentioned in my chat with Wahoo!

    • Jared

      I can confirm deselecting the control option for ant+ fe-c works with Zwift. Not ideal but it does let you run zwift in the background and control with a different bluetooth app.

  49. IanUK

    Hi Ray,

    Great review as usual!

    Have been waiting patiently since the bike was announced but there is still no update from wahoo on when stock is expected in the uk. Do you have any knowledge of what is causing the delay? Is it down to them wanting to get software right before widespread release? or is there a more fundamental problem with manufacturing or the actual bike itself?

    Also, wondered if you know whether this bike, or equivalent from tacx and wattbike, are compatible with bkool simulator? I’m subscribed to bkool but their customer support isn’t great and they have not answered this question, likewise wahoo.

    Thanks

  50. Cary

    I’m not seeing anything about cycling dynamics / pedal balance calculations measured by the Kickr Bike. My Tacx Neo 2 has this and it’s such an invaluable tool, especially since I get that data from the Neo 2 on my Fenix 6x Pro. Is it true that the Kickr Bike doesn’t measure/transmit this data?

  51. Pierre

    Thank you for this very insightful review, Ray.

    I live in Germany and my bikestore-of-choice informed me they expect a limited stock of bikes to be available in early april.
    *Fingers crossed for quick delivery*

    Luckily, my employer provides me with a 10% discount code (company benefits).

    It‘s expensive, yes. But in my opinion it’s absolutely worth the money considering I can finally share one bike with my wife.
    Riding outdoors offers a boring landscape, bad roads and a certain danger where I live, so I am riding indoors exclusively.

  52. Steven Mattics

    Quick question: Do you have to move the hole the pedals are in when you switch between two users or can it just be as simple as swapping seatpost/saddles? Wife is 5’4″ and I am 6’0″. Thanks!

    • Bradley Tipp

      It is up to you Steven. Depends on the usual crank lengths you use. If you were to go from longest to shortest it would be noticeable, but 170-172 probably wouldn’t be for most people.

      but your choice for sure.

    • Steven Mattics

      Thank you!

  53. James Gowan

    Hi Ray, I’ve been following the thread for quite a while and been reading about connecting the Bike concurrently to both Zwift and other software which would be controlling it. I’m a little confused now and wondered if you could clarify, can you connect the Bike to Zwift and have it broadcast power and cadence through ANT+ without any intention of Zwift controlling it, purely just reading power and cadence. Then use TrainerRoad for example and have TR control the Bike over Bluetooth and still receive power at a minimum, power and cadence if possible?

    Thanks!

  54. D

    “And certainly, some of you will think that’s a funny thing to complain about. And then I’ll ask to see pictures of your cave setup and find you using a $35 hospital bedside tray jury-rigged next to a $3,500 indoor bike – to hold your gels and phone carefully strung to the USB port of your bike going up and down, for that long trainer session. And then it won’t seem like such a trivial thing.”

    Nope, it’ll still seem trivial.

  55. Kaz

    Seems like Wahoo Europe is taking orders now.

    I spoke to them and they have stock in the UK. Since my wife’s company is supporting purchase of Gym gear due to Covid – I ordered one. Delivery should be next week.

    But I bought it for the ease of changing riders as well.

    • Ian Bowers

      Nearly ordered one this week until I saw the £120ish delivery charge when buying from Wahoo direct. I think that’s a bit steep considering the price tag. Anyone else think it should be free delivery given the premium price?

    • therewillbemud

      Yeah I thought that was a bit steep especially when the KOM bundle of kickr + climb is delivered for free..but Wahoo have paid for return postage (and offered to collect) 3 faulty kickrs so I would hope for the same level of service for the kickr bike should it be needed, also the single 3rd party UK retailer I could find charges £100 for delivery with no collect in-store option and I doubt they would offer free return postage in warranty cases.

    • Led

      I mean, it is freight.

  56. RSTL13

    Just an update… there is no update in regard to broadcasting power/etc. Still a no go at this point, which is disappointing given that it is now April. I’m sure that most of Wahoo is work from home at this point like most companies, but it’s just a software update. Surely that can get done?

    I’m 5 months in and well over 2,000 miles on the bike. Pretty great all around but still no broadcasting. Grrr.