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Wahoo KICKR V5 (2020) Smart Trainer In-Depth Review

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Wahoo has just announced their latest generation KICKR, now in its 5th iteration. This new unit adds compressing feet to reduce vibrations on hard floors as well as slightly increase motion. It also eliminates the need for calibration by adding a new zero-calibration algorithm, as well as increasing an accuracy claim to +/- 1% (from +/- 2%). Further, it adds a wired connectivity option for a future accessory, to allow direct connection to your home network (potentially eliminating dropout issues for some people).

As with most new KICKR editions, the changes are rarely sweeping in nature – and this holds true this time as well. Wahoo tends to make more minor year after year updates, though did skip last year to instead launch the KICKR Bike.

I’ve been riding the new KICKR V5 (2020) for a while now, so I’ve got plenty of thoughts and data on how well it works, and where it might need just a bit more polish. Simply scroll down, or hit the big red play button below to get started.

Note that as usual I’ll send back this media loaner KICKR here back to Wahoo shortly and go out and get my own to add to my ever growing KICKR collection. You can help support the site by hitting up the links at the end of the post. With that – let’s dive into it!

What’s New:

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From across the room, the KICKR 2020 doesn’t look like a major upgrade. Here’s what’s changed:

– New compressing AXIS feet system to give slightly more motion (up to 5%), and quieter on harder floors
– New KICKR Direct Connect wired option for connectivity (with to-be-announced accessory)
– New zero-calibration software algorithm
– Increases claimed accuracy to +/- 1% (from +/- 2%)

And…that’s about it. Ultimately, this is at present a very minor update to the KICKR, though, the wired option might be interesting for some people having challenges with connectivity in crowded buildings (signal-wise). Unfortunately, at this time the accessory dongle for that network connectivity isn’t available yet (more on that later).

On the zero calibration design, this is actually interesting for both users and racing. Up until now, one should occasionally calibrate (spin-down), their KICKR, especially if the temperature has changed substantially – such as in a garage.  Else, it might not be accurate. Additionally, existing KICKR’s were relatively easy to tweak the accuracy to enable cheating. With the KICKR V5, a zero-calibration design there’s no longer a reason to calibrate.

While Wahoo allows you to calibrate, it’s mostly there as a pacification for some apps that might require it. And yes, the KICKR will technically ‘accept’ that calibration command and even slightly adjust. But like a friend receiving an unwanted present, a few minutes later it’ll quietly discard that calibration value present and self-calibrate itself back to normal. This effectively removes the ability for someone to willfully cheat the calibration values for races.

Finally, there’s the AXIS feet. These feet, in theory, give more cushion and allow a tiny bit of roll. In practice, I haven’t found that to be the case – at least with a trainer mat. There’s zero feeling of difference (even using the smallest/most cushion feet). However, on concrete (no mat), you’ll effectively get the same amount of cushion as a mat would provide. It also probably provides a slight bit of vibration dampening on certain flooring with sensitive neighbors, but that’s hard for me to test. Again, more on the feet later.

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As far as all the reliability issues of the KICKR & KICKR CORE of yesteryear, Wahoo says that they formed an internal dedicated quality team in Atlanta (HQ) and each of their factories, and then added additional processing/engineering checks as a result. They also say they track stats in far more detail than in the past. The changes from those efforts were made as running changes into the KICKR 2018/CORE and roughly peaked (change-wise) around a year ago (Summer 2019). Wahoo says there’s no changes quality-wise between a KICKR 2018 produced more recently (such as early this year) and the KICKR V5/2020. Ultimately, there’s little I can do from a test standpoint except wait and see on this one. Fwiw, my unit hasn’t broken yet in the three plus weeks I’ve had it.

Oh, and just as a quick recap, here’s the general overall specs:

– Dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart support, including ANT+ FE-C, plus power/speed/cadence broadcasting
– Axle Compatibility: 130 & 135mm quick release, 142x12mm & 148x12mm thru-axle
– 11-speed cassette included
– Compatibility for 8, 9, 10, 11sp cassettes (12-speed cassette compatible with XD/XDR adapter)
– Max 20% incline
– Max 2,200w supported resistance (at 40KPH)
– Power accuracy claim of +/- 1%
– Requires power cable/be plugged in

With that – there’s all you need to know about the KICKR V5 in one little section. Pricing stays the same as the past ($1,199), and starts shipping today.

Unboxing:

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This year’s KICKR box looks…well…almost like the last edition KICKR box. Except now it’s black and white instead of gray and white. On the top panel you’ll see a listing of what’s new:

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And on the back there’s various tidbits on features:

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While the box I received claims it has an electromagnetic design (that would make it akin to the KICKR Bike and Tacx NEO series), that actually isn’t exactly the case. At least if one uses the fairly agreed upon industry terms of what that actually means. Normally (and including how Wahoo has historically used it), that would apply to the KICKR Bike, Tacx NEO Series, and Wattbike ATOM 2020. These designs largely basically eliminate internal belts and use a series of magnetic coils instead of a physical flywheel.

In my call with Wahoo about this, they agree that the term probably isn’t correct in this usage. While the KICKR does have magnets, and does have electricity, nobody in the indoor trainer industry would call it an electromagnetic design/flywheel.

Moving along, after dumping out the contents of the box, you’ll find yourself here:

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It’s nice and tidy, and works at keeping everything from getting dorked up. Here’s all the parts on a table, properly aligned:

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Inside you’ve got two sets of extra AXIS feet (one set is already installed on the KICKR), each set has a different thickness/flex to it.

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Then you’ve got two paper manuals you’ll likely never read (though, they do tell you about the thickness).

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Then there’s the stickers. These are clutch (more on why in a few):

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After that, there’s the thru-axle adapters and disc brake clamper keeper:

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And the power cable/block.

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Oh, and of course the trainer itself. Don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of photos of that thing by the time we’re done with this review. Note though that the 11-speed cassette is pre-installed on it.

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And, a closer look at the model tag underneath it, shows the official KICKR name here is WFBKTR120 – with the 20 standing for year 2020:

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With that, let’s get it set up and talk the basics.

The Basics:

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To begin, you’ll plop the KICKR down on your trainer mat and open up its legs. You’ll do that by pressing down on the little blue leg locks, which then allow the two side legs to open up. You can close it for easier storage/transport.

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You can adjust the feet height too (but more on the AXIS feet in a moment), if you have uneven floors. Next, depending on your bike frame you may want to raise the KICKR up slightly so that it sits level. In my case, I brought it up slightly.

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After that, go ahead and plug it in. Now, at some point after the KICKR 2018 launched, Wahoo re-did the power supply to include ‘Wahoo Fitness’ on it (no trainer company, including Wahoo, has done this until this point). That’s handy if you’ve got multiple trainers around.

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But, I like adding stickers to power supplies so I can see them from far across the room (or, just behind me while on the trainer). So, I took the smaller Wahoo KICKR sticker and stuck it on the top of the power supply:

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Once powered on, you’ll see status lights at the top of the trainer, these indicate power as well as ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart connectivity:

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Next, go ahead and toss your bike on. Given this is a direct drive trainer, that’ll mean removing the rear wheel and affixing it directly on the cassette:

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You can choose whether or not to use a front wheel-block. You don’t need one, though I personally like it as it keeps my wheel from wobbling around aimlessly.

Alternatively, the KICKR V5 is compatible with the KICKR CLIMB, so you can connect/pair that up too, which will simulate the gradient of your route, moving your bike up and down throughout the course:

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But…what about those AXIS feet? Well, there’s technically three sets of feet, with one foot per leg (the middle strut has a non-removable AXIS foot built into it). Here’s all three feet (in black) laid out, plus the mounting hardware for the left/right sides:

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As you can see from the manual that you didn’t read, the three sets of feet align to three different resistance levels, which would be most applicable based on rider weight. I tried all, though I did multiple full rides on the smallest and largest feet.

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Looking at mounting, the feet spin off and then are disassembled with a simple hex wrench. It takes just a few seconds to do/change.

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Here’s what a mounted foot looks like up close:

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The feet are designed to give up to 5° extra movement/sway side to side. The main idea here is less about feeling like outside motion (such that a rocker plate would provide), and more about giving a little bit more sway that helps in longer trainer sessions by allowing your butt to make micro adjustments on the saddle (as it would outside). Also, the feet help dampen vibrations on harder surfaces, for those that might need that (such as in some apartments)

So, does it actually make any difference to ride feel? In short, not really. At least not on a trainer mat – which Wahoo kinda seemed to agree with on the call I had with them. The trainer mat will already give you more cushion than this will. However, they did note (correctly) that you’ll feel slightly more movement on a hard surface, like concrete.

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And indeed, you can see exactly that comparison of movement in my full video at the top of the post, side by side.

Note that the AXIS feet will also be sold separately, and will be compatible with all existing Wahoo KICKR trainers (but not CORE/SNAP, since that’s a different leg design). So, if you do have an older unit and want to reduce vibrations, that may be an option. They’re $79.

With all that said, let’s start riding. Given the KICKR is a smart trainer, it’ll change resistance automatically in a few different ways, primarily driven by different applications/methods.  But most of this all boils down to two core methods:

ERG Mode: Setting a specific power level – i.e., 205w.  In this mode, no matter what gearing you use, the trainer will simply stay at 205w (or whatever you set it to).
Simulation (SIM) Mode: Simulating a specific outdoor grade – i.e., 12% incline. In this mode, it’s just like outdoors in that you can change your gearing to make it easier or harder. Wattage is not hard-set, only incline levels.

In the case of simulation (aka slope) mode, the KICKR V5 can simulate from 0% to 20% incline – the same as the KICKR 2018. While other trainers can simulate above 20% these days (including ones quite a bit cheaper than the KICKR), I continue to question how many people actually want to ride such a gradient. Just last weekend I did an actual outside ride where the road grade topped out at 17%. There’s no fun in doing that, let alone a 24% incline that some trainers can simulate.

And atop that, there’s little reason most of this matters if you use the defaults in Zwift, because it automatically halves the values anyway. A 10% grade feels like a 5% grade. You need to change the ‘Trainer Difficulty’ level to 100% in order to feel it (and most people don’t bother to). Where it can matter though is at low-speed high wattage climbs up those 12% or beyond ascents.

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The second mode the trainer has is ERG mode.  In that case, the company claims up to 2,200w of resistance at 40KPH. Although, realistically, you don’t care about that. I can only barely (maybe) break 1,000w for a second or two, and even most front of the non-pro pack cyclists aren’t going to top 1,800w.  The pros would only be just a bit beyond that.  Said differently: Peak numbers in this competition don’t matter.  Instead, what matters is actually a harder metric to make clear – which is the ability to simulate high grades and lower speeds (especially if you’re a heavier cyclist).

One core test I do with all trainers though is responsiveness: How quickly does it respond to ERG mode changes? I typically do that with my 30×30 test via TrainerRoad, though it doesn’t really matter what method you use as long as you’re looking at big shifts in wattage:

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Now, I dive into all the nuances of this later on in the accuracy section, specifically including my 30×30 test via TrainerRoad, though it doesn’t really matter what method you use as long as you’re looking at big shifts in wattage.

So what about road feel and noise?

Like I always say – for me personally, it’s hard to separate the fact that I’m riding indoors from outdoors. It’s still a trainer, and I’m still looking at a wall in front of me.  My brain can only turn off so much of that.  Still, much of the road-like feel is driven by the flywheel, and be it physical or virtual, flywheel sizes tend to be measured in weight.  This impacts inertia and how it feels – primarily when you accelerate or otherwise change acceleration (such as briefly coasting).

All that prefacing done, the KICKR V5 feels identical to the KICKR2018, because…well…nothing has changed there. The flywheel is identical here. And in terms of people’s happiness level with the KICKR2018, everyone is largely pretty happy there in terms of road-feel. Given this is the same, I’m just as happy here as before. It’s smooth when it needs to be smooth, and ramps up (and down) correctly as you accelerate.

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And as for sound? It’s essentially silent – just like the KICKR 2018. The only thing you’re going to hear is your drivetrain interfacing with the cassette. The trainer itself doesn’t make any noises, but your own bike will. By and large that sound level will vary based on how well you maintain your drivetrain. The cleaner and more well maintained, the quieter the entire trainer setup will be. I include audio snippets within the video at the top.

Ok, with all the basics out of the way, let’s talk app compatibility.

App Compatibility:

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The Wahoo KICKR set the standard on trainer + app integration years ago when it was first introduced, but that’s actually less the case today than it was nearly a decade ago. Sure, virtually every app out there is compatible with the Wahoo KICKR series one way or another, but that doesn’t mean Wahoo follows all the industry norms today.

As such, the Wahoo KICKR V5 actually isn’t the most ‘universally compatible’ trainer these days.  That’s because Wahoo has yet to implement the industry standard Bluetooth Smart FTMS trainer control protocol.  But as with the KICKR 2018, that’s more of a technicality than anything, because as I noted – every app already supports Wahoo’s own trainer control standard over Bluetooth Smart anyway.  So from an end user standpoint it has no meaningful impact to you.

In any case, the Wahoo KICKR V5 supports the following protocol transmission standards:

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

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

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

So basically, the only meaningful takeaway of the above is that you can’t pair it with apps that only support proper FTMS, but I’m not aware of any major (or even minor) app that doesn’t support Wahoo trainers own propriety Bluetooth Smart implementation.

In the above, you’ll note there’s cadence data baked into the various streams, Wahoo started doing this a year ago with a Sumer 2019 firmware update to the KICKR 2018 and KICKR CORE. That’s handy if you’re connecting to Zwift on an Apple TV, due to Apple TV’s two concurrent Bluetooth Smart sensor limitation (plus the Apple TV remote).  This means you can pair the trainer and get power/cadence/control, while also pairing up a heart rate strap.

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Now, before we start pairing apps – you’ll notice I haven’t yet mentioned that wired port. Technically it’s an RJ25 port (identical externally to an RJ11 telephone jack port, just with more pins inside). However, you can’t just plug that into a 14.4 modem and dial-in Zwift. Instead, you’ll need to purchase a separate accessory adapter that’ll connect from that RJ25 port into RJ45 (Ethernet). Said adapter isn’t yet available, nor are there any apps compatible with it. Wahoo says they’re hoping to have this available by the end of the year, and while exact pricing isn’t yet decided upon – Wahoo says they’re aiming “for sure” to be less than $100USD.

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The idea behind it is that with said #donglelife adapter, you’d be able to connect the KICKR straight into your home network, potentially avoiding any ANT+/Bluetooth Smart interference issues. In talks with app partners thus far, the KICKR would then be picked up by your app on the same network.

As for not just putting the darn ethernet port into the KICKR to begin with (rather than putting a port to put a dongle to a port), it sounds like this was more of an ease of manufacturing item up front to make timelines for this product launch. Here’s to hoping down the road that evaporates. Still, this will be up to individual apps to actually implement. One might remember that Kinetic implemented a dedicated USB connection port in their Kinetic Smart control trainers years ago…and heard nothing but silence from Zwift on using it.

Below, RJ45 (Ethernet) in yellow, RJ11 (telephone-style) in black.

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In any event, in my testing of the KICKR V5 using ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, I used Zwift and TrainerRoad as my two main apps (which are the two main apps I use personally), as well as a side dish of The Sufferfest (which, Wahoo owns now).  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 (ERG mode). I dig into the nuances of these both within the power accuracy section.

Starting with Zwift, you can see the Wahoo KICKR listed as not just a controllable trainer, but also within the regular power meter and cadence section. You’ll want to pair it up as a controllable trainer (which will also pair it as a power meter) – as seen above.

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In Zwift, it easily handled the rollers of the tough Titans Groove route on Watopia. While not physically demanding for most people, it’s a very challenging course for most trainers since it’s got nice flat sections (for high flywheel speed testing) at the beginning, followed by constant shifting rollers up into the mountains/hills, and then back down onto the flats to round out the loop. It’s perfect for seeing how quickly a trainer reacts.

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Meanwhile, you’’ll see the trainer enumerated in a fairly similar manner on TrainerRoad as well:

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Also, TrainerRoad’s tips page on using smart trainers in ERG mode, notably the ‘Gear Selection’ section:

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I’d *strongly* recommend you either read that page, or just simply ensure you’re using the small ring up front: This is for ERG mode specifically, shift into the small ring to get better control. I did all of my ERG mode testing with the small chainring up front and about mid-cassette in the back without issue in either TrainerRoad or The Sufferfest. Here’s a longer workout I did on TrainerRoad:

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And then another I did in The Sufferfest. First, here’s the pairing screen, where you can see the KICKR V5/2020 listed:

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And then mid-workout cookin’ along:

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As far as calibration goes, you can pretend to do calibration from just about any app.

However, as noted above – this is mostly just for show. One of the new features of the KICKR V5 (2020) is the zero calibration concept. While it’s not quite like the KICKR Bike or Tacx NEO in terms of not being possible at all to calibrate, Wahoo says there is no reason to calibrate it. So much so in fact that Wahoo will quietly override any calibration values it takes within a minute or two using a new continuous calibration system. Aside from general accuracy, this updated system eliminates various ways that people could tweak older KICKR units to boost power numbers for cheating in Zwift or other online races (even in major in-person events). The new behind the scenes continuous calibration looks at factors like temperature but also how the unit responds over the lifetime of the trainer to, according to Wahoo, ensure that it’s properly keeping itself in check even thousands of kilometers down the virtual road.

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Calibration aside, Wahoo has their own app for validating various settings within the KICKR, as well as toggling a handful of settings related to how the trainer functions in apps. To access these, you’ll download the Wahoo app on iOS or Android. Once in the app you’ll add a new sensor, which is your KICKR:

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If you’ve just unboxed it, you’ll probably be offered a firmware update, which you should most definitely go ahead and do, since it’ll undoubtedly solve some issues I ran into over the course of this review. Updates take about 2-5 minutes depending on whether or not your KICKR is feeling speedy.

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In addition to this, there’s two other notable features. First is the ability to use an external power meter to control your KICKR. In essence this makes your trainer match your power meter. I very rarely recommend this (almost never), since it usually results in poor responsiveness. Plus, my general feeling here is that if either your trainer or power meter is so horribly off that this matters, then you should probably address that first. In the case of the KICKR, I’m not seeing issues with accuracy, so I really wouldn’t recommend this.

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The second feature is ERG Mode Power Smoothing. This basically fakes what the power data looks like in ERG mode (such as in TrainerRoad or Sufferfest). Sure, Wahoo would say that it’s not faked and just heavily smoothed, but no matter, it basically makes everything look perfectly smooth rather than the reality of human and trainer fluctuations. I turn it off (it’s on by default) for all my testing, because otherwise I can’t compare actual accuracy.

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Beyond this, you can see the serial number, firmware version, hardware version, and ANT+ ID of your trainer. And in the event you’re working on a support case with Wahoo, for troubleshooting they can also enable remote diagnostics of the trainer, which sounds kinda nifty:

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Finally, Wahoo’s own app can be used to control the trainer and record basic workouts. In fact, the Wahoo app is still one of the most widely compatible and data-driven apps out there for simply recording a workout (even an outside one). It’ll happily pair to all your sensors, and then save files and upload them to piles and piles of 3rd party platforms.

While I rarely use the app indoors, I do occasionally use it for random tests. In fact, even Strava recommends it as an alternative to their own app after they killed off sensor support last fall.

You can control the trainer in a number of ways, including in ERG mode (setting a wattage point), incline/gradient mode (setting a % grade), and level mode (setting a specific level). You can’t have it automatically execute a structured workout for you, though you can do that with 3rd party apps as outlined, or bike GPS computers like the Wahoo ELEMENT/BOLT/ROAM, by pairing the KICKR as a smart trainer:

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Aside from validating that the most recent firmware properly connects to the app and records data (it does), I didn’t use the ROAM to control the KICKR on any workouts. I think that by and large the vast majority of people are using various 3rd party platforms like TrainerRoad, Sufferfest, Zwift, or others to execute structured workouts.

Power Accuracy Analysis:

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

In my case I used one primary bike set up in the following configuration :

Canyon Bike Setup #1: PowerTap P2 Dual-sided pedals, Quarq DZero crankset
Canyon Bike Setup #2: Favero Assioma Dual-sided pedals Set #1, Quarq DZero crankset
Canyon Bike Setup #3: Favero Assioma Dual-sided pedals Set #2, Quarq DZero crankset

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

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

There’s two ways to look at this.  First is how quickly it responds to the commands of the application.  So for that, we need to actually look at the overlay from TrainerRoad showing when it sent the command followed by when the KICKR achieved that level.  Here’s the levels being sent (the blue blocks)) by TrainerRoad (in this case via Bluetooth Smart on iPad) and how quickly the KICKR responded to it:

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In general, when it comes to ERG mode ‘accuracy’, I’m actually looking at three specific things:

A) Base power accuracy: Is the power measurement aspect correct?
B) Power Responsiveness: How quickly can it achieve a given set point (e.g. how long to go from 150w to 450w?)
C) Power Stability: How stable is it in holding a given ERG mode setting?

So, looking at the KICKR V5 2020, the simple answer to all of those is: Pretty darn good in most cases.

For example, on responsiveness, it was taking about 3-4 seconds to go from 150w to 456w, pretty consistently for most – virtually identical to the just-released Elite Direto XR two weeks ago. In some cases I might prefer 2-3 seconds (for both), but I’m not going to quibble too much there.

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The next bit is stability. In the case of the above workout, it was after doing a Sufferfest 45 minute workout of relatively hard riding (I’m not sure why I always do these after my hard workouts, but…at least I’m warmed up). In any event, I was still pretty stable on most of them, and you see that the KICKR was pretty stable overall here. For these ones, as noted I was in the small chainring up front, and precisely mid-cassette in the back.

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There was one interval where it achieved the change in 2 seconds, and inversely another one where it took five seconds (as seen above). But the average was 3-4 seconds.

So what about actual power accuracy then? Meaning – how does it compare to other power meters? For that here’s a comparison with a Quarq DZero and Favero Assioma power meters (data set here):

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A quick glance shows that the KICKR V5 & Quarq DZero were exactly where I’d want them – with the KICKR being slightly lower than the Quarq DZero (due to drivechain losses). On this ride the Favero Assioma pedals were a bit lower than I’d like to see (by about 10w in most sets). After digging a bit deeper in that set the left pedal was reading abnormally low, bringing the total power down. I’ll troubleshoot that…another day.

Nonetheless, if we zoom in on a few sets we’ll see the three units agree very closely (save the Favero under-reporting slightly), but with the KICKR/Quarq relationship nailed correctly (again, with KICKR correctly being a couple of watts below the Quarq).

image

Everything is super silky there on power, and if we look at cadence, that looks close, but not perfect. The KICKR seems to be about 2-3RPM high in many sections. Hardly a massive deal, and there were no dropouts or major issues. But just something to point out.

image

Next, let’s look at a Zwift ride, this one compared against the PowerTap P2 pedals and a Quarq DZero. It’s a blend of different terrain in Zwift, to the Volcano, up it, and then back to town. You can see the variability in power efforts as a result. Here’s that data set:

image

Now, at a high level it looks pretty darn close, right?

Sorta. See, I took a glance at the mean-max graph, which plots time and power relationships. It’s a great way to quickly see why something might not align. It doesn’t tell the whole picture, but rather gives areas to go investigate. And in this case I noticed the KICKR spiked above the rest for shorter duration surges.

image

And so back into the main power graph to check out some of these surges. Now, I wouldn’t call them sprints. No, these were just moderate increases in intensity, usually between 300-400w, sometimes 500w. And you can see the KICKR peaking out over the top. Sometimes quite significantly, sometimes just barely.

image

And again here, in this first case by some 75w, and then repeatedly through this two-minute random snippet by just a touch – 10-15w in most cases.

image

So, fast forward a few weeks to a newer firmware version (the one the KICKR is launching today on), and while the issue is slightly less than before, it still exists in this data set from another Zwift ride:

image

In addition, it also introduced a seemingly new issue around low-cadence. While I rarely pedal at 50RPM, for whatever reason I was doing so with my then-shot legs during a climb. And that caused the power to actually increase dramatically:

image

You can see below the cadence graph for the same section. As my cadence dropped, so did accuracy. And as cadence increased, so did accuracy.

image

Note that the surges also are present in two other Zwift rides I did over the last three weeks, with roughly the same intensity. The less you surge (steady-state riding for example), the less the issue is. Whereas the more you surge (races with group dynamics), the more obvious the issue is. I’ve also tested it across three different sets of power meters.

Wahoo says they’re looking into both of these issues and plan to find solutions for future firmware updates. If you turn back the history machine, this sort of initial launch inaccuracy around surges isn’t uncommon for Wahoo trainers. In fact, I saw it the first month or two in the KICKR CORE as well as the KICKR SNAP. Hopefully it’s just a short-lived issue. Though, in the meantime, I suppose it’s great for folks in a race, since every minor surge gets you free power.

Update – Dec 30th 2020: This past week Wahoo has issued a firmware update for the KICKR V5 that fixes these issues (finally!). I detail the issue and the fix more in this update post here.

Finally, we’ll finish on The Sufferfest, which is an ERG mode workout I did last night. Here’s that data set:

image

This, as one can see above quite plainly, included boatloads of massive resistance changes. Also, I forgot to start the Fenix 6 recording the Favero Assioma during the warm-up, though I did double-record it on another Edge 530. But that showed a few dropouts later in the workout, so I skipped showing that above to keep it easier to read (but the data is available in the linked set above).

In any case, this all looks just fine and dandy when zoomed in:

image

Responsiveness on this workout was great, exactly where I’d want things to feel, though, the Sufferfest app often held onto the higher power intensity about 1-2 seconds after the interval ended before releasing to a rest break. Some apps will basically send the command a second or two early, such that the timing ends up perfect, but that didn’t seem to be the case here (or, the commands weren’t being received). It wasn’t all the time, but it was definitely obvious a few times.

Still, that app quirk aside, these all look great:

image

Though, as with all my other tests on the KICKR V5, cadence needs a bit of work still. It’s very often off by 2-3RPM. Again, not a huge deal, but of note:

image

OK – so where do we stand?

Well, so-so. As of launch, the accuracy here is clearly less than the KICKR2018 (since that doesn’t suffer from the surge overcommit issue, nor minor cadence offset accuracy issue). Nor does it suffer from the low-cadence power accuracy issue.

Are these major show-stopper issues? Probably not long term. Wahoo has a pretty consistent track record of quickly iterating through early accuracy teething pains on their trainers, usually quickly eliminating them in subsequent firmware updates. But ultimately, I can’t predict if/when that firmware update will come. I suspect most people probably won’t care (heck, some might even like the extra power boost).

Note that these power accuracy issues don’t appear in ERG mode (structured workout mode). So if you’ve got TrainerRoad or Sufferfest or such, then these are non-issues for you, best I can tell.

In any event, once a firmware update comes I’ll re-test and see if it resolves the issues.

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

Trainer Comparison:

I’ve added the Wahoo KICKR V5 (2020) into the product comparison database.  This allows you to compare it against other trainers I’ve reviewed. For the purposes of this particular table, I’ve compared it against the Tacx NEO 2T, Elite Direto XR, and Saris H3 (basically the top trainers from each major company). You can also mix and match and create your own trainer comparison charts with just about any trainer on the market in the aforementioned/linked product database.

Function/FeatureWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated May 27th, 2021 @ 7:01 pm New Window
Price for trainer$1,199$949$999$1,399
Trainer TypeDirect Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)Direct Drive (no wheel)
Available today (for sale)YesYesYesYes
Availability regionsGlobalGlobalGlobalGlobal
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWireless + Upcoming Wired Ethernet AdapterWirelessWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYesYes (no control w/o)YesNo
Flywheel weight16lbs/7.25kgs5.1KG/11.2LBS20lb/9kgSimulated/Virtual 125KG
Includes cassetteYes (11 Speed SRAM/Shimano)Yes (11 Speed SRAM/Shimano)NoNo
ResistanceWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYesYesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)NoNoNoYes
Maximum wattage capability2,200w @ 40KPH2,300w @ 40KPH2,000w2,200w @ 40KPH
Maximum simulated hill incline20%24%20%25%
FeaturesWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYesYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerNo9EUR one-time feeNoYes
Can rise/lower bike or portion thereofWith KICKR CLIMB accessoryNoNoNo
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)NoWith steering accessory & compatible appNoNo
Can rock side to side (significantly)NoNoNoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoNoNoYes
AccuracyWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
Includes temperature compensationYesN/AYesN/A
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)Yes (though, will override for greater accuracy)YesYesN/A
Supported accuracy level+/- 1%+/- 1.5%+/- 2%+/- 1%
Trainer ControlWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYesYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YesYesYesYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart FTMS (Trainer Control Standard)No, but supports most appsYesYesNo, but supports most apps
Data BroadcastWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
Transmits power via ANT+YesYesYesYes
Transmits power via Bluetooth SmartYesYesYesYes
Supports Multiple Concurrent Bluetooth connectionsYes, 3 ConcurrentNo, just oneNo, just oneNo, just one
Transmits cadence dataYesYesYesYes
PurchaseWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
AmazonLinkLinkLink
Backcountry.comLinkLinkLinkLink
Competitive CyclistLinkLinkLinkLink
REILinkLinkLinkLink
WiggleLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerWahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version)Elite Direto XRSaris H3Tacx NEO 2T Smart
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

And again, remember you can mix and match and compare against all trainers I’ve reviewed in the product comparison database here.

Summary:

DSC_7858

At this point, the KICKR V5 (2020) is essentially a minor update to the hardware that ensures Wahoo keeps roughly on-cycle for updating their marquee trainer. Historically, Wahoo has rarely done major updates of the KICKR series, instead preferring for more frequent minor updates. In this case, the changes are indeed pretty minimal – at least until Wahoo releases the wired ethernet network accessory for those that suffer from connectivity issues.

On the new AXIS feet, I just don’t see them providing a meaningful change compared to a simple trainer mat. Which isn’t to say they’re bad – not at all. Anything that increases comfort, especially for longer rides – even incrementally – is appreciated. But after numerous rides on the trainer, I simply can’t tell the difference when atop a trainer mat. When directly placed on a concrete floor, the difference is almost felt. Almost. Maybe? Kinda.

I do however like the idea of Wahoo moving away from a spin-down calibration on their trainer, which eliminates a significant way that people can skew their smart trainer accuracy in a more favorable manner (read: cheating) on Zwift or other apps in racing. While I’d love to have seen Wahoo go towards the true electromagnetic design on their KICKR Bike (like a TACX NEO Series), the existing technology they use, once a bit more polish is added, should fit the bill for now.

Until then, assuming Wahoo can sort out the accuracy issues – then the KICKR V5 will probably be just as popular as past KICKR units. I wouldn’t really recommend upgrading from a 2016 or 2018 KICKR, but if you’ve got an older one, it could be something to consider if you find the newer features useful to you.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

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

If you're shopping for the Wahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version) or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

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

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

The KICKR CLIMB simulates a climb by raising (more)

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

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

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

The headwind fan is one of those fans (more)

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

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

There's no better bang for your buck in getting Zwift (or FulGaz/etc) on your big screen TV than Apple TV - it's the primary way I Zwift. Even if you don't have a 4K TV, the 4K version has more powerful graphics than the base, worth the extra $30.

Basic Trainer Mat

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

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

Front Wheel Riser Block

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

Honeywell HT-900 Fan

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

Lasko High Velocity Pro-Performance Fan (U15617)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

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

If you're shopping for the Wahoo KICKR V5/2020 (Current Version) or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

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

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

The KICKR CLIMB simulates a climb by raising (more)

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

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

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

The headwind fan is one of those fans (more)

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

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

There's no better bang for your buck in getting Zwift (or FulGaz/etc) on your big screen TV than Apple TV - it's the primary way I Zwift. Even if you don't have a 4K TV, the 4K version has more powerful graphics than the base, worth the extra $30.

Basic Trainer Mat

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

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

Front Wheel Riser Block

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

Honeywell HT-900 Fan

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

Lasko High Velocity Pro-Performance Fan (U15617)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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329 Comments

  1. Fabio Mux

    About the wired connection i hope zwift will be an app that support that. They sell wahoo products, they have a lot of Pro like sanders, charles that use wahoo devices..Hope they won’t forget it..

    I’m one of the few people who think that a wired connection is the best option for a trainer (if u have a Pc as training device).

    • Yeah, I think Zwift is undoubtedly the most natural fit for it given the popularity.

      However, as noted they’ve had such a capability with Kinetic trainers for years…and the only thing Kinetic ever got back from Zwift on numerous requests was the sound of silence.

    • Eric

      But wahoo vs kinetic sorry to say it not a comparison. Kinetic is a has been that messed up a great thing.

    • I don’t know, there’s endless examples I could look at, even Zwift/Wahoo-related. For example, Zwift has never implemented the proper way to handle the the KICKR CLIMB in-game, which is why the feeling there is very subpar to FulGaz, which matches the scenery far better (and smoother).

      It’s easy to discard Kinetic’s wired port, but at the same time – why? Zwift kept saying they wanted a wired port, so Kinetic delivered, and then Zwift wouldn’t even answer their e-mails (even with a ‘nope’). And then Zwift wonders why no other trainer company wants to make wired ports. Why if you can’t get basic assurances it’ll be used.

    • Nuno Pinto

      “ Zwift wouldn’t even answer their e-mails (even with a ‘nope’).”….wow.. what kind of B2B relationship is ZWIFT having with trainer companies??? I am confused after reading this comment

    • Every single one of them repeats this in conversation after conversation after conversation I have with them.

      And I’m more than happy if Zwift reads this and then gets upset, because all they need to do is ask those companies for an honest assessment, and they’ll tell them the exact same thing.

      People wonder why bugs don’t get fixed in Zwift, now its largely that same attitude towards their indoor trainer industry partners

  2. Mayhem

    I don’t suppose there is any chance that the auto-calibration algorithm could be implemented on older KICKRs via a firmware update? Or do older units lack sufficient hardware like temperature sensors, processing power or whatver to enable this…

  3. jww

    Wahoo’s packaging containing inaccurate information on what’s inside is my favorite running subplot in endurance tech.

    They are going to sell a hellova lotta these this fall.

  4. Matthew Thomson

    Thanks for another great review. I woke up early hoping you would publish this article today … nice early birthday present to find it up.
    I was personally hoping Kickr would have a major change or two that would seperate it from the pack. After reading the review I am still torn between the Kickr and Tacx. I have found Garmins warranty/service to be truely amazing over the years and still like the idea of keeping to one company. I will digest the comments that are posted and hopefully will make my new trainer decision in the next week or so.
    Thanks once again for your amazing reviews!!

  5. Brandon

    Hopefully they have figured out quality. I bought a Wahoo and had it replaced 3 times before I gave up and bought the Tacx Neo. Not one issue since. Every other Wahoo product I’ve bought as crap as well. Got a HR strap and it only lasted a few weeks. They replaced it with one that lasted a few months then died. Went back to Garmin. Their cadence sensor eats batteries like it’s going out of style. Done with Wahoo. If it was one thing ok but everything I’ve bought from them was junk.

    • Frank

      Done with wahoo too they lost me on their last trainer,

    • Brenton

      I am very new to all this and whilst the review above is amazing in detail and depth your comment and the reply have turned me off getting a Wahoo unit at all so thank you. I am completely new to this and am confused on what type of bike frame and cassette I need to get as my 25 year old Trek hybrid bike more than likely isn’t suitable. I’ve researched every aspect of setting up an indoor bike/sensors/zwift and am debating going straight to a decent smart trainer rather than the cheapest route but need to decide on which way to go and what bike to get for it. I’ve noticed that they tend to say things like ‘Various Shimano, SRAM & Campagnolo cassettes’ but for someone thats not a bike enthusiast (yet) this isn’t enough information.

    • buh

      funny, i am here because I am done with the Neo(s) and the endless creaking (of plastic) and grinding (internals).

      🙂

    • Chad McNeese

      The old Simpson’s episode joke of “Pobody’s Nerfect” is ever true with trainers lately (last 2 years). No trainer maker can claim perfection, and finding a “good one” in any brand is a like a game of roulette.

  6. Tom Howlin

    Micro update, do like the zero calibration.

    Do you expect other announcement from Wahoo? I.e is the 2020 winter line up 2020 Kickr, 2018 Kickr Core, 2017 Kickr Snap.

    i’m Looking to upgrade to either snap or Kickr. So trying to decide whether to wait.

    • My understanding is this completes the lineup for 2020.

    • Gryphon

      Ray, does this include Computers? Any refresh on the Roam forthcoming?

    • Charlie Anderson

      I think you forgot the bike in the Kickr lineup.

    • Chad McNeese

      There is almost no chance of a major update to the Kickr Bike this year. It was introduced just a year ago, and Wahoo seems to follow a reasonably consistent 2-year cycle on products.

    • Yeah, I was talking trainers. Zero chance of a KICKR refresh. They’re just barely rolling into Europe now, and still haven’t released the planned accessories like TT/remote shifters, etc…

      I think even a two-year (next year) cycle would be optimistic and probably unnecessary, especially since from a design standpoint I’d say they’ve got the most forward-thinking design.

      As for bike computers, I wouldn’t expect any ROAM refresh, that’s barely over a year old (while it was announced May 1 last year, they stopped production till July to address mount breakage issues.

    • Anonymouse

      What about the Climb?

    • No chance there as well. And honestly, I’m not sure what they’d do with CLIMB aside from adding steering.

  7. Wish they would’ve just added the RJ45 port instead to be honest..

    (Also, it says ‘Wahoo says their aiming “for sure” to be less than’, which should be “they’re” ;-))

  8. thank you for the review

    I asked Wahoo if the special (part-hidden) factory spindown still exists but didn’t get a definitive reply, any ideas if that exists or needs to exist?

    FYI: The AXIS feet seem to be generally not stocked at launch (I was going to buy some direct from Wahoo)

    a small section of the launch video from Wahoo DOES who noticeable rocking with a mat at around 10 seconds
    link to youtu.be

    • My understanding is that still exists, though I’m unclear if it also gets overwritten.

      AXIS feet sound like they’re all coming in September.

      My video should be up any moment, but essentially I’m skeptical on that snippet at 0:10. Either the Wahoo mat is crazy stiff somehow, or…there’s some creative video work there. On my $20 mat, it just sinks into the mat, it doesn’t resist at all.

    • tfk, the5krunner

      I guess rider weight could be a factor too.

      At GBP60 ish for the feet, I guess I could get a mat instead.

    • Yeah, the three sets of feet roughly correspond to weight. I tried the feet for my weight first (which would be stiffer, due to being heavier), and didn’t feel much. So then I tried the ones for the lightest riders, and those you could see a difference on concrete, but on a mat the mat just gives way first.

      I assume I’m heavier than that rider on the video.

    • Eli

      Also can depend on how you adjust the side feet. So they just barely touch the ground or out further so they feel more firmly planted

    • Chad McNeese

      Yes, it may be possible to extend them a bit and “preload” the springs. But that will be limited due to the relative flat design of their springs. So some lifting will likely be part of the Axis design, even if extended much more.

      The larger springs we’ve seen on other hacked setups (especially the larger inflated balls) can stay engaged to the lifted foot compared to the short travel Axis feet. It tends to improve the toggle at the center when you swap from the left-right direction and such.

      Some people like the more “firm” centered aspect of the short springs and no preload. But for those that like more travel and a looser center feel, the longer springs and preload are useful to get that.

  9. Paul S.

    A little bit of technical background… Adding an ethernet port on a product significantly increases the compliance-related testing you have to do, as the noise and safety voltage isolation of that port have to be tested, but otherwise, only the power brick itself has to be tested for conducted electrical noise and safety voltage isolation. (Of course the trainer has to be plugged into the power brick during the conducted noise testing, and the whole kit has to be tested for radiated noise.) By pushing back the release of the ethernet dongle, Wahoo had to do significantly less paperwork to get the 2020 KICKR out the door, and can take extra time with the dongle certifications.

    • Makes sense, and matches what Wahoo said about it pushing back timelines from a manuf standpoint.

    • Terrance

      Could they have done the connectivity using USB C? Just curious.

    • WF

      Adding an ethernet port isn’t any technical feat. They’re on $200 Chromebooks and cheap TVs. This is clearly to sell an overpriced dongle. Your post reads like PR for Wahoo.

    • klaus

      Make sense, because there is only an “A” attached to the FCCID (PADWF113-A).

      My Kickr2017 has the FCCID PADWF113 . Doesn’t find any Pictures with the FCCID from Kickr2018.

      And on link to fccid.io you find no new FCCID for Kicker.

    • Ozero Lee

      I was thinking the same thing!

      You know someone is going to trip on that cable, and at least if it’s USB-C, it’ll come out easier!

    • Paul S.

      Are you talking about my comment, or about Ray’s review? I don’t have a dog in the fight on the TICKR, my trainer is an H3. 🙂 I just used to work for a company with ethernet-enabled products, and I can tell you compliance engineering is not a painless process. Anything the product manager could kick down the road during development, I’m sure he or she was happy to do.

    • Paul S.

      @Terrance, Sure. USB C could have been done, but would have required a different approach. It’s possible they could have done USB to your computer, or maybe they could have done a generic USB that would allow you to plug in an aftermarket USB-Ethernet dongle, but I think that starts to force them to do SW driver development. I really don’t know the details of something like that.

      Pretty much any time you put a connector on a product, someone, somewhere, has made rules about how you have to test it. Sometimes that is governments, but sometimes it is just industry groups that own the trademarks. For example, here is what you have to do if you want to put a USB-C port on your device: link to usb.org

    • Eli

      I would have thought a usb device like how the ant+ dongle connects to the computer would be easier. (very simplistic driver as its just a serial port pass through)

    • Paul S.

      @Eli, Again, going out of my area of knowlegde a bit, but I agree that USB/Serial port converters are VERY easy to do compared with other options. I wonder if using ethernet opens up a play for Wahoo to do giant in-person eRacing events with better device security than what USB would offer? Sortof like what Concept 2 ergs do at the CRASH-B indoor rowing competition.

      @DCRainmaker, do you think we might see something like that?

    • I suppose anything is plausible, but one of the advantages of ethernet over USB-C is connecting to tablets/phones/Apple TV/etc… For all those devices, USB is mostly a non-starter. Sure, some tablets might support certain types of USB devices, but rarely a wide range that would require drivers.

      Whereas ethernet (via dongle or otherwise), solves a lot of scenarios beyond just connectivity drops.

      While I know I’m somewhat jokingly critical about how this is implemented here, I am looking forward to seeing it implemented by Wahoo and apps. I mainly just think that if we fast forward to Summer 2021 or 2022 or whatever, Wahoo will invariably just have an ethernet port built-in.

  10. Mark R.

    Wow.
    If ever there’s a review that makes me glad that I bought a Neo 4 years ago then it’s this one.

    1) RJ11 to Ethernet(RJ45)? In whose world does that make sense? Just build an Ethernet connector in!! Prediction #1 that this will last precisely one iteration of this trainer.

    2) we let you calibrate and then we throw that calibration away! So still no calibrationless unit that would properly end Zwift cheating as I’m figuring it’ll be child’s play to hack this and repeatedly insert deliberately skewed calibration numbers every 15 seconds or so. Prediction 2: the next rev of trainer will fix this by not allowing user calibration at all.

    3) peaky power readings

    4) power drift at low cadences (I’m kind of suspicious
    of trainers that seem to read weirdly high on release for Zwift (semi-legal) cheating reasons, maybe I’m just a bit paranoid here)

    5) implying that it’s a direct drive unit when it isn’t. (Just poor transparency, at least have the guts to stand behind your product as it is, don’t pretend it’s something that it’s patently not.)

    I know all of the trainer companies have had their ups and downs but they’ve had 3 clear years to get this right. It seems that some of them need more.

    Sticking with my Mk1 Neo (never missed a beat) thanks ?

    Thanks for a great review again Ray.
    Great to see what is/isn’t hot.

    • Dave Lusty

      That’s RJ25, not RJ11 – there are clearly 6 connectors in the photo, where RJ11 has two. I highly doubt there’s an ethernet chip in there, far more likely is that this is a USB 3 with custom connector. My guess is that they decided RJ25 would be more secure thanks to the latch, given all of the movement of a trainer while riding. Also it just happens to mean that instead of a standard USB C to Ethernet dongle for $10 you’ll be buying the Wahoo official one for $100 which will be otherwise identical. If the wiring here actually had ethernet signals it would be trivial to knock up a cable for anyone with a crimping tool. If this is in fact USB 3 then they are free to create various dongles to connect other things like accessories. What if they released a braking or steering module instead of Ethernet, bet that would be popular!

      They didn’t imply direct drive, they stated the resistance is electromagnetic. It is Electromagnetic. What Ray said is that the industry has been using that term for direct EM resistance previously. I don’t have any issue with this since they are telling the truth technically. If we want to distinguish between belt and direct we need a new label – direct drive is taken so it’ll have to be something new, but this is wholly unrelated to the resistance mechanism. I have Kickr18 and Neo 2T and much prefer the belt drive for feel so I’m hoping they stick with it as the Neo has all kinds of downsides due to that set up. For instance, sometimes they break freewheeling with a firmware update so you have to pedal all of the time or completely lose momentum. It also feels gritty at lower speeds.

    • Eugene C

      A little common sense please. If someone desperately wants to cheat on Zwift, they aren’t going to go out and waste $1200 on one of the few smart trainers that actually makes it hard to do so. Yes, it overshoots on sprints. So does practically every other smart trainer.

      Nah, if someone wants to cheat, they’ll just buy a previous generation KICKR or some other trainer with an exposed flywheel to manipulate during the spindown process. If someone wants to cheat, they’ll just buy a left-only Assioma Uno and set the crank length to 200mm when it’s really 172.5mm.

    • Dave – Woah, good catch on RJ25 vs RJ11. So close! Thanks!

  11. WF

    I can’t believe they would put in a phone jack in just to charge $80 extra for an ethernet dongle. That’s utterly ridiculous. I was waiting for the next Kickr update to decide where to go from my SNAP. Tacx Neo 2T, it is. I don’t even need the wired connection, it’s just the sheer contempt for Wahoo’s customers. Who made that boardroom decision? Some dude laughing with a cigar?

    • Robert

      Er – if you don’t need the wired connection, why are you bothered by the need for an adapter and potential cost thereof to use said connection?

      I’d venture the wired connection is related to eSport events. Wired trainers are the simplest solution to avoid man-in-the-middle hacks that are really easy to do with BLE or ANT+.

  12. J.T. Conklin

    Given that the Axis feet will be available for the older Kickr’s, does that mean that otherwise the geometry of the new Kickr is the same as the old?

    In particular, I’m wondering whether the new Kickr is compatible with the Inside Ride E-Flex. When the day comes where my Kickr ’16 wears out and need to be replaced, it will likely be easier to source a Kickr ’20.

  13. Do you get the indication that they will use the port for anything other than interacting with apps via the internet? E.g., some sort of special hardware/accessory?

  14. Best Spindown?

    This reminds of a question I’ve been meaning to ask. Is the Wahoo spindown preferable to the Zwift spindown for a Kick ’18?

    Thanks!

  15. Don Barnard

    That high watts at low cadence thing is something I noticed on the alp du zwift and my kickr 2017. I was setting wattage PRs that seemed too easy. So… I’m not sure this is just a kickr 2020 thing. However, I haven’t revisited it in awhile since I’ve been using a power meter instead.

  16. Mark P

    So if the Axis feet are a bit pointless (I’d be getting them as an add-on to my 2018 KICKR) what do we think about getting a wobble-board instead? I’ve got thick gym matting down on the floor already, so probably quite similar to the mat

  17. Tom

    Great review! Will there be an update on the Kickr Core as well?

  18. Ihaan

    Ray,

    Comparison table seems to have Neo 2 and not 2T.

  19. Alvaro E

    Why would they put a telephone jack over a network jack or much better in my opinion a USB port? Wouldn’t be enough just having a usb that connects to my computer like my ANT dongle does? I feel this would almost be a plug and play solution for this issue. Of course, it doesn’t solve it for those people who want to use phones or AppleTV since I don’t think you could connect a USB port to those.

    • GLT

      Guessing the RJ11 was used purely to get four wires worth of copper into the trainer at a low cost. The future dongle will probably do all the processing required to be a good citizen on the customer’s LAN.

      It is reasonably mistake proof, since the voltage of a telephone line probably won’t damage the trainer & vice versa. After the owner’s manual has been tossed with the packaging material users still have a hint that it is related to communication in some way.

    • Eli

      until the phone rings and they didn’t design for the increased voltage :-p

  20. Jan Aniolek

    Hi Ray, you state (again and again):

    “And atop that, there’s little reason most of this matters if you use the defaults in Zwift, because it automatically halves the values anyway. A 10% grade feels like a 5% grade. You need to change the ‘Trainer Difficulty’ level to 100% in order to feel it (and most people don’t bother to).”

    I wonder whether this is really how you feel about riding it at less than 100% difficulty, or this is just the way you phrase it.

    The way I read your statement is that you say it is easier to climb up the virtual hill as far as wattage, whereas from what I’ve been reading around the net, the lower “difficulty” setting only eases the riding as far as the need for number of gear changes. The resistance that you have to overcome is the same, no matter the setting. I even read that some pros lower it so they can be on a higher gear right after the hill’s peak so they don’t spin out.

    I wonder what is your insight on it.

    • Chad McNeese

      “The resistance that you have to overcome is the same, no matter the setting.”

      That is an incorrect takeaway from your otherwise correct understanding.

      The RESISTANCE is set based on your rider weight input into Zwift, and the road pitch presented (and adjusted by the Trainer Difficulty setting.

      At 100% TD for a 10% hill, Z will give you the RESISTANCE equivalent to the math related. This will potentially force you to use your lower gearing unless you want a high pedal force and low cadence.

      At 0% TD for a 10% hill, Z will give you the SAME EXACT RESISTANCE as rolling on a flat, 0% road. The RESISTANCE you experience will never change in game.

      What that means is that the pedal resistance will never change. You will be in complete control of your resistance via your gearing selection, and not impact from road grade change in the game will be in effect. You could effectively roll at the same gearing and cadence on the entire course with no shifting. BUT, you would see massive changes in your speed based on the road pitch.

      The mistake people take away from that is it is “easier”. In one sense, that may be true if you look at it from a change vs no change (or reduced change in the default 50% TD setting). But if you care at all about your propulsion in the game, and keeping up with other riders, you are still forced to put out X watts to go Y kph up a Z% hill. So I don’t see it as easier, unless you are rolling solo and don’t want to shift.

      The math doesn’t change and you still must make the same effort. The only real impact is what you do with the shifting on the bike, and whether you “feel” the hill feedback.

  21. TheStansMonster

    Anybody want to volunteer to ride this thing hard for 6-8 weeks and report back if it starts squealing like a blown power steering belt like the 2 2018 Kickrs I’ve had did?

    • Chad McNeese

      Volunteer, yes. Pay my own money to be the guinea pig, no 😛

      Seriously, I do hope they resolved the failure issues, but am skeptical until we see these in wider use over several months.

  22. ocaz

    Will this work without being plugged in? I understand that I wouldn’t get resistance downhill but would everything else work under its own steam if pedalling?

    Reason for asking is I don’t have power supply in my garage

    • Chad McNeese

      Nope, there will be no power data unless it has power. It is the same as all prior Kickr’s in that sense and will not function well without power.

      You’d need to do the battery hack that some have used, run external AC power like normal, or use different trainer (Neo’s can function when not powered or dumb fluid/magnetic trainer).

  23. DAVID KNAPP

    I was wondering if you have any time frame on garmin to update their tacx line of trainers? I have friend that can get a discount on tacx so I was wondering if I should wait on new model or if I should purchase now?

  24. ocaz

    Thanks, I was swaying between this and the neo in anycase. Out of interest what is the battery hack?

    • Chad McNeese

      I don’t have a link, but you can google for “Wahoo Kickr Battery Hack” and find it. Just uses a 12v car battery and a hack to get the wiring connected. Not recommended and will likely void warranty, but it has been done for remote use away from mains power.

  25. Tom B

    Hej Ray,
    Regarding your comment about “control with power meter” I use this feature with my snap to avoid having to do a 15 minute warm up and spin down before a workout. Is this a bad move?

  26. Wesley Ng

    Will cold temperatures typically make smart trainers read low or high?

  27. Aldo

    Just curious to know if there is any difference between Assioma set 1 and 2 or just because 2 set of Assiomas are better than having 1 set 🙂

    • I actually have 3 sets now, two sets of Vector 3, two PowerTap P2, one PowerTap P1, and few others.

      I do actually have issues with one set of Favero Assiomas, though, not this one till this last 30×30 test. It’s currently out of commission. One of these days I’ll get around to e-mailing Favero about it.

      I have numerous sets mostly so when testing smart bikes or trainers I can swap easily or keep things on longer if need be. I really like to have pedals ‘settle’ for one ride before considering a test totally valid.

    • Aldo

      Interesting and thanks for your reply.

      I am still looking to buy an Assioma, but exchange rate and import taxes keep the local price (double the US retail price) way above what I am willing to buy. So, usually before I decide to buy such an expensive item, I look around everywhere to see if it is very, very reliable. And although, overall, people like the Assioma, there are always those long term users who seem to have problems with the pedal, which make me delay my decision to buy it. If something goes wrong, even though Favero seems to be very helpful, there is always a possibility that I would have to pay (high) taxes for a replacement sent by the factory (which should be free of charge, but good luck to convince the government that you are not cheating) or, worst case scenario, buy another pedal.

      Sorry for the rant. I know it is impossible to have a 100% reliable product, but cases like yours are always a step back for me.

  28. Nathan

    the Sufferfest app often held onto the higher power intensity about 1-2 seconds after the interval ended before releasing to a rest brake

    This is deliberate, by order of Grunter von Agony

    • giorgitd

      Haha, I always blamed my trainer, but maybe you are correct since a few intervals conclude ‘on time’, but most hang on for 2-5 sec. Not an issue for long intervals/long rests but a killer for rapid on/off intervals. Maybe the few intervals than end ‘on time’ were programmed when GvA was sneaking out for a Couchlandrian donut fix…

    • Hmm, maybe I’ll ask. It was definitely noticeable, but it’s not something I remember in the past occurring.

  29. Kelly Lee

    If you were choosing between the Neo 2T, H3, or Wahoo mainly for Zwift use, do you have a clear cut favorite? Looking to pick something up and can’t seem to come up with a clear winner.

  30. Mike S.

    FYI.

    I’m still seeing ads on the blog posts between the end of the article and the Discussion area. Screenshot attached.

  31. Steve

    Great review, Ray. I’m glad to see Wahoo is working on incremental improvements to KICKR vs. major overhauls. I love my 2017, but I like the automatic calibration and direct connect capabilities, plus the improved accuracy. And the cushioned feet seem like a nice addition to improve comfort and reduce fatigue during long sessions as my 2017 is pretty rigid and I worry about the effect on my frame over time. This should lessen the load. Don’t really see them as a competitor to rocker plates, which struggle to replicate outdoor movement, especially out of the saddle.

  32. Middleageman1993

    Ray,
    In watching the video you indicated how little side-to-side movement the unit provides. Do you think that having the front connected to the kickr climb may have reduced the movement? Does it move more with the wheel on and set in a riser block?

  33. Changren Y.

    In ERG mode, does this new KICKR hold power the same across different gear combinations? Or does it behave like the Tacx NEO, in which how well the trainer holds true to the targeted power depends greatly on the gear selection?

  34. Tom Perry

    Please say more about this: “Peak numbers in this competition don’t matter. Instead, what matters is actually a harder metric to make clear – which is the ability to simulate high grades and lower speeds (especially if you’re a heavier cyclist).”
    May I suggest this isn’t just about heavier cyclists… it’s also about anyone whose power output is limited, e.g., aging cyclists, new cyclists, cyclists recovering from injury or illness. My personal example: I’m a reasonably fit 75-year-old who has alpine passes to climb in the Rouvy app. My Saris M2 stops controlling resistance when my W/kg drops below 2.0 on grades over 10%. This is followed by virtual speed dropping to 2 mph or less and if I raise my cadence high enough, the resistance returns with a bang, spiking to an unsustainable value as the virtual speed spikes.
    I plan to upgrade to a direct drive trainer soon. Is any trainer on the market better at handling high grades at lower speeds, for example: a 15% grade at a steady virtual 3 mph at an actual cadence of 80-85 rpm?

    • Bryan M

      This is a great question and one that I have also experienced on my M2. My wife is at the point that most Rouvy rides are impossible to complete due to these spikes in resistance. I can’t tell if this is a Rouvy issue or a trainer issue.

    • Ales

      Have you tried setting “trainer difficulty” to get past this?

    • Bryan M

      Yes – it’s called Reality Level in Rouvy and that makes the rides doable if on the correct level, but that is only available in Training mode. For most people, that is probably fine, but for anyone that would like to compare their times with others, then you need to be in Time Trial mode (formerly Race mode). Additionally, the amount of “reality” adjustment on one ride may be different than the next ride. This is purely an artifact of using an internal trainer/program, however, as we have done rides on the trainer that we have also done in person. While the gradients may be difficult, they do not stop you in your tracks in real life. I would love to know if this would be an improvement on a better trainer like the Kickr or H3.

  35. Graeme B

    Thanks for pointing out they’ve kept the pricing the same, except they haven’t.
    In Australia it’s now another $100 dollars more, and that’s an increase from the 2016 of $400.
    Clearly Wahoo doesn’t want Australia’s business, but in this era of Covid, where demand is high, this is blatant profiteering.

    • Yeah, I generally base things on USD (or occasionally EUR). There’s too many currencies to try and track them all.

      Also, for what it’s worth, the AUD dollar has gone down against the USD since the KICKR18 was announced, not quite $100 worth, but about $75 worth. Though, given how far the AUD fell this past spring before recovering…one might consider themselves lucky it wasn’t launched just a few months ago.

    • Dave Lusty

      It always confuses me that US companies fix the USD price of goods and set global pricing from there. The Kickr is made in Taiwan, so surely the dollar value should also fluctuate based on conversion from TWD. If anything Australia should see lower pricing considering the lower shipping costs 🙂
      The software world is even crazier, something with effectively zero manufacturing cost has no reason to cost the same in all regions, just pick a local price!

    • Ihsan

      Oh don’t get us started on software pricing! I finally said “enough is enough” and cut all ties to autodesk in my personal business.

      The name of the game seems to be “shaft the consumer every which way we can” as clearly demonstrated by the latest phone jack/Ethernet jack on the Kickr.

      Why not wait to get the certification done and release afterwards with the modest price increase justifies the licensing and manufacturing costs? Oh no, we need to get the product on the market, then we will get the dongle certified, and we will sell them a whole extra thingamajig for added price.

    • Graeme B

      Good to look at exchange rates, important marker. Importantly, the exchange rate has been around 1.40 on average since late 2018, only the covid blip increased in for a short time.
      But the question posed then is, why is it only this product that has had an increase, and not any other product from Wahoo?

    • Could be numerous factors. Things to consider:

      A) Perhaps the KICKR was sold at a lower margin back-when, and this pulls it to their normal margins for the rest of their products
      B) Perhaps some minor tariff/etc type thing changed for that category of products
      C) Perhaps their shipping cost shifted to Australia
      D) Perhaps internal distribution costs increased in Australia (did they change partners in the last few years – I believe it used to be FE Sports, and perhaps a new relationship has expanded support/etc…

      It’s easy to assume Wahoo is screwing over Australians, mostly because every other company does. And, perhaps they are – perhaps they just said ‘Exchange rate increase on paper justifies a $75 increase, we’ll round it up to $100). But there’s usually way more factors involved as to why a company changes prices. After all, they still have to compete with Tacx/Elite in the segment. And while Australia is always special pricing-wise (kinda like Brazil, but that pricing makes sense due to extremely heavy part import fees that drive up support costs), I generally find most companies don’t just increase prices for the fun of it.

      After all, Wahoo (like every other company) selling out every single trainer they make right now, no matter how good or bad. They could charge hundreds more and they’d still sell out (as sleezy as that might be).

  36. Eric W

    Valuable post, thanks.

    But the real gem is putting the sticker on the power block. Pro tip of the week!

    • Haha…I started doing it after an ‘incident’ a few years back.

      When a company doesn’t include a sticker I usually just cut-out the logo from their thin paper manual, and tape it atop the power block.

    • giorgitd

      I have one of those Brother tape label machine devices. I label all of the power bricks that come through the house – computers, phones, tablets, etc. Super helpful to keep things organized, especially when everyone in the house co-mingles their devices/chargers together near convenient outlets. I like to think that the small $ spent on labeler and labels has been paid back in avoiding the oops of connecting devices and chargers that are not intended for each other. Not a super issue for modern stuff, but when you mix in family band radios and Nintendo game machines with chargers that look like they might fit your phone…but don’t…

  37. Jürg1

    Do you think that the removal of spindown will be added to kickr 18 or older units?
    Is it a algoritm/firmware feature or a HW-feature?

    • \\\wes

      Ray, any comment on possibility of auto-calibration coming to the older KICKR units? Thanks as always for great info!

  38. thomas tyberghein

    Hi DCR,

    Why do you prefer a true electromagnetic design? is road feel not better on this one?

    Thomas

    • Generally speaking true electromagnetic designs don’t require any calibration by the end user. For example both the KICKR Bike & Tacx NEO series don’t even have the option. Same goes for new Wattbike design.

      There’s also interesting things you can do with such a design, like the road feel on the Tacx series.

      Some people might prefer the existing KICKR road feel over Tacx NEO (and others, the opposite), however, that’s more about modeling the roadfeel than underlying tech. The KICKR Bike for example ‘feels’ very good in that respect, it’s well modeled.

    • Dan

      Is the Stages Bike Electromagnetic?

    • No, it’s got the gigantic flywheel up front. Only the NEO Bike, KICKR Bike, Wattbike ATOM 2020 (and ATOM X), and then all existing NEO Series trainers.

    • Dan

      Thanks DC. Guess I was confused… so you’re talking about electromagnetic simulated flywheel? Guess that makes sense why the stages can’t simulate shift effect…. because the flywheel would “absorb” the quick braking effect? The resistance on the bike is electromagnetic though right?

  39. Lazlo

    Is the new Tacx (Garmin) Neo review in the pipeline??? The Garmin website currently has it’s availability as 5-8 weeks. This is a common occurrence when Garmin is launching a replacement product.

    • Nah, I wouldn’t expect another new NEO less than a year after the first. Any stockage issues right now are simply COVID-19 related stockage issues, which is pretty much the case for all trainer companies. Inventory is super tight.

  40. Sam

    Does the Axis feet change the level of the bike, enough to require a front wheel riser?

  41. Just as a minor heads up for folks, Clever Training received their first allocation of stock last night, and has units that ship out immediately (usually same day, if ordered in morning). So, if you were looking for an in-stock trainer…there ya go: link to clevertraining.com

    (As always, link via CT helps support the site, and gets you 10% back in CT VIP points, or about $120 worth of points via the VIP program link to dcrainmaker.com):

  42. Nil

    Thanks for the review Ray. For us Polar/Suunto folks, would it be possible to add a field in your comparison chart for multiple-channel bluetooth support?

  43. So, just to understand:
    clever training we get 10% off, while with Wiggle we get 10GBP off?
    I remember buying the previous KICKR using a clever training link but from UK. Now it’s only in US?
    What’s the advantage then?

  44. Juan

    Do I need adapter to use my 2 bikes. (9 gears and 10 gears)?

  45. Graham

    It would be really interesting to pop the cover off and see if the design still incorporates an aluminium pulley on a steel axle, a washer that distorts and a 6mm bolt. The keyway changes didn;t make much sense and certainly didn’t work for me.

    I don;t suppose many of us who were scarred with our experience of the 2018 kickr (aka clickr!) would go back to Wahoo but if I had some confidence the issue has been resolved, I would at least give Wahoo some consideration if/when my Tacx fails.

    • EC

      Well, I bought a KICKRv5 to play with despite owning a fully functional 4.5 year old CycleOps Hammer. After 2.5 weeks, the dreaded scraping/rattling woodruff key issue popped up. It was already scraping slightly from day one, but I wasn’t completely sure that’s what it was.

  46. Nuno Pinto

    Ethernet Port..my home network is predominantly WIFI…even the ZWIFT computer I use…having a wired Ethernet at my pain cave would be a Painfull process …no way, I am running away from cables except for the media box running plex

  47. Benedikt

    I am profoundly disturbed by the decision of wahoo to implement a RJ11 port instead of a normal ethernet port.

    Firstly, I don not fully understand how implementing a RJ11 port takes less time than for a standard port which is ostensibly the networking standard port since basically forever.

    And, ok even if that’s the case. The whole reason why adapters exist is in order to EXTEND the compatibility through Interface 1 to also allow it through Interface 2. In the kickr’s case, the RJ11 port is entirely useless in and of itself – you HAVE TO buy the adapter in order to actually use the feature.

    It’s basically like buying a power bank that has an old serial port that you first need to buy a Serial2USB adapter for.

    I find it frankly quite shocking.

    • Luis

      far from shocking… they want to add the ft without absorbing the cost so they created this crappy interface and adapter so people need to pay extra for the ft therefore indirectly paying for “dev/implementation/testing” cost.

      I will wait until v6 or v7 when they “magically” add the Ethernet port as a standard ft.

  48. James E

    I have to admit how disappointed that after the debacle if the Tacx Home and low power rangers that your testing regimen hasn’t been adapted to be relevant for a lower power rider.

    I’m glad it’s accurate for a 300 FTP rider. To bad were only guessing how it might perform for a 150 FTP rider.

    • What’s a Tacx Home?

      In any case, one can simply look at my 30×30 tests, which are done at 150w on the lower baseline, to see accuracy there. And there’s plenty of other portions of tests above, shown at under 200w.

      I’ll be honest, outside of that one thread you were on with the Tacx NEO Bike and sub-130w ranges, I’ve *never* had anyone else ask for low-power testing (100w and below). I’m not saying there isn’t value there, but just putting it into perspective.

  49. MiLK_MaN

    I’m currently 130kgs and I think these things have a max weight limit of 113kgs according to the tech specs. Are they undershooting the max weight for warranty purposes? I think the Kickr looks better than the Tacx but don’t want it falling apart while I get into some training.

  50. Allen

    I have two bikes, a 1993 Merlin Road with Campy Record 10 sp, and a 2018 Colnago C64 with Campy Super Record 12 sp. Which, if any, of the Wahoo smart trainers can accommodate either of the cassettes? My preference would be to dedicate the Merlin to the trainer.

    Really very helpful review–my LBS (Free-Flite Bicycles) highly recommended your work. Many thanks!

  51. Florin

    Still happy with my Elite Suito.
    For me this product would be more attractive to buy for 600-650 Euros.

  52. Jared

    Have you heard anything on the axis feet coming to the kickr bike?

  53. MJ

    “Wahoo says that they formed an internal dedicated quality team in Atlanta (HQ) and each of their factories”
    Wow, is this standard industry practice?

    In the manufacturing industries I know, ISO 9001 (quality management system) certification is a minimum requirement along the whole supply chain. And that usually means there is a dedicated quality department with board representation and multiple quality teams (customer q, supplier q, process/production q). Now I’m not surprised anymore by the number of complaints I’m reading here.
    On the other hand, not too surprised, because engineers usually don’t think about quality efforts when developing new features and products.
    First steps in the right direction, I guess?
    lol

  54. JTC

    I find it worrisome that the headline with the new Kickr is “improved accuracy to 1%” – but testing by DC Rainmaker suggests it is less accurate than version 2018. I am one of the people that went all in with Wahoo… Kickr 2018, climb, table, wahoo Roam (two of them – one for son) and tickrs. Everything except the table has had issues. I am on my 2nd kickr 2018 and this one feels like it needs 350 watts of effort to achieve a displayed 275 watts. I have a spider mounted power meter on my bike – one of them is very wrong when comparing efforts.
    I believed the Wahoo CEO when he said “the hardest thing about your workout shouldn’t be your computer – turns out that it is.
    If anyone can recommend a trainer that is reliable and provides outside bike like watts and feel – I am all ears.

  55. Justin Goodliffe

    Hello new to the wahoo world …

    So a kidd with my trainer wheels on….

    Ive been following your Youtube page, congrats on this i like how you deliver your information etc.

    Can you tell me, I tried to do a FTP test on my new wahoo zwift set up..

    on the big cog on the front and the small on the back, though out the fitness test i was spinning that fast i could not get the watts up, it was like i was free wheeling down a steep hill.. ( pleas excuse my bike talk it will improve )

    Is that correct ?

    Or is there a problem with the FTP test on zwift ?

  56. Peter

    Are the AXIS feet significantly different from using high-density foam pads under the current feet?
    I know of several people who do this, and the foam provides enough give to take the sting out of being on hard-surface flooring. Not up to rocker plate standards, but enough to take some stress off of the body & bike frame.

    • Chad McNeese

      I have not tested either, but looking at videos from the Axis debut reviews, and the “hack” foam solutions indicates they are pretty similar to me. There is a level of motion and freedom added, that seems far better than rigid to my eyes. I think the foam block solution is great and far less expensive for those that already have Kickr’s vs getting the Axis upgrade.

      Saying that, I think it’s still great that new Kickr buyers get some potential benefit (depending on which setting they choose) that comes with more motion vs the fully rigid setups before (assuming a hard floor without a thick & cushy mat).

  57. Philip Johnson

    Looks like Wahoo still have quality issues. I just received the new KICKR 2020 and it broke first go out the box.
    I’m waiting to get through to Wahoo customer services

  58. Edouard

    Will it be ok to use this trainer in a cold environment (say 0 C or even less)? Our apartment is rather small and I don’t think I’ll be allowed to put the trainer and my bike in the living room, so I’ll need to do my winter training in our glassed-in balcony. Thanks!

    • Chad McNeese

      I can’t find any temperature range info via Wahoo resources. You may need to email them directly to ask, unless Ray has them stashed away (couldn’t find them on the trainer comparison or text search on this page).

  59. Heinrich Hurtz

    I got one of those Honeywell HT900 fans you mentioned. Surprisingly tiny and relatively quiet, but on high it puts out good stream of air that’s enough for me on the trainer if aimed and positioned optimally. I have it on the floor about a foot in front of the front edge of my front wheel and angle upward. It gets from about my knees to my head.

    • Haha…glad you enjoy. Undoubtedly I use a lot of expensive training toys, but I also use a lot of basic stuff too. I have the HT900’s here in the studio (along with a HEADWIND, depending on which spot I’m in), and then at home just HT900’s. For the price, they’re awesome.

      Same with the trainer mat, they’re just cheap $20 mats. Enjoy!

  60. Richard

    Looks like all the problems are not sorted out. Mine showed up making a grinding noise and vibrating. Sent the video to Wahoo on Friday and they responded on Sunday asking for confirmation of my shipping address to initiate a replacement. Good response, but bummed that the problems still exist in their quality control. You can hear the noise in this video.
    link to youtu.be

  61. Marcelo Carvalho

    Wahoo says they have QC teams in Atlanta, but if you look at the label that is stuck to the trainer it says “Made in Vietnam”. I don’t understand … So the Wahoo trainers don’t come from the USA but from Asia !!

    • Nobody said they came from USA?

      Here’s the sentence above:

      “Wahoo says that they formed an internal dedicated quality team in Atlanta (HQ) and each of their factories, and then added additional processing/engineering checks as a result.”

      They’ve made units in Vietnam and China for a while, as well as Taiwan previously.

    • Chad McNeese

      Yes, from memory, I think the change to off-shore production took place around Sept 2018, coinciding with the release of the Kickr V4 (2018 model) and the Kickr Core. It’s possible and likely that they have some level of inspection at production and maybe again once stateside, but the related statement was not very specific about what took place where.

    • All Wahoo units have always been made in Asia. Previously within the Giant factory in Taiwan (for everything), then to China for the CORE, and Vietnam for KICKR. I think some KICKR is also made in China now too, or maybe it’s CORE in China+Vietnam. There was an increase in production shortly after KICKR/CORE that added more capacity.

      There was talks of Singapore and Thailand, but I’m not sure what happened with those (if anything).

      Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. Anyone who thinks that production quality is related to location need only look at the iPhone to prove that wrong. Production quality is related to what you put in place from a controls standpoint. The expense of doing so increases the further from HQ, so one ultimately has to weigh those control costs, versus potentially doing it locally (EU, North America, etc…).

    • Chad McNeese

      I figured I was off at least in part. Thanks for the clarification, Ray. 😀

      Totally agree that the location of MFG is a red herring and one that has nothing to do with any of the issues here. This is a design, manufacturing and quality issue.

  62. Bud Seitzinger

    I emailed wahoo support on the temperature range as I ride in a cold garage in winter. Here’s the response:

    Andy Baker (Wahoo Fitness Support)

    Aug 27, 2020, 4:20 PM EDT

    Bud,

    So the V5 kickr can be ridden in below freezing temperatures, and can be store up to 120 degrees.

    I would refrain from riding it outdoors in excessive heat, and although you can use the kickr in below freezing temperatures, it may take awhile for it to warm up/be accurate in those cases.

    If you have any other questions for me, please let me know and I will be more than happy to assist.

    Best,

    Andy Baker

  63. Dave W

    Hi Ray,

    Great review as normal.

    Have wahoo issued any fixes for the problems you mentioned in your review?

    Thanks

    • Not yet. I understand they’ve determined the issue with the spikes on surges is specifically related to a high flywheel speed condition, which isn’t unique to me or my unit. It sounds like they’re still working on it.

    • Luis

      are you posting or updating the blog when the issue is fixed? pretty pleaseeee 🙂

    • Yup, I’ll post an update in the comments at the same time I update the accuracy section (once fixed). I probably won’t post again till it’s fixed, meaning if they try multiple firmware updates till they get the right one (since the state would remain the same).

  64. Nick

    Hi, which one would you buy between the new KICKR and the Tacx NEO 2T? Thanks

  65. Carter

    When do you expect Tacx to update their product offering and release next gen of Tacx NEO 2T?

  66. Ashes

    Nice review as always Ray.

    A couple of questions from a first time home trainer buyer:

    Will it work with classic v brake bikes? It only mentions disc brakes in the specs.

    And what if my bike is a 10 speed cassette? Will I need to change the 1 speed cassette on the kickr?

    • Yes, works with non-disc brakes. My road bike I used with it in this review is non-disc.

      For a 10-speed you’ll want to change out the cassette on the KICKR to a 10-speed one. It’s pretty quick and easy to do so. Technically you can ride the 10-speed on the 11-speed cassette (for example, my older tri bike is a 10-speed cassette). It works 100% fine for ERG mode where you never shift, but is messy in SIM mode (apps like Zwift where you shift), as it won’t be perfectly aligned at the upper/lower ends.

    • Ashes

      Great, thanks Ray!

      Just ordered the Kickr V5, the Kickr Climb and a 10-speed Shimano cassette.

      Pretty much double of my budget but it got me really excited. ?

  67. Craig

    Now that this is out, and the production quality issues of the 2018 seem to have been resolved:
    I have a Neo 2T working perfectly, but it is awkward and I use it in its most basic format, ERG mode, most of the time, and cannot leave it set up. Given it sounds like the bearings on the 2T need an unavailable proprietary tool, and seem to fail pretty consistently, I’m wondering if anyone would sell the Neo and pickup a Kickr V5?

    • Ihsan

      Nope. Not me.

      I have mine since early November 2019 that gets regular use. Haven’t had any issues with it since I’ve got it.

    • Craig

      Have you seen the video/thread on the FB Owners group about the bearing removal?

    • I’m still confused – are there widespread (or even small-spread, or even two-person spread) issues with bearings on a NEO 2T?

      I only see a single individual that wants to swap out their bearings and can’t, because Tacx hasn’t finished the Tacx tool for it yet (but, they even replied in the video saying it’s coming).

      What am I missing here?

    • Craig

      Hello Ray, the owner’s group in FB is rife with bearing issues, among other issues with fans/overheating/freezing, etc, and Drew the guy who runs TacxFacx posted a video recently about how Garmin said they aren’t planning to release a bearing extraction tool for the 2T, its a different spec than the 1/2.
      Admittedly It may just be a very skewed sampling, but it feels at least a bit concerning.

    • Craig

      Ray, sorry now that I reread your comment, I may have missed a more recent response from Garmin saying the tool is coming. If it is then great, I’ll stick with what I have and fingers crossed the fans don’t die and overheat my unit.

      Thanks!

    • Yeah, I’m sure there’s issues – but I just don’t hear a lot of them. Which is a pretty good proxy for whether or not something is an echo chamber. The NEO 2T review has 263 comments on it – and I skimming the last few months – nobody has mentioned bearing or overheating issues.

      I get it, those might occur. Just like the KICKR V5 weedwhacker sound linked above. But it doesn’t sound like anything (no pun intended) more than a few one-offs here and there, that support is handling normally.

    • Craig

      This is why I keep coming back here Ray, perspective!
      Thanks for that and I think I’ll stick to my 2T and stop worrying about what could happen down the pike.
      Have a great day.

    • Marcin

      My Neo bearing works fine if I use it … not using my trainer couse connectivity issues with Edge (Ant+ disco, auto going from ERG mode and over heated cadence sensor) drive me crazy…if I only could swap to wahoo kicker

  68. Dave

    Ray, where’d you get that shark riding a bike shirt? I really like it! Cheers!

  69. Rob

    Thanks Ray for complex review. I know that choice Kickr 2020 or Neo 2T is rather personal choice but got some questions. Do you think magnets are better than belts? Is it significant difference between Neo and Neo 2T? T means better torques and does it mean anything for light people (60 kg) in Zwift? Saris H3 power accuracy and responsivness is very good. How about difference with neo that can move from one side to another (like new neo) Saris is rather stiff. Can it be felt changing neo to Saris? One one knows how future develop. The only one thing that force me to thing about change my 3 yo Neo is uncertain future. Now availability for Kickr and Saris is very good, Neo 2T is worse. I would like to avoid situation as my neo is dead, autumn-winter season is in full and stocks are empty or prices are +20%. I am 100% Zwift and wattage is relatively small 180-300 mostly

  70. OisTK

    Any update on when the wired ethernet adapter will be available? I’d love one.

    I am enjoying my Kickr v5 – I upgraded from an original Kickr (purchased January 2014) which is still working fine after helping me cover so many kilometres! 🙂
    Thanks for the review.

  71. ms

    I set up a new Kickr V5 on a perfectly level floor with the Axis feet retracted all the way into the support arms. In that position the left & right legs are slightly above the center support. The result is that the center support carries the weight and the unit rocks some from side to side. I left the blue lock nuts on the foot assembly. Removing them would allow the feet to retract a bit more into the legs and accentuate the rocking.

    The net effect is an effective utilitarian rocker plate. Again, I checked the floor with a spirit level and it is level so try it and see.

  72. Dan Lichtenberger

    Has anyone had issues with the trainer not putting out adequate resistance until you are in a huge gear? While riding zwift in sim mode, I need to be in the 53/16 before I can get 150 watts of resistance. This means I’m always in a huge gear making a ton of noise. My old kickr was not like this. If i use the wahoo app I need to use a “level”. of 4 before the small ring is useable. Is there something wrong with my kickr or is this normal? On my prior version kickr I did most of my workouts in standard mode and could ride in the little ring up to 300+ watts.

    I’ve gone through with wahoo support, spindown, factory spindown, firmware upgrade etc. No luck

    • Peter

      Do not get it – You have to be at least on 52/16 to achieve 150w ? You can not achieve more than 150W on larger sprocekets on Your cassette i.e. 17,18,19,20 etc (depending on Your ratios)?

      Today I received my kickr v5 so gonna check this

    • Chad McNeese

      Dan, what is your Trainer Difficulty setting in Zwift?

      Might not be different from your old Kickr, but worth a check at least.

    • Dan Lichtenberger

      50%, same as I had before though I’ve tried other difficulties. There doesn’t seem to be a fix, if I want to ride in normal gears I have to use the wahoo app to put it at level 4 and ignore the terrain in zwift.

  73. David

    Any idea when the KICKR Core would get an update? The two features in the new KICKR that I’m interested in are the auto-calibration and the flexible feet. Both of these would also seem applicable to the KICKR CORE.

    • Chad McNeese

      Based on Ray’s prior comments (no new trainer stuff from Wahoo coming this season)… my uneducated guess would be no sooner than about a 1 year from now. AKA, next training season of Fall 2021.

  74. aaron

    You confirm release date for the kikr core? I stay patient for this! Thanks

    • I don’t expect any new KICKR CORE this year.

    • Jeremy

      And considering that we’re 3 months away till the end of the year, it sounds right 🙂

      Ray, save from a pure “I’m a geek and I like new stuff” justification, do you see any good reason going from a Core to a Kickr V5?

    • Not really.

      Sure, there’s higher power levels and such, but the reality is that matters for very few people. There’s also bike/height adjustment type bits, but again, that probably doesn’t apply here.

      Sorry!

    • Jeremy

      The geek in me feels sorry not to read any justification for a change.
      My brain says “Told you so, not a good idea. But other useless stuf instead!”

      Thanks!

  75. Canyon Club

    Good afternoon, any idea about a restock of units? Kickr and Kickr Core seem sold out just about everywhere. Also, any idea about whether there will be another semi-annual sale from Clever Training? I am in the market and would love to be able to take advantage of a sale to grab a trainer. Thanks for the great site.

    • Ron Gurney

      Got mine directly from Wahoo. Had to wait the usual 2-3 weeks as per their website.

    • Canyon Club

      I’ve checked several websites, including Wahoo, and they are all out of stock. I was actually able to come across the Kickr 2020 on REI and I bought it. I really just want the Kickr Core as the full Kickr really is too much for my needs and I would rather put the extra money towards new hoops for next summer. REi has a 90 day no questions asked return policy. So I’ll use the Kickr until I can get the Core and then make the exchange.

  76. Joe

    Ray, For your average weekend warrior, would you still recommend the Core over the Kickr20? Trying to decide if the $200ish price jump is worth it (I need a cassette and the tools if I go with Core). Thanks!

    • Kevin Mawdsley

      I’ve also been looking at a Core or KickrV5 after thinking of getting back onto a ‘direct drive’ trainer after using a ‘wheelon’ trainer for the last 18 months, mainly on Zwift.

      I had a Kickr2 back in early 2017 and loved it with no problems whatsoever! I sold it after 6 months as I needed the money for a new bike.

      The current Kickr Core uses the same weight flywheel as my 2016 Kickr2 so should/will feel the same. The electronics have probably improved as well and it’s £300GBP cheaper than the KickrV5. The KickrV5 might feel slightly better with ‘road feel’ with the heavier flywheel but those ‘flexifeet’ are a bit of a gimmick in my opinion.

      So I’ve contacted Wahoo on their website to see how fast they can get me a Core delivered. They send them from Holland to the UK so I need to know of any delays with the latest COVID restrictions.

      I have been looking at the Saris H3 but people have had problems with those, as well as a few other makes. I might just buy an Elite X or XR as my ‘wheelon’ trainer is an Elite Novo I got from Halfords, UK and no problems 🙂

    • Kevin Mawdsley

      Ray… I’ve just ordered a Kickr Core Direct from Wahoo. Should be here early next week.

      I decided to buy direct from Wahoo as it saves the hassle of contacting the dealer if there are any problems and I think it looks better as Wahoo get the full £699 instead of the dealer getting a percentage so might get preferential support if I need it 😉

    • Jtc

      What problems are people having with the Saris H3? I have read only positive reviews… (and May replace my Kickr with an H3..my Kickr has not been reliable).

    • Chad McNeese

      I have seen two main issues:

      1. Belt slip that gives a ‘squeak’ sound under low flywheel speed, high force efforts. It appears to be the new ribbed belt slipping on the smooth surface of the large drive pulley. Saris started ‘solving’ the issue by having users sand the pulley to give it more grip on the belt. This seems to work, but is short lived in some cases and users would have the squeak return once the sanding wears down.

      Saris then seems to have made at least one (maybe two?) different pulleys that have a molded in rib to increase grip to the belt. We’ve only seen a handful of these and reports seem positive. I would guess that these are what they are shipping with new units, but that is pure speculation.

      2. There have been ‘knocking’ sounds from within the trainer. I am less clear on the cause and solution, but one that I seem to remember was a screw that worked loose in shipping or use. Then getting bounced around inside the case during use.

    • Peter

      @Chad,

      Re the ‘knocking’ sounds: Check whether there’s clearance between the flywheel and the plastic housing. It should be ~2mm across the surface of the flywheel. In my unit, the flywheel touched the plastic housing in one place, which resulted in a scraping sound. This was fixed easily by inserting a putty knife between the flywheel and the plastic and gently bending the plastic housing a way from the flywheel.

    • Peter

      A question to owners – does your Kickr makes a hum/buzz when peddling under resistance? The noise disappears a few seconds after the flywheel comes to a stop, and I’m pretty sure it is coming from the circuity that controls the resistance.

    • “Ray, For your average weekend warrior, would you still recommend the Core over the Kickr20? Trying to decide if the $200ish price jump is worth it (I need a cassette and the tools if I go with Core). Thanks!”

      Yu, still would recommend Core over KICKR for the vast majority of people. I’d spend the money elsewhere.

    • worstje

      I am also experiencing the ‘low-cadence’ power accuracy loss at 80 rpm and less based on a comparison of the KICKR v5 against my Assioma Favero DUO powermeter (which show less than 2% deviation when compared to my Tacx Neo) with up to +20 W deviation (KICKR) at 75 rpm.

      Looking forward to Wahoo’s next firmware upgrade to fix this issue.

  77. PeteO

    “basically, the only meaningful takeaway of the above is that you can’t pair it with apps that only support proper FTMS, but I’m not aware of any major (or even minor) app that doesn’t support Wahoo trainers own propriety Bluetooth Smart implementation”

    Actually the app Vzfit explorer (VR google maps biking app for oculus go/quest)just started to support the FTMS standard, so it will not work with this trainer. (Neith does my cycleOps Mangnus) really hope more trainers start supporting this standard.

  78. Piotr

    Hi Guys, recently I have got new Kickr V5 (2020) . I did 190KM with it on Zwift sessions. I am struggling with some noise coming – at first I thought it was my drivetrain but after fine tuning rear der. I found that the rattling is coming from the trainer itself :/

    I removed the bike from the Kickr and spinned the flywheel by hand. Below You can hear the noise it is making. I would call it ‘rattling’:

    link to youtu.be
    link to youtu.be

    The noise is more noticable when riding but harder to record (drivetrain/chain/cassette making more noise)

    Maybe someone could check if his new Kickr V5 is making the same noise? Thanks

  79. Julia Hargreaves

    I feel like such a geek ?, but it would be helpful to include the firmware version numbers so we can see whether things have been updated. I feel there’s a but more lag and surge with this kickr compare to my kickr core, on zwift.

    jules

  80. Steve

    Incase anyone needs to know, this works fine with SRAM Eagle 12 speed, just needs the (cheaper!) shimano compatible SX cassette.

  81. Grant

    I’m sorry for the selfish question, I have a 2017 Elite Direto that has been pretty flawless over 2 indoor seasons. Is it worth making the switch to the newest Wahoo? Bigger flywheel possibly better computer control? I’m spending more and more time training inside and was wondering if I’d feel a difference?

  82. Terje H.

    I am new to Kickr V5 and want to compare watt between the Kickr and the Favero Assioma.
    How can I do this setup?
    I have an Element Bolt and an iPhone.

    Can I set these up so one register the pedals and the other the Kickr?

  83. Sebastian

    Hey Ray, another great review as usual, here is request: can you get your hands on BikeErg Concept2 ? Price looks awesome and their rowing line is top notch, looks like solid contender that might be a bit noisy but at 1000$ it is hard to beat? There is no direct comparison anywhere on the net, you can be first, and you alwasy do awesome job, becasue of you and your reviews I have made a lot of great buys!

  84. Aidan

    How do I connect my old Garmin ANT+ HRM to the Kickr?! I’ve been pulling my hair out with my new trainer trying to connect. Pairing via the Wahoo Android app never seems to find the HRM (even when I installed the ANT+ radio stuff). I’m also wearing my HRM when I try to pair to make sure it’s awake (and my Edge 530 can detect it no problem)…
    At first I wondered if I needed a BT HRM, but all the literature suggests I should be able to pair ANT+ without issues…

    • Chad McNeese

      It’s not possible to pair an HRM to the Kickr.

      You need to pair the HRM directly to whatever device and app you want to read the HRM.

  85. Aleš

    I’m aware that there’s no information about when will the adapter be on sale (or supported in apps) but is it known if the adapter is just a simple re-wiring or is there an intermediary chip that modifies the data? I’m thinking it’s the former because of their reasoning on why to use RJ25 instead of RJ45, but would still like to know.

    If we know the schema then it’s a matter of cents to make a cable by ourselves, at least for those that have the equipment. And those who don’t, could still have it made in a local computer shop for a few $$.

  86. Chris Nelson

    Hey Ray! Thanks for all the great reviews, DC Rainmaker is my first stop before spending money on new tech.

    We got his & hers Kickr v5 this month, and I have two random questions:

    1 – Are the LEDs on the Kickr controllable? I’d love to turn them off, but it appears when the Kickr has power, the LEDs are on. It’s a little detail, but I’m kinda OCD and don’t like the blinking lights.

    2 – This is a n00b question: I’ve ridden for decades, thousands of miles a year, but never changed a cassette. I’m using a 10-speed bike on the Kickr, I removed the stock 11-speed cassette and mounted a 10-speed cassette. I used the spacer that came with the Kickr, but the 10-speed had a cassette too. Use just the spacer that came with the Kickr, or use both the Kickr spacer and the spacer that came with the 10-speed cassette? (BTW – her bike for the Kickr is 11-speed)

    Thanks for any help, and keep up the great work!

    ~ Chris

    • Chris Nelson

      I’ll answer my own question #2: only use the Kickr’s spacer.

      I’d still love to know if I can turn off the LEDs without removing power, I’ve come to expect these lights are here to stay … but I’ll still complain about it.

  87. Andrew Gunn

    Hi Ray. Wahoo out of stock for the new Kickr, any idea when they’ll be back in? Looking to get one in Canada, they only have the refurbished 2018 right now.

  88. Piotr

    I get Kickr V5 and I have many doubts if it is problems free…

    What i noticed above ~180W (in general putting more effort) or on hardest gears (smaller cogs) there is a vibration felt with each pedal stroke and a rhythmic deep sound with each pedal stroke. This isn’t related to flywheel speed, isn’t present when freewheeling and isnt related with my brand new drivetrain

    Is it normal…? I already found few threads about this issue regarding older Kickr and Core trainers… 😕

    • Chris Nelson

      How old is your chain?

      I had some rough vibrations with my new Kickr V5 at the small end of my cassette, talked it over with a buddy at the bike shop and he suggested replacing my chain. The chain on the bike had over 1,200 miles, and replacing it smoothed things out. It makes sense when you think about it, chain stretch will be more pronounced with the smaller cog with few teeth to spread out the difference in the old chain and new cassette.

      Also, I found this page helpful while troubleshooting – link to support.wahoofitness.com

  89. LeanderM

    Hi great review, motivated me to change my Elite Drivo to the new Kickr2020.

    But now my observations with my new Kickr are that the lower the (flywheel) speed the lower the power readings are in comparison to my Favero Bepro Pedals.

    Low speed / cadence and high resistance result in Kickr Power being showing 13% / 30W higher Power readings than BePro Duo Pedals Power.

    On the other hand, when going high (flywheel) speed /cadence Kickr5 shows up to 8% lower Power than BePro Pedals.

    link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

    Anyone can reproduce this with Kickr2020 and other PMs?

  90. Yanick

    Hi,

    Looking to replace my first gen kickr but reading about the previous model problems got me thinking maybe wait and see. How long approximately did it take for the problems to manifeste in the previous version?

    What are the actual problems?

    Power accuracy, guest it can be fix by firmware.

    Thanks

  91. Kevw

    Great review.

    I’m having an issue with mine though that you don’t seem to have encountered.

    My power accuracy is way off but only when doing ERG workouts. Everything matches up pretty well between my Favero pedals and my new Kickr during a Zwift sim ride but when I try an ERG mode workout on Trainerroad the Kickr underreports by 10% during harder efforts.

    • kevw

      Just notices that I was offered fw version 4.0.5 not 4.0.4 that is mentioned in the review – may they broke something?

  92. David

    Elite Direto XR or Wahoo KICKR V5, which is better? I suppose the Wahoo due to the price, but why? Is this a very significant difference?

  93. Sven

    I use the model kickr V5. On the bike I have a LM from Quarq. As platform I use ZWIFT. All sources of the wahoo kickr are stored there except the HF. If I now ride intervals (ERG mode) Zwift shows me the adjusted wattage values – but on my parallel recording ROAM which gets the values from the LM 20W more are generated constantly and you can feel this clearly when it is not 230W like on Zwift but 250W.

    Today I had fun and did a ramp test, here the deviation was even more obvious and with every step the deviation got higher. The degree of deviation was from step 1 25W until the stop 60W – as difference to the set value.

    What exactly is wrong? Do I have a wrong setting?

    So training on the kickr with intervals is definitely no fun and the accuracy is then also no longer given.

    • JTC

      My 1 year old KICKR has power accuracy issues as well. I am so frustrated with it!!! I spent dozens of hours researching the issue and nothing has helped. It really starts to under report my watt output as I get above 225watts. It is frustrating to do races on Rouvy or Zwift as I am working my brains out and just not getting the watts (as compared to my Power2Max or brand new Quarq power meters). Odd that those two meters are very close but KICKR is down 30-60 watts (at 275 watts).

      I have contacted WAHOO – they say nice things, such as drivetrain loss is to be expected, or it always feels harder inside…. but no solution has been provided!! Might just give up and Craigslist this $1200 problem and move to another brand. Truly don’t know what else I can do? I have done a million spin downs, software updates, research, contacted Wahoo…. nothing has worked!! Its not an uncommon problem (many users suffering from this issue) but to date, I have not seen a solution.

  94. Maurice Rosales

    I’ve had my new Kickr 2020 for about a month and I love it. No problems at all, zero dropouts, I see no need for any hardwired anything on the trainer( for me). If I get a small power spike, I certainly don’t notice it riding on Zwift ( so that’s not something I’m loosing sleep over, and suspect it will be corrected at some point). This thing is smooth, quite, and overall a pleasure to ride on. It’s also very sturdy.

  95. STEVE

    Hi Ray, I’m possibly torn between the Kickr v5 or the Tacx Neo2, as an upgrade from my 2yr old Tacx Vortex Smart. However I’m very confused by your comment :

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

    ANT+ Speed/Cadence Profile: This broadcasts your speed and cadence as a standard ANT+ Speed/Cadence combo sensor. Wahoo doesn’t do this for any trainers”

    What does this mean I can’t do in a realistic sense? I see that your test photos show the Kicker paired as a cadence sensor on Zwift… So cadence is obviously still supported.

    Thanks for clarifying!

    Steve

    • Aleš

      Steve cadence data is transmitted over Bluetooth and I can confirm that it does work in Zwift. However it also apparently transmits cadence through ANT+, but on a different profile (Power meter instead of Speed/Cadence).

      In practice, unless you have a specific need to use ANT+ in combination with the said profile (Speed/Cadence), you won’t miss this.

    • STEVE

      Thanks Ales.
      My laptop doesn’t have Bluetooth, so I’ve previously used Ant+ for everything on my current Tacx Vortex and Zwift.

      I re-read the functions it does have, and saw what you meant:

      “ANT+ Power Meter Profile: This broadcasts as a standard ANT+ power meter, with speed and cadence baked in as well.”

      So it seems I shouldn’t have any problems. I was just confused that the trainer didn’t offer speed/cadence combo – whereas I guess I don’t really need this function if it DOES do powermeter with speed and cadence.

      Thanks!

  96. DP

    My question is if the Kickr v5 is worth spending $300 more than the now discounted Kickr v4 available at $900? I’m looking long term value here and can justify the cost of either. But are the “minor” updates between the two worthwhile? All thoughts welcome.

    • Aleš

      I haven’t tried the v4 but for me the silence and no need to calibrate would be a decision factor.

    • David Parks

      So the 2020 is even quieter than the 2018? Silence is the #1 item that has my wife supporting this purchase. My 1st gen Elite Direto, which has been amazing for years, now sounds like a locomotive riding on loose tracks. Internal exam can’t find any visual issue. So she wants me to get the quietest trainer possible.

    • Aleš

      I believe so, it should be much quieter. I believe wahoo has a comparison video between editions and they even put in Tacx Neo for good measure.

    • Peter

      Well… I had already two Kickr V5 units – first was replaced under warranty (same well known problem as with previous gen after less than 8hours of use…) second unit also wasn’t perfect although it was rattling free there was very uncomfortable resonating noise when hard pedaling or above 200w (problem also well known with Kickr as I started read on the internet… I decided to sell the unit after two weeks and get NEO 2T… Now I can hear the difference. In my apartment it is much more silent than KICKR – no vibrance/noise resonating whatever. Pleasure to ride

  97. Chris Powell

    Hi – I see you have a Canyon Ultimate (as do I) but I’d heard that the Kickr is not compatible with the Ultimate. Any issues in fit or chain stay rubbing?

  98. Pierre

    This question is probably buried in the comments so apologise for the repeat. If you had to stay sub $1k, which would you choose:
    – KICKR Core
    – Saris H3
    – Elite Direto XR
    or bite the bullet and pay up for the new KICKR?

    I currently use the snap and looking to upgrade. I live in Chicago so 4-5 months of my season is indoors and I’m looking to optimize for noise and feel mostly. Thank you!

    • STEVE

      I was really torn on this, but I’ve decided to go for the Core and the Climb, for just a little bit more than the Kickr v5 would cost me.

      Currently using a wheel-on Tacx Vortex, so hoping for a massive improvement in experience!
      The Core seems a very popular model, albeit sacrificing mainly auto calibration, and 1% more accuracy. But for a £300 saving, I can live with that.

    • DP

      I too live in Chicago so I know what you mean regarding weather. After a ton of research, I’m definitely going full Kickr, not Core. I can get v4 Kickr new for same price as Core, so that’s a no brainer. It’s about saving $300 for v4 Kickr vs v5. REI has v4 for $900 right now. (Keep checking their site as they add more as they sell out. As I will have this a long time and use it like crazy I’m leaning towards spending the extra for the latest greatest. My 1st gen Direto which I got used has served me well, but it’s soon to die. I’ve put 5000+Km on it since April and it was heavily used by previous owner. So I know I’ll get my money’s worth out of a new trainer. Kickr seems to check all the boxes, accurate, well built and quiet, which is what my wife cares most about.

  99. Alex S

    I’m playing a fun game of ‘how to get a Kickr in Europe’ with basically no stock anywhere. Also not particularly reassured by some DOA units people are reporting, a systematic drift issue on the TR forum about long workouts in ERG mode where there is no coasting to trigger the automatic calibration process. That said, I would like the quietness of the 2020 model and my Kickr V1 has been bullet proof for 6 years so Wahoo is in my good books.

    Question to those in the know – in the event of any warranty issue can I deal directly with Wahoo irrespective of which dealer I bought from? Wahoo Europe seems to have zero stock, and I don’t really want to deal with a random reseller for returns etc which often results in delays and arguments about who should do what.

    Wahoo Europe website suggests this is possible (there is no mention of having to go through the dealer) but wanted to check whether that works in practice.

    Even better would be a physical store that has them but I can only find Tacx dealers in Lille France and a terrible experience with a Bushido has given me a lifelong aversion.

    • DP

      Got mine at REI in the US. They have them in them out quickly, but at least available. Don’t know if they ship overseas.

    • Pierre

      Thank you for the advice. Ended up getting a 2018 model on the Wahoo website – out of stock on REI and everywhere else. I wanted mine right away so paid a little more.

      website:link to wahoofitness.com

      You can order AXIS feet through R&A Cycles for $80 – overall price differential with v5 is ~$200.

  100. Jeff

    Has anyone noticed with their 2020 Kickr problems with the cadence measurement? Mine seemed fine for the first two months I owned it, and now if I go slightly over 100 rpm it will jump to 120 or so and stay there for 10 seconds even if I am pedaling back down at 80-85, it just seems all over the place and it is not some sort of five second average that I am sensing here. I see it in Zwift, TrainerRoad, and the Wahoo app regardless of ANT+ or Bluetooth.

    Wahoo support says it may be related to a firmware bug so they sent me a free Cadence Sensor (standalone – works fine and seems accurate) but this seems far too basic a problem to be some edge case firmware bug. I am not tricking the Kickr by doing random pedaling, it is simply when I accelerate slowly over 100 or so that I see this. I am worried this is actually just a hardware problem and they are sweeping this under the rug by sending me a cadence sensor so I am trying to figure out with the crowd here if others have seen this.

    Thanks!

    • Pierre

      Man that sucks, sorry to hear that may be worth asking for a new one if it keeps bugging.

      I’ve been waiting a week for V4 to even ship and keep getting run-arounds from Wahoo. Not sure if it’s the postal service or them internally.

      Could’ve had an Elite Direto XR ordered off Amazon by now…

    • Aleš

      No issues on mine for the past 3 weeks. I’m doing a Zwift workout plan, which changes the required cadence. Sometimes I go a bit overboard but it always seems accurate (104, 107, 110, 114, etc.). And it lowers promptly as well.

    • Mauricio Rosales

      No issue with mine either, I’ve had it for almost two months.

    • Jeff

      Quick update (I am the original poster here for this comment): The problem seems to have gone away now although I am suspicious of the Kickr now.

      Back to being content, but I would like to see more frequent updates if they know they have issues. WIll update again if this comes back. On the positive side they did send me two cadence sensors for free and I will just use those for outside riding.

  101. John Stotsky

    I have a Kickr Core and on Zwift, when grade goes from 8 tony percent I need to upshift 2 gears to get the same power reading. In real life you’d never need to do that, you’d just spin a few rpms faster in the same gear. What’s your take on this?

  102. John Stotsky

    I have a Kickr Core and on Zwift, when grade goes from 8 to 6 percent I need to upshift 2 gears to get the same power reading. In real life you’d never need to do that, you’d just spin a few rpms faster in the same gear. What’s your take on this?

  103. Alan Brown

    Dont know where the correct place to put this is but I have a wahoo kicker bike and am using the Fulgaz training ap. The search function on Apple TV doesn’t work unless you do a hard reset every time you want to search which means unplugging and restating the apple TV box each time. Anyone else experienced this? Fulgaz says they are working on it?

  104. Andrew

    Would you pay a premium to get a V5 Kickr now instead of waiting?

    My Gen 1 Direto just died….all the local shops are sold out of any smart trainers and taking pre-orders with expected delivery ranging anywhere from Jan-Mar depending on the trainer.

    Someone is offering a new V5 for a $250 premium (sells locally in Canada for $2033 after taxes)…yay or nay?

    • Alex S

      Depends how much you need it… If you’re unable to train until Jan-Mar without it (e.g. harsh winter preventing outdoor riding) then it’s worth it. If my Kickr died now I’d sell my wife for a new one because losing hard-won fitness would be really painful.

      Have you checked the big online retailers/Wahoo’s site? I’ve been unable to find anything in Europe for ages until the last week or so and there is steady availability of all models on the Wahoo Europe site.

      That said, paying over the odds for these things just encourages scalping that is ruining all recent product launches. And the Kickr V5 is already pricey relative to the Core which is suitable for most people.

    • “Would you pay a premium to get a V5 Kickr now instead of waiting?”

      Not really.

      Especially since they still haven’t fixed the accuracy issues. I mean, we’re now exactly 5 months to the day since it released. Still nothing.

  105. DP

    Wanted to add to the conversation that a week ago, I received my Wahoo Kickr v5 from REI. (Yes, I literally checked their site multiple times a day and the second one popped up I grabbed it.) This was to replace a 2nd hand, 1st generation Elite Direto that basically blew up. All I can say is “what a monumental difference.” For one, it’s absolutely silent compared to my Elite, which at the end sounded literally like a freight train. It rides smooth as silk, and thus far I’ve had zero connection issues. My wattage and W/kg did not suffer a change as seems to happen to some riders when changing trainers. I don’t have a power meter on my bike, so I can’t speak to exact accuracy, but I could not be happier thus far with this purchase. Despite its higher-end price, it was well worth the investment given that I ride every day, will keep this until it dies, and now know what a truly functional and quiet trainer feels like.

    • Andrew

      I’ve actually been quite content with my 1st Gen Direto…the relative ‘noise’ it generates is more than drowned out by the in-game distraction Zwifting and the loud music I play anyway. Otherwise it has performed well for me and no mechanical issues to complain about. My biggest gripe would be the slow response time to power changes during ERG workouts which typically are on the order of 8-10 secs. So I look forward to a newer trainer that does better in that regard. I am no scrambling to find used stuff I have around the house which I can sell to help fund this purchase!

    • Aleš

      I think you’ll experience the same on any other trainer. The best strategy that I’ve found was to switch to the larger ring 1-2 seconds before the harder interval starts. Naturally longer intervals aren’t an issue. When the interval ends, just switch down.

    • DP

      To be clear and fair… my Direto was great right up until it wasn’t about 2-months ago. When I say loud, I mean drowned out fans, music, in game sounds. Was so bad my wife would no longer ride with me. I have contacted Elite and they sent me a link for a DIY fix that I’m trying today. So I have no issues with Elite at all and even considered the XR. I got my money’s worth out of the Direto for sure. But in getting something new, so far, I’m very happy with the Kickr v5. DCRaimaker was very helpful with this decision.

  106. Alan Buckley

    Hi, I have just upgraded from the 2015 kickr to the Kickr 5. I have the perception that the power curve is far steeper. It’s fine at endurance watt levels, but it feels like the perceived efforts ramps up much faster as the watts go well beyond FTP. In other words, when racing it feels like the kickr will come to an immediate stop if I stop pedalling Vs a little bit of coasting on the old one. It reminds me of a Giant fluid trainer I had a number of years ago which was unusable due to how steep the power curve was. There were huge power changes for very small changes in cadence. Is this a case of 1) the old kickr was worn and not calibrated properly, 2) I can change the power curve that the new kickr operates with or 3) it’s just a new unit that I need to get used to. Note, this is all for using on zwift. Thanks for the help. Alan

    • JTC

      Alan – this was exactly my experience – went from an older Kickr to the 2018 Kickr and my watts went down by a significant percent. Really noticeable as you get over 220 watts or so. If you let your cadence drop – it really can be a challenge like pedaling through wet cement.
      I originally thought my older unit was wrong and the new Kickr was correct – then I did testing with two other power meters (Quarq and Power2max) and found they both were presenting much higher watts for the same level of effort. So I started doing spin downs, factory resets, nothing has helped. I contacted Wahoo and they generally dismissed my concern. So there is nothing I can do except get used to this new level of effort. One thing, when Wahoo publishes <1% accuracy with the Kickr – it is self reported and may represent a unit in they have in the lab — but may NOT represent what we consumers receive in the box.

    • JTC

      (meant to say – greater than 1% accuracy)

    • Alan Buckley

      Thank you for this reply. That’s very helpful. So I’m not crazy. Yes, it’s above 220 watts. That’s why I thought it may be set to too steep a power curve. I have contacted Wahoo about it as well, so I’ll see what they say, but it sounds like I’m not going to get much from them. Fingers crossed.

    • Pierre

      Been using V4 Kickr for a couple weeks now and it’s about 2% lower than Assioma pedals – easy fix is to bump up TR 2% intensity.

    • Aleš

      @Pierre power on the trainer is likely lower because it’s measured further away from the power generation (your legs) and losses occur across drivetrain, as I’m sure your aware if you have powermeter pedals. Anyway my point is that you probably don’t have to increase the power because of this. Unless the trainer takes this into account, which I doubt.

    • Eugene

      The power reporting of my KICKRv5 is accurate (after goosing it a bit with a factory spindown.) However I agree that the resistance curve is a bit aggressive. On flat roads in Zwift I am in 52×21 at 90rpm and doing almost 200W.

  107. Nelson

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve bought a Kickr V5 which was already replaced twice, waiting now for the 3rd replacement! (I must say that Wahoo is being awesome here and always ready to solve my issue).

    Why it was replaced for the 3rd time? Power accuracy issues.

    I’ve begin to notice that my Sufferfest workouts were more difficult to finish after my swap from the initial Kickr Core to the Kickr V5, and decided to mount my powered meter bike on it, just to compare.

    Results? An exponential difference in wattage where more watts resulted in a bigger difference, from my Quark power meter to my Kickr. As an example, intervals made at 100 / 200 / 400 on Sufferfest were registered in my Quark as 110 / 225 / 460 watts.

    To make sure that it wasn’t my bike reading to high, I’ve tried a bike with a Power2Max power meter which came to the same results.

    So for what it seems, I’ve had the same exact power accuracy issue on 2 different Kickrs. Have you found any issue similar to mine on your testing?

    Wahoo told me that they’ve found a bug in their power module and that the team was working in a new FW release, which I think was already released a few days back. I’m still waiting for a 3rd Kickr and really hope this issue to be solved.

    Another question that I have is: In the Sufferfest cadence drills where I pedal with one foot only, the Kickr reads half the cadence but my cadence sensor reads it right. Is this also a normal behaviour on the Kickr?

    Best!

  108. Chris dall

    Thinking about selling my peloton and switching to this. If I wanted to continue doing peloton classes after, could I easily manually adjust trainer in real time as doing the peloton classes? Would be a nice way to use the bike primarily for zwift but also for peloton when looking for a more fun, less structured workout class!

    • Yup, you can use the Peloton Digital app. Note though you won’t get power/resistance anymore though, that’s only available on the Peloton bike (and no way to pair sensors from anything other than a Peloton bike). Nor will you see things like the cadence ranges/targets on the Peloton digital app.

      However, that aside – you can use a trainer. It’ll probably take you a few sessions to sort out the quirks of it, namely quickly shifting resistance levels. The best bet is to use the Wahoo Fitness app to control it. It’s not quite as ideal as the red knob when you’re sweaty – but it works.

    • Chris

      Awesome, thanks! Now just have to find the damn thing

    • Jeff

      I did just that after owning the Peloton for over two years. I was going to get the new Bike+ but in the end I chose to get a trainer because even though I credit Peloton for getting me into Cycling, other than Powerzone (which I found boring after a while) I always felt that I was taking a random selection of classes with no real plan. I haven’t re-subscribed to the Peloton app after selling the bike and only miss it on occasion as the trainer world is quite lonely (Sure there is Zwift – But I haven’t yet found a way to integrate my training with additional rides like races without burning out).

      Short story is it is a great way to go but different. Peloton I would almost say is something different… It’s spinning – and an ecosystem (Red Knob, personalities, music, etc). I grew away from it as they tried to be everything to everyone.

      If you haven’t purchased yet I would look at all the higher end trainers. I am mostly pleased with my Kickr v5 but have had some strange issues around cadence sensing with it that seemed for now to have gone away. Others have reported other types of issues. Probably fine, but there are others to look at too. I ended up with my Kickr earlier in the pandemic because it just so happened that on the day I picked up my new bike, the dealer got in a shipment of Kickrs and they had just two left without any names on them.

  109. Greg

    After years of shaking my crocheted fingerless gloves at Zwifters on my mag trainer I moved to the dark side and bought the Wahoo trainer and took it out of the box last night. I woke to this article and ran down to see if it was the new model in this article and it is! Phew, seems like a new model always comes out after I get some piece of tech. One gripe.. With the cost of these higher end models they could come with the XDR/XD driver adapter! Now I need to figure out the whole training peaks/Garmin/Strava/Zwift or whatever app to get it all synced and working.

    I have been assimilated and resistance is futile.

    Thank you for all of your articles and videos. They have helped me over the years in purchase decisions.

  110. Abhishek Purohit

    Hey Ray

    Need a suggestion – I live in a condo which sees power cuts.. Back up takes about 10/15secs to back on.. Though not a hassle for normal zwifting but is quiet frustrating for group rides and races.. Can I hook the kickr and climb to a UPS for uninterrupted power? Is it something you have tested or would advise?

    • Yup, I wouldn’t expect any problems there at all.

      I’ve done something similiar over the past few years around Eurobike and testing trainers (including the KICKR) from an RV. I’ve used both RV power, but sometimes not – instead using this battery backup thingy: link to amzn.to

      The reality is that smart trainers tend to draw almost no power, super low amounts. Of course, a UPS is also a better route for 24×7 always-on type setups.

  111. JB

    Hi, I’m close to getting this one – delivery time doesn’t really matter as I can continue on my current Tacx trainer, however if somebody could answer the following questions before I order this one:

    – I use Zwift on my Ipad, this will continue to work through Bluetooth
    – At the same time can I connect my Garmin Fenix 6 pro to record the data (power/cadence/speed) from the trainer?
    Reason for this: Zwift sessions upload to Strava – Garmin sessions recorded do NOT and I use these to look at fitness statistics from Garmin, like recovery etc… and I can compare those with the Strava data. So I have 2 “touch” points on how my fitness level is going.
    – At the same time can my Fenix 6 control the trainer to do the recommended training from Garmin?

    All the above works with Tacx, I just want to ensure it keeps working when I would switch to Wahoo.

    • Just a super quick heads up to folks, it looks like CompetitiveCyclist has the KICKR V5/2020 in-stock as of right now. I don’t expect that’ll last long.

      Using this link here also helps support the site: link to avantlink.com

      Enjoy, and happy new year!

    • DP

      It definitely works on iPad via Bluetooth, which is how I use Zwift. I’ve not had a single connection issue. I also use a Wahoo Tickr Fit via Bluetooth, and of course companion. I don’t have a power meter on my bike so I can’t speak to that. And unfortunately, I can’t answer your second question as I don’t have a Garmin Fenix. Perhaps Ray can answer that. Your final question I also don’t know directly, but one of my teammates was riding in Zwift yesterday doing a Trainer Road workout. So it might be possible for a third party app to control the trainer. I’d think of Tacx can, then Wahoo should also. Good luck. I do love my Kickr v5 after a month now.

  112. CHRISTIAN V OLGAARD

    test

  113. Gavin

    I see that you’re using a canyon ultimate on the wahoo kickr although both canyon and wahoo say that they are not compatible ( and would void the warranty on the canyon)due to a a clearance issue on the nds dropout , have you had any issues?

    • Yeah, I don’t get it. Mine is plenty clear.

      I’ve gotta e-mail them. My thinking from looking at Canyon’s info is that the not-compatible list is actually more narrow than they realize. On Canyon’s site they list some specific SKU’s, and I’m guessing that doesn’t apply to my bike, which was a 2016-2017 model.

      My receipt (from Nov 2017) says: “FS ULT CF SL EL 16/17 L bk/rd”

      Whereas, Wahoo’s site says: “Not compatible with: Canyon Ultimate Rim-brake (CF SL [R043], CF SLX [R39] & CF EVO [R47])”

      I suspect that the R043 is a specific release number, since that lines up with the 2020 edition listed here: link to canyon.com

      Anyway…it’d be nice of both Canyon and Wahoo made it a bit more clear than just a blanket statement.

    • Ok…lots of back and forth with Wahoo complete, and the answer on the Canyon is simple:

      “On the Ultimate, only the 2019-2021 model years are affected”

      Which, matches what all the nuanced model number stuff that’s in a handful of places says. Hence why my 16/17 Canyon Ultimate rim-brake bike is perfectly fine. And even for the 19-21 models, Wahoo says “For Canyon, users can simply flip around the thru-axel adapter and use the 135mm side. That will allow it to clamp tightly without damaging the frame.”

      Cheers!

    • Gavin starling

      Great , thanks for the clarification, probably be useful for wahoo to clear this up as I suspect it’s putting a few potential customers off. It’s a moot point for me at the moment as my Kikr is being held in a warehouse pending payment of UK customs charges (despite Wahoo claiming that they have already been paid) . Stay well ?

  114. Hey folks – super quick heads up/stock alert! CompetitiveCyclist just got in stock of all the major KICKR models, and all are currently showing in stock for immediate shipment. Here’s the direct links, all of which help support the site:

    KICKR V5/2020: link to avantlink.com

    KICKR CORE: link to avantlink.com

    KICKR BIKE: link to avantlink.com

    Enjoy!

  115. Sean K.

    Okay, I’ve got the V5 on order. Some of the savings from this purchase over a Neo 2T I’m putting towards a Giant Contend AR 1 2021 road bike. I thought of using my 2011/12 Specialized Rock Hopper, but the handle bars I’d probably want to replace for training rides (flat bar on the Rock Hopper currently), and since the Kickr v5 comes with an 11 speed cassette, it will be easy to just pop-on/off my Giant Contend AR 1. So I don’t need to deal with finagling a 9 speed cassette in its place. Plus I still like riding my Rock Hopper on trails.

  116. HP

    I have used an Elite Real Turbo Muin for the last 4-5 years now and still works very well. However I was thinking it would be good to have a trainer that wold really mimic the terrain profile. Since the emergence of RGT and the magic roads it is a lot more appealing to test myself against a climb existing in real life. With my Muin I cannot replicate the toughness of the climb this making all routes identical. The only need for working harder is due to the need to hold the wheel in front if I am racing.

    However reading all the displeased comments regarding: Wahoo Kickr, Tacx Neo 2T, Saris H3, Elite Direto XR made me hesitant in investing in such an apparently unreliable product only to “feel” the terrain profile. Tones of issues and nightmarish customer support made me rethink this upgrade all together.

    Also the review itself implies somehow that Direto XR is a lesser trainer than the other three mentioned above but is not clear from the review what exactly is lesser about. Is this something that really concerns average riders or is lesser for Wout van Aert and Matthew van der Poel?

    Anyways are those products really that bad?

    • “Also the review itself implies somehow that Direto XR is a lesser trainer than the other three mentioned above but is not clear from the review what exactly is lesser about.”

      The Direto XR simply doesn’t have as good of ‘road feel’ (inertia) as the others. Further, if you then set aside the Tacx NEO series & Wahoo KICKR/CORE, the Direto XR is louder than those trainers. Those trainers are basically silent.

    • Aleš

      I’ve bought the Kickr in November and I have 0 complaints. I’m not a professional but I enjoy feeling the terrain and automatically adjusted power when doing a workout.

      From what I’ve read I didn’t have a feeling of project l people being dissatisfied with the top of the line products (trainer bikes excluded).
      And Wahoo supports seems to be top notch.

  117. Just a quick heads up for US folks trying to find trainers, this appears to be a strong night if you’re looking for Wahoo KICKR units of any type. Everything Wahoo KICKR is currently showing in-stock at REI.

    Here’s the direct links, all of which help support the site:

    KICKR V5/2020: link to avantlink.com

    KICKR CORE: link to avantlink.com

    KICKR BIKE: link to avantlink.com

    Plus CLIMB, SNAP, AXIS feet for older KICKR’s, and even the fan: link to avantlink.com

    Enjoy!

  118. GARY GILBERT

    ENJOYED READING YOUR REVIEW ON THE WAHOO KICKR V5 WHICH I RECENTLY PURCHASED
    AND HAVE USED WITH ZWIFT.

  119. Alexander

    KICKR v5 Firmware v4.2.1 – 27 January 2021

    Added: Direct Connect Support
    Added: Bluetooth FTMS Support

  120. Sean K.

    Noise on the lowest two cogs. I just got my Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer. I’ve set it up with a 2021 Giant Contend AR 1. I’ve noticed that when the chain is on the lowest two cogs I hear this rattling sound. My bike is 700x32c, 11 Spd rear cassette (so I’m using the supplied one), 142mm Thru axel. When I move the gears to the middle cogs it’s really smooth. Any suggestions?

    link to photos.app.goo.gl

    Thanks,,
    Sean

    • Jeff

      Isn’t that by design? It’s the same on my back wheel as well as the kickr. That’s to give you feedback you are getting close to the bottom. Or at least that’s how I understood it. Mine does the same thing.

    • Sean K.

      Do you think I need to have my bike shop look at the rear derailleur or is it a matter of maybe tightening the thru axel a little more?

    • Sean K.

      Someone on FB recommended:

      Rattling sound indicates a misaligned rear derailleur. Best to use this video for indexing: link to m.youtube.com. Or the easier one supplied by Wahoo: link to m.youtube.com

      I’ll try this out…

    • Sean K.

      Problem solved. I was cross chaining and I shouldn’t need to do that. When cross chaining with little chain ring it’s rubbing the guard.

  121. Mike T

    Just got my v5 two weeks ago. Found that Zwift’s displayed power over the ANT+ FE-C channel was very jumpy when trying to pedal at a consistent pace/rate, but the power displayed over the dedicated power channel is far more consistent. Have you compared the two values at all, or has anyone else had this issue?

    • Sean K.

      I’ve started testing my v5 this week. I also got a Favero assiamo uno to compare. I’m currently testing with TR and TheSufferFest. So far the Favero seems jumpier than the Kickr. I also got a Wahoo Ant+ USB dongle but TR cannot detect it at all. So im using BT with the desktop apps until I figure out the Ant+ dongle.

    • Sean K.

      That being said the dropouts over ANT+ to my Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar from the Kickr or the Favero are ridiculously bad. I do have a Velop Wifi 6 and a ton of devices using wifi in my office (I work from home). But BT seems really solid.

  122. Sean K.

    Hi All,
    Just FYI, but I also created a new reddit group for Wahoo Fitness discussion.  The older reddit group has an AFK moderator and is in locked mode.  I requested Reddit to reopen it, but that was declined.
    So I created a new one here:
    link to reddit.com

    Thanks,
    Sean

  123. Jo

    Great review.
    Thx.
    You are really the benchmark and the go to source!

    I wonder about longevity of those trainers, esp. regarding silence vs. noise.

    1. Does the wahoo offer comfortable maintenance?
    Something which is a given for all outdoor bikes. What about indoor trainers …
    How should they stay silent in the long run without service … (oil, etc.)

    2. Does wahoo “allow” and recommend maintenance of the moving elements?

    3. Any links/recommendations/long term tests?

    4. Have you ever serviced your trainers? If so, any advice?

    Background:
    I am just sending my Tacx Flux Smart S back because of substantial trainer noise.
    I couldn’t stand it any more.
    Having a continuously silent trainer (comfortably serviced on my own)
    is (after 2 y. of experience) of top prioritiy for a new purchase.

    Cheers

    Jo

  124. Myck

    Recently purchased a 2020 (V5) Kickr and am in the process of setting it up, but some questions and issues have arisen. I have already updated to the most recent firmware 4.1.1.

    1) Once I attached the bike to the trainer, I was a bit surprised of the difficulty of initial pedaling, relative to outdoor riding, even in the lowest gear (36×27) and either using the lowest level mode (0) or resistance mode (0%). It seems awfully hard, but maybe because it takes a while to spin the flywheel up and it is just my perception at the initial pedaling. I then tested it with my hand on the crank arm and there seems to be a lot of resistance at the lowest setting. Is this normal? Is there any way to easily test if it is working properly, ie. not braking?

    2) The manual states that with the trainer plugged in, but not connected to the Wahoo Fitness App, the resistance defaults to 2 in Level mode. To be honest I don’t feel any difference in resistance, seems high, between when the trainer is unplugged, plugged in but not connected to the app, and connected to the app and set to 0 in Level mode. They all seem to be about the same difficulty at slow spinning.

    3) Finally, and most disappointingly: Until yesterday evening, it has been running very silently. All I heard was the chain and cogs/chainrings meshing. Then all of a sudden, I have started to hear a fairly loud electronic hum/whine while the flywheel is spinning. As soon as the flywheel stops, the hum stops. The intensity of the hum/whine increases with speed and resistance. Is this normal?

    • DP

      Sorry your having an issue. My new v5 is now 2 months old and I’ve put 2500km on it with zero issues. It is quieter and smoother than my old Elite Direto v1. I did notice a slight drop in my wattage power, but I expected that. It’s minimal and I’ve not been able to test it as I don’t have a power meter on my bike. Just yesterday I did a new FTP and am now “back” to the levels I was at on my old trainer.

      As for unconnected resistance, I’ve always found all trainers to be somewhat harder to pedal until connected to Zwift or other service. Impossible for me to compare yours obviously, and I’ve never heard it’s suppose to be equivalent to a “2”.

      The noise issue would be the one I’d check into. Mine is absolutely silent, regardless of my speed. My suggestion is to record a video on your phone and send it to Wahoo ASAP. If they hear it to be significant, and you are up-to-date on your software, good chance they may just replace it.

      Keep us posted on results. Hope this helps.

    • Myck

      Thanks DP. I was thinking the same thing if the hum/whine continues tonight; I will then forward the video/soundtrack to Wahoo. I will keep all posted.

      As for my comment about Level 2, just for everyone’s understanding:

      “WHAT ARE THE POWER CURVES FOR LEVEL MODE?
      Level mode will create an experience similar to riding outside: the faster you go, the harder it gets. When Level Mode is selected, the trainer will use one of the following power curves depending on the level you have selected. When your KICKR is plugged in, but not connected to a device that can control it, the default mode will be Level Mode: Level 2.”

  125. Marco

    Hi DC,
    not sure if you’ve seen this but Kickr has introduce FTMS support
    See link to support.wahoofitness.com

  126. Michal

    FTMS support is available in the January’s firmware update: link to support.wahoofitness.com

    Tested my friends Kickr v5 with an app I am developing, and it worked fine.

  127. Sean K.

    USB3 is an additional source of frequency interference to your smart trainer when using BLE / ANT+

    link to intel.com

    Sean

  128. Ben

    Wondering if there are plans to introduce a new kickr versionn later in 2021 or if it is safe to buy the current version without looking at a totally new version come fall?

  129. Paul Jones

    I’m curious if you’ve ever had issues with the Kickr’s cassette rubbing on the frame? I got a 2018 refurbished Kickr from Wahoo and it ruined my laster frame I had and started rubbing off on my new one (2016 Tarmac SL5). Your pictures are great but I couldn’t tell what the distance was between the cassette and the frame.

    • Hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the cassette hitting the frame. Do you have a picture of where it makes contact?

    • Paul Jones

      Good to know. This is a photo of the drive side on my current frame. The only way I was able to make enough space so it didn’t rub was with another 11 speed cassette. My last frame is tore a part of the carbon off and I though it was just the frame being old. But this was really frustrating. I emailed with Wahoo for a month and they are sending a refund, but I’d really love an indoor trainer but at this point I’m not sure if this is something specific to the 2018 model an issue I’d run into again.

    • Kevin Mawdsley

      Is that not the outside of the frame? The hangers are always on the inside (as in the photo). There’s no way the Kickr can be doing that. A photo of it all together showing what’s touching would be better.

    • DP

      That’s strange. Are you sure you are using the correct skewer and spacers for your bike? Are you using the one that came with the Kickr. Mine doesn’t even come close to rubbing. Somehow you must be mounting incorrectly. A photo of the mounted bike showing where it’s rubbing might be good.

    • Chad McNeese

      I’m not sure what exact frame that is, but “The hangers are always on the inside” is a dangerous claim. Bike makers love to “do stuff different” and I think this is the case.

      Consider that the pic above shows an Open Quick Release dropout that is positioned with the opening up, which means this frame is shown upside-down in this pic. Also note that the black derailleur hanger is up as well.

      So, if you flip that picture 180* to be open side down, the way we would see it riding… the hanger would be on the right side of the picture AND to the right side of the axle opening. That means we are looking at the INSIDE of the drop out.

      MAYBE someone did mirror image flip too, to throw this all off, but if the pic is correct (just rotated 180* from the normal orientation of a bike), then it shows the inside, not outside.

    • Paul

      Hi there! Original poster here. Yes, that’s the inside of the frame on the drive side. I ended up returning the KICKR (which I was really sad about). The bike is flipped over so I could get a better photo of it. So this dragging happened on both an older 2015 Felt frame and my new frame. It looked like the usual 2-3mm of spacing between the cassette and the frame wasn’t there. So every time I would get on and spin up it would drag. I worked with Wahoo to troubleshoot just about everything include changing the cassette (both with an owned cassette and one they sent) and new accessories.

      But for some reason I couldn’t get the space needed so it didn’t drag. In the end I really couldn’t trust that the Kickr wouldn’t continue shaving the carbon so I ended up returning it. It was a longer saga than I had wanted but I guess now I’ll be finding some rollers to use in the winter.

      Trust me when I say that I spent about a month and a half troubleshooting everything with them. It was truly bizarre and a real bummer since I had already torn through my last bike’s frame using it.

      Attached is another angle of the inside drive-side. I circled the places where it scratched.

  130. Larry Kaplan

    I have a feeling this is a dumb, perhaps really dumb, question, but I’ll risk asking it.

    I am pairing my Edge 530 with my KICKR V5 and using it during a zwift ride. (One reason to do this is that the Edge will calculate VO2max, whereas zwift seemingly does not. Another is that is useful to test multiple HRMs this way, and use DCR Analyzer to compare the results)

    Comparing speed measurements results in very different speed profiles, though it would seem that the source data should come from the same place.

    And more perplexing is that the Edge data results in distance measurements, which are very different than the ones produced by zwift. Where does the distance come from ? Does the KICKR transmit distance as well as speed ? (On a 6.1 mile zwift course, zwift reports exactly 6.1 miles, whereas the Edge reports barely over 5 miles.)

    I confess ahead of time this is possibly a bonehead question, though an answer would be appreciated,

    Thanks,

    Larry

    • Larry Kaplan

      speed picture

    • Larry Kaplan

      distance picture

    • Chad McNeese

      In short, your head unit is just registering the “speed” and “distance” as registered by the spinning wheel on the trainer. Your actual motion in Zwift is based upon the power you generate, your height and weight info, and the virtual terrain you ride in the game.

      Your Garmin has no idea that most of that even exists, and is just the “simple” data of the rear wheel spinning. For fuller info, see the link below that addresses this common question.

      link to zwiftinsider.com