JUMP TO:

BUY NOW:

  • Competitive Cyclist
  • REI
  • Wiggle

Wahoo Rolls Out KICKR Bike ANT+ Power Broadcasting Firmware Update

Wahoo-KICKR-Bike-Firmware-Update

This post is gonna be a quickie, mostly cause in the grand scheme of things it’s probably not going to be of relevance to that many people since there’s not that many people with KICKR Bike’s out there. But, for those that do have such a bike, you’ve now got a new feature: Power broadcasting from the KICKR Bike.

Now – about now some of you are probably like: Wait, the KICKR Bike didn’t broadcast ANT+ power?

To which the answer is…umm…nope. Not exactly. While Wahoo trainers did, the KICKR Bike didn’t.

The Details:

See, the KICKR Bike at launch about a year ago and until today, only connected with ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ trainer control) and Bluetooth Smart trainer control (Wahoo’s own variant, not quite FTMS). For apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, The Sufferfest, or just about anything else – that was really all you needed. Life was grand!

Except, if you had a watch you wanted to connect. Or, really any other non-trainer app that you just wanted to record power so you can have it be tracked within your ecosystem. For example, for Garmin or Polar users that’d include things like training load and recovery metrics. Since the files from Zwift and TrainerRoad synced to Garmin Connect still don’t inexplicably update/impact training load, that means you had to dual record if you wanted these metrics…which…is kinda a reason you’d buy a higher-end Garmin watch. The Wahoo KICKR Bike was the only bike that didn’t broadcast power from all of the indoor smart bikes in this segment (Stages/Elite/Tacx/Wattbike/Wahoo, Peloton does not broadcast power however).

Now, while Garmin started rolling out in beta this summer the ability to connect to ANT+ FE-C trainers, that’s really only for the latest and most special watches. Not the 142 generations of watches before that. Nor for people’s Edge units that might record it either sans-FE-C. And the earlier added Bluetooth Smart power broadcasting to the KICKR Bike in a different firmware update didn’t solve the issue for people with slightly older Garmin units that didn’t support Bluetooth Smart power meters.

Anyway, point is – now you can. First, you’ll need to connect to the KICKR Bike and grab the update via the Wahoo Fitness app – either by the prompt on the home page, or via the sensors page:

KICKR-Bike-Firmware1 KICKR-Bike-Firmware2

A few minutes it’ll complete the update to 1.16:

KICKR-Bike-Firmware3 KICKR-Bike-Firmware4

By the way, it’s around this point that I renewed my stance that smart bikes should have WiFi built in for this sorta thing. They should just update quietly in the background at night. Just like your watch does, your phone does, the Peloton bikes do, your car might, and countless other devices. If you want to manually disable that, fine, but really, c’mon – just update the darn thing behind the scenes and keep it current. This isn’t directed to Wahoo specifically, but the entire group of mainstream indoor smart bikes for this segment that are without WiFi (the TrueKinetix bike does have WiFi, as does the aforementioned Peloton bikes, and a few others).

In any event, once that’s done, grab your Garmin watch of choice (or any other device that supports an ANT+ power meter). Anything that supports a power meter now works to find the KICKR Bike:

DSC_0132

Also, there is the Bluetooth Smart channel as well, though that was added previously.

DSC_0133

You just simply pair it up as a power meter and you’re good to go. Remember, in regular power meter paired mode it won’t “control” the bike. It’s just listening to the power signal and recording the data. This includes the cadence as well.

DSC_0138

Here’s a very short test snippet shown on Garmin Connect from it:

image

And afterwards you’ll get your usual training load status bits too, now properly filled in:

DSC_0143

So with that, go forth and connect your things.

Wrap-Up:

DSC_0142

Ironically, this was basically the last item I was waiting on with the KICKR Bike from a ‘completion’ standpoint. The bike has been largely sitting off to the side in my hallway waiting for this firmware update, which sounded like it was coming last fall, then last winter, then last spring, and now finally…now. As such, the KICKR Bike gets its boxes in the coming days to go back home to Wahoo as usual.

The question some of you might be asking is: Will I go out and buy one myself?

And that’s trickier, mostly for two reasons.

First, is the simple reality that while I spend a lot of time on a trainer (or bike), every year, I spend a fair chunk of it on various other devices testing. For example, the last few months have been on the Wattbike ATOM 2020 – and before that the Wahoo KICKR V5, or the Direto XR, etc. Starting today that’s the Elite Tuo, and so on. So in some ways, me spending $3,500 for a bike that frankly won’t get the usage it deserves is kinda silly. That said, I’m not opposed to silly.

The second, more relevant question is whether I’d recommend others buy one. And frankly, that depends on how much cash you’ve got. Is the KICKR Bike the best indoor smart bike for a Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc type person? Yes, I think so at this point. It’s got the best feel, the best shifting, and I think the best overall experience. It’s not perfect. My early production unit here squeaks (which, has been addressed I’m told), while other more recent units still have the audible resonance sounds at certain cadence ranges. It also doesn’t have TT bar shifters yet, or other features like steering that Zwift has started to roll out to regular trainers with the Elite Sterzo Smart. A case where a $109 accessory has something the $2,000-$3,500 all-inclusive bikes don’t (which isn’t Wahoo’s fault, btw, that’s 100% on Zwift).

Thus, I don’t know if it’s “worth” $3,500 in terms of the evolutionary progress of technology. That again depends on your bank account. I wouldn’t buy a KICKR Bike as a “I’m still gonna love it in 5 years” type purchase. Whereas, if you’re more of the mindset of “I want the best smart bike money can buy in 2020, future be damned”, then definitely – go forth.

So as I go forward into the fall and shift out of testing new trainers/bikes (simply due to seasonal release cycles), I don’t know what I’ll want to settle on for the winter. I’m generally pretty content on a smart trainer, though, perhaps I’ll get antsy. But I think at this juncture, if I’m spending $2,500+ on a smart bike – I don’t see any scenario where it’s not the KICKR Bike. It’s just whether I want to spend that on a bike or not. I truly don’t know.

Hopefully that makes sense to someone.

With that – thanks for reading!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

35 Comments

  1. Claus Jensen

    This little detail was actually the only feature, I was really worried about missing, when I decided to buy a Kickr Bike earlier today, so very nice timing to see this update today 😀

  2. Fabian

    Looking forward to trying this. If I had better knowledge of the implications of this before I bought the bike I would have waited buying it and kept my neo2.
    My recommendation is still try before you buy but this might tip it to “buy” =)

  3. Michael Adrian

    Perfect timing as I bought the KICKR Bike on Monday and were already getting frustrated because of this missing feature 😉

    I mean obviously there are tons of reviews and opinions out there and I even had the chance to try out the bike briefly during the open house last year (sigh .. good old times) but having it here at home really made difference on how I look at it.

    Especially when comparing it to my more traditional setup (CORE, Climb, road bike) the ride experience feels so polished (relatively silent, no vibrations, no cross chaining no matter what you do etc.) while still feeling quite realistic – especially when thinking about the shifting. Additionally, I find it to be unexpectedly compact as there’s obviously no fork and no front wheel.

    This being said, there is definitely room for improvement. The bar tape (also the handlebar itself) feels rather cheap, the cabling at the front is poorly executed and in certain RPM-ranges it makes this funny humming noises. However, I guess there’s no better alternative when you want a training setup that can easily be shared between multiple people. And last but not least: Happy wife, happy life!

  4. RSTL13

    Finally! This is great, although extremely belated news. Not sure why it took so long for a company that has this feature on every other trainer they make, but I am glad it is here. Even with the latest Fenix 6, the fe-c control would cause random power drops on the graph. The supposed bluetooth smart connection didn’t sync either. So it had to be this if you want it just right.
    Thanks Ray for staying on top of this. It is much appreciated. I would also second your comment that if cost be dammed, then the KICKR is the best bike right now. I bought it knowing that in three years or so that wouldn’t be the case. But even then it should still stay competitive for awhile.

    One thing for all KICKR Bike owners to note…. do the regular maintenance that Wahoo very nicely details in a pdf on their site. Doing so helped minimize some squeaks and clicks my bike developed. You would be surprised how much maintenance it needs but also how much it helps. Just be careful of one thing: the 10 mounting bolts on the bottom should be tightened to 27 nm which is a lot. The bolt heads are cheap though and not deep enough so they will start to round off over 20 NM or so. Wahoo should have ordered better bolts.

  5. Stevan

    I’ll second that about the 10 mounting bolts detailed as 26Nm on page 2 of the Wahoo maintenance pdf. I checked those out using parktools hex sockets and torque wrench, the stock bolts did indeed start to round above 20Nm. Buy a set of high tensile replacements before you mess with them, you won’t get many attempts. You need 4 M8x16mm and 6 M8x20mm button head bolts.

    • RSTL13

      Stevan,

      Thank you sir! I had to stop attempting to go past 20 (also using my park tool torque wrench and socket set) and was worried about what to do in the future. I was getting a clicking when hammering out of the saddle and it turned out one of the legs wasn’t tight enough. Now that I know what bolts to get, I can really dial this thing in.

      Happy riding.

    • ChrisTexan

      Get titanium ones, that way you can have the lightest Kickr Bike on weightweenies.com 😀 (Also they won’t round out, they’ll probably pull the socket threads out before they do, LOL.
      Okay, just being a little facetious! :-D)

      But hey, If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing, right??? 😀

    • RSTL13

      Actually you are on to something. Found some titanium m8 x 20 bolts that have a deeper socket groove, which would definitely mean less stripping. Looks like titanium is the answer 🙂

    • Jeff B.

      I am anxiously waiting for delivery of my bike, and figured I should go ahead and get the recommended replacement screws. Happen to have a link to the ones you purchased?

  6. Jackson

    Ray, you haven’t seen this, this seems like hot news in our world

    link to imore.com

    Seems to me that apple doesn’t have a real fix.

  7. Dan G

    So what do you get with a KICKR bike over a Wattbike Atom for the extra $1,000? Just “better feel”?

    • rgurney

      If by “just better feel” you mean the climbing function, realistic shifting, and overall movement, then the answer is yes………..

  8. RSTL13

    I’m not a tech savvy person, but when I hook this up to the Fenix 6, I get cadence and power. Speed doesn’t seem to show nor does Ray mention it in the article. Having not worked with a smart trainer like this before, it this normal?

    The workaround would be to simply import the ride to garmin still which would show the mileage, but then I would have two workout entries. I like the speed for total distance monitoring each month. Anything else I could do or am missing?

    That being said, power and cadence work perfectly.

    • Andreas

      Yes, this is normal, over the ANT+ power profile you get just power and cadence. However, on the newer Fenix 6 software versions, you can connect it as Smart Trainer (you have to add a new sensor though) and then you get speed too.

    • kaz911

      Sadly the FE-C is a bit stupid as you can only have one controller.

      So if you connect F6 via ANT FE-C then any other device becomes a “slave” – so it works badly with Zwift as Zwift tries to control the bike and so does the Garmin F6 – which eventually leads to everything being wrong. 🙂

      But Wahoo should just be ashamed for not sending out this software update sooner. All while they launched a new product WITH the ANT+ Power output.

      Wahoo are the MASTERS of software late and non-delivery. (I have 2 Tickr X which had been promised multiple times to be updated to ANT+ Run Dynamics) Now they made new Tickr X with ANT+ Run Dynamics but does not give a sh** about the clients the promised the update to.

      I am genuinely not impressed by Wahoo.

  9. Trevor

    Are we expecting any new or upgraded Smart Bikes for the rest of 2020?

    • Max

      Thats an interesting question.
      Im an Avid sufferlandrian, and the wife thinks about joining the fray. Not interested in her using my bike (on a kickr core) and thinking about pulling the trigger on a kickr bike or a stages sb20. Would be a classic me if a new Version would be introduced while I tighten the last screw.

  10. Jkn

    How should this work with Garmin Edge 1030? I ride on Zwift on my MacBook Pro it’s connected to my Kickr Bike via Bluetooth.

    • Should I pair the Kickr Bike as a power meter or as an indoor trainer?
    • What kind of profile should I set up to my Garmin Edge to support indoor riding?
    • When riding in Zwift does the recording automatically start with the Garmin Edge, or do I have to start it separately?

    • Andreas

      1) As you like. You get additional information like speed, if you pair it as indoor trainer – but speed does not really matter for indoor training in my opinion?

      2) My Edge 530 has a Indoor Cycling profile, but you can use your normal one, copy it and disable GPS for that one – that’s the biggest difference.

      3) You have to start and stop it separately (but you can try if Auto Start/Stop or Auto Pause is working – but its the same as outside)

  11. Klaus

    Ray,
    is ANT+ Speed available ?

    Do you habe a loverall view online with ANT+/BLE for Smart-Bikes/Trainer?

  12. Basil leRoux

    Do you see any significant evolution on the bike front (any brand) over the next couple of years (including price)?

  13. Jonas H

    “Since the files from Zwift and TrainerRoad synced to Garmin Connect still don’t inexplicably update/impact training load”

    Yep. This is absolutely insane. They have all the data – why does Garmin hate their users?

    • Pete Parfitt

      This is a big downer for me, would love Garmin to implement this as only have a 645 with no power connections.

  14. Andreas

    You can choose “Free Ride” on the Fenix – works for me. Zwift connects via Bluetooth (iPad) anyway.

    And yes, I love the hardware (Kickr Core), but the software could be better (more stable and sooner updates)

    • kaz911

      When I choose “Free Ride” on my F6 – with Zwift on iPad – the resistance and incline is random – if it chooses the F6 as source or Zwift. Difference is subtle but it is there.

    • Andreas

      Nope, in Free Ride it does not control anything.

      link to support.garmin.com

    • RSTL13

      The problem people are having with this solution is that even in free ride there can be some weird feelings in resistance. very minor but there and more noticeable at high watts. I think it is simply bc the trainer is confused on signals. You can also see this in the power graph where there are drops in the power signal. Its almost as if every so many seconds the trainer is getting a command from one and the other can’t pick up the data. It doesn’t seem to affect the overall power number for the ride but the drops are there.

      so fe-c control WORKS perfect without zwift or another controllable. It also works pretty good with zwift if you choose free ride. But it’s not perfect.

      Ray also mentioned bluetooth on the Fenix 6. Yes the watch can detect the trainer but it doesn’t pick up any data via Bluetooth lte. I’ve tried many times. It connects instantly, but no data is received from the bike.

      I think that’s why even people with the newest watches and computers wanted ANT plus broadcasting for so long. I was hoping to get power, speed, and cadence. That way, I start an indoor ride on garmin for recording and get all the data from one activity in connect. it wouldn’t matter if I was on zwift, watching a movie, etc. But we got power and cadence. Thats better than before but I wonder if they can broadcast speed too. I am sure they can if they want.

      The whole thing is weird. Bluetooth is on there but doesn’t send data. Ant plus is finally on there but no speed. FE C is great if not riding on a program like zwift.

  15. Jared

    I tried it yesterday. Works as expected. ANT power to zwift on my mac. Bluetooth/erg mode from my phone.

  16. Dan

    Should this be able to ANT+ to a Garmin Venu. I cant get it to show up at all, I can see other devices with ANT+ such as heart rate.

  17. Jkn

    Hi,

    Something is wrong with the my of setup with Garmin Edge 1030, Kickr Bike and Zwift. I paired the Kickr Bike as an indoor trainer (the ANT serial matches the one shown on the Wahoo app). Now when I start recording the workout with the Garmin there are differences between the reported speed, distance and elevation compared to what is seen on Zwift. Speed is somewhat lower on the Garmin, distance is off by 500-800 meters and elevation is 0.

    Shouldn’t the figures match?

  18. Dan

    Hi DC,

    Sorry for another question, I am fairly new to the smart trainer bikes, but I like tech and having the latest innovations.

    How can I determine which Garmin watches support ANT+ Power, you already advised Venu does not; though I have been looking at Garmin’s website and have been unable to determine the difference in specs to show the support I need.

    Many thanks
    Dan

  19. Vincent

    Didn’t get the News about the added bluetooth broadcasting support.

    Any users here who tried it out and can confirm that it’s working?
    In the article it says that the bluetooth is an own variant of Wahoo – does this mean using the bike with Polar V650 e.g. is still not possible?

    If anyone can say anything about it – it would be highly appreciated!

    Cheers