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Wahoo Releases Accuracy Fix for KICKR V5/2020: Test Results

Over six months ago, when the Wahoo KICKR V5/2020 was released it contained one not insignificant flaw: It’d overshoot efforts, sometimes by hundreds of watts, when the flywheel speed was low. Meaning, typically when your speed was low and you accelerated, it’d register a false spike. It’s something I outlined in both my in-depth review at the time (and video), as well as a caveat in my 2020 trainer recommendations guide.

Last week, as part of an almost Christmas Eve firmware drop, Wahoo issued a new firmware update for the KICKR V5/2020, aimed explicitly at fixing this issue.

image

So the biggest question is simple: Does it fix it?

First, I wanted to test the update back to back on the same unit pre and post update. So, I loaded up Zwift on the flats, and then did a very simple test to cover four key areas, doing both moderate and significant accelerations and sprints within each set:

0:00-1:00: Big ring and top of cassette
1:00-2:30: Big ring and bottom of cassette
2:30-3:30: Small ring and bottom of cassette
3:30-4:30: Small ring and top of cassette

Super simple and basic test, but one which would first demonstrate the issue, and then – hopefully, the fix. Here’s what that looked like:

image

Now, as you can see – they all look identical. Why? Well, because the flywheel speed (which, is basically my speed in this case), is too high on the flats for this issue to enumerate. Instead, it needs a slow flywheel speed, such as climbing, to show up.

So to rectify that, I loaded up Alpe du Zwift, which has a gradient of around 8-12% for the sections I used. Mind you, in my review I demonstrated this on far less sizable climbs of just a few percent, but using Alpe du Zwift made this much easier to demonstrate before/after.

IMG_5077

Now it’s far easier to demonstrate where things went wrong. Here’s the four sets again this time with fancy markers:

image

As you can easily see, the 1st and 3rd are basically fine, but the 2nd and 4th are problematic – especially the 4th one. For the 2nd one, as you might imagine, using the hardest (biggest) gearing to go up Alpe d’Huez is nearly impossible, so while you do see separation, it’s not as horrible. But that 4th one – ouch! This is basically any acceleration while climbing, and we’re talking closing in on 100w of being off:

image

Ok, so the issue demonstrated, let’s get this puppy all updated with the new firmware update:

IMG_5080 vlcsnap-2020-12-30-09h46m46s118

With that all set, I unplugged the KICKR and re-plugged back in (old habits to ensure the new firmware is definitely loaded), then reconnected to Zwift to continue my climb. Here’s those results:

image

Now, as ‘luck’ would have it, I got into a 12% section when I needed to shift into the hardest gears, and quite frankly the torque was so strong that I couldn’t get it where I wanted cleanly. Sure, I technically got there, but it was disastrously slow and sounded like my drivetrain was going to snap. Good news: It didn’t.

In any case, by now you’ve noticed that the entire set is nice and crispy together – and most notably, so is that last set at the slowest flywheel speed. In other words, the firmware update very nicely fixed the issue, and now I can recommend the KICKR V5/2020 without any accuracy caveats. And hey, maybe we’ll see that dongle for the new but unused wire connectivity port soon!

With that – thanks for reading!

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61 Comments

  1. Ron Gurney

    Ray – The other change in that update is the fix for “tilt not working correctly….”What does that mean and what exactly was changed? Thanks.

    • I think/suspect that was actually for the KICKR CLIMB, and some sort of issue there. In a Wahoo world, the CLIMB actually connects via the KICKR – not directly to apps. So if something is dorked up on the KICKR firmware, it’d impact the CLIMB.

    • Tizzledk

      Speaking of the Climb any news of if they will come out with a newer lower priced version? And if not, have they committed to supporting it for a few years? Thanks for the great 2020, you helped me keep my sanity. :=)

    • Given Wahoo skews towards being more premium, I don’t suspect we’ll see one there unfortunately. Plus, these days they only stay in stock a few hours most of the time*.

      I wouldn’t worry at all about long-term support of CLIMB, I think that’s a super safe bet for a long time.

      *Of note, CompetitiveCyclist actually has it in stock right now (which, link here helps support the site): link to avantlink.com

    • Tizzledk

      Thanks DC!! Unfortunately I am in Europe so I can’t help the site that way. 🙁

    • Gerald

      Ray, any chance of a “Climb” from Tacx or elsewhere?

  2. Steven

    Can’t help but notice the SRM X-Power pedals on the bike (blue?)

  3. Thomas

    I bought a Kickr V5 2 months ago with this issue being the only problem I had with it. Now that it’s fixed, I can rest and reassure myself I got the best trainer out there.

  4. Greg

    I am having an issue with the V5 Kicker at low speeds. My Garmin will show the correct cadence but the Wahoo app and Zwift will show ~40-50 when pedaling 80-90 rpm. Any ideas?

    • JP

      Greg: I’ve experienced the same issue. Sometimes Zwift shows a cadence of about 40, when my actual cadence is about 80. I started pairing my wahoo cadence sensor to Zwift as a work around.

    • Greg

      Thank you JP. I will see if I can get my Garmin cadence sensor to pair.

    • G

      I’ve got a kickr core – and see the same issues. Happens when I drop down from 95 rpm to around 80. Zwift shows cadence around 40. Power seems to be about right even with incorrect cadence?

  5. ChrisB

    Ray – would the Kickr V5 be a better choice than a Saris H3 when it lives in an un-heated / detached garage? I’m a heavy Sufferfest user, so the excellent ERG mode on the Saris sounds right up my street. However, I don’t want to be spending 10 to 15 minutes getting it warm to do a calibration before each session (especially when I’m tight on time). I wondered if the no-calibration feature of the Kickr would be worth the extra cost?

  6. Joe Salani

    great that they fixed it….. so now when can I get one!!.. any insider information. I have checked all the sites I can think of and both the Kickr and Kickr core are out of stock

    • Generally speaking I’m seeing weekly deliveries pop-in, but most times they only last a few minutes. Yesterday there were both KICKR CORE & KICKR BIKE inventory that lasted about 20 minutes from my tracking. I’ve been dropping a quick comment on those in-depth reviews (and others), when I see it come in stock.

      If ya sign-up for notifications on those in-depth posts, you’ll get notified as soon as a comment comes in (plus, those links will help support the site).

      Cheers!

  7. Ed

    I’ve been having issues with Kickr reading high compared to my Power2Max and 4iiii power meters. I have 4 bikes with crank arm meters and it seems like they all track about the same. Generally I see that the Kickr is 30-40 watts higher than the crank arm meters. Been going back and forth with Wahoo about this. Hoping this update solves the issue.

  8. David DF

    I always wondered which frequency acquisition is used on the power meters and which signal treatment is shown in our devices (mean value? Rms? Peak?).

    I’ve compared assioma pedals and kickr core and I’ve never noticed a big deviation between both power signals, despite there is always some power loss due friction. So I guess somehow is reliable.

    But maybe this issue was linked to this parameter.

  9. MariuszM

    What about other Kicks. I got the Core Anand noticed same spikes. Any idea if Wahoo Will share the fix to other devices or its only v5?

  10. MariuszM

    What about other KICKRs. I got the Core Anand noticed same spikes. Any idea if Wahoo Will share the fix to other devices or its only v5?

  11. Aleš Grm

    I have a constant issue with connecting the Kickr V5 to my Android phone. It can never find the trainer, except by some miracle of luck. As it would happen, there’s no miracle right now, so I can’t update it. I’ve contacted support before and they’ve just told me the regular disconnect everything, Bluetooth off/on, retry… and it works every 10th time. Maybe.

    Does anyone else have such issues or perhaps a remedy?

    • Borut

      Did you try turning on location on your phone? Also you must allow app to access your location (at least while using Wahoo app).

    • Aleš Grm

      Thank you like SO MUCH!!! It has never occurred to me because it’s not listed as a condition and the app doesn’t ask me (perhaps I’ve allowed forever). It’s puzzling me though that Wahoo support didn’t suggest this. I’ll get back to them.

      Again, thanks a lot!

  12. JerryOnWheels

    Good info, unfortunately Kickrs are nowhere to be bought right now and Wahoo is not saying when they will be available. I’m purchasing a Tacx Neo2t next week.

  13. CHRISTIAN V OLGAARD

    test

  14. Ots interesting that now after this update I start getting data drops which weren’t present with the previous firmware. I checked everything, it all remains pretty much the same,I use a dongle direct to my PC and haven’t suffered this before. I did wonder why I ha e two options for power when I search a sensor in Zwift now,one says Wahoo power the other FEC. Anyway we keep checking and rebooting. Any thoughts?

    • Aleš

      Isn’t the power one just reporting your power output and the FE-C is the actually controllable one?

    • Paul Cummings

      I guess. The controllable trainer setting is set to the FEC and as you have an option to select the source of the power or to match power effectively ( if I had a separate power meter, which I dont) I chose the Wahoo power.

  15. Notaseraf

    Not sure if this is an isolated case of the new firmware, but today I found that at high flywheel speeds, power readings are all over the place. During my workout, I was supposed to do a 30-second 340w and 30-second 145w. At 50-19t and 340w the power readings caught up about 3 seconds after the change then dip to about 260w for around 5 seconds before slowly backed up to the target power. More annoyingly, during the supposedly 145w resting phase, power slowly ramped up to 180w for 10 seconds then backed down just before the power change.

    Power changes in erg mode were also noticeably slower than before.

    • Aleš

      Personally I’ve always found this to be the case. And the best way I’ve found to resolve this was to be on the small chain ring by default, and only switch to the large for stronger efforts literally 1 second before the interval starts. Same for reduction. This then meant a virtually immediate catch up to high/low wattage.

    • Jeremy

      Hello,
      if in erg mode, it is advised to stay in the small chainring and middle of the cassette. You’ll get less noise, but more importantly, as the flywheel will turn slower, the trainer will have less of inertia to deal with and as a consequence, hitting the power target by modifying the resistance will be easier for it.

    • Notaseraf

      I’m aware that using the small chainring is preferable for erg mode, but bcuz my small ring is a bit worn out and chain stretched while the wahoo cassette is quite new, using small ring produce noticeable vibration and “grinding” feelings, so I’m using the big ring to circumvent this issue. I would love to have at least the chain replaced but almost any bike replacement parts won’t come in stock for another couple of month in my area.

      All I was trying to say is this firmware update seems to break something that was working before.

    • Leszek

      Replace small ring. It’s cheap.

    • Notaseraf

      I actually got lucky and got all the replacement parts I need, and I did replace everything (cassette, chain, chainrings).

      And the vibration feeling persists… guess that’s a kickr issue since I have all the other parts replaced and torqued to spec.

      It’s just so weird that the vibration only exists when I am using the small ring, and not the big ring.

    • Notaseraf

      A little update on this issue — I got a wahoo ANT+ unit today and after switching Zwift to use ANT+ FE-C the ERG mode power dip issue seemed disappeared, regardless of cadence and flywheel speed. Switched back to bluetooth and immediately power went all over the place.

      Gonna test this on some of my other devices to make sure it’s not my PC’s bluetooth, though other blutooth devices work just fine and I haven’t had any windows or driver update.

  16. Sven

    Hi. I also have the Kickr V5. Despite the update, I have a minimum of 10 watts deviation from the LM Quarq in free mode. In ERG interval mode sometimes up to 20 watts. That is far from 1% accuracy. Greetz

    • The KICKR and Quarq are measuring at different points, and thus, will naturally have different power values. 10w (depending on how many watts your pushing) is actually pretty normal deviation between a trainer and a crank based power meter. Especially once you

      For example 10w deviation on 300w is only 3% difference, which is well within expected for a drivetrain + differences of claimed accuracy.

    • Sven

      Thanks for your fast answer. When driving freely, that’s okay. The problem is more when I ride interval units. Example: You set 230 watts for 8x3min. Zwift displays 230 watts when it is connected to the kickr. But the crank displays 250 watts and you can feel that. And I find that annoying. You always have to plan the intervals differently.

    • Nils Dahl

      I have the exact same issue since getting Kickr v5 back in August. Compared to my Vector 3s, I have an ~20W difference when I’m in the mid-200 Watts (Kickr measures low, Vectors measure high). I thought maybe my bike drivetrain just had a ton of efficiency loss, but I recently put a brand new Canyon Aeroad on my Kickr and am seeing about the same level of power discrepancy (ranges from 10-22W difference b/w the two power meters depending on power output; higher power = higher difference).

      I have collected 6 sets of dual recordings on my Fenix6 and my Edge530 with one connected to Vectors and one to Kickr Power across two different bikes and a number of different workout types (intervals, endurance, high effort, recovery, different big/small rings). @Ray, planning to use your Analyzer to see if I can find the root cause, or at least some trend in the data. I think the difference between Kickr and V3s right now is way too much to be acceptable, though.

    • Yeah, 10-22w sounds high if constant (whereas if we’re talking 22w on a 1-3 second sprint, that sounds totally normal due to differences in recording/transmission rates).

      Per the request of a few other folks here, I suspect I’ll be tackling some longer interval workouts today to see if I can sus out the issue a couple people have reported with the drift. I haven’t seen it in any other workouts to date, but I’m gonna dig through the TR thread on it and try and replicate it.

    • Nils Dahl

      Looking forward to seeing what you come up with! I’m happy to share my dual power recordings if at all helpful.

    • Notaseraf

      I noticed the same issue today, zwift (kickr) reported around 240-270W while my PM (which I track on my wahoo headunit) reported 250-280W around the same time.

      But I only have a 4iiii left crank PM as reference so that might not be as accurate, though my right leg is actually stronger than my left so I am doubtful that I consistently put out more power on my left side than my right this time.

    • Ok – update from yesterday’s TR ERG test. Short version: Zero drift.

      Here’s the data set: link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

      Setting aside the complete dropout festival that happened between the SRM X and FR745 on the first interval, or that it was oddly lower than the rest – there was zero drifting differences between the units. For this test I did no warm-up and no calibration of any units, nor did I ever stop pedaling (as to not give the KICKR a chance to auto re-cal). From a gearing standpoint I was small ring up front, and almost the easiest ring on the back. Temperature in the DCR Studio was constant, at about 73*F/23*C according to the Edge device on the table.

    • Nils Dahl

      Very interesting… I did another test this morning with SUF intervals in the 260-280W range controlled by the Kickr and saw a consistent 20-22W difference between Kickr v5 and Vector 3 (measured higher in 280-300 range). No calibrations, no temperature changes (~63 F).

      Going to try to plug all my data sets into the DC Analyze and look for a trend, though all the workouts were controlled by the Kickr, so I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint which one is the culprit without a 3rd meter I think.

  17. Christoph Kehrer

    Hi DC!

    Did you also notice a significant discrepancy between indicated and actual cadence?
    I posted this to Wahoo and they told me it was forwarded to the dev department, but there was no improvement with the latest update.

    I find it rather annoying, when the avatar starts spinning wildly (+120rpm) whereas the real cadence is only around 80rpm. Mostly this happens during descents, but can also be experienced on flat courses.

    I suppose it is an issue with the algorithms that detect the power circle?!

    Best regards,
    Chris

    • Looking at my data set, cadence was slightly laggy post-update in big jumps – which is somewhat normal for estimated cadence, but then seemed to lock in.

      I’ll look again after today’s set.

  18. Hanan Joseph

    Hi, I’m experiencing different problem using my Kickr V5 with BLE connection
    While riding sim mode, watts are much lower than expected based on gears ratio. Eg 52/17 at 90 cadance is only 200 watts, 36/19 is around 70 watts

    While using erg , resistance is ok

    Thanks

  19. Vincent

    Good morning!

    I set my best time on the ADZ back in October. I’ve been doing a lot of training since, and just beat that time.. by 4 seconds. I’ve long thought that the October time was false… that there’s no way my FTP was that high. It also raised from 255 to 286 on the October climb.

    Could this error have been the reason why my time was so good? Or have I simply plateaued?

    • It’s plausible, but honestly, kinda unlikely on ADZ (Alpe du Zwift). The reason is that it’s unlikely you did the whole thing in the larger front chainring.

      In the charts above, those were actually created on ADZ, since it was the easiest place I could think of that was a nice sustained climb to demonstrate the different gearing impacts from a firmware standpoint.

      Now, I’m sure there’s some people out there who could pull off large front chainring + easiest gear in the back for that climb, it’s pretty difficult. And large front chainring + hardest gear in back would be impossible – perhaps even for the world’s top pros. I was only able to manage a handful of seconds on that harder combo, given the 8-11% grades. Let alone 40-50 mins of it.

    • Vincent

      Thanks for the reply. I was on TD of 100% but definitely not in the biggest chainring.

      I still think the wattage back in October was off for some reason. Its about 20 watts higher than I’ve been able to replicate since. It’s a brand new V5 KICKR. Guess I have some more work to do researching. Have you heard of anything like this? My outdoor speed has improved dramatically since then.

      I do have some Assioma Duos coming soon, hopefully this will tell me something.

    • Aleš

      You could also have had a really good day and pushed the wattage up mostly through anaerobic effort, compared to aerobic, perhaps?

    • Gillis

      Good afternoon!

      Since I have installed the Favero Duo pedals on my bike and compare the results with my Wahoo Kickr v4 2018, the results are quite accurate. Unless I do some steep climbing like the Alpe. With a lower cadance of 60 rpm the difference is more than 10%. So I think the problem excists for a longer time and it is only fixed at the Kickr v5.

  20. Ken

    Would you please review why my 2020 kickr does not reflect the proper terrain? I have to run the previous firmware on wahoo kickr otherwise it’s just a mess.