Wahoo Trainer Lineup Sound Test: KICKR vs CORE vs SNAP vs ROLLR

Today’s post is one of those ones that’s best done via video. Or, at the very least audio. Thus, the above video.

As the title of this post implies, this is a direct sound/volume/noise comparison between all of Wahoo’s current lineup of bike trainers, one after another. I go through the following units:

Wahoo KICKR ROLLR
Wahoo KICKR SNAP
Wahoo KICKR CORE
Wahoo KICKR V5/2020

I skipped the Wahoo KICKR Bike because it’s not a trainer. Plus, I don’t have one. But I don’t think there’s too many people that are using noise as the deciding factor between the KICKR V5/2020 and the $3,500 KICKR BIKE (and spoiler, noise levels between those two are basically the same).

For the test above, I tested each trainer at three different speeds (wheel speed is all that matters for volume on a smart trainer):

Slow speed (easiest gearing): This is ideal for ERG mode, because not only is it the quietest on every trainer, but it also increases accuracy/responsiveness in ERG mode on virtually every trainer.

Cruising along speed (20MPH/30KPH): This would be the speed you’d likely be in within a group ride or just cruising along at a good clip.

Sprint speed: This is basically the loudest the trainer gets at the fastest I’m able to make it go (on flat ground).

Within the video I do each test successively for each trainer, and then towards the end I compare them rapid-fire style back to back.

Go forth and enjoy!

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15 Comments

  1. greg

    Just curious how the new compare to the v1 as well… similar?

    • Oh, dramatically different. V1 of the KICKR wasn’t quiet, it was just as loud as any other trainer really (if not worse in some ways). So ballparking it, I’d put V1 in between the ROLLR and the SNAP.

  2. I think I saw a sneaky 4-figure wattage there for a minute. Nice.

    Tread pattern makes a massive difference too. I used an old MTB with a fairly smooth tread pattern, luckily I don’t live in a flat.

    • Haha…thanks, yeah, I caught that as well. All these silly sprint tests finally starting to make a difference!

      And definitely, tread will make a difference. Sadly, my MTB didn’t physically fit (too long and tires too big). 🙁

  3. Alan

    You should go for a bike fit ASAP, this position is so awful, i have to puke…

  4. Otto Destruct

    Wow. I did not expect such a vast noise difference between the Rollr and Snap. Really makes the Rollr a hard sell given the limitations you outlined in the review.

    BTW: have you ever made a post detailing the sound deadening panels you use in your pain cave? I live in an old, wood-framed flat so I’m always looking for ways to keep neighbours happy. (NEO2T was largely selected to avoid noise complaints)

    • Yeah, it’s more than I even expected. But I guess it kinda makes sense – with SNAP you have one roller, whereas ROLLR you have two moving rollers that both touch the wheel. Thus, double the sound.

      As for sound panels. We covered one wall (opposite the bikes) with just a bunch of cheap foam paneling: link to amazon.de

      These were 1m by 2m pieces, and work reasonably well. I have more rolls I need to add, and ideally adding some to the ceiling, but that’s an entire mess of a project – mainly because getting these large foam panels to stick to anything is a pain in the butt. For the vertical walls I used large oversized washers with a screw in them, after the double-sided extra-strength tape would fail (because foam is very holey, and thus the tape doesn’t actually hold/stick super well onto it). But for ceilings, It’d be a lot of screws to avoid sag.

    • Scott Falconberry

      I would check out companies like GIK Acoustics who make affordable panels that actually work. I have built my own panels but it is pretty inexpensive to buy prebuilt.

    • andre

      In a commercial space that we rented long ago, we had Acoustic Spray (Akoestisch spuitwerk in Dutch) sprayed to the ceiling. The space was a concrete warehouse with high ceilings. Before the application it was an echo chamber, really unpleasant. This greatly improved the acoustics and they did it really fast. Better solution than foam panels, looks better too.

    • Marc Weatherill

      Hey Otto, I live in a flat too and also struggle to minimize noise. One thing I did that made a big improvement was buy four commercial vibration damper rings to go under a plywood board that my bike and trainer sit on. If you’re interested, let me know and I can dig around for the details. – Marc

  5. Chris Winterhack

    I’ve always done ERG mode workouts in the big ring in front and one of the middle gears in the back. I knew that the small ring in front and easier gear in back combo was much more quiet but it’s great to know that it’s more accurate in ERG. I’ll be trying that out tonight!

    • Chris Winterhack

      Oops thought I was setting my profile pic here. I’m actually reading the words now and realize I need a Gravatar account for that.

      One thing to note in the photo is that I no longer use the Tickr X after it stopped giving accurate HR readings for the 4th time despite being meticulous about keeping it clean. I’m now using a Polar H10 which hasn’t had any issues.

  6. Nicholas

    I’d love to see some more in depth comparisons of all these trainers. It gets so hard to keep a baseline when some of them have been revised multiple times, are new, or haven’t changed for a few years and we are still reading the “this is a great trainer” with 2018 type reasoning.

    I know that’s a ton of work for you, but it would be cool content and myself and others would love to see it since most people UPGRADING need to sell the prior trainer.

  7. racing bobo7

    Nice comparison. You mentioned the clicking sound with the kickr v5 (around 06.40-07:15 in the video) comming from the frame maybe. I do have a similar clicking sound with my Tacx trainer all the time but could not figure out how to get it fixed. Is anyone in the same situation and has a tip for me. Thanks.