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Wahoo KICKR CORE Smart Trainer Price In Half: Incredible Deal at $449

REI has launched an incredible deal – the Wahoo KICKR CORE for a mere $449. That’s basically half the price of the normal $899 for the KICKR CORE, so I figured I’d look at how it compares to the $499 Zwift Hub. But make no mistake about it – the KICKR CORE at $449 is a better deal/buy than the Zwift Hub at $499, no matter how you slice it. And – just to be clear before we get distracted, the KICKR CORE at $449 is simply an incredible deal all around – arguably one of the best smart trainer deals we’ve seen in years. If you want to jump on that deal, hit the REI link here, and then add it to your cart (you have to add it to your cart to see the deal).



We’ve never seen the Wahoo KICKR CORE anywhere near this price point. The company has experimented with some minor discounts over the last year, but usually nothing more than about 25% off, which is far short of this 50% off deal.

How it Compares:

First up though, where does the KICKR CORE sit in the realm of trainers? Well, essentially it’s Wahoo’s mid-range price option. They’ve got the full-blown KICKR V6/2022 at the upper end ($1,299), and then they’ve had the KICKR CORE at $899 at the mid-range, and then the wheel-on KICKR SNAP at $400ish on the low-end. I don’t recommend the KICKR SNAP these days, the accuracy and road feel just isn’t that great.

The KICKR CORE is a direct-drive-based trainer, and capable of handling up to 1,800w of resistance. It’s got full support of Wahoo’s KICKR CLIMB gradient simulator, full support for multi-channel Bluetooth connections (plus unlimited ANT+ connections of course), as well as support for a variety of cassettes. Most critically, and most often overlooked: The KICKR CORE is essentially just an earlier version of the full-blown KICKR on a different leg stand. Thus, in terms of road feel and such, it’s got all the power of an earlier-generation KICKR, but with the quiet operation of a newer KICKR.

I’ve long recommended it as the best buy out there in trainers, and you’ll find it often floating around the DCR Cave doing all sorts of tests, as it’s a dependable and very accurate option. The only real outlier feature that the new KICKR V6 has that the KICKR CORE lacks is WiFi (as well as wired Ethernet support). Beyond that, I’d guess most people would never notice the difference in operation/feel if I blindfolded them. The differences in inertia between the two are so small.


So, then – the far bigger question is what’s the difference between the Zwift Hub & KICKR CORE? Well, comparison chart to the rescue:

Function/FeatureWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 13th, 2023 @ 9:39 am New Window
Price for trainer$899$499
Trainer TypeDirect Drive (No Wheel)Direct Drive (No Wheel)
Available today (for sale)YesYes
Availability regionsGlobalUS/UK/EU
Wired or Wireless data transmission/controlWirelessWireless
Power cord requiredYesYes (no control w/o)
Flywheel weight12.0lbs/5.44kgs10.3LBS/4.7KG
Includes cassetteNoYes (8-12 selectable)
ResistanceWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Can electronically control resistance (i.e. 200w)YesYes
Includes motor to drive speed (simulate downhill)NoNo
Maximum wattage capability1800w1,800w, and 1,300w @ 40KPH
Maximum simulated hill incline16%16%
FeaturesWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Ability to update unit firmwareYesYes
Measures/Estimates Left/Right PowerNoNo
Can directionally steer trainer (left/right)NoNo
Can simulate road patterns/shaking (i.e. cobblestones)NoNo
MotionWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Whole-bike physical gradient simulationWith KICKR CLIMB accessoryNo
Can rock/tilt side to side (significantly)NoNo
AccuracyWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Includes temperature compensationYesYes
Support rolldown procedure (for wheel based)YesYes
Supported accuracy level+/- 2%+/- 2.5%
Trainer ControlWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Allows 3rd party trainer controlYesYes
Supports ANT+ FE-C (Trainer Control Standard)YEsYes
Supports Bluetooth Smart FTMS (Trainer Control Standard)YEsYes
WiFi or EthernetNoNo
Data BroadcastWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Transmits power via ANT+YesYes
Transmits power via Bluetooth SmartYesYes
Supports Multiple Concurrent Bluetooth connectionsYes, 3 ConcurrentNo, just one
Transmits cadence dataYesYes
Bridging or re-transmissionNoHeart Rate Re-broadcasting
PurchaseWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Competitive CyclistLink
DCRainmakerWahoo Fitness KICKR COREZwift Hub
Review LinkLinkLink

For fun, let’s distill this down into the things you might actually care about:

– The KICKR CORE supports the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB; the Zwift Hub doesn’t
– The KICKR CORE supports multi-channel Bluetooth Smart (meaning up to 3 concurrent Bluetooth Connections); the Zwift Hub is limited to a single BT connection (both trainers support unlimited ANT+ connections)
– The KICKR CORE has 15% more inertia feeling due to the larger flywheel, at 10.3LBS/4.7KG vs 12.0lbs/5.44kgs (for Zwift Hub)
– The Zwift Hub can rebroadcast your heart rate from ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart (somewhat useful for some Apple TV scenarios)
– The Zwift Hub includes your cassette, whereas with the KICKR CORE you’ll need to buy/add a cassette (roughly $50-$70)
– Both trainers are equally quiet/silent

Now, to me the biggest item here is the KICKR CLIMB compatibility. If you want or ever plan on adding that, it’s only gonna happen if you’ve got the Wahoo KICKR CORE, and not the Zwift Hub. The second biggest item here is the multi-channel Bluetooth, namely if you’ve also got a Bluetooth-only watch that you want to record the data from while still doing Zwift/TrainerRoad/etc (such as ones from Polar, Suunto, Apple, or Samsung). For Garmin/Wahoo watch users, you can use ANT+ to connect to the trainer – so that’s a moot point.

The next question is the inertia (road feel). Here’s what I said in my Zwift Hub review last fall:

“However, unlike some endeavors, size isn’t everything – because flywheel weight is merely one factor – especially because it can be multiplied depending on the exact gearing internally. Nonetheless, the Zwift Hub to me feels like it’s in the same ballpark as the Wahoo KICKR CORE ($899 + cassette) in terms of ride feel. Accelerations feel good, decelerations feel good. I’m overall pretty happy and I’d have no problems riding it as my daily trainer from a ride feel standpoint.”

Then there’s the cassette item. With the Zwift Hub, it comes included, whereas with the KICKR CORE, you have to buy it. Generally speaking, you’re looking at about $50-$70 for the cassette, plus another $10-15 for the tools if you or a friend don’t have a cassette tool.

And finally, about that Bluetooth bridging option on the Zwift Hub. That’s primarily useful if you need to conserve Apple TV connections (which has a limit of two concurrent connections). Since the trainer is counted as one connection (including power/cadence/controllable), and your heart rate is another connection – this broadcasting/bridging option was primarily useful to Apple TV users that wanted the Elite Sterzo Smart (or other steering block). It allowed the heart rate to be funneled in with the rest of the trainer data under a single connection. However, with the Zwift Play controllers announcing yesterday, and needing to use the companion app on Apple TV anyways, honestly, I think this is a pretty minor item in 2023.

Final Thoughts:


Now, does this signal some sort of new KICKR CORE in the future? Not sure. Eurobike is next week, but I don’t expect much from the show. I think it’ll be pretty quiet. Typically speaking, Wahoo (and most companies) would release new features in their higher-end products. In Wahoo’s case, that’d be the big-brother KICKR, with the most recent one being the V6/2022 from last fall. Again, the standout features it has that the CORE doesn’t is more inertia, WiFi connectivity, and wired Ethernet connectivity (via accessory dongle). I’d guess that adding WiFi to a KICKR CORE V2 would make a lot of sense. Whether or not that happens, I don’t know. Or when, for that matter.

Wahoo says that this sale is due to REI clearing inventory. However, one has to keep in mind that REI has to get Wahoo’s approval for this sale, per MAP in the US (minimum advertised price). That means that contractually Wahoo would have approved this sale, and is undoubtedly interested in the results, not just from an inventory clearing perspective, but to see the effect on price response.

As I noted previously, Wahoo has to find a new price point for the Wahoo KICKR CORE going forward. Given Wahoo’s injunction request to block the sale of the Zwift Hub didn’t go as Wahoo hoped, the company needs to live with the price disruption that Zwift introduced. As such, by Wahoo’s own admission in court filings and testimony, the existing $899 KICKR CORE price is no longer viable. I actually think Wahoo can get away with a slight premium for the Wahoo CORE brand over the Zwift Hub. Or, perhaps Wahoo’s recent buy-back and restructuring lets them play a bit more going forward.

Either way, if you were thinking of a Zwift Hub, but really wanted KICKR CLIMB compatibility – or perhaps just wanted to stay within the Wahoo family, then this is your chance. I can’t imagine we’ll see it lower. That’d be kinda more insane than this price already is.

With that – thanks for reading. Oh, and as usual, the REI links above/below do help out here supporting the site.

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  1. Scott H.

    I’m still running my 2016 Kickr, but had considered upgrading to the H3 for a better feel before they had financial issues. Any reason to do so at this price point?

    • So the CORE is basically a 2017 KICKR in terms of specs, so that’d be an upgrade for you.

      From a 2016 KICKR to a KICKR CORE, you’d gain:

      1) Adds KICKR CLIMB compatibility
      2) Makes it silent
      3) Adds 12×148 thru-axle support
      4) Increases compatibility with more bike frames
      5) Adds multi-channel Bluetooth
      6) Adds cadence support (meaning you don’t need an extra sensor)

      I’d say if you were on the market for spending under $500, it’s a solid upgrade in terms of those items, probably noise, cadence, and CLIMB compatibility being the big ones, with it being silent being the most notable differences for you.

  2. My Core is 3+ years old….Wahoo support phenomenal for me…it just became a spare. Thanks for the heads up Ray….

    Now if they would “test market” a $250.00 Elemnt Roam v2. So much for saving money

  3. Joek

    This sucks… I just bought a h3 on sale for about 400 shipped… I would have rather have the core… Oh well…

    • Todd Tannenbaum

      Why sad? The H3 is a solid unit, and $400 shipped is a great price. H3 has a heavier flywheel for great road feel, fantastic ERG mode, made in USA. Only reason to prefer a CORE for more $ imho is if you want CLIMB or have a 12sp bike. Enjoy your new trainer!

    • Doug

      Gosh, I love my H3–It feels great and has been rock solid for 2.5 years now! I wouldn’t trade it for a KICKR if you paid me.

    • Agree that the H3 is a very solid trainer, especially – if not entirely – for ERG mode.

      That said, the CORE is silent, the H3 is not. Also, the CORE has multi-channel Bluetooth, which may matter for some (depending on their watch/apps), and of course, if you want the KICKR CLIMB, the CORE is better.

      And of course, depending on your bike as you noted, cassette compatibility.

      Personally, if doing primarily Zwift, I’d likely to CORE. But if doing primarily ERG in a garage, I’d probably go H3.

    • Heinrich Hurtz

      I’ve been on a Hammer since 2016. It’s damn loud but sure works well. Later H versions are much much more quiet. I actually wanted a Kickr but work politics dictated otherwise.

  4. Todd Tannenbaum

    Hi Ray, one additional point of comparison I did not notice in the write up or chart is auto calibration. The Hub has it, does the CORE? Also wondering if you think auto calibration matters much… I have an H3 without auto calibration but it seems to “hold” its calibration setting for many months (it does sit indoors in a temperature controlled room…). Thanks for all your good work!

    • The CORE doesn’t have it officially (like, as a spec-item), though frankly, it kinda has it from a practical standpoint. You can leave a CORE for months and because of temp offset, it’s happy.

  5. Jeremy

    Similar question regarding upgrade – I have a Kickr V2 – I have it on an Inside Ride E-Flex – Its been fine – Occasional drop outs – Obviously no climb compatibility – Is it worth upgrading? I have a $200 credit at REI so this would be a steal..

    • In your case, a KICKR V2 is the KICKR 2016, so the above-linked comment covers most of it (link to dcrainmaker.com)

      However, the big notable item is you have the Inside Ride E-Flex. Certainly, if you go to CLIMB, that kills that. And same with CORE, as it’s not compatible there unless you’ve got the newer E-Flex Plus (which is compatible with both CORE & KICKR).

  6. John

    Just as I was trying to unload my KICKR Core, which has since been replaced with the newer KICKR. 🤦🏻‍♂️ So it goes…

  7. Thom

    Boy o boy… My 7ish year old Elite Drivo is aging… and these deals are getting GREAT

  8. Delane Rouse

    Boom! I’m updating my KICKR v1 (< 2016) today!!! THANKS RAY!

  9. Shoreview

    Interesting. I just picked up a refurb KICKR V5 for $400 off ($799) basically on the grounds that it simulates a slightly wider range of gradients and the legs fold in for easier storage (along with a carrying handle which helps too). But if the lack of folding legs isn’t too much of an issue this is an amazing deal when you consider that with inflation it’s what a basic hydraulic fluid dumb trainer cost a decade ago.

  10. Mike

    I’ve been using a Cyclops Fluid2 for about 12 years now (not a joke), mostly for Wahoo/old Sufferfest workouts. I’ve been thinking about pulling the trigger on a smart trainer, trying to find the best deal. Almost went for an H3 at around $600US a few weeks ago. Any likelihood there will be something better than this between now and Black Friday?

  11. okrunner

    link to rei.com

    Not quite the kickr deal but good for someone on a minimal budget.

  12. okrunner

    Kickr deal is over. Back to $900.


    Just bought it. It’s my first smart trainer. Thanks Ray!

  14. Michal


    Is there a deal for the EU customers as well?



  15. jww

    Thinking out loud here….. could REI avoid MAP non-compliance by technically advertising at full MSRP, and only showing the discount in cart?

  16. Alan Wynn

    Would I also be able to use this in place of a stationary bike for Apple Fitness+ Bike workouts? I have an Apple Watch Ultra and a new 2022 Apple TV 4K, as well as a Verity Sense Heart Rate Strap. I plan to get the Life Fitness Rower as soon as I finish rearranging my garage to be a workout space.

    • Definitely, at least in terms of the riding part. It transmits just fine, but as of current, Apple Fitness+ won’t “accept” any data at all (from any type of bike).

      That said, given Apple just added power/cadence/speed for the Apple Watch, I’m going to guess that Apple Fitnes+ won’t be too far down the road. And this supports those standards perfectly.

    • Alan Wynn

      Thanks! I ordered two of them, one for me and one for my BF. Unless they add Ethernet support in the next 90 days, these will be fine for us.

      It has been my expectation that they would add some more data in to Fitness+ and eventually some device control (speed/elevation/resistance) from Fitness+ for some time. I expect that as part of the fall update, we will get some new features, including a structured workout program.

      As someone just trying to get in shape, not prepare for an Ironman Triathlon would something like Training Peaks make any sense once their Fitness+ integration is real?

  17. Otto Destruct

    It seems bizarre to me how far behind Tacx/Garmin is slipping.

    Yes, the NEO2T is still a top-tier trainer – as you’ve commented before: they kinda nailed it right from the OG NEO1.

    However, their entry and mid-level units – the Flux S and Flux 2 – are getting left in the dust. They’re noisier, bigger, and way more expensive than the silent Kickr Core and Zwift Hub.

  18. Brian Moose

    It appears the deal has ended — back to $900.

  19. Ruairi

    Thanks, ordered about 12 days ago and it was delivered ( to Ireland !! ) yesterday. At just over 430eur it was a super deal

  20. Real Marstey

    Does anyone know if the still is still valid? Just saw this post about 10 days late.

  21. Vipul

    i am a bit confused between elite direto xr-t vs wahoo kicker core as both of them cost me the same in india. please suggest which one should i go with.

  22. Daniel Gomez

    Been riding an OG Kurt Kinetic wheel on (dumb) fluid trainer for 3 Ironman preps. Never got into smart trainer wave and realized I was missing out. Debated between $1400 neo 2t or Kickr core.

    Found a deal at Sun Ski Sport similar to this one and decided to get my first smart trainer with zwift.
    Curious to see how this goes!

    Thanks Ray, your reviews helped me make a smart decision. I hope the upgrades are worth it!