25 Wahoo KICKR RUN Questions Answered

After yesterday’s announcement by Wahoo of the KICKR RUN, there were a boatload of questions I hadn’t covered in my first-run post/video (check that out here). Some of them were minor spec things (like deck height), while others were larger ticket items. I’m slowly working back some of the questions into my original post, but I decided to do a quick Q&A-style video with most of these questions.

I sent off a big list to Wahoo for ones I didn’t have answers to, and then some of of course more for me in terms of feel/etc… With that, just tap Play above (cause it makes YouTube happy, obviously), or you can read the short-hand answers below. I give a bit more detail in the video above, but the core bits of the answers are below.

1) Is there a safety plate at the back of the treadmill?

Yes, you can see it in some of the photos/videos, but I didn’t think to specifically call it out. It runs very tightly against the back of the belt, to prevent anything (child/pet/ball/etc) from being sucked under the back of the treadmill. You can see this in the thumbnail image up above (circled).

2) What happens if you stick a towel over the time-of-flight sensor?

That sensor is used for the RunFree mode, which is the automatic mode that controls the pace merely based on your body position on the belt. It’s the marquee feature of the treadmill. Someone was curious about what would happen if you threw your towel over the console railing there. Wahoo says it’ll detect something is artificially too close, and won’t increase the speed of the treadmill.

3) Will the Wahoo SYSTM App Support Treadmill Running?

Yes. The SYSTM app already had running workouts, but Wahoo says by launch it’ll have full KICKR RUN control within it.

4) Why the 250lbs runner weight limit?

Given many other treadmills in the $2000-$3000 price ballpark have a 300lbs weight limit, a number of folks noted the somewhat low limit. Wahoo says: “The 250 pound runner weight limit is a Wahoo standard test protocol. We plan to explore increasing this specification to a higher weight limit prior to launch, but can not confirm at this time.”

As a quick reminder from my first post/video, Wahoo noted at the time that the treadmill was engineered for more than the 250lbs limit, so hopefully, Wahoo is able to accomplish what they hinted at above.

5) Will it follow gradient in structured workouts?

Wahoo says, ‘as you wish’. Specifically “The user will have the option to disable grade control in Zwift at any time (whether in a structured workout or not). In addition, the user can manually set the grade of the KICKR RUN instead of using the Zwift-controlled gradient.”

6) Do you have to use Zwift with it?

Nope. In fact, Wahoo is already talking with other 3rd party apps. Plus, there’s Wahoo’s own (free) app for control, as well as just using the treadmill without any app. Casual reminder though, Zwift Running is still actually free.

7) Will Zwift now support FTMS control on other treadmills?

While this isn’t a Wahoo question, I fielded it off to Zwift instead. And they did indeed confirm this is coming, saying “Yes, the plan is to be open and enable FTMS support for gradient control on other treadmills. We aren’t ready to commit to a timeline but we’ve been working closely with Wahoo to develop the functionality.”

Note the key word there is ‘gradient control’, which is what a lot of people are asking for. But this does fall short of ‘pace control’, which typically requires validations/certifications from a treadmill manufacturer. Hopefully, Zwift will take up other companies’ offers on that (including TechnoGym).

8) What’s the deck height of the treadmill?

This is an easy one, 30cm when flat. This is notable for people with low ceilings. Remember though to add deck height + your height + a buffer + (and this is important) any incline height.

9) What’s the exact footprint of the treadmill?

While I had included specs like belt length/etc in my initial post, I didn’t include the exact footprint specs. The unit is listed as 1.77m long x 0.94m wide x 1.4m tall., and here’s a nifty diagram showing it all:

10) Why use a belt as opposed to slats?

Here’s their quoted answer: “The slat designs are very noisy and provide a surface that is artificially compliant. We evaluated slat designs and found the excess give absorbed too much energy and did not simulate outdoor running as well as a properly designed deck. As you noticed in your testing session and videos, the KICKR RUN will be one of the quietest treadmills on the market.”

Now, obviously, people prefer different material surfaces. But I’ve long noted how I generally prefer belt treadmills over slat-based ones. Not because of cost, but simply the feeling while running. Again, to each their own. I will agree that this treadmill sounded incredibly quiet compared to the other units I have, but I do need to put them side-by-side in the same environment to validate those perceptions.

11) Is a 3.0 horsepower motor enough?

There were a number of comments talking about how higher-end treadmills have more powerful motors. Wahoo noted though that their magic/secret sauce is in their speed controller. Obviously, I’m not a motor engineer, so I can’t validate or invalidate that.

Instead, I can talk about ‘known things’. The first known thing is that the treadmill industry has largely done nothing over the last 20-30 years in terms of advancement of tech. We’ve all seen that. There are outliers of course, but not many. Thus, it stands to reason that a tech-forward company can come in and actually use technology smarter. We see this in countless areas of sports tech, where a lower-spec device will deliver better results than a higher-spec device, because the lower-spec knows how to do it better. Sorta like “It’s not the size, but how you use it”.

However, a more data-driven answer to that is watching my video where I go from a 5:30/mile pace down to stopped in about 2.5-3 seconds, compared to other treadmills I have doing that in 18-22 seconds. I’m not a small dude, at about 195lbs. And inversely, it had no problems with the 4:30-4:40/mile pace I threw at it.

But again, all things for a longer-term look.

12) Will the free Wahoo iOS/Android app support it?

Yes, in fact Wahoo says they think a lot of people will use the phone/tablet apps on the treadmill for data monitoring, and then have a bigger screen with entertainment on it (be it Netflix/Zwift/etc…)

13) Will the Wahoo app show the elevation gained?

Yes, it will. Both during the run, as well as post-run stats.

14) Is the $5,000 price competitive?

I talked a lot about this in the video above at length, but in short, yes, I think it is. While there are many cheaper treadmills on the market, there are virtually none in this price range that can do 15MPH (most top out at 12-12.5MPH). The next step-up in pricing for 15MPH treadmills is almost universally $10,000. So even setting aside all the fancy tech integration/etc features, on speed alone, this is priced quite well.

Which obviously, doesn’t mean it’s priced for everyone. I think most fancy cars are overpriced, thus, again, to each their own.

15) Is the treadmill market saturated?

As a follow-up to the above. Yes and no. I think it’s saturated at the cheap end, and I think it’s saturated at the super-high end ($10K+), but there’s actually almost nothing in this $5,000 price range – let alone with these specs. So while the larger treadmill market is saturated, I think Wahoo (for once) actually might have undervalued their product. Yet, by choosing this price point, I think they’ll sell high unit volumes. Thus, it’s probably quite smart.

16) Will the Wahoo RIVAL support it?

Depends on the definition of ‘support’.  With Wahoo announcing the end of Wahoo RIVAL development going forward, they aren’t going to add treadmill control in. However, they noted that it’ll read just fine from the KICKR RUN treadmill for data, just not control it. And honestly, I can’t imagine there’s many people that want to control this treadmill from their watch, especially when much better (free) apps exist to do that.

17) Can it broadcast running cadence or other metrics?

Yes, in addition to cadence, it broadcasts pace, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, current grade, and side-to-side position.

18) Is there running power integration?

Here’s their response on that: “We do not currently have plans to show running power metrics from the KICKR RUN treadmill. Our custom motor controller gives us the ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data, this may lend itself to useful user-facing metrics we can add in the future.”

19) Is elevation gain broadcast to other devices/apps?

Yes and no. The unit broadcasts incline as part of the data stream, so it’s really up to a given application to calculate time/pace/incline, and then determine total elevation gain.

20) What type of “time of flight” sensor is used?

They use an optical time of flight sensor.

21) What’s the planned warranty period?

Here’s their exact response: “Our standard Wahoo warranty is 1 Year in the US and 2 years everywhere else. We will continue to evaluate this as we get closer to launch.”

As I said in the above video, I don’t see 1-year as good enough here. Peloton’s Tread and Tread+ (the Tread is a $2,999 treadmill) have US warranties that are 3-5 years on parts (depending on which parts). Plus the ability to buy further extended warranties. Given Wahoo’s somewhat mixed history on first-gen products and hardware reliability, I think they absolutely need to be 2-3 years minimum. Obviously, Wahoo has largely been pretty good about solving that for customers no matter what, but still, putting that on paper is what matters here.

22) Will there be integration with the Wahoo Headwind Fan?

This is Wahoo’s smart fan that can change based on heart rate, speed, etc… Wahoo says yes, by launch it will. They’re working through the differences between fan speeds for the existing cycling speed versus running speeds.

23) Are API/SDK documents available for 3rd party apps?

Yes, they’re already available for apps to request, and Wahoo says they’re already working with 3rd party apps. Thus, I’d expect by launch to see at least a few. We saw FulGaz express significant interest in the comments section yesterday, and then I’d expect companies like Kinomap to support it. Kinomap supports basically every device known to mankind already, including via FTMS, so this would be an easy button for them.

24) When will I start testing it in more detail?

As noted in the previous post, essentially the plan is that in the next few months, I’ll get a hand-me-down prototype loaner of the KICKR RUN from their nearby engineering office, once they get the next beta/validation hardware unit in. This lets both myself and my wife put on more mileage with it, getting a longer-term feel for some of the features like RunFree. Then, as they get final production units in late spring, I’ll switch to that, to form the basis of the final in-depth review (including things like accuracy/etc…).

25) Will I ultimately buy one?

It’s too soon to tell, but if my experience mirrors that of my initial test – I could definitely see selling my Peloton Tread and moving to this. I really like the Peloton Tread quite a bit…but the experience here for a performance runner was just so damn good. But again, I need long-term time on that to decide for sure.

Phew, hopefully, that helps clarify things. As always, happy to go and get more answers as need be.

Thanks for reading!


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  1. That’s really great news from Zwift on the FTMS front. I’m not super fussed if there’s no pace control (I prefer using the Technogym app for structured workouts anyways) but I think having Zwift control the incline to have that little bit extra immersion is gonna make a huge difference on longer runs.

  2. Rob

    Great review as always! Do you have an example of integrating with the Peloton Digital App?

    • I didn’t take photos of that, that day, but did get to see it with my own two eyes moments before leaving the building.

      It had been announced the day prior by Peloton, and upon walking in that morning I off-handed mentioned it, and the engineers had a functional firmware for it by that afternoon.

      For Peloton, it’ll show stats now from an FTMS treadmill. But it won’t control it (that’s a Peloton thing).

  3. Neil Rosser

    Isn’t the larger question probably ‘is this enough to return Wahoo to its former place of relative competitiveness in the fitness tech industry?’
    I would have stated it as ‘will this save Wahoo’ but that’s going a bit far I think. And my question assumes Wahoo is currently in a precarious state, which I’d say isn’t hyperbole. Some reality to it I say.

  4. Corey Jenkins

    For $5000, that’s a big no from me. $3000, that is a whole different story. I purchased a few months back the new Sole F85. It’s great. The best treadmill I have ever owned. The Wahoo Run is interesting, but not for that price and not the first generation unit.

    • Dave Lusty

      The problem here is exactly that kind of treadmill. Your premium treadmill seems to be 2500 bucks and it’s almost the same as my 1000 buck Decathlon unit albeit with some data transmission. If that’s worth 2500 and Wahoo have an ENORMOUS number of additional innovative premium stuff then 5k is actually too cheap within the market we currently have.
      If we get real and drop the price of current units to what they deserve then yeah, totally agree 3k is about right. But that’s not where we are, this is absolutely a premium over the whole of the market, and the market is what the market is so Wahoo would be insane not to charge a premium. If I were them I’d go to 6-7k.

      Don’t forget that Kickr was 3x the price of other bike trainers at launch, and for very good reason.

  5. Alex

    I have a question regarding market size. Talking about the price point you write the following:
    “Yet, by choosing this price point, I think they’ll sell high unit volumes.”

    Last summer I read somewhere that Peloton had roughly 10k units of the Tread in stock and had planned on selling them off before the holiday season. So when you say “high unit volumes” for the Kickr Run, does that mean a couple thousand units per month? That would obviously be a lot of units at that price point but still pretty small compared to the overall market.

  6. Corey

    “22) Will there be integration with the Wahoo Headwind Fan?
    This is Wahoo’s smart fan that can change based on heart rate, speed, etc… Wahoo says yes, by launch it will. They’re working through the differences between fan speeds for the existing cycling speed versus running speeds.”

    Hopefully they’ll work that out on the Headwind side, and not just on the treadmill side. I use my Headwind for treadmill running right now, and the speed control just doesn’t really work very well. It’s clearly calibrated for a cycle trainer using much higher speeds (say 10-30mph), and doesn’t work well for lower running speeds (say 3-12mph). I t would be great if they could tweak the Headwind firmware for better running speed adjustments.

  7. Craig

    Is there a technical reason treadmills, even in this price range, usually stop at 15% incline?

    I’d love it if treadmills could actually mirror some of the more famous routes but those usually have sections in the 30% range and only a few treadmills can do it.

    • Neal

      Nordictrak x22i and x32i go up to 40%. Unfortunately very locked down with ifit software and NordicTrak doesn’t seem interested in ever changing that. My dream would be zwift controlling one of those treadmills incline for the immersion you describe.

  8. Peter Lowe

    With all the talk about the “controller”, my question is are they measuring the speed of the treadmill BELT using some kind of optical sensor hidden in the unit somewhere, akin to the NPE Runn, or are they inferring the speed from the dynamics of the motor and/or the drive axle (like other treadmills that always get speed wrong)? It seems that knowing the actual speed of the running surface, independent of slippage or any potential motor under-performance issues, would be the way to go.

    • Benedikt

      We have a bunch of Woodways. When I’m running with my 92kg, the error between Zwift (native connected via BT) and my Garmin (with NPE RUNN with 4 stickers) is within 1%.
      It is possible to build accurate mills, but I think the planks from the Woodway help there a lot.

  9. Joe

    Can I run a structured workout from TrainingPeaks?

    And do we really need 2m behind it? I only have 2.1m space…

    Thank you

  10. Steve B

    Is there a timer clock or odometer built into the treadmill so you can see how long you have been running or to do a timed interval without having to use a third party app or device?

  11. Adam Harita

    How “soft” is the treadmill? Wahoo says they didn’t use slats because they are artificially compliant. Some of us (me) want a very artificially soft treadmill 😜 I don’t want my treadmill to feel like running on concrete outside – it’s hard on my body, that’s why I run on a soft treadmill. How much “give” does the deck have?

    • JR

      Obviously Ray will have to answer for first-hand experience, but even a relatively “firm” fitness treadmill is significantly more compliant than running on roads. It’s actually one of the problems with a lot of sports science. Unless they’re using a research-grade treadmill (and those are $$$$), a treadmill provides a large amount of cushioning that changes biomechanics and reduces the metabolic cost of maintaining a particular pace.

  12. bb

    If the deck height is 30cm, looking at the video it seems that Ray is about 45cm above the floor at 15%. For me, with a height of 175cm without shoes, I would be 220cm + shoes. Resulting in that I would probably need full standard ceiling height of 240cm to be able to use the Kickr run, and a taller person would need even more.

    Since I ever only used treadmills in gyms (with high ceilings), is my guesstimation correct? (asking those who have treadmillls at home).

    • …glad you did the math. I thought about it, but then saved it for another day. :)

      That aid, I think you’re guestimation is correct. But on the next round of questions, I’ll ask what the deck-height rises to at 15%, just behind the console/bar.

    • Bb

      Thanks, I actually think Wahoo should list recommended ceiling heights for different user lengths. It would be devastating to buy a 5k and 275lbs tread, only to find out it cant be used due to ceiling heights.

      I was so impressed by your wonderful preview, and really want this tread. Actually, 5k is a fair price IMHO – and I think I can (barely) afford it – but lowering the floor in my basement cave would be to much $

  13. Miska

    Not really a treadmill guy, but this one seems really interesting.
    Any chance my Garmin watch would be able to control this ? I’m using Daily Suggested Workouts quite a bit, and having them run on the treadmill would be cool. Otherwise, you’d have to program them into the Wahoo app, which is probably a bit tedious at the beginning, but wouldn’t be a no-go in the long term (the DSW workouts do repeat themselves after a while).

    • Interestingly, DSW is a good example of where a watch might make sense for control.

      That said, my understanding is that Garmin doesn’t do FTMS treadmill control (probably cause literally no treadmill has supported pace control over FTMS till now, just gradient control).

    • Benedikt

      Garmin doesn’t even read via FTMS in running. They don’t care or it is suuuuuuper complicated to read FTMS speed data.

      I can’t imagine they will bring FTMS control until Coros does it. The same like connecting to indoor rowers: it took only a single number of months after Coros brought it to market.

    • Miska

      Perhaps the new way of doing an interval would then be, to let the watch do its beep, beep, beeeep, and then accelerate like a madman, hoping the ToF sensor picks up the movement and the treadmill follows ? For a tempo (longer) interval it’ll probably work fine. But for a 15-20s sprint ?
      It’ll work or you’ll land on your nose. I’d be interested (or entertained!) to see that test for the big upcoming review.

  14. Tim

    2 open questions:
    1) Any patents on that?
    2) The treadmill arms should be at least 10 cm forward? Unused front of the roll. There seems to be little legroom in the back, half of the treadmill is wasted due to the positioning of the arms so far back.

  15. Eli

    For the general treadmill market why isn’t there much effort in getting a treadmill to be usable for dogs as well as people

  16. Franz Kelsch

    My old treadmill gave out after 20+ years and I am in the market for a new one. Glad l didn’t buy one yet and and based on your reporting so far, I will order this one.

  17. Dan McCombs

    Has Zwift said whether this will follow something similar to the existing bike “trainer difficulty” to scale gradients, hopefully as a separate setting from biking? It’d certainly be nice to have for scaling the uphill gradients (and hopefully not scale downhills) and would be even better if there were also a setting that capped the max incline for those of us who would rather not put their head through their ceiling at 15% incline.

  18. Patrick

    I’d really like to hear and read more about the slats vs belt tradeoffs. I’ve been narrowly focused on slat treadmills and have been considering the Peloton and Sole, but I’m now wondering if I’m limiting myself for no good reason.

    I generally hear that skat treadmills are better for joints, but I can’t say I’ve found any data to back that up.

  19. Brett

    Got to try the kickr run myself today and I though one interesting note that I didn’t see above was that free run only works between 20 min/mile and 5:30 min/mile.

    You can turn it on until you are at least at 20 and it will never auto accelerate faster than 5:30. At that point you have to use manual adjustments to go faster

    • Correct, that’s just for the beta period. I mentioned it in the video I think, but essentially they’ve been stepping it down faster and faster (cautiously). But they noted their intent is for it to support the full speed of the treadmill well before launch.

      The unit I tested on had it down to 4:30/mile (as seen in the video). My guess is for the show they bumped it back up a little bit, given it was the first public outing.

  20. Warranty Question

    Ray — Have you ever asked Chip whether he realizes that the difference in warranty between the U.S. and Europe sends an ugly message? I understand they have to offer two years in Europe, but having that in the U.S. suggests that they have serious doubts about the reliability of their products in year two. I realize that the reality is that Wahoo tends to fix things that go awry in year two regardless, but why create doubt and potential customer dissatisfaction over this? Do they think they deter enough warranty claims in year two to make it worth it?

  21. Dan McCombs

    I wonder if Zwift is planning to show an icon next to names in the user list for runners with treadmills that are actively set to auto-adjust incline like they do for steering or the companion app or the lightning bolt for cyclists with power meters, so that others have an idea of who is suffering a little more going up Alpe du Zwift.

  22. Rob Wible

    Thanks for all the hard work!

  23. JR

    I’m surprised you think 5k is a void. That’s about what the Andice L7 costs, and that’s one of the highest quality treadmills you can buy. True is also very, very good in that range.

    Neither really competes on features, though. They’re just no-frills, rock solid machines that last decades.

  24. Andrew

    Is it compatible with any of the lever systems?

  25. Stavvy

    Well, they support the run free mode on third-party apps like Peloton?

    So if I connect my Peloton app to the treadmill, can I just engage run free?

    • Correct, sorta.

      RunFree mode has two elements to it:

      A) Automatic speed control via your body
      B) Emulating the terrain of an app control (FTMS)

      At present, Peloton isn’t sending the terrain commands to any treadmills. So that second piece won’t happen unless they change something, which I suspect is unlikely given the way they stitch together most of their terrain videos. That said, it could be viable for their classes, if they selected to transmit that incline data, but they haven’t to date.

      The other part, controlling speed, yes, will work with the Peloton App. They go that working the day I was there.