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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