WAHOO KICKR CORE – PRODUCT REVIEW

Shaun George BOTS Guides, Reviews

Along with it’s bigger brother, we got a chance to test out the Wahoo Kickr Core for a few days. We put the Kickr Core through its paces and found out why it’s one of the best selling smart trainers here in the Indian market. As far as indoor trainers go, the Kickr Core is currently one of the best, most value-for-money trainers out there.

The new Kickr Core is Wahoo’s way of filling the gap inbetween the top-of-the-line Kickr and the lower spec wheel-on counterpart, the Snap. That there is the recipe for a perfect indoor trainer for everyone. It’s slightly less nifty (feature wise) than the Kickr but is still a solid direct drive trainer for the money.

WHY WAHOO?

Most good-quality trainers cost a hefty sum – when investing your hard-earned money on a trainer, why not buy from the best?

Haven’t heard much about the brand? Let’s take a quick dive into what Wahoo’s all about.

Wahoo is a highly respected name in the indoor trainer industry, and it’s something that’s been proven with a cult-like following all around the world by all kinds of athletes – from the top athletes out there to regular weekend warriors keen to expand and improve upon their passion for cycling.

Wahoo has built a reputation through its incredibly high performing products that are super reliable and very well built. After-sales services is another aspect where you don’t need to worry about investing in a Wahoo product. They’ve got your back! All Wahoo trainers have a 1-year warranty from the date of purchase.

FEATURES

Think of the Kickr Core as a slightly stripped down version of the Kickr. Most people won’t even be able to tell them apart. For the average Joe, there isn’t much reason to pay the extra bucks (significant) and go for the Kickr. The Kickr Core alone is good enough for most folks to train if they’re not looking to get too competitive.

Let’s get right to it. The Kickr Core like its bigger sibling, is a direct drive indoor trainer. The flywheel is at 5.4kg on the Core which isn’t as burly as the 7.3kg flywheel on the Kickr.

A heavier flywheel is always better for a more realistic ride feel, but in reality, between the Kickr and the Kickr Core, it was hard to notice the difference when testing these two trainers back-to-back. Ride quality was equally as good on both trainers.

To help keep the prices in check, the unit’s legs are fixed and need to be bolted on out of the box. It’s a simple job that only takes a few minutes, and you only need to do it once. After construction the legs fold in slightly for storage.

The Core itself works up to a maximum gradient of 16% gradient – again, it will automatically adjust the resistance according to the gradient of the virtual road you are riding i.e if you use it with interactive training apps such as Zwift.

PERFORMANCE

Performance accuracy is again quite comparable with the Kickr. Even during high power outputs, the Core doesn’t struggle to keep up and display accurate readings.

Wahoo’s claimed power accuracy for the Kickr Core is the same as the top-end Kickr at +/- 2 %. At certain times you may notice a stutter or so in readings when you’re going all out but this doesn’t happen too often.

If we were to really nit-pick, we’d say that the feeling of inertia seemed a little off when rpm changes were made suddenly. The trainer was also slightly slow (0.5-1sec) to display power reading changes on Zwift. This isn’t something you will notice riding every day. We had to look out real hard to find these minor niggles. I’m sure this will be rectified by Wahoo in subsequent software updates.

When it comes to noise levels. Apart from the slight hum and the usual drivetrain noise you’re not going to be able to hear a thing. Trust us when we say it’s one of the quietest indoor trainers in the market. When you stop pedaling, you hear the freehub sound as you normally would out on the road.

TOP TIP: For the best accuracy and reliability we recommend performing the “spin-down” or calibration before a ride.

COMPATIBILITY

The Core is super versatile. It works directly with quick-release axles but also comes with adaptors for 12 x 142mm and 12 x 148mm thru-axles in the box. Unlike there Kickr there’s no cassette included.

Compatibility across a variety of frame and wheel sizes is a hallmark with the Wahoo trainers. It can also accommodate almost all road and mountain bike wheel sizes (24-inch, 650c, 700c; 24-inch, 650b, and 29er).

In terms of app compatibility, setup is quick and simple – it only takes a few minutes using the Wahoo Fitness App to adjust the settings to match your bike; for example, your bike’s wheel diameter.

Everything connects quickly and easily via Ant+ and Bluetooth, and works easily with third-party apps. The trainer paired instantly with Zwift, which we used for testing.

The Core is one of the most widely supported trainers out there, from an application standpoint. There are almost no apps that don’t support it.  Every major one does, and usually across both ANT+ & Bluetooth variants.  Zwift and TrainerRoad as our two main apps (which are the two main apps most of use) which we found to be working really well with the Kickr. We didn’t notice any compatibility issues. Everything was super quick and hassle-free to use. Kudos to Wahoo for a smooth user interface!

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight: 18kg
Accuracy: +/- 2%
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 & ANT+
Max Resistance: 1800 Watts
Max gradient simulation: 16%
Flywheel: 5.4kg
Thru-axle compatible:
Yes


Being the more budget-friendly option, there isn’t much that the Kickr Core misses out on. The Core is very well specced and is a good example of trickle-down technology from the higher-end models. One of the best trainers we’ve reviewed!

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