PRODUCT REVIEW – WAHOO KICKR BIKE

Wahoo’s Kickr Bike is the latest and greatest flagship product to hit the market in 2021 in India! We’ve had the chance to spend time with a few of them up close and personal, and boy oh boy is it something special!

Unlike other trainers, the Kickr Bike is in and of itself a bike. Gone are the days of constantly setting up your bike on and off your trainer for your Zwift rides!

The Kickr Bike comes with mind-boggling specs and capabilities which were previously unachievable with traditional smart-trainers.

WAHOO KICKR BIKE INDOOR SET UP

The unit we received was a retail model of the Kickr Bike, which came packed in a large, well-protected cardboard box, with beautiful branding which makes you want to not touch the box at all.

Inside the unit comes disassembled, with the main bike unit as one part, the handlebars another, and lastly the legs of the bike, along with the pedals need to be attached.

Assembling the bike completely will require some manpower help as the unit itself is quite heavy and you will be required to tip over the bike to install the legs to the unit.

The installation of the handlebars and the pedals is typical of a bike setup. The entire process should take you a maximum of 25 minutes to set up. For an in-depth installation check out DCRainmaker’s Unboxing and Setup!

The set up process is made possible via the Wahoo app.

To set up fit, you can do one of the following – with the options listed in order of expected accuracy:

  • Enter measurements from a bike fit (Retül, Trek Precision or Guru),
  • Take a photo of a bike that fits well and mark out key points
  • Enter your body measurements

The app then spits out simple instructions which are easy to follow using the ruler markers on the bike.

TOP 3 FEATURES OF THE KICKR BIKE

The real-time grade changes will match ascents of up to 20% and descents of -15%. The incline grade is definitely good with 20% being one of the highest we’ve seen.

The Wahoo Kickr bike has a promised power meter accuracy range of +/- 1%, which is by far one of the highest power accuracies in the trainer market currently.

The virtual shifting technology is programmable to match the exact gear ratios, a number of speeds, cassette tooth count, and groupset from all leading manufacturers, namely, SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

In this review, we will be focusing on 5 factors about the Kickr Bike;

  • Type of Resistance Unit
  • Power Accuracy & Ride Feel
  • Connectivity
  • Portability
  • Budget

1. TYPE OF RESISTANCE UNIT

The Kickr bike utilises a 5.9kg electromagnetic flywheel to provide a realistic ride feel.

Electromagnetic resistance means that adjustments to the motor happen instantly – as opposed to magnets physically moving towards and away from the flywheel to adjust the braking force.

This means that changes in resistance are much quicker – which is better when mimicking the hills of Zwift as well as reacting during sprint sessions.

2. POWER ACCURACY & RIDE FEEL

The Wahoo Kickr has a promised power meter accuracy range of +/- 1%, which is by far one of the highest power accuracies in the trainer market currently.

This refers to how accurate the power meter is to itself – so for example, 250 watts on my Wahoo Kickr Bike test unit should read anywhere between 247 and 252 watts at any given time.

The Kickr Bike maxes out at 2200 Watts which is more than any of us can even dream of achieving. The noise levels are extremely low. Lower than we’ve seen on traditional trainers. This is thanks to the internalised build of the bike, which has no exposed drivetrain, making everything buttery smooth and quiet.

The real-time grade changes will match ascents of up to 20% and descents of -15%. The incline grade is definitely good with 20% being one of the highest we’ve seen.

With this serving the purpose of increased resistance while pedalling to replicate ascents, the negative 15% descent doesn’t really do much from a performance training perspective, but it’s great just because it adds that extra element which you never get otherwise.

You can’t quite get a downhill trainer simulation better than what the Kickr Bike has to offer!

3. CONNECTIVITY

The Kickr Bike supports both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart power broadcasting, inclusive of cadence data

The Wahoo Fitness app will guide you through an easy set-up of the five points of adjustability on the Kickr Bike. Choose from either using professional bike fit measurements, taking a photo to measure your bike or entering body measurements to personalize the fit to the exact geometry of your outdoor bike.

The Kickr Bike can also be customized with your own handlebars, pedals, and saddle.

The Kickr Bike seamlessly integrates with other Wahoo products and easily pairs to your ELEMNT GPS bike computer, smartphone, tablet, or PC. As with all Wahoo smart trainers, the Kickr Bike is compatible with the most popular training apps such as The Sufferfest, Zwift, TrainerRoad and more!

The virtual shifting technology of the Kickr Bike is programmable to match the exact gear ratios, a number of speeds, cassette tooth count, and groupset from all leading manufacturers, namely, SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo. A digital display clearly communicates both gearing and grade so you always know where you are during every stage of the ride.

One major gripe we have is the absence of a tablet/phone holder, or even a clip on table. This would have made keepinig your screen in front of you while on your Zwift rides an absolute breeze.

Instead, we’re forced to park up against a table so we can have something to hold our laptop or phones. I’m sure third-party companies will find a solution for this, but it’s a shame that Wahoo seemed to overlook such a fundamental aspect of indoor training.

4. PORTABILITY

The Kickr Bike makes its presence felt. Similar to that of a spin machine at the gym, the Kickr Bike occupies a similar footprint, except for the fact that it is a beautiful piece of art compared to the god awful ones at the gym.

At a mighty 42kgs, the Kickr Bike is definately not easy to move. However the addition of two wheels at the tips of the rear legs allow for the entire bike to be tilted upwards and rolled.

This is create if you need to move your Kickr Bike from time to time, but we’ve noticed it’s only easy to move if you[re moving the bike backwards. As the wheels are uncooperative in any other direction.

Given that it’s an all-in-one trainer bike, this heft will allow for more stability and confidence when pushing to the limit on the bike. So it’s best to factor in a permanent location for your Kickr Bike, else you’ll be in for an extra workout.

5. BUDGET

The Kickr Bike does not come across as cheap. Especially when you compare it with the likes of other high-end smart trainers in the market which can cost half the price of the Kickr bike.

BUT like some of our Kickr bike customers recommedned, there are a few reasons a Kickr bike might make a lot of sense

  • Its performance is unmatched and experiences second to none
  • Is a great option especially if there are multiple users at home. You can avoid the constant shuffling of bikes on and off trainers
  • Don’t need to keep spare tires, spare wheels, or a spare bike just for training

If you’re one of those that demand the best when it comes to indoor cycling, you’ve reached the end of the road! The Wahoo Kickr bike is hard to beat.

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