First, Wahoo offers three distinct trainers that suit every kind of rider and budget, using what Wahoo calls flywheel technology. This unshakeable steel mechanization is bridled by an electromagnetic brake that gives you the resistance required to generate power and maintain inertia. All three Wahoo trainers are designed with this technology; it’s the size and weight of the wheel that varies. Let’s take a closer look at how these three trainers compare:
Wahoo KICKR SNAP
KICKR SNAP is the most budget-friendly of the three, but don’t be fooled by the “lower” price tag: this mid-range, 5-star-rated, wheel-on Smart Power Trainer makes set-up essentially effortless (hence the name), with convenient LED lights that confirm connection. The electronically controlled flywheel technology simulates the feeling of the open road—sans the potholes and on-coming traffic. Like Wahoo’s newer trainers (more below), SNAP is ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible, making it compatible to most likely any preexisting sensors you might want to pair with it, and the ANT+ FE-C support means if you don’t happen to own one of Wahoo’s ELEMNT cycling computers, the SNAP will still run from any FE-C-enabled device.
Training-wise, SNAP doesn’t disappoint. Like all of Wahoo’s trainers, it’s designed to connect to a large scope of 3rd party apps—including Strava, Zwift and TrainerRoad—for a virtual training experience that feels surprisingly framed in reality, since SNAP automatically adjusts your resistance to match any new terrains you encounter while virtual cycling. Pair that with the +/-3% accuracy and KICKR SNAP makes for a quiet, stable trainer that propels you to new victories...or in the very least, gets you on your bike when Mother Nature might dictate otherwise.
Wahoo KICKR CORE—NEW
This all-new trainer from Wahoo addresses the need for a direct drive trainer that’s more powerful, accurate and compatible than other trainers in its price range (CORE is priced at $899.99), with just a few compromises when compared to the next-level KICKR. With 1800 watts of power, an accuracy that matches KICKR’s +/-2% and full compatibility (130/135 QR, 12x142 and 12x148 Thru Axle), CORE provides the experience you’re seeking with the renowned ruggedness and stability that Wahoo has built its name on.
With just a few tradeoffs—you’ll need to be handy enough that you can install an 8/9/10/11 cassette (not included) and assemble the trainer and the frame is non-adjustable —CORE exists for cyclists who want a real-feel ride without exceeding the $1000 mark.
Wahoo KICKR—CIRCA 2018
The fourth generation in its class*, the all-new KICKR—the most advanced of Wahoo’s newly enhanced line of trainers—emerges with a heftier steel flywheel, amped-up wattage and, perhaps the most significant change, a much quieter ride, which can, in part, be credited to a revamped belt drive. According to Wahoo, the one snafu with the Gen 2 KICKR was the noise factor, which they’re now confident has been rectified in the new KICKR.
Arguably the sturdiest of the Wahoo’s trainers, KICKR is designed for heavy use over the long-haul, with a carbon steel body and 16 lb steel flywheel (weighing in at 4 pounds more than the Gen 3 KICKR) that sustains the true unyielding reinforcement you need to really crank out the most challenging of rides...up to 2200 watts to be precise (versus 2000 watts in its Gen 3 predecessor). Speaking of precision, KICKR still delivers its incredible +/- 2% power algorithm for incredible precision and its electromagnetic technology will match the resistance of up to a 20% incline and -10% decline (pair with KICKR CLIMB—below—for the ultimate ascent/descent experience). Finally, the new KICKR still comes equipped with an 11-speed cassette plus an RPM cadence sensor. A direct drive trainer that stands up to some serious sweat and tears (blood optional), you can be confident that the investment you make will be for a lifetime, as KICKR is in all sense of the word the Holy Grail of trainers.
*The original KICKR was released in 2013, followed by the next generations of KICKR, which you likely own if you purchased KICKR starting in September 2017. The all-new KICKR described above is set to ship beginning in early July with your pre-order.
KICKR CLIMB Indoor Grade Simulator—NOW AVAILABLE
Compatible only with all Wahoo trainers produced since September 2017*, the KICKR CLIMB takes you beyond the mere resistance of a hill or more rugged terrain by partnering with your trainer to actually raise and lower your bike. These gradient changes will automatically sync to your chosen virtual reality environment or a favorite route on your paired ELEMNT cycling computer to mimic the genuine feel and resistance of whatever you’re seeing on screen, creating new possibilities for training that aren’t limited to where you live. Use the included remote in the “lock” position to direct grades on your own.
To be clear, let’s examine what CLIMB can achieve with each Wahoo trainer:
- Wahoo Snap: up to a 12% incline and -10% decline
- Wahoo Core: up to a 16% incline and -10% decline
- Wahoo KICKR: up to a 20% incline and -10% decline
We should note that while CLIMB is not a new idea (it's been viewable on our site since last year) it is now available...great news for many of our eager fans who’ve been patiently waiting—and almost at a superhuman capacity. We hear you, and we’re excited to start shipping this mean machine out!
*This excludes the original KICKR, sold at Clever Training 2013-August 2017, as well as the Black Friday 2016 Special Sale.
KICKR HEADWIND—ALL NEW
Designed to deliver the truest feel of the open road and keep you cool in your otherwise stagnant pain cave, this smart fan doesn’t just circulate the air—it generates lifelike headwinds of up to 30mph that vary in accordance to your paired speed sensor or heart rate monitor (HEADWIND also connects directly to your smart trainer). Engineered specifically for cyclists, the HEADWIND aims at the exact position of your body while cycling, so no wind isn’t misdirected. Use the Wahoo app to manually control the 4 preprogrammed speeds that include low, medium low, medium high and high.
This ANT+ and Bluetooth smart fan also connects to similarly connected units for a truly universal use.
OTHER NOTABLE ACCESSORIES
Wahoo’s sensors, monitors and computers aren’t quite brand spanking new, but as you outfit your indoor/outdoor cycling experience, keep these tools in mind:
ELEMNT Cycling Computer Series - For at-a-glance wireless performance monitoring with turn-by-turn navigation.
TICKR Heart Rate Monitor Series - Track your heart rate and reps, plus get advanced dynamics if you run in addition to cycling.
RPM Cadence Sensor - Wireless, magnet-free and low profile, this sensor is both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ compatible.
Blue SC - Get your speed and cadence via this wireless tool that is Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ compatible.
RPM Speed Sensor - Know your speed via this wireless, magnet-free speed sensor that is Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ compatible.
KICKR Training Desk - Doubles as a fully-adjustable indoor cycling AND standing desk to support all of your cycling or at-home office accessories—including the new KICKR Headwind.
KICKR Training Mat - This anti-slip, waterproof mat is designed for some serious sweat—and helps absorb noise.