Why Ride Indoors?
If your winter riding activities include a bike like this, this post might not be for you. As the winter season arrives, riding our bikes outside becomes more and more difficult. Warm enough clothing can be cumbersome. The rain becomes sleet and snow. Darkness is a much larger portion of our day than in the summer. Many of us change our outdoor activities to stay active. Hiking, cross-country skiing, and shoveling snow can keep us fit, but our body is not on a bike. Even an occasional indoor session to keep the pedaling muscles awake reaps benefits as the days grow longer and summer approaches. Indoor trainers, such as the Wahoo Kick’r line, allow you to focus on the ride in a way that is virtually impossible to replicate outdoors.
What is a Smart Trainer
The development of smart trainers is considered by us to be one of the top innovations of the last 20 years. One of the key features of a smart trainer is that it will adjust the resistance to reflect the percent grade or the power range of a desired workout. A smart trainer will transfer workout data from the resistance unit to a recording device such as a phone or tablet. This data can include speed, power, distance traveled, time riding, virtual climbing feet, and more. A workout app, such as Wahoo X, can transfer these numbers to an app (see below) to control the riders’ avatar. This data can also be stored so the rider can track their workouts. The more accurate the data, the more realistic the responses of the avatar. The Wahoo family of trainers includes five trainers that use your existing bicycle and two indoor cycles that are completely self-contained.
Apps, Apps and More Apps
As much as I like a good plate of Buffalo wings, this is about what training app is suited for you. There are many out there. Some of the more popular ones are Zwift, Rouvy, TrainerRoad, and Kinomap. Each one approaches the process of indoor riding differently. The primary question is what is your goal for your indoor riding? Are you looking to improve your fitness level? Do you need something to keep your mind off of riding inside? On one of the virtual rides, I chased a rider on a cyclocross course on the Kick’r Bike, which is detailed below. The abrupt elevation changes highlighted the ability of the bike to move to the actual grade as the route changed. The activity of the bike and the reality of the course had me trying to lean into the turns. It was a much better experience than riding my old fluid trainer while watching the Celtics. Most apps offer a free trial so you can try a few to see what you find most interesting.
Wahoo Kick’r Snap
The Wahoo Kick’r Snap is the only trainer in the line that uses a resistance unit that applies pressure directly on the tire of the bike. The bike gets attached to the trainer at the rear axle. If the bike does not have a quick release, then an adapter is necessary. This type of resistance unit has the potential to wear out a tire throughout the winter season of riding. The Wahoo Kick’r Snap uses electromagnetic resistance to simulate a climb of up to 12% grade and record power up to 1500 Watts. The Kick’r Snap sells for $399 as of January 2024.
Wahoo Kick’r Roll’r
The Kick’r Roll’r also uses the whole bike during a workout. The Wahoo Roll’r is secured at the front wheel while the rear wheel rolls on two rollers. This allows the back of the bike to move around to mimic some of the motion that riders feel outside. This securing system also allows the rider to simply open a clamp, and remove their bike from the trainer for a ride outdoors. The Wahoo Roll’r does not come with a built-in power meter which limits the information transfered to speed and distance. It is not difficult to add a power meter to an existing bike. By adding a power meter to the training bike, the Wahoo Kick’r Roll’r becomes a fully functional smart trainer. The Kick’r Roll’r lists for $799. It is on sale for $599 as of January 2024.
Wahoo Kick’r Core
This is the type of trainer many people envision when thinking about a smart trainer. With the Wahoo Kick’r Core, the rear wheel is removed from the bicycle and the bike is then installed on the trainer. This system does involve some compatibility confirmation to get it set-up for your bike. However, once done, installing the bike is a pretty straightforward process.
Compared to the Kickr’ Snap, the Wahoo Kick’r Core offers increased stability and a quieter experience that does not wear through tires. While the electromagnetic resistance of the Core is the same 1500 watts as the Snap, the maximum simulated grade is 16% – a significant jump from 12%. The increased grade capability allows the Core to offer a full simulation across more rides. The integrated power meter on the Kick’r core records power (accurate to 2%), speed, cadence, and distance throughout the ride. The Kick’r Core sells for $599 as of January 2024.
The Wahoo Kick’r functions similarly to the Kick’r Core. The mounting process is the same. However, the base folds for storage; is wider and more stable; and has vibration-absorbing bumpers under the feet. The bumpers also allow some side-to-side motion to mimic the feel of riding outside more realistically.
The Wahoo Kick’r uses the same electromagnetic resistance the the Kick’r Core but increases the accuracy of the readings. The power meter is accurate to 1%, the power reading goes up to 2200 watts, and the simulated grade increases to 20%. Additionally, The Wahoo Kick’r adds Wifi connectivity for more accurate and faster data transmission. The Kick’r is a truly “pro” level trainer when it comes to its simulation and workout potential. The Kick’r sells for $1299 as of January 2024.
Wahoo Kick’r Move
The Wahoo Kick’r Move is the new kid on the block. As indoor riding has gained in popularity, more riders wanted to have their trainers move slightly underneath them to simulate the feel of actually riding the bike.
Years ago, the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll fluid trainer introduced “float” based motion into the trainer experience. The Wahoo Kick’r Move is an updated and far more advanced version of this concept.
With the Move, Wahoo took the Kick’r and created a base that has 8″ of fore and aft movement, which can be locked out. The rest of the base is set up like the Kick’r with extra width and feet with adjustable bumpers allowing for side-to-side motion. Since the resistance unit of the Wahoo Kick’r Move is the same as the Wahoo Kick’r, the analytics and range are the same. See the Kick’r Move in action here. The Kick’r move sells for $1599 as of January 2024.
Wahoo Kick’r Bike Shift
The Wahoo Kick’r Bike Shift is the first of the two indoor training bikes that Wahoo offers. Unlike many indoor bikes, the Wahoo bike has virtually unlimited adjustability. With five adjustable points, the bike can be customized for most any rider. Furthermore, this adjustability means that multiple users in a household can easily adjust the bike to their needs. The Wahoo Kick’r Bike Shift uses Wifi and Direct Connect for reliable and fast data transmission. This bike simulates a hearty max grade of 20% while measuring up to 2200 Watts. The Kick’r Bike Shift sells for $2999 as of January 2024.
Wahoo Kick’r Bike
Similar to the Wahoo Kick’r Bike Shift, the Wahoo Kick’r Bike has a very wide range of adjustability. It also uses the same communication process. The data measurement accuracy is the same as well.
This being said, the Kick’r bike stands from the Shift in two ways.
- The Wahoo Kick’r Bike has an enhanced brake and motor over the Wahoo Kick’r Bike Shift which creates a smoother ride experience.
- The Kick’r bike moves as the grade changes. In addition to increasing or decreasing the resistance, the actual angle of the bike changes. When you go up a simulated hill on a ride, the front of the bike rises and when you go down it lowers. This adds realism to the ride and changes how muscles are being engaged during the workout. The Kick’r Bike sells for $3999 as of January 2024.
Wahoo Accessories. What Else Might I Want?
Riding a bicycle generates heat. When you ride inside, there is no breeze to help you cool down. The Wahoo Headwind is a fan that is connected to your heart rate or your trainer and increases the wind speed as you work harder. Having a mat under the bike to absorb sweat is a good way to protect the floor under you as you put in the miles. Wahoo also offers a desk that slides right up to the handlebars of the bike.
Which Trainer is Right for Me
Finally, an answer to the ultimate question, which trainer is right for me? Just like which app is best, there are many choices. How much resistance is appropriate? Do I have a set budget? Do I want to take the bike on and off of the trainer or not? Or do I want to let my bike have a break for the winter and use an Indoor training bike? These are just a few of the items to consider.
As an independent dealer of multiple trainer brands, we offer an independent perspective. We’re happy to talk through the options and help you find a great trainer from Wahoo, TACX and others. Click here to let us help you navigate the trainer options.