The Wahoo Kickr

The world is full of a lot of smart things nowadays. From smart phones to smart watches, smart TVs and even smart cars. Well, as a triathlete, unless you have been living under a rock, you would be all too aware of ‘smart trainers’ as well, and more specifically the leader of the pack – the Wahoo Kickr. Don’t ask me why they spell kicker without the ‘e’, they just do.

Now, just like a good smart phone, the Wahoo Kickr has quickly moved onto generation two. Simply known as the ‘New Kickr’, there are a few small functional changes, and one big new handle. Trust me when I say the handle is a welcome addition and will save your shins a lot of grief when moving this somewhat heavy indoor trainer. The other upgrades we will mention as we go along. For now, what is the Kickr and should you be using one?

What ever it is, trainers have always had this image of being a necessary evil rather than an important training tool. 

One of the things about triathletes is we, as a collective, love new technology and gadgets – we can’t get enough of them. New Garmin? Gotta have it. New, aero trisuit? Gotta have it. New, go fast laces? Gotta have them too. That is unless it is a trainer. While you will see the Pro’s banging out quality sessions on a trainer, the vast majority of age group triathletes just don’t like them. The reasons vary from “too unrealistic”, “boring”, “I just have to be in the fresh air” to “I just hate them”. What ever it is, trainers have always had this image of being a necessary evil rather than an important training tool.

Well, it’s time for the smart trainer to become the next must-have gadget; and the Wahoo Kickr is front and centre. So, what sets the Kickr apart from your old clunky windtrainer? Well, for starters, it is direct drive, which means you remove your rear wheel and the trainer mounts directly to your drive chain – you literally attach the trainer to your bike in place of the rear wheel. The biggest benefit of this is a much more road-like feel when doing a session on the trainer and no destruction of your rear tyre. LeMond was the first brand to really bring this style of trainer to the every day masses five or six years ago, and the Kickr is just the next step in the evolution of the direct mount trainer. It allows you not only to train with power but to control it as well, via any number of Apps available to download. Depending on which Apps you decide you want to control your Kickr with, you will be able to do preset sessions based off your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) or input your own sessions, or even just free ride to what ever power zones you wish. And if it’s company you want, well all you need is to hook your Kickr up to the Zwift App and you will be transported to a virtual world with hundreds of other riders. The virtual world of Zwift is so advanced that there are organised rides, and races, which you can join on a daily basis. There really is no end to the things you can do to keep motivated while using a Kickr.

There really is no end to the things you can do to keep motivated while using a Kickr.If it’s hills you need, well you can hit the slopes of Watopia, on Zwift, and the Kickr will simulate gradients of up to 20%. One of the features of the new Kickr is the increase from a maximum gradient of 15% to 20%. If you are after boosting your power output, the Kickr can handle it up to 2000W, so knock yourself out. It is also relatively quiet compared to old style trainers, with the new Kickr being even quieter than the generation one Kickr. In fact 15% quieter, according to Wahoo. You also stay just as connected as you are when on the road, with full integration to your devices such as Garmin, heart rate monitors and computers via Bluetooth and Ant+. And if you need to track your sessions, you can set up your Kickr to transfer your rides straight to your TrainingPeaks or Strava accounts. Because we all know, if it’s not on Strava it never really happened.

With so many Apps available to enhance and aid the experience, such as TrainingPeaks, Zwift and Full Gaz to name a few, indoor trainers, which have traditionally been used on poor weather days, or by time poor athletes, are now an important training tool. The convenience of being able to push out a quality session guided by your specific power profile and without the junk miles is invaluable, and far out ways the somewhat gulp-worthy price point of around $1500.

So, don’t let that time-poor parent or weather-shy athlete get the upper hand on you. Consider the advantages of the Wahoo Kickr when looking at your next high tech gadget purchase. You won’t be disappointed.

To purchase a Kickr head to for your nearest stockist. 




Craig McKenzie and Patrick Legge are The Test Lab. Two guys with an obsession for trialling all things related to swimming, riding and running and telling anyone who will listen what they think. Having 20 years each in the sport, they’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, but always loved the innovation triathlon brings to the world stage. Craig raced as a professional triathlete, winning 4 National Duathlon titles, and has worked as an exercise physiologist, osteopath and coach, while Pat has built a career running a personal training, massage and coaching business, working with State, Australian and World Champions, including Australian Olympic and Commonwealth squads whilst competing himself.

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