Today, Wahoo announced new (read: updated) indoor trainers in the form of the V6 Kickr Trainer and the second generation Kickr Bike. The announcements come as Wahoo Fitness celebrates the 10th anniversary of the original live Kickr trainer, and is making additional updates to Wahoo’s already extensive indoor training system.
Both new trainers are upgrades to existing hardware rather than complete overhauls, with Wahoo focusing heavily on improving the rider’s indoor training experience with improved connectivity and an easier ERG mode restart. Indeed, visually, the new trainers are hardly distinguishable from their older counterparts, but these updates that can provide significant advantages to users of any of the devices and are a sign of things to come from other manufacturers.
One of the most important updates is the inclusion of WiFi connectivity to improve connection stability and faster data transfer in both coaches.
Despite recent developments in coaches, power meters, and online training programs, contact dropouts are still plagued by numerous in-house races and tours. Wahoo tackled the problem first with a file Kicker Direct Connect Wired resolved last year. Direct Connect certainly improves connection stability, but it also brought a heavy dose of extra cable clutter into the internal mix. Now, with WiFi connectivity hidden in the new trainers, Wahoo claims to have incorporated the same connection stability as a wired direct connection, with all the convenience of a wireless setup.
The benefits extend beyond invisible communications. Wahoo claims that the new WiFi connection results in 65% faster data transfer, which means your watts reach your avatar faster. This may sound silly, but think about how fast you could get into the super tuck if your avatar knew you stopped pedaling a split second earlier.
On top of that, both trainers will now update seamlessly in the background, which means riders will always have the latest firmware updates without having to remember — or bother — to open the Wahoo app and update the trainer manually. The WiFi connection also allows for real-time troubleshooting with the Wahoo customer support team, should you encounter difficulties with any of the new devices.
Wahoo has kept the RJ11 port on the Kickr trainer, which means riders can still choose the Direct Connect wired connection if they wish. The redesigned “Power Braid” brings Direct Connect to the Kickr Bike for the first time, and means Direct Connect links directly to the new bike without the extension cable required with the Kickr trainer. All that said, Wahoo suggests that the WiFi connection is actually a bit faster than a wired direct connection, and as such, it seems unlikely that riders will return to Direct Connect if the WiFi connection proves as successful as Wahoo hopes.
One minor cause for concern is Wahoo’s decision to choose the 2.4GHz WiFi frequency. Sure, 2.4GHz has its benefits, such as a much greater range than its 5GHz counterpart, but it’s also more susceptible to interference from other devices and frequencies. As such, it remains to be seen if 2.4GHz WiFi will actually provide improved connection stability in crowded environments and homes.
Tyler Harris, product manager for Wahoo Cycling, explained that Wahoo “explored several different types of WiFi chips ranging from 2.4 GHz to 5. In our tests, we found the 2.4 GHz chip used in new devices to be the most reliable with multiple configurations.” They also found that “not all networks support 5GHz yet, so the inclusion of a 5GHz chip still requires an additional 2.4GHz chip, which can complicate the setup process.”
We have both the V6 Kickr Trainer and the V2 Kickr Bike to review, so we’ll get to know the new connection ourselves in the coming weeks.
The latest release for both trainers also introduces Wahoo’s new ERG Easy Ramp. As many riders know, in ERG mode, the trainer automatically adjusts the resistance to help the rider maintain a constant wattage. Many riders love the simplicity of the ERG because it allows the trainer to do all the focus, while the athlete can focus simply on turning the pedals. As long as the rider continues to pedal, the trainer will ensure they are hitting their target wattage.
This becomes a problem when the rider stops pedaling or gets stuck in a gear that is too large. Anyone who has used an ERG can attest to how difficult it is to get back in if the interval is interrupted. Wahoo’s new ERG Easy Ramp gradually restores the rider to his target strength over a 10-second period after the break, meaning the rider has time to rise to his preferred tempo.
Ex-Kickrs and other savvy trainers usually provide more abrupt re-applications of resistance and make it nearly impossible to start the interval smoothly.
In other good news, Wahoo ERG Easy Ramp will be rolling out to Kickr V5.4, 3, Kickr Bike V1 and other compatible trainers through a firmware update in the coming months.
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Finally, both new coaches also include an odometer to track the miles traveled by the coach. Of course, almost any online training platform will provide some cumulative time or distance on the platform, which may or may not correlate with the time spent by a particular trainer, depending on how many machines the rider used at that time. By including the odometer on new coaches, Wahoo now offers riders the option to track mileage and, as such, the coach’s service periods.
Perhaps most interestingly, riders who shop in the used trainer market can now objectively measure how to do so. used The coach does a simple check of how many miles he’s covered, and he’s not going anywhere at all.
No word yet on whether the new Wahoo odometer can be registered similar to the shady used cars.
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Otherwise, it’s a lot like the trainer and the new bike. As mentioned earlier, the new trainers are almost identical to the existing ones, and the expanded feature list is more or less identical to the new ones.
For Kickr Bike, this means claimed power gauge accuracy +/- 1%, 13 lb (5.9 kg) flywheel with improved drivetrain, and integrated stepping simulator capable of inclines up to +20% and all the way up to -15%, true to fit shape Adjustable geometry with quick-release levers for quick setup changes, and programmable controls to suit out-group kits. One upgrade to the bike is a new 2,500 watts of maximum resistance, for the lucky few who might even get close to those numbers.
Wahoo expects the new Kickr Bike to be available within the coming weeks, priced at $4,000 / £3,500 / AU$6,300 / €4,000.
The Kickr trainer has undoubtedly proven to be one of the most popular trainers on the market in the 10 years since it was first revealed, and other than the previously mentioned updates, Wahoo has wisely stuck to this winning formula. The V6 Kickr Trainer carries the same Kickr riding feel, Kickr Axis feet, auto-calibration and 2,200 watts of resistance as found on the Kickr V5. The V6 now adds WiFi and Easy ERG mode to improve your indoor riding experience.
Wahoo says the new Kickr V6 is now available at $1,300 / £1,100 / AU$1,300 / €1,300.
Wahoo’s new trainers come exactly a week after Zwift unveiled its first foray into the hardware market with the new Live Driving Instructor Zwift Hub. While the new trainers from Zwift Hub and Wahoo are arguably targeting the opposite ends of the in-house trainer market, much has been made of Zwift’s long-awaited transition into the hardware space and how existing manufacturers like Wahoo might interact. So far, Zwift and Wahoo (and every other coach manufacturer) have largely relied on and benefited from each other’s existence. This appears to be changing.
You could argue that Wahoo fired the audience’s first official shot at the internship market battle, first Systm training application And recently with the acquisition of RGT . Virtual World Platform. Wahoo’s goal is to create the “world’s most complete training app” and combine the two apps to create the Wahoo Systm X subscription platform, which quickly became Zwift’s biggest competitor.
Now, the two experts in their respective hardware and software fields, Wahoo and Zwift, are converging on the same overall middle ground. Wahoo has a comprehensive ecosystem with a wide variety of trainers and trainer accessories, not to mention their variety. Element Head Units And the Speedplay Powerlink Zero powermeter pedals, which may give it an edge in the combined indoor and outdoor solution.
On the other hand, Zwift currently only has one hardware offering, but it is arguably the most complete and popular virtual world platform. It’s unclear which manufacturers will win in the long term, but as the market warms in the short term, we might be the users that benefit the most.
Zwift appears intent on revolutionizing the market with a new, low-priced live driving coach, which we hope will drive down prices overall…even if this is 2022, the year of price hikes and a cost-of-living crisis. Meanwhile, if Wahoo’s new updates for new Kickr trainers prove to be as good as they look on paper, they are exactly the kind of updates we want to see in a new trainer.
Arguably, we didn’t have to wait until 2022 to introduce WiFi, but bet the lowest dollar, and now that Wahoo has finally introduced it, many other manufacturers will follow. It’s to Wahoo’s credit that they are apparently trying to make it easier for other manufacturers to do this, publicly showing off the trainer’s WiFi protocol to other manufacturers.
Equally, ERG Easy Ramp, which seems straightforward to implement. The “ERG death spiral” has killed many courses over the past decade, so a fix for it is long overdue. Kudos to Wahoo for finally addressing the issue, but again, it seems reasonable to wonder why we had to wait so long.
Wahoo Kickr first started 10 years ago internships and revolutionized the direct driving instructor. Today’s WiFi and Easy ERG updates aren’t worrisome news, arguably long overdue, but again, kudos to Wahoo and hopefully these updates are a sign of things to come.
Let’s hope 10 years from now we’ll look back on today’s news as the start of a new revolution. A revolution that has brought us from a time when brands were simply pumping out more and more live driving coach options to a time when brands are resting on what they have and actually improving their existing options with purposeful, passenger-centric updates that enhance the experience.
More information is available at Wahoofitness.com