Wahoo Kickr’s new smart trainer has a connection boost

Wahoo has released its new live smart trainer: the sixth generation Wahoo Kickr. The unit from the Atlanta-based company comes with three new features. Most notable is its ability to transfer data over Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth or ANT+. The new Kickr Bike has the same connectivity as the trainer. The two also have the latest upgrades, like an erg easy ramp and a built-in odometer.

Send data to your router

While Bluetooth and ANT+ are ubiquitous among cycling peripherals. They’re great for devices running out of metal-cell batteries, but these protocols have limits on the amount of data they can charge. With your home trainer, you have alternating current coming out of your walls, and Wi-Fi throughout your home. Wahoo says that Wi-Fi can get onscreen stats (for Wahoo X, Zwift, Rouvy, etc.) offering 65 percent faster. The information that controls the coach is also transmitted via TCP/IP.

Another advantage, if you’re an Apple TV user, is that switching to Wi-Fi frees up the limited number of Bluetooth connections available through that service. You will have room for a heart rate monitor.

Wi-Fi also facilitates firmware updates. If you have a 6th generation Wahoo Kickr, updates will happen automatically overnight, as long as the unit is plugged in. If, like my grandmother used to with almost all electrical appliances, I unplug everything when it’s not in use, and then start up, Kickr will check for and install any updates. “It takes a few seconds,” says Tyler Harris, product manager for Wahoo. “Even before you start riding, it’s refreshed and ready to go.”

I generally use a Windows laptop with an ANT+ dongle to connect to virtual riding environments. The Bluetooth connection is fine on my computer, but not great. I am keen to try out the Wi-Fi feature because this service works all the time. (I’m not like my grandmother.)
New Wi-Fi-based features will be rolled out later this training season. “Connection gives us a complete roadmap of the offerings we will be able to deliver this fall,” Harris says.

Both the Kickr Trainer and Kickr Bike come with a Wahoo port for direct connection. This feature is intended for riders who require the rock-solid bond provided by a wire. Harris thinks Wi-Fi will work for most of us, but direct connectivity is there when speed and data accuracy matter.

Wahoo’s erg easy slope

Harris describes the easy erg slope through a scenario. “You’re doing a structured workout. You’re on a tough time slot, 270 watts,” he says. Then you realize you forgot your water bottle or forgot to turn on the counterwind. So, you pause and then resume your workout. Kickr and your workout are waiting for you to get back to 270 W. It can be hard to get back to that goal in a few seconds because Kickr is trying to get you to 270 W No matter what your tempo.” The erg easy ramp feature allows you to easily reach that interval, allowing you to build your own tempo.

Your knees will thank you.

odometer

The odometer built into the sixth generation of Kickr and the new Kickr bike will allow you to keep track of your miles. This can help you stay on top of maintenance. If you put a lot of flicks in your chain all winter, you’ll likely replace them before hitting the road in the spring.
Also, if you find yourself shopping for a used sixth-generation Kickr bike or a second-generation Kickr bike, you can see how much its previous owner rode. So many kilometers on this machine? Well, then maybe the seller can lower the price a little.

Wahoo kicker, sixth generation, facts and figures

flywheel 7 kg
Accuracy +/- 1 percent
Maximum power resistance 2,200 watts
Max degree 20 percent
Connection Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT +, FE-C, Direct Connection
Compatibility Apple, Android and Windows
Rear wheel size Route: 24, 650c, 700c; MTB: 24, 26, 27.5″, 29
cassette (included) 11 speed, 11-28 tooth Shimano. Compatible with Shimano 12 speed. SRAM or Campagnolo freehubs are required to play those cassettes.
price 1880 USD

Wahoo Kickr Bike, 2nd Generation, Facts and Figures

flywheel 6 kg
Accuracy +/- 1 percent
Maximum power resistance 2500 watts
Max degree +20 percent / -15 pecs
Connection Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT +, FE-C, Direct Connection
Compatibility Apple, Android and Windows
resistance type Electromagnetic with servo motor
Weight 42 kg
Max passenger weight 113 kg
power requirements 100-240V, 50/60Hz, 2.5A max
price $5300

Availability of Wahoo Kickr and Wahoo Kickr Bike

Wahoo Kickr is now available. Find a Wahoo Kickr Bike in two to three weeks. (Ports—still very crowded.)

Wahoo Kickr Bike Gen Two