Highly Anticipated: Acquired Wahoo Kickr 2016

Today was the day to pick up the much anticipated Wahoo Kickr. I ordered it off of REI’s site and opted to have it sent to the store in SoHo instead of being charged the extra $75 for oversized shipping. Being an REI member, I’ll be receiving 10% back for my annual dividend in early 2017.

Originally the trainer was supposed to arrive earlier today, but for some reason I didn’t receive any notifications, nor did the REI site allow me to track the shipment because that isn’t something that’s offered for items that are shipped directly to the store. The real “kicker” (pun intended) was that I found out they actually had the Wahoo in stock, on the floor the whole time. Due to the fact that the Wahoo Kickr in the mail was linked to my name and card, I had to wait for that one to arrive.

No worries though, the manager over at REI, Heidi, was super friendly and took a look at the inventory on the truck that had arrive at 8pm this evening, and confirmed my Kickr was on there. She was accommodating and said that I could pick it up before they close at 9:00pm.

Waiting patiently at REI for the truck pallets to be unloaded.
Waiting patiently at REI for the truck pallets to be unloaded.

 

 

Long story short, I signed off for the Wahoo and decided to take the subway back to Queens with it.

Little did I realize how rough carrying an oversized 51lb box would be through the subway system. Thankfully it was late on a Monday night, so there weren’t too many people crowding the trains. It was more or less seamless until I got off the subway. It’s usually a 10 minute walk for me, but I figured I should call an Uber just to be safe. For some reason the app wasn’t working properly and I took that as a sign that I should carry the box back to the apartment. We’ll call it my upper body workout for the day.

 

Ikea bag covering the Kickr box.
I tried covering the box in an Ikea bag, but it wasn’t big enough unfortunately.

 

Unboxing Sequence: Wahoo Kickr

I know that there have been a ton of unboxing pictures and videos released for this new Kickr, but I figured it would be a rite of passage to do my own. There’s a clear warning right from the outset to not use the Kickr at the default setting which is intended for MTB 24 / 650C wheels.

Kickr Box

 

 

Kick Box MTB Setting Warning.

 

 

Unboxing the Kickr.

 

Of course, I had to get a banana for scale. As you can truly see, the Kickr does not take up a whole lot of space when it’s folded up. It’s heavy, yes, but pretty compact! Very easy to store, which was a big plus in my book. I did have to make some minor adjustments to the wing leg heights as I noticed my floor was a bit un-even. This was really easy to do and quite intuitive.

 

Wahoo Kickr, Banana for Scale.

 

 

Kickr opened up.

 

Crank it up logo

 

 

Our puppy was pretty leery about the Wahoo at first, as he seems to be going through a second fear period (he’s almost exactly 12 months old now). He had no idea what it was, and it sure looked strange. So naturally, he hid under the table.

Fox leery of the Wahoo Kickr.

 

It’s worth noting that the Kickr isn’t exceptionally loud, much quieter than I expected and the pitch is not irritating! The loudest noise it really makes, I felt, was when I was coasting. Then again, I’m someone in the 16mph range on the flats, so I’m sure it’ll get louder as my speed increases. The sound actually was really soothing for my dog, who fell promptly asleep!

 

For additional reference, I thought that DC Rainmaker did a phenomenal job juxtaposing the old Kickr with the new Kickr and comparing the sounds / tones of each trainer. Kudos, DCR for the excellent video:

Technical Observations 

Now for the technical specs. I know that on several different cycling blogs, people have expressed concern about their disc brake bikes not fitting properly on the Wahoo Kickr. I’m here to debunk that.

I ride a Cannondale Caadx and I’m very pleased to say that the disc brake caliper did not rub at all against the Kickr. In fact there was actually ample space available. I will point out though that I did reverse the skewer spacer, as Wahoo indicates in their instructions that it’s recommended for cyclocross and mountain bikes.

Disc Brake Caliper Clearance

 

 

Wahoo Kickr Disc Brake Clearance.

 

Another aspect I really liked about the new Kickr is that the power outlet cable is very, very easy to access. This may seem very minor, but at the end of the day, it makes a difference. I recall seeing in some early videos that it was awkwardly positioned underneath the flywheel. Not so the case with mine. This is something Wahoo realized was a frustrating point for a lot of users and fixed it.

 

Wahoo Kickr Plug Access.

 

So for the 11-speed SRAM / Shimano cassette that comes on, I shifted my rear derailleur to the largest cog and took a screenshot for you all to see a general idea of the spacing that you can expect to see. (I have a regular SRAM Rival RD on my bike). Not an extreme amount of space by any means, but not bad.

Wahoo Kickr Cassette Spacing

First time using Zwift 

I took the Kickr on a very quick spin via Zwift. To be completely honest, this is my first time using Zwift, so I had no clue really what was going on. I fiddled with some settings, had the Garmin Ant+ dongle and the USB extension to place the dongle right besides the back of the Kickr, and that was it.

I wasn’t entirely sure which was the optimal pairing, but I ultimately messed around with some settings and corrected a strange speed issue that was reading 43mph when I was barely pedaling on a flat. I’ll post more re: Zwift as I become more adept at using it. After everything was sorted out, I have to say I was really impressed with how the Kickr automatically increased / decreased the resistance to align with the course I was on, very impressive! There was one random 14-15% grade in a tunnel for the London map. Took me by surprise for sure, haha.

This software is pretty neat – I can’t wait to get the HDMI converter for my Mac so I can broadcast this on the TV. It’s really going to make indoor training an exciting time.

Swift London Route - 1st Attempt

 

All in all, this trainer looks very promising. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be posting more information on it as I use it regularly. My goal is 2 rides per week + time in the gym for some strength training. I have to say, no cognitive dissonance on this purchase, even though the price tag was nothing to smirk at, I feel as though it was worth the investment and it will revolutionize my training!

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