Wahoo has expanded its range of turbo trainers with the launch of the Kickr Core - a £699.99 direct-drive smart trainer to plug the gap between the wheel-on Kickr Snap trainer and the flapship Kickr, which has also been redesigned to offer a virtually silent turbo experience. The American firm has also introduced the Kickr Headwind 'smart fan' to round out what it is calling 'the most complete indoor cycling ecosystem'.
The Kickr Core is Wahoo's response to rival trainers like the Elite Direto and Tacx Flux, and will cost £699. The Kickr Headwind, meanwhile, follows the launch of the Kickr Climb gradient simulator last year and will cost £199. Let's cover some of the key details.
Wahoo shook up the turbo trainer market with the launch of the original Kickr in 2013 and indoor training is now near-unrecognisable, with a range of virtual reality training systems, led by Zwift, embraced by riders wanting to train efficiently year-round, whatever the weather and not be bored to tears.
Almost every rival manufacturer followed suit with its own direct-drive smart trainer (whereby the rear wheel of your bike is removed and the drivetrain runs directly on a cassette installed on the trainer), followed by more budget-friendly options, designed to offer most of the experience of flagship trainers, at a lower price. That's where the Kickr Core comes in, costing £300 less than the £999 Kickr. The Kickr Snap remains in the range at £499.
The Core is still a direct drive unit but still uses a flywheel, designed to offer a realistic ride quality, but it's smaller than the Kickr's so is only capable of handling a maximum output of 1,800 watts. Still, we'd like to see you hit that. It's thru-axle compatible, so you can use a disc brake or rim brake bike, but the Kickr Core's legs are fixed, so it doesn't fold down like the Kickr, nor does it come with a cassette.
As for the range-topping Kickr, an entrant into this year's RCUK 100, that's also had an update, with a bigger flywheel which now weighs 16lbs, while power measurement has been increased from 2,000 to 2,200 watts. Most significantly, the Kickr's new design makes it significantly quieter - in fact, it's near-silent, with the whir of the drivetrain the only genuine noise coming from the bike. We've had a five-minute ride on the latest Kickr and can back up its incredibly quiet performance - it's impressive and a real bonus for riders who live in a flat or shared accommodation.
“With these new Kickrs, we’re continuing to refine and improve the experience of indoor training," said Wahoo Fitness CEO Chip Hawkins. "The newest versions offer cyclists the quietest, most realistic ride feel we’ve ever created."
The launch of the Kickr Headwind builds on Wahoo's desire to offer an all-in package for those riders fully committed to indoor training - if your pockets are deep enough. The Kickr Headwind connects with heart rate and speed sensors with Ant+ or Bluetooth to deliver a automatic or manually-controlled blast of air up to 30mph to simulate the air flow a rider feels out on the road - and, perhaps more relevant to indoor training specifically, keep them cool. The Kickr Headwind is also compatible with third-party smart trainers.
"If you’re riding outside, the amount of wind you feel increases as you ride harder. With the Kickr Headwind, we can deliver that experience indoors, while also helping athletes to push harder by keeping them cool during workouts,” added Hawkins.
Wahoo's Kickr Climb, which sees the front of the bike attached to a gradient simulator capable of simulating slopes up to 20 per cent uphill and 10 per cent downhill, is now also widely available having been initially launched last year. That's yours for £499.
Website: Wahoo Fitness