Today was a skiving off the real-job day. To make use of my day off I had planned a rather pleasant surprise for myself to go and see the new Wahoo bike stuff up in London.
Specifically I was interested in seeing: the Kickr CLIMB, the Headwind smart fan; and the Kickr 2018 itself. If there was ‘anything else‘ there to see…then so be it. And there was.
I saw the Wahoo mat and my first ever Wahoo desk 😉
There was also a rather nice (non-Wahoo) screen with the new Austrian Innsbruck-Tirol on Zwift which I had a short go on with the Kickr.
Kickr 2018 Smart Trainer
It’s basically the same as the 2017 trainer which I reviewed here in detail (Wahoo Kickr 2017 Review).
Well; there are some slight differences and some key carried-over features worth mentioning.
- Slightly larger and heavier flywheel giving more realistic road feel. Redesigned belt drive.
- Kickr Climb compatibility over +/- 20% gradients
- It will now keep you happy as you produce over 2000w. Will that be enough? Yeah, maybe.
Also: Support for 130/135mm quick releases and an adaptor to support 142mm or 148mm thru-axles. Freehub accepts eleven, ten, nine and eight-speed cassettes. Wheel sizes 700c, 650c, 24”, 26”, 27.5” and 29”.
I use the 2017 model a fair amount and couldn’t really notice much of a feel difference. I became a little too engrossed in Zwift Austria and the people I was talking to. I was also a little distracted by the perfectly free rolling click-click from a bike that was actually clean and well-serviced (aka new). Unlike mine.
One of the guys asked what I thought about the noise level.
And then I remembered. The Kickr 2018 is totally silent. And it really is. TOTALLY silent. OK you hear the chain noise. I wasn’t ‘going for it’ but I guess there wouldn’t be any vibration either if you were on a half-decent mat…which I was.
Take out: Even more awesome than the 2017 model. Though pretty much zero need to upgrade to 2018 apart from special cases eg Climb compatibility and neighbours who demand silence.
I would be interested to do a virtual, simulated lap of my local hilly park, which I know well, to see how much the Climb could help preparations for a PB lap next year some time. I suspect it would do a more than reasonable job. Probably the main issue with replicating the reality of my bike lap would be how any simulator would handle restricted, 90 degree turns at 4 roundabouts (road circles)?? eg there was a crash by the pro’s at one of the same roundabouts in the 2012 Olympic road race. Surely all smart trainers assume straight roads for any resistance or incline applied? whereas on these corners speed/power have to be lessened.
I was surprised at the Climb’s responsiveness ie it quickly moved to the right gradient, that is, if quickness was needed for the slope in question.
Getting off the saddle didn’t seem to cause any issues for either the Kickr or the Climb. Which was a little strange in hindsight, as you are riding something with both wheels removed.
The Climb is controlled by the Kickr. The Kickr is controlled by the Source eg the resistance and gradient are sent from your Wahoo Elemnt or Garmin or app. There is a manual override control in the top of the Climb which can be relocated on your bars.
Take out: Better than I imagined. Good Tech! Useful for some. But not my thing.
The smart fan is as silly an idea as it is a super-cool idea; increasing in volume as you try harder (configurable by speed, HR or manually) or simply simulating winds up to 30mph.
The air is well-directed to the torso/face and the airflow seemed to be at a reasonable rate.
However I was wearing a thickish cotton T-shirt in a hot room and I am a sweaty so-and-so at the best of times. For me I reckon I might need two of them to keep me cool. But I didn’t use it in anger (aka half-naked in a stranger’s office somewhere in London).
My need for fan functionality is the same as any good triathlete’s swim speed ( 😉 ) either off or “on max”. Being based on HR/speed is a good idea but once I’m hot I stay hot for quite some time. I just warm up and then stick a fan or max for the rest of the session.
Take out: Awesomely conceived and executed product. Very innovative. Too expensive for me and maybe not powerful enough for me.
KICKR CORE 2018
I did NOT see the KICKR CORE 2018. The Core is essentially a modified KICKR with the Kickr SNAP’s (lower model) stand and no pre-supplied cassette.
If you want to remove your rear wheel from your bike to use your bike on a smart trainer then the CORE is the entry-level model. I’d go for it over the Snap if you can afford it.