Wahoo KICKR v5 – Most Accurate Ever
Wahoo has just announced the fifth iteration of its successful KICKR smart trainer. If you thought that the previous v4 model ticked every box that needed ticking then you’d be wrong. The Wahoo KICKR v5 (aka KICKR20) really does get close to perfection, or at least that’s what the specs imply.
Wahoo Kickr Background
Over recent years, Wahoo has gradually increased compatibility, openness and data richness with each new Kickr. For example, previous models added in 3x BLE connections ostensibly for Zwift (KICKR18), supported thru-axles (KICKR17), disc brake clearance (KICKR17) and calculated & transmitted cadence (KICKR18). I have the Wahoo Kickr17 model (review, v3) and am almost 100% happy with it but I know some owners of the v4/2018 model were unsatisfied as that specific model had issues with static electricity breaking the electronic circuitry. Perhaps rectifying that was why we saw no 2019 KICKR model and perhaps CV19 was, somehow, a factor too. Either way, all should now be good moving forwards and the KICKR20 would certainly be my trainer of choice were I to invest in a replacement to my current model rather than moving to an indoor bike like a KICKRbike.
Wahoo KICKR v5 – What’s new?
There are 3 new headline additions
Wahoo KICKR20 – Improved Accuracy
The headline new feature is ACCURACY. Most of the best power meters are now accurate to either +/-1% or +/-1.5%, the KICKR 2020 now joins that party with +/-1% accuracy and that’s all we need. Sorted. Despite saying that I’m happy with my +/-2% accuracy in the 2017 model, I have to say that +/-1% *IS* tempting me to upgrade but I don’t use indoor trainers THAT much to justify the £/$/Eu1000 cost.
Wahoo KICKR20 – Improved Road Feel
However the AXIS ACTION FEET are tempting me EVEN MORE (seriously, I’m going to buy some ASAP, they’re not stocked at launch). These are fitted as standard to the v5 2020 KICKR but are also backwardly compatible and they are claimed by Wahoo to give up to a claimed 5 degrees of lateral movement – depending which of the 3 sets of feet you choose. What’s the big deal? Firstly, this should simply give a better road feel – in normal usage, I find the lack of lateral movement quite uncomfortable after a while and, for that reason, I prefer not to spend more than an hour on a turbo trainer. Perhaps some new KICKR feet can help me do those 5-hour mid-winter rides?
I also use a carbon-framed bike on a smart trainer which is NOT recommended. As a check, if you have a carbon-framed bike and ever get out of the seat and start cranking out some power then glance backwards at your seat stays/chainstays and check out what you are putting your expensive frame through #NotGood. These new feet MIGHT also help protect your frame by allowing the bike to rock rather than the frame to flex.
Wahoo KICKR20 – Auto-Calibration
Thirdly, Wahoo has added auto-calibration which removes the need for a regular spindown. Remember that Wahoo has always also had a special FACTORY spindown for when the KICKR is moved to a new location, I’m assuming that is also replaced by the auto-spindown and if the new auto-spindown does really work properly then this WILL save me several minutes of faffing about in each workout
Wahoo KICKR20 – Auto-Calibration
Also reported by dcrainmaker is the existence of a telephone port. I seem to recall my >10-year old TACX had one of those to communicate to its display unit. However, you WILL need a special, as yet unreleased, adapter to convert that telephone socket to take a network cable to actually connect to your home network, although you’d likely plug it into a router/switch rather than directly into your PC unless you have a crossover cable…#CouldBeComplicated. Apparently a cable connection can remove interference issues, as could decent shielding.
Wahoo’s Indoor Ecosystem
Wahoo offers a complete indoor riding ecosystem which includes: the KICKR CLIMB Indoor Grade Simulator; KICKR HEADWIND Smart Fan; KICKR Mat; and KICKR DESK plus indoor workouts from Wahoo’s The Sufferfest training app. Well, it’s NEARLY complete. It’s missing a steering device but I would expect to see one of those from Wahoo within a year, probably with a second-generation KICKR CLIMB. Wahoo also has all the sensors covered too of which the Wahoo TICKR HRMs are most suitable to complement indoor use – again, though, a muscle oxygen sensor is an omission to their ‘complete’ system but I’m guessing few will buy one of those even if Wahoo were to acquire and sell one (Humon Hex).
Should the price tag of the KICKR be too high for you then the KICKRcore is a comparable, lower-cost product of the same type and the KICKRsnap cheaper still but a ‘wheel-on-roller’ design which will ruin your tyres (you end up buying a spare rear wheel with a trainer tyre)
Wahoo Kickr Pricing
Despite adding in several new features, the new KICKR will maintain the same retail price as the previous generation, £999.99/$1199.99/Eu1199.99
|KICKR20 (Axis Included)||Axis Feet Kit|
|USD $1,199.99||USD $79.99|
|CAD $1,799.99||CAD $114.99|
|GBP £999.99||GBP £64.99|
|Euro €1,199.99||Euro €79.99|
|AUD $1,799.95||AUD $129.95|
|JPY ¥152,550||JPY ¥9,299|
- Availability in the UK/EU is fairly restricted, I have included links to Wiggle and to Wahoo’s store.
- Availability in the USA is restricted, I have included links to Competitive Cyclist, Wahoo’s Store and REI.
Wahoo Kickr v6 – Moving Forward, What Can be Added?
I think there is very little else that needs adding. Perhaps if there was some way to sync the power profile with your outdoor power meter to more precisely replicate outdoor performance levels and characteristics, that would be great.