the Wahoo Rollr Review – Kickr Smart Rollers 🛼 better than I expected

FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commission

Wahoo Fitness Kickr Rollr Review Cervelo P5Wahoo Rollr Review – Smart Rollers

Wahoo Kickr Rollr Review – Here’s a one-liner – Wahoo Kickr Rollr is a universal smart trainer that you can control from almost all bike computers and training apps.

Optionally, Wahoo Rollr merges the power meter performance from your bike live with the resistance on the ROLLR. Rollr is comfy and super-easy to assemble. Using Rollr is a doddle, just put almost any road bike on the roller and ride.

Wahoo’s new Kickr Rollr offers new, practical benefits that a regular turbo trainer can’t so here’s a short review to explain why you & your household might need this smart roller more than you thought.

Heads Up: These are media loaners from Wahoo. I buy my own kit for my own personal training.

If there was a prize for the surprisingly good and novel product of 2022, Wahoo Rollr might win it.

Here is a quick summary review of the Wahoo Fitness Rollr, please page further down or use the table of contents for the more detailed sections.

Verdict: Surprisingly brilliant smart rollers.
94%

Wahoo Rollr Review - Verdict: Surprisingly Brilliant Smart Rollers For Almost Any Bike.

Wahoo has succeeded in delivering a standalone, universal trainer that can be ready to go with only a trivial setup time.

Wahoo Fitness Kickr Rollr Review Cervelo P5Kickr Rollr could be a game-changer for the home trainer market as well as highly useful for the more serious rider. However, the game for home rollers is not one that is well-watched and for Kickr Rollr to take-off requires a significant amount of consumer education from Wahoo. Rollers just feel too much of a ‘Pro’ product and also one that less competent users might simply fear falling from. That said, Wahoo is good at spreading their awesomeness by word-of-mouth, so we could all be seeing more of Kickr Rollr in years to come.

Those of us who are adept at bike maintenance see changing a smart trainer’s cassette or a bike’s pedals as ‘facile’. However, I would bet that most cyclists fear even such simple tasks as those and would lack the tools in any case. Wahoo’s Kickr Rollr really is super simple. You can put your bike on it and be cycling within seconds with nothing to change. Even if you are a bike mechanic, is your partner? or are your club mates? Rollr is EASY for anyone.

And whilst it’s easy,  it’s also open and ‘smart’. Rollr will fit in with how you work be that following your first digital structured cycling plan or pumping out the watts on Zwift or Wahoo SYSTM.

The catch?: Just understand that ANY bike can use ROLLR as a smart resistance trainer but power only comes from the power meter already on your bike…which is another positive as it will exactly match the power characteristics of your road riding and all your stats.

Pricing and Availability

Rollr is available now directly from Wahoo and I’ll add in some links to other retail partners as and when they have stock. Just click the black and blue image above if you want to check more details or buy the Rollr

Pros

  • Universal smart resistance control even for your partner’s 20-year old bike
  • Comfy
  • Won’t damage carbon-framed bikes
  • All the benefits of a smart trainer if your bike already has a power meter
  • Super-easy to assemble
  • Super-easy to change bikes

Cons

  • The responsiveness to changes in resistance could be improved
  • No Kickr CLIMB support
  • Smooth tyres are fairly quiet but more noise is created by deeper tread patterns
  • More advanced usage requires you to have a power meter on your bike for Rollr to optionally link to
Order Wahoo
Shop Wahoo Now

Wahoo Rollr – Setup

On a scale of 0-10 where 10 is very easy to set up, the Wahoo Rollr scores 11.

It arrives in two bits and they can only slot together in one way. Plug in the power cable and you are ready to go.

The only slight complication, which is about as complex as 1+1, is ensuring that the rear roller is the correct distance from your front wheel’s axle. The two bits join together with a sliding and locking mechanism.

There’s also an adjuster for different wheel widths which can be set quite loosely to allow lateral movement

KICKR ROLLR officially supports 700C road wheels/tires with a maximum tire size of around 2.1”/53mm. However, the low profile trail tyre I use above is 26″ x 2.2″ and there is still room to spare.

Wahoo Rollr – Pairing Up

I paired Rollr to my Wahoo Bolt 2 bike computer (Roam 2 is fine too – review here) and to the Wahoo iOS app. Even though Rollr takes the calibrated power from your bike, I still performed a spindown on the Rollr assuming it calibrated the resistance. Whilst a Kickr or Kickr Core trainer takes a good 30 seconds to spin down, the Rollr completes its spindown in 4 or 5 seconds.

 

You can ride with an SRM power meter using ANT+ CTF.

Wahoo Rollr Review – Controlling A Workout

You can use rollr in just the same way as a regular smart trainer.

I did some rides with Wahoo Systm and used structured workouts from Training Peaks on my Elemnt to control the Rollr. All was cool and your Garmin will also work with Rollr if it supports a smart trainer (FE-C).

 

Wahoo Rollr – Who would buy them?

Pro’s: I read somewhere that Wahoo has bought the right to supply all the ‘warmup’ trainers used at the start of UCI races, maybe on dc rainmaker’s site? So I guess Wahoo wants us to think that Pro’s use their rollers, which they might also do outside of race day.

More serious amateur riders might also consider the Wahoo Rollr as a warmup tool on race day.

For anyone else, Rollr is an alternative to a regular smart trainer which, when disassembled into its two component parts, doesn’t take up much storage space at all. The issue Wahoo might have is educating potential buyers that there is some mystique to riding rollers and that riders might fall off. Whilst that may be true of old-fashioned rollers, it’s not true for the Wahoo Rollr. Your front wheel is kinda fixed in pace and the bike won’t fall over. You will not fall off.

You will not fall off.

You want comfort: If like me, you find that extended rides on a regular smart trainer are a little uncomfortable then the Rollr may well significantly increase your ride comfort as it allows a fair amount of side-to-side movement.

Club or Household with different bike sizes: You want to be able to switch bikes very easily. You can change bikes on the roller in a matter of seconds…like 10 seconds. Sometimes the indexing on my bike is not quite the same when I switch off the rear wheel and put my road bike onto the Kickr Core, that’s not a problem here as you don’t take your rear wheel off.

Someone who only owns carbon-framed road bikes: You might be worried about a regular turbo trainer damaging your expensive bike frame.

So that’s pretty much anyone then, right?!

Will Rollr Damage my bike?

A: No.

Rollr might wear your tyre out differently to when you use it on the road but I don’t think so as the only force at play is your bodyweight pushing your rear wheel onto the rollers at two points. Some of the old-fashioned wheel-on trainers did wear out tyres when the resistance roller was compressed against the tyre and that was why you used to need a trainer tyre…not so with the Wahoo Rollr.

So long as your tyre is dirt-free, I don’t think your tyre will damage the rollers either.

More conventional wheel-off turbo trainers will damage many carbon-frame bikes, especially if you get off the saddle and put the power down. All that power gets put through the rear triangles on your frame and, in my opinion, they are flexed differently to normal road usage. I delaminated the carbon on one of my bikes and I’m sure it was from heavy turbo trainer usage. That kind of damage can’t happen with Wahoo Rollr.

Can Wahoo Rollr be used with a MTB?

A: Yes but you will need to use a relatively smooth tread pattern to keep the noise levels down.

I didn’t try it with nobbly tyres but I think it would be seriously noisy.

Accuracy When Connected To A Power Meter

There’s nothing interesting to see here at all. Rollr accurately relays your bike’s power…well, apart from the one dropout.

 

wahoo rollr review accuracy chart roller
clicks to dc rainmaker analyzer tool

 

Wahoo Rollr Review – Road Feel

Just like any trainer that uses your regular bike, the setup geometry is obviously identical to what you are used to.

I particularly like the centimetre or two side to side movement that Rollr can allow. You don’t get that extra lateral movement on a regular turbo trainer and, in my experience, that constraint had previously caused me some discomfort after an hour of indoor riding. Not so with the Rollr.

If you clamp the front wheel tightly, as I guess you are supposed to do, there is still some movement of your rear tyre laterally across the roller. But then clamping the front wheel tightly would make me extremely nervous if I got off the saddle to emulate a climbing technique where I would tend to throw the front end around a bit. #Forks

To me, the Rollr’s flywheel did NOT replicate the acceleration and deceleration out on the road and the roads I ride on are never as smooth as the surface of the roller 😉 It was perfectly usable though!

As you can see in the data chart, above, I found it tricky to keep my watts as steady as I would with a regular turbo trainer and the application or release of the braking mechanism seemed delayed longer than I would have liked.

PS I think the ROLLR is MUCH cooler and commercially viable than I expected

Wahoo Rollr – What do the LEDs mean?

Rollr has a red and a blue status LED. The blue LED is for the Bluetooth connection and the red for the power meter connection.

A slow blink means ‘searching’, a fast blink means ‘found’ and a solid light means ‘connected’ in either case.

 

Wahoo Rollr Detailed Specifications

 

Wahoo Rollr Specifications

COMPATIBILITY

Wheel Size 700c Road. Tire width up to 2.1″
Axle All
Cassette N/A
TECHNOLOGY & DATA
Wireless Technology ANT+, BLUETOOTH, and ANT+ FE-C
Bluetooth® Connections Up to 3 simultaneous connections
Connected Technology Direct Connect Port (LAN)
Device Control iOS, Android, and PC (Mac and Windows)
Resistance Type Electromagnetic
Accuracy Accuracy of external power meter
Wireless Firmware Updates Yes
3rd Party Power Meter Compatibility Powermeter Connect
Metrics Speed and distance. Power and Cadence require a connected external power meter.
Power Calibration Relies on the calibration of an external power meter
SPECIFICATIONS
Max Power Wattage 1500 W
Max Incline 10%
Flywheel Weight 10.5 lbs (4.7 kg)
Footprint (Length x Width) Max: 67″(170 cm)  x 31.5″(80 cm)
Total Weight 50 lbs (23 kg)
Electrical specification 100-240v power cord
ADDITIONAL FEATURES
LED Indicator Lights BLUETOOTH and ANT+
Disc Brake Clearance Yes
KICKR DESK Compatible Yes
KICKR AXIS Compatible No
KICKR CLIMB Compatible No
KICKR HEADWIND Compatible Yes
Front Wheel Block Built-In
Steel Construction Yes
Controlled Resistance Yes

 

Wahoo Rollr Futures

Other smart meters have, in the past, included measurements of power. At first sight, it might seem sensible for Wahoo to incorporate this into the next generation of the Rollr. However, the current design allows the rear wheel to bounce and generally move all over the place thus any attempt at power measurement from the rollers might be plagued by difficulties.

One improvement that could be made to the Rollr would be the simple addition of measurement markers on the horizontal part of the frame. This would allow me to quickly set the fore/aft position when bringing the roller out of storage and getting it ready for first use.

Wahoo Rollr – Issues

For more serious riders who plan to use Rollr in a car park before a race then you would need to rely on the Rollr’s unplugged, ‘natural’ resistance of 50-450 watts. Remember, you will still be able to see the power that comes from your bike’s power meter but there will be nothing transmitted from Rollr.

A second concern is the clearance of the front wheel. All my bikes were perfectly fine. However, you can see on my P5 in the image above that there is ‘only a couple of centimetres spare above the wheel. You can also see that I’ve only binned the high aerobar cockpit rather than cutting the stem – thus there are 3 visible spacers left on the stem which if removed might cause the bike to not fit. A lower front end would also create an issue with the position of my Di2 5-port junction I mount in a similar place to many others with older TT bikes. A point to note here is that the vertical front section of the Rollr can be rotated away from the bike, this might create more space but it also means that less of the wheel can be clamped in place.

For me, the only issue of concern was bumpiness at low speeds from one particular rear wheel. I’m not quite sure what it was as the tyres were well pumped up to 100psi. Wahoo said that it was most likely from the valve stem but might have been a flat spot?

It’s also worth pointing out that at close to 30kg, Rollr is not readily lugged around your house. Don’t forget that it comes in 2 parts, so each bit weighs about 15kg which is much easier to move in 2 trips!

Order Wahoo
Shop Wahoo Now

Pricing and Availability

Rollr is available now directly from Wahoo and I’ll add in some links to other retail partners as and when they have stock. Just click the black and blue image above if you want to check more details or buy the Rollr

Rollr is also available bundled with the Wahoo POWRLINK ZERO Single-Side power meter which uses the SpeedPlay cleat system. Perfect for all you Wahooligans who are vested in the Wahoo ecosystem & brand.

I’m in two minds as to whether or not Rollr is slightly overpriced, I guess Wahoo can now command a Garmin-like premium for its brand values and quality. 2022-23 will see the rampant return of inflation so these prices might look great value by Christmas.

Wahoo Rollr – Concluding Thoughts

Never in a million years did I think that I would be interested in bike rollers. So when Wahoo asked me if I would like to review Rollr, I dutifully agreed but wasn’t that keen. First up I didn’t think they would be as good as a regular smart trainer from the perspectives of power management & resistance; secondly, I thought I might fall off; and, thirdly, I didn’t expect them to be any more comfortable.

I was wrong on the second two counts and even the resistance management is certainly way more than just ‘usable’.

In many ways, Rollr is more practical than a turbo trainer. Sure, when in use, Rollr takes up a bit more space than a regular wheel-off trainer but it doubles up as a bike rack when not in use. And you have to put your bike somewhere, so just leave it on the Rollr. The sheer practicality also kicks in big time for people who are not comfortable with bike DIY, a 5-year-old child could easily load up the Rollr with a bike.

Good for Pro’s and good for a multi-bike household or club. Good for smart trainer apps and good for any bike head unit. Just generally…good all around.

Definitely worth thinking about.

 

Order Wahoo
Shop Wahoo Now

Reader-Powered Content

This content is not sponsored. It’s mostly me behind the labour of love which is this site and I appreciate everyone who follows, subscribes or Buys Me A Coffee ❤️ Alternatively please buy the reviewed product from my partners at their regular price. Thank you! This really is reader-powered content.
FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

2 thoughts on “the Wahoo Rollr Review – Kickr Smart Rollers 🛼 better than I expected

  1. How about just ONE picture of what the heck this thing looks like. There’s only close-up shots, what about a pic of the bike & roller to get an idea of what this is?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.